Sarah Ruden has little patience for translations of ancient texts that skirt past poetic subtleties. In “The Face of Water,” at once a serious work of scholarship and a playful romp of an essay, she turns her attention to the most often translated ancient text of all, the Bible.
The worst thing about President Trump’s proposed budget, according to many of the commentators writing about it, is that it “cuts the safety net.” The term “safety net,” as you may already know, is an expression meant to describe programs to help low-income citizens with groceries or medical care.
The British have a terrific expression of which there’s no equivalent I’m aware of in American English: “He’s lost the plot.” To “lose the plot” is to become confused and lose the ability to complete a task. I’m fond of the expression because it assumes a correspondence between doing one’s job and reading a book. To lose one’s place in a story is the essence of failure. At the present moment, with some real or imagined debacle coming out of the White House every day, we’ve forgotten where we are.