Monthly Archives: December 2016

Five Intriguing Ideas from 2016 Books

This blog focuses on one idea from one book each week, and so selecting just five from the 50 or so that I’ve published in 2016 is a challenge. But after looking through them all, I have to say that … Continue reading

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Five Best Novels of 2016

The five novels that rose to the top of my 2016 list are: The best word to describe Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton is exquisite. What I love about Strout is her ability to dive right in to … Continue reading

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“Attributes like confidence, enthusiasm, and likability can be perceived in the briefest of exposures.”

In The Spark of Learning, Sarah Rose Cavanagh describes a study where students were asked to rate professors after seeing 30-second videos of lectures that had no audio. The students’ ratings predicted with surprising accuracy the professors’ actual end-of-semester evaluations. … Continue reading

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“There’s work to be done, there are plots to be plotted, there are scams to be scammed, there are villains to be misled!”

This may be Margaret Atwood’s greatest masterpiece. In Hag-Seed, she retells Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” by turning it inside-out and adding a layer.  It’s a play within a play within a novel.  This restructuring results in a  hybrid form of story-telling … Continue reading

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“Bernard Shaw said you should try everything once except folk dancing and incest.”

This is how Michael Billington, “the” British theater critic, who has reviewed more than 9000 plays over the last 50 years, begins his piece on “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles. Charming, gossipy, insightful, authoritative, knowledgeable, and passionate, Billington is a … Continue reading

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