You Should Watch “The Cosmopolitans”

for real!:The Cosmopolitans, Whit Stillman’s new project about American expats in Paris, is several different kinds of experiment: It’s Stillman's first foray into television. It’s a return to the slightly more naturalistic style of earlier movies like Metropolitan, rather than the more stylized approach of 2011’s wise and winsome Damsels in Distress. And it's a commercial experiment, since Amazon is offering the pilot for free; the pilot’s ratings will decide whether Amazon picks up the whol … [Read more...]

Colonialism Isn’t Just a River in Egypt, You Know: “A Fan’s Notes”

on white supremacy as a form of "I like thinking about it" addictive denial. All the racial stuff in this book is really fascinating. IMO this specific passage gains power from the cartoonishness of the black characters--they're fantasy figures dancing through the sickened imaginations of the (also cartoony) white man--although at least one of the black characters in AFN is only as cartoonish as the whites. Anyway there's so much in this passage about the nature of white racial fantasy, … [Read more...]

“No, Where Are You Really From?”: Dinaw Mengestu’s Novel of Ethiopians in America

Dinaw Mengestu's 2010 How to Read the Air tells two parallel stories: In alternating chapters, Jonas Woldemariam retells the story of his Ethiopian immigrant parents' ill-fated road trip through the Midwest, and his own equally ill-starred career as a teacher and husband. But the book is more tangled than most parallel-lines-meet narratives. Jonas is not only retelling the road trip but retracing it; the chapters about his teaching include the many stories he tells his students about his … [Read more...]

Bet You Can’t Read Just One: Addiction/Recovery Link Round-Up

"International Geographic": I discovered that a lot of conditions which are simply a part of being an alcoholic are magnified by living in a foreign country. For example, the feeling of being terminally unique. In the town where I lived, I actually was extremely unique. There was nobody else like me. I got long stares at the grocery store, children stopped and pointed at me on their way to school. Every conversation began with, “Your nose is so big!” All the feelings I’d trained myself weren’t r … [Read more...]

From Yesterday’s Readings

R. (1) You have searched me and you know me, Lord. Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there. R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, Even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me fast. R. You have searched me and you know me, Lord. If I say, “Surely the d … [Read more...]

10 Great Books About Small-Town Life

I forget where I found this list. And I think New Haven is the smallest town I've ever lived in, so, you know, I'm no expert! Still, I have read none of these, and now I'm intrigued.... … [Read more...]

But it’s self-absorbed when Elizabeth Wurtzel says it!

I included this as a link in my previous Wurtzel post but I think it's worth reprinting an old blog post. I liked Andrew Cherlin's book quite a bit, but he did this several times: As other lifestyles become more acceptable, you must choose whether to get married and whether to have children. You develop your own sense of self by continually examining your situation, reflecting on it, and deciding whether to alter your behavior as a result. People pay attention to their experiences and make … [Read more...]


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