THR Web Features   /   August 14, 2015

The Hedgehog’s Array: August 14, 2015

Noteworthy reads from the last week:

“Michael Dirda on Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books,” Bill Tipper and Michael Dirda

“In my younger days, when I was just trying to read as much as possible, I believed that the text alone mattered. But as soon as you start to collect seriously, to create a library that reflects who you are or that explores some interesting subject, you begin to see books as physical artifacts, as appealing objets d’art in their own right.”

“Mothers of ISIS,” Julia Ioffe

“These women are just four of thousands who have lost a child to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Since the Syrian civil war began four years ago, some 20,000 foreign nationals have made their way to Syria and Iraq to fight for various radical Islamist factions. Over 3,000 are from Western countries. While some go with their families’ blessing, most leave in secret, taking all sense of normalcy with them. After they’ve gone, their parents are left with a form of grief that is surreal in its specificity.”

“Pulp Inequality,” Benjamin J. Dueholm

“Kimmy Schmidt, on the other hand, is part of what has come to be known as the precariat. These Americans work in part-time, short-term, or piecemeal jobs that offer little prospect for security or stability, much less advancement.”

“What Does ‘Self-Care’ Really Mean?,” Jennifer Pan

“In its ideal forms, self-care enacts a labor slowdown and asserts the right to be lazy, the right to stop working. Yet, as demonstrated by my former co-worker, who ran herself in circles in her quest to de-stress, self-care can go awry when it ends up seeming like work in and of itself, something that we’re obligated to do to improve ourselves.”

“Family Bones,” Ryan Schnurr

“I don’t carry on any traditions. I know little of my heritage. But my family bones fill these holes in the ground in Oxford, Indiana.”

“My Summer with Proust,” Marion Coutts

“I don’t keep diaries, so I don’t know the year, but some time in the late 1980s I was spending the summer in a borrowed flat in Edinburgh. I had finished an art degree, my friends had left the city and all the usual distractions had gone. I didn’t have much money and my social life was minimal. I ate samosas from the corner shop and walked everywhere. It was a self-willed isolation.”

Hedgehogs abroad:

“Bloodbath & Beyond,” Alan Jacobs

“But the outlaw gangs are, implicitly, making another claim as well: that the state’s sovereignty doesn’t extend to all of its citizens in all circumstances. When, in the months before the Waco shoot-out, tensions were building between the Bandidos and the Cossacks, some of the gang leaders sent a clear and simple message to police: Stay out of this; let us sort it out.”