OLD BOOKS, Part III: Standing by Words, by Wendell Berry

When you read Wendell Berry, you get the distinct and refreshing feeling that you are in the presence of sanity. Berry sounds sane in a way that few modern writers do. Why? His ideas come across as good, beautiful, and true, and he stands by what he says. In all his works (poetry, essays, criticism,… Continue reading OLD BOOKS, Part III: Standing by Words, by Wendell Berry

Return of Joy

“For a long season, O Lord,I considered as an impossibilitywhat I now know as unshakeable truth: That after loss, pain, tragedy, tears,sorrow, doubt, defeat, and disarray,I will hold a more costly and precious joythan any I have held before;and this not in denial of my loss,but manifest in the very wreckage of it.” from “A… Continue reading Return of Joy

OLD BOOKS, Part II: Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E. F. Schumacher

Confession: I have never studied economics—until now.  E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (1973) ought to be a required text, not just for those studying economics, but for students of all disciplines, teachers, ecologists, politicians and policy makers, religious leaders, laypeople, and basically anyone who cares about humans and life on this… Continue reading OLD BOOKS, Part II: Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E. F. Schumacher

OLD BOOKS, Part I: The Captive Mind, by Czeslaw Milosz

(Vintage, Reissue Edition, 1990) This book, written by Polish exile and poet Czeslaw Milosz in 1953, illustrates how the pressures of living in a totalitarian state cause people—even intelligent, thoughtful people—either to abandon their core beliefs and fall into line or to rebel (and therefore suffer and/or die in the state’s hands). Many who read… Continue reading OLD BOOKS, Part I: The Captive Mind, by Czeslaw Milosz

Something Wildly More

One of my favorite writers, Marilynne Robinson, once said in an interview with Bill Moyers that human beings “exist wildly in excess of any sort of survival mode that could be posited for them.” She said that if you use animal behavior as a model or correlation to human behavior, “you’ve simply excluded everything that… Continue reading Something Wildly More

Piles (or What I’m Reading)

I don’t know many writers who only read one book at a time. (If you are one who does, I’d be fascinated to make your acquaintance and would try to question you about the reasoning behind your reading practice without making you feel as if you were a specimen under a microscope.) I have piles,… Continue reading Piles (or What I’m Reading)