Politics & Policy

Beach Booked

A summer-reading list.

And then, when I get back, I’ll probably be reading this book.

– Rob Long is a contributing editor for National Review. A Hollywood writer, Long writes “The Long View” for NR.

Kathryn Jean Lopez

Dear, dear Rob. I won’t be going to North Korea this summer but I’ve got exciting plans all the same.

I’ve been both jealous and feeling a bit embarrassed since sitting on a plane with Rich Lowry a few months ago as he broke open a new copy of The Brothers Karamazov. I think I was reading Vanity Fair at the time. And it’s been years and years since I read anything Dostoevsky. So I’m going to read The Brothers Karamozov again before Labor Day. Hopefully along with many a high-school student. My plan is to ride New Jersey Transit back and forth, leaving copies of Ramesh Ponnuru’s Party of Death each way behind, until I finish Brothers. If you see people lining the Jersey shore with P.O.D. on their beach blankets, you know why.

And don’t you forget about Rick Brookhiser’s What Would the Founders Do? It’s the perfect conversation starter for endless summer nights.

Since it came out I’ve been wanting to read David Horowitz’s The End of Time.

And the summer will not pass without me reading Illario Pantano’s Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy, because I owe it to him.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.

John J. Miller

The Ruins, by Scott Smith — A brand-new horror-thriller from the author of A Simple Plan, which was turned into a very good movie.

The Sword of Imagination: Memoirs of a Half-Century of Literary Conflict, by Russell Kirk — I’m going to re-read this posthumous work, which was written the way Bob Dole talks, i.e., in the third person.

American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia, edited by Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson — I started reading this big book when it came out a few months ago, and I’ll probably never stop.

John J. Miller is national political reporter for National Review and the author, most recently, of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

Geoffrey Norman

Summer is when you get out of Dodge, break jail, leave the city behind and head for the hills. This means, for me, reading the good old stuff that celebrates the America that lies beyond the limits of town and that part of the American soul that remains at least partially untamed. These three titles do that for me:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Literary men as diverse as Tolstoy and Orwell were confused by Mark Twain who got to the American soul and the big river that runs right through it.

The Short Stories of Earnest Hemmingway (the Nick Adams stories, especially). The Big Two Hearted River is a story that makes you rejoice in the natural world and its capacity to restore itself.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. The desert and all of its austere beauty evoked by a man who loved it and hated everything that sought to spoil it out of sheer, spiritual laziness. Abbey is pure American cussedness.

Geoffrey Norman writes for NRO and other publications.

Nick Schulz

Ogallala Blue: Water and Life on the High Plains by William Ashworth. There is an environmental crisis in the United States. But it’s not the one everybody talks about. Instead, it’s how we use and misuse water. This book tells the story of America’s great underwater ocean, the Ogallala Aquifer.

Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape, by Brian Hayes. Our human-built environment is insufficiently appreciated. We live within an extraordinary, life-sustaining industrial web that few of us comprehend. This book explains and explores the end product of mankind’s astonishing ingenuity.

A former documentary and television producer, Nick Schulz is editor of TechCentralStation.com.

Dave Shiflett

Reading on the beach — among the vast and diversionary array of incredible carbohydrate sculptures (ahem) — is never an easy task, though as a fan of Soren Kierkegaard I’ll try to re-engage relevant chapters in The Denial of Death, in which author Ernest Becker (1924-74) discusses S. K.’s profound insights into what makes us fear, tremble, and perhaps pursue the Paraclete.

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (475-525) will also make the trip; written as he awaited execution, it goes a great deal deeper than contemporary works written “from the edge,” such as Anderson Cooper’s chart-busting work of emotive journalism. No trip is complete without the current issue of The Weekly World News, an ongoing work of comic genius.

Dave Shiflett is the author of Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity. His latest CD — Karma Farmers: Songs for Aging Cynics — is available at CDBaby.com

Beach Booked

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