To The Lighthouse

To The Lighthouse

One of my favorite opening lines in literature is Quentin Bell’s biography of his aunt that runs something like this: “Before there was a Virginia Woolf, there was a Miss Stephen.” Immediately such a line cracks the fortress of The Canon, and obliges the reader to...
The Heart to Artemis: A Writer’s MemoirBryher

The Heart to Artemis: A Writer’s Memoir
Bryher

The Heart to Artemis is one of those rare memoirs that, at the end, leave the reader more curious about the writer than when she began the book. Bryher was born Winifred Ellerman in 1894.  Note I do not say that Winifred Ellerman was her real name. It was not. Bryher...
Ready for My Close-Up

Ready for My Close-Up

Research for my novel The Great Pretenders (2019) concentrated on 1950’s Hollywood, the Blacklist Era, its antecedents and repercussions. Free to random read again, I found on my bookshelves Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New...
Boswell’s London Journal

Boswell’s London Journal

Vain, egotistical, preening, ribald, lascivious, libertine, high-spirited, chronically insecure, writer, adventurer, sycophant, proud Scotsman, unrepentant Londoner, these terms and many more describe James Boswell (1740–1795) literature’s first great biographer. I...
Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

Early on in this pandemic moment (now evolved into a pandemic era) my friend Frances Howard-Snyder, pressed Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, into my hands. Frances, a serious writer, serious Shakespeare aficionado, and professor of philosophy, is a person whose...
Gene Fowler

Gene Fowler

Gene Fowler is not what you call a stylist. Nowhere in his books do you pause over the beauty of a well-wrought sentence, the airy word-confection. But, oh, could he tell a story! Like the more renowned Joseph Mitchell, Fowler is a raconteur of the Old School, rooted...

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