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Category Archives: Literature

The troubles of the 4th Century

Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference of sectarians. Edward Armitage, 1875. Julian, by Gore Vidal. Vintage International, 1962, 502 pages. On the Gods and the Cosmos, by Sallustius, mid 4th Century. Paganism’s last stand occurred in the 4th Century. Early in the 4th Century, the Roman emperor Constantine established Christianity as the state religion. […]

Umberto Eco

Sean Connery and Christian Slater in “The Name of the Rose” The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco, 1980. English translation 1983. What? I’m reviewing a book that was first published 37 years ago? Oh well. No one ever accused me of being au courant. I have tried several times in the past to read […]

Game of Thrones

In looking through the blog logs yesterday, I noticed that someone searched for “Game of Thrones.” It seems odd in retrospect that I haven’t really blogged about the greatest achievement in fantasy since Tolkien, both in literature and in television. (I’m open to the argument that George R.R. Martin’s achievement has surpassed Tolkien’s.) The reason, […]

How to win: Torture the language and muddle the story

I pay very little attention to the science fiction and fantasy publishing industry anymore. Almost every book I try to read, I end up flinging away in frustration after the first few pages. Almost no one knows how to write, and almost no one knows how to tell a story. Instead, what passes for “good […]

The enlightened past

Once upon a time, philosophers could find work with newspapers. There are no such people now. But, back then, Sydney J. Harris was such a person. Harris (1917-1986) worked for the Chicago Daily News, and, later, the Chicago Sun-Times. For years, he wrote a column called “Strictly Personal,” which was syndicated in 200 newspapers. One […]

The Brontës: To Walk Invisible

For literature lovers, “To Walk Invisible” is a must-see. It’s a two-hour, two-part British production about the Brontë sisters, shown this spring in the U.S. on PBS and now available on DVD. It is an extremely strange production, and it will give Brontë fans hours of arguing and brooding material. As far as I know, […]

Coming Dec. 15: The Last Jedi

Today Disney released a teaser for the next Star Wars Film, “The Last Jedi.” The film will be released Dec. 15. It is thrilling to see Gwendolyn Christie cast in the new film. She is the 6’3″ British actress who plays Brienne in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” It’s heartwarming to see new scenes with Carrie […]

This Land Is Our Land

Ken has completed his next book, and it is due at the publisher this week. The book is This Land Is Our Land: How we lost the right to roam and how to take it back. It will be released next April. The book came about after Ken published a piece in the New York […]

A Tales of the City revival

It had to happen, now that I think about it. Armistead Maupin let his Facebook friends know today that Variety has reported that Netflix is planning a remake of Maupin’s Tales of the City. The books, which have sold more than 6 million copies, were first serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San […]

The importance of hugging trees

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben. Greystone Books, 2016, 272 pages. This book got a lot of attention when it was published in German, in 2015, as Das geheime Leben der Bäume. Luckily we had to wait only a year for an English translation. Though I believe […]