A few years back I was an active book reviewer on Amazon, logging several hundred reviews of books newly published not to mention older classics that I felt deserved a bit more attention than they were getting. Amazon and Goodreads got to be more of a chore than I wanted to reckon with and I gradually stopped the reviews. With this new website of my own, I intend to get back into reviewing, and anyone stopping by will see whether and how I have gotten back into it.
Over the last twenty years I have led book discussions at Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library, sometimes during the fall, other times in the Spring, and some years both. The usual plan has been to read four books over a course of a couple of months and meet once for each book at the Mercantile downtown. Post pandemic, we have hybrid meetings, with those who wish coming downtown to the library and those who want to dial in via Zoom attending that way. The somewhat quaint rubric for the courses has been “Literary Journeys” as the courses have tended to be geographically organized. We have ranged all over the world—Japan, China, Scandinavia, Spain, England and France, England and the USA, and have hit different eras and centuries. One of my favorites was Russia in the 19th Century, when we focused on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Another was the 19th Century in England and France, when we did Dickens and Eliot, Stendhal and Balzac. Wide ranging as you can see. Another was a John Updike retrospective when we focused on four books of the master just after he died.
This site will allow me to talk more about what will be coming up in the near future in my Literary Journeys at the Library. Right now we are finishing up “Classics in American Fiction by Women” with Willa Cather’s Song of the Lark. Next year I am looking to do Tales of the Pacific, with Joseph Conrad, Melville, Maugham, and Dennis Johnson. The texts will probably be Lord Jim, Moby Dick, The Moon and Sixpence, and Tree of Smoke. More information on this Journey will follow right here.