Favorite books of 2021 (and 2020)

My blog is new, so I've never picked out favorite books for a year, but here we go. My ten faves for 2021, fiction and nonfiction, out of the 66 books I read: 1. New Testament -- the recent translation by David Bentley Hart 2. Notre Dame de Paris Translated by Alban Krailsheimer 3. Lonesome … Continue reading Favorite books of 2021 (and 2020)

Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind

It's a common trope in fiction: a final confrontation between the central hero of a story and its central villain. It's an important trope in Westerns, both on the page and screen -- Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" is just one famous example. And we see it in works of fiction that are too many to count: … Continue reading Hero, meet your villain; or, never mind

McMurtry and Cervantes

Larry McMurtry published “Streets of Laredo”, his sequel to “Lonesome Dove”, in summer 1993.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution then ran a piece by Michael Skube, who compared “Lonesome Dove” to “Don Quixote”:   Living briefly off the luster of its predecessor, a sequel establishes its own grounds as art or it diminishes the work from which … Continue reading McMurtry and Cervantes

Don Quixote and Lonesome Dove

I've recently finished Larry's McMurtry's western, "Lonesome Dove," a magnificent novel that I cannot get off my mind. I've been doing a little research about the book, and apparently McMurtry was partly inspired by "Don Quixote." In his 2008 memoir, he wrote: [E]arly on, I read some version of Don Quixote and pondered the grave … Continue reading Don Quixote and Lonesome Dove

Pale Blue Dots

I posted Sancho Panza's speech about the earth in the comments section of a YouTube video featuring Carl Sagan's meditations from "Pale Blue Dot." One Youtuber replied that there were similar thoughts in Cicero’s “Scipio’s Dream” and Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations.” Cicero’s “Scipio’s Dream”, part 3: And as I looked on every side I saw other … Continue reading Pale Blue Dots

Madame Bovary

January 14, 2021 I’ve just finished “Madame Bovary.”  Some of it was slow going, specifically the passages of excessive detail about physical objects and surroundings.  But after finishing the novel, I read in Soledad Fox’s “Flaubert and Don Quijote” that Flaubert used all this detail to satirize the “realist” genre:  that’s why he describes the … Continue reading Madame Bovary