Categories
Classics Fiction

COVID Anxiety

I can let my hair go gray! I haven’t seen my hair in its native state for two decades. I can catch up on my 23 episodes of This is Us and, coincidentally, my 23 episodes of Call the Midwife on my DVR. In what is the opposite of binge watching, I watch these shows […]

Categories
Classics Self-Help

Flattening the Curve: The Plague and COVID-19

“Should we go see the grandkids in Virginia?” We have the plane tickets. We’ve reserved the hotel and the rental car. And I would love to luxuriate in the embrace and enthusiasm of my young grandsons. But COVID-19 casts a pall. Maybe we should drive. Less proximity to potentially-infected fellow passengers. Except neither of us […]

Categories
Classics

Giants and Gods and Dwarfs

I remember the first movie I ever saw. I was about six. We lived in a refugee settlement in Hong Kong, having fled China. I had no idea what to expect when Mom took me to the dark, spacious theater. I had to be very quiet. Then the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs […]

Categories
Classics Fiction

Willa Cather, Greta Thunberg and Me

Willa Cather’s novel about pioneer life in Nebraska — My Antonia — was published a century ago in 1918.  This book casts a nostalgic look at the Midwestern prairie at the time it was being turned into farmlands and towns. Men and women from America and from Europe, primarily Eastern Europe, struggled to make a […]

Categories
Classics Poetry

Reading Dante in St. Louis

I tend to pick up long, dense literary works when I’m stressed out: Faulkner, Beowulf, Dante. I find hope that I can chip away at my troubles one problem at a time the same way I can finish lengthy tomes by reading a few pages every day. To be transported into other worlds and to […]

Categories
Classics Fiction

The Lord of the Rings: A Love Story

All stories live and die on their relationships. I have found the sweetest of relationships in, of all things, a three-volume fantasy novel — J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This story about hobbits (pint-sized creatures noted for hairy feet), wizards, elves, dwarves, men and the One Gold Ring has stayed with me since I […]

Categories
Classics Picture Books Poetry

Shakespeare Cats: My Version of Cute Cat Videos

I am a cat person. I have lived with, in the order of appearance, Wolfie (for Mozart), Moose (who walked with a swagger despite his small size), Salt (who was all black), Kitty (aka White and Black Kitty) and my current cat Lily, a Siamese with the sky-blue eyes of her breed. They all had […]

Categories
Classics Poetry

With a Little Help From My Friends

“What would you think if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song And I’ll try not to sing out of key Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends Mm, I get high with a […]

Categories
Classics Fiction Picture Books

The Little Prince and Me: It’s Complicated

Everybody loves The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Except me. Every time the name comes up, there is a universal “Oh, I love the Little Prince,” accompanied by a wistful, faraway look. I’m never sure if they mean the book or the character. I quite like the little guy myself, especially from his pictures: […]

Categories
Classics

A Moment in Paradise

I am sitting on the back porch of my son’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. I am seeing my four-week-old grandson Edin for the first time. My daughter-in-law tells me that Edin means “delight” in Hebrew. I’ve taken Edin downstairs to let his parents sleep. As we sit together, I watch. I inspect the faint bruising […]