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Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Plague Reader – From Florence to Seattle

The onset and turbulent passage of Seattle’ influenza epidemic matches our present experience, and its history may serve as a route-guide. The "Spanish" Flu orphaned Emmett Watson and Mary McCarthy who, arguably, became writers as a result.

Nation Divided: Of Social Distancing And Polarization

Here’s my question. Have we not been demanding social distancing, admittedly of a different type, for some time now? Another word for “social distancing” is “polarization.”

Books: International Intrigue – A Handful of Current Thrillers

The Names of the Dead Kevin Wignall  Abandoned by his CIA colleagues when...

Books: The Forgotten, Shameful Story of the Chinese Who Built the Western Railways

They laid rail in blistering desert heat and spent brutal winters digging and blasting tunnels in the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains. And they were segregated, mocked, beaten, robbed, and murdered.

What & How – The Twin Towers of History

History is an agonizingly difficult study. It is not a science, and as an art it is risky business.

The Mystery Behind The Mystery Writer: Michael Gruber’s Long Con

It says something about the state of publishing today that Gruber couldn't find a buyer for this book - it's an almost perfect example of a caper novel, more light-hearted than some of his earlier thrillers but just as erudite, well-plotted and entertaining as his previous books.

Evangelical Churches Create Celebrities, While Mainliners Get Shy. Why?

"We cannot imagine being proud to see one of our mainline authors, from our subculture, on the shelf at Walmart. In many ways, our objections to celebrity are a veiled way of talking about class.”

Architecture and The Unlamented End of ‘Modernism’

"Making Dystopia" makes me wonder if Modernism -- the word itself is a marvel of marketing -- may be about to fade from favor and be "deconstructed" like so many other imposed-from-above cultural values.

Books: Sound Transit’s Arduous Trek to Building Rail Transit

Approving a fixed-rail rapid transit for a city is one of the most contentious decisions that an urban populace can make. In Seattle, rail proposals were defeated at the election polls in 1968, 1970, and 1995. And it was still difficult after that.

Books: A New Crime Blogger In Town

You can practically smell the salty tang in the air and taste the coffee in one of the author's favorite cafes. It's a promising debut.