Reading Jewish

In 1994, I purchased Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon, and would peruse it from time to time, and pick a book off of Bloom’s four lists.    He got me back to Shakespeare  and sparked…

Andrew & Joan

Andrew Ivers continues to guide me when it comes to the delights of the Western Canon. Last week I asked him where I should start with Joan Didion and without hesitation he suggested Slouching towards…

Why Read, Why Write

Books without the knowledge of life are useless…for what should books teach but the art of living? —Dr. Samuel Johnson, A Johnson Sampler, edited by Henry Darcy Curwen, p. 44. The only end of writing…

Making and Taking Notes

When anything of interest happens within or around me  I make a mental note to tell you about it, and it is this habit of thinking of things in connection with you that gives them…

Amongst My Books

“… at least resolve, while you remain in any settled residence, to spend a certain number of hours every day amongst your books…”—Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, in Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson “Amongst”  could…

By Little and Little

All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant…

Both/And

Like other works, [Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets] is concerned with the nature, and, more importantly, the limits of human achievement. It assumes what its surrounding works assume: The continuity and dignity of the…

Vexation of Spirit

What is my book but just making history among the fools—the sooner I give up literary attainment the sooner Enlightenment will come to me—If on my deathbed I’m still involved in literary matters I’ll deserve…

What Came First

I was reading C.K. Williams’s book On WhitmanSeptember 2010And I scribbled on page 97 these three.. A NameAn AvowalA Maxim– Kelly McBride“You Are My Hero”Seven times down, eight times up The “Hero” referenceI’d first scribbled…