mudandstarsMud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age by Sara Wheeler | 
The Georgia Review 
Summer 2020

I reviewed Wheeler’s book on traveling contemporary Russia through the lens of great, 19th-century Russian writers for The Georgia Review’s Summer 2020 issue.

readbook-900x675What Does It Mean to Have ‘Read’ a Book? |
Read It Forward

In his book Where I’m Reading From, Tim Parks asks an important question of readers: “Do we need to finish [books]?” The reason this query is so vital is that most people, I’ll argue, don’t actually finish all the books they’ve said they’ve read—and if this is so then we must all understand what we mean when we say we’ve “read” a book. Continue reading…

Spoiler-AlertThe Spoils of Literature | Literary Hub

It’s like that thing in When Harry Met Sally… where Harry says that he always reads the last page of a book before he starts it to make sure it’ll be worthwhile, and then later in the movie we actually see him do this, but as he does he gets a phone call from Sally, who asks him what he’s up to, to which he responds, “Just finishing a book.” The joke, obviously, is that he no more finished it than someone who only knows that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father has seen The Empire Strikes Back. Harry has learned the facts of the ending, but none of the context that might grant them meaning and emotional power. But if we’re to ponder for a moment the phrase spoiler alert, it seems as if being made aware of how a story concludes is in some way akin to having actually experienced said story. Unlike Harry, when such information doesn’t promote a narrative’s worth; instead, it destroys it. Continue reading…