08-06-2008 05:45 PM - edited 08-12-2008 01:53 AM
Below are the titles and first sentences from the blog entries from weeks 1-30. Click on the title to see that week's blog and discussion:
Welcome, fellow readers --You probably already have a few authors whom you consider smart confidantes or friends. You draw on their words for guidance at difficult crossroads—for sympathy or advice....
Yesterday someone asked me “are you happy?”—which reminded me how much I hate that question.
You might love your job, house, and family, but the sound of your own voice might still sometimes bore you.
Week 3: Sophocles on When to Break the Law
Have you told a lie any time lately? If you were caught, did you feel misread?
Week 4: Miranda July and How People Drive Us
Four people I admire recently told me they’re reading Miranda July’s new book of short stories, No one belongs here more than you., so now I’m reading it.
Philosophy shares a lot with literature.
Last week on this board, we talked about humor.
Does expressing a feeling change the feeling?
Week 8: Charles Dickens and ConsistencyCharles Dickens opens his A Christmas Carroll with his famous wit. Here goes:
Week 9: Orpheus says "Don't Look Back!"
There have been many versions of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.
This week: Chinese wisdom coming from the Tao Te Ching.
Week 11: Computer Challenge: Are Paperbound Books Dying?
Instead of looking at one novel or poem this week, I want to ask what the value of the paper book is.
Week 12: Shakespeare Talks about Love
Romeo and Juliet popularized a lot of our ideas about love: We call outrageous romancers “Romeos,” we know how to pine like they do in the play, and we expect sentiment to go well on balconies.
Week 13: Mann on Dignity
For the next few weeks, I want to look at Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice, which is full of significant life themes. One of them is our need for dignity.
Week 14: Week 2 of Thomas Mann: Can the Healthy Empathize with the Sick?
We’re on our second week of a discussion of some of the major themes in Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice.
Week 15: Week 3 of Thomas Mann: Why Vacations Change Us
Death in Venice is one of the great travel stories.
Week 16: Mary Shelley and Our Sloppy Morality
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a strange novel—because the author seems to get masochistic here.
This week I’m reading Raintree County.
Week 18: Help me Appreciate Vampires
My friend who’s a literary agent said he found a goldmine of a book last week and is now bidding for it alongside eight other agencies.
This week: What’s pornography?
Week 20: What's Your Reaction to the Word "Feminism"?
I was recently interviewed about my work on Virginia Woolf, during which the interviewer and I had a long discussion about the word "feminism."
Week 21: Scenes of Joy: Carroll, Dickens, et al.
I’ve talked a lot about pain on this blog.
Week 22: Alexander Pope says, "Chin Up, Camper!"
Not many quotations have had a bigger effect on me than this one, from Alexander Pope’s poem "Essay on Criticism":
Week 23: Is Nonfiction Art?--and some praise for Malcolm Gladwell
I teach a college writing class in which we spend a lot of the year studying Malcolm Gladwell, who’s a big hero of mine.
Why do some books, which were written for adults, become the mainstays of our junior high and high school reading lists?
Week 25: Lie to Encourage Your Friends
I’m on book tour now, travelling a lot, exhausted, but having fun.
Week 26: Holidays=Happy, or no?
It’s Thanksgiving. I’ve just come home from the family dinner with the usual worry that “my family’s crazy.”
Hi everyone. Welcome back after my week’s blog break.
Week 28: OULIPO Messes with the Head
Ever heard of the OULIPO (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, or The Workshop of Potential Literature)?
I’m interested in “female sexual dysfunction” these days.
Week 30: Brilliant Minds Whose Parents Died Young
A lot of my favorite authors had their parents die during childhood.