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Book ReviewsCulture

Learning to See Life’s Ecstatic Dance

The Overstory, by Richard Powers THE OVERSTORY RICHARD POWERS W. W. NORTON & COMPANY. INC., 2018 $27.95 512 PAGES Richard Powers, a National Book Award winner, has been writing science- and tech-related fiction for more than 30 years. In his latest novel, The Overstory, he displays his mastery of the craft with an innovative interplay of theme, structure and style. The first 150 pages trace nine characters – nine “roots” according to the section heading – each equally compelling. The…
October 31, 2018
CultureEssays

I’m Sick of Appreciating Teachers

Don’t get me wrong, teachers are my heroes. This week, my son’s kindergarten teacher discovered that he had been unknowingly playing with another child’s vomit on the playground – somehow thinking it was “slushy snow” leftover after the spring melt – and she calmly sent him straight to the bathroom to wash his hands. She’s a saint. What if appreciating teachers went beyond a Hallmark card and a latte? If you think teaching is easy, you have never spoken to…
October 31, 2018
Book ReviewsCulture

Treating a Literary Icon with Dignity

A Light So Lovely A LIGHT SO LOVELY: THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MADELEINE L’ENGLE SARAH ARTHUR ZONDERVAN, 2018 $13.38, PAPERBACK 224 PAGES If she were alive, Madeleine L’Engle would turn 100 at the end of November. Her centenary, along with the release of a version of A Wrinkle in Time brought to us by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling earlier this year, has brought this formidable and prolific author back into the spotlight. Sarah Arthur, a prolific writer…
October 31, 2018
CultureEssays

In Praise of Quitting

There’s a billboard out by the highway featuring a picture of John Wayne in all his western glory with the caption “Don’t Much Like Quitters, Son.” It’s one of the omnipresent “values” billboards that line our motorways. Every time I see it, I’m filled with questions. I probably shouldn’t take billboards so seriously, but I can’t help myself. Wouldn’t John Wayne have lived a longer, healthier, happier life if he’d been a quitter? What does it say about our culture…
October 31, 2018
CultureInside Out

Thanking God for Bob’s Bar

A couple of Fridays ago, some friends and I took the hourlong trip to an off-the-beaten-path dive bar in Nebraska – Bob’s Bar, in Martinsburg. It’s not much to look at from the outside. Even when you get in the place, it’s not that great – a pool table, a bar and some tables shoved together in the back. The plates are mismatched remnants of what seem like 1950s tableware, and the giant fan blowing in the back means quite a bit of…
October 31, 2018