Good Prose, No Win Satire

The Sellout, by Paul Beatty You might be in the den with some pals waiting for the Super Bowl to begin, and someone cracks a joke, then another. Then another. And you think, “Jokes and satire can’t be all that hard; maybe I could do a stand-up act, or write a satirical book.” So weeks […]

Read More Good Prose, No Win Satire

Kid Lit, My Friend, Kid Lit

How do you read? What? What I mean is – and I mean this indirectly – what do you intend to get out of what you read? That’s a pretty general question, Bob. All right, I’m still not being clear enough. Do you read to get the gist of the story? Do you read to […]

Read More Kid Lit, My Friend, Kid Lit

Dreams of a Better World

Most Blessed of the Patriarchs – Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf   I’ve been fascinated for years by Jefferson, and have read most of what’s out there on this sometimes eccentric man. But this book takes a new tack. Rather than focus on his politics, […]

Read More Dreams of a Better World

Irony and Complexity

The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson As is my case with most books, I warmed up to this one slowly. My warming, however, became only tepid with The Orphan Master’s Son. I like stories, you see, and defined characters within such stories. That makes me an odd fit for postmodern literature, something I’ve posted […]

Read More Irony and Complexity

Personal Complexities and Power

Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham A friend of mine, who at the time was deputy commissioner of a state agency in Georgia, had a very large portrait of Jefferson hanging on the wall outside his office. Each occasion I had to visit his office found me in the anteroom taking […]

Read More Personal Complexities and Power