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 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/

Apr 06 2006

Premature Evaluation: The Fatal Shore

What to do when you haven’t finished a book but find yourself with something to say about it? Convention dictates that one should finish a book before reviewing it (although I have my doubts about any number of published reviews), but on the other hand, The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, was published 20 years …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/04/06/premature-evaluation-the-fatal-shore/

Mar 31 2006

Greatness, Andante

Two years ago, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung began publishing a series of 50 great novels from the 20th century. It’s a good list, and I’ve been slowly reading my way through it. Emphasis on slowly. The newspaper never planned on keeping the editions in print indefinitely, and indeed, the smartly designed and inexpensive (EUR 4.90!) hardbacks …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/03/31/greatness-andante/

Mar 16 2006

Wisdom of the Ages

The Roman Empire has won significance, and its rulers became famous and mighty, because numerous nobles and sages from various countries congregated there […] As settlers come from various countries and provinces, they bring with them various languages and customs, various instructive concepts and weapons, which decorate and glorify the royal court, but intimidate foreign …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/03/16/wisdom-of-the-ages/

Feb 11 2006

Premature Evaluation: Grace and Power

What to do when you haven’t finished a book but find yourself with something to say about it? Convention dictates that one should finish a book before reviewing it (although I have my doubts about any number of published reviews), but on the other hand, I’m not trying to sell a review of Grace and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2006/02/11/premature-evaluation-grace-and-power/