Camilla Townsend has pulled off a remarkable magic trick in this book, reconstituting the Mexica empire with an amazing level of detail and sensitivity. It makes the Aztecs feel like a real people, with a vibrant and complex culture, instead of the cartoon figures that I pictured them as before.… Read the rest
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It took many months for me to finish reading this book, as I could only manage it in small doses. Dillard writes with an intensity level that starts around 7 or 8 and cranks up to 11 by the end of each chapter, and as thrilling as that is, it can also be difficult to bear.… Read the rest
The toadfish sits on the bottom of the sea, singing a song of love.
It is a creature midway between humble and fabulous. It is small enough to fit into a person’s hand, and has a bulbous, grey-green, wet look.… Read the rest
So last week I went for a walk before starting work. It was a simple, small walk, just around the block. I was enjoying the sunshine and the blue sky and paused to appreciate the gnarled, massive pepper tree on the street parallel to ours, which I don’t see nearly enough because I usually don’t walk that way.… Read the rest
One of the last decisions we had to make when my father was in hospice care was whether we wanted a teddy bear made out of one of his shirts. It was just a day or two before he died, and we didn’t know exactly when it would happen, but it was clear he was getting close to the end.… Read the rest
I’m not entirely sure I know the difference between grief and depression.
My father died on February 7, and for the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been grieving his death. This is normal and expected. It’s exactly the kind of ordinary devastation that people all over the world feel every day, that we will all feel eventually.… Read the rest
Ryan D. Tweney, professor, book collector, husband, father, and mentor, died February 7 in Pahrump, Nevada, aged 76. Born in Detroit, Ryan was raised by his mother Helene Tweney and grandmother Viola Marciniak, and educated at Cass Technical High School, the University of Chicago, and Wayne State University, where he earned a Ph.D.… Read the rest
It’s November, and in the seasonal ebb and return of the San Francisco economy that means it’s time for Dreamforce, the annual tradeshow hosted by Salesforce.com. It’s one of several annual conferences large enough not only to occupy all of the Moscone Center’s three massive buildings, but to spill out into and take over the adjacent street, occupying a full city block of
Harrison Howard Street.… Read the rest
The Institute by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“The Institute” is a dark vision of psychic power and how it could be abused by a shadowy organization that transcends any one government — people who believe they are doing massive good for the world while actually inflicting tremendous evil on the children they are using.… Read the rest