Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge Update (March 2018)


Here are the March keywords in the Monthly Key Word Challenge: green, luck, great, shout, hope, wrong, rope, carry, into

I should preface my March reading update with noting two things related to my reading that happened during the month. First, I experienced the limitations of the monthly keyword reading challenge not only in terms of the selection (the title must contain one of nine specified words) but also in terms of the timeframe. March ended with a couple of books only partly finished, and according to the rules, I can’t finish them in April since I now have a new set of nine words. I ended up finishing only one actual book (and not a long one at that), in addition to reading a slew of shorter pieces.

Second, and somewhat related, I considered the question of quantity, or volume, of my reading. I do not consider myself a fast reader, and the flip side of that coin is feeling that I’m never reading enough.

But was there any amount of news and written pieces that I could have read that would have changed my vote in November 2016? More to the point, is there any single thing out there I could have read that would have overcome the absolute deal-breaker of calling for a ban of all Muslims from the country? Or that would have in any way aligned my values with such gems as “I like people who weren’t captured” or “Grab ‘em by the pussy” or “Lock her up” or keeping the birther conspiracy theories alive?

Nonetheless, I thought I’d get out of my bubble a little bit by reading articles (with the monthly keywords in the headlines!) from right-of-center news sources with some degree of being considered reputable (no Breitbart or Infowars, obviously).

I read Rod Drehrer’s “Finding Hope In Europe’s Most Atheist Country” in The American Conservative which combined food and travel descriptions which some dog-whistle language. What most struck me was the use of the word confusion (as in, the concerns about confusion in the church, confusion in society) where my best approximation would be the word complexity.

Additionally, I read “Citigroup Takes Gun Control Into its Own Hands” in the National Review by Jack Crowe. I am not a regular reader of this publication, but I can only imagine that it takes what is known as a pro-business stance, of which this bank’s exercise of autonomy and values must be a perfect example.

Listed below is everything else I read.

Novels:

Carry Me Across the Water by Ethan Canin

Short Stories:

“The Wrong Side of the Planet” by Joe Schembrie in the October 2005 issue of Analog

Rope” by Katherine Anne Porter in Women & Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women

“The Greenward Palindrome” by Barry Duncan in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012

Poems:

“Striving for Greatness” by Andrew Rigefsky in the Spring 2009 issue of Wooden Teeth

Articles/Essays/etc.:

“Dip Into Happiness” by Hana Zeric, from The Best Teen Writing of 2013

“Julien Green: The End of a World” by Francis-Noël Thomas in the July/August 2012 issue of Humanities

“Cross My Heart and Hope to Die” by Doug Muder in the Spring 2016 issue of UU World

“Committing to love and hope” by Michele David in the Summer 2016 issue of UU World

Hope for the heartbroken” by the Rev. Sean Parker Dennison in the Winter 2016 issue of UU World

“War Rugs: Woven Documents of Conflict and Hope” by William Charland in the November 2011 issue of Art Education

“Shades of Green: Growing Environmentalism through Art Education” by Hilary Inwood in the November 2010 issue of Art Education

“Potlucky” by Sam Sifton in The Best Food Writing 2010

The New Yorker’s ‘Cat Person’ Story Is Great. Too Bad the Internet Turned It Into a Piping-Hot Thinkpiece.” An article by Laura Miller in Slate, on Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person”.

At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. The results say a lot about our political divisions.” This Washington Post article from November just recently popped up in my Facebook feed. Spoiler alert: when people feel safe, they give more liberal responses; when they feel threatened, they give more conservative answers. I would be interested to see how these variables interact with demographic data, i.e. to what degree a respondent occupies privileged or marginalized positions in society.

Everything we think about the political correctness debate is wrong,” writes Matthew Yglesias in Vox, discussing how the data counter the notion of free speech being destroyed by political correctness run amok on college campuses.

Making America great again, one ruined family at a time.” A piece in the Boston Globe questioning both the “sense” and the “moral currency” in deporting a tax-paying, law-abiding (aside from one speeding ticket years ago) father who is in the pipeline to be approved for a green card.

New York Museum to Aid Green-card Holders in US Citizenship Quest.” On the subject of green cards, this initiative by the New-York Historical Society sounds so cool: “The program will include free workshops and classes, paired with displays and a scavenger hunt at the museum on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, all linked to questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test — the final hurdle to citizenship.”

Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong” by Gillian B. White in the Atlantic, reviewing the book The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin.

Shout Out: Warren Mueller, a Barrington Hills resident who volunteers at American Red Cross” –  It was a bit of a challenge to find the word “shout” in a title or headline, but I did find it in the context of “Shout Out” in this short Chicago Tribune interview.

At the Prado, Love That Now Dares to Shout Its Name” – And then I found this June 2017 article on an exhibit in Madrid displaying art relating to themes of diverse sexualities and gender identities. The show, according to the museum’s director, “should probably have been done 10 years ago, but it’s never too late.”

A Shade of Green: Ten Practical Steps for Museums” is a 2017 guest post by Joshua Lichty on the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice’s blog.

How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool” by Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison in the Guardian, spelling out the creepy and dystopian turns our world has taken of late.

We’re Teaching Grit the Wrong Way” in the Chronicle of Higher Education posits that it is more effective to teach students to harness the power of positive and socially constructive emotions, rather than setting up a vicious cycle of trying to suppress (and thus exacerbating) negative ones.

Baltimore Cops Carried Toy Guns to Plant on People They Shot, Trial Reveals” packs a lot of damning information into a short article.

Roommates made their friend’s room into a poorly researched museum” – what a combination of inspiration and lamination!

Husband Saves Wife by Administering CPR as She Went Into Cardiac Arrest Weeks After Giving Birth” in People is a story with a happy ending.

In aftermath of marathon bombings, two men turn tragedy into triumph”. Amidst the many stories about recent tragedies, this article discusses the aftermath of an attack that happened nearly five years ago.

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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