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Although it was not yet ten years that he had been fighting in Gaul, he captured more than 800 cities, subjugated 300 nations, fought 3 million men at different times, killed 1 million of them in battle and took as many prisoners. (Plutarch, Caesar, 15.5)

Crossing the Rubicon: Caesar’s Decision and the Fate of Rome by Luca Fezzi (translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon) presents a tale of ambition and politics and civil war. Caesar decides to challenge Proconsul Pompey and ignores the Roman Senate’s command to disband his troops. Caesar crosses the Rubicon and risks everything to become the most powerful man in the Roman Empire. Luca Fezzi’s writing style, far from academic, tells the thrilling story of a brilliant general with much higher aspirations.

On top of the great story, Crossing the Rubicon explores how to manage risks, how to make decisions (Pompey made some major gaffes), and when to gamble…and when not to. I found Crossing the Rubicon a revealing history and a useful guide. Have you been to Italy? GRADE: A
List of Maps vii
A Note on the Text viii
Translator’s Note ix
A Note on Source x
Prologue xvi
Part I Background
1 The Stage and Its Main Characters 3
2 Plots and Scandals 39
3 The Arrival of the ‘First Triumvirate’ 53
4 Caesar, Gaul and Rome 67
Part II Rome In Chaos
5 From the Death of Clodius to a Sole Consul 89
6 Winner in a Tight Corner 107
7 Winds of Civil War 127
Part III From The Rubicon To The Surrender of Rome
8 The Rubicon 149
9 The Escape from Rome 166
10 Caesar’s ‘Long March’ and Pompey’s Flight to Brundisium 194
11 In Caesar’s Hands 224
12 The Battle Fought, the Res Publica, and the City 245
Glossary 279
Chapter Notes 285
Bibliography and Further Notes 301
Acknowledgements 330
Index 331


Louise Aronson – Elderhood

Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Dr. Louise Aronson both explores the aging process and Dr. Aronson’s career as a geriatrician. I admire Dr. Aronson’s dozens of stories where she admits she made mistakes dealing with aging patients. Aging is complicated and the health care system doesn’t make it easy or simple to treat the many problems of aging patients. Doctors struggle to get it right despite the pressure to limit time with patients. Elderhood provides a guided tour of aging and shows you what to expect. We all age differently, but we can all pursue smart choices to make our aging less dire.

Dr. Aronson provides a list items essential for a “good old age”: good genes, good luck, enough money, and one good kid, usually a daughter. Without these, a nursing home looms as your final destination. I learned a lot from Elderhood. You would, too. How long do you want to live? GRADE: A
Table of Contents:
Author’s note xiii
1 Life 3
2 Infant 13
Memories – Lessons
3 Toddler 24
History – Sick – Assumptions
4 Child 41
Houses – Resurrection – Confusion – Standards – Other
5 Tween 63
Normal – Different
6 Teen 75
Evolution – Perversions – Rejuvenation – Gaps – Choices
7 Young Adult 105
Trauma – Modern – Indoctrination – Mistakes – Competence – Shame – Bias
8 Adult 137
Oblivious – Language – Vocation – Distance – Values – Truth – Biology – Advocacy – Outsourced -Zealot
9 Middle-aged 192
Stages – Help – Prestige – Complexity – Combustion – Sexy – Disillusionment – Priorities – Sympathy
10 Senior 241
Ages – Pathology – Communication – Freedom – Backstory – Longevity – Childproof – Reclamation –
11 Old 273
Exceptional – Future – Distress – Worth – Beloved – Places – Comfort – Tech – Meaning – Imagination – Bodies – Classification
12 Elderly 324
Invisibility – Duality – Care – Education – Resilience – Attitude – Design – Health – Perspective
13 Aged 363
Time – Nature – Human – Consequences – Acceptance
14 Stories 397
Opportunity 403
Acknowledgments 405
Notes 407
Bibliography 433
Index 436


