Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Good Reads

A son writes in The New Yorker about a cruise with his father, to explore the sites associated with The Odyssey. James Somers at The Atlantic laments the end of Google’s program to digitize all printed books (regardless of copyright status). And if you’ve ever wondered by online is the way it is, Freddie DeBoer has an answer.

Karen Swallow Prior writes about the word all writers love and hate – platform. The Guardian showcases a decade of award-winning British landscape photography. Some cool poetry and articles about poetry. The actor David Suchet reads the Gospel of Mark at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

And a note on what is my very first NOT good read. If you haven’t seen the song by Rachel Bloom and friends on “Bill Nye Saves the World,” then you don’t know just how decadent American culture has become. Nye is the self-proclaimed savior and spokesperson for science, and marched for science last weekend. I’m embarrassed for him.

Life and Culture

A Father’s Final Odyssey – Daniel Mendelsohn at The New Yorker.

Where Human Beings Love to Live – Dr. Steven Garber at The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, & Culture.

Why is online the way it is? – Freddie deBoer.

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria – James Somers at The Atlantic.


Only One Platform Will Last – Karen Swallow Prior at The Gospel Coalition.

Working at this desk: Happiness itself – David Murray at Writing Boots.

Art and Photography

iPhone Spring and Cold Fog at Dawn – Tim Good at Photography by Tiwago.


Saving Place – Jerry Barrett at Gerald the Writer.

Monday Muse: Derek Walcott – Maureen Doallas at Writing Without Paper.

The Rapture – Reese Conner at The Missouri Review.

Review of “A Little Book on Form” by Robert Haas – Mary Harwell Sayler at The Poetry Editor.


The Cloud of Unknowing – Rick Wilcox at Literary Life.

British Stuff

How an Alcohol-Hating English Preacher Founded Global Tourism – Peter Schwartzstein at Smithsonian.


Oldest Footage of London Ever – Yestervid

Painting: Man reading, oil on canvas (1904-1908) by John Singer Sargent.

Friday, April 28, 2017

This shelter business

After Psalm 91

This shelter business:
why, I don’t know, I see
the word shelter and I imagine
a desert of sand and searing heat
rocks burning at the touch
and heat of course the heat
a searing sun sucking coolness
from the ground
from my skin.

And yet this shelter, I find,
is a shadow arching over me
protecting me from heat
a refuge from dust and wind
a shield staring down the terror

a shadow
a cleft in the rock
sheltering me from enemies
sheltering me from others
from myself

Photograph by Rajesh Misra via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

“Burke’s Revenge” by William Brown

Bob Burke, retired from the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force, is now living near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His home is called “Sherwood Forest,” and the estate comes complete with its own band of “merry men” – computer geeks, retired Special Ops soldiers like himself, his pregnant wife Linda and her daughter Elle. He remains chairman of a telecommunications company in Chicago, but he has put good people in charge of running its day-to-day operations. Life should be relatively quiet and serene.

Except this is Bob Burke, and “quiet” and “serenity” are two words that don’t associate with him. At a small college in nearby Fayetteville, a sociology professor named Henry Shaw and just returned from a trip to the Middle East. What no one but the FBI suspects is that Shaw has set up an ISIS cell, with members from both students in the college and soldiers at Fort Bragg. Shaw has become a Muslim, and is going to bring jihad to Fort Bragg.

To say that Burke’s Revenge, William Brown’s third Bob Burke suspense/thriller novel, is packed with action is to be guilty of gross understatement. From desert towns in Syria to the sleepy environs of Fayetteville, Brown stages more car bombings, killings, and explosions than a half-dozen similar novels combined. And the action bleeds authenticity, with descriptions of guns, knives, airplanes, and explosives so vivid and real that you know this is an author who knows what he’s writing about.

William Brown
Brown, the author of seven previous novels, has established himself as a master of military suspense, whether it’s World War II or the contemporary war against ISIS. He knows his military and how it operates, and he knows its politics, and how it operates. And he puts the knowledge of both to good use.

The more they understand, the more Burke and the people he’s working with realize that Shaw, and deadly as he is, may be just a side show. Three members of ISIS from the Middle East are also on the ground in the Fayetteville area, and what they are planning is worse than any car bomb or building explosion that Shaw dreams up. (I should point out that Shaw is a totally despicable villain, without any redeeming qualities, and it may cause me to look at sociology professors in an entirely different light.)

Burke’s Revenge snaps and crackles with action and excitement. It’s a wildly entertaining read.

Related - My reviews of Brown’s previous books:

Top photograph of Fort Bragg by Jonas N. Jordan, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Digital Visual Library via Wikimedia.