I read a lot. And maybe it’s time to share what I read out into the endless chamber of the internet where no one will care.
I know I’m a bit behind on this book, as it was released in 2014 and everybody loved it. But reading the synopsis didn’t exactly fire up my enthusiasm. My mother insisted it was a fantastic read, so I dove in. And my mother was right. Backman does a fantastic job hinting at why Ove is the way he is, weaving in details of his live slowly into the story.
We went to races in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Michigan and Mid-Ohio. Indycar/CART was huge. NASCAR was not. And then…well, read the book. I was surprised by how much I remembered from the time, but also by how little I remembered. With some distance it seems obvious when the people in charge made the wrong decisions. John Orevicz does a fantastic job pulling all the history together and presenting the facts, tamping down the heated passions of the fans on both sides of the split. Fifteen years since reunification, Indycar still isn’t as big as it was in 1993, although the series is growing, and the racing is getting better. But how many Indycar drivers can you name?
The New Yorker, December 20, 2021 Issue
I’ve been a subscriber to the New Yorker since college and because it is a weekly and still can run to a hundred pages, I’m generally an issue or two behind (expect for the cartoon caption contest: I look at that the moment the issue arrives and someday I am going to win). The rapid collapse of the Afghan government the United States had been trying to help build over the last twenty years gets the deep dive in the issue. If you really want to know what went wrong, The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan | The New Yorker will tell you. Also in this issue, a fantastic short story, “Lu, Reshaping,” by Madeleine Thien | The New Yorker.
Poets & Writers, January/February 2021
Reading Poets & Writers every other month both gives me anxiety (I should be writing, why am I not writing, why have I not submitted, omg, I know that writer whose book is getting published) and motivates me (I can do that, that’s a great story starter, this writer writes ten minutes a day on her phone). This issue’s theme is “Inspiration” and Blair Hurley’s essay Tiny Doable Things stuck with me so much that I read it twice.
The Atlantic, January/February 2022The Great (Fake) Child-Sex-Trafficking Epidemic - The Atlantic.
Listen, it’s been a hard ten years or so for all local news outlets, whether they are print, radio or on-line. While the reader will never be as fat as it was in the 90s when it was the de facto place to go apartment hunting, it has now turned fifty! The Covid-19 pandemic reduced it’s print run to bi-weekly, but new content hits their website regularly, Ben Joravsky’s weekly column on Chicago politics is can’t miss reading. There is not a person in the world who understands the deep, dark, inner workings of TIF districts better than Joravsky does. In the current issue, Ben takes on the Chicago Bears.
For the kidstar Wars Jedi Academy books, reading them before he heads to school in the morning and again as part of his reading time right when he gets home. The series of graphic novels, originated by the talented and fantastic Jeffrey Brown, follows a group of students enrolled in the Jedi academy, which turns out is really just like any other middle school except with light sabers. The series followed Brown’s original Star Wars cartoon books (“Darth Vader and Son, Vader’s Little Princess, and Goodnight Darth Vader), where Darth Vader has a hand in parenting Luke and Leia.
A strange, related note: I was lucky enough to do a reading event with Jeffrey Brown way back in 2012 before the Vader and Son book had come out. After my oldest started reading the books, he did not believe that I knew the author of a book he was reading. Flash forward a few months to the Daddy Cool release event at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, where my son was line to purchase “Vader’s Little Princess,” and I was again insisting that I knew Jeffrey Brown and my son was having none of it. But lo and behold, who is behind us in line but Jeffrey Brown himself! Sadly, my son was unimpressed.
General note: If you are interested in buying any of these books or magazines, please go to your local independent bookstore to get them. Amazon doesn't need your money. Plus, you may discover your next favorite book. I'm a big fan of the following stores:
The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square
The Book Table, Oak Park
Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston
If you don't have a local independent bookstore, go to Bookshop.org and order there
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