Is it Time for Conservatives to Create an Alternate Culture?

The culture leans sharply left, and in our current, highly-polarized political climate that means conservatives in the arts tend to be treated as outsiders at best and pariahs at worst. Listen to the personal experiences of conservatives in Hollywood, for example, whether “above the line” (the stars, producers and directors) or below it (the rest … Continued

Politics

The Death of Reading

I read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis for the first time last December. A lifelong Christian and Narnia superfan, I’m late to the party, I know. But as the dust settled from an election that shined a glaring spotlight on our cultural divisions—political, social, economic, theological—I was feeling out of sorts. Christian leaders I … Continued

Culture

The Closing of the American Bookstore

On a lazy Saturday afternoon this summer, our family of six was ambling through the local streets of Plattsburgh, New York, skirting along Lake Champlain. Taking in the local storefronts and dining options, we happened past a bookstore that looked legitimate in size and friendly enough for young kids, so we went in. We spread … Continued

Culture

What a Revolutionary War Hero Can Teach Us About How to Read

Recently, Bill Gates released his 5 Good Summer Reads. J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is on the list, a recommendation I couldn’t agree with more – and in fact have gifted to several people this year. As I begin to form my own list of books that I will read with my children this summer, I … Continued

Culture

Why More Juvenile Delinquents Should Read

  It’s a modern cliché to say that reading books will make you a better person—a more empathetic person, a more intelligent person, even a happier person. Research does indeed suggest many benefits from cozying up with a good book. But does reading only change those seeking betterment or can it help the juvenile offender … Continued

Books, Politics

The Brave New World of Publishing’s “Sensitivity Readers”

Nothing so surely kills artistic expression and the free spirit of the imagination as political dogma. When politics hijacks art the result is propaganda—a blunt instrument of control instead of a vehicle for transcendance. The Chicago Tribune reports that book publishers have begun to increase use of so-called “sensitivity readers” to examine manuscripts and to … Continued

Culture

When Bad Words Are Said to Good Children

Should bad words be read to children? This question surfaced last week when children’s author Dan Gutman posted his response to a parent letter on Facebook asking whether it was appropriate to use the N-word in books for young audiences. Gutman rose to fame with his My Weird School series. The wacky volumes, beloved by … Continued

Books, Culture

Will Diversity Crusades Lead to More Banned Books?

The last week of September was National Banned Book Week in America, a celebratory campaign the American Library Association sponsors every year to highlight the freedom we have to read. The event also includes an unveiling of the list of most challenged books for the year. The good news is that Americans seek to ban … Continued

Books, Culture

Turn Off Your TV, Read A Book, Live Longer?

We live in a golden age of video content, whether it’s TV series funded by streaming networks like Amazon Prime and Netflix or indie Kickstarter-funded movies, of which there are more and more every year. The average person now watches hours and hours of video content every day, and according to Time magazine, although we … Continued

Books, Culture

Is Contemporary Liberalism Creating a Soulless Monoculture?

I was once called a “cracker” by a member of the Nation of Islam. It was in the mid-1980s and I was driving through Washington, D.C., in the kind of neighborhood that conservatives call dangerous and liberals call “transitioning.” I saw a member of the Nation of Islam, bow tie and all, on the corner … Continued

Politics