Learning English

When I visited England for the first time back in 1979, I prided myself on knowing all about "chemists" and "lorries" and "boots." When I was asked how I knew all this stuff, I told people I read a lot. Leaving them with the impression that I was talking about all the best in English literature. Oh, I had read my Austen and Dickens and Hardy, but the truth of the matter was that most of the "Englishisms" I knew came directly from Agatha Christie. Read more about Learning English


Old Favorites: The Mysteries

I'm going through one of those periodic scourings of the bookcases, looking for good homes for old favorites, and luckily I've found a few. These books will live a little longer on warm, dry bookshelves where I can still find them if I really need them. But should you want to try them for yourselves, take a look at these lists: Read more about Old Favorites: The Mysteries


Reading Afghanistan

In 2001, when it became apparent that my country was going to invade Afghanistan, a country my knowledge of which was limited to the fact that I knew how to spell it, some people took to the streets. I took to the books. Here's a list:

The Complete National Geographic - Every Issue since 1888 This set of CD's can be every bit as frustrating to use as some of the critics say, but for me worth it for articles like Maynard Owen Williams' 1931 piece on the Citroen Trans-Asiatic Expedition. Read more about Reading Afghanistan


Stockholm Syndrome

This novel (John Cowper Powys' [amazon 1585673668 inline]) is, page by page, a veritable feast of words and images. Nevermind that sometimes I wanted to throw it against the wall. When I finished it I felt as if I had wandered long in a magical wood on acid, in which the play of light on lichen held as much meaning as any pesky action or dialog. It's a Stockholm Syndrome of a book. If you let it, it kidnaps you and even when someone offers to pay the ransom for your escape, you tell them "No, no. It's okay. I don't want to come home." Read more about Stockholm Syndrome