Literature and Poetry
The story line covers about forty years in the life of an Englishman who has become first a playwright, then a film scriptwriter making comparisons between being English and being anything else, but most often, with being American. He declares his chagrin at the formalities and frozen traditions of English formal education and the class system, but never can hide his own debts to both. this intensely detailed psychological, political, philosophical biography becomes so thickly layered, it would be easy to be overcome by it. As it is, it takes over 600 printed pages to tell it. more »
Best of Scout: Teaching History with 100 Objects, Pick Your Poison, Open Culture Sources, Roman Empire Maps and the Lesser Prairie Chicken
A selection of sites to explore and get lost in: Open Culture, the artsy information hub that features "the best free cultural & educational media on the web" contains reviews and links to hundreds of open educational resources. Whether readers are interested in learning Arabic, would like to hear Patti Smith read Virginia Woolf, or are eager to explore a collection of Gabriel Garcia Marquez stories, Open Culture has something for everyone, including Stephen Colbert reading from Flannery O'Connor. more »
A Review of an Oliver Sachs Book, Musicophilia: "We humans are a musical species no less than a linguistic one"
Julia Sneden reviews: Sacks quotes a letter from a woman whose father was nearly a hundred years old, and had begun to lose his grip on reality. She provided him with a CD player, and when his mind began to wander, she would "put in a beloved piece of classical music, press the 'play' button and watch the transformation". "My father’s world became logical and it became clear. He could follow every note... There was no confusion here, no missteps, no getting lost, and, most amazing, no forgetting..." Dr. Sacks says: "Once one has seen such responses, one knows there is still a self to be called upon, even if music, and only music, can do the calling." more »
Serena Nanda Reviews: The mysteries take place in the diverse and complex societies of Jedda, Saudi Arabia; Capetown, South Africa; and the Happy Valley in Kenya. Race, class, ethnicity, tribal and gender identities all play important roles in both the crimes and the investigations. The deep cultural contexts of the crimes are not dull academic explanations but subtle, authentic and fascinating descriptions. Central to each of these novels are women investigators, some official and some not, whose individual personalities and interactions with the local 'police cultures' add an extra dimension of interest and suspense to the stories. more »