Are We Entering a New Progressive Era? (Reviewing Robert Putnam/Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again)

I came across Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again in David Brooks’ October 15 New York Times opinion column “How To Actually Make America Great Again.” It’s worth quoting at length. Here’s what David wrote: “The Upswing,” aContinue reading “Are We Entering a New Progressive Era? (Reviewing Robert Putnam/Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again)”

The Long and Short Of It (Reviewing Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree)

Note: This is a review of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree. I avoid spoilers but touch on general themes, world build, and plot dynamics. You have been warned. The Good. The Priory of the Orange Tree came to my attention via the best possible path: received as a meaningful gift picked outContinue reading “The Long and Short Of It (Reviewing Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree)”

A Non-Partisan Take on Election Day In-Person Voting

I’m not here to say I’m non-partisan. That doesn’t seem technically possible when actually voting in a two-party political system, unless someone is committed to writing in unaffiliated candidates. I’m here to say how excited in a completely non-partisan manner I am to vote in-person on Election Day. (Note: My political leanings have changed overContinue reading “A Non-Partisan Take on Election Day In-Person Voting”

A Challenge and a Tone Poem (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste)

“Race, in the United States, is the visible agent of the unseen force of caste. Caste is the bones, race the skin.” Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns moved me in ways few books have. Reading Caste, her second book, was a different but no less profound experience. While the former was about the past,Continue reading “A Challenge and a Tone Poem (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste)”

The Great Dungeons and Dragons Revival

Warning: This post requires some knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying to understand its myriad references. I can’t remember the exact year. Probably 1993. I do remember the basements, however. Plural. We were forced into multiple dark corners for this particular hobby, it being the time when some parents still worried that we were enactingContinue reading “The Great Dungeons and Dragons Revival”

Back at it with DC UL — Adventures in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

Cross Posted from http://www.dculbacking.com You might ask how I accidentally ended up with a DC UL Backpacking crew. In this case, what started as a Purple Lizard map hike that I intended to do as yet another solo adventure in this time of socially distancing ended up being shared by email to a few backpackerContinue reading “Back at it with DC UL — Adventures in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”

American Graffiti on the John P. Saylor Trail

“You coming to the party?” he asked.  I turned around on the trail and noticed a guy about my age.  He was holding a scrub brush in his hand.  “No?” I replied sheepishly.  “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I didn’t have much time to say anything else as he smiled at meContinue reading “American Graffiti on the John P. Saylor Trail”

Lord of the Rings (Reviewing N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy)

Note: This is a review of N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series. While I avoid overt plot points and specific spoilers, it’s impossible to write a review like this without delving into the dynamics of this work of art. I very much enjoyed reading the series — even in 2020, a couple years afterContinue reading “Lord of the Rings (Reviewing N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy)”

The Loyalsock Trail: Ahab Gets His 60-Mile Trail

Prelude. Ten Years Ago, My White Whale July 2010. One of my early backpacking outings was a trip to hike the 60-mile Loyalsock Trail with a crew led by hiking guru Doug (who, as a side note, is as accomplished on the trail as he is a witty mensch in personality, though now out inContinue reading “The Loyalsock Trail: Ahab Gets His 60-Mile Trail”

Processing Privilege, Determining Action (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns)

Once I picked up and started to read Isabel Wilkerson‘s The Warmth of Other Suns I put down all other books. It’s difficult to describe the particular power of this book’s information, story, history, research, and writing. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. I wish I had read it years ago. I wish everyone readContinue reading “Processing Privilege, Determining Action (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns)”