Going Off Book: I kind of want a ‘Neverending Story’ remake?

I stare at the boxed faces of 60 traditional-aged college students. I speak to them about David Foster Wallace and Audre Lorde, urging them to pay attention to this precious, weird, fleeting time period, to determine how they will use their power—collective and individual—to improve the world. It is impossible to know if I am … Continue reading Going Off Book: I kind of want a ‘Neverending Story’ remake?

To Annotate or To Not Annotate. That is the Question

How do we feel about annotation? I'm for it, in the abstract. I tend to get a kick out seeing authors' and others' marginalia. I inherited my parents' shared copies of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, which they used as non-traditional college students. I love their annotations, how what they saw as important enough … Continue reading To Annotate or To Not Annotate. That is the Question

A Conversation about ‘Crossings” by Alex Landragin

In a first for this site, I recorded a conversation with my brilliant, wonderful friend Dr. Martina Shabram about the recently-released novel Crossings by Alex Landragin. This novel has a formal innovation where you can read it straight through as three free-standing but interconnected novellas (Martina's way) or via the "Baroness method," which tells you … Continue reading A Conversation about ‘Crossings” by Alex Landragin

Quickly, and With the Lights On: ‘Heads of the Colored People.’

There are the books that you savor, make yourself go slow, take them in, bite by bite. There are books that you scarf, like a glutton at a feast, gulping mouthfuls and barely stopping to taste. And then there are books that you read in a rush, but with eyes wide open, because they contain … Continue reading Quickly, and With the Lights On: ‘Heads of the Colored People.’

On the Re-Reading Life and Vivian Gornick’s ‘Unfinished Business’

Looking over my reading list this past year I saw stellar book after stellar book. Bam, bam, bam, nearly all excellent reads. And then I got to the past few weeks and realized that things lately have been merely fine—good but not great, decent but not deepening. And then I picked up Vivian Gornick's Unfinished … Continue reading On the Re-Reading Life and Vivian Gornick’s ‘Unfinished Business’