Writing through time, real and imagined.

About three-quarters of the way through Ali Smith’s novel, Autumn, a young woman named Elisabeth pulls a chair up to the bedside of an elderly former neighbor whom she is visiting in a care home. …

Celebrating Edna O’Brien on her 90th birthday.

In addition to being one of the most accomplished fiction writers in English in the past hundred years, Edna O’Brien possesses an intensity of purpose and a force of personality — one might more simply call this bravery — that make her seem a heroine worthy of Madame de Staël…

On reading other people’s diaries, with recommendations worth spending time with.

There’s no book I’d rather have at my bedside than a good diary; never having been able to keep one myself, I enjoy marking the passage of days in someone else’s life in the discrete segments daily entries offer. The pleasure of such reading is cumulative, an accretion of details…

On the evolving lives of minds and words, from Oliver Sacks to the Oxford English Dictionary to T. S. Eliot.

In a 1990 essay called “Neurology and the Soul,” a piece considering then-recent books on mind, memory, and consciousness, Oliver Sacks wrote with some excitement of Gerald M. Edelman’s concept of neural Darwinism, or neuronal group selection. …

James Mustich

Now: Author, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. Then: publisher and chief bookseller, A Common Reader. https://www.1000bookstoread.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store