Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday Good Reads

I was a senior in high school when I read The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. And then I read Cancer Ward, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I was an almost brand-new copy editor at a newspaper in Texas when the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago was published in Paris, and the first day it was available in English found me at the Methodist Bookstore in downtown Houston buying my copy. 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I’ve since read the other two volumes of the Gulag, his memoir The Oak and the Calf, his novels of World War I, his poetry, his speeches, and just about everything else he wrote. I could argue that Solzhenitsyn’s writing and faith had an enormous impact on my formative years and after. This month is the 100th anniversary of his birth, and Daniel Mahoney at City-Journal and Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative have tributes to the man and what he accomplished.

The famous flu pandemic of 1918-19 killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including 550,000 in the United States (about the same number who died in the Civil War). For some time now, it’s believed to have started in a small town in Kansas and been carried to Europe by American troops fighting in the war. New medical detective work is unraveling that belief. Helen Branswell at STAT has the story.

Jake Meador at Mere Orthodoxy has a list of the year’s best magazine writing, and it contains some excellent articles. The Hudson Review has published a new short story by Wendell Berry. The funeral of President George H.W. Bush inspired a story in Smithsonian Magazine on the somber history of the presidential funeral train. And James Heartfield at Spiked explains why the poets of World War I matter.

More Good Reads

Writing and Literature

30 Words Invented by Shakespeare – Michael at Daily Writing Tips.

Home and Hearth: A Cautionary Christmas with Washington Irving – Christine Norvell at The Imaginative Conservative.

Merton & Blake, Revisited – Michael Higgins at Commonweal.

Life and Culture

How Overparenting Backfired on Americans – Jonathan Haidt (video).

8 years and $550 million: A pro-life political failure – Jesse Johnson at The Cripplegate.

Oh, the sweet irony of Jordan Peterson’s fame – Rex Murphy at National Post.


Join Me on a Ride to Malvern – Kimberly Wagner.

Fathers and Churches – Rod Dreher at American Conservative.


The boy left behind in Nazi Vienna – Nik Pollinger at BBC (Hat Tip: J of India).


Lament for Mother Earth – Joy Lenton at Poetry Joy.

A Quintet of Sonnets for Mary – Malcolm Guite at The Imaginative Conservative.

For the Nativity – John Heath-Stubbs via Kingdom Poets.

The Underworld – Dana Gioia at The Hudson Review.

The Sermon and the Whisper – Nathan Koblintz at Thinking Faith (Hat Tip: J of India).

A Lesson Heard in Longfellow’s Home – Barry York at Gentle Reformation.

Art and Photography

The Spiritual Mechanics of Labor and Rest – Jack Baumgartner at The School for the Transfer of Energy.

Maple and Oak – Tim Good at Pixels.

O Holy Night – Hillsong Worship

Painting: Portrait of a Man with a Newspaper, oil on canvas by Andre Derain, 1911-1914; State Hermitage Museum, Russia. 

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