• Books
  • Tiny Rectangles

    Some of my tiny rectangles. (And yes, there are others) Now this is a headline perfectly designed to be click bait for the likes of me: On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books But I’m glad I took the bite since Summer Brennan‘s essay was perfect for me: thoughtful, humorous and yes, reassuring. […]

  • Books
  • The Journey is One-Way

    Sarah Manguso, photographed at home in Los Angeles. Photograph: Barry J. Holmes for the Observer I read Alice Gregory‘s review of Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, by Sarah Manguso in the New Yorker a few months ago. I knew I would love this slim slip of a book, which I do. Gregory’s review is […]

  • Books
  • Finding Squares

    Marilynne Robinson (Photo: Big Think) Recently I wrote about Richard Diebenkorn and described how deeply his work and approach to life informed my way of art making and being in the world. In that post I referenced Adam Gopnik‘s description of squareness: C├ęzanne, unique among the masters, was utterly square. Diebenkorn, the perfect representative of […]

  • Books
  • Finding Wild

    A woman, alone, in the landscape (This particular one being my friend Ali Ringenburg at Deer Isle) Two excellent books, both written by women, have the same title: Wild. Sheryl Strayed is American, and her book became an instant best seller (and soon a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.) Jay Griffiths is British, and she is […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Abrams, Books and Artifacts

    A page from “S” The concept of an artifact—material, touchable and therefore commodifiable—has been a controversial issue in art circles for a long time. For some practitioners, the highest and purist artistic expression is one that happens without a footprint or “residue.” The absence of a material object d’art speaks to a devotion to the […]

  • Books
  • Solnitessence

    Vascular bundle of a fern rhizome (Image from a fascinating website, Urbagram which addresses a set of interlinked concepts, models, speculations, probings, essays and artefacts based on urban systems.) I first encountered Rebecca Solnit quite by accident. About ten years ago I was making my usual pilgrimage to the lusciously overstuffed and highly iconic City […]

  • Books
  • Books, Forgetting and the Pure Joy of Reading

    My favorite library belongs to my friends Andrew and Kathryn: Color coded throughout the house. This week I have been inundated with references to a piece by Ian Crouch, The Curse of Reading and Forgetting, on Facebook, Twitter and in my email. Bullseye. This is what perfect targeting looks like, exactly the kind of tailored […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Zadie Smith

    We all have our heros, and Zadie Smith is one of mine. After reading her first novel, White Teeth (written at the age of 22 no less) in 2000, I was hooked. So of course I was in one of the front rows of very full auditorium at the MFA on Thursday night to hear […]

  • Books
  • Lovell’s Quiet Portrait of George Saunders

    George Saunders (Photo:Damon Winter/The New York Times) Joel Lovell has written the cover article for the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the writer George Saunders. Much more than just a portrait of Saunders—which is reason enough, certainly—Lovell’s article is full of interstitial wisdom, a handfull of small but meaningful vignettes, and a respectful generosity […]