Monthly Archives: August 2016

Fleeing the Beauty of Life

The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese.  Harper Perennial.  345 pp.  $15.99. I found this book disturbing, unnervingly so, and I’m still trying to figure out why.  Writing about it may help. Nevertheless, it has all the Abraham Verghese virtues.  It’s beautifully written, full of interesting detail about Verghese’s life, about medicine and his medical practice, … Continue reading Fleeing the Beauty of Life

Silence of the Leaving

Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End-of-Life Care.  Edited by Koshin Paley Ellison and Matt Weingast.  Wisdom Publications.  346 pp.  $19.95. This all began when Koshin Paley Ellison’s Grandma Mimi—certainly the most adorable character in this book, and perhaps the wisest—asked if he could look after her while she stayed in New … Continue reading Silence of the Leaving

Get Your Buns Over Here

Sausage Party, a film by Gret Tiernan and Conrad Vernon.  With Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek. *** What a cast, right?  Five Oscar nominees in one movie.  Unfortunately, it’s an animated film about food products in the supermarket.  The voices are great.  But the cast doesn’t show its stuff. … Continue reading Get Your Buns Over Here

AIDS Comes Home

My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story by Abraham Verghese.  Vintage.  432 pp.  $16.00. I’m full of admiration for this book, and there’s no single reason.  It’s an AIDS memoir, told from the standpoint of the doctor who cared for the patients, and who just happened to be a gifted writer who would later write a … Continue reading AIDS Comes Home

Captain Fascistic

Captain Fantastic, a film by Matt Ross.  With Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Frank Langella, Ann Dowd. ***1/2 The father figure in Captain Fantastic, a man named Ben (Viggo Mortensen), reminds me of a teacher and coach I had in secondary school.  He was an extremely difficult but fair teacher, who got the most out of … Continue reading Captain Fascistic

Astonishing Eloquence

Mindfulness in Action by Chogyam Trungpa.  Edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian.  Shambhala.  196 pp.  $21.95. In times of anxiety and difficulty—which this summer has certainly been—I find myself drifting back to the books and teachers that were foundational to me.  I’ve been trying to make my way through Dogen this summer, but that’s like trying … Continue reading Astonishing Eloquence