Skip to content

Category Archives: Culture

What ended the Mediterranean civilizations?

The Mediterranean today. Google Earth. Click here for high-resolution version. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Eric H. Cline. Princeton University Press and Oxford University Press, 2021. 278 pages. Reading about ancient history before the time of the classical Greeks is a challenge. We want a reasonably clear narrative and a good story. But the […]

Testament of Youth

While scouring HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, etc., for those rare items that are both intelligent and not set in the here and now, I came across “Testament of Youth.” It is a beautiful but disturbing period piece about World War I, based on the memoir by Vera Brittain, which was published in 1940. Brittain’s […]

Martin Chuzzlewit

Pinch starts homeward with the new pupil. Hablot Knight Brown (also known as Phiz). Source: Wikimedia Commons. In our era, Charles Dickens is neglected and undervalued. Martin Chuzzlewit surely is one of Dickens’ most neglected and undervalued novels. For reasons that I was completely unprepared for, now would be a good time for a Dickens […]

Hinge and Bracket

George Logan (Dr. Evadne Hinge) is now 77 years old and lives in France. Patrick Fyffe (Dame Hilda Bracket) died in 2002 at age 60. In the 1970s, their musical comedy was extremely popular on British television and stage. They first worked together in 1972 and became famous after they appeared at the Edinburgh Festival […]

The Tomorrow War

I admit it. I’m a sucker for movies like this — pure, fast-moving, undemanding, popcorn-friendly entertainment. With that kind of movie, pacing is critical. There have to be times when the characters (and the audience) can stop and catch their breath. “The Tomorrow War” nicely balances the action against a family story, in much the […]

Change the channel, please

I think Lily is telling me that “Luca” is not as good as reviewers said it is.

Charles Dickens: Barnaby Rudge

The Maypole Inn Choosing the next novel to read is a huge pain in the neck. I Google for novels on particular subjects or particular periods, or I pore over book lists, and then I look up the books on Amazon. Sometimes I settle on a novel that looks like it might be a good […]

Pasta is a piece of cake

Homemade tagliatelle with basil-parsley pesto. The basil, parsley, and lettuce came from my garden. The pesto was made with a mortar and pestle. When I posted last week about working on my Italian cooking (“A summer project: Italian cooking,” June 2), I was not thinking about pasta — honest. I was thinking about how to […]

The princely hoe

The new hoe I confess that I ruined my old hoe. I left it out in the weather too often. That weakened the handle, and the handle separated from the blade. The blade fell off while I was hoeing a row of tomatoes. To wear out a hoe would be an honorable thing. But to […]

A summer project: Italian cooking

A friend who lives in the south of France asked me yesterday in email what plans I have for summer. I couldn’t think of a thing, other than trying not to hide too much indoors in a bug-free, air-conditioned house. Then I remembered one thing: That, with the riches I hope to get from the […]