North by Shakespeare, An Underdog Defies 500 Years of Literary Doctrine

North by Shakespeare

We all love underdogs: the urban breakdancer that one day makes it on Broadway; the business school dropout that becomes a millionaire; the single parent who takes on the school board and wins; the whistleblower who exposes corporate or governmental corruption. Yet few of us have the stamina to undertake…

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War in Afghanistan, Life of the Combat Soldier

Korengal Valley, Tim Hetherington

When Biden announced in April that he was upholding Trump’s agreement to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, I decided that I would check out War, by bestselling author Sebastian Junger. I’ve long known of Junger’s work as a war correspondent, and I was glad to finally give this book…

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Fiction that Enlightens: Learning Something Adds to the Enjoyment

Oleanders and Books, Van Gogh

For many years, I avoided reading fiction. The world is vast and there is so much to know that I just couldn’t justify reading a novel. In addition, there are so many talented journalists-turned-author that it’s easy to find nonfiction on almost any subject that grabs and holds your attention—history,…

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January Potpourri: Parks, Pipes, Pics, and Popular Portrayals

Eiffel Tower in Winter

Throughout the month I come across a fair number of francophile-related articles, blogs, images, books, or videos that I’d like to share with readers. I’ve combined this potpourri of news items into a single post. Here are some of the gems from January as well as a brief book review…

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The Story of French and How it Became a Remarkably Popular Language

Last week I began summarizing some of the highlights from The Story of French, by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow. My post left off in the midst of the French Revolution. I read much of the book in November. During the week of our election, I was learning that at…

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The Mystifying Popularity of the French Language Revealed

Parlez-vous français?

Today, France lands at number 22 in the list of countries when ranked by population size. Yet, French is the 5th most spoken language in the world, behind English, Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish. It’s an impressive status for a relatively small country—49th in the world in terms of geographic area.…

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