Tag Archives: Books

A slave empire in a nation, and a colony in a nation

Chris Hayes – A Colony in a Nation Last time out the MSNBC host of All In wrote what amounted to an elegant master’s thesis elongated into unforgiving book form. His second book uses the metaphor of the Colony versus … Continue reading

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The changing face of libraries

Readers know I revere libraries. My mother got my first library card when I turned six. I’d routinely break the six-item checkout limit with dinosaur books in second grade and Judy Blume in sixth. But although I mourn the deathly … Continue reading

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Ulysses and the danger of expecting “transformative” art

Trying to redress mistaken approaches to Ulysses, this article still gets it wrong: The big question Birmingham’s book raises without precisely answering is whether Ulysses remains dangerous, now that the sexual mores and political anxieties of the 20s and 30s … Continue reading

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The duties of friendship

Kate Shellnutt’s account of the difficulty of maintaining friends after thirty has occasioned some discussion on my social media feeds. The following passages struck me: I’m not sure who I’m destined to become in the years ahead. Turning 30 doesn’t … Continue reading

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‘And the woman calling…”

I’ve returned to Thomas Hardy in the last three weeks, rereading The Woodlanders, finishing Claire Milgate’ss excellent biography, and thumbing through my well-worn copy of his Selected Poems. I love “The Voice” best, as poignant an example of Hardy’s idiosyncratic … Continue reading

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The satisfaction of aloneness

The immersive blandness of a Target on the Sunday morning of a long weekend – my church. The sheer acreage of the average store is enough to stagger me, although so long as I can find the frozen blueberries and a … Continue reading

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‘What they always pant for is magic’

H.L. Mencken: Once he gets under way his slightest utterances will take on an an oracular character, and another swill begin carrying their babies to him to be cured of cramps, windgalls and distemper. For the plain people of the … Continue reading

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Joy for its own sake: The Mountain Goats and Ibibio Sound Machine

Ibibio Sound Machine – Uyai Led by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams and her seven mates plus more help on backing vocals, mbira, and flutes have created for their second album an intoxicating hybrid of mutant disco and makossa: a … Continue reading

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Best movies of 2017 – first quarter and a half

I’ve reviewed about thirty-five films this year to date, an underwhelming 2017 thus far. Look for reviews of Alien: Covenant soon; I missed the press screening. A Quiet Passion and The Lost City of Z are easily the most accomplished … Continue reading

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He’s Richard Nixon and you’re not

Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell So long as his former sycophants roam the earth, Americans will need new Richard Nixon bios. Roger Stone, he with the face tattoo of the thirty-seventh president, pops up in headlines. Nixon … Continue reading

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‘A game, a grid, a system, a mere folder’

A poet who found fascinating verbal and rhythmic correlatives for her observational powers, Amy Clampitt didn’t publish her first book of verse until 1984 — in her sixties. Then she wasted no time. “Athena” turns the Greek goddess into her … Continue reading

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‘I had a life that did not become

A.R. Ammons wrote the best of Easter poems: I have a life that did not become, that turned aside and stopped, astonished: I hold it in me like a pregnancy or as on my lap a child not to grow … Continue reading

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