Category Archives: literature

Two Competing Visions

From Per Petterson’s remarkable I Curse the River of Time, two visions of death. He seems to think that the first, and not the second is inevitable, yet he spends considerably more effort describing the second, more pleasant alternative, so … Continue reading

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On the Unremarkable Processes of Life

I had a relatively minor surgery last week and thus had more than the usual amount of time to sit around reading, especially about healthcare, medicine, and most of all its incredible rising cost. From Craig Bowron’s most recent article … Continue reading

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Amazon.it Brought to Heel by Levi Law

While trying to research publication information on the Italian guidebook that profiled my home state, a visit to Amazon.it, which just opened this year, revealed the following warning: Dear Customer, It now seems certain that by September 1, a law … Continue reading

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Tim Parks Update

About a month ago, Tim Parks wrote a piece for Italian business paper il Sole 24 Ore about Jonathan Franzen’s popularity in Europe. He referred to the piece in a talk that he gave to Milan’s Stampa Estera.  That piece … Continue reading

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So you want to write a book?

Tim Parks stands out from most expatriate writers on Italy by choosing to write about the daily realities of a life lived among regular people. Lesser writers are enchanted into irrelevance by the cultural, gastronomic and sartorial consumption opportunities afforded … Continue reading

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On Wrestling with Angels

Have you ever wanted to do something difficult, perhaps out of frustration, or to beat fear?  Maybe you ran a marathon, or took up biking, or read a long book or worked out a difficult puzzle.  What you in all … Continue reading

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Post-Holiday Post

Happy Epiphany everyone. I’m just in from an utterly exhausting holiday trip to Rovigo, Louisville and Washington DC, and after yesterday’s 24-hour trip home, I’m too spent to do much other than post this ridiculous 1951 Warner Brothers cartoon featuring … Continue reading

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Italian Neighbors

It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up late to finish a book. But Tim Parks, with his impeccable rural Veneto credentials, has long fascinated me, and I finally got hold of his Italian Neighbors. To his credit, I … Continue reading

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