A lot of updates at once

I have done a poor job maintaining this web site. I pledge to do better in future.

My wife Ashley’s book on prison theatre is out. You can read an excerpt here.

Since the last update to this site, I have written three more installments of my bimonthly Book Tour column for Plough Quarterly, considering new books and reissues by L.M. Sacasas, Caleb Crain, Jane McAlevey, Vivian Gornick, Adrienne Kennedy, Elisa Gabbert, Jill Lepore, Bernadette Mayer, Rick Perlstein, Louise Erdrich, and Erica Hunt, on such subjects as media ecology, disaster, companies that spy on us, Reagan, Native American dispossession, and whether time is one of God’s creatures or not. The next one talks about Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi, John M. Harrison’s The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, Marie NDiaye’s That Time of Year, and Jacques Ellul’s commentary on the book of Revelation. I’m also planning a roundup-of-the-year thing that will be a real stemwinder. Next year there are new books on the horizon by Helen Oyeyemi and Gayl Jones and a Penguin Classics version of the Chinese classic The Journey to the West that I’ve got my eye on. Who knows.

For the Christian Century I have also reviewed Marilynne Robinson’s new novel Jack and Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s study of American evangelicalism and masculinity, Jesus and John Wayne.

I wrote about ungrading for the Chronicle of Higher Ed, as part of a larger symposium on higher education during a pandemic.

Have something on Mark Fisher coming soon from Commonweal.

In the spring, I got to be the token unfamous person in a Plough/Breaking Ground panel that also featured Stanley Hauerwas and Edwidge Danticat, moderated by Anne Snyder. They were brilliant and insightful, but the show is stolen by Hauerwas’s cat. (Sadly, I have not gotten better at sewing masks.)

I also talked to Ryan Cooper and Alexi the Greek for an episode of Left Anchor, their excellent podcast on the Left and philosophy. I did a long interview with Aarik Danielsen in Rain Taxi, but they’re so cool you have to buy the print magazine. I appeared on the Cook Memorial Public Library podcast. I tried to say somewhat different things in each interview, but I haven’t listened to find out how I did, because I dislike how my voice sounds. They all asked great questions. Good people.

My book will probably not become the cash cow that, in my lesser moments, I allowed myself to dream it might, but it has gotten reviewed thoughtfully, critically, and appreciatively by people whose minds I respect. Also, I got my first author cartoon drawing out of it, a drawing in which I look a bit plump, perhaps, but distinguished. The artist could have owned me much harder than they did. Look at that lustrous head of hair!

I started a Patreon where people pay me to read/watch through some massive canon and I write about it in installments every Friday (or most Fridays). For now, I’m working through Henry and William James. For future series, I am considering postpunk, the French New Wave filmmakers, Superman, heaven knows what else.

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