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April 18, 2009


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Wally Leisering

Growing up in the Chicago area in the 50's and 60's, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to 4 daily newspapers. Columnists were by far my favorite, mostly for the breadth and depth of their musings. Many went on to write for other publications and I still get a twinge of satisfaction from remembering their names and writing styles from those early bylines.

Sydney J. Harris wrote 2 or 3 times a week for the Chicago Daily News, and an irregular feature of his column was a day when he would detail "Things I Learned While Looking Up Something Else." Elements of wonder and surprise were highlighted among tidbits unearthed through research, celebrating discoveries that have often been dismissed as daydreams or distractions that keep you from being "productive." I took it as permission to keep your eyes open and trust your instincts and observations. I still do and I think it applies to almost every endeavor, including author readings.

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Books Read in 2022

  • John Dos Passos: 1919 (1933)
  • Hilary Mantel: Learning to Talk: Stories (2022)
  • John Dos Passos: The 42nd Parallel (1930)
  • Merlin Sheldrake: Entangled Life: How Fungi Shape World, etc. etc. (2020)
  • Mario Vargas Llosa: Death in the Andes (1993)
  • Ron Chernow: Grant (2017)
  • Francis Spufford: Light Perpetual (2021)
  • Craig LeHoullier: Epic Tomatoes (2015)
  • Saul Griffith: Electrify: An Optimist's Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future (2021)
  • Laurence Sterne: The Life of Tristam Shandy Gentleman (1759)
  • Laurie Blauner: I Was One of My Memories (2021)
  • Lee Smith: Blue Motel, a Novella (2020)
  • Josef Skvorecky : The Bass Saxaphone: Two Novellas (1977)
  • Michael Pereira: Mountains and A Shore: A Journey Through Southern Turkey (1966,2015)
  • Norman Lock: The Boy in His WInter: An American Novel (2014)
  • Tatiana Schlossberg: Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have (2019)
  • Pankaj Mishra: Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017)
  • Donald Honig: Baseball When the Grass Was Real (1975)
  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katherine K. Wilkinson (ed.): All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis (2021)
The book that started it all.
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