Church of the Informed Citizen: May 28, 2017

The Church of the Informed Citizen—i.e., my house—held services today on the back deck in beautiful, sunny, spring-like Memorial Day weekend weather. Now, as the potatoes boil in preparation for the traditional potato salad of summer—and before I clean my house—here are a few recommended readings.

Two themes emerged for me today. One, inevitably, is the continuing expansion of the investigation into contacts and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The other is children and how our governments serve or fail to serve them. Continue reading

Backward-running sentences and a character-filled cast

I have a new “Accidental Critic” piece up at Escape Into Life, a review of the book Cast of Characters, which examines the early years of The New Yorker magazine.

I hope you find it interesting, insightful, or some combination of the two. Without giving away the punch line, I can tell you that the book hasn’t yet been returned to the library because my husband now wants to read some or all of it. Fortunately, it’s not yet overdue.

I followed up Cast of Characters by tracking down a collection of essays by (Oliver) Wolcott Gibbs, one of Harold Ross’ first and key hires at The New Yorker. I wanted to read his profile of Henry R. Luce, “Time… Fortune… Life… Luce,” which is most famous for one sentence in which Gibbs mocked the writing style in the Time magazine of his era: “Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind.” Continue reading

Leaps of faith: Spring, summer and kindness

Farmer’s market season opened today, and I was there, not particularly because I needed any produce but just on principle. Our local farmer’s market is a community gathering place, a neighborhood pub for summer Saturday mornings. It’s not summer yet, of course, but being there on opening day is a gesture of faith that someday it will be.

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Church of the Informed Citizen: May 7, 2017

Several months ago, my husband and I began opening up our house on Sunday mornings to friends who want to join us for newspaper reading. I consider knowing what’s going on in the world a civic responsibility, an obligation I owe to myself, my community and my country. Setting aside time to read the Sunday papers is important to me, and encouraging my friends to do the same feels right as well.

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