Ends up that running a weekly feature takes time and effort. It’s well worth it, of course, but I need a break — and help. From you. The search for insight and understanding in unlikely places takes the most time. So if you know anyone, including yourself, who is passionate about books and eager to celebrate sentences, characters, novels, authors, and literary experience in general, tell them, urge them, command them to contact me at We’re all evangelists in a worthy cause. Speak up, for crying out loud. Thank you, and long live Sancho Panza!

Home, a book recommendation

By Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson, Home is a story about Jack Boughton’s return to Gilead, Iowa after a 20-year absence. His father Robert Boughton is a dying widower who is cared for by Jack’s 38-year old sister Glory homeBoughton. Through her eyes, through her hopes, sorrows, and disappointments, the story of Jack’s homecoming is told. A lost and scoundrel soul, Jack returns to Gilead with a carefully guarded plan to set his life aright. His stay is fraught with anxiety and tenderness, vulnerability and hope — always hope, especially by those who love him most and can be profoundly hurt by him. Countless scenes are so deeply moving that one stops in sheer amazement, as when Robert Boughton, eager to spend time with Glory, falls asleep at the table with his fork in hand, or when Jack gracefully plays the piano for his father’s enjoyment. Robinson is a master at evoking the reader’s deepest layers of experience, as well as making the presence of the past (excuse the expression) palpable in such everyday objects as shirts and lampshades. Home is a marvel, a gorgeous achievement, and is well worth your time. Savor Gilead first, otherwise a rich dimension of meaning will be lost, or as Robinson unforgettably writes in Gilead, you will miss “the great taut skeins of light suspended between them.”

Did you know?

Friends and family celebrating my achievement

Friends and family celebrating a fine achievement

Between the Lines averages about 350 visits per week. While this is nothing to sniff at, your kindly host is greedy as Gekko and wants more, a lot more, so please share the blog with anyone and everyone. Even better, list me on your blogroll (Mark Sarvas, chop, chop!), and who knows, I just might return the favor.

WordPress site metrics allows me to track search terms used by incoming traffic. Little did I know that when I captioned an image thusly, “Zaniest threesome ever,” I unwittingly spun a web to snag this tasty little morsel, “how to prepare wife for a threesome,” which is funny because it’s funny but vexing, too, because it’s hardly the kind of traffic I so richly deserve. Or is it?

Joyce Carol Oates and Harold Bloom politely declined to go Between the Lines. Don DeLillo, not so much. But in his defense, I did mis-spell his name with a lowercase “l.” Accidents happen.

Spooning one's constituency

Spooning the City electorate

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom still hasn’t responded to me. Which is commendable in a way, because he’s got more important things to do than to discuss ideas.

On the Horizon

Next feature will cross Monday, November 16.

David Mitchell’s feature will go live on Monday, December 14 at 12:01 a.m. To prepare, read Cloud Atlas, a wonderfully inventive novel, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Booker Prize. If you fear it’s too large an undertaking, shame on you, but somewhat pardonable, so read Black Swan Green instead.


4 Responses to Intermezzo

  1. elizabeth says:

    Great blog — I started reading when my friend Vicki Forman’s new book was mentioned in one of your interviews, and I’ve been coming back every since.

  2. Alireza Taghdarreh says:

    Kevin, Did you know how Rumi’s Masnavi, the greatest masterpiece in Persian mysticism and poetry, came into being? Rumi’s student, disciple and close friend Hessam Od-Din saw oceans of water in the huge, impatient cloud that was hanging above him in the sky. He knew that if it rained huge oceans and rivers would form and water millions of orchards in the world. Then one night, he came to Rumi hoping finally to find a way to express his long, silent desire. To his amazement, as soon as he started to talk, Rumi took out the first few lines of his Masnavi from his hat and gave them to Hessam and told him, “Now I realize why my heart desired to write these lines. God always reflects the deisre of friends to the heart of friends. Here I have already begun what you had dreamed in your heart.”

    I was just telling you the story of how Between the Lines came into being. That is just something you brought out from your hat for me. I had always been admiring you and your thinking and always wanted to have a deeper look inside your world. I am also a rambler in your culture – never having the chance to read the books that you read or talk to the wonderful people that you talk to. Here, to some degrees, you have made this possible for me.

    Ali from Iran

  3. Donna says:

    I can’t wait to read Home…it’s sitting in the bedside stack inching it’s way to the top. There are just too many good books to read in this lifetime!! I need to start travelling again so I can have that uninterrupted 10 hr airplane trip from SFO to Frankfurt!!

    Donna from Santa Cruz

  4. […] Cross-posted from Between the Lines. […]

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