The Fake Solitude of Walden Pond

Walden Pond isn’t like it used to be. As I walked the two mile loop that Henry David Thoreau’s Walden describes as a “narrow shelf-like path in the steep hillside… as old probably as the race of man here,” my gut reaction was one of disappointment. Some time in the past 160 years, Walden has been … Continue reading

200 Pages of Tension in The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) composed the memoriam on his own tombstone,  listing what he considered the singular accomplishment of his life: “AUTHOR OF THE WOMAN IN WHITE.” Collins wrote other famous books–The Moonstone, for example, is considered the first true detective novel– but he will forever be tied to this one serial that was published in … Continue reading

In Ancient Rome, Was Zeus Sorta Like Santa Claus?

A post on the parenting site Cafe Mom poses the one verboten question regarding  the Christmas season’s favorite scarlet-suited chimera: when should you expect your kids to stop believing in Santa Claus? (Actually, tons of mommy boards take up this issue; I like the Cafe Mom one best because of the exuberant fonts and GIFs) As … Continue reading