Recent Entries:

  • September 24th, 2013

    Svetlana Alpers retired from teaching at Berkeley in 1999 as one of the most influential art historians of the previous three decades. A sentence in her new book, Roof Life, sums up a lifetime of viewing and writing about art: “The problem is not matching words to pictures, but rather how to keep the interest of looking alive and well.” Nevertheless, she is known for doing both.

  • September 17th, 2013

    In his forty-fourth book as writer or editor, Alberto Manguel once again makes spirited claims for the interaction between reader and book – the “book fool” and the world-as-words. Here, the world is like a book open to interpretation and one’s life is like a voyage through that book. Reading is a kind of enlightened folly.

  • September 16th, 2013

    Patricio Pron describes his fifth novel, My Father’s Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain, as “non-fiction fiction.” It is narrated by a young Argentine writer who, having lived in Germany for eight years, received a call in 2008 from his family. His ailing father’s admittance to a hospital led to the son’s return home. Now he reflects on that visit.

  • August 23rd, 2013

    Recently, U.S. attorney-general Eric Holder declared there is an “unnecessarily large prison population” in America. He added, “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” More than half of the country’s 6,000,000 prisoners are in jail for drug convictions, with 80% of those charged with possession.

  • August 18th, 2013
    It Was A 3.8

    My mother said go get me a plum.
    When I got to the fridge, she said
    and some almonds.

    In the cabinet, the air-tight calm
    of a canned baby ham.

    My grandmother lost a forefinger
    while slicing onions! No you silly,
    she got an infection. The headache
    unsteadied her hand, the knife slipped.
    A tumor in her skull the size of an onion.

  • August 18th, 2013

    Born in Frankfurt in 1967, Inka Parei was ten years old during what became known as the “German Autumn,” a series of killings, bombings and robberies by the Baader-Meinhof Gang and other left-wing protest groups.