Monthly Archives: October 2014

“We rise again in the grass. In flowers. In songs.”

Anthony Doerr believes that literary writers should “strive toward complexity, toward questions, and away from certainty, away from stereotype.” This novel, which is a page-turner, one worth getting up early to read, demonstrates that he follows his own advice. Set … Continue reading

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“Denial was a talent she greatly admired. She could have been Gentile, except, of course, she wasn’t.”

How does a humorist write about death? This is what I wondered when I opened Delia Ephron‘s memoir, which has a piece called “Losing Nora” about her famous sister. She relies a lot on the formula that we see in … Continue reading

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“Skip the beginning. Start in the middle.”

What happens when a novel begins in the middle of the story? There is a certain awkwardness. You can anticipate that there will be a lot of skipping around, which requires concentration. Is it worth it? In the case of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, the … Continue reading

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“O, my luve’s like a red, red rose, that’s newly sprung in June; my luve’s like the melodie, that’s sweetly play’d in tune.”

It’s hard to over-state how highly Robert Burns is revered by people from Scotland. In 2009, this 18th century poet was voted “the greatest Scot” by viewers of a Scottish television station. Every year on January 25th, Scots from around the world meet to recite the … Continue reading

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“There should be brief intervals of time for quiet reflection . . .”

In this 1938 book about educational theory, John Dewey continues: “But they are periods of genuine reflection only when they follow after times of more overt action and are used to organize what has been gained . . .” He … Continue reading

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