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The Bookish Life

The village idiot of the shtetl of Frampol was offered the job of waiting at the village gates to greet the arrival of the Messiah. “The pay isn’t great,” he was told, “but the work is steady.” The same might be said about the conditions of the bookish life: low pay but steady . . . . Continue Reading »

In Rare Form

Devotions by timothy murphy north dakota state, 192 pages, $24.95 Not a knee is padded in Timothy Murphy’s new collection. This is no minor point, considering that knee remains for the length of the volume perpetually bent and on the floor. Like the poet himself, these ­poems—religious . . . . Continue Reading »

The Imperial Conductor

Toscanini:  Musician of Conscience  by harvey sachs liveright, 944 pages, $39.95 When the first instruction manual for leaders of orchestras—Johann Mattheson’s Der vollkommene Capellmeister—appeared in 1739, it was a sign that the size of orchestral ensembles and the . . . . Continue Reading »

Vice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire by george r. r. martin bantam, 5216 pages, $36.39 No English child will ever again experience, as I did, the joys of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great historical romances The White Company and Sir Nigel, set in the far-off fourteenth century. The remaining . . . . Continue Reading »

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