November Word of Mouth

Non-fiction: Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time — Leila Janah

How To Be on the Right Side of History: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century — Timothy Snyder

Memoir/Guide: The Constant Choice: an Everyday Journey from Evil Toward Good — Peter Georgescu

Fiction: Headlong — Michael Frayn

Music: Tradition in Transition — Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro

Podcast: Trumpcast — Slate

Ancient Inspiration: “Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.”

— Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56–117 CE)



July Word of Mouth


Music: Guilt By Association Volume IV: 1966 — Various artists


Creativity: The Path of Least Resistance — Robert Fritz


TV: Grantchester — Daisy Coulam



Not-So-Ancient Inspiration: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., from Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, with thanks to Rene for the reference.




June Word of Mouth














Children’s Picture Book: Mr. ParticularJason Kirschner

Fiction: Red April Santiago Roncagliolo

Memoir: The Bridge LadiesBetsy Lerner

Documentary: My Italian Secret Oren Jacoby

TV: Occupied — Karianne Lund,  Jo Nesbø,  Erik Skjoldbjærg. Netflix.

Writing: The Clockwork MuseEviator Zerubavel

Not-So-Ancient Inspiration: “The bad thing about all religions is that, instead of being able to confess their allegorical nature, they have to conceal it; accordingly, they parade their doctrines in all seriousness as true sensu proprio, and as absurdities form an essential part of these doctrines we have the great mischief of a continual fraud. Nay, what is worse, the day arrives when they are no longer true sensu proprio, and then there is an end of them; so that, in that respect, it would be better to admit their allegorical nature at once. But the difficulty is to teach the multitude that something can be both true and untrue at the same time. Since all religions are in a greater or less degree of this nature, we must recognise the fact that mankind cannot get on without a certain amount of absurdity, that absurdity is an element in its existence, and illusion indispensable; as indeed other aspects of life testify.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, from “The Christian System” in Religion: A Dialogue, and Other Essays, (1910) as translated by Thomas Bailey Saunders, p. 106.

May Word of Mouth


Cultural Analysis: La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian MindBeppe Severgnini

Fiction: Dear Committee MembersJulie Schumacher

Non-fiction: How To Age (The School of Life)Anne Karpf

Documentary: When Two Worlds Collide — Heidi Brandenburg and Matthew Orzel

Movie: Sing Street — John Carney

Music: Bonfires on the Heath — the Clientele.

Not-So-Ancient Inspiration: If you never encounter anything in your community that offends you, then you are not living in a free society.” — Kim Campbell

April Word of Mouth


Fiction: The Good Thief Hannah Tinti

Non-fiction: Jihad Academy: The Rise of Islamic State  Nicolas Hénin

Memoir: All Who Go Do Not ReturnShulem Deen

History: Caligula: the Corruption of Power — Anthony A. Barrett

Movie: Eye in the Sky — Gavin Hood

TV: The GameToby Whithouse, BBC



Not-So-Ancient Inspiration: “The enemy is a very good teacher.” — the Dalai Lama



March Word of Mouth


Music: What It Is: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977), from the Vaults of Atlantic, Atco and Warner Bros. Records. Various artists.

Comedy:  No Can Defend — Gary Gulman

Memoir: Year of YesShonda Rhimes

Writing: The Forest for the Trees: an Editor’s Advice to Writers Betsy Lerner

Essays: 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write: on Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children and Theater — Sarah Ruhl

Movie: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny — Yuen Woo-Ping. Netflix.

Not-So-Ancient Inspiration: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” — William James