My typical approach to this space is to collect some recent links that have caught my eye and then present them for your browsing pleasure.
But, this time around, I want to take a bit more of a forceful stance, perhaps even a strident one, and strongly urge you to read this recent piece of outstanding American journalism in The Atlantic:
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts,
America will never be whole.
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Set aside some quiet time to read it. Absorb it over the course of a few days. Plan to finish it before the end of June. But just read it.
It's an important, thoughtful piece. Set aside any preconceived notions. It relates more about American history, and who and why we are what we are in 2014, than any textbook you ever had in high school or college. (And it doesn't hurt that, as a friend said, it's just "gorgeous writing.")
I would love to see efforts by people in true positions of power and influence to get Coates' work in front of as many readers as possible. Get everyone talking about it. Make it part of the curriculum in high schools. Let it be the launching point for the kind of critical discussions and debates we need in this country.
That's my hope, anyway. Probably all that I can do is get it in front of a few new eyeballs that might have missed it. But if every one of us brought just two new readers into the fold...
More links for your browsing pleasure.
- Sunday Book Review of Violet Kupersmith's The Frangipani Hotel by Theodore Ross. ... Excerpt: "These stories — playful, angry, at times legitimately scary — demonstrate a subtlety of purpose that belies her youth. Ghost stories and gothic fables, an important part of Vietnamese folklore, are used here in part to subvert traditional Vietnamese narrative motifs about women."
- io9: "Two Ways of Dealing with the Apocalypse" by Annalee Newitz (A look at new non-fiction books by Elizabeth Kolbert and Lewis Dartnell.)
- io9: "10 Books That Could Change the Way You Understand Modern Cities" by Annalee Newitz
- Teen Librarian Toolbox: "Dear Media, Let me help you write that article on YA literature" by Karen Jensen
- The New York Times: "Lost Booksellers of New York" by Larry McMurtry
History, language and learning
- The Palm Beach Post: "The Forgotten 14: A Story Never Told" by Eliot Kleinberg. ... Excerpt: "Three days before Christmas in 1943, two hours past midnight, 14 men climbed into an airplane and lifted into the dark sky over the slumbering hamlet of West Palm Beach. Their journey lasted but a few moments, and killed every one of them."
- Strange Maps: "Agloe, the Paper Town Stronger than Fiction" by Frank Jacobs
- Ancient Origins: "Archaeologists believe they have found remains of the legendary Hell Hound of Suffolk" by April Holloway
- HelloGiggles: "10 Fabulous German Words with No English Equivalent" by Tyler Vendetti (including torschlusspanik)
- Smithsonian.com: "The Massive and Controversial Attempt to Preserve One of the World’s Most Iconic Islands: Mont-Sant-Michel is trying an extreme makeover to save its dreamlike setting" by Alexander Stille
- Smithsonian.com: "A Soviet Ghost Town in the Arctic Circle, Pyramiden Stands Alone" by Rachel Nuwer
Images and photography
- "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases 400,000 Images Online for Non-Commercial Use" by Christopher Jobson
- Hyperallergic: "The Way West: Photographs by Peter Kayafas from America’s Open Road" by Edward M. Gómez
- Colossal: "Eerie Photos of North Brother Island, the Last Unknown Place in New York City" by Johnny Strategy. ... Excerpt: "North Brother Island originally housed Riverside Hospital between the 1880s and 1930s. While in operation, the hospital served hundreds of patients who suffered from extremely communicable diseases, including smallpox, typhus, scarlet fever and even leprosy. It was also where 'Typhoid Mary' was quarantined, and where she eventually died."
- Hyperallergic: "Street View 50 Years Before Google: Joel Meyerowitz’s Car Photos" by Jeremy Polacek. (I wrote about Meyerowitz back in December.)
Arts and entertainment
- The Wall Street Journal: "The Shawshank Residuals: How one of Hollywood's great second acts keeps making money" by Russell Adams
- Rolling Stone: "Brian Eno: Inside the Noisy Lab of One of Rock's Greatest Producers" by Rob Sheffield. ... Excerpt: "He broke out of the English prog scene as Roxy Music's synth wizard, soon going solo for experimental classics like Another Green World, inventing ambient music in his spare time. He collaborated on hugely influential albums with David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2, and composed the Windows 95 start-up theme."
- LA Weekly: "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star" by Amy Nicholson
- The New York Times: "No Real Hurry to Tell the Joke: Bob Newhart, Master of the One-Sided Conversation" by Jason Zinoman
- Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Stairway to Heaven: The Song Remains Pretty Similar" by Vernon Silver
Animals and nature
- Huff Post Green: "The World's Largest No-Kill Cat Sanctuary Has Saved More Than 20,000 Feline Friends" by Ryan Grenoble
- Huff Post Green: "Elephant Conservation Success Stories to Celebrate and Replicate" by Dr. Cristián Samper
Technology and culture
- The New York Times: "Faking Cultural Literacy" by Karl Taro Greenfeld. ... Excerpt: "It’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them."
- The Atlantic: "The Secret History of Hypertext: The conventional history of computing leaves out some key thinkers" by Alex Wright
- Unschool Rules: "A birthday celebration: Abner Doubleday, NOT baseball’s founder" by Joan Otto
- FiveThirtyEight: "Meet the Man Who Preserved Decades of NBA History" by Carl Bialik
- Sports on Earth: "In the Spotlight: Some thoughts and (perhaps unfounded) concerns about the early days of James Franklin at Penn State" by Michael Weinreb
Finally, take three more minutes of your time and watch this video: "Mr. G and Jellybean." You'll be glad you did.