Story & Song

2008 is over, Hallelujah

My story about my musical year starts with a short term obsession about a song. The CBC broadcast a story about the popularity of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah in Britain on the National (TV news) on the Friday night before Christmas. The CBC was interested because the writer was a Canadian. The story was that …

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Wonder Books

From The American Scholar, a review of the style of popular and literary fiction based on healing journeys: Brooklyn Books of Wonder, by Melvin Jules Bukiet. It’s a savage assessment of my least favourite literature, sentimental fiction. It has a good explanation of why this stuff sellsit works: narcissistic empathy. Read it, weep and perceive …

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Sir Joseph Banks

Through the SciTech Daily site, a link to “Master of the Enlightenment”, Andrea Wulf’s review of The Scientific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1765-1820, edited by Neil Chambers. Sir Joseph Banks was Patrick O’Brien’s model for Stephen Maturin, a leading character in the Aubrey & Maturin novels. O’Brien drew on Banks in two ways. In …

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The Wild Trees

Richard Preston recognized a good story when he heard about Steve Sillett, ninja climbs and the quest for the tallest tree. He told the story effectively in “Climbing the Redwoods”, written for the New Yorker (ninja version here), and republished in Best American Science Writing 2006. He has managed to write it again, even better, …

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