Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Romney in Kennedy’s shadow / ‘Year of the Woman,’ 20 years later / The new slacker / The search for water in Texas / Writers’ bedrooms

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Kennedy Helped Shape Romney’s Career, and Still Haunts It
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg | The Long Run :: The New York Times | March 24
“But try as he might to distance himself, Mr. Romney cannot escape Mr. Kennedy’s influence.”

2. ‘ “Patriotic Gore” is Not Really Much Like Any Other Book by Anyone’
By David Blight | Slate | March 22
“Revisiting one of the most important and confounding books ever written about the Civil War.”

3. Twenty years on, ‘Year of the Woman’ fades
By Karen Tumulty | The Washington Post | March 24
“At a moment when gender politics is thick in the air, it is a good time to reconsider another spring, exactly 20 years ago, when an unprecedented wave of women set their sights on Washington.”

4. The Voice That Gets You Where You Need To Go
By Susan Stamberg | Weekend Edition Sunday :: NPR | March 25
“Carolyn Hopkins is the voice behind public service announcements at airports, subways and theme parks.”

5. The slacker is back — and this time she’s female
By Hermione Hoby | The Observer :: The Guardian | March 24
“As a whole new generation of graduates fail to find jobs and return home to live with their parents, the new female slacker has inspired a rich new and very funny crop of books, films and TV by and about women.”

6. Do You Worry About Access to Water?
By Saskia de Melker | The Rundown :: PBS Newshour | March 23
“All this week, PBS NewsHour has been reporting from Texas on the record high temperatures, depleted groundwater, vanishing lakes and how many are tapping into a wellspring of alternative approaches to adapt.”

7. Literary Style: 15 Writers’ Bedrooms
Apartment Therapy | March 23
“Whatever it may be, often what it is most is a space that reminds us that, genius aside, writers are people … just like you and I.”

8. Life’s Messy. Train Your Brain to Adapt
By Megan Erickson | Big Think | Feb. 19
“Those who have naturally strong self-regulation can handle the overload — and those who don’t are left feeling guilty and out of control.”

9. Rereading: Great food writers
By Bee Wilson | The Guardian | April 30
“A series of 20 tiny volumes of text from the best culinary authors reminds us that food writing is not just about food”

10. Libya 1969 coup
Witness :: BBC News | March 1
“When Colonel Muammar Gaddafi first took control in Libya in 1969 – few people had heard of him.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

The Iran problem / Tips from Bismarck / Daddy Longlegs myth / A serene Basra / Humans and monsters

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Why There’s No Quick Iran Fix
The Diplomat | Dec. 13
“The last three months have witnessed the crisis with Iran turn from a simmer to a boil.”

2. After 207 years, Navy commandos’ wait continues
By Stephan Dinan | The Washington Times | Dec. 1
“Navy commandos whose remains have languished in Libya for more than two centuries will have to wait at least a little longer after the Navy on Thursday blocked senators’ efforts to have their bodies brought back to the U.S.”

3. The Leadership Secrets of Bismarck
By Michael Bernhard | Foreign Affairs | Nov./Dec. 2011
“The larger-than-life figure who presided over Germany’s rise was Otto von Bismarck, foreign minister and minister-president of Prussia during the 1860s, architect of German unification in 1871, and chancellor of a unified German empire from 1871 to 1890.”

4. Are Daddy Longlegs Really the Most Poisonous Spiders In the World?
By Natalie Wolchover | Life’s Little Mysteries | Dec. 8
“It turns out that the notion is false on both counts. But a little clarification is needed.”

5. Once bustling U.S. base in Basra now a ghost town
By Erik Slavin | Stars and Stripes | Dec. 10
“It is also a testament to one of the largest military logistics feats in history: With just four open bases remaining in Iraq, the U.S. is on the verge of completing the withdrawal of thousands of troops and millions of pieces of equipment before the Dec. 31 exit deadline.”

6. Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk
TED Talks | Feb. 2010
“Each species of spider can make up to 7 very different kinds of silk. How do they do it?”

7. Iraq: A war of muddled goals, painful sacrifice
By Robert H. Reid and Rebecca Santana | Associated Press | Dec. 11
“Nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives later, the objective now is simply to get out — and leave behind a country where democracy has at least a chance, where Iran does not dominate and where conditions may not be good but ‘good enough.’ ”

8. Why we invented monsters
By Paul A. Trout | Salon | Dec. 3
“How our primate ancestors shaped our obsession with terrifying creatures”

9. On the cutting room floor: a century of film censorship
By Andrew Pulver | The Guardian | Dec. 9
“The director of Britain’s film censorship body reveals all about the thinking underpinning its controversial decisions”

10. Iraq after the US: Will it survive?
Scott Peterson | The Christian Science Monitor | Dec. 10
“Iraqis harbor anger, deep concerns — and some optimism — as American troops withdraw after nearly nine years of war and occupation.”