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

This Will Kill That

Below is the full text of the chapter "This Will Kill That" (Book V, Chapter 2), from "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame", with links and photographs added. When reading "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame," I found myself pausing for long periods to argue with the author, particularly around the middle of the book. Here Hugo has a … Continue reading This Will Kill That

Little Women

The following things about Louisa May Alcott's “Little Women” have surprised me:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. The movies of “Little Women” that I’ve seen don’t give a sense of the following things:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. (To be more precise, it’s … Continue reading Little Women

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

Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

"Anna Karenina" is not quite letting me go. Partly that's because it was just that good. I went back to re-read Part 8; and generally I don't re-read books until years later; but I had to drink in that last section of the novel again, and slowly. Partly the book is hanging on because I've … Continue reading Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary Discuss Their Suicides

The Female Quixote

December 31, 2020 I’ve read Charlotte Lennox's “The Female Quixote” (Kwicksoht), and I struggled through much of the first half, but the effort was well worth it.  I flew through the last 100 pages. Lennox’s novel was inspired by Cervantes and later inspired Austen, two authors I’ve recently discovered, so I really wanted to read … Continue reading The Female Quixote