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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scrivener Chronicles: Day 1

One of my recent obsessions has been word-processing software. I have long had issues with Microsoft Word, particularly when trying to work with long documents consisting of multiple sections. For this reason, I have almost twenty different word documents that comprise the bulk of my dissertation. I would prefer to have an easily organized file […]

Live Tweet Demons

The third installment of tweets from novels: Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s #Demons. "well, he did very little as a scholar, nothing at all, apparently. But w scholars here in Russia, that is ever and always the case" #Demons — Joshua Nudell (@jpnudell) September 29, 2015 "This thesis cleverly and painfully needled the Slavophils of the day and […]

Standalone sci-if and fantasy – Recommendations

Last week I published a list of fantasy and sci-fi series that I recommend. This post follows that one up with set of recommendations of standalone (or near-standalone) books. First and Last Men, Olaf Stapledon Both this and the next recommendation are the work of a British professor of Medieval Philosophy writing in the 1920s […]

The New Life, Orhan Pamuk

Two things happen to the narrator of The New Life, one after the other, which changed everything: he read a book and he fell in love with a girl. In his accounting of events, the reading of the book was both the first and the more important occurrence, but, really, he only read the book […]

Foundation and Alexander

My single favorite observation about Alexander the Great and his empire is attributed to Joseph Stalin, in a series of articles published in Pravda in 1950 called “Marxism and the Problems of Linguistics.” In this, he answers a series of questions about language, its relationship to marxism (e.g. “is language a superstructure?”), whether language is […]

A history major

Among the disinterested, the diligentsia, wanderers and partiers, and the assorted other types of students who fill out the course rosters for American history surveys, the almost-contemptuous hard-sciences student always stands out. This course is a requirement for graduation, so this student is usually past his or her (usually his) first year of school and […]

What is Making Me Happy: Ha Ha Tonka

Following the model of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and its final segment, I am using some of these posts as a reminder to myself that there are things that bring me joy and as a means of posting recommendations of things–usually artistic or cultural, sometimes culinary–that are worth consuming. This week: the Missouri band […]

July Reading Recap

Last month, despite a whirlwind trip, work on my dissertation, and preparations to move, I managed to read four books, which I am both pleased with and frustrated by. My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk Reviewed here. This is the fourth book (third novel) of Pamuk’s I’ve read and I rank it alongside Snow […]

Historians and Storytellers: a review of The War of the End of the World, Mario Vargas Llosa

“A story of mad men.” “…not so much a story of madmen as a story of misunderstandings.” In the Brazilian state of Bahia in the 1890s there was a popular uprising against the young Republic. In 1888 the Portuguese Emperor abolished slavery, and in 1889 a military coup ended the monarchy and established a Republic. […]

Albert Cossery, Proud Beggars

Everyone has their foibles, their obsessions and their needs. Peace and happiness only emerge from abstaining from the reality of civilization, but what happens when the needs come calling? Proud Beggars is the second Cossery novel I’ve read and I went into it with high expectations based on how much I loved The Jokers. The […]