Saturday, August 1, 2020

Saturday Good Reads

If there is one endlessly repeated mantra about COVID-19, it’s “Follow the science.” Initially, the virus was downplayed – by the World Health Organization, by the Centers for Disease Control, and others. Dr. Anthony Fauci told us January and February that it was no big deal and wouldn’t have a big impact in the U.S. Things got more serious, more was learned, things started blowing apart in Europe, and it hit home. It was like the plague, but it wasn’t. You couldn’t compare it to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919, unless you needed to. 

And then came the Black Lives Matter protests, and suddenly all the advice, all the restrictions, and all the warnings went right out the window, replaced by a deafening silence or, in some cases, tacit approval to protest. Joel Zinburg at CityJournal looks at some of these developments, and asks, “Follow the Science – Where?” His answer: we might have been told to follow the science, but we were really being told to follow the policymakers and the politics.

The Society for Classical Poets is a relatively new group that promotes traditional poetry, and especially poetry that has rhyme and meter. It held an online symposium recently and collected some of the readings in one spot. You can watch and listen here

A writer not terribly familiar in America is Michel Houllebecq, a novelist who’s a household name in France. He’s written a series of provocative novels, daring to take on what literary elites generally avoid. In all of his works, one theme is that without a solid grounding in religion, Western civilization is doomed. And yet his books are widely read, by both the French public and the literary crowd. Nicholas Merevel at Front Porch Republic takes a good, hard look at Houllebecq and his novels to see what all of this means. 

More Good Reads


How a 1990s book predicted 2020 – Ed West at UnHerd. 

The Chimera of Cancel Culture – Clint Archer at The Cripplegate.

The Unprecedented Bravery of Olivia de Havilland – Todd Purdum at The Atlantic.

Free Speech Under Siege – Michael Mandelbaum at American Interest.

China is what Orwell feared – Ross Anderson at The Atlantic.


The Violin Soldier – Paul Gallagher at The Chained Muse.

The Air in Tasmania – David Mason at Literary Matters.

“Thermidor: An Ode to Reaction” – Adam Sedia at The Imaginative Conservative.

When searching for your truth (5 poems) – Kerry O’Connor at Skylover. 


Gratitude as a Virtue – Jessica Hooten Wilson at Church Life Journal.

Writing and Literature

The Restless Bones of Dante Alighieri – Kelly Scott Franklin at Law & Liberty.

Is This the End of Writing in Cafes? – Emily Temple at Literary Hub.

In Search of Shakespeare’s Mind – Daniel Blank at Los Angeles Review of Books. Related: In Search of Shakespeare’s London at Spitalfields Life.

The Power of flawed Lists: How The Bookman invented in the bestseller – Elizabeth Della Zazzera at Lapham’s Quarterly.

American Stuff

American Disaster: In the Path of a Dirty Storm – Matthew Van Meter at Literary Hub.

1619: The Beginning of Self-Government in Virginia – Gary Porter at The Imaginative Conservative.

The Buildings That Made India

Painting: A Man Reading a Paper, oil on canvas by Adriaen Van Ostade (1610-1685).

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