Rosemary and Pansies, Remembrance and Thoughts: Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies. That's for thoughts."—Ophelia, Hamlet, act IV, scene V. There is something remarkable in the state of Stratford, at least as rendered in Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague. Something I turn over and over, like an array of items rising … Continue reading Rosemary and Pansies, Remembrance and Thoughts: Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’

How to Read More Short Stories (or Essays or Poems or Other Short Form Pieces)

James Joyce's "The Dead" changed how I think about people and human relationships. One of my favorite Tales of Teaching comes from when I taught Ursula LeGuin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" to 40 undergraduates. Just the other night, after having finished the Shirley Jackson biopic Shirley, I read the entirety of "The … Continue reading How to Read More Short Stories (or Essays or Poems or Other Short Form Pieces)

Totems

Emerald green leaves with darker stripes like paint splotches, called calithea lancifolia, in a specked, sky-blue pot; a rippled peperomia, the other houseplant I've managed not to kill, purpley green leaves and magenta stems; a beeswax candle that smells of pine; a framed thistle I carried home with me, pressed into a book, from Scotland. … Continue reading Totems

Raincheck

Reading Friends: I had family in town this weekend so did not find time to get a post together. Briefly though, I want to recommend a remarkable novel that I loved: Normal People by Sally Rooney. This story of young lovers showcases the bonehead ways that people often act when figuring out how to be … Continue reading Raincheck