Dr. Bookworm

Dr. Bookworm

gonzo book reviews

These are my riffs on books: old and new, fiction and non- fiction. Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

Cathy Luh

Do We Really Know?

In 1960, we eighth-graders at St. Raphael’s Catholic school took a series of standardized tests. Solemnly, Sister Cyprian went desk to desk handing each student a multipage test booklet and a number two pencil. We were tested on language and math skills, and I don’t remember what else.  For inexplicable reasons, the results came to […]

Ben Franklin and My Covid Year

I seem to have the soul of an 18th century Yankee — industrious, leaning toward practical virtue, and optimistic. Then again, that is not unlike the striving, entrepreneurial spirit of my Shanghainese parents. I’ve been thinking about these traits in the context of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and my Covid year. In this memoir, Franklin (1706 […]

Blind-sided by Grace

I was blind-sided by grace on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021. I say grace because I don’t have a better word. It was unexpected.  It was not earned. It was something I didn’t know I was missing until it came my way. And it was wonderful. I didn’t have much expectation for the Covid-curtailed Inauguration.  I wanted […]

Following Basho’s Steps in St. Louis

In the spring of 1689, the Japanese poet Basho mended his cotton pants, sewed a new strap on his bamboo hat, rubbed herbs on his legs, and embarked on a walking tour. He walked 1,500 miles throughout Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. He memorialized this journey in Narrow Road to the Interior, a travel […]


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