Old Site Menu

Missive #226 Published 24 February 2024

Critically acclaimed science journalist, Mark Buchanan tells the fascinating story of the discovery that there is a natural structure of instability woven into the fabric of our world, which explains why catastrophes— both natural and human— happen.
Scientists have recently discovered a new law of nature and its footprints are virtually everywhere— in the spread of forest fires, mass extinctions, traffic jams, earthquakes, stock-market fluctuations, the rise and fall of nations, and even trends in fashion, music and art.

Missive #226 Read More »

Missive #225 Published 23 February 2024


Two men who were quarreling came to Nasruddin.
“Please help us, Nasruddin!” said the first man.
“We need you to judge between us!” said the second man.
The first man presented his case, and when he was done, Nasruddin exclaimed, “You’re right!”
The second man shouted, “You haven’t even listened to my side of the story!”

Missive #225 for Friday Read More »

Missive #224 Published 22 February 2024

The quietly repressed tension in the opening chapters here—a dead-eyed young stranger appears in the black section of St. Adrienne, Louisiana—seems to be revving up a subtly gripping and artfully shaped narrative. What Gaines (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman) actually delivers turns out to be neither subtle nor shapely, nor especially original, but on every page there's an authentic moment, or a dead-right knot of conversation, or a truer-than-true turn of phrase—enough of them to carry you through to the overly theatrical finale.

Missive #224 Read More »

Missive #223 Published 20 February 2024

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, he feels no real calling—despite his lively faith—and he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris, and then hanging his sign in Oxford.

Soon after, a local lord asks Hugh de Singleton to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspool.

Missive #223 Read More »

Missive #222 Published 18 February 2024

Continuing The Anti-Federalist Papers

Agrippa XIV
by James Winthrop
(Concluded from our last)
To the Massachusetts Convention

Missive #222 Read More »

Missive #221 Published 16 February 2024


Old West meets New West in this novel set in Southern California by early western writer Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945). Most of the story, in fact, would happily take place in the 19th century. There is a ranch with cowboys on horses, gold prospecting in the Mojave, and a big gunfight outside a saloon. But for good measure, Knibbs also throws in a motor car, Los Angeles, and references to movie-making.

Missive #221 Read More »

Missive #220 Published 14 February 2024

"In this semi-autobiographical novel, an American named Roland Lancaster has a doomed affair with a younger woman, Elsa, in Cuba during World War II. The love story, in its happiest moments, parallels the idyllic life that author John Dos Passos had with his first wife, Katy."
I didn't dislike this book but think that Dos Passo's nonfiction is better than his fiction. A semi-autobiographical book is only half way between.

Missive #220 Read More »

Missive #219 Published 12 February 2024

Child of God established McCarthy's interest in using extreme isolation, perversity, and violence to represent human experience. McCarthy ignores literary conventions – for example, he does not use quotation marks – and switches between several styles of writing such as matter-of-fact descriptions, almost poetic prose, and colloquial first-person narration (with the speaker remaining unidentified). — Wikipedia
The book is all of that and may not be to everyone's taste.

Missive #219 Read More »

Missive #218 Published 11 February 2024

Continuing The Federalist Papers.

Federalist No. 14
Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory Answered
Author: James Madison
To the People of the State of New York:

Missive #218 Read More »

Missive #217 Published 10 February 2024

This completes the Videssos Cycle of books which I read out of order. They were good reads; although reading them in story line order would probably be best publication order is probably the simplest.

Missive #217 Read More »