Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Good Reads

David Murray at Writing Boots is a longstanding friend of more than 30 years. We met when he was editor of Speechwriter’s Newsletter; today, among other things, he’s editor of Vital Speeches of the Day and director of the Professional Speechwriters Association. He recently reread a novel about speechwriting, The Chronicles of Doodah by George Lee Walker, published in 1986. He calls the novel an “unreliable time capsule.” I haven’t read it; from David’s description, it both rings and doesn’t ring true to my own experience.  

David has a new book being published this coming week, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half. I’ve recently read it, and I’ll have more to say next week. For now, if you value communication, this is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. I say that as one who stands on the moderately reddish side of the political spectrum about a book written by an author on the bluish side of the spectrum.


In St. Louis, we call it the “Old Cathedral,” the Catholic Church left standing in the shadow of the Gateway Arch when everything around it for blocks was demolished to make way for the national monument. It’s called “old” to distinguish from the one called the “New Cathedral,” located in the city Central West End and its green dome highly visible from Interstate 64. Photograph Chris Naffziger took some pictures of the Old Cathedral and found some 80-year-old photographs to compare it with.


Poet John Keats died 200 years ago this month in Rome at the age of 25. He left behind a body of poetry that is still read and celebrated. The Keats House in Hampstead had planned all kinds of festivities, but then came the pandemic and lockdown. As a substitute, it’s put together a collection of online resources, entitled “Keats and Keats 200.” 


More Good Reads


News Media


3 Values That Drive Social Media – Chris Martin at Terms of Service.


How Americans Navigated the News in 2020: A Tumultuous Year in Review – Pew Research.


Life and Culture


Where as a Nation Do We Go from Here? – Chris Arnade and Michael Lind at Pairagraph. 


How Martin Luther Rewired Your Brain – Joseph Henrich at Nautilus Magazine.


Race, Police, and Innumeracy – Rod Dreher at American Conservative.


American Stuff


The Founders’ Lost World – Richard Gamble at Law & Liberty. 


Slavery Old and New: Comparing Early America with Biblical Times – Thomas Kidd at Desiring God.


W.E.B. Du Bois's Little-Known, Arresting Modernist Data Visualizations of Black Life for the World's Fair of 1900 – Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.


British Stuff


Vanishing London – Spitalfields Life.


Murder in Saxon England – Annie Whitehead at Casting Light upon the Shadow.


Writing and Literature


An Experiment in Criticism of the Literary Canon – Jessica Hooten Wilson at Church Life Journal.


“Demons” at 150: Dostoevsky’s prophetic tale of societal decay – Jacob Howland at The New Criterion.




Why I’m Mostly Quoting Dead Guys These Days – Jared Wilson at For the Church.


3 Marks of the Burden-Bearing Leader – Michael Kelley at Forward Progress.




Owl Ensconced on Oaken Branch – Corey Elizabeth Jackson at Society of Classical Poets.


The Blizzard of ’96 – Merrill D. Smith at Nightingale & Sparrow.


How Great Thou Art – Taryn Harbridge

Painting: Young Man Reading, oil on canvas by Eugen Ispir (1909-1974).

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