Sally Rooney: Up to the Hype?

I took up reading Irish literary sensation Sally Rooney to find out what the fuss was all about. After all, she’s only twenty-eight and has written two novels that have rocked the literary world, Conversations with Friends (2017) and Normal People (2018), dubbing her the gatekeeper of the millennial generation. Saying you’ve read Rooney is the new chic. Where does such youthful sagacity come from, … Continue reading Sally Rooney: Up to the Hype?

Review: Paul Collier, Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World

Not long ago, Hillary Clinton controversially summed up Britain’s Brexit morass as essentially about immigration: “Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/22/hillary-clinton-europe-must-curb-immigration-stop-populists-trump-brexit A way of saying that only then can Europe tame the groundswell of white, nativist resentment that has given rise to Donald Trump and Britain’s now confirmed exit from the European Union, January 31, … Continue reading Review: Paul Collier, Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World

On Reading Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch

All of us have a favorite book we wouldn’t mind reading again. For me, it’s David Copperfield, simply because I identify with much of what happens in it. The same holds true for Rebecca Mead in her bibliomemoir, My Life in Middlemarch, which explores Eliot’s masterpiece as a personal game changer. I’ve always liked Eliot immensely as well (see Brimmings, 8/17/16), especially for her bottom … Continue reading On Reading Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch

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

Brimmings: Five Years and Counting

I’ve been keeping my blog, Brimmings, for five years now, never realizing when I began that I would pursue it for so long, initially undertaking it to assuage my wrestlings with serious illness at the time, or as diversion from anxious self-preoccupation, for liberating reflection of a wider scope. When we let loose our moorings, we sail into discovery. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised … Continue reading Brimmings: Five Years and Counting

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

Being Mortal

I’ve just finished reading Being Mortal: What Matters in the End by Dr. Atul Gawande. I had read his previous Complications about life as a surgeon several years ago, greatly impressed. Both books have been highly praised, with the present book listed by the New York Times as among must reads of 2014. As a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, Gawande knows what he’s writing … Continue reading Being Mortal

Why some writers succeed and others don’t

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel (Maya Angelou).   I like to read and I read omnivorously, whether fiction or non-fiction. I marvel at the talent and effort that lies behind all good writing, the courage of writers to pursue their craft, given the minuscule few … Continue reading Why some writers succeed and others don’t