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26 november 2014

I first saw rice growing on any large scale last year, when I drove across Lombardy, in the north of Italy. The Po valley is an excellent region for rice-growing, and in the form of risotto, arancini, and other dishes, rice is one of the staples of Italian cuisine. Rice is pretty popular in America, too, but I have no memory of seeing it growing anywhere here. That's actually unsurprising, because most of the substantial American rice crop is grown in a few counties in the Arkansas Delta, just west of Tennessee along the Mississippi River. I drive through that part of Arkansas a couple of times a year, but it's a narrow region, I'm sometimes coming through at night or just oblivious to my surroundings, and for that matter, I often don't know what I'm looking at when I am paying attention; I'm particularly ignorant of the identities of crops, except for something like cotton that looks too dramatically like its product to be mistaken.     read more

23 november 2014

There's an unusual tension between claims in two prefaces to a new translation of Ovid.     read more

21 november 2014

Åsa Larsson builds on her excellent Till Thy Wrath Be Past to provide more cold cases and angst-laden character arcs in The Second Deadly Sin.     read more

16 november 2014

In a note to Star-Spangled Banner, Marc Ferris notes that "the song has never previously received a broad narrative treatment" (289). Since it's never likely to receive one again, Ferris squeezes in as much information as he can. The results are well worth the squeeze.     read more