Reflections on Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” on the Occasion of Unpacking My Library

I spent my winter break this year packing up my office and moving to a new building. The biggest part of moving offices for me is always packing and unpacking my hundreds of books acquired over the past 25 or so years. Each time I move offices, I read Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library:Continue reading “Reflections on Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” on the Occasion of Unpacking My Library”

What I’m Reading: Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones, and Butter”

I decided to “read” (i.e., listen to) Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef solely based on the blurb written by Anthony Bourdain: “Magnificent. Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever.” As the author of what many consider the best memoir ever — Kitchen Confidential — IContinue reading “What I’m Reading: Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones, and Butter””

What I’m Reading: Grant Achatz’s “Life, On the Line”

I had heard of but did not know anything specific about Grant Achatz and his Chicago restaurant Alinea prior “reading” (i.e., listening to) Life, On the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat. The book is cleverly and accurately titled, as it tells the story of Achatz’sContinue reading “What I’m Reading: Grant Achatz’s “Life, On the Line””

Why are my students so DOUR?

Dour. If I had to use one word to describe my students, that would be it. Maybe I’ve already blogged about this. I can’t remember. But it bears repeating. On more than one occasion, I have looked out at a room full of students and yelled, “Why are you so DOUR? You have EVERYTHING!” IContinue reading “Why are my students so DOUR?”

Spare Prose PLEASE!!!

Somewhere along the way, probably in high school, college students learn that “good” writing means long sentences and big words. But in my experience, most students don’t have the linguistic dexterity to pull this off. It just becomes an overwrought jumble of words and punctuation. Not that I can do much better myself, but IContinue reading “Spare Prose PLEASE!!!”

Girls Gone Wild. . . What’s the attraction for women?

I think we can understand the attraction of “Girls Gone Wild” to men. Men, after all, are pigs. But what’s the attraction for the women (or, rather, “girls”)? Is this sort of soft-core porn exhibitionism empowering for these women? Or is it just more of the same? Listen to the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs:Continue reading “Girls Gone Wild. . . What’s the attraction for women?”

To the Class of 2006

On the occasion of graduation, an excerpt from Alan Lightman’s novel, Reunion (in which the narrator attends his 30th college graduation reunion): “Young people explode with their discovery of the world and the newness of life. They sleep and sleep in their tiny cocoons, and suddenly one day, perhaps in one moment, as in theContinue reading “To the Class of 2006”