Last Minute Summer Reading

by Jonah Goldberg

All eyes are turning to Dick Cheney’s book, but I’m still trying to catch up with other reading. A couple items.

First of all, I’m just now wading into Mark Steyn’s new book, After America,  which everyone who reads NRO already knows about because A) it’s written by Mark Steyn and B) those infernal pop-ups. My Dad used to tell me that the ideal for every author is that every sentence should either be important or good. If it’s important (i.e. necessary) the reader won’t mind if it’s not entertaining (i.e. good).  And, if it’s good the reader won’t mind that it’s not important.

There’s a third option. You can make each sentence both good and important.

In reality this is an almost impossible ideal, but Steyn comes as close as any writer I know. I’m not sure I agree with all he has to say and where he’s going with it, but so far I’m loving the ride.

Oh and since I have you…

Earlier this summer, my wife read Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder and couldn’t stop talking about it (I mean that in a good way). I was reluctant to dig into it given how grim the subject matter is and how long my fascism-reading hangover has lasted. But it’s truly gripping and important material that deserves much wider attention.  And it makes Steyn’s book seem downright optimistic and hopeful.

One last thing: Angela Codevilla’s review of, among other books, Stan Kurtz’s excellent Radical-In-Chief, is one of the more fascinating essays I’ve read in a long time.


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