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Search tags: Pulitzer-Prizewinners-and-Finalists
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text 2017-06-14 14:02
Breaking Blog News: Brush with Greatness
Life on Mars - Tracy K. Smith

One week from today, I'm going to see Tracy K. Smith give a reading. That's not the breaking news - I've been planning it for months.


The news is, today she was named the new U.S. Poet Laureate. I was excited before. Now I'm on Cloud 9.


I'm also in the process of reading both "Life on Mars" and "Ordinary Light." Both so, so good.



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text 2016-10-12 00:40
Notes on Adaptation: Fences
The Piano Lesson - August Wilson

The trailer for the upcoming August Wilson adaptation, "Fences," really got me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2m6Jvp0bUw


I've been an admirer of Wilson's since the early '90s. I read several of his plays at that time. But not since. 


Now I'm tempted to read the whole cycle - not in publication order, but in decade order that the plots move through the 20th century. 


Might be a good way to spend Saturday afternoons through the end of the year. 



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-06-05 18:13
Death be not proud . . . intellectuals already are
Wit - Margaret Edson

I am so glad that the character of Vivian Bearing, PhD exists.


Her male analog has been around in literature, film, and television for a looooong time. But the female version of the hard-as-nails, intellectualism-is-everything, got-no-personal-life professor rarely is seen.


Probably because when men are this character, they're admirable assholes. When women are this character, they're bitches. No quarter given. 


Of course, Vivian Bearing, PhD, leading scholar of John Donne and his Holy Sonnets, is given as much and more than she can "bear" in this play,  and we must ask ourselves what the relationship of the intellect is to the heart and the physical body. 


Death be not proud, for Vivian Bearing has earned her theatrical immortality. 



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text 2016-05-22 22:20
A Theory of (Reading) Everything
A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking,Carl Sagan
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory - Brian Greene

Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" and Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe" had both been on my "read this someday" list for quite some time. Both got pushed to the top of that list in the last little while for very good reasons. 


I read Hawking's book in preparation for seeing the film, "The Theory of Everything," early in 2015, before the Academy Awards. Greene's book pushed its way to the top of my list when he was announced as the headline presenter at our university's writers conference this spring. 


Here's my advice to other readers: Do try to read these books close together. I'm glad my reading of them was relatively (13-14 months) proximate. Green acknowledges a debt to the inspiration and spirit of Hawking's book and expands on his work with the science that has come in the subsequent decade or two. They're clearly writing for the same audience - the curious non-scientist. They share a wry wit and sense of humor. These two books belong together on the shelf, and the reader would do well to treat them as companion volumes.


Hawking declares in his book that he was told every equation he included would halve his readership - so he included none. Greene, on the other hand, includes several, in the footnotes, always introduced by the little catchphrase, "For the mathematically inclined reader." 


For the record, I really loved the film "The Theory of Everything." Redmayne's performance was certainly Oscar-worthy, but I actually was more taken by Felicity Jones as his first wife, Jane. Here's what I wrote on this blog at that time: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1107435/notes-on-adaptation-the-theory-of-everything.


Also for the record: I had seen Greene's PBS series years ago and enjoyed it very much. His appearance at our university this spring was stellar. And there was a most interesting surprise: the chancellor of our state university system was friends with Greene during his graduate school days at Oxford. He gave a charming, humorous, entirely appropriate and enlightening introduction, then we settled in for more than an hour of Greene's wit and wisdom. A most satisfying evening all around. 



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quote 2016-05-20 01:12
For the mathematically inclined reader . . .
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory - Brian Greene

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

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