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29 august 2015

Barbara Wyllie deploys an enviable knowledge of Vladimir Nabokov's works and life in her brief "Critical Lives" volume on the great writer. I've been reading Nabokov with great intensity but not much organization for almost 20 years now, and there is a great deal I still don't know; but after reading Vladimir Nabokov I at least have a road map to help orient my next flurry of travel.     read more

27 august 2015

Al Capone Does My Shirts is a great title, and the novel's setting (kid grows up on Alcatraz in the 1930s) is clever and distinctive. You expect a lot out of this book and you're not disappointed: it merited both its Newbery Honor award and its status as the inaugural entry in a prestigious children's series.     read more

24 august 2015

Dinosaur Valley State Park, southwest of Fort Worth, is one of my favorite places – well, as long as I don't have to camp there overnight. I have written elsewhere about my disastrous attempt to sleep there in a tent once. This has nothing to do with Dinosaur Valley, which I'm sure is a very comfortable camping spot. It's just that if I don't have a roof over my head at night, I freak out.     read more

23 august 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a perfectly-crafted play that reaches the most exquisite levels of the English language. There is very little one can say about it, though that's not going to stop me from generating my usual coupla hundred words here.     read more