The bursting life of The Diary of Frida Kahlo

Being an unabashed Frida-phile, I ordered a used copy of The Diary of Frida Kahlo, a facsimile of her diary from the last decade of her life. When it arrived I tore open the padded mailer and let the beautiful pages wash over me. I know enough Spanish to read her entries, in her looping … Continue reading The bursting life of The Diary of Frida Kahlo

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Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth: Letter from Chief Seattle to the U.S. President in 1852

I was reading The Power of Myth, a dialogue between Joseph Conrad and Bill Moyers, and came across a letter. It halted me. It's an 1852 letter from Chief Seattle to the U.S. President, in response to a request to buy land. Inside, the Chief offers a timeless reflection on man's connection to nature. The moral … Continue reading Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth: Letter from Chief Seattle to the U.S. President in 1852

Our reality in reverse: A conversation from a Russian classroom

I treasure my subscription to Harper's Magazine. Each month it delivers a sampler of high-quality original writings and other material, like a fine box of Belgian chocolates. The "other material" is what makes Harper's especially delicious. Harper's rummages through the world's vast written record, and like an artist making sculpture out of found objects, the … Continue reading Our reality in reverse: A conversation from a Russian classroom

A Lesson in Persistence: Flaubert’s Struggle with Madame Bovary

It’s easy to think that books now considered classics must have been, in some sense, inevitable. That the authors intuited they were onto something vital. Their toil was propelled by the mental flow that, at the best of times, animates human endeavor. This idea is discouraging to one struggling with his art and divining in … Continue reading A Lesson in Persistence: Flaubert’s Struggle with Madame Bovary

Explore Caribbean literature with this enticing list of a writer’s favorites

I love reading for so many reasons. But chief among them is literature's ability to carry us to other places and cultures; to reveal some sliver of this vast, unknowable world. That's why I was delighted to discover an interview with an Antiguan writer, Joanne C. Hillhouse, on Caribbean writing. It's a fascinating stroll through … Continue reading Explore Caribbean literature with this enticing list of a writer’s favorites

An anonymous woman’s harrowing account of post-WWII life in Berlin

Twitter tells me that August is #WomenInTranslation month. (I'm thrilled both to realize that this is a thing, and that it's happening at this moment. No waiting!) There is a trove of tweets on the subject that I've eagerly riffled through. Then I asked myself, if I were to dedicate a post to this, what … Continue reading An anonymous woman’s harrowing account of post-WWII life in Berlin