War history cites brotherhood, and bloodshed

Sometimes we read certain histories — Scott’s expedition to Antarctica, for example, or Washington’s troops at Valley Forge, or the prisoners in the Soviet gulag — and are stunned by the endurance and courage of the human spirit.

Notes on a novel and a collection of verse

The day before my June getaway to the beach ended, I developed a bad case of bookshop lust.

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. 

The earth speaks; hopefully, we’re listening

Somehow in the last couple years scanning the stacks and shelves of our local library and indie bookstore, I missed seeing an important book focused on and designed for the times we are living in. “Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth” (The Golden Sufi Center Publishing, 309 pages, 2021), edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, is a compendium of essays and poems addressing all the requisite issues that the word “ecology” implies. 

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.

Frozen: A review of ‘The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven’

One way to enjoy winter is to read about someone who lives north of the Arctic Circle. It’s never going to be that cold here, is the idea.

Traveling south to find America

“Appalachia can give us an eye towards how the national personality refracts like a diamond into a thousand rays” — Imani Perry 

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