The Nightstand

Seeing the Midwest New: A Review of The Everlasting People

It is perhaps that personal search for contentment that makes this book a notable contribution to the literature on the American racial problem: Milliner’s “penitent Midwest regionalism” is first of all an attempt to heal within himself the disease and discontentment produced in those of us who have been told that what matters about us is that we are white.

Allowing a Little More Room for Subsidiarity: A Review of Adrian...

Harvard Law School produces many of our future rulers, and it may be better for us if aspiring federal administrators learn from Vermeule at least the presumptive desirability of honoring local institutions. Yet Vermeule would only be teaching them a carefully-regulated localism whose contours would be subject to the decisions of the federal administrative state.

In Defense of Nature Writing

Perhaps this, above all, is the work of nature writing: to bring the wild and the domestic together and to reveal the mystery at the heart of both. That Springer’s book consistently does this is enough to commend it as a constructive entry in this vexed genre.

Ayn Rand: Russian Nihilist

Aaron Weinacht’s book is a needed corrective to the public misperception of Ayn Rand as radical capitalist. She was, first and foremost, a radical nihilist. Insofar as Rand embraced capitalism, it was secondary to her axiomatic nihilism embodied best in John Galt.

Who Loves Academic Discourse? A Review of Rita Felski’s Hooked

Attunement, attachment, engagement, and identification are all absolutely necessary for properly considering artworks of all kinds. However, I struggle to identify the application of Felski's argument. Perhaps it is because, as a high school teacher in a classical school, I feel free to assert, identify, and argue without invoking a French theorist to support me.

A Good Party: A Review of Breaking Ground

A Good Party, Tara Isabella Burton suggests, is “a place where bonds of friendship, fostered in a spirit of both charity and joy, serve as the building blocks for communal life overall.” With 52 contributors filling almost 500 pages, we’re speaking of something close to a block party, one at which we run into some familiar faces, meet a number of wonderful new people, and even glimpse a few Almost Famous People.

Narrating Sickness, Land, and Hope

To whatever extent I imposed a narrative on experience, it was only because experience first imposed it upon me.

Motherhood as Sacrament: A Review of Maya Sinha’s The City Mother

Sinha’s writing should appeal to multiple audiences, from those disillusioned with modern urbanity to young mothers to thoughtful people concerned with the persistent presence of evil in our times. The City Mother has that rare quality of providing an immersive narrative experience that also transcends its particularities to link them to universal questions of how we can find our way in the world.

From Endoscopy to Colonoscopy: One Man’s Strange and Confounding Journey Through...

Beneath these critiques of the American medical system and the biological mysteries of the human body throbs a more existential question: How does one deal with suffering? These are some of the most moving parts of Douthat’s book. He finds himself literally prostrate before the altar seeking some meaning in his suffering.

Ross Douthat’s Landscape of Suffering

Douthat continues to discover remedies for his condition, but his experience has produced a book in which the natural world confronts us with suffering’s source and signifies the possibility of redemption. The Deep Places elucidates creation’s shadow side, the abyss of suffering that leads us to search for answers to our most profound questions of creation, pain, and evil.