The Unknown Terrorist, by Richard Flanagan: A Book Review

August 23, 2015

This powerful and still most timely book was published in 2006, and it came to my attention by pure chance, as I searched through my shelves to see what could be donated to the local library. Here was one, I thought, that looked interesting, and set it aside to read. I have no idea how it reached…

How to Change Your Mind

April 20, 2015

Meet Carm Goode. Or Miles Forthwrighte. Or should I say “and,” since they appear to be one and the same […] You’ll note that Carm seems a jovial enough fellow, Miles a bit of a curmudgeon; Carm a free spirit, Miles clearly academic. Which seems to be how they work, not so much in collaboration as in friendly…

Record of Miraculous Events… Book Review

April 18, 2015

[…] look at it from the point of view of the lay reader—one who is not principally a student of either of those areas of scholarship. In this light, my first observation is that this is not a book to be read from cover to cover…

Book Review: Mass Murder by Erik Larson

April 4, 2015

I went to bed worried about shipwreck nightmares. I had been reading Dead Wake, Erik Larson’s gripping account of the 1915 Lusitania atrocity, in which the Cunard ocean liner, with nearly two thousand passengers and crew aboard, was torpedoed by

THE VOICES by Michael Dennis Browne: An Appreciation

March 26, 2015

I learned two things in personal conversations with Michael Dennis Browne (and probably a lot more, but these two stand out!) for both of which I’m grateful. The first, many years ago, at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, was

The Other Blacklist: A Very Personal Book Review

July 12, 2014

I’m reading The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s, by Mary Helen Washington with special interest because of the work I did back in the early 1980s on a study of the artist, Charles…

Odds Against Tomorrow: Book Review

June 25, 2014

Nathaniel Rich has a fine sense of the apocalyptic absurd–its comical as well as its dark side. Odds Against Tomorrow sets us in the not-so-distant future, in a world where the threat of global climate change has become all too…

Misadventures…

June 2, 2014

…of a Parenting Yogi is the title Brian Leaf gives to his new book, whose subtitle is “Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting.” Together, the title and subtitle pretty much say it all. It’s a humorous…

Living This Life Fully: A Book Review

May 9, 2014

Things do seem to happen as they are supposed to, in their own peculiar time. A review copy of Mirka Knaster’s Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra, was mailed to me last year, but mysteriously failed to reach me.

The Art Forger: Book Review

I almost invariably have reservations when it comes to the fictional portrayal of artists. Writers, too. But especially artists. I remember not especially believing the character of Gulley Jimson (remember him, in The Horse’s Mouth?) at a time when he was…