your pre-Thanksgiving buffet

Don’t fill up too quickly, mes amis.’s Laura Miller reviews Tinsel, a new Christmas-culture book which focuses on how Americans in the suburbs and exurbs celebrate the holiday.

Theodore Dalrymple (great name) examines the baleful influence of Le Corbusier for City Journal.  If you’ve ever been discombobulated by the preponderance of huge, bare, concrete-intensive spaces in American and European cities or have wondered why post-WWII U.S. planners decided it would be awesome to carve up cities with new freeways and other roads where nobody can, well, walk like humans should, read this.

From Seattle’s alt paper The Stranger, a depressing report on the status of marriage equality and LGBT rights in my home state, Virginia, which has just elected a closet psychopath as governor.  His kids also look like blonde larvae.

A.J. Jacobs explores the alternately discomfiting and liberating possibilities of Radical Honesty.  This also entails a trip down to VA.  The RH movement–if you can call it that–is probably more interesting as a thought-experiment than an actual program for living one’s life, but it and its main guru, Brad Blanton, are fascinating.

Blast from the past: poet J.D. McClatchy reviews One Art, the large and wonderful collection of Elizabeth Bishop’s letters.  As with many poets, the organizing theme of the writing and the life is loneliness.  Then again, aren’t we all familiar with that?




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