Monday, June 28, 2010

It is strange how little has been written about the Upper Mississippi,” Mark Twain said. For him, it was the most arresting part of the river A RIVER RUNS THROUGH HIM ;
Swashbuckling historical novels have long pleased the public and been derided by critics. Time perhaps for a serious second look at the genre.... The Master of Historical Fiction

Why are the British so rude, so uncouth? They seem obsessed with butts, tits, penises, toilet humor, strange sex. Their sitcoms offer howling tsunamis of verbal abuse Naughty by nature

Angel Factories Children of the gulags.
Their parents, enemies of the state, had “abandoned” them. Only the miracle of Stalin’s love saved them

Several years ago, a friend who helped me to find my way around the Russian State Archives in Moscow asked if I would like to meet another woman who was also working there. She was not doing research for a book, and she was not a scholar. Instead, she was indulging her curiosity and her nostalgia. Forty years earlier, she had worked as a baby nurse in a children’s home inside one of Stalin’s labor camps. Now she wanted to find out what had happened to some of the people she had known there, to jog her memory of names and dates.

Gulag [Cold War heroine? Margaret Thatcher, it seems, a lady who knew when to be Circe and when to be the nanny from hell. Arms across the ocean ; “I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.” Ayn Rand also regarded herself as simply “the most creative thinker alive”... St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. Garbage and Gravitas ]
• · “Keynes is back” is now a cliché. But hang on, did John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the 20th century, ever leave? Keynes, Recovered ; Unless we know how things are counted, says John Allen Paulos, we don’t know if it’s wise to count on the numbers Metric Mania
• · · Sex and the City 2 takes all I hold dear as a woman and a human – working hard, contributing to society – and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car Burkas and Birkins ; Despite the sea of women in Norman Mailer’s life – six wives and countless lovers – his great literary handicap was his failure to learn from them Even in his grave, Norman Mailer is providing gossip
• · · · Charles Dickens was a great travel writer because he came to realize that travel in itself is not that interesting. People are... Charles Dickens: The First Great Travel Writer? ; Readers are fleeing newspapers in droves. What can the papers offer to lure them back? P.J. O’Rourke has a bright idea: the pre-obituary... Not Dead Yet ;Arthur Koestler’s double suicide with his wife was hardly heroic. It was a sin against his own lifetime of literary work The Prisoner Intellectuals
• · · · · The first challenge of sorrow is cognitive, says Leon Wieseltier: “Making Toast is a small glowing jewel in the literature of grief” Death and the Dishwasher ; When we rely on spies, Malcolm Gladwell reminds us, we rely on sources that can’t be trusted. “The next time a briefcase washes up onshore, don’t open it”. Pandora’s Briefcas
• · · · · · Like many people at Google, Franz Och sees himself as campaigning for freedom and equality. His aim: to open all the Web to non-English speakers Google Delivers Foreign Tongues at the Press of a Button ; Culture is what remains after we’ve forgotten everything we’ve read Reading in a Digital Age