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Literary Kicks


Dystopia Weekend: America's Ayn Rand Problem

Sunday, December 3, 2017 05:10 pm

(image) It was only six years ago — but it seems so much longer than that — that I wrote a book called Why Ayn Rand is Wrong (and Why It Matters). This book emerged from a series of blog posts I was composing (under my then-pseudonym Levi Asher) called Philosophy Weekend. Philosophy Weekend was a wild ride and a big success on Litkicks, generating an incredible number of intelligent comments from highly engaged readers who wished, along with me, to delve deeply into the topic of morality and political ethics. I loved every minute of this, but...

Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov: Russia's Eternal Literary #Resistance

Sunday, September 3, 2017 08:51 am

(image) Because I love literature, I bristle when I hear Russia described as my country's enemy. Certainly Vladimir Putin is our enemy, because he is a tyrant who murders journalists. And certainly Donald Trump is our enemy, not only because he's a racist and a sexual predator and a con-man, but also because Vladimir Putin is clearly his role model, his idea of an effective leader. But Putin does not own the epic Russian soul or mind, and Russia's historic intellectual achievements have formed bridges of human connection...

Miami Diary, August 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017 09:56 pm

(image) I've been communing with a view of the Atlantic ocean all summer. I don't get to spend as much time out there swimming in it as I'd like, because I'm a workaholic no matter where I live. But the view out my window helps keep me centered. The great ocean sparkles and gently churns as I plug away on endless coding errors, architectural conundrums, bug reports. The gorgeous wide sky beckons to me too, swirls of orange fire in the morning, steady pale blue at noon, dusty maroon and magenta in the late afternoon. I drifted down to southern...

Ride to Think: The Lonely Journey of Robert M. Pirsig

Saturday, April 29, 2017 08:25 am

(image) Robert Maynard Pirsig, author of the great 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died on April 24, 2017 at the age of 88. This novel was a cornerstone of the late Beat/Hippie literary era, and it continues to touch the hearts of countless readers all over the world. Though this novel's fetching title makes a big first impression, it's about much more than Buddhist philosophy and combustion engines. As a philosophical novel, it brushes quickly past Eastern philosophy to dive deep into the classics of ancient Greece, and...

The Great Lost American Rock Memoir: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Thursday, March 16, 2017 09:14 am

(image) The audiobook of Bruce Springsteen's autobiography Born To Run is narrated by Bruce himself. It kicks off with a bizarre, unexpected noise: a slow thundering torrent, familiar but eerily transformed. This is the opening of the great rock anthem "Born To Run" played at half speed: booming drum roll, snaky rockabilly guitar, the surprising ping of a glockenspiel — slowed down to reveal the sonic architecture behind the instrumental chaos. Well, isn't a revelation like this what a musical autobiography should be all about? And isn't this why...