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 […]

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Favorite Reads of October 2008 – October 2009

My Favorite Books from My Year of Reading a Book a Day The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli Last Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb Spooner by Pete Dexter How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall The Laws of Evening by Mary Yukari Waters The […]

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. […]

Consider Sinning

What better to do on Valentine’s Day than consider the seven deadly sins?  Love is of course a virtue but other emotional states associated with Valentine’s Day — envy (her boyfriend got her roses), pride (my boyfriend is way hotter), covetousness (I want two boyfriends), gluttony (it wasn’t that big a box of chocolates), sloth (store-bought […]

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 […]