Haiku to the Saints

For a writer, self-promotion is a mug’s game. Last year, I made a hobby of haunting Fr. Jim Martin’s Facebook page, posting clever things in the hope that the great man would feel moved to take me up as a literary protege. “America Magazine is teeming with wonks, Max,” I imagined him PM-ing me. “What [Read More...]

Novels of the Great Recession

For a long time, critics were in the habit of complaining that American authors had given up trying to write the Great American Novel. That is, they’d stopped trying to create plots and characters that embodied social trends with wide-ranging significance. In Balsamic Dreams, Joe Queenan writes: “Baby Boomer literati absolutely refused to go for [Read More...]

Bring on the Dirt!

What a prince Bill Keller is. In reviewing John Julius Norwich’s Absolute Monarchs, he warns that this “rollicking narrative” featuring “265 popes (plus various usurpers and antiĀ­popes), feral hordes of Vandals, Huns and Visigoths, expansionist emperors, Byzantine intriguers, Borgias and Medicis, heretic zealots, conspiring clerics, bestial inquisitors and more” might not appeal to “devout Catholics.” [Read More...]


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