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It’s that time of year again: summer! That means we’re due for The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020!
I’m actually a bit overdue for this list. I typically publish it in early June, to give those of you blessed to enjoy summer vacation a chance to look them up. But my long illness for the first couple of weeks of the month waylaid a number of plans, and last weekend I was occupied with family festivities, so the list is a few weeks later than I like.
But, like Sunday Doodles—a perk for $5 a month subscribers—my philosophy is “better late than never!” And with the Independence Day holiday approaching, it’s a great time to do some reading.
For new readers, my criteria is pretty straightforward. To quote myself from the 2016 list:
The books listed here are among some of my favorites. I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
Pretty vague, I know. Additionally, I usually feature three books, plus an “Honorable Mention” that’s usually worth a read, too.
For those interested, here are the prior two installments:
But that’s enough yackin’. Here’s The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020:
1.) Richard Weaver, edited by George M. Curtis, III and James J. Thompson, Jr., The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver (1999) – Regular readers know I love Richard Weaver, and I featured his masterpiece Ideas Have Consequences on the 2016 list. The Southern Essays feature a collection of Weaver’s writings on the South.
Weaver was a literary critic and English professor at the University of Chicago, but his roots were in Asheville, North Carolina. He possessed a deep and abiding love of and respect for Dixie, particularly its writers. Weaver’s background in literature and poetry is evident in these essays, in which he ruminates on the abundance of prolific Southern literary types. He also brings some nuance to the question of the American Civil War and the South’s role therein. I believe it was in this collection that I first learned of John Randolph of Roanoke, the great, ornery Virginian who resisted federal overreach in the early nineteenth century.
Weaver’s writing can be a bit dense, but once you get used to his mid-century style, his ideas are easy enough to absorb. I highly, highly recommend you pick up this collection.