Tag Archives: Writing

‘The sun comes/Like a god into our room’

Longtime readers know my affection for INXS’ singles. Last week I had the chance to write a few hundred words about Kick, reissued in an absurd multi-disc edition but with a phenomenal sound. Here’s the list I drew up last … Continue reading

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Best novels about adolescence

Although I came up with this dozen easily, I know it reeks of conventionality. I do need recommendations. 1. Louise Fitzhugh – Harriet the Spy 2. Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes 3. Madeline L’Engle – A Wrinkle … Continue reading

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‘Not yesterday I learned to know/The love of bare November days…’

One of Robert Frost’s earliest poems, detectable because the language has a faint Edwardian stiffness. Happy November. My Sorrow, when she’s here with me, Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the … Continue reading

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Objectivity isn’t a suspension of judgment

Saturday’s NYT profile about an American Nazi who loves cookies and shopping at Target or whatever has inspired unusual, deserved resistance, and it underscores a tendency I see in journalism programs. We teach students objectivity, too often confused with lacking … Continue reading

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‘Lady Bird’ flies high on wit and empathy

Mother-daughter conflicts have rarely been depicted on screen with the acuity of Lady Bird. Because Greta Gerwig directed her own script, “acuity” also includes humor. I don’t want to sell Lady Bird short: it’s an astonishing debut, as fleet and … Continue reading

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Veterans Day and fables of the Reconstruction

At the dawn of 2010s a spate of Eisenhower bios completed his transformation from golf-playing hack to an assertive, subtle, and sinister leader of men — “devious in the best sense of the word,” to quote his long-suffering vice president. … Continue reading

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Best albums of 2017 – third quarter edition

My last update before January, with selections in unranked alphabetical order… 1. 2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music 2. Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee 3. Big Boi – Boomiverse 4. Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound 5. Ibibio … Continue reading

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‘These modest gods touch us…’

Best known for the fictions that read like notes on how to write fictions, Jorge Luis Borges wrote poetry too, most of which has the gnomic wisdom of his prose without the surprise. “Shinto” is one of the exceptions; it … Continue reading

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David Brooks, in search of heroes

Yesterday, David Brooks assembled sounds into phonemes that after hours of cogitation settled into sentence structures. Let’s look at them together. It turns out that John McCain’s most important service to American democracy was not rendered in a P.O.W. camp … Continue reading

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A lesson from the master

What I’ve learned from twenty-nine years of reading Henry James is the cultivation of a private life, an interiority deepened by contact with our fellow men. The process is circular: the private life helps us understand friends and strangers. “I … Continue reading

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‘Race is the last issue where the devil would ever need an advocate’

Wading into a so-called free speech debate that has given National Review Online its only clicks since January, Maya Rupert questions the role of devil’s advocate when debating racial questions: Armed with the cloak of dispassion, the devil’s advocate is … Continue reading

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It couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me: Tom Petty’s legacy

The thing is, there was always a good Tom Petty song. Casual listening is easy these days. In the same way you’d satisfy your curiosity about an old friend by visiting her Facebook page, or how you’d say hello to … Continue reading

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