This & That: What Does Patriotic Reading Really Mean?
Plus, the family's June favorites!
Hello and happy Tuesday!
In today’s newsletter, I’m sharing some thoughts on patriotic reading, the Anderberg family’s favorite reads of June, and, as always, some great links to peruse this holiday week.
Let’s get right to it!
On broadening our patriotic reading
When you see patriotic reading lists on the web these days, they tend to fall into two camps:
Modern books that reckon with our nation’s tragic contradictions, particularly relating to racism and other forms of discrimination — On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed and Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi are fantastic.
These categories are totally worth our attention, but why not broaden the definition of patriotic reading to include titles that are a little more lighthearted and can embrace America’s greatness and complexities in the same breath?
I also enjoy American memoirs around the Fourth of July. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is searing but also hopeful. Educated by Tara Westover, a modern title, is a uniquely American tale of religious freedom gone awry, combined with the inspiring story of a woman making herself into something new.
Irreverent political titles can get the job done as well. Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling’s A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear critiques Libertarianism with a perfect blend of silliness and seriousness. Similarly, Michael Lewis’ lesser-known Losers chronicles presidential hopefuls who have fallen short — way more fun than your average campaign book.
That’s enough book recs for now. The bottom line is this: “patriotic” reading doesn’t need to be such a narrow category. The American story is a big one and can welcome all kinds of genres and moods.