5 Most Popular Posts: August 2019
- September 2, 2019
We here at the Independent love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. Seriously, though, here are August’s winners.
- Joseph A. Esposito’s review of A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost by Frye Gaillard (NewSouth Books). “The chronicling of the ups and downs of the decade is comprehensive. The big developments are covered, but so are the backstories of some lesser-known events, such as the sit-ins at the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter at Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960. In describing the movements of the student protesters, Gaillard gives the reader a sense of their motivation as well as the import of their actions.”
- Gretchen Lida’s review of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions). “Late Migrations is a book about grief, yet within that grief lies beauty, wonder, and love. It is also a book about nature and family, and it is self-conscious enough to understand that the wild world and the domestic one exist in a braided ecosystem that hums with meaning. It’s Renkl’s ability to lean in and name the heartbreak that makes Late Migrations worth the read.”
- Michael McCarthy’s review of It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster). “Jacobs gets the lowdown from the Springsteen of the genealogy community, a Californian named Randy Schoenberg, who promptly tells him we’re living in the most exciting period of genealogical history. ‘Which may sound a little like saying we’re in the sexiest era of professional bowling,’ Jacobs quips. (Yes, perspective is important here.) Still, it’s fascinating stuff. To wit: The World Family Tree, connected by all of these sites, shows that, within a decade, the tree will connect all 7 billion humans on earth.”
- Tyler Cymet’s interview with Kenneth P. Anderson, author of Saving the Heart of American Health Care: How Patients and Their Doctors Can Mend a Broken System. “I’ve always enjoyed the spoken and written word. During my undergraduate career, I had the privilege of taking courses from some of the best writers in the world who were part of the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. I soon realized that I would likely not become the greatest poet of the 21st century, but that did not detract from the love that I have with the English language. I’ve written short stories, poems, and now a book, and each effort has been to primarily entertain myself. If others read my work and walk away with something that will help them along their life journey, then that is the cherry on top for me.”
- “The Harsh Lessons of Frankenstein” by Dorothy Reno. “If Shelley had thoughts of morality, they were surely of a different variety than what we think of today. It’s been long established by scholars that she stitched together themes from foundational works (Greek mythology, Genesis, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare, Faust, and others) which were meant to repel in their unified, refurbished form. Monster, whom the ambitious Victor constructs of various dead-body parts, is Shelley’s metaphor for the intrusions of objective methods into artistic theory. She wrote the novel as a warning: Allow creative beauty to retain its mystery. (She also wrote the novel as a challenge, but that’s a different essay.)”