Ryan McCarl

Reading, writing, learning, languages, law, politics, etc.

Excerpts from Jim Harrison’s ‘The English Major’

I recently finished Jim Harrison’s latest novel, The English Major. Harrison, a native of my home state of Michigan, is my favorite contemporary author, and The English Major is the best ”fun read” I’ve had in a long time. In trademark Harrison style, it is both hilarious and poignant, and it contains some great passages. Excerpts below. …I tried to dismiss a pinprick of homesickness beneath my breastbone but then thought that homesickness like marital love was mostly a habit. Read more →

Quotes from Kohak’s ‘The Embers and the Stars’

I recently discovered the work of Erazim Kohak, a Czech philosopher and Professor Emeritus at Boston University who has written extensively on environmental ethics. I am 30 pages into Kohak’s The Embers and the Stars: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Moral Sense of Nature, and it is incredible so far. A few excerpts below, with more to come. Reflection and speculation remain no more than cunningly devised fables if they are not grounded in what, paraphrasing Calvin Schrag, we could call the prephilosophical and prescientific matrix of self-understanding and world-comprehension. Read more →

Readings from Mann, Golley, and Eliot

-Must-read: the New York Times on a severe case of protracted bullying. This is real, and it’s an enormous problem. There is a spectrum of school violence ranging from verbal harassment and bullying all the way to school shootings, and it needs to be taken more seriously and addressed more quickly at every stage. An atmosphere of security and mutual respect in classrooms is essential to students’ well-being and ability to learn. Read more →