John Waters has a book he’d like Trump to read

This By the Book interview with John Waters in Sunday’s New York Times was all kinds of awesome, from his citing Ignatius J. Reilly as his favorite fictional hero to his cranky anticipation of the English translation of the next installment in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.” But his book recommendation for President Trump was […]

New Year’s Rainbow

(with apologies to Thomas Pynchon, Monty Python and the Kenosha Kid) May there be no masturbators in your stacks No Trumps in your tulips No communists in your kitchen, eating your wife’s jam May the pig hero Plechazunga Drive off the Norse invaders in your life. May Slothrop’s holy hardon Keep you safe from alt-right […]

There’s gold at the end of Gravity’s Rainbow … I think

It wasn’t pretty, but after six months of following Slothrop through the debris of post World War II Europe, I’ve finally arrived at the end of Gravity’s Rainbow. Our attempted reading group crashed and burned as members, including me, were pulled away by their respective realities. There was a solid 8 weeks or so where I was […]

The end-of-the-semester-head-clearing hike

As the semester grinds down, I catch myself looking intently at any stand of trees I encounter. For 16 weeks, I’ve allowed my urge to hike, bike or kayak be suppressed by teaching duties. It’s bullshit, really. I could easily carve out time to spend in the woods during the semester. But I don’t, leaning […]

These books I have shorn against my ruin: from hobbits to Pynchon to the Tao

In a recent Wall Street Journal Saturday essay, Will Schwalbe made the case for reading. “At the trial in which he would be sentenced to death, Socrates (as quoted by Plato) said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living,” Schwalbe wrote. “Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. […]