The actual title of this series was Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond. It was an American anthology series created by Merwin Gerard. The original series was broadcast for three seasons by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from January 1959 to July 1961 (96 25-minute episodes). You could consider it a Poor Man’s The Twilight Zone despite its paranormal plots and claims of realism. Check out some of the soon-to-be Stars who appeared in the series:
Luana Anders (“The Burning Girl”)
John Beal (“The Lovers”)
Warren Beatty and Joan Fontaine (together in “The Visitor”)
Whit Bissell (“Brainwave”)
Robert Blake (“Gypsy”)
Charles Bronson (“The Last Round”)
Walter Burke (“The Front Runner”)
Veronica Cartwright (“The Haunting”)
Louise Fletcher (“The Open Window”
Joan Fontaine and Warren Beatty (together in “The Visitor”)
Arthur Franz (“The Call from Tomorrow”)
Ronald Howard (“The Haunting”)
Werner Klemperer (“The Haunted U-Boat”)
Robert Lansing (“The Voice”)
Cloris Leachman and Marcel Dalio (together in “The Dark Room”)
Christopher Lee (“The Sorcerer”)
Robert Loggia (“The Hand”)
Jack Lord (“Father Image”)
Patrick Macnee (“The Night of April 14th”)
John Marley (“The Night of the Kill”)
Ross Martin (“Echo”)
Patty McCormack (“Make Me Not a Witch”)
Ann McCrea (“Night of the Kill”)
Yvette Mimieux (“The Clown”)
Elizabeth Montgomery (“The Death Waltz”)
André Morell (“The Avengers”)
Patrick O’Neal (“The Return of Mitchell Campion”)
Maria Palmer (“The Secret”)
Edward Platt (“The Burning Girl”)
Donald Pleasence (“The Confession”)
Suzanne Pleshette (“Delusion”)
Paula Raymond (“Emergency Only”)
Pernell Roberts (“The Vision”)
William Schallert (“Tidal Wave” and “Epilogue”)
William Shatner (“The Promise”)
Torin Thatcher (“Doomsday”)
Yvette Vickers and Mike Connors (together in “The Aerialist”)
Robert Webber (“The Captain and His Guests”)
Peter Wyngarde (“Nightmare…”)

If you’re a fan of The Twight Zone, you might enjoy these episodes. I picked up this 4-DVD box set at a Library Sale for 50 cents. Well worth it! Have you ever seen One Step Beyond? It was shown on the SCI-FI CHANNEL in the 1990s. GRADE: B


What better way to celebrate PRESIDENTS’ DAY than to read a book about our current President, Donald J. Trump. And who better to report on the chaos in the White House than Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners. Beyond the daily chaos of scandal, investigation, Impeachment, and constant lies, Rucker and Leonnig present a President bent on perpetuation of his own power, even when it means imperiling our Democracy.

From the early days of the Trump Administration through the Mueller Investigation to the run-up to Impeachment, A Very Stable Genius delivers a portrait of a man unhinged–the very opposite of a very stable genius. Readers of this book will come away with a wealth of inside information–Rucker and Leonnig somehow accessed key insiders who are terrified about what Trump might do next–and insight into the plans for the 2020 Election. Could our country survive another four years of this madness? Will Trump win again? Check out the Presidential ad below. GRADE: A
Authors’ Note xi
Prologue — 1
1. Building blocks — 11
2. Paranoia and pandemonium — 25
3. The road to obstruction — 19
4. A fateful firing — 52
5. The G-Man cometh — 66
6. Suiting up for battle — 81
7. Impeding justice — 95
8. A cover-up — 109
9. Shocking the conscience — 129
10. Unhinged — 147
11. Winging it — 162
12. Spygate — 183
13. Breakdown — 198
14. One-man firing squad — 211
15. Congratulating Putin — 225
16. A chilling raid — 236
17. Hand grenade diplomacy — 257
18. The resistance within — 278
19. Scare-a-thon — 294
20. An ornery diplomat — 316
21. Gut over brains — 328
22. Axis of enablers — 349
23. Loyalty and truth — 366
24. The report — 380
25. The show goes on — 395
Acknowledgements 419
Notes 427
Index 443

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR: 50th Anniversary Tour

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar back in the early 1970s. It was regarded as “cutting edge” and “avant-gard” at the time. Jesus Christ Superstar was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics).

