My Blog

Dostoevsky. Navalny. Gordievsky. Solzhenitsyn.

The evils of the Russian Empire have long been challenged by dissidents of stunning courage, back to the 1849 staged execution of author Fyodor Dostoevsky. The very word ‘intelligentsia’ was created in the 19thCentury to describe Russia’s educated radicals. Now Putin...

Epiphany

While Christian manger scenes usually feature the three Wise Men at the stable where Jesus had just been born, the Christian church believes differently. The often present camel reminds viewers the Magi came from Persia, India, and Arabia—all far from Bethlehem. Thus...

A Surprising Page Turner

I’m not a devotee of essays and I’d never heard of Brian Doyle. But when my almost-cousin Genie said I must read Doyles’ new book of said essays, I knew she could be trusted. And, boy, could she!  A distinguished novelist honored by the American Academy of Arts and a...

Authors Without a “Name” Must Self-publish

If my name were Lady Gaga, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Oprah Winfrey, or Lady Gaga, my novel The Cameron Womenwould have been published with one phone call to a New York publisher.  If I committed mass murder, same thing. Even if I just ran naked in front of the White...

The Parisian and The Palestinians

I picked The Parisianby Isabella Hammad off the East Grand Rapids Library’s “New” shelf for a specific reason. The jacket made it clear this was a novel about “a pivotal period in Palestinian history.”  I should have been intimidated by the six long lists of...