From Dinaw Mengestu, “How to Read the Air”

While it was common even among the most disciplined teachers to allow for small fabrications, from the beginning the stories I told my students existed on a more ambitious plane. Now when asked for details about my life, I indulged myself. When one of my students wanted to know what I did before I began teaching at the academy, I told him that I had spent years working in a coal mine and had the blackened lungs to prove it. To another I was the captain of a Japanese trawler, and then a few days … [Read more...]

“10 Most Essential ’70s Conspiracy Thrillers”: Jesse Walker

with a list. I'm actually posting this mainly for the commenters who added Alien and Rosemary's Baby as sf/horror cousins of the '70s conspiracy genre (and I admit that I was surprised to read that Rosemary is actually from the late '60s--doesn't it feel '70s to you?). … [Read more...]

“Identity Theft”: I review (and LOVE) “The Goldfinch”

in the Weekly Standard: When we speak of “the permanent things,” we should mean the enduring, inescapable, and unfulfilled longings of the contradictory human heart: the helpless yearnings found across radically different times and cultures. And among these permanent desires, the need for home and the need for ecstasy stand preeminent. Donna Tartt made her name with 1992’s bestselling murder-by-paganism tale The Secret History, which explored our longing for ecstatic release from the … [Read more...]

“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in AmSpec

now available in full: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? more--spoilerous for the middle of The Shining, but I like this article. For more on the point I'm trying to make at the end, see here. … [Read more...]

“Guarded by that heroic squid from the rarely sung fifth stanza.”

Via MLY. … [Read more...]

St. Odysseus and St. Antaeus

A while ago I asked the wild world of Twitter what it wanted me to talk about, w/r/t the concept of vocation. One response was basically, "What's the difference between discernment of vocation and navel-gazing?" That's a pretty great question; the boring answer is probably "prudence" just like with everything else (BORING), but let me see if I have a bit more to say about it than that. The "emerging adulthood" model, which has all kinds of economic, social, & … [Read more...]

“Can Parents Accused of Neglect Redeem One Another?”

from Al-Jazeera America: ...On the last Wednesday in July, Wick showed up at CWOP, a non-profit group located in an East Harlem housing project. She joined nine parents — eight moms and one dad, all accused of abuse or neglect — in a room lined with flyers and inspirational posters. They stood holding hands for an opening prayer. Among them were volunteers and paid staff of CWOP who had their own histories in the child welfare system but had reunited with their children. These parents, … [Read more...]


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