The Fourth Turning

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Until a few years ago, I was only really interested in reading fiction. (I liked to read the Chuck Klosterman books, but I really thought of those more as extended New York Times Magazine or Book Review pieces than “non-fiction”.) Recently, however, I have found that non-fiction books have tended to have a bigger impact on me than novels. I …

The Maltese Falcon (and The Gordian Knot)

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When I finished The Maltese Falcon and offered it to my son, he asked whether it was “all just noir bullshit and cliché”? Well, yes. But this is the book from where the noir bullshit and cliché came from. So it wasn’t cliché when he wrote it. But, yes, reading it now in 2017, it’s pretty hard to take seriously. …

Should Dylan Get the Nobel Prize?

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When I heard that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, I texted my sister, Liz, who texted back the exact same thing that I was thinking: “That should make for an interesting acceptance speech.” Reading the various reactions to the news, you could pretty much separate the naysayers into two distinct categories: On the one hand …

The Mirror Thief, by Martin Seay

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The book review I read described The Mirror Thief as a combination of two other books I liked very much, Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The overall construct is genius: linking, and taking place, alternatively, in Venice, Italy, (from the Fifteenth Century); Venice Beach, California, (in the 1950s); and the Venetian Hotel, in Las Vegas, (essentially …

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

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I was in the San Jose airport about to board a three-hour flight with nothing to read and picked up the Goldfinch, which was kind of in the back in my mind as something I had wanted to check out at some point. When I was around halfway thru the book, I went to Wikipedia to look up something, (think …

The Martian (and a Lesson from Behavioral Economics)

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I thought The Martian was a pretty good movie. Well-made. Well-filmed. Well-acted. (I didn’t really like the Matt Damon character all that much, and found the voice-over narration via video diary a little formulaic and annoying, although I frankly can’t, off the top of my head, think of a better alternative.) But it was reasonably suspenseful and interesting. Thought-provoking. And/But …

The Ethicist(s)

In Legal Ethics & Professionalism, Literature & the Arts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

I am glad to see that there is, again, one Ethicist. The Ethicist, for those who don’t know, is a weekly column that appears in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. As with other advice columns, readers submit various fact situations with questions and conundrums, to which the author responds, analyzing the problem from an ethical perspective. When I first …

Lolita

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I was reading an interview with some author in the New York Times Book Review (can’t remember who it was) who said that he loved the wordplay at the beginning of Lolita, but as it went on, he got tired, and never finished it.  Same thing happened to me.  I tried to read the book in college (think I was home on …

Greatest Hits

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I was at Starbucks the other day and saw a Dylan greatest hits type collection which seemed to be mostly a compilation of eighteen songs from the Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits Vol. 2 records, along with a few more recent tracks like Hurricane. For some artists, the Greatest Hits are pretty much the only songs you would ever want …