It’s Been A Long Time Coming

I grumble here quite a bit about the state of creative writing in the U.S., don’t I? And that sets me to considering what’s behind my grumpiness. One of my best finds in literature in the past fifteen years or so is that of South Africa. South Africa, you’d say? Yes. Check out this list,…

If You Fall…Get Back Up!

Rise + Hustle, by Mike Whitfield I’m no longer concerned with the oddities of commercial writing. Besides all the postmodern variations on story structure and purpose, I’ve reviewed a novel to be used for (other) business purposes, so I don’t blush at all to review Rise + Hustle, Mike Whitfield’s book about the promise and…

A Modern Desultory Philippic

There are things that trouble me these days. Just to name a few: Too many things are going on in the world. Far too many. Can’t people live within their means? Can’t they help those less fortunate before things get too salty out there? Can’t we accept someone else’s opinions without hysterics? I have too…

Provoking, Informing, and Magazine Success

The Atlantic, March 2014   In a world in which magazines are closing their doors daily, a few have found the key to success, and The Atlantic seems to have that key firmly in its grasp. What makes its mojo work, then? Simple – find a way to entertain as it informs, and do so…

Atlantic Ascendant

The Atlantic, January/February, 2014 Perhaps Editor-in-Chief James Bennet has developed the complex touch of a successful pro sports team coach. Or maybe the world is handing him better and better stories. Whatever the reason, this issue of The Atlantic is one of the best balanced, most newsworthy, and downright interesting issues yet. And that’s with…

The Rages of Poverty in the Provinces

Harper’s Magazine, January 2014 Thomas Frank’s essay here is one every self-styled liberal or progressive should read. It’s a screed, not against the Red State folks, Republicans, Tea Partiers, et al; instead he’s raging against the Democrats, liberals, and progressives for not taking advantage politically of the ever-shrinking white, male, etc. conservative base. And he’s…

A Rarity – History and Cultural Affairs You Can Enjoy Reading

Eastern Europe!, by Tomek Jankowski   It’s been my experience that books filled with history – and I think this applies doubly to the density of European history – can boggle and bore. Not so with Jankowski’s book. It’s indeed filled with close to two millennia of history, both western and eastern European (it is…