Living on the Wind

Somewhere in the beginning of this marvelous book, Scott Weidensaul tells us the story of the black-polled warbler, ("you could mail two of them for a single first-class stamp") and its migration across Canada and out over the Atlantic to its wintering grounds in Brazil. Ever see a kettle of hawks? A fall-out on the Texas coast? Neither have I, except here. Read more about Living on the Wind


Sometimes It's Not About Us

by Alaa Al Aswany is a peek at the lives of one building's inhabitants in modern Cairo, Egyptian politics, and a bit of insight into the making of one jihadist.

In the light of Sunday's 9/11 remembrances, I remember the question some of us felt impelled to ask. "Why do they hate us?" Alaa Al Aswany tells us that it's not always about us. At the level of a young man from a Cairo rooftop, we don't even come into the picture. Read more about Sometimes It's Not About Us


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


Salman Chanted Evening

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa!

[amazon 0375504338 inline] , Salman Rushdie.

My first venture into Rushdie, but it won't be my last. Marvelous writing evoking one of my favorite periods of European history and one of my least-studied but quite intriguing periods of Indian history, weaving a magical tale with familiar figures at an intersection of east and west. Read more about Salman Chanted Evening


Sometimes A Great Notion

[amazon 0140045295 inline] , Ken Kesey

The first pages of this book made me want to put it down and flee. POV changes in the middle of paragraphs - I swear one was in the middle of a sentence, but I could exaggerate. I was thinking Ken, Ken, what are you doing? I don't know who's talking and I don't like anybody and nobody's having a good time. At All. Read more about Sometimes A Great Notion


Places to go, Things to do

Well, here's a place to go: Frank Delaney

And here's a thing to do: Read Ulysses

And if you do them both at the same time, starting of course with Delaney's first and following it in the text and through the archive, you will, a little at a time, finally read and maybe even understand - at least you might really, really enjoy, Ulysses.

Frank estimates it will take him about 22 years to complete the project. I will be 90. It's worth a shot. Read more about Places to go, Things to do



For the better part of the past year, I lived a few hours at a time with Virginia in [amazon 0156619121 inline]. I laughed a lot. I quarreled with her sometimes. I thought, oh! You think that too! when she was uncertain of her writing. The last few pages I lived through the Battle of Britain with her, and up until the last couple of months I could not imagine her killing herself. She talks often of wanting ten more years. But then, her homes in London bombed, her favorite walks, her country refuge more a prison than anything else, with her old London life gone. Read more about Woolf