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This & That: The Best Bookish Backstories
Hi there, readers!
You’ve seen my Pulitzer Project posts on Tuesdays for the last few weeks, but I think I’ll start incorporating those books into my Friday emails. It’s all still an experiment, so things might look different now and then. I’m sure it enjoying it, though! It’s quite refreshing to again have an intellectual project to focus on outside of work.
This Friday I’ll be talking politics, having finished Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men (1947 Pulitzer for Fiction) as well as Game Change, which dishes on all the drama of the 2008 presidential election.
Meanwhile, in today’s newsletter, I have a fun mini-list, some great links to share, and a new feature in which I share the most impactful and/or thought-provoking quote from my previous week of reading.
Quote of the Week
“And yet there is some good in the world.”
This line is found in the middle of a conversation between Candide (our young protagonist) and Martin (a grumpy philosopher). The gist is that Martin thinks the world is basically hopeless; he’s an utter pessimist.
Candide recognizes the fact that there’s a lot of wickedness, but also seems to maintain the idea that it’s not all bad. Thus: “And yet there is some good in the world.”
In just the last few months, our world has seen disastrous fires, earthquakes, floods, war . . . the list goes on. There’s a lot happening; the daily headlines are enough to render us incapable of optimism. But as Candide (and Voltaire) reminds us, there is good to be found. Let’s hold on to that.
The mini-list: bookish backstories
So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan — The Great Gatsby is quite easily one of my favorite novels. Maureen Corrigan’s book is an indispensable guide to the man who wrote it, the times he wrote it in, and its numerous under-the-surface themes.
Links to peruse
What is time for? Is it for work? For service? Maybe some leisure? Zena Hitz, a thinker who always makes me think, recently penned this incredibly thought-provoking piece that deserves everyone’s attention. It might just have you rethinking how you use, or don’t use, your time.
Jane and I — as with so many others — have quite enjoyed the brainless escape of Suits this summer. This fun piece over at The Ringer explores how an older show became a streaming hit.
Some ideas on treating your reading as a sacred practice. I’ll bet you can guess how much I enjoyed it.
Anne Helen Petersen’s “The Sterile World of Infinite Choice” is one of her best, most memorable newsletters to date: “My surroundings are always in my control — which also means that I am always doing the work of controlling them.”
It was great watching American teenager Coco Gauff win the U.S. Open women’s singles title. On the men’s side, though, it’s been 20 years since an American man has hoisted the winner’s trophy. Andy Roddick, now known as “The Last to Do It,” is one of the most interesting characters the sport has seen. This incredible profile gets to the heart of the retired player.
We’re always on the lookout for more vegetarian recipes and we were very happily surprised with how these vegan sloppy joes turned out. The texture and taste were similar to the real thing, and the kids loved ‘em too. Definitely a keeper.
Thanks so much for reading!