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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 »


T he rise of populism in Europe—and here in the United States by way of Donald Trump—is a rebellion against postmodern weightlessness. Political commentators are right to point out voter concerns about immigration, ­economic distress caused by globalization, and the ­technocratic establishment . . . . Continue Reading »

The Summer Reading List

Fifty years ago, prior to my freshman year at Baltimore’s St. Paul Latin High School, the late Fr. W. Vincent Bechtel introduced me to The Summer Reading List, upper-case. Fr. Bechtel didn’t fool around: He tossed his teenage charges into the deep end of the English and American literature pool . . . . Continue Reading »

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