What I’ve been reading

1. David Foenkinos, Charlotte: A Novel.  A holocaust escape story, written in a kind of blank verse, this book was a bestseller in many countries but mostly ignored in the United States.  Original, recommended, and a quick but compelling read.

2. John Foot, Archipelago: Italy Since 1945.  There should be more books like this, namely giving you a smart overview of the recent history of an important country.  This one is especially strong on the nature of Italian corruption, the importance of connections in Italy, changes in the Italian education system, and the origins of the Northern League.

3. Holly Case, The Age of Questions.  Starting in the early nineteenth century, an “age of questions” began, including the Jewish question, the German question, the Bullion question, and many others: “The essence of the age of questions was the practical accommodation of physical reality to the attitude of interrelation that the age engendered.”  Books on abstract themes are often difficult to pull off, but this one expanded my thinking and historical understanding.


'Starting in the early nineteenth century, an “age of questions” began'

Seems like a better time somehow, as in the last half century, America has gone to war against, instead of asking questions about, everything from poverty to global terrorism.

Nostalgic for a time when the Jews were a problem to be solved. Sure, that's not a dog whistle.


Ah, wikipedia does provide some insight to what I would have thought was called the Jewish problem, not the Jewish question. And the article certainly does illustrate where that question ended up in the hands of the Nazis - 'The expression has been used by antisemitic movements from the 1880s onwards, culminating in the Nazi phrase "the Final Solution to the Jewish Question".' Clearly much more than a dog whistle, it was an explicitly genocidal program carried out in a fashion designed to eliminate the question entirely.

I, obviously mistakenly in your eyes, thought the Jewish question actually revolved around this, the last line from the article's introduction - 'Similarly, the expression was used by proponents for and opponents of the establishment of an autonomous Jewish homeland or a sovereign Jewish state.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_question

That is, the Jewish question was to stay in or leave Europe - a question provided a definite answer by those seeking a final solution to what apparently was the only Jewish question they cared about - including answering such details as the most efficient way to kill millions of people.

Glad to see Foenkinos getting some attention, he is one of my favorite novelists, I have read about a half dozen of his novels and loved every one. (Did not read Charlotte.)

1., 2., 3. Live local, think global. That's an expression used in the environmental context (i.e., the interrelation between what one does locally and the global environment), but it comes to mind when thinking about the most important questions. What did the ancient philosophers think about? The drought in sub-Sahara Africa? I don't think so. Cowen is a world traveler and consequently he likely thinks globally. His experience is the opposite of the ancient philosophers. The ancient philosophers were deep thinkers about the most important questions. Did it help that they lived local and thought local - how else could they think since there was no travel channel. Does it help that Cowen lives globally and thinks globally? Moderns seem to suffer from an inability to focus, which is understandable given all that's going on around town much less around the globe. During my road trip this past weekend I listened to an NPR segment on memory. Here's an odd finding of memory researchers: the more often we remember something, the less reliable is the memory. What? Each time one remembers something, she recreates it in her mind, adding details that may or may not have been in the actual event "remembered". In other words, remembering is the mind's version of editing. Living globally provides the mind with lots of memories to edit. How much editing did the ancient philosophers do given that they lived and thought locally. Just a thought.

"There should be more books like this, namely giving you a smart overview of the recent history of an important country."

I thought it was about Italy...

"Ilha de Vera Cruz: Brazil since 1964" coming soon.

The history of a very important country. Pivotal even.

The intro to Short in the Heart:

I have a story to tell. It is the story of murder told from inside the house where murder was born. It is the house where I grew up, a house, that in some ways, I have never been able leave. And if I hope to ever leave this place, I must tell what I know. So let me begin.

here is what we have been reading;
we fixed measles 40 years ago
if a lotta sumbodies are getting measles in 2018 the costs should
be coming out of the pee hurling sociology dept budget not the biology dept budget
portakal doritos yemek etmeyin onlar kanlı ishal verebilir

"Question" in this context just seems to mean "issue no one wants to deal with."

Do you mean "issue" in the sense of issue or "issue" in the sense of problem?

As a result of your suggestion of Foot, I found Pedalare! Pedalare!, his history of Italian cycling. Now that is on my queue.

In Old Russia, it was "the Southern question." Still is.

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