‘Do not open the window or sing’

When I read certain online commentaries about the possibility of war with China, I smile. Not happily, but grimly. It’s a smile that shakes its head, baffled and in disbelief by the innocence and naivete of the commentators.

Can’t go wrong with a ‘Literary Mother’s Day’

Don’t worry. We’re not going to explore the relationship of Mrs. Bennet with her daughters in “Pride and Prejudice” or the nature of Marmee March in “Little Women,” who prayed “the fervent prayers only mothers utter.”

Character counts: a review of James Rosen’s ‘Scalia’

He was good friends with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He taught shooting to another justice, Elaine Kagan, and became her hunting buddy. When he was under consideration for the post of judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, the FBI conducted its usual background investigation, examining his bank accounts and tax returns, and interviewing several dozen colleagues and friends. These interviews confirmed his integrity, intellectual gifts, and charisma, and are filled with such plaudits as “delightful and sensitive,” “of unimpeachable character,” “a model family man … his reputation above reproach …” and “the government could not have a better candidate for a position as a judge.”

The party everyone’s invited to: National Poetry Month

April is the season when Chaucer’s pilgrims gathered before setting off to Canterbury and the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. “Oh, to be in England,” wrote poet Robert Browning, “Now that April’s there.” Later, T.S. Eliot added a different perspective: “April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of a dead land.” In her poem “Spring,” Edna St. Vincent Millay also looks askance at the fourth month: “To what purpose, April, do you return again?” and then ends with “It is not enough that yearly, down this hill/April/Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”

Reading, reviews, and self-remonstrance

Maybe it’s the mixed-up weather. The warmer temperatures have delivered a sort of raucous springtime mood, though Whatever the cause, a parade of books on all sorts of topics has passed through my hands, volumes taken from the library and from the pyramid of print on the floor of my study. Some I’ve read, some only browsed, but all deserve at least some garland of recognition. 

Anne Tyler gives us another never-ending song

It’s always nice when the good things just keep coming.

Books vs. the winter blues — and books win

It’s another one of those unremarkable winter afternoons when the outside temp is identical to the inside of my refrigerator, the sky is as gray as a friar’s habit, and the wind has just enough of a whistle to sting an old man’s cheeks.

‘Being a Ballerina’ includes powerful life lessons

This year, the women’s basketball team of Christendom College, a small school in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, includes a forward, Catherine Thomas, who has averaged 27.7 points and 14.8 rebounds per game. Those are outstanding percentages in any league, no matter its size.

Dylan scores with ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song’

This was a fine morning in the coffee shop.

Resurrected: a review of Mark Twain’s ‘Is He Dead?’

Samuel Clemens, best known by his penname Mark Twain, is arguably the master of American novelists, with his great classic “Huckleberry Finn” along with such stories as “Tom Sawyer,” “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,”and “The Gilded Age.”

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