Location: Chicago, IL USA
In My Own Words:
While I appreciate the compliment of being asked to review books, I would prefer not to receive any solicitations. I always have multiple reading projects underway and really do not have the leisure to take on random books. I'm also trying to write a couple of things of my own, which precludes reading books that are not of immediate concern for me. So thanks for the compliment, but please do no… Read more
While I appreciate the compliment of being asked to review books, I would prefer not to receive any solicitations. I always have multiple reading projects underway and really do not have the leisure to take on random books. I'm also trying to write a couple of things of my own, which precludes reading books that are not of immediate concern for me. So thanks for the compliment, but please do not invite me to be your friend in order to solicit a book review.
I live in Chicago but from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet consider myself an Arkansan. Was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, but still feel an intense love and affiliation with my flawed but marvelous home state, even though I haven't lived there since turning 21. I got my BA in Drama and Religion from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, before going on to get a masters at Yale Divinity School. I later did all but my dissertation on a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Chicago.
My passions in life are unequally divided between my daughter Elizabeth, reading, movies, music, writing, and computer gaming.
My reading, as my reviews show, is spread widely among a large number of fields. My first love is probably literature, though I am passionately interested in intellectual history, philosophy, and religion. Among my favorite authors are Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Trollope, Yeats, Whitman, Samuel Johnson, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Thoreau, and Dashiell Hammett.
My tastes in music run primarily towards what used to be called alternative rock until Nirvana turned it into pop. Among my musical gods/favorite bands are Dylan, PJ Harvey, the Wipers, the Stones, Van Morrison, the Clash, Television, Pere Ubu, the Velvet Underground, Elvis Costello, Big Star, Eleventh Dream Day, Yo La Tenga, Roy Orbison, Tracy Nelson, Richard Thompson, and many, many others.
My two great achievements in life may be (1) once hitting 124 of 125 free throws and (2) winning the Silver Screen Edition of Trivia Pursuit on one turn. I have been a passionate viewer of movies virtually my whole life. Although I try to see many of the current ones, my main passion is for old Hollywood films of the thirties and forties. Favorite directors include Hitchcock, Ernst Lubitsch, Mitchell Leisen, Preston Sturges, Akira Kurosawa, Rene Clair, Billy Wilder, Jean Renoir, and John Ford. I am also an unfashionable lover of old British films by the Boulting brothers and the Ealing Studios. Among my favorite performers are the Marx Brothers, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, and, above all, Fred Astaire. I love just about any kind of film as long as it doesn't feature prominently knives, chainsaws, exploding skulls, or madmen wielding ice hooks. As a film buff and intellectual, I esteem foreign films in general less highly than one might anticipate. Although I like many specific films by non-American filmmakers, by and large I feel it is a medium that the US has largely dominated. A jingoist in no other matter, I do feel that film is something the US has always done better than anyone else.
I should add that I am an avid Cub fan, but that otherwise my sports loyalties are to my Razorbacks. Politically, I am what George Bush (daddy Bush) would call 'beyond the pale.' I consider his son to be not only a bad president, but the worst in the history of the United States. Religiously, I am a lapsed fundamentalist best described as a Zen Baptist.
Rock: Big Star, Television, Dylan, Built to Spill, Elvis Costello, Iron and Wine, the Shins, Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Eleventh Dream Day, the Pixies, PJ Harvey, the Mekons, Gram Parsons.