My favorite song in the musical is a moving ballad sung by the character of Mary Magdalene who in Jesus Christ Superstar is presented as dealing with an unrequited love for the title character. Mary Magdalene sings “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” to express her conflicted feelings. “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” is unique for having two versions concurrently in the Top 30 of the Hot 100 chart at the time in Billboard magazine by Helen Reddy and Yvonne Elliman. But, below is my preferred version sung by Sarah Brightman. Today, Diane and I travel down to Shea’s Performing Arts Center to see Jesus Christ Superstar. Have you seen Jesus Christ Superstar? Do you have a favorite song from this musical?
Act One
“Overture” – Orchestra
“Heaven on Their Minds” – Judas
“What’s the Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying” – Jesus, Judas, Mary and Apostles
“Then We are Decided” – Caiaphas, Annas, Priests
“Everything’s Alright” – Mary, Judas, Jesus, Women, Apostles
“This Jesus Must Die” – Caiaphas, Annas, Priests
“Hosanna” – Jesus, Caiaphas and Company
“Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem” – Jesus, Simon and Company
“Pilate’s Dream” – Pilate
“The Temple” – Jesus, Ensemble
“Everything’s Alright (reprise)” – Mary, Jesus
“I Don’t Know How to Love Him” – Mary
“Damned For All Time/Blood Money” – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Choir
Act Two
“The Last Supper” – Jesus, Judas, Apostles
“Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)” – Jesus
“The Arrest” – Judas, Jesus, Peter, Apostles, Annas, Caiaphas, Ensemble
“Peter’s Denial” – Maid by the Fire, Peter, Soldier, Old Man, Mary
“Pilate and Christ” – Pilate, Soldier, Jesus, Ensemble
“King Herod’s Song” – Herod and Company
“Could We Start Again Please?” – Mary and Peter
“Judas’ Death” – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Ensemble
“Trial Before Pilate” – Pilate, Caiaphas, Jesus, Ensemble
“Superstar” – Judas, Soul Sisters, Angels
“The Crucifixion” – Jesus, Ensemble
“John Nineteen: Forty-One” – Orchestra


Russell Baker’s Book of American Humor (1993) collects plenty of funny writing that will make you smile…and laugh out loud. Russell Baker wanted to give a historical flavor to this book so you’ll see pieces by Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, and Abraham Lincoln. Robert Benchley is well represented as is H. L. Mencken. The usual suspects are here: O. Henry, Damon Runyon, James Thurber, and Ring Lardner. But Russell Baker includes some unusual choices like Chester Himes and Mae West.

