Tag Archives: The West

"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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The Goodwill Genius: On Discovering Vladimir Nabokov's "Bend Sinister"

So back in December my editor at the Dallas Morning News asked me (and other contributing writers) to pen a brief essay about a book I’d been given as a gift some time in my life, and I actually wrote … 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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On the National Embarrassment of President Trump: "The Manchurian Candidate" Meets "The Bad Seed"

So waking up to the nightmare of a Trump presidency (who really wants to look at this guy for four more years?), I’m reminded of two great classic films: the original Manchurian Candidate (1962)¬†and a quirky predecessor, The Bad Seed … Continue reading

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On HBO's Westworld: Where Humans Go for Fun, Known to the Hosts as Hell

So out of pity for my poor blog that never gets attention, I’ll download myself out of the iCloud in which I reside to report that I’m jazzed about the new HBO series Westworld. For one thing it takes me … Continue reading

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On Ian McGuire's "The North Water": a Revisionist "Moby Dick," With Echoes of "Blood Meridian" and "The Revenant"

So last week I had the gripping-if-ghastly reading experience of zooming through Ian McGuire’s new novel, The North Water. I’ll try to be circumspect in my comments here so as not to spoil the reading “fun” for others, as I … Continue reading

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On T.J. Stiles's "Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America": a Pulitzer That Deserves It

So I’ve been a fan of both (the celebrated myth of) George Armstrong Custer and the excellent historian/biographer T.J. Stiles for many years, and when these two worlds collided, it’s not surprising that I read Custer’s Trials: A Life on … 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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They Eat Horses, Don't They? "The Revenant" v. "Backcountry": A Tale of Two Bears, With Nods to Peter Stark's "Astoria" and David Roberts's "A Newer World"

So I’ve been getting caught up on some of the Oscar-bait for this year, as in watching Matt Damon’s improbable space rescue in The Martian, and seeing The Revenant in a local theater, where I laughed and made too many … Continue reading

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The Year Without a Winter: Two Centuries Later, a Climate Switcheroo

So some years back I read a good book titled The Year Without a Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History (2013), by William and Nicholas Klingaman (that name makes you wonder: or are they … Continue reading

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