Tag Archives: reading

Maneuvering the 19th Century Parisian Sewers in “Les Miserables”

First, I’m going to shout this out because it’s finally true and because I have earned the satisfaction of saying it: I FINISHED READING LES MISERABLES LAST NIGHT! A few months back, when a couple of old college girlfriends and I talked about reading … Continue reading

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A Beautiful Passage from American Literature

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading Les Miserables for my book club, but also the great Pulitzer Prize novel from 1961, The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor. The narrator of this lovely book is an Irish American priest, … Continue reading

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Seeing Fish Underwater, or, Why I Read Books and Poetry

I’ve just finished a book that made me cry a good old-fashioned Cry—a sit on the couch, blow-your-nose, cry-some-more, laugh-a-little, read-the-ending-again, cry-some-more, real Cry. Why do people cry over good books? I’m not sad. I’m not exactly happy. I am … Continue reading

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“Brideshead Revisited” — What ISN’T it About?

In the spring of 1991, as a senior in college enrolled in a Satire Seminar at a small, liberal arts Catholic College, I read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited for the first time. Only 6 or 7 seniors took the class and … Continue reading

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Geraldine Brooks On My Mind, or, a Note About Islands

I am approaching the end of an unforgettable book, “Caleb’s Crossing,” by the great Geraldine Brooks. I don’t want it to end. What a story, what an imagination, what a vocabulary, what a writer! I have about 15 pages left … Continue reading

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Something GOOD About the Good Old Days

Last fall I bought a used book that had once been a library book. Glued firmly to the back inside cover of the book was a neat old card (see below). I don’t visit many used bookstores, and I get most of … Continue reading

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Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder”

A couple of years back, I read and loved David Grann’s The Lost City of Z, a true story about a late 19th- and early 20th-century British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who traveled many times to the Amazon to search for a … Continue reading

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How to Write the Opening Line of a Novel

This morning I finally got to sit down the Henry James’ The Aspern Papers, after letting it languish in a stack of junk for the last week. Writers, take note:  this is how to start a novel: I had taken … Continue reading

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A Bit of a Chill at the Public Library

This week I was wandering through the stacks at the library hoping to find something GOOD to read. By “GOOD,” I mean that I just read Solar by Ian McEwan, and that any book that follows a read by Ian … Continue reading

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The Gory Delights of Influenza and Bubonic Plague

Last year I read “Year of Wonders:  A Novel of the Plague” Geraldine Brooks, which is a story about a Bubonic Plague in the mid-1600s in England. A wonderful plot and gorgeous writing. Last month I read “The Last Town on Earth” by Thomas Mullen, … Continue reading

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