5 Most Popular Posts: May 2021
- June 2, 2021
We here at the Independent love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are May’s winners.
- “The Logical Lincoln” by Talmage Boston. “Because no businessperson thought to manufacture bound tablets or legal pads during his lifetime, whenever Lincoln had an epiphany or wrestled with conflicting perspectives until he could pin them into a permanent hold, he often wrote his thoughts on scraps of paper that happened to be nearby. After achieving closure on his written meditation of the day, he would then put the fragment in a drawer or coat pocket so it would be ‘at the ready as he tackled thorny issues over and over again in the weeks and years to come.’ Since these jottings were for his eyes only, many weren’t discovered until after his death.”
- “An Interview with Susan Page” by Kitty Kelley. “Pelosi told me that she sees similarities [between herself and AOC], especially with the younger Nancy Pelosi, who was demonstrating for single-payer healthcare and complaining about the compromises elected officials made to get half a loaf. Both women are smart and strategic, tough, and comfortable being disruptive. But there are big differences between them: Pelosi [today] is one of those elected officials who argues that getting half a loaf is better than none.”
- John P. Loonam’s review of Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature by Angus Fletcher (Simon & Schuster). “As Fletcher tells us, asking and answering such queries is not why writers write or readers read. Literature isn’t an argument; rather, it’s a technology designed to improve our lives. Literature generates sensations that readers need to experience, things like love, courage, empathy, and serenity. Literature can help us overcome stress, connect with our fellow humans, and find joy. In short, we read in order to grow into our best selves.”
- Eugene L. Meyer’s review of On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed (Liveright). “In On Juneteenth, Harvard historian Annette Gordon-Reed grapples with the myths and contradictions of her beloved home state [of Texas] — a place that once subjugated, segregated, and lynched Black people (including in her home county) and remains ruled by politicians determined to suppress the hard-won votes of minorities and maintain their own power even as demographics inevitably shift. In a series of essays, she offers a thoughtful and affectionate meditation on the state in which, despite its dualities, she still feels most at home.”
- Clarissa Harwood’s review of Yellow Wife: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson (Simon & Schuster). “The most affecting parts of Yellow Wife focus on motherhood. After female slaves give birth, their whole focus shifts to finding a better life for their children. Early in the novel, Pheby’s mother tells her, ‘Ain’t many choices for a slave woman. Just know everything I do is for you. I’ma die a slave. I knows that. But you, baby, you are meant to see freedom. I’s makin’ sure.’ Later, another jailer’s wife expresses a similar sentiment: ‘Our children are our legacy. We must educate them, and then get them out of the South.’ Pheby wholeheartedly agrees and is willing to make any sacrifice for her children.”