Category Archives: Uncategorized

“The Sailor’s Gift”: Short Essay in the Dallas Morning News

So as I noted in my previous post (The Goodwill Genius: On Discovering Vladimir Nabokov’s Bend Sinister) I actually wrote the “wrong” essay for my editor at the Dallas Morning News, remembering it only to be about a book that … Continue reading

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On Adventures Gone Wrong: Stephane Gerson’s “Disaster Falls” and Jason Kersten’s “Journal of the Dead”

So I stumbled upon a book that touches close to home for me, as a naturalist who drags his young daughter with him to various outdoor locales seething with both beauty and danger, filled with the confidence and aplomb that … Continue reading

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Slouching Toward Bethlehem (While Walking Across Campus, Staring at Their Phones)

So for many months now I’ve watched (along with most other people) the rise of Donald Trump with a mixture of bafflement and dismay, contemplating the scary possibility that he could actually be Leader of the Free World (seems bizarre, yes) in … Continue reading

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Review of Dominic Smith’s “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos” in the Dallas Morning News

So interested readers can find my review of Dominic Smith’s novel The Last Painting of Sara de Vos in today’s Dallas Morning News here. I liked the book: quiet and understated. I don’t really know anything about Smith, though I … Continue reading

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On Sonia Shah’s “Pandemic” and Antarctica’s Looming Meltdown: Drowning in a Sea Full of Germs

So a few years back I often wrote about Climate Change and its slo-mo catastrophe, especially when it seemed that we had the chance to alter our Titanic-like course toward that (melting) iceberg, but of late I’ve been more reticent, … Continue reading

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On Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and J.J. Abrams’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Or a Journey from the Sublime to the Ridiculous

So over the holidays I was holed up on a mountainside in Colorado reading Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace (1869), which, at 1224 pages, is an undertaking. I felt compelled to read it as quickly as possible, lest the … Continue reading

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On William Gay’s “Little Sister Death”: a Novel That Puts the P in Posthumous

So I should begin by the admission that I’m a diehard William Gay fan, and have been for years, ever since reading his first novel—The Long Home (1999), which was edited/published by none other than my own editor, Greg Michalson—though … Continue reading

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On Kent Haruf’s “Our Souls at Night”: The Last Waltz in Holt, Colorado

So I felt a mixture of sadness and readerly pleasure upon opening Kent Haruf’s final, posthumous novel, Our Souls at Night, to be published by Knopf this month. I first encountered Haruf’s fiction in 1999, when I was assigned his … Continue reading

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Review of “The Lousy Adult” Alongside Stephen Graham Jones’s “Not For Nothing”

So the Dallas Morning News published this last Sunday a review of several books by (ex or present) Texas writers and my book of stories The Lousy Adult was one of those mentioned, but the cooler thing is that it’s … Continue reading

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On Running the Austin, Texas Marathon at Age 56: a Survivor’s Story!

So I like how everything has become a “survivor’s story” now, even the most humdrum of accomplishments, like “I stood in line for three hours to get tickets to the Lady Gaga concert, and I survived!” Now running a marathon … Continue reading

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