Tag: First Graf

Sometimes a great book reveals itself in the opening paragraph (“graf” in reporter-speak). Here are some of my favorites.

First Graf: Ulysses

THERE’S NOT MUCH ELSE TO say about James Joyce’s magnum opus (although some would apply that descriptor to Finnegans Wake) that hasn’t been said, and by greater and more erudite scholars than this reporter: takes place over 24 hours in…

First Graf: Fringes of Reason

REMEMBER THE WHOLE EARTH CATALOGS? Mostly subtitled “Access to Tools,” they were popular mainstays of the late 1960s-1970s’ DIY culture, spanning a variety of subjects from computers to home gardens. One of them, 1989’s Fringes of Reason: A Field Guide…

First Graf: The Jewish Catalog

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE COUNTER-CULTURAL agents of the 1960s (re)discovered their Yiddishkeit (Jewishness)? A trio of them (and many others) produced the now-classic The Jewish Catalog: a do-it-yourself kit. As the subtitle implies, the book is chock-full of homemade ways…

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

First Graf: Silverlock

TAKE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, STAR A grumpy Chicagoan, people the landscape with characters and places from the world’s literature and you have Silverlock — a fable of the human spirit no less great or more complex a story than a man…