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25 august 2014

Holes was the book that got me interested in the Newbery Medal – or rather, got me re-interested.     read more

23 august 2014

I've noted here before that Haruki Murakami is at his best when his dramatic situations and plot complications are asymmetric, as in Sputnik Sweetheart. That's one reason I didn't like the curiously balanced 1Q84 quite so much. I'm happy to report that he's back to imbalance in his newly translated novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.     read more

19 august 2014

First off, let me say that I'd have had more use for Alexandra Horowitz's Inside of a Dog if it had been about cats. I've lived with dogs and been very fond of them, but for the past few years it's been mostly me and my cat Whisper Wilson, and I have no idea what he's thinking at times.     read more

18 april 2014

African-American soldiers in the Civil War Union army probably exist for young people today mostly as Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and a cast of thousands – if they exist in any active form at all. When I was growing up in Civil War Centennial times, they were invisible. If their contributions become better-known in the sesquicentennial and its legacy, Bob Luke and John David Smith's book Soldiering for Freedom will play its part.     read more