A summary of what was included on More to Come in the month of January. If you receive my monthly email update, you can skip this post.
For many of us, winter can be a difficult time. If that’s the case with you, my hope is that one or more of the January posts on More to Come will brighten your day, help you see a small part of the exceptional in life, and prove a bit of a cure for any winter blues that may be hanging around outside your door.
TOP READER VIEWS
On the next-to-the-last day of the month, this post about our move to the Washington region twenty-five years ago took off and topped the list of monthly reader views. I’ve now lived in Washington longer than in any other community. That started me thinking about the meaning of home, and I turned to my brothers and sisters to begin this exploration. Even though we were all born in the same town, our answers differ. I include their thoughts, along with mine, in Home is ….
We live remarkable lives, my new year post on January 2nd, was bumped down to second in reader views. In place of annual resolutions, I created eight rules for how I wanted to live my life in 2013. This essay revisits those rules and highlights eight posts from the past year, one for each rule.
A close third was A love letter to readers. I have been deeply touched by the positive feedback from friends and strangers alike who have sent comments or notes, usually through social media or email, concerning something I’ve written in recent weeks. This letter is my way of capturing a sampling of that thoughtful feedback while saying thank you to everyone who takes the time to read. As a bonus, it includes almost 40 books that readers suggested I consider for 2023. It’s a great list!
WORKING FOR FREEDOM AND JUSTICE
January is a time when we celebrate the life and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I had two posts over the King holiday weekend, the first — Feels like freedom — being a celebration of the music of Ruthie Foster, who builds on the musical traditions that fueled the Civil Rights movement. A long-time friend and regular reader wrote, “I was so taken by the Ruthie Foster post I listened to it twice through. What a gift to music and society!”
The second post of the King weekend was The enduring nature of America’s original sin, a review of journalist Adam Serwer’s book The Cruelty is the Point: Why Trump’s America Endures. The month we honor the work and legacy of Dr. King is also a good time to remind ourselves that cruelty in American life has been around long before now. It will continue to exist in some form well into the future until our country comes to support the policies that protect those too many of our fellow-citizens hate and fear. This post went up just days before the release of the painful and difficult video that documents Tyre Nichols’s murder at the hands of five, now former, Memphis police officers. I believe it is a time to center black voices in this conversation, and if you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to read former head of the Legal Defense Fund, Sherrilyn Ifill’s essay. Like Serwer’s book, it can be a hard, but difficult read.
Halfway around the world, Ukraine is fighting for democracy. Protecting the pearl of the Black Sea celebrates the recent inclusion of the historic center of Odesa on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I use that post to highlight the work of one of the leading scholars of authoritarianism, Timothy Snyder, on why the world needs Ukrainian victory.
Finally, to get an early start on the celebration of Black History Month, I use the January 28th Saturday Soundtrack to spotlight the music of Allison Russell, an Americana, roots, and jazz-influenced musician who is working to be “The hero of my own story.”
FROM BEAVERS TO MURDER MYSTERIES TO MORE COMPLICATED TRUTHS
I picked up in January right where I left you in December, reading five books each month. I encountered some terrific writers over the last four weeks which, as you might suspect from the subheading, cover a wide-range of topics.
- The past and future of one weird rodent is a review of Leila Philip’s new book Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America. This is a fascinating look at the one animal, besides humans, that has an inordinate impact on their environment.
- I made the decision to read one murder mystery a month in 2023, and I began the year with Agatha Christie’s best-known work. In some cases, it is obvious who committed the crime details how I came to jump down the murder mystery rabbit hole, beginning with And Then There Were None.
- Life is what happens as we’re working towards perfection takes a look at Kate Bowler’s 2021 book No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Bowler explores how to handle the life you’re given instead of something from an unattainable dream. Her work is direct, honest, and humorous.
- If you are of a certain age, you will recall the fascination of flipping through a series of 3 X 5-inch cards looking for just the right book. If you fall into that cohort, I bet you’ll enjoy Bringing a sense of order and clarity in a chaotic world, a love letter to the card catalog as well as an “ode to the enduring magic and importance of books.”
- The books I read in December 2022 is the monthly summation of what came off my TBR pile in December.
WHATEVER ELSE TICKLED MY FANCY
We moved to what I affectionately call “the old home place” in Murfreesboro when Grandmother Brown came to live with us. She is always my inspiration for the short, to the point adage that speaks of truth, so in her memory I include I love the pithy proverb – Volume 7 ― the latest installment in my ongoing series. Here in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, it is important to remember that truth spoken by long-time Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy: “No game is a must-win. World War II was a must-win.”
I’ve noticed that we often fail in choosing leaders because we focus on the wrong strengths. Thoughtful and inclusive leadership came out of a family visit to Delaware, where we saw effective leadership in action. Poor leadership selection played out on our televisions in early January in the comical yet very sad process of choosing a new Speaker of the House. The eventual winner seems to have had lifelong ambitions to hold the position but no true principles.
Thanks, as always, for reading. As you travel life’s highways, do your best to treat others with kindness, undertake some mindful walking every day, recognize the incredible privilege that most of us have, and think about how to put that privilege to use for good. Women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and others can feel especially vulnerable…because they are. Finally, work hard for justice and democracy because the fight never ends.
More to come…
You can follow More to Come by going to the small “Follow” box that is on the right-hand column of the site (on the desktop version) or at the bottom right on your mobile device. It is great to hear from readers, and if you like them feel free to share these posts on your own social media platforms.
For the December 2022 summary, click here.
Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay
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