Archive for November 26th, 2015

Thanksgiving notes

November 26, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 26, 2015

I wanted to throw up a quick entry here mentioning some previous blog posts that are relevant to the season:

Three years ago, I wrote a post listing six things for which I was grateful. All still apply. What are you grateful for? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Six years ago, I began tweeting tributes to the seniors on the Stanford football team toward the end of the season. (The timing is loosely tied to the senior day tradition established by the late Dean Smith, a legendary men’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.) My most recent tribute appeared on Twitter shortly before the kickoff to the 118th Big Game last Saturday; subsequently, I updated the page on this blog that contains all of the tributes. Be sure to visit if you have any interest in the Cardinal football team!

In 2013, I wrote about Christmas creep, which, I assure you, is alive and well. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed no decrease in the insistence by conservatives that Christianity is imperiled here in the United States. (See: Kim Davis.)

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Man in decline: Anita Brookner’s ‘Strangers’ depicts an elderly, lonesome Londoner in his twilight years

November 26, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 26, 2015

When I looked at the indicia of the Anita Brookner novel Strangers, I was startled to see that the book had only been published in 2009. It seemed to me that I had had the slim brown volume lingering on one bookcase or another for forever, accompanying me to a variety of different homes.

That wasn’t quite the case. But it felt that way because Brookner’s tales have long struck me as claustrophobic and stultifying. Her characters are so boxed in — mainly by their own neuroses, with societal norms filling whatever gaps remain — that growth or action of any kind is virtually impossible.

(A quick aside, confessional in nature: Brookner has written more than two dozen novels, but I’m not certain whether I’ve read more than one of them. At any rate…)

I started reading Strangers sometime late this summer, and, after some delays, I finished it earlier this month. The novel is beautifully written, but it’s frustrating for all the reasons that I recall from whatever earlier encounters with Brookner’s work that I’ve either had or somehow imagined.

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