Dear Loyal Readers : I hope you, your family, and your friends are all safe and well. This week, I wondered whether I should highlight articles focusing on the global pandemic. Ultimately, I decided not to do so, for many reasons, not because I want to avoid or minimize our current situation, but mo
Dear Loyal Readers: I hope you, your family, and your friends are all safe and well. This week, I wondered whether I should highlight articles focusing on the global pandemic. Ultimately, I decided not to do so, for many reasons, not because I want to avoid or minimize our current situation, but mostly because we are currently inundated and overwhelmed with information, and we are experiencing a variety of emotions, including fear and anxiety. My hope is that today’s articles offer ways to reflect on what’s happening and to connect with one another in this reading community, for which I am extremely grateful.
+ This Saturday, author CJ Hauser will join Article Club to discuss “The Crane Wife,” one of last year’s best essays. Want to ask her a question and connect with other thoughtful readers? Sign up here. We’ll convene via Zoom at 4 pm PT.
“Before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.” So begins this poem, the first ever to appear in this newsletter, written in 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. I’m not typically someone who finds solace in poetry, but this piece kept speaking to me this week as I searched for an offering worthy of this reading community. My hope is that the poem resonates with you, too. (5 min)
+ Do you have an article or podcast episode that you’re finding helpful right now? Please share it.
Sandy Jenkins dreamed of being rich and fancy. But in the real world, he worked as the accountant at Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, the world’s most renowned purveyor of fruitcakes. The job didn’t pay well, but it did give him ample access to the books. Over several years, Mr. Jenkins embezzled more than $16.7 million from the bakery, which afforded him and his wife a lavish lifestyle, acceptance in the Corsicana social scene, and plenty of jewelry and travel on private planes. (36 min)
+ They’re making this into a movie! Starring Will Ferrell and Laura Dern, it’s going to be called Fruitcake. Thank you to VIP member Jessica for the tip.
Don’t read this article if you have a child, are currently pregnant, or definitely want to have kids. But if you’re debating whether to bring another human into the world, this outstanding article, though challenging to read, makes a strong case that our planet, even before this pandemic, will survive climate change only if we significantly decrease our carbon footprint. The best way to do that is not by eating a plant-based diet or taking public transit. Only having fewer (or no) kids will do. (41 min)
If not having kids is too extreme, you could escape the hubbub and seek a stronger connection with nature by moving to an agrihood, a newish kind of exurb, planned around a small farm, that promises a food-to-table lifestyle. Tilling the field is optional! This article profiles Arden, Florida, one of 90 agrihoods in the country, and explains how residents want a simpler, healthier, and more sustainable way of life. (They don’t mind the lavish clubhouse with terraced pools and resort-like waterfalls.) (13 min)
Thank you very much for adding to this conversation, Shelley. Loyal readers, please hit reply to share your views on this week’s articles.
That’s it for this week! Congratulate yourself for getting some good reading done in these challenging times. Let me know what you thought about today’s issue by hitting reply or by clicking on the thumbs below.
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