Cast your eyes on the Table of Contents and you’ll see some familiar pieces, but there’s plenty of humorous writing that I was unfamiliar with in this 598 page tome. Copies are available on-line at affordable prices. Do you have a favorite humor writer? Are they included in this anthology? GRADE: A
Introduction p. 15
SECTION ONE: Comical-Tragical Tales 15
“Clothes Make the Man” — Nunnally Johnson p. 29
“Jack Schmidt, Arts Administrator” — Garrison Keillor p. 41
“Ex Parte” — Ring Lardner p. 48
“Confessions of a Humorist” — O. Henry p. 57
“The Mourner” — Bruce Jay Friedman p. 64
“The Death of Julius Caesar”– Leo Rosten p. 70
“Broadway Complex” — Damon Runyon p. 78
SECTION TWO: Shameless Frivolity 89
“Contributors to This Issue” — Robert Benchley p. 93
“Hymn to Ham” — Roy Blount, Jr. p. 94
“Song to Bacon” — Roy Blount, Jr. p. 96
“Song to Grease” –Roy Blount, Jr. p. 97
“A Look at Organized Crime”– Woody Allen p. 98
“There Ain’t No Justice” — Chester Himes p. 101
“Wally Ballou Visits Sturdley House” — Bob & Ray p. 103
“Exam Time” — Robert Benchley p. 108
“Reader’s Digest Threatened . . .” — Bill Vaughan p. 110
“Captain Blood” — Donald Barthelme p. 111
“The Retort Transcendental” — E. B. White p. 115
“More Songs for Meller” — Robert Benchley p. 117
“A Strange Story” — O. Henry p. 119
“The Prisoner of Zembla” –O. Henry p. 120
The Horace Greeley Story — Mark Twain p. 122
“Maxims from the Chinese” — Robert Benchley p. 125
SECTION THREE: The Human Muddle 127
Briefly Speaking — Finley Peter Dunne p. 131
“Tain’t So” — Langston Hughes p. 131
“The Busy-Body, No. 4” — Benjamin Franklin p. 135
“The Drinker’s Dictionary” — Benjamin Franklin p. 138
“Add Hot Water; Serves Fourteen Million” — Thomas Meehan p. 143
“A Comedy in Rubber” — O. Henry p. 148
“How to Tell a Fine Old Wine” — James Thurber p. 152
“Fake French in Nine (Neuf) Easy Lessons”– P. J. O’Rourke p. 155
Briefly Speaking — Finley Peter Dunne p. 158
“Bye-Bye, Silver Bullets” — Russell Baker p. 158
Duke and Douphin Excerpt from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain p. 161
Emmeline Excerpt from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain p. 166
Briefly Speaking — Finley Peter Dunne p. 170
SECTION FOUR: This Sex Problem 171
A Perplexing Question — Fannie Flagg p. 175
Briefly Speaking — Mae West p. 177
“Fate Keeps On Happening” — Anita Loos p. 177
“How Much Should a Woman Eat?” — H. L. Mencken p. 185
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” — James Thurber p. 187
“What Did We Do Wrong?” –Garrison Keillor p. 191
Three Letters — Abraham Lincoln p. 198
“Old Mistresses Apologue” — Benjamin Franklin p. 203
“Somewhere a Roscoe . . .” — S. J. Perelman p. 204
SECTION FIVE: Parody, Burlesque, Criticism, and Pain 209
“What He Told Me” — Frank Gannon p. 213
“Pornocopia” — Michael O’Donoghue p. 216
“Cloudland Revisited: Roll On, Thou Deep and Dark Scenario, Roll” — S. J. Perelman p. 222
“A Talkative Jerk” — A. J. Liebling p. 227
“The Correspondent-School Linguist” — Robert Benchley p. 233
“How Love Came to General Grant” — Donald Ogden Stewart p. 234
“My Cat Book Won’t Come” — Roy Blunt, Jr. p. 242
“Sitting on a Seesaw” — Roy Blunt, Jr. p. 245
“Muck-a-Muck” — Bret Harte p. 249
“A Book Review” — Finley Peter Dunne p. 254
“The Making of Theodore H. White” — Nora Ephron p. 257
“From There to Infinity” — Peter DeVries p. 261
Briefly Speaking — Kin Hubbard p. 265
SECTION SIX: Family Life 267
“Society Wedding: A Swinging Social Soiree” — William Geist p. 271
“To Irving Hoffman” — Groucho Marx p. 274
Briefly Speaking — Finley Peter Dunne p. 275
Excerpt from Vital Parts — Thomas Berger p. 276
“How to Eat an Ice-Cream Cone” — L. Rust Hills p. 290
“A Hard Case” — Artemus Ward p. 295
“Stop Ironing the Diapers” — Barbara Ehrenreich p. 296
Four Dialogues — Erma Bombeck p. 299
“Ode to Thanksgiving”– Michael Arlen p. 304
Excerpt from Portnoy’s Complaint — Philip Roth p. 307
“To Harry Kurnitz” — Groucho Marx p. 310
SECTION SEVEN: Geographical Sneers 311
Briefly Speaking — Fred Allen p. 315
“The Hazards of Journalism…” — Billy Vaughan p. 315
“Can New York Save Itself?” — Dave Barry p. 317
“The Foolish Woman” — Ambrose Bierce p. 326
