Word by Word

“The process of creating a dictionary is magical, frustrating, brain wrenching, mundane, transcendent. It is ultimately a show of love for a language that has been called unlovely and unlovable.” Unlovable? Bah! English may be a strange, amorphous beast, but its quirkiness is its charm. In Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, Kory… Read more Word by Word

Saint Benedict in Technopoly

Perhaps it was because I had just finished reading Neil Postman’s 1992 book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology when I started in on Rod Dreher’s latest, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, but I was detecting a subtle yet strong Postmanian vibe throughout the book. Then, when Dreher actually quoted Technopoly, I realized that… Read more Saint Benedict in Technopoly

The Book Thieves

As I read Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance, I kept thinking of Sean Connery’s line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: All this book burning by the Nazis entailed looting a continent’s worth of libraries and archives, specifically to root out so-called… Read more The Book Thieves

Gentleman Boss

“His political experience had been restricted almost exclusively to one state, and his knowledge of national and international affairs was limited to what any reasonably curious New Yorker might cull from local newspapers.” “His nomination had been entirely unexpected, and was commonly interpreted as a device for placating the most opprobrious forces within the GOP.”… Read more Gentleman Boss

A Frozen Hell

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

Now I Sit Me Down

“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

The Wave (Bølgen)

There must be something in the water at The New Yorker. The Richard Brooks film In Cold Blood was based off of Truman Capote’s 1965 New Yorker story of the same name. The Spike Jonze film Adaptation was based off of Susan Orleans’ 1995 New Yorker story “Orchid Fever”. And Roar Uthaug’s 2015 film The Wave… Read more The Wave (Bølgen)