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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the recent charges brought against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and dismiss his claim of being a journalist. They also cross the pond to the UK, where Prime Minister Theresa May is resigning over the Brexit debacle and size up the race to replace […]

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The Story of Civilizations

 

Like much of America, I hate-watched the end of Game of Thrones. Ultimately, the ending was unsatisfying, but there have been worse disappointments in the world of television. I come not to bury or to praise Game of Thrones, but to instead highlight a good statement from about the middle of an episode (albeit, not advice the show actually followed):

“What unites a people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.”

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This Week’s Book Review – A Most Dangerous Innocence

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

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The Song of the Sirin, by Nicholas Kotar, is the first book in a fantasy series that incorporates Russian faery tales into a mythic world that itself resembles a medieval northwest Russia. Kotar weaves in themes of faith, loyalty, and duty, as they clash with their antitheses in a realm’s sudden existential war against an […]

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One Man’s Search for Home Across the Oceans

 

Immediately upon finishing National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty’s new book (available for pre-order and due for release next week) I did three things: I got up and kissed my husband, and thanked him for being an amazing father. He knew what I was reading, he read it too, and he thanked me for acknowledging it; as I often do. I then went to the bathroom, because my bladder is getting more smushed by the day, and I applied lotion on my dry, growing belly.

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The Deed Is Done!

 

The time went by so quickly! Creative Judaism Partnering with G-d: Insecurity and Love is published!

About one month ago, I wrote a post about my delight in partnering with @iwe on a book on the Torah. We just finished it, and it has been one of the most educational and joyous writing experiences of my life. To not only be in a position of trust (in both directions) but also produce a book that speaks to our love of Torah and Judaism was truly a gift.

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Quote of the Day: The First Eighteen Lines

 

I know many of you know them by heart. I’ve seen some of you say so, on Ricochet, over the past nine years. At some point in your lives, you probably had them thrust at you; you might have struggled through them; maybe you cheated with the Cliffs Notes; perhaps you said you couldn’t possibly figure them out; you didn’t believe you could just “read them out loud” and understand them; and when you did, you couldn’t quite believe that your mouth, and your larynx had made such weird sounds; perhaps you memorized them; and very likely you either hated, or you loved, your taskmaster and teacher.

I loved my teacher of forty years ago. And a couple of years after the class in which all of the above thoughts ran through my mind at one point or another, we married each other. I don’t know how far we’ll get into the next forty together, but we’ve had a pretty good run. And now, it’s April again, the Ram has run his “half-course,” the world is greening, and, as happens every year at this time, I’m reminded.

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The Book Cover Challenge

 

I rarely join in on any social media challenges, but I made an exception last week. The goal was to post seven covers of books I love – no explanation, no review – just the cover. Here were my picks:

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The quote in the title is from As You Like It, but that’s not really the Quote of the Day. April Fool! Today’s actual quote of the day comes from Charles Lamb, who was born in 1775, in London, to a middle-class lawyer’s clerk and his wife, in a house in which he lived in […]

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What Are The 10 Greatest Poems?

 

Poetry seems to be almost dead in the modern world. I do not think that this is true. The poets of today are songwriters.

What do you think are the ten greatest poems? My preliminary list:

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Misthiocracy has a post today about whether the death of the Great Books has been exaggerated. It got me to thinking. What are the Great Books? Implicit in the phrase is that we’re talking about the Western canon. Mis gave a link to Mortimer Adler’s reading list, but it contained 137 authors, many with multiple books. I […]

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‘The Silmarillion’ Is a Dense Yet Highly Engaging Origin Story for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth

 

As Game of Thrones draws to a close, and a new Amazon Lord of the Rings TV series awaits, J.R.R. Tolkien is sure to return as the king of fantasy (if he ever even left). Despite being dead now for nearly 46 years, Tolkien created, in Middle-Earth and the stories that take place there, a rich, vivid mythology that has ensured his immortality.

Many people first came to appreciate Tolkien’s work because of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in the early 2000s. I was one of them. Only eight years old when The Fellowship of the Ring came out, I was not allowed to see either it or its sequel in theaters (though I did catch them later on DVD). But when my parents said they would let me see The Return of the King in theaters, I decided to read all of the books in the trilogy before the movie came out so that I would appreciate it properly. Even at age 10, I recall getting lost–in the best possible way–in the epic and fully realized world of heroism and mysticism that Tolkien had created. Seeing the last movie in theaters remains one of my best-ever theatrical experiences, and it confirmed my status as a Tolkien fan.

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I looked up telenovela on Portuguese Wikipedia, hoping for a link to Turkish Wikipedia that would tell me how to say “soap opera” in the latter language. Well, I guess I could have gone right from English Wikipedia’s “soap opera” directly; either way, no dice. And either way, I think Elimi Bırakma, “Don’t Let Go […]

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Book Review: All the Plagues of Hell

 

There are few better pure storytellers than Eric Flint and David Freer. Individually they’re entertaining. Together, the result is splendid. “All the Plagues of Hell,” by Eric Flint and David Freer is the latest novel in the Heirs of Alexandria fantasy series. Set in the middle of the 15th century, it’s alternate history. In this world magic works.

This book centers on Count Kazimierz Mindaug, a long-standing series villain. A Lithuanian nobleman, he fled Lithuania after a failed attempt to kill its leader, Duke Jagiellon (possessed by the demon Chernobog). Mindaug took shelter in Hungary serving the evil King Emeric of Hungary and Countess Elizabeth Barthody. Both were killed earlier in the series. Mindaug escaped, but their destruction left Mindaug with no protector against Chernobog, vengefully pursuing Mindaug.

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Quote of the Day: “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

 

She’s the ultimate femme fatale. And it’s one of the oldest stories in the world. The Beautiful Lady Without Pity. The subject of my second-favorite poem by John Keats, which was written 200 years ago, when Keats was just 23.

It’s his reworking of a 15th-century French poem of 800 lines, telling a complex story of love and loss. Keats throws out all the extraneous characters and globetrotting excesses of the original, boiling it down to a 48-line tale of one bewitched Knight, one beautiful Lady (without pity) and one withery, sedgy marsh where our bewildered hero is dumped by the Lady, after a night (one hopes) of ecstasy in her “Elfin grot.”

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Happy Saynt Valentyn’s Day!

 

. . . from Geoffrey Chaucer, who, as with so many other things, is often credited with starting it all.

His dream vision poem, The Parliament of Fowls, was written about 1380 and begins with the narrator (who seems not to know how to love, has perhaps never been in love, and will very likely never find love, in fact, he’s just pretty crotchety in general) falling asleep while reading Cicero’s Dream of Scipio. He’s transported, first to the erotic but soulless Temple of Love, and then to a lively Arcadian world presided over by the goddess Nature, in which huge flocks of birds are debating (arguing) about how, and who, to choose their mates. The dramatic tension is provided by the eagles, representing the highest courtly ranks. (Chaucer uses various bird species to represent different levels of society, and their dialog varies wildly, from those representing common, ordinary man, up through the eagles, representing the top of the heap. The poem is, in many respects a gentle satire on the emerging courtly love tradition and a commentary on contemporaneous royal marriages, as the birds mimic the behavior of commoners (whose behavior and language provides the comic relief in the poem), knights and ladies, kings and queens.)

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First, read a lot of books. Second, go to rtvslo.si in search of a short video to watch and listen to, and find one about a certain Jakov Fak. This is a Slovene biathlete who until a few years ago was a Croatian biathlete and he was selected to carry Slovenia’s flag at the 2018 […]

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