“A Nation of Shopkeepers Loses Three of Them through Contact with a Nation of Violence” — Calvin Trillin p. 327
“The Capital of a Great Republic” — H. L. Mecken p. 333
“Third World Driving Hints and Tips” — P. J. O’Rourke p. 334
Briefly Speaking — Fred Allen p. 338
“Texas Observed” — Molly Ivins p. 338
SECTION EIGHT: Politics and Patriots 343
“Man and Lightning” — Ambrose Bierce p. 347
Lieutenant Scheisskopf — Joseph Heller p. 347
“How Old Abe Received the News of His Nomination”– Artemus Ward p. 358
“A Romance – William Barker, the Young Patriot” –Artemus Ward p. 359
“The Draft in Baldinsville” — Artemus Ward p. 360
“Nasby Shows Why He Should Not Be Drafted” — David Ross Locke p. 363
“Nasby Writes His Flock from a Union Jail” — David Ross Locke p. 364
Cables from the White House — Abraham Lincoln p. 366
“Two Letters, Both Open” — E. B. White p. 368
“Woman Suffrage” — Finley Peter Dunne p. 372
“Salmagundi No. XI” — Washington Irving p. 374
“Coolidge” — H. L. Mencken p. 379
“Call This a Govment!” Excerpt from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain p. 382
“Backwacking: A Plea to the Senator” — Ralph Ellison p. 384
“The Great Starch Debate” –Roger Angell p. 389
Briefly Speaking — Finley Peter Dunne p. 394
“The Years with Navasky” — Calvin Trillin p. 399
“The XI P.M. Report” — Russell Baker p. 403
“Journalese, or Why English Is the Second Language of the Fourth Estate” — John Leo p. 405
“The Lowell-Hawthorne Incident” — Eugene Field p. 414
“Informed Opinion, the Lifeblood of Our Way of Life — Bill Vaughan p. 416
“Partners” — Veronica Geng p. 418
“Press Relations” — Art Buchwald p. 420
“A Matter of Style” — Larry L. King p. 425
“The Cape Codder” — Fred Allen p. 429
“Drill for a Rookie” — H. L. Mencken p. 431
SECTION TEN: Fable, Lore, and Fantasy 439
“The Patient Toiler Who Got It in the Usual Place” — George Ade p. 443
“The Fable of How the Fool-Killer Backed Out of a Contract” — George Ade p. 444
“The Fable of the Slim Girl Who Tried to Keep a Date That Was Never Made” — George Ade p. 445
“The Fable of the Copper and the Jovial Undergrads” — George Ade p. 446
“The Two Turkeys” — James Thurber p. 448
“The Tiger Who Understood People” — James Thurber p. 449
“The Lion Who Wanted to Zoom” — James Thurber p. 450
“The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing” — James Thurber p. 451
“The Tortoise and the Hare” — James Thurber p. 452
Talking Mule Story — Zora Heale Hurston p. 453
Competition for a Girl –Zora Heale Hurston p. 454
Woman’s Strength Story –Zora Heale Hurston p. 455
Squinch Owl Story — Zora Heale Hurston p. 458
“the coming of archy” — Don Marquis p. 459
“mehitabel was once Cleopatra” — Don Marquis p. 461
“mehitabel and her kittens” –Don Marquis p. 462
“mehitabel dances with boreas” — Don Marquis p. 466
“How to Tell a True Princess” — Ring Lardner p. 470
“A Bedtime Story” — Ring Lardner p. 471
God Visits Hell — Stanley Elkin p. 474
Ten Primer Lessons — Eugene Field p. 477
“The Angel of the Odd” — Edgar Allan Poe p. 483
SECTION ELEVEN: Looking Back 491
“Uncle Dockery and the Independent Bull” –Joseph Mitchell p. 495
“Reunion in Gehenna” — S. J. Perelman p. 500
Uncle Harold — Russell Baker p. 505
“My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award” — Jean Shepard p. 511
“The Night the Old Nostalgia Burned Down” — Frank Sullivan p. 523
“Father and His Pet Rug” –Clarence Day p. 527
“The Night the Ghost Got In” — James Thurber p. 531
SECTION TWELVE: A Gnashing of Humorists 537
“Sauce for the Gander” — S. J. Perlman p. 541
Letter to John J. McCarthy — Fred Allen p. 545
“The Fundamentals of Contemporary Courtesy” — P. J. O’Rourke p. 546
Excerpts from The Devil’s Dictionary — Ambrose Bierce p. 552
“Fear of Flying Isn’t Groundless” — Mike Royko p. 554
“Manners” — Fran Lebowitz p. 556
“The Joggers’ Prayer” — Tom Wolfe p. 559
“The Waiting Game” — Arthur Hoppe p. 560
“Political Economy” — Mark Twain p. 561
“My Watch” —Mark Twain p. 566
“A Little Flight Music” — William K. Zinsser p. 568
“Uncle Edith’s Ghost Story” — Robert Benchley p. 571
Notes on the Contributors p. 575
Copyright Acknowledgments p. 587
Index p. 595


