The Nightstand

The Pleasures of a Liturgical Calendar of Reading

The day after Thanksgiving yields a joy of three parts. The first joy is that of an introvert newly restored to peace and quiet...

Heaven Hath Limits

The Prior of the Upstate New York Abbey where I work often describes his cloistered life by using the phrase “living within a sonnet.”...

The Agrarian’s Soul and the Gardener’s Art: Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener’s...

I have no doubt this collection would delight Bailey, dandelions and all. Selecting and anthologizing the work of a writer-scholar as prolific as this is a labor of love as much as caretaking, stewarding, gardening, weeding, and pruning.

Optionality and the Intellectual Life: In Gratitude for the Real World...

Something about Taleb’s emphasis on practical wisdom unleashes in his readers a sense of humility, a renewed trust in reason, and a spiritual hunger courageous enough to move beyond the cynicism and skepticism typically bred in schools.

Unearthing America’s History of Empire

In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr lays bare the consequences of the American empire and how this history has been ignored by citizens of the United States. It’s an unflinching look at America’s expansionist foreign policy throughout our history.

Ernest Gaines, 1933-2019

On Tuesday, November 5th, Ernest Gaines, one of the great Southern novelists of the twentieth century, passed away. Gaines had a distinguished and decorated career:...

Two Great Interruptions

Wendell Berry’s new story is actually about two great interruptions: the first forms the occasion for Billy’s tale, and the second is how, as the title has it, the tale “ceased to be told.”

Vermont Papers Redux

All in all, mark The Vermont Papers down as a brave if idealistic attempt to chart the beginning of a campaign to preserve and refresh liberty, community and democracy in the one small state best suited for such a revival.

Sticking It Out in Green Bay: Mona Simpson’s Off Keck Road

"With her glamorous personal life and occasionally edgy prose, Simpson hardly fits the mold of the down-home writer who nurtures a sense of place. Yet..."

The Localist Theory of Charles Marohn’s Wonderfully Practical Strong Towns

This past weekend, I took a group of students up to the annual Prairie Festival at The Land Institute in Salina, KS. I...