Finland alone, in danger of death—superb, sublime Finland—shows what free men can do. —Winston Churchill And Trotter, the author of the superb book A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, shows what fine historians can do. Not sure how I found this book, but after visiting Finland last summer I wanted to learn more about… Read more A Frozen Hell
Here’s a funny bit in an otherwise unfunny but fascinating book called A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940. After Finland refused Stalin’s ultimatum, Russia initiated war and installed a puppet Finnish government that signed the “treaty” Stalin had wanted: Never change, Finland.
Synchronicity strikes again. I recently watched Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents, a new film set in post-WWII Poland focused on Mathilde, a young French Red Cross nurse compelled to help a convent of Polish nuns with a dark secret. I watched it while in the midst of Emma Donoghue’s new novel The Wonder, which is also told from the perspective of a nurse,… Read more Innocents & Wonder
“A chair is an everyday object with which the human body has an intimate relationship. You sit down in an armchair and it embraces you, you rub against it, you caress the fabric, touch the wood, grip the arms. It is this intimacy, not merely utility, that ultimately distinguishes a beautiful chair from a beautiful… Read more Now I Sit Me Down
I read Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur a few years back and remember liking it, but also don’t remember much about it. So when I saw he had a new one out called But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking about the Present As If It Were the Past, I jumped at the chance to read him… Read more But What If We’re Wrong?
Finished Lindy West’s Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman in a single evening, not just because it’s a short and fast read, but because I couldn’t stop reading. I heard Lindy for the first time on This American Life: first her story on confronting her troll and then about “coming out” as fat. As in those stories, in Shrill she’s hilarious,… Read more Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
I have a new piece at ThinkChristian on how a book and an album were telling me the same thing at basically the same time: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” You’ve probably seen this quote, the final couplet in Mary Oliver’s poem The Summer Day,… Read more One Wild Life’s Too Short
A good argument could be made for several different technologies being the ideal tool for writers. Pen and paper have proved durable and flexible but aren’t easily manipulated. Typewriters provide an attractive single-purpose distraction-free environment but don’t allow for easy duplication. Modern computers are powerful and multi-purpose, but easily distract. We all are fortunate to… Read more Track Changes
Pictured is the haul ($8 total) from a recent afternoon browsing used bookstores, which I do once in a while, when my time is open and therefore my self-discipline is weak. But I didn’t feel bad about getting more Stuff this time, because I’m coming to something approaching terms with it. I love books, movies, and… Read more Each’s Owned
This New York Times story about all-male book clubs was not as inflammatory as I knew it would be taken in certain spheres. It turns out (wait for it…) some men are in book clubs just for men. The reaction from one of the groups to the NYT story is worth reading for important context that didn’t get into… Read more Man Bookers