Mike Ashley’s entertaining and informative introductions to these 31 stories are worth the price of admission! The genre of Occult Detectives dates back to 1869 with Le Fanu’s “Green Tea.” Ashley arranges the stories in chronological order so readers can see how the genre developed. Many of the stories Ashley includes in Fighters of Fear feature obscure stories by forgotten writers, but Ashley’s introductions both put the writer in context and includes suggestions where more of the writer’s work can be found.

My favorite stories in Fighters of Fear are Sax Rohmer’s “The Ivory Statue” (Moris Klaw), Seabury Quinn’s “The Jest of Warburg Tantavul” (Jules de Grandin), Manly Wade Wellman’s “The Shonokins” (John Thunstone), and Joseph Payne Brennan’s “The Dead of Winter Apparition” (Lucius Leffing). If you have any interest in Occult Detectives, Fighters of Fear is a must-buy. Weighing in at 615 pages, this book is a bargain! GRADE: B+
Introduction, Mike Ashley v
“Green Tea,” Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 1
“The Shining Pyramid,” Arthur Machen 34
“The Haunted Child,” Arabella Kenealy 58
“The Mystery of the Felwyn Tunnel,” L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace 70
‘The Story of Yand Manor House,” E. & H. Heron 90
“The Tapping on the Wainscott,” Allan Upward 104
“Samaris,” Robert W. Chambers 117
“The Whistling Room,” William Hope Hodgson 147
“The Woman with the Crooked Nose,” Victor Rousseau 165
“The Sorcerer of Arjuzanx,” Max Rittenberg 178
“The Ivory Statue,” Sax Rohmer 193
“The Stranger,” Claude & Alice Askew 211
“The Swaying Vision,” Jessie Douglas Kerruish 227
“The Sanatorium,” F. Tennyson Jesse 243
“The Villa on the Borderive Road,” Rose Champion de Crespigny 263
“The Room of Fear,” Ella Scrymsour 281
“The Seven Fires,” Philippa Forest 296
“The Subletting of the Mansion,” Dion Fortune 311
“The Jest of Warburg Tantavul,” Seabury Quinn 332
“The Soldier,” A. M. Burrage 361
“The Horror of the Height,” Sydney Horler 373
“The Mystery of Iniquity,” L. Adams Beck 387
“The Thought-Monster,” Amelia Reynold Long 427
“The Shut Room,” Henry S. Whitehead 439
“Dr. Muncing, Exorcist,” Gordon MacCreagh 464
“The Case of the Haunted Cathedral,” Margery Lawrence 489
“The Shonokins,” Manly Wade Wellman 520
“The Dead of Winter Apparition,” Joseph Payne Brennan 534
“The Garden of Paris,” Eric Williams 557
“St. Michael and All Angels,” Mark Valentine 576
“Jeremiah,” Jessica Amanda Salmonson 595
Copyright Acknowledgements and Story Sources 611
About the Editor 612


