Category: Story & Song

  • Cancel Western Literature

    The Book None of the essays in the 2022 book How to Read Now, by the millennial novelist Elaine Castillo, appear to have been previously published in print elsewhere. Elaine Castillo is the author of the novel, published in 2018, America is Not the Heart 1No Wikipedia entry as of September 2022; for plot summary […]

  • The Holy or the Broken

    Episode 7 in Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast in July 27, 2016 was about his ideas about creativity, contrasting artists who revise and refine with artists who appear to produce their work whole. He illustrated his big idea with references to Elvis Costello’s revisions to The Deportee’s Club and the development of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah […]

  • Islands Folk Festival, 2016

    I camped at the Islands Folk Festival in Duncan BC. It was my first visit to this festival. The festival is held at Providence Farm, a former convent of the Sisters of St. Ann, once a boarding school, now an organic farm. It accomodates a crowd of a about 2,000 (vaguely stated as a few […]

  • 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 […]

  • Spinning the Golden Compass

    The Golden Compass has been criticized for its negative presentation of organized religion. Its principal critic its the American Catholic League, a conservative body that speaks for conservative and traditional elements in the Catholic Church in America. The League says that the movie, like the books, promotes atheism, but their grievance appears to me to […]

  • Alternate Nobel Writers

    The Alt-Reality Nobel prize for literature, 2007, would have gone to J.K. Rowling? Ted Gioia’s list is pretty good. He would have given the award to several genre writers. He has a different theory of aesthetics and less impressed with old canons of high art and literary fiction. His Great Books Guide site is informed […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • The Ultimate Bourne Thrill Ride

    This is not applause. I wasted $8.25 and two hours on the theory that the team that created the Identity and the Supremacy could be trusted to deliver a decent sequel. The Bourne Identity was good. It was based on a Robert Ludlum thriller so I knew that I would have to surrender disbelief and […]