Celebrate the New Year by reading Black Lamb, Grey Falcon!

My family often celebrates New Year's Eve by watching a very long movie (i.e. Gandhi) on New Year's Eve, when we're committed to staying up to finish it.If you'd like to pick up that tradition but in a literary vein, why not welcome in the new year while reading Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia.I read it this month because all my cool friends were reading/had read it, and I'm very pleased to have done so (though my boyfriend now insists I read … [Read more...]

My Year-End Book Recommendations in TAC and NRO

I've already shared with you guys the ten best books that I read (for the first time) this year, but in case you're still finishing up shopping for others, I've also added my suggestions to both The American Conservative and National Review's gift guides for the end of the year.   And my recommendations there are a little less narrowly tailored to my hobbyhorses--so fewer philosophy of medicine and disease on those lists.So head on over to both sites to see my ideas, and those of other wri … [Read more...]

My 10 Best Books of 2014

Every year, I like to make a list of my favorite books I read for the first time in that year.  Thus, my ten best books of the year aren't limited to those that came out in this year.  In chronological order of when I read them, these are my favorites.Oh, and if you'd like to get once-a-month, behind the scene updates about my book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayer that Even I Can Offer, you can sign up here -- my first email goes out on Monday, and includes the copyediting note that a … [Read more...]

Justice Laid (Possibly Unlawfully) Bare

I'm reviewing Arguendo today at The American Interest, and explaining how this play about a Supreme Court case deciding whether stripping was First Amendment protected speech winds up painting SCOTUS in a romantic and heroic light.The justices begin on a plinth that resembles the actual Supreme Court (set design by David Zinn), but shortly after the arguments begin, they send their wheeled chairs zooming down ramps to the main part of the stage. For the rest of the play they scoot around, co … [Read more...]

To Mary Through Henry Adams

It's been a week of Marian feasts.  Yesterday was the feast of Mary's name and this past Monday was the feast of her birth.  I lucked into doing extremely thematic reading for the week, since this is when I finally got around to reading the copy of Henry Adams's Mont-Saint-Michel and Chatres that I had on my kindle.Adams (descended from the presidential Adamses) is also the author of The Education of Henry Adams, which was my favorite part of the curriculum of the "Political Philosophy as Edu … [Read more...]

Plato Disappoints at the Googleplex

I'm over at First Things today, reviewing Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's Plato at the Googleplex, in which she writes new dialogues for Plato, in modern contests, answering modern questions.  Here's a teaser: When scientists like Laurence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson call philosophers to answer for their crimes today, the lovers of wisdom aren’t accused of anything as exciting as corrupting the youth.In Rebecca Goldstein’s telling, Plato’s greatest danger is his elitism. She’s less worried … [Read more...]

They Eat Horses, Don’t They?

Last night, I got to see a special screening of the Folger Theatre's 2008 production of Macbeth (all magic courtesy of Teller -- of Penn and Teller).  Usually, when I see Macbeth, my focus is on the titular pair, or, barring that, the witches, but, in this production, my attention and sympathies were more with the courtiers than in any other staging I've seen.For whatever reason, I was less wrapped up in the fall of Macbeth and his wife, so I kept thinking about the lives of the people in th … [Read more...]


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