Yes, The History of Philosophy is 682 pages of insightful writing about dozens of philosophers. This is the best one-volume history of the subject that I’m aware of. Grayling writes clear, concise descriptions of each philosopher’s thought. If you’re interested in this subject, this is the go-to book. Do you have a favorite philosopher? GRADE: A
Preface xi
Acknowledgements xii
Introduction xv
Philosophy Before Plato 3
The Presocratic Philosophers 9
Thales 9
Anaximander 14
Pythagoras 16
Xenophanes 18
Heraclitus 24
Parmenides 27
Zeno of Elea 31
Empedocles 35
Anaxagoras 39
Leucippus and Democritus 43
The Sophists 47
Socrates 51
Plato 58
Aristotle 80
Greek and Roman Philosophy After Aristotle 98
Cynicism 100
Epicureanism 103
Stoicism 108
Skepticism 115
Neoplatonism 123
Philosophy of Medieval Times 137
Augustine 137
Boethius 142
Anselm 145
Abelard 148
Aquinas 150
Roger Bacon 158
Duns Scotus 161
William of Ockham 164
Philosophy of the Renaissance 168
Renaissance Platonism 171
Renaissance Humanism 175
Renaissance Political Thought 185
The Rise of Modern Thought 195
Francis Bacon 197
Descartes 200
Hobbes 209
Spinoza 211
Locke 217
Berkley 226
Leibniz 232
Hume 240
Rousseau 250
Kant 256
The Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment 268
Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century 279
Bentham 280
Hegel 287
Schopenhauer 297
Positivism 302
Mill 303
Marx 307
Nietzsche 314
Idealism 320
Pragmatism 328
Analytic Philosophy 339
Russell 344
Frege 357
Moore 365
Wittgenstein: The Early Philosophy 370
Logical Positivism 377
Carnap 386
Quine 388
Popper 395
Wittgenstein: The Later Philosophy 400
Ordinary Language Philopshy 405
Philosophy of Language 417
Philosophy of Mind 433
Ethics 444
Virtue Ethics
Political Philosophy 457
Feminist Philosophy 466
Continental Philosophy 471
Husserl 473
Heidegger 476
Merleau-Ponty 484
Sartre 485
Gadamer 492
Ricoeur 497
Deleuze 500
Derrida 504
Continental Thought: Un Salon des Refuses 506
Indian Philosophy 519
Vedas and Upanishads
Chinese Philosophy 534
Arabic-Persiam Philosophy 554
Falsafa and Kalam
Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
African Philosophy 579
Concluding Remarks 583
Appendix: A Sketch of Logic 585
Fallacies of Informal Logic 593
Timeline of Philosophers 596
Bibliogrpahy 599
Index 611

ESSAYS ONE By Lydia Davis

Essays One certainly qualifies as a Big Fat Book, weighing in at 512 pages. Lydia Davis, in her “Preface,” states she wanted to collect her non-fiction articles in one or two volumes. When she saw the amount of material that she had written, Davis decided on two volumes. The second volume of essays is scheduled to be published on November 17, 2020 (probably another 500+ page volume). Lydia Davis is a translator and writer. I have a copy of Davis’s celebrated translation of Proust’s Swann’s Way on my shelf waiting to be read this year. But Davis is also a professor who teaches writing so some of the essays in this volume deal with the writing process.

