Archive | May, 2010

27 May 2010 4 Comments

How to create empathy as a writer

Malcolm Muggeridge (an old English literateur) once said that George Orwell “was no good as a novelist, because he didn’t have the interest in character.” Well, I didn’t need to tell you who George Orwell was, so you may doubt the judgment of the largely forgotten Muggeridge. But I think he was very close to […]

23 May 2010 0 Comments

Israel prepares for next threat–nuclear?

NABLUS, West Bank — During the Palestinian intifada, I sat on a dusty hilltop overlooking this most violent of West Bank towns with a dozen of the top Israeli officers in the area. The brigade commanders told their regional chiefs that all the police work and house-to-house fighting of the intifada had made their troops […]

20 May 2010 0 Comments

Jimmy Carter, apartheid, hemorrhoids and Matt Beynon Rees

I often receive emails from book stores, amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and online literary sites telling me how much I’d like the novels of Matt Beynon Rees. I’m delighted to see these emails, which are based on my other purchases and interests, as only I can truly know just how much the novels of Matt […]

13 May 2010 0 Comments

Cameron can’t solve English i.d. crisis

I was at Oxford University at the same time as Britain’s new prime minister. But while I spent all my free time at a famous old pub opposite the historic Bodleian Library with a pint of Guinness in the company of some old Irish porters, I never saw David Cameron there. Which makes me doubt […]

13 May 2010 0 Comments

‘Exotic’ crime fiction makes unpalatable places bearable

“Exotic” crime fiction has taken off in the last decade. People want to read about detectives in far-off places, even if they don’t want to wade through learned histories of those distant lands. Many of the biggest selling novels of the last decade have been “exotic crime.” You’ll find a detective novel set almost everywhere […]

11 May 2010 1 Comment

Hezbollah’s missiles cover all Israel

JERUSALEM — Hezbollah’s stockpile of weapons includes missiles that can strike at the entire area of Israel, the country’s Intelligence Minister revealed Monday. In a briefing to foreign journalists, Dan Meridor said the Lebanese Shiite militia, which fought a rocket war with Israel in 2006, has 42,000 rockets and missiles “aimed at Israel.” He added […]

9 May 2010 0 Comments

Hamas rebuilds in West Bank

Hamas is steadily rebuilding its power in the West Bank, stockpiling weapons and material underground, biding its time for a renewal of the conflict with its Fatah rivals. Palestinian security officials have been telling me this for some time, and they are frankly filled with fear and foreboding. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned it again […]

6 May 2010 2 Comments

What do YOU think of me?

A friend of mine was lunching with a Scandinavian author a while back. At one point, the writer joked: “But that’s enough of me talking about myself. What do YOU think of me?” Unlike that writer, I don’t care what you think of me. Don’t be offended – I don’t care what I think about […]

5 May 2010 0 Comments

Good times, danger signs in West Bank

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The good news is that the West Bank is normal — kind of — and that people are content — sort of. The bad news, the Palestine Liberation Organization thinks it’s responsible for the good news. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who’s also the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief, has decided to […]