Hooray! After two years of looking, CCLaP finally has its third staff writer! Say hello to Karl Wolff, who starting today will be contributing a critical essay here every other Friday, both general book reviews and an entire new essay series of his own. Karl is based out of Minnesota, and is hoping for his writing here to serve partly as an excuse to come to Chicago a little more often, as he explains here in his introduction to all of us...
"I come to book reviewing from a background in history and museums. History, at least since Herodotus, being an interpretation of events and museums operating as a tool of public education about those events.
"I run two blogs. The first, The Driftless Area Review, focuses on book reviews and 'cultural musings.' The second blog, Coffee is for Closers, looks at the collisions between pop culture and politics. I run Coffee is for Closers with my writing partner, Matt Christman, a contributor to the CCLaP American Wasteland anthology.
"I used to work as a museum curator at a local historical society, the Olmsted County History Center. I worked on diverse projects from 19th century decorative arts to archaeological artifacts. Prior to that, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant for the History Department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and as a production hand at Milwaukee's local NBC affiliate. I currently live in Rochester, MN, but everyday the call of Milwaukee and Chicago get louder and louder.
"When it comes to reviewing, I am opinionated and occasionally a contrarian. I enjoy literature in translation and popular history. One aspect of reviewing I enjoy is spreading the good news about lesser known writers and independent presses. My tastes range wildly, from Warhammer 40K tie-in novels and William Vollmann epics to Jean Genet and Simon Schama."
Glad to have you on board, Karl, and I hope all of you readers as well will have a chance to enjoy Karl's smart, witty writing over the coming year. Like I said, once a month he will be doing a general book review (and also turning in his own top-ten list at the end of the year), and then also once a month he'll be penning another chapter in a book-length series of essays; entitled "On Being Human," it will explore the entire question of what it means to be a human being through the filter of various classic genre projects, everything from Samuel Beckett to Hellboy. But much more on this in Karl's extended introductory essay, which you should be able to find right above this entry. Remember, I'm still on the lookout for more blog staff writers; if you feel like your work fits into the admittedly narrow scope that defines the "CCLaP ethos," by all means drop me a line at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com and let me know.