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. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

Sep 20 2014

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Walker Percy’s foreword to the book cannot be bettered: Perhaps the best way to introduce this novel — which on my third reading of it astounds me even more than the first — is to tell of my first encounter with it. While I was teaching at Loyola in 1976 I began to get telephone …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/20/a-confederacy-of-dunces-by-john-kennedy-toole/

Jan 03 2014

Taking Stock of 2013

Retconning, so as to have a copy of these online as well. This was a year of living hand-to-mouth after the move to Berlin. Forty-eight in total; one in German; three in electronic form, fewer now that I was no longer commuting on the Moscow subway. The year I read almost everything that John M. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/03/taking-stock-of-2013/

Jan 05 2013

Taking Stock of 2012

Retconning, so as to have a copy of these online as well. This was the year of moving to Moscow and out of Moscow. Most of my books were in storage the full year. Thirty-nine in total; none in German; ten in electronic form after receiving a Kindle for Christmas in 2011. The Hundred Thousand …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2013/01/05/taking-stock-of-2012/

Jan 04 2012

Taking Stock of 2011

Retconning, so as to have a copy of these online as well. This was the year of moving away from Tbilisi. 2666 and Hadji Murad are the books that remain most in memory from the year’s reading. Thirty-four in total; one in German; none in electronic form, as I did not yet have an e-book …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2012/01/04/taking-stock-of-2011/

Oct 23 2011

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

“What do I think about the legacy of Atatürk, General? Let it go. I don’t care. The age of Atatürk is over.” Guests stiffen around the table, breath subtly indrawn; social gasps. This is heresy. People have been shot down in the streets of Istanbul for less. Adnan commands every eye. “Atatürk was father of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/10/23/the-dervish-house-by-ian-mcdonald/

Jun 07 2011

Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough

Review in brief: Encounters between Russia and the peoples of the Northern Caucasus have not been happy ones, and have generally ended badly for the smaller nations involved. From the Nogai driven into the Black Sea in the 1700s to the Circassians mostly slaughtered or removed to the Ottoman Empire in the 1860s to the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/06/07/let-our-fame-be-great-by-oliver-bullough/

May 05 2011

Premature Evaluation: Yalta by S.M. Plokhy

Did FDR give away too much at Yalta? Was Churchill sketching out percentages of influence in Eastern and Southeastern Europe with Stalin? How far did Stalin’s plans for annexations run? And was the Cold War inevitable? In Yalta: The Price of Peace, S.M. Plokhy goes to the literature and the archives with these questions, and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/05/05/premature-evaluation-yalta-by-s-m-plokhy/

Jan 11 2011

Taking Stock of 2010: Books

Undemanding reading, with one or two exceptions, appears as the hallmark of 2010. Belated reaction to the economic crisis? Lack of initiative after spending several months with Count Tolstoy in 2009? Hard to say. The exceptions: Armenian Golgotha by Grigoris Balakian, a survivor’s testimony from the time of his arrest in 1915 in Istanbul to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/01/11/taking-stock-of-2010-books/

Jan 27 2010

The Discovery of France by Graham Robb

Mostly in lieu of a proper review, excerpts from The Discovery of France by Graham Robb, the best non-fiction book I read in 2009. (Tough competition, too: In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak, Gold and Iron by Fritz Stern and To the Castle and Back by Vaclav Havel were all top …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2010/01/27/the-discovery-of-france-by-graham-robb/

Jan 24 2010

Taking Stock of 2009: Books

Instead of a straight-up best-of list, a slightly more eclectic look back at what I read in 2009. Best large Russian book, Tolstoy’s big one; best small Russian book (and most scurrilous of any nationality) Moscow to the End of the Line by Venedikt Erofeev. Best fantasy, parts two through four of the Princess of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2010/01/24/taking-stock-of-2009-books/