Modigliani: A Life by Meryle Secrest

While Modigliani: A Life by Meryle Secrest was not exactly the biography I was looking for, it is an entertaining, educational read that has much to offer both fans of the artist and general readers. Several years ago I picked up a copy of Becoming Judy Chicago more or less on a whim to discover…

Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe by William Rosen

Some things I learned from reading William Rosen’s book Justinian’s Flea: Justinian I was as unlikely to become emperor as Theodora was to become empress. Theodora really did work in a brothel, most likely, but she had retired prior to meeting Justinian in her early twenties. That bit about covering herself in seed and letting a…

But she was woman; he was dog.  Mrs. Browning went on reading.  Then she looked at Flush again.  But he did not look at her.  An extraordinary change had come over him.  “Flush!” she cried.  But he was silent.  He had been alive; he was now dead.  That was all.  The drawing-room table, strangely enough,…

Noah Webster: a Man of Many Words by Catherine Reef

I needed to read a biography.  This semester I  invited my students to play “Book Bingo” with their reading.  Everyone has a “Book Bingo” card glued into their English journal.  Each time you finish a book, you check off a corresponding Book Bingo square.  Up to three bingoes earn extra credit and anyone who completes a…

Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel by Edmund White

Athur Rimbaud made a splash on the Paris literary scene, became a scandal, destroyed Paul Verlaine’s marriage, revolutionized French poetry and left it all for an obscure post in Northern Africa before the age of 21. At age 16 he sent a few poems to Paul Verliane, already the leading figure in French poetry.  Verlaine was so…