This week, take a look at failing people in a crumbling town, learn something new from a podcast, and remember 9/11 through poetry.
On your Kindle
As we type away on our computers, stalk our favorite blogs, and launch our brand-new website, it can be easy for us to forget a time when things weren’t quite so shiny.
In his Pulitzer-prize winning novel Empire Falls, Richard Russo takes us back in time while keeping us rooted in the millennial present, crafting the story of a decrepit town—once beautiful in its mid-century glory—and the people who grow more and more despondent within it. Though he sets his story in the present, Russo stunningly creates a behind-the-times feeling that can make readers, like the characters Russo so vividly portrays, unable to avoid a sense of being trapped by the town.
On your Smartphone
While writing this column on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I’m thinking of poetry. While many writers took up their pens to channel their grief after the attacks on the twin towers, fewer turned to fiction than to poetry. Poems swarmed the Internet as people attempted to counter the tragedy of destruction through the beauty of creation.
In this article, Philip Metres of the Huffington Post writes about poetry as a response to tragedy, specifically to the tragedy of 9/11. In this moving piece, he compiles a selection of 9/11-themed poetry. Read these this week in memory of those who died ten years ago.
On a Podcast
Sometimes, my real-world life as a paralegal becomes a little too dull. Though I do enjoy learning about the law, excessive highlighting and hole-punching can wear a little thin on the mind. If you too have a job that sometimes leaves your mind time to wander as you work, check out the hundreds of free online podcasts at Learn Out Loud. Sort your choices by topic—history, literature, religion, to name a few—and plug in your headphones for a personal lecture on topics from American history to psychology to modern science.
This memory-inducing week inspired in me a sense of patriotism, which in turn inspired a nostalgia for those days of America’s unequivocal greatness. If you, too, are in need of a dose of patriotism this week, open No Ordinary Time, a history of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II. With her characteristic spirited prose, Goodwin creates histories that read like fiction. Her characters—Franklin and Eleanor—are everything a reader wants them to be: large, dynamic, and ever-loving of America.