Rodin: One Hundred

Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017 by Jeremiah

Photo of The Think by RodinNovember 17, 2017: the hundredth anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death.

You don’t have to cross the state, country or sea to study and admire and treasure Rodin’s seductive sculptures. The Saint Louis Art Museum and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art have castings of his originals on display, and the library, of course, has many books describing and depicting his sensuous works. Continue reading “Rodin: One Hundred”

Staff Book Review: Dinner at the Center of the Earth

Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 by Jeremiah

The Arabic name for Jerusalem is Al-Quds, and the Arabic name for Temple Mount is Haram al-Sharif. (I could have begun, “The Hebrew name for….”) The double-naming underscores the confusion and complexity that is Israel-Palestine.

The so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict confounds policymakers, diplomats, government officials, citizens. The situation, if this is the appropriate word, resists simplicity because, to put this simply, historical consensus—what happened and who is at fault—is impossible.

But what, if not their land, do Israelis and Palestinians share?

book cover for "Dinner at the Center of the Earth"

Heartbroken by the conflict, Nathan Englander investigates the failure of solution in his second novel, “Dinner at the Center of the Earth.” Unlike his previous short story collections (“For the Relief of Unbearable Urges” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank“) and novel (“The Ministry of Special Cases“), Englander’s latest work, not unlike his subject, defies categorization or genre. A plot-driven political and spy thriller, a love story, a farce—this novel is an admirable literary combination but fails to compel. The humor falls flat: what’s the joke and where’s the punchline, I thought. The dialogue, despite a few enticing passages, is stilted, wooden, even cliché. The discontinuous timeline and various threads Englander attempts to interweave are strained, rushed. The fits and starts, so to speak, never resolve. Continue reading “Staff Book Review: Dinner at the Center of the Earth”

Staff Book Review: The Rules Do Not Apply

Posted on Friday, October 6, 2017 by Jeremiah

Tragedies scatter about our lives, usually. If a decade or more separates one loss — a job, a parent, a home, a pet — from another, is what’s lost a tragedy?

For others, losses accumulate, completely warping their understanding of the world. In her articulate tragicomic memoir, “The Rules Do Not Apply,” Ariel Levy recounts the dissolution of her marriage, her miscarriage and her move from what she thought her permanent home — all lost over three months. Reading this challenges one’s sense or definition of tragedy. Continue reading “Staff Book Review: The Rules Do Not Apply”

National Voter Registration Day

Posted on Monday, September 25, 2017 by Jeremiah

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 26. In Missouri, according to the events listed on this unofficial holiday’s website, there are events in Kansas City, Cape Girardeau and near Lexington.

The general idea is to provide a national push for voter registration. Voting in the United States is a civic duty and a constitutional right. The legitimacy of our democratic process depends on voters.

In Boone County, for the general election last November, there were 108,578 registered voters, and only 85,012 ballots were cast. 21.7% of registered voters did not vote, which was, admittedly, better than the Missouri’s voter turnout.

Continue reading “National Voter Registration Day”