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

Apr 08 2005

As Trains Go By

The New Republic has published a long review of three novels by Georges Simenon. The thesis is that they are “are superb and polished works of art masquerading as pulp fiction.” Simenon wrote more than 400 novels, under his own name and various pseudonyms. One of them, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, was …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/04/08/as-trains-go-by/

Apr 05 2005

A Little Less Magical

I’m not sure what possessed the editors of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung to add Somerset Maugham’s The Magician to their list of 50 great novels of the twentieth century. In the preface to the edition that I have, the author admits that when it was republished, he had not read the book in nearly fifty years. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/04/05/a-little-less-magical/

Mar 06 2005

Echelon Back Story

The British edition of Body of Secrets, James Bamford’s second book about the US National Security Agency, gives equal billing to Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the subtitle, but that’s just marketing, making the home audience feel good. The same subtitle also alludes to Echelon, an eavesdropping program that was on its way to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/03/06/httpfistfulofeuros-netafoeechelon-back-story/

Feb 28 2005

If On a Winter’s Night a Publisher

Brings forth the fiftieth and last of its great novels of the twentieth century, a resolutely head-spinning inquisition of a book by Italo Calvino, one that keeps introducing a novel titled If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler. In this, the coldest week in Munich in twenty years, the series not only takes notice of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/02/28/if-on-a-winters-night-a-publisher/

Feb 11 2005

Ray Bradbury

Through a series of stupidities, when I moved from Washington to Germany, I lost a fair number of books. Several hundred, I think, but it’s a little too sad to count them up. There was, and still may be, a list I made when packing. An indulgent winter evening’s thought is which one I would …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/02/11/ray-bradbury/

Feb 07 2005

A Note …

Upon Reading the First Ninth of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle It is a Frolick, a Cornucopia of interesting things, a narrative of the discovery of the calculus, scientific feuds, dissection, Religious Dissent, changing fashions in art, the return of comedy to the English stage, computation, coinage, banking and much, much more. One of the Leading …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2005/02/07/a-note/

Dec 17 2004

Halfway There

This spring, the German newspaper whose web site isn’t quite as bad as another’s began publishing a series of 50 Great Novels from the Twentieth Century. It’s an admirable project in many ways — not least a cover price of EUR 4.90 per hardback. Thirty-seven books have been published so far, and I’ve now read …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2004/12/17/halfway-there/

Jul 07 2004

49 Great Ones and a Stinker

Not too long ago, I noted that the Sueddeutsche Zeitung was publishing a set of 50 great novels of the twentieth century. I got into the game a little bit late, but since then I have been more-or-less keeping up with their pace of one a week, largely by the not terribly edifying expedient of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2004/07/07/49-great-ones-and-a-stinker/

Jun 24 2004

A Little Greatness, Every Week

The editors at the Sueddeutsche Zeitung cobbled together a list of 50 great novels of the 20th century. With postwar German modesty, they don’t claim that it’s exhaustive, definitive or representative. Just 50. And great. The newspaper’s publishing house has been bringing one out every week since mid-March, and they’ll finish the run next February. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2004/06/24/a-little-greatness-every-week/

Mar 27 2004

V S Naipaul

Last year, reading around a bit to try to come to grips with Islamic terrorism, and the mindset that drives it, I read Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples. Published in 1998, it’s a bit of a seqel to Among the Believers, which was written in the wake of Iran’s revolution of 1979 …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2004/03/27/v-s-naipaul/