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TAC Bookshelf for the Week of March 12

Daniel Larison [1], senior editor:


Gracy Olmstead [4], contributing editor: I just finished Craeft [5]a book I mentioned in my last bookshelf—a couple weeks ago, and reviewed it last weekend for The University Bookman [6]. If you are a fan of Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft [7], you will probably like this book. It follows many of the same philosophical themes, but offers more insights into ancient and medieval patterns of work and craftiness we’ve lost over the ages. Langland’s adventures in archaeology, farm life, and homesteading add a lot of color and character to the book.  

As to this week’s reads: I’ve started my sourdough journey (you can read about the journey’s beginnings here [8], and see my most recent loaf here [9]), and so my sister-in-law just sent me Robin Sloan’s Sourdough [10]. The novel follows a San Francisco engineer who discovers the wonder (and deeply fascinating science) of sourdough, and begins her own bread-making venture. NPR describes [11] it thus: “It’s like Fight Club meets The Great British Bake Off.” As you can imagine, I’m intrigued.

When my toddler isn’t asking for endlessly repeated readings of P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? and Go Dog Go, I’m also aiming to read through the spring issue [12] of The Hedgehog Review—particularly Alan Jacobs on our digital commons [13], and Christine Rosen on the digitally revealed life [14].


Scott Beauchamp [15], contributor:

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3 Comments To "TAC Bookshelf for the Week of March 12"

#1 Comment By DRZ On March 12, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

Good luck tracking it down, but Zweig also has a book on Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky called Three Masters that I found for something like a quarter at a library cull sale. I think the English translation came out in the 1920s. I have his Montaigne book (one of his last, IIRC), but it remains unread.

NYRB has published some of his fiction: I wish they’d take on some of his out of print criticism, too, since a lot of that attains the status of “literary,” assuming that means anything in the 21st century

#2 Comment By Paul Clayton On March 12, 2018 @ 3:00 pm

Would one of the readers at TAC please consider reading and possibly reviewing a mainstream novel by a writer who is conservative, mostly. I reply on occasion to the TAC articles and I’ve met one of your frequent contributors, Dr. Paul Gottfried at the last Mencken Conference. Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again is a ‘Present-Apocalyptic’ novel about a 17 year old Philadelphia youth who ‘dies’ in 1966, and ‘wakes’ in 2015. When he attempts to go home he finds the world he knew… gone, replaced by a bizarre world of deviant culture and seeming nonsensical behaviors and laws. PS: I would love to send a fee copy, either in ebook format or a paperback. Thank you.

#3 Comment By Geoff On March 12, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

Is Daniel Larison teaching himself Welsh? Very impressive. I highly recommend Bruce Chatwin’s novel “On the Black Hill” about twins who farm a small piece of land in Wales that they rarely even leave as the twentieth century whizzes by.

@Paul Clayton: I’m not a book reviewer but hearty congratulations on completing your novel!