Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: How China eclipsed the U.S. / 2018’s best books / The library of and for the future / Death in the Atacama Desert / Histories of historians

This week: How China eclipsed the U.S. / 2018’s best books / The library of and for the future / Death in the Atacama Desert / Histories of historians

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. China Rules: A special report
By Philip Pan, Amy Qin, Javier C. Hernandez, Peter Goodman, Jane Perlez, Keith Bradsher, Li Yuan and Mark Landler | The New York Times | November 2018
Part 1: The Land That Failed to Fail
Part 2: How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear Part 3: Money and Muscle Pave China’s Way to Global Power
Part 4: China’s Economy Became No. 2 by Defying No. 1
Part 5: The Road to Confrontation

2. Five Classic American Novels That I Enjoy Teaching
By Andrew Delbanco | LitHub | November 2018
“I’ve been teaching classic American literature to college students for almost 40 years, and while some books have been banished from the category of ‘classic’ and others have been invited in, certain works continue year after year to disturb, confuse, delight, or devastate my students — or, more likely, all of the above.”

3. 100 Notable Books of 2018
The New York Times Book Review | November 2018
“The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.”

4. From There to Here
Not Even Past :: Department of History, UT Austin | November 2018
“UT History faculty come from all over the world. Here are their stories.”

5. Pretentious, impenetrable, hard work … better? Why we need difficult books
By Sam Leith | The Guardian | November 2018
“This year’s Booker-winner Milkman has been criticized for being challenging. But are we confusing readability with literary value?”

6. This Library Has New Books by Major Authors, but They Can’t Be Read Until 2114
By Merve Emre | The New York Times Style Magazine | November 2018
“The Scottish artist Katie Paterson is collecting 100 unpublished works that won’t be released in their writers’ lifetimes.”

7. Rains bring death to the Atacama Desert
By David Szondy | New Atlas | November 2018
“Studying the effects of once-in-a-century rainfall in the hyper-arid core of the desert, a team of astrobiologists led by Cornell University found that instead of causing a bloom of growth, the unexpected abundance of water killed off three quarters to seven/eighths of the microbe species present.”

8. 70 Philosophy Books Everyone Should Read
IAI News | November 2018
“Last year, we spoke to a number of leading philosophers to ask them why philosophy matters and what it has meant to them in their personal and professional lives (which you can read here, alongside a poem by Kwame Anthony Appiah). This year, we have tried to do something special, asking experts across the discipline to put together a list of their recommended philosophy books that everyone should read.”

9. In Lagos, Space For My Thoughts To Fly
By Allyn Gaestel | Guernica | November 2018
“On nomadism, toxicity, and the question of home.”

10. She’s 15 in Brazil. These are her dreams.
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“Kaylane is studying sanitation at a public technical school in Recife. Outside of school, she’s part of her church choir and loves sports, with several athletic awards to her name.”

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 43: Jim Hall

From March 2017: “Jim Hall worked as a newspaper writer for decades. Now, he’s publishing history.”

Jim and Colin talk about Jim’s journalism career in Bowling Green and Fredericksburg and his long study of racial violence in Virginia, which he began as a graduate student at VCU. Now, he has a book that examines the last lynching in northern Virginia.

via Podcast 43: Jim Hall — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 39: James I. Robertson

From Feb. 2017: “Bud talks with Colin about studying at Emory, being in the White House when JFK died, and his relationship with Robert Duvall.”

Bud talks with Colin about studying at Emory, being in the White House when JFK died, and his relationship with Robert Duvall.

via Podcast 39: James I. Robertson — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 32: The Revolution of 2016

From Nov. 2016: “Colin’s recent visit to Fredericksburg took place in the wake of what historians should be calling the Revolution of 2016.”

Fredericksburg is a nice place to spend a day thinking about and experiencing history. It’s also a good place to get a cup of coffee. But Colin’s recent visit to Fredericksburg took place in the wake of what historians should be calling the Revolution of 2016.

via Podcast 32: Fredericksburg. The Revolution of 2016. — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 31: Gary Olsen

From Nov. 2016: “Gary and Colin talk about everything from Scorsese to Hitchcock, to D. W. Griffith and Spielberg (and how ‘Jaws’ may have both saved and ruined Hollywood).”

Gary Olsen lives in Virginia, but he grew up in the Boston area, where he studied film at Emerson College. After thirty years in the Justice Department, Gary now spends his retirement days lecturing on movies.

via Podcast 31: Gary Olsen — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 28: Ira Berlin

From Oct. 2016: “Ira Berlin has been called ‘one of the greatest living historians of slavery in the United States.’ “

Dr. Berlin talks about his first plane ride, activism in the 1960s, and why he chose to exchange a lab coat for the historian’s garb. Also, Ira and Colin share their thoughts about the 2016 election.

via Podcast 28: Ira Berlin — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 27: William C. Davis

From Oct. 2016: “William C. Davis is one of the most prolific and prodigious of American historians.”

Over the past forty years, he has focused on the Civil War era and southern history, writing about everything from Jefferson Davis to the Texas Revolution to — as he shows in his newest book — a New Orleans prostitute who claimed to be a Confederate soldier.

via Podcast 27: William C. Davis — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 25: Daniel Crofts

From Sept. 2016: “He is the author of ‘Reluctant Confederates’ and more recently ‘Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery.’ “

Here, he talks with Colin about growing up in Chicago, studying under C. Vann Woodward at Yale, and his adventures teaching in China, following in the footsteps of his missionary grandfather.

via Podcast 25: Daniel Crofts — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 15: Ed Ayers and Gary Gallagher

From July 2016: “Ed Ayers and Gary Gallagher are two of the best southern historians working today.”

Ed Ayers and Gary Gallagher are two of the best southern historians working today. Ed Ayers is from Tennessee, taught at UVA, and is now president emeritus and professor at the University of Richmond. Gary Gallagher came to UVA by way of Penn State, University of Texas, Colorado, and Los Angeles. Both are now working in the field of Civil War studies.

via Podcast 15: Ed Ayers and Gary Gallagher — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 14: Nelson Lankford

From July 2016: “He talks with Colin about doing Civil War history, the publishing industry, the writing process, and the recent exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

Nelson Lankford is the author of several books about the Civil War, including “Richmond Burning” and “Cry Havoc!: The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861.”

via Podcast 14: Nelson Lankford — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story