Elegy for Iris: A Review

“We can only learn to love by loving.” —Iris Murdoch I’ve just read John Bayley’s Elegy for Iris, his moving memoir of his wife, renowned British novelist Iris Murdoch—26 novels in addition to nonfiction—who succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 1999 at 79. How does something like this happen? We’re told that we may ward off Alzheimer’s scourge by exercising our brains via mental pursuits like puzzles, … Continue reading Elegy for Iris: A Review

On finding a new booklist quarry

I confess I’m addicted to booklists. No sooner do I finish one book, but I’m into another. What surprises me is that I can’t remember anyone in my family serving as a role model when I was a child, either reading to me or picking-up a book for themselves, with the exception of the late intervention of my eldest brother, David, recently discharged from the … Continue reading On finding a new booklist quarry

My Best Reads for 2015

My thirst for good reads continued in 2015, and among them, two stand out for special praise in providing me with pleasure, insight, and continuing reflection. (I’ve reviewed both more fully elsewhere in Brimmings.) Fiction:   John Williams. Stoner (New York Review of Books Classics) My choice is probably subliminal and inevitable, as not since David Copperfield have I identified with a fictional character so fully … Continue reading My Best Reads for 2015

A Poet Reminisces: Essays After Eighty

I have always liked poetry and poets, in particular, because of their sensitivity to human experience. One poet I like a lot is Donald Hall, a giant among contemporary American poets, although he’s given up the craft, or as he puts it, since “poetry abandoned him.” Hall is now 85. Let me assure you, while the tropes may not come as easily as before, his … Continue reading A Poet Reminisces: Essays After Eighty