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Tag: writing

Review: Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”

I have very little to say about Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It is an absolute masterpiece. The writing, the characters, the story––they’re all superb and blend together perfectly. The book is bursting with poignant insights about the nature of freedom, suffering, racism, family, memory, trauma, healing, humanism, and much more. It’s also terrifying and punishing, so be [...]

Review: Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future”

When Ezra Klein says something like, “this is the most important book I read this year,” there’s little question as to what I’ll do next. That’s how Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future made its way into my life, and boy am I glad it did! This remarkable, brilliant, and wildly useful book is one [...]

Review: Madeleine Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”

In his 2011 book Confucian Role Ethics, philosopher Roger T. Ames reflects on the relationship between individual identity, family dynamics, and music in the Confucian tradition: The timelessness and broad appeal of the teachings of Confucius begins from the insight that the life of almost every human being, regardless of where or when, is played out within [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “The Will to Battle”

The Will to Battle, the penultimate installment of Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet, is somewhat stranger than its predecessors but every bit as brilliant and entertaining. It’s an in-between tale––a bridge from one place to another. Such stories always run the risk of being needlessly convoluted or just tiresome, but Palmer manages to keep the pacing and [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “Seven Surrenders”

Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet continues to delight and astound me. Since Seven Surrenders was originally planned as the second half of Too Like the Lightning, please start with my review of that book; I won’t repeat key information about the series that was covered there. Better yet, just stop reading this review and get your hands on a copy of Too [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “Too Like the Lightning”

I discovered Ada Palmer via a couple interviews on one of my favorite podcasts, Singularity.FM  (Interview #1, Interview #2). Even if you have no interest in this series or science fiction in general, I highly recommend that you listen to these interviews. If you do, you’ll quickly find yourself enthralled by what is surely one [...]

Review: Elena Ferrante’s “The Story of the Lost Child”

There can be no doubt that Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels comprise one of the great literary masterpieces of the early 21st century. Even so, the end of this series left me numb, enervated to the point of apathy. It’s hard to tell if my reaction is the aberrant result of a desolate narrative’s collision with the very [...]

Review: Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”

I read Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises when I was a teenager, and it went completely over my head. I missed one of the key plot points and also failed to connect with the novel in a way that felt moving or meaningful. This time around, I think I understood enough to recognize the tremendously tragic [...]

Review: Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”

If I could trade the fictional world of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women for the real one, I’d seriously consider it. This tale of familial bonding and kind neighborliness will warm even the coldest heart. Set in New England during and after the American Civil War, the novel charts the adolescence and early adulthood of the four March [...]

Review: Gabriel García Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera”

This is the third novel I’ve read by Gabriel García Márquez, and I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the last. Love in the Time of Cholera is a beautifully-written book packed with a wealth of vibrant symbolism, but its thematic and interpersonal qualities are unmistakably corrupt. Márquez’s prose––expertly enlivened by Edith Grossman’s [...]