Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 7 comments
  2. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  4. Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

Nov 28 2006

Stephen Maturin, Drug Fiend

From The Commodore, pp. 187-88 Yet [Maturin] had some faults [as a physician], and one was a habit of dosing himself, generally from a spirit of inquiry, as in his period of inhaling large quantities of the nitrous oxide and of the vapour of hemp, to say nothing of tobacco, bhang in all its charming …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/11/28/stephen-maturin-drug-fiend/

Oct 23 2006

Under the Frog

Novermber 1955: Tired of trying to crack the problem of the informer, Gyuri settled down to think about being a streetsweeper while he gazed out of the window at the countryside that went past quite lazily despite the train’s billing as an express. The streetsweeper was a sort of cerebral chewing gum that Gyuri popped …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/10/23/under-the-frog/

Oct 13 2006

A Pocketful of Pamuk

The definitive(ish) review I’ve been meaning to write for months will obviously have to wait now that Orhan Pamuk has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here are the AFOE talking points on Pamuk: Snow is the one book to read if you only have time to read one. Ka, the protagonist, is a Turkish …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/10/13/a-pocketful-of-pamuk/

Sep 26 2006

Ringworld by Larry Niven

I hadn’t read Ringworld in at least a decade, and probably closer to two, when I picked it up again a couple of weeks back. Originally published in 1970, the book has held up terrifically. Not for Niven, one of those far-future societies that’s a replication of the author’s own era. The use of “men” …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/09/26/ringworld-by-larry-niven/

Sep 26 2006

Premature Evaluation: Khrushchev by William Taubman

Wish an 876-page biography could be longer? Not often, but definitely with this one. I don’t know the literature well enough to say for sure, but it sure feels like a definitive take on an important figure of 20th century history. William Taubman combines the virtues of journalist and scholar in his biography of Nikita …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/09/26/premature-evaluation-khrushchev-by-william-taubman/

Sep 20 2006

Baltic Framework

Our recent posts on governments in Stockholm and Schwerin are as good a reason as any to highlight Northern Shores, by Alan Palmer. (It’s published in the US as The Baltic.) I had intended to write a premature evaluation, but then I finished the book, which I picked up during a business trip to Helsinki, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/09/20/baltic-framework/

Sep 20 2006

Noted With Pleasure: Reindeer People

One of the other books that I picked up while in Helsinki was Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia, by Piers Vitebsky. (US paperback coming in December.) He’s an anthropologist at the University of Cambridge, and the reindeer people are his research specialty. The book, however, is an engrossing synthesis aimed at …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/09/20/noted-with-pleasure-reindeer-people/

Jul 18 2006

Mr Commitment

Mike Gayle is a British novelist. He writes books that, if you were feeling snarky, you might call chick-lit that guys can read too. Less snarkily, he writes light contemporary drama. I’ll admit to a small weakness for the genre, at least in its British variant. Although the plots are wildly predictable, the details of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/07/18/mr-commitment/

Jun 06 2006

Overdue Evaluation (The Prize, by Daniel Yergin)

There is not much market for reviews of books published almost a decade and a half ago, so without further ado, my thoughts on The Prize, by Daniel Yergin. This evaluation is overdue because I started reading the book when I bought it, back in 1997. I put it down around page 400 (which is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/06/06/overdue-evaluation-the-prize-by-daniel-yergin/

Apr 18 2006

Premature Evaluation: The Hungarians

I suppose I should be happy that there is a recent, one-volume general history of the Hungarians. Their history is not exactly the stuff of bestsellers, even if Hungarians were crucial in everything from computers to the atomic bomb to Hollywood studios. Ten million people, give or take, speaking a non-Indo-European language in and around …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/04/18/premature-evaluation-the-hungarians/