Category Archives: Books

Hey It’s Franklin

I mentioned in my last post that studied moderation isn’t much comfort to me lately. That’s partly because, however it might otherwise appear from this blog, I’m not trying to calculate the distance between the two most extreme positions I … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Politics | 9 Comments

One-A-Day: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration

I’m going to start trying again to write comments on the reading I’ve been doing over the last six months. It hasn’t been quite one-a-day, but there’s a lot of books and articles in my backlog to talk about. Pathfinders … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Books, The Mixed-Up Bookshelves | 4 Comments

When Wertham Comes A-Calling

I’m working through David Hajdu’s excellent The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. While it’s a story that I already knew well, Hadju has collected a lot of interesting reminiscences from comic-book creators of the … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Popular Culture | 18 Comments

Back to Not Out of Africa

Maybe because it’s April, I’m in one of my periodic bouts of skepticism about blogging. I spoke earlier this semester to a class about my practice as an online writer, and the occasion made me realize that I’m really starting … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Blogging, Books, Politics | 5 Comments

Border Guards

I was thinking of writing a One-a-Day post about Tim Weiner’s compelling history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes. (I’ve been reading books, just not blogging about my reading. I’ll catch up soon.) Then I read Stephen Weissman’s critique of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Books | 1 Comment

I’m Shocked, Shocked To Find that Some Memoirs Are Fake

I’m more irritated by the spinster-swooning over fake memoirs as I am of fake memoirs. Oh my word, someone pretended to be someone else in a memoir. What is our modern society coming to? Where are the standards of yesteryear? … Continue reading

Posted in Books | 6 Comments

One-A-Day: Louis Sachar, Holes

I know some people are skeptical about whether you can teach people to write fiction in a conventional classroom. At the very least, I think aspiring writers can benefit by reading marvelous examples of particular kinds of writing or particular … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Popular Culture, The Mixed-Up Bookshelves | 2 Comments

Uncharacteristically Brief Remarks

I’m very pleased by the vote in favor of open-access at Harvard. Not just because of open-access, but because it shows that it’s possible for faculty to choose dramatic changes or reforms in their way of business. I don’t know … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Politics, Swarthmore | 2 Comments

QA Google Books?

In all the debate about Google’s approach to digitization, I haven’t seen much discussion of the quality of the results, though people do talk some about interface issues (the Open Content Alliance design is a lot better for readability and … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Information Technology and Information Literacy | 4 Comments

One-A-Day: Oona Strathern, A Brief History of the Future

Historians divide themselves by areas and by periods of specialization, but also by the methodological focus of their scholarly work: social history, political history, economic history and so on. This isn’t just an abstract division: it defines the real-world allocation … Continue reading

Posted in Books, The Mixed-Up Bookshelves | 6 Comments