My Favorite Russians


This week I teach Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, a wild ride of a novel that gets you into the head of a murderer.  It is heavy stuff, hard to read, and not because of the sentences.  You feel like you are on a roller coaster, in the mind of someone who might be a sociopath, or a political malcontent, or just a guy who is so crushed by poverty that he doesn’t really know what he is doing.

Except when he does. Continue reading

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Ten Great Things about The Great Gatsby

Doni M. Wilson:

For the anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby…..

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

On April 10th, 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  The Great Gatsby  was published, and whenever I hear anyone say that they are going to “write The Great American Novel,” I am pretty sure that this is the book that is swimming in everyone’s head.  I know it is the first one I think of, and I am not alone.  For those obsessed with the May 10th premiere of the big Baz Luhrmann film version, today also marks the beginning of the one-month countdown to the opening.  I am not sure if I can wait that long, but if Jay Gatsby can wait five years to see Daisy Fay Buchanan again, then I guess I can wait one month for this film.

In the meantime, here are ten great things about The Great Gatsby that will remind you of why it is just so, well, great.

1.  Best Opening Lines in a…

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Spring Fever

For Joan Donaldson

Today, March 20th, is the first day of Spring.  If you are really in the know, you might call it the Vernal Equinox, and do that little experiment in which you test an egg and see if it shares the equilibrium that is supposed to infuse the day.  This winter was colder than usual in Texas, and I have been longing for everything to warm up, even though I know friends from other parts of the country have had it much rougher.  My friends post messages that lament the snow, even if it does look beautiful.  For the first time in a long time, I had to deal with ice on my windshield a few times.  I hadn’t even thought about ice since I lived in North Carolina, but there, I just told everyone I was from Texas and stayed inside until the weather got better.  Trust me: they didn’t want me driving either, and all it took was one spill on some black ice in a parking lot to make me pretty much succumb to complete hibernation during winter storms.

But today, in Texas, is perfect.  It is not humid, it is not too hot, it is not too cold, and when I take my walk I see all the greenery and think it looks like it has been spring for ages.  Nature can fool you that way: it changes costumes, makes you forget the previous scene.  I am supposed to be running, but I have injured my heel, and I am sort of grateful that I am walking so that I can really look around me.  Things are starting to bud, and I can see the holes in the telephone poles from the woodpeckers that I usually hear when I am running.  Usually, they are as loud as jackhammers, relentlessly pounding away at the helpless poles.  Today, I don’t hear them, but I can see the magnificence of their efforts.  Those woodpeckers don’t give up. Continue reading


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