Finding a Reason to Live in The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is a great book.  This beautiful, moving, and occasionally very funny novel tells the story of an amazing woman and a startling young girl, and their parallel and eventually joined paths to recognition of beauty, in the self and in the world. Renee is the concierge of … Continue reading Finding a Reason to Live in The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Reading Lists

As much for myself – to enable my remembering the books I read – as a guide for others, I have decided to start keeping online lists of the books I read each month. I no longer review books on this site, although I do occasionally post a review on Huffington Post and I am … Continue reading Reading Lists

Found in Translation: Honoring Translations — and Translators

I’ve been shamed. I recently received an email from a reader who complimented me on my reading of authors from around the world. But then she admonished me for not recognizing just who made it possible for me to read all those wonderful books and get to know all those great writers: the literary translators. … Continue reading Found in Translation: Honoring Translations — and Translators

Battle Cry for Kindness

On Kindness by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor is a fascinating book that uses disciplines of history, philosophy ,and psychoanalysis to explore the concept of kindness.  As a long-time believer in the inherent kindness of human nature (and long-suffering — I have been isolated during more than a few dinner table arguments), I was heartened … Continue reading Battle Cry for Kindness

Love Letters: A Celibate Season

Yesterday I read A Celibate Season (published 2000) by Carol Shields (Republic of Love) and Blanche Howard, an epistolary tale of caution against spending too much time away from your spouse.  In the novel, a married couple with 2 teenage kids spend ten months apart with the whole of Canada between them; communicating almost wholly by … Continue reading Love Letters: A Celibate Season