I enjoyed Davis’s essay, “Revising One Sentence,” where she illustrates the revision process. After reading “Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits” I hope to adopt a couple of Davis’s suggestions myself. “Be sure to read poetry, regularly, whether you are a poet or a writer of prose.” (p. 248) and “Cutting can be effective: it quickens the pace and involves more happening in a shorter space. But this does not mean that everything has to be short. You can write three thousand pages (as Proust did in In Search of Lost Time) and still be economical. In this case, economical simply means not saying more than you need to.” (p. 253)

Lydia Davis recommends books she likes or finds useful. She’s a fan of Flaubert (she also translated Madame Bovary) and Edward Dahlberg. Davis reads a lot of European writers and works I’m not that familiar with, but I’m now motived to track down. If you’re interested in reading intelligent, thought-provoking literary essays, I highly recommend Lydia Davis’s Essays One. I look forward to reading Essays Two. GRADE: A
Preface ix
A Beloved Duck Gets Cooked: Forms and Influences I 3
Commentary on One Very Short Story (“In a House Besieged”) 28
From Raw Material to Finished Work: Forms and Influences II 31
A Note on the Word Gubernatorial 64
Joan Mitchell and Les Bluets, 1973 69
John Ashbery’s Translation of Rimbaud’s Illuminations 77
Young Pynchon 85
The Story Is the Thing: Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women 90
A Close Look at Two Books by Rae Armantrout 104
Small but Perfectly Formed: Five Favorite Short Stories 121
The Impetus Was Delight: A Response by Analogy to the Work of Joseph Cornell 125
Sources, Revision, Order, and Endings: Forms and Influences III 141
Revising One Sentence 169
Found Material, Syntax, Brevity, and the Beauty of Awkward Prose: Forms and Influences IV 177
Fragmentary or Unfinished: Barthes, Joubert, Hölderlin, Mallarmé, Flaubert 204
Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits 226
Energy in Color: Alan Cote’s Recent Paintings 265
“Emmy Moore’s Journal” by Jane Bowles 281
Osama Alomar’s Very Short Tales in Fullblood Arabian 285
Haunting the Flea Market: Roger Lewinter’s The Attraction of Things 291
Red Mittens: Anselm Hollo’s Translation from the Cheremiss 296
In Search of Difficult Edward Dahlberg 300
Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary 321
Dutch Scenes: A Portfolio of Early Twentieth-Century Tourist Photographs 345
The Problem of Plot Summary in Blanchot’s Fiction 367
Stendhal’s Alter Ego: The Life of Henry Brulard 371
Maurice Blanchot Absent 380
A Farewell to Michel Butor 385
Michel Leiris’s Fibrils, Volume 3 of The Rules of the Game 391
As I Was Reading 405
Meeting Abraham Lincoln 425
“Paring Off the Amphibologisms”: Jesus Recovered by the Jesus Seminar 443
A Reading of the Shepherd’s Psalm 464
Remember the Van Wagenens 475
Acknowledgments and Notes 503


Just as there are Big Fat Books, there are also Big Fat Movies. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) is a 165-minute (2 hours and 45 minutes) epic Spaghetti Western co-written and directed by Sergio Leone. Once Upon a Time in the West stars Henry Fonda as the villain. After Clint Eastwood turned down the role, Charles Bronson was cast as the protagonist. Claudia Cardinale plays a newly widowed homesteader and Jason Robards plays a bandit.

If you love Spaghetti Westerns, you’ll love this one. Vengeance powers this film as grievances get resolved at the barrel of a gun. While Once Upon a Time in the West was a box office hit in Europe, it flopped in the U.S. Some critics at the time complained about the film’s length. Are you a Sergio Leone fan? Do you like long movies? GRADE: A