Book Book Review, Title What Men Live By, Author Leo Tolstoy, Rating 4.0,

What Men Live By

Leo Tolstoy

Book Review


The Heart of Tolstoy

Tolstoy remains one of my favorite writers. His War and Peace and Anna Karenina were reading investments that still pay dividends. These four short stories, in particular What Men Live By, represent some aspects of Tolstoy's later turn to a simpler and more universal religious outlook, when he eschewed organized religion, and embraced a code based on Christ's teaching alone, centering on the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.

Book Book Review, Title Mink River , Author Brian Doyle, Rating 4.5,

Mink River

Brian Doyle

Book Review


The Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works in the coastal village of Neawanaka on the Mink River, besides performing the ordinary public works of cleaning streets and repairing sidewalks, slowly expands over time to 'preserve history, collect stories, repair marriages, prevent crime, augment economic status, promote chess, manage insect populations, run sports leagues, isn't that a bit much? We even give haircuts.' ( page 15) Worried Man and Cedar are its two aging employees, idealists who doggedly work to carry out their mission statement: 'Brains against Pains.' ( page 45)

Book Book Review, Title The Hunters: A Novel, Author James Salter, Rating 4.0,

The Hunters: A Novel

James Salter

Book Review


The lonely warrior

Salter, a former fighter pilot, writes directly from experience in this novel of U.S. fighter pilots in the Korean War. He draws an internal picture of the psychology of the single combat warrior, and it feels genuine. His portrayal of heroism in the cloistered world of aerial combat does not always translate into obvious laudable accomplishment.

Book Book Review, Title Monument Road, Author Charlie Quimby, Rating 4.5,

Monument Road

Charlie Quimby

Book Review


Laconic Love

It was a pleasure to soak in the deep water that is this novel. Charlie Quimby brought back alive a world I have had only episodic contact with in my life: small towns in the far country. It was not as much the characters in this novel, but their sensibility, their rhythms of speech and actions that were recognizable from my past forays beyond the city. After the pleasure of remembrance past is the pleasure of a deceptively simple love story. It is not one of gushing romance or erotic desires, but one of sharing a full life, of living for the other person, of being deeply grateful that fate brought a companion who could see you for what you are, and who unselfishly did the everyday things that add up to a lifetime of devotion.

Book Book Review, Title Perfect Rigor, Author Masha Gessen, Rating 3.5,

Perfect Rigor

Masha Gessen

Book Review

Reviews, Science.

Too simply pure

The Poincaré conjecture, one of the great unsolved topological problems, was finally proven at the end of the 20th century by Grigoriy Perelman, a Russian mathematician of genius. Topology might be described as distilled geometry. The historian Masha Gessen, who grew up herself in the Russian mathematical culture, invites us into the Aspergian milieu of world-class geometers to tease out the tale.

Book Pocket Review, Title A New History Of Early Christianity, Author Charles Freeman, Rating 3.5,

A New History Of Early Christianity

Charles Freeman

Pocket Review


The gestation of Christianity

This is a very readable historical treatment of the early gestation of Christianity. The approach is explicitly historical rather than theological, allowing the author to examine the early documents and archeology in light of the culture and politics of the early Christian writers. In particular the diverse perspectives and the many contradictions found in their writings can make more sense when considering wider historical influences, such as the region the writer came from, the language(s) they spoke and didn't speak, whether they were Jewish or Gentile, their position in society, and so on.

Book Briefly Noted, Title Why Evolution Is True, Author Jerry A. Coyne, Rating 3.5,

Why Evolution Is True

Jerry A. Coyne

Briefly Noted


Evolution and Truth

This book has been hailed by some as a clear-eyed exposition of modern evolutionary biology. I found it strong on the science, and disappointingly weak on the intellectual discipline.