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)

Quasimodo d’El Paris

I recently saw an adaptation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" set in the modern day. It's a French-language film, a black comedy/satire known as Quasimodo d’El Paris. It's set in 1999 or thereabouts in an unnamed place, in a city called El Paris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy8KIUCGSAA&list=PLGuUJt6IB8_ET1gFct-hHQO62Dkqx90Lm&index=23 It is strange and over-the-top, but funny and charming.  It … Continue reading Quasimodo d’El Paris

Esmeralda, cosmologist

In my blog posts I've compared similar passages across different novels, and I've got several passages from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" that I want to link to other novels: "Moby-Dick," "Huckleberry Finn," "Tom Sawyer," "The Lord of the Rings," "Matilda," and one nonfiction book, Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot." Compare this declaration by King … Continue reading Esmeralda, cosmologist

Starting Huckleberry Finn

September 23, 2021 I’ve taken years to read "The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn", because of its darn reputation. The back cover of my 1985 Penguin edition quotes Hemingway’s famous line, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn”.  Further down we read that “Of all the contenders for the title … Continue reading Starting Huckleberry Finn

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