Archive for The Writer’s Notebook

Lessons Not Learned: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance; or, how not to write a memoir.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D.Vance (Harper Collins, New York, 2016) $27.99 “Hillbilly Elegy” achieved its undeserved fame during a time when the topic of White Rage was hot. Its jacket blurbs announce an “instant classic” and the…

Continue reading →

Why Write? A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters by Mark Edmundson—Better yet, why bother with this book?

Why Write? A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters by Mark Edmundson (Bloomsbury, New York 2016) Mark Edmundson is a professor at the University of Virginia with books to his credit like Why Teach? and Why Read? Why Write? un-limbers…

Continue reading →

Sorrows of the Digital Age: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping us Hooked by Adam Alter

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter (Penguin Press, New York 2017) Nobody in their right minds would now be anything but concerned about the rise of addictive behaviors, especially as they relate to digital electronic…

Continue reading →

Perspectives: Noam Chomsky–What is the Common Good? (Must Reading for Donald J. Trump)

What Kind of Creatures are We? by Noam Chomsky, Columbia University Press, New York, 2016 (Chapter 3: What is the common good?) Now that the fragile version of American democracy is imperiled through inattention, demagoguery and oligarchy, Noam Chomsky’s new book about human life presents…

Continue reading →

Provocation: How Does Stuff Like This Get Published? The Answer Below. “One of the Boys” by Daniel Magariel

  One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel (Scribner, New York, 2017, $22) This terrible novel is endorsed by the famous George Saunders, and the almost-as-famous Mary Karr, “ever generous” (no kidding) teachers of Mr. Magariel at Syracuse University, where the author took his MFA….

Continue reading →

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe—A collection of thoughtless banalities and cliche’s about the “reading life”

FROM: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2017) “Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. By comparing what you’ve done to what others have done, and your thoughts and theories and feelings to…

Continue reading →

Winter Notes on Summer Impressions by Fyodor Dostoyevsky—The Underground Man does London, 1862

FROM: Winter Notes on Summer Impressions by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Criterion Books, New York, 1955, forward by Saul Bellow) Notes on the Liberal Bourgeoisie, Alienation, the Struggle for Survival:  In 1862 Dostoyevsky visited London to see the famous Crystal Palace, a capitalist and imperialist wonderland of…

Continue reading →

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2017) On Nine-Eleven George W. Bush “awoke” to a reality he defined in the coming months as Good against Evil, with the “evil doers” a set (never precisely…

Continue reading →

Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Hochschild—-What’s the Matter With Kansas (and Louisiana)…

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (The New Press, New York, 2016) Highly regarded Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s new book, “Strangers in Their Own Land” is an effort to “get inside” the emotional world of…

Continue reading →

Democratic National Convention, Chicago, August 1968: What I learned on the streets

Perspectives: Fighting in the Streets: The 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. This short essay was first published in the Wichita Eagle on Thursday, August 8, 1996 as part of a short-lived experiment the newspaper conducted called “The Eagle Writer’s Group”. It was short lived because…

Continue reading →

Page 1 of 12 1 2 3 4 5 ... Last →