Sweet Home

In a letter to the TLS, Susan M. Fitzpatrick admits that she was wrong about Alabama: “Two decades ago I moved from my home city of New York, to a town in Alabama with the great trepidation a New Yorker faces when relocating to the deep South. Most of my friends sympathized with my feelings . . . . Continue Reading »

Adorning the inner woman

Lauren Shields describes her experiment in modesty at Salon . For a year, she put away her designer clothes, covered her body including her hair, and didn’t wear make up. Some people lost interest in her: “I learned that if you put down the Beauty Suit you will be ignored by people who . . . . Continue Reading »

Elephant Divine

Rachel Dwyer’s TLS review picks out some of the nuggets from R. Sukumar’s The Story of Asia’s Elephants . In a world where the boundaries between creatures and the gods are “extremely porous,” it’s not surprising that the majestic elephant is one of the forms the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tobit’s Dog

In a letter to the TLS , Ohio State’s Hannibal Hamlin celebrates Tobit’s dog: “the only domestic pet in the Bible is the dog in the Book of Tobit. His presence in the story is entirely gratuitous but also entirely positive, keeping his master, Tobit’s son Tobias, company as . . . . Continue Reading »

Talking to Babies

Scott Moonen sent along a report on studies that indicate that babies already respond to language in utero . “”Forty infants, about 30 hours old and an even mix of girls and boys, were studied in Tacoma and Stockholm, Sweden.” The findings: “Babies only hours old are able to . . . . Continue Reading »

1950s redux?

Poor Camille Paglia. She’s worked herself into a froth. Writing in The Hollywood Reporter , she complains s(n)eeringly that the latest crop of women stars have betrayed feminism. With Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and their crowd of new power women, we’re back “to the demure . . . . Continue Reading »

Instructions for writers

For aspiring writers, I offer five key stages of writing a book. My plan applies best to non-fiction. Fiction, I’m sure, has its own rhythms. Stage 1: Ambition. You want to write the definitive yet wildly popular book about everything. This stage is marked by long periods of dreamy . . . . Continue Reading »

Introverted leadership

We think of leaders as large, dominant figures, whirlwinds that control every room and crowd, know what to do and tell everyone to do it. To that, Susan Cain ( Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking ) has two responses: First, that this vision of leadership has a . . . . Continue Reading »

Settling In

Welcome to the blog formerly known as Leithart.com. Readers of the earlier incarnation of my blog will, I trust, find the new site comfortably familiar. The contents will be consistent with what I have written over the years. Over to your right you’ll find a drop-down list of archives and a . . . . Continue Reading »