Month: July 2012

  • Peculiar times in London

    What is literature for if not to take us into places and experiences that we might otherwise miss? I’m missing London right now; I see it nightly on TV coverage of the Olympics, and I wish I were there. There’s no way I could make it to London for the games, but I’ve done the […]

  • Life, love and respectability

    When I was in school, my history classes rarely made it beyond the first few years of the 20th century. I learned about the Great Depression, World War II and the other formative events of my parents’ generation mostly by hearing their conversations and stories. Maybe that’s why I’m fascinated by recent historical fiction that […]

  • Different worlds

    Some time back I enjoyed listening to A Cup of Friendship, Deborah Rodriguez’ novel centered on a coffee shop in Kabul, since reissued as The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. Part of the pleasure stemmed from the good story, well presented, but another important factor was the glimpse into life in a world about which […]

  • Civilization’s lessons

    Paul O’Connor is sojourning in Oregon. I’ve tried to tempt him back to North Carolina with reports of fried squash, but to no avail. At least he continues to read and review books.  I suppose he’ll return when the semester begins at Chapel Hill. By Paul T. O’Connor CIVILIZATION: THE WEST AND THE REST. By […]

  • Toward understanding religions

    By Charles McGathy No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (Updated Edition). By Reza Aslan. Random House. 338 pages. $17, paperback. Professor Reza Aslan is an internationally acclaimed scholar of religions. This book is an updated edition of his first book, which has been called by Blackwell, the noted British seller […]

  • On the latest from Anne Tyler

    On June 24, my review of Anne Tyler’s latest novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye (Knopf, $24.95), ran in the Greensboro News & Record’s book section. I appreciate the News & Record’s dedication to running locally written reviews when so many newspapers have abandoned that effort, and I urge those who can to check the review out. […]

  • Bess Crawford, on the battlefields of France

    A few years back, Charles Todd, the mother-son writing team in Delaware and North Carolina, started a new mystery series. Their Inspector Ian Rutledge series was highly successful, but they hoped that first-person stories with a young woman protagonist might attract some readers who find novels centered on the brooding Rutledge – struggling with what […]