Category Archives: Book Reviews

The “senior” athlete: finding a new equilibrium

In my last post, I wrote about my “accelerating physical decline,” and how difficult it is to come to terms with that. Also, I raised the question of how my public identity has been tied for so long to my … Continue reading

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Ayad Akhtar in Conversation With Eleanor Wachtel about Homeland Elegies

I recently listened to a special presentation of this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest: a 90-minute conversation between Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright, and Eleanor Wachtel, the host of CBC’s Writers & Company. They talked about his recently-published book, … Continue reading

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Two 1,000-page novels at once: Kristin Lavransdatter and Ducks, Newburyport

Reading during a COVID-19 summer This summer has been memorable in several ways, not only because it is the first (and perhaps not the last) summer of living with COVID-19. For one, this is the first time I’ve ever read … Continue reading

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Books for comfort: Duane’s Depressed, The Last Picture Show, and Machines Like Me

Note: I wrote this post over a month ago—before the time of coronavirus. Maybe it is even more relevant now. It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post about books. Ironic, because in the past three months … Continue reading

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A gem about love from comic book artist Chris Ware

I was driving home on Sunday evening, listening to CBC radio, eagerly anticipating Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel—the one radio program I listen to every week without fail. When the announcer said the upcoming interview would feature Chris Ware, … Continue reading

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Teasing similarities out of Swann and Suzanne: the insomniac book reviewer

Swann: A Mystery by Carol Shields and Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette The two books I’ve just finished reading, Carol Shields’ 1987 novel Swann: A Mystery and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Suzanne (published in 2015 in French as La femme qui fuit), could … Continue reading

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How Big is Big?

Expanding my world in 1966 and 2019 One thing I’ve realized as I’ve grown older is that I have yet to grow up. When I was a kid, 20 years old was a huge, far-off age. Twenty meant being grown … Continue reading

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Eleanor Wachtel in conversation with ex-Marine Elliot Ackerman about modern warfare and grief

Elliot Ackerman is a novelist and an ex-Marine who was an active duty officer for eight years, including five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also spent three years as a journalist in Syria, covering that country’s civil … Continue reading

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WordNerds: Making a big foofaraw about Lionel Shriver’s Property

Property: Stories Between Two Novellas A few days ago my better half, Keith, sent me a text containing the word “foofaraw.” Now Keith is not a professional wordsmith, but he’s got a good vocabulary and he’s always eager to learn … Continue reading

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The peacefulness of snow

Snow is wonderful if You don’t have to drive . . . . . . or have a vehicle equipped for battle. You are a skier. February 23, 2018 After successfully driving up the slight incline out of my apartment … Continue reading

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