“Some of these stories are closer to my own life than others are, but not one of them is as close as people seem to think.” Alice Murno, from the intro to Moons of Jupiter

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer

“Why does everything you know, and everything you’ve learned, confirm you in what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too. Show me where it says, in the Bible, ‘Purgatory.’ Show me where it says ‘relics, monks, nuns.’ Show me where it says ‘Pope.’” –Thomas Cromwell imagines asking Thomas More—Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

My favorite posts to get started: The Self-Righteousness Instinct, Sabbath Says, Encounters, Inc., and What Makes "Wolf Hall" so Great?.

Books: Reviews and Essays

The Soul of the Skeptic: What Precisely Is Sam Harris Waking Up from?








Gone Girl and the Relationship Game: The Charms of Gillian Flynn's Amazingly Seductive Anti-Heroine




Rebecca Mead’s Middlemarch Pilgrimage and the 3 Wrong Ways to Read a Novel









The Time for Tales and A Tale for the Time Being







Muddling through "Life after Life": A Reflection on Plot and Character in Kate Atkinson's New Novel



The Self-Righteousness Instinct: Steven Pinker on the Better Angels of Modernity and the Evils of Morality









Sabbath Says: Philip Roth and the Dilemmas of Ideological Castration






Capuchin-22: A Review of "The Bonobo and the Atheist" by Frans de Waal










Napoleon Chagnon's Crucible and the Ongoing Epidemic of Moralizing Hysteria in Academia





The Feminist Sociobiologist: An Appreciation of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Disguised as a Review of “Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding”




Too Psyched for Sherlock: A Review of Maria Konnikova’s “Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes”—with Some Thoughts on Science Education







Sweet Tooth is a Strange Loop: An Aid to Some of the Dimmer Reviewers of Ian McEwan's New Novel











The People Who Evolved Our Genes for Us: Christopher Boehm on Moral Origins – Part 3 of A Crash Course in Multilevel Selection Theory












The Self-Transcendence Price Tag: A Review of Alex Stone's "Fooling Houdini"










Why Shakespeare Nauseated Darwin: A Review of Keith Oatley's "Such Stuff as Dreams"










Percy Fawcett's Two Lost Cities: An Essay on David Grann's "The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon"









The Storytelling Animal: A Light Read with Weighty Implications (a review of Jonathan Gottschall's "The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human"

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