In a recent issue of the Century, I interview Kent Haruf, whose novel Benediction has garnered a nomination for the newly minted Folio Prize in the United Kingdom and recent reviews in The Guardian (by Ursula Le Guin) and the Telegraph. Haruf has made a life out of fine and careful reading, as well as writing. I asked him for recommendations on five books that have helped him become more fully human.
The Sportsman Channel touts its newest series, Amazing America with Sarah Palin, in a three-minute video making the rounds on social media. The video, a recording by “the most patriotic band in America,” Madison Rising, contains rousing lyrics, while a variety of activities flash by in rapid succession: men fighting fires, men shooting guns, women shooting guns, men running with bulls, men riding down zip lines, cars racing, and Sarah Palin on a dogsled pulled by pink-booted sled dogs.
A few nights ago we ate ratatouille. We sweated the onions over a low heat for 45 minutes. We added basil, garlic, and Italian parsley—all fresh from our garden here in New Zealand. Over time, we added the vegetables: pepper, eggplant, courgette, tomato. Finally, we mixed cheese and bread crumbs together.
Looks like Vox is off to a pretty good start. Ezra Klein & Co.'s news & politics vertical is poised to do even more than Klein's past work already has to expand serious discussion of public policy, to take it outside the bubble of people who come to the conversation with specialized knowledge.
Though if Matthew Yglesias's first post is any indication, Vox may make a different time-honored mistake of national political journalism: taking for granted that D.C. is the center of the universe, and that this universe exists entirely along the Eastern Seaboard.
Reading Edwidge Danticat’s novel Claire of the Sea Light is like swimming through a gentle tide in a body of water known for riptides. The feeling that something invisible, fierce, and irreparable is just under the surface never quite leaves the corner of the reader’s mind.
The story traces relational ties in Ville Rose, a small coastal village town in Haiti.
It's often said that in a tolerance-obsessed culture, everything is tolerated—except intolerance. Actually, this gets said a lot more often than perhaps it should, because being intolerant is not the same sort of thing as being black or female or gay or Muslim. Tolerating people is more fundamental than tolerating their ideas.
My article in the March 19 issue tells the story of Larry Engel and Mike Breininger, two pastors in Richland County, Wisconsin, who were able to bridge a longstanding impasse between conservative and liberal pastors by beginning a conversation about their own theological and political differences. The result? A friendship between two pastors, cooperation among area pastors, and a jumpstart to initiating and sustaining needed community services.