Film Review: Art in Heaven

April 27, 2016

In the opening scene in Jessica Elisa Boyd Art in Heaven, we find her protagonist, William, an Anglican priest, in a life-or-death crisis at the edge of a large body of water. At the end of the scene, in which we are invited to share his inner conflict in the vast and inscrutable context of nature itself, he reluctantly chooses…

‘Waking Up’, by SAM HARRIS: A Book Review

September 2, 2015

…it surprised me to find this book by Sam Harris so helpful in my own search for a deeper meaning in life; and I was more surprised still to discover, halfway through, that Harris’s path had led him to the study and practice of…

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…

‘Van Gogh and Nature’ at the Clark

July 28, 2015

Excellently installed to facilitate viewing, and with usefully informational wall tags, the exhibition starts us off with a handful of the earliest drawings, dating from 1881 to 1883. Here…

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

Richard Bruland and Sophia Dixon Dillo: Art Review

July 17, 2014

Those who favor a meditative kind of art could do no better than a visit to the current dual exhibition at Lora Schlesinger Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. The front gallery offers a selection of recent paintings by…

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…