Sea Glass Shadows

One day, knowing how much you love the beach and cats, our mom will find a book that happens to feature both and bring it home to read to you. She’ll read Brinton Turkle’s Do Not Open to you so much that she’ll recite the first few pages of it automatically, autonomically, when the adult […]

Two Fools, Among Others

It started with Jack Kerouac, unfortunately. I was a performatively masculine seventeen-year-old, like most people reading Kerouac, and I read On the Road on the train back to London. A famous passage flew off the page: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, […]

A to Zikaron: Re(t)reading Animalia

“An Armored Armadillo Avoiding An Angry Alligator:” so begins Graeme Base’s 1986 alphabet book Animalia, a menagerie of animals, vegetables, minerals, and more. It’s a book that lived fondly but dimly in my memories up until the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, if you’d asked me in February 2020 what childhood read had been most formative, I […]

Parenting and Perspective

My daughter is in the first grade, and her teacher gives her a packet of homework for the week on Mondays. In almost all ways, her mother and I can look at our daughter’s habits, turn to one another, and say “that’s you” or “she gets that from your Dad.” But there is one thing […]


I always liked Aslan a little better than Jesus. The Christ of the Bible could be rather erratic—a trait he perhaps picked up from God the Father. One minute he would be cuddling kids on his lap like a sandal-shod hippie Santa Claus, and the next he would be heartlessly telling his mom that he […]

Golden Hours

I lost reading along the way growing up, shedding the stripes that had marked a bookish boyhood. The fad of the internet defined my youth, crossing fatefully with streaks of rebelliousness and the fruitless search for belonging. In all three worlds, there was no place for books. Reading was for losers. The cool kids hung […]

The Life That is Waiting For Us

The first time anyone asked me what I thought of A Room with a View, I said, “sure, it’s a nice enough romance.” I was sixteen, reading it in that strange summer-between after I had finished secondary school and before I would enter sixth form. We would be studying the book in school the coming […]

The Corrosive Sublime

Towards the end of the barricade sequence in Les Misérables, Victor Hugo remarks, Victory, when in accord with progress, deserves the approbation of the masses, but a heroic defeat deserves their compassion. The one is magnificent, the other sublime. For those of us who prefer martyrdom to success, John Brown is greater than Washington. Twenty […]

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