“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse New … Continue reading Sandcastles
Organizing my favorite books of the year is always a challenging task. How to sort through so many remarkable books, particularly when preferences are so subjective? How to make some sort of sense or cohesion out of such a disparate array of texts? Ultimately, the books that made the final cut are the ones that … Continue reading 2021 Reading List – The Final
I've always had a deep faith in books. As with many readers, libraries felt like church to me, bookstores like monasteries. Opening a new book feels like a ritual, as does closing it when finished. I'm sure this worship led me to seek a scholar's life, and not only a scholar but a scholar of … Continue reading How Shall We Live?
Hello, dear Fellow Travelers. I am going to be putting the blog on a brief hiatus while I focus on a busy time at my work as well as consider the future shape and focus of this space. Hope you're reading something fun, inspiring, and/or expanding!
I have been known to bristle at an author (or other creator) expanding their created world. I first felt this reaction when I learned that William Faulkner filled out the rest of the characters' biographies after the end of events in The Sound and the Fury. (They were, as you might expect, universally miserable.) It … Continue reading To Expand the World or to Not Expand the World, That is the Question: On Nghi Vo’s ‘The Chosen and the Beautiful’ Among Others
"Love should be put into action!" screamed the old hermit.Across the pond an echo tried and tried to confirm it.—Elizabeth Bishop, "Chemin de Fer" I have a near relation in the hospital with COVID-19, someone dear but also estranged. However, this is not about him. It's about what this person's being in the hospital stirs … Continue reading The Wo-Man-Moth, for Eric
Since my last, non-bookish post on the IPCC report struck a chord, I'm going to talk this week about two novels that engage with a warming world, books that fall under the umbrella category of "climate fiction," a.k.a. "cli-fi." Both of them use the word "marrow" in the title, a suggestion of how they are … Continue reading Inside Our Very Bones: The Essence of Cli-Fi
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report today and, as expected, it's pretty bad. (This is me having read the NYTimes reporting, not the report.) It also includes an interactive atlas so you can see how the changing climate will affect your region. How should one respond to this information? Feel … Continue reading Going Off Book: What to Do With the New IPCC Report
Early in the summer I wrote of my love for the Netflix adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, part of the "Grishaverse," and how I was glad to have gotten to the show before reading the book(s) because "the book is always better." Well, I have now read the first book in the series … Continue reading Notions, the “Revisiting the Book is Always Better” edition or ‘Shadow and Bone’ redux
A little boy washed up on an alien shore. A teenage girl lonely and unloved in a house on a hill. Can she save him from monsters? Such is the premise, in one sense, of Omar El Akkad's second novel, What Strange Paradise. It has fairy tale bones—children in dangerous situations, helping each other, facing … Continue reading A Strange Paradise Indeed: Review of ‘What Strange Paradise’ by Omar El Akkad