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Summer Reading

For those looking to turn off cable news, run away from polls, or escape Twitter, perhaps one of these recommendations could serve as a reminder of what lasts.

Seeking Refuge

How much further from home is the 40-year old tailor from Afghanistan who lacks the native words to ask for his family’s daily bread?

Seeing the Mountains

Vielkind fancies himself a portraitist. He sculpts the mountains many faces as a 19th century artist might have rendered a royal patron. His concern is showing the mountains at their best.

A Question in Cologne

Faced with what the Justice Minister called “a new dimension of organized criminality” (a stark departure from “relaxed”), Germany is asking itself questions.

The Perfect Dinner

From the empire’s old favorites—Tafelspitz and Kaiserschmarrn—to the Würstlstand, present on every street corner, the sausage-vending culinary bastion of the drinking and working classes, the way to the Austrian identity goes through the taste buds and down into a satisfied, high-caloric stomach.

The Things That Make Us

Here, especially in the corporate world, my liberal arts background has more than once required an explanation (inevitably a defense) of the liberal arts. What can the liberal arts teach us today?

Learning from Emmanuel

You understand the subject, could identify, spell, and define each subsequent word or phrase, and are then met with a verb that can’t possibly make sense in the imagined understanding. What’s left is January North Sea coastline.

Longing for Certain Letters

My colleagues included an Australian, an Austrian, an Irishman, and a Scot. Each time we walked into a pub, the room buzzed like the beginning of the world’s most-told joke.

Things I Found in New York

I arrived healthy, in decent financial standing, having not seen a couple of long lost friends in years. I left flu-ridden, in slightly worse financial standing, having visited a couple of long lost friends.

The Americans & Their Stories

Halfway through the month, if there’s a Post Calvin consensus on the “Heroes and Villains” theme, it is this: Humans are neither heroes nor villains, but complex beings who are at once good and evil, redemptive and destructive.

Millie and Me, and David

What I lack in affection for Millie is doubly manifest in the 6’2” 230 pound frame of my younger brother, David. His love for her would be the stuff of a tear-jerking motion picture.

Texting with David

His mental mapping is different. This is why he can tell you that October 26, 1955 was a Wednesday but he can’t tell you the name of his math teacher.

2014 in Books I Didn’t Read

It’s December, month of retrospectives and best-ofs and year-in-reviews. My contribution to the conversation is a look back at the unbroken spines and not-yet-dog-eared pages of my 2014 reading list.

Searching Serially

In an essay for The Awl, Jay Caspian Kang calls the podcast “an experiment in two old forms: the weekly radio crime show, and the confessional true-crime narrative.”


Enter ethics. Step, for a moment, into the conscience of a football fan. It’s as ravaged as the gridiron after triple-overtime, as bumpy as the pebble-grained leather of each Wilson™ game ball.

To Ty and Lou

Later in the year, by then good friends, we learned that we had actually met much sooner, as naked toddlers in a bathtub. If I had known this earlier…

A Great Good Place

It’s a strange, rewarding experience to be surprised in your own home. There are small things: stores that never close, kindness from absolute strangers, the harsh omnipotence of air conditioning, incredibly friendly, sometimes overbearing customer service.

The 2014 World Cup: A Primer

Hidden somewhere in all of this might be a dissertation topic on grammatical manifestations of differences between North American and British conceptions of collective units.

Obituary for Big Blue

Affectionately known as “Big Blue” and “The Behemoth” to those who knew her best, the Savana was celebrated by nearly all who came into contact with her.

On The National

Here’s the thing about the critics: They’re right. The National groans. Sometimes Berninger doesn’t quite sing the lyrics. And the lyrics rarely make sense.

Long Live Central Cemetery

there’s nothing central about Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery). Situated in Vienna’s southeast outskirts, the cemetery is nearly a full nine kilometers from the city’s first district.

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