It’s the last weekend before the election. I’ve been reading a lot lately, trying to keep my brain occupied. Mostly good articles, but also scary ones like that nightmare in The Cut about the guy who fell into a dungeon of rats. I’m still traumatized. But I digress..here are a few articles to get you through the last weekend of this election insanity…hopefully. If we’re still not sure who our president is next weekend, I’ll simply include a list of articles on meditation.
There have been a multitude of great articles written about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at this point, but this one gives insight into just what she’s given up to keep fighting the good fight, and what it means for her to be in Congress. Not only has the response to this article online been vitriolic (mostly directed at her wardrobe), but the response by the right to anything she does is fairly horrific. As she notes, they always have to have a bogeyman, and it’s almost always a woman. After reading this article, I’m even more glad she’s out there fighting for New Yorkers, but even more so that she has her squad. (Read the article).
So, one of the dangerous things I learned while working at a magazine is that often magazines will publish excerpts of new books. It’s one of those promotional tools that’s great for the author and great for the magazine. Where it’s dangerous, is it’s a good way to get just enough of a glimpse of a book to make sure it get’s added to your reading list! In reading this selection from Beatty’s Cuyahoga, I found myself with so many questions! What was going on? What sort of world are we in…it’s America…but is it? I was hooked from the start: “I imagine you are customed to meek and mild trees that do not want correcting. This is a story of the west so it has got western trees. You do not know the manners of our trees.” What? I need to know more. (Read the article) (Buy the Book)
I make it a point to try to read authors from around the globe. Some of my favorite books have been translations. I have to say though, I have not read many Palestinian authors yet. In reading this essay about Susan Abulhawa’s Against the Loveless World, I found myself drawn in from the start by the discussion of how she uses language and translation as a part of her story. Further, as Steven Salaita describes, the book is “a meditation on love and alienation in a setting that is by nature political, or imbued in multilingual politics, facing the West in audacious vulnerability.” I thoroughly enjoyed his essay, and now look forward to picking up the book. (Read the essay) (Buy the Book)
Reading this essay made me miss home, and the trips we used to take to the San Juan Islands, and the hiking trips I’d take in Olympic National Park. It also made me really sad to think about what will soon be lost in Alaska. This essay follows Elsa Sebastian on her journey to document Alaska’s vast beauty before it disappears. As author Peter Mellgard notes, “she embarked on this expedition as an effort to explain what it means to be in the forest, to feel the moss beneath your feet, to see the salmon in the streams, to gaze in wonder at the crowns of centuries-old trees towering overhead.” There’s always that hope that if people can just remember what it feels like to be in nature, they might fight to save it. (Read the essay)
I’ve been following Sarah Kendzior for quite a while, but for some reason I hadn’t picked up her book until last week. The thing about this book is that not only has she packed it full of smart critiques, it’s just so well written. You find yourself wanting to highlight and copy down every other line you’re reading. It’s definitely the style of book I aspire to one day write myself. I was also struck by how much of what she writes about the experience of living in an autocracy has been amplified by the pandemic. Particularly her discussion about her “internal calendar lack[ing] a clear chronology.” I mean, yes. This book is meant to be an academic read about autocracy, but it also served as a reminder of all we’ve experienced, and the ways that has impacted us as people and as a country. Definitely high on my book suggestion list. (Buy the book.)
Header image this week is called Alaska Peaks (Photo: Steve Wall)