Category: New Discoveries

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

We’ve recently re-read a book that seems to be a thinly veiled satire of our current White House administration. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil is a novella about a not-very-bright demagogue who suddenly develops an insatiable appetite for power. (Heard this one before?) The author is the great George Saunders, one of America’s wittiest...

“Facing the Furies”

America’s Essayist Emeritus, Mr. Lewis Lapham, relinquished his monthly column in Harper’s magazine a couple years ago. Thomas Frank and Walter Kirn have made worthy contributions to the national discourse in his absence, and now Rebecca Solnit takes over the “Easy Chair” space, bringing a solidly progressive viewpoint to bear on the issues of the day. This...

SportLiterate

Call it the New Yorker for people who love sports. For more than 20 years, SportLiterate has published essays, poems and “think pieces” about our favorite games and the athletes that play them. Unlike, say, sports-radio and sports-television, the focus isn’t guaranteed contracts, top-5 lists, or personality conflicts ripped from soap opera story-lines. SL explores what sports mean:...

Amy Bennett, Artist

The results of the artist Amy Bennett‘s work speak for themselves. The process of how her paintings come to be needs a little explaining. Bennett paints exquisitely detailed townscapes, quaint villages and bucolic communities viewed, often, from a cloud’s-eye-view, with a startling combination of panoramic sweep and deep-focus detail. These mesmerizing pictures are based not...

Chess24.com Commentators

Fanboy alert! We’re developing a platonic man-crush on the smart, eloquent, adorable commentators at the Chess24 site, where players from around the globe congregate for online matches, breaking chess news — yes, there is such a thing — and analysis of the day’s top games. The core stable of erudite talkers includes three Grandmasters (the...

The Kindness of Strangers

The recently published anthology, “The Kindness of Strangers” (Wising Up Press), contains dozens of interesting perspectives on one of humanity’s best (and seemingly rarest) qualities. We’re quite fond of the prose-poem “Take Care of Each Other,” on page 59. But we find ourselves returning to the book’s introductory essay, by co-editor Heather Tosteson, whenever we...

The Small Book of Miracles

“I want to share with you what I have learned about miracles.” Amnon Buchbinder is neither a theologian nor a cleric. He’s a filmmaker and professor, with a keen interest in the wonders of story. Miracles, to him, were always a kind of story device. Now, he thinks differently. “The Small Book of Miracles,” a...

Jim Bell, Ecological Designer

Ecological Life Systems Institute (ELSI) and the ecological designer Jim Bell can both be found at the coolest house in San Diego, at 4862 Voltaire Street, in the magnificent hippie-surfer-consciousness enclave of Ocean Beach. There you’ll find a kind of storefront painted in myriad colors and inscribed with dozens of remarkable and necessary quotes, many of...

New Music Without Borders

Genres and categories are cool when you’re trying to sell something. But some of our most compelling musical artists don’t pay attention to the imperatives of the marketplace. They make what they make, and the grand bazaar of culture must sort out where to file the “product.” Ian Faquini (guitar) and Paula Santoro (voice), native Brazilians, explore the traditional...

Kasher in the Rye

Onstage, the celebrated stand-up comic Moshe Kasher is self-assured, commanding, and blazing with intelligence. So accomplished (and justly celebrated) is he as a comedian that it’s sometimes hard to reconcile the juvenile delinquent author-narrator of Kasher in the Rye, his 2012 recovery memoir, with the smooth-talking raconteur in performance. Can this really be Kasher’s childhood? Two...