Unheralded

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Coming Book: On Medicine’s Finest, And Another Remarkable Guy Named Fred

I met Fred Claire about this time last year on my first visit to City of Hope National Medical Center near Los Angeles. Fred, his wife, Sheryl, and I talked for two hours that first day, sitting in the shade outside a research building on the sprawling campus. Fred never let on then that he was in terrible pain from …


Unheralded

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Prayer For Black History Month

In the year 2000, as part of my research for a book on the Tulsa, Okla., race massacre of 1921, I interviewed an elderly man named Richard Gary, who told me this story. On a day in early June 1921, his father, a white Tulsa resident named Hugh Gary, loaded his young sons, Richard and Hubert, into the family Dodge …


TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — On Art, Architecture And, Of Course, People

Here is an excerpt from my latest book, “Of the First Class: A History of the Kimbell Art Museum.” Chapter 1 Sacred Ground On a muggy summer Saturday in 2014, 8,000 people converged on the heart of Fort Worth’s cultural district: the “Great Lawn” of the Kimbell Art Museum. The crowd was double what organizers of that day’s festival had …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Samuel Johnson’s ‘A Dictionary Of The English Language’

During the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s recent impeachment hearings, I was surprised to hear several constitutional law scholars cite Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” for definitions of treason, misdemeanors, bribery, etc, a reference to Dr. Johnson’s 1755 dictionary of the English language. It is not altogether uncommon to hear the name Dr. Johnson — usually in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Momaday, Falling Stars And Two Extraordinary Nights in November

This is a significantly revised version of my original blog posted on Wednesday with the addition of details I’ve located since that date as well as updates on the Thursday’s Unicorn showers. Although the annual Leonids meteor showers have come and gone, the news about a potential “rich burst” of shooting stars from the Unicorn meteor showers has me thinking back …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Era Bell Thompson

Dorette and I are spending some time in Grand Forks. The weather is touch and go this time of year, so I brought along some reading material. One of the books is Liesl Olson’s “Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis.” Of most interest to me is her account of the black writer, Era Bell Thompson, 1905-1986, who had …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Do What You Want, But Stay Off Of My Little Mo’

Here’s part of an article that appears in the November issue of Dakota Country magazine, on the newsstands now. “If we find the moral courage to save the Little Missouri River Valley today, we will congratulate ourselves 100 years from now, just as we congratulate Theodore Roosevelt for bucking the industrial zeitgeist a hundred years ago to set aside 230 …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — ‘Robinson Crusoe’

Over the past few days, I have had the wonderful guilty pleasure of sitting down to read “Robinson Crusoe” cover to cover. I know I should have been doing other things, some of them pressing, but I just sat there and read this famous and fabulous account of a man who is shipwrecked on a small island off Venezuela and …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Farewell To Edmund Morris

I want to take a moment to lament the passing of one of the finest scholar-biographers of our time Edmund Morris. The great biographer of Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt died May 24. He was 78 years old. Morris was born in Kenya on May 27, 1940, to South African parents. He moved to Britain in 1964. Without a college …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — ‘The Paris Husband’

As my friends know, I recently finished my annual rereading of Proust’s 4,300 page novel “In Search Of Lost Time.” Hemingway is my second most liked dead writer. On my night stand is a new history “The Paris Husband: How It Really Was Between Ernest & Hadley Hemingway.” Don’t confuse this book with another, “The Paris Wife,” a fictionalized account …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Where The Wild Things Are

On April 9 in 1963, a classic of children’s literature, Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” was published. It is what is known as a picture book and has been beloved by generations since then. Max, a little boy, travels in his imagination (or sleep) to an island inhabited by wild creatures. “Let the wild rumpus start,” he says! …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — What I Wish I Knew

My friend, Nancy Palmer O’Malley, has written a lovely and quietly provocative book, which she intends as a gift to relatives and a small number of friends. But when she shared it with me a few weeks ago, I sense immediately that her wisdom and yearning would resonate with a much larger audience. “My family never wanted to discuss delicate …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Essential Reading In The National Crisis

Hello, everyone. I’m urging you to do me the following favor. Get a copy of Robert Kagan’s recent book, “The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World,” and read it over the next few weeks. It’s a short book. It’s a brilliant book. It’s an exceedingly important book. And it explains a lot of things that may seem puzzling …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — A Very Dickens Christmas

This was written just before Christmas. Happy holidays, everyone, from all of us at the Thomas Jefferson Hour. I’m going to be alone this Christmas for the first time in 20 years — so do feel free to send presents — cognac, figs, books, music, frankincense and myrrh, whatever they are. Don’t cry for me Argentina. I have plans. I …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — ‘The Paris Husband’

I first heard of the author Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, when I was a freshman at the University of North Dakota. He had committed suicide in July, two months before I arrived on campus It was perhaps for that reason that my ”Intro to Fiction” professor chose to begin his course that fall with Hemingway’s short story “A Clean Well-lighted Place,” …

CLAY JENKINSON: Water and the West – Lochsa Lodge

As I prepare for the great “Water and the West” humanities retreat at Lochsa Lodge west of Missoula, Mon.t, in mid-January, I’m rereading Marc Reisner’s water classic, “Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water.” Here’s the first paragraph of Chapter Three: First Causes: “When archaeologists from some other planet sift through the bleached bones of our civilization, they …

CLAY JENKINSON: Clay’s Notebook — The Joy Of Reading In A Distracted Time

I’ve been writing a long essay called the “Joy of Reading in a Distracted World.” I don’t know why I started down this path, exactly. I have long lists of books I want to write. All I need is more time, more energy, some clarity in my thinking and a Muse. Jefferson was a great reader, especially when he was …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Marcel Proust On Reading

A while ago the 0resident of the United States unleashed a middle-of-the-night Tweet storm attacking the company Amazon, claiming it was getting favorable treatment from the U.S. Postal Service. As is so often the case, he was mistaken (or fibbing for effect). Most of my online shopping is with Amazon. Here’s a recent example. Back in June in Paris, I …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — My First Novel, Chapter One

I could hear her 2-inch stilettoes on the tile outside my admittedly shabby office, even before she walked through the door. I was working late on a Friday night again. What the hell! My old lady had left me a few months before. She said I was married to my work. Shacked up, maybe. I could see this broad was …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Simplicity

A few weeks ago, I came across a book from the 1990s called, “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.” The author, Jon Kabat-Zinn, has for decades been a leader of the mindfulness movement and has introduced mindfulness into the practice of medicine. I’ve found the book a treasure as I attempt to cultivate, in very …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Journey To De Smet, S.D.

Like me, my sisters are fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura’s stories shaped our understanding of the prairie landscape on which we make our homes. This past weekend, my sister, Beckie, and I made the journey to De Smet, S.D., a place, to her friends’ amusement, on Beckie’s bucket list. I’ve been there, but it has been more than 20 …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — My Favorite Cemetery

Accompanied by Dorette’s son-in-law, Paul Kuhns, I’m heading to Paris next week to attend the International Hemingway Conference. I also expect to visit again the most famous graveyard in the world, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, established by Napoleon in 1804. The cemetery is huge ― 110 acres ― with more than 1 million individuals buried there. Most were ordinary folks. …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Who Killed Meriwether Lewis?

When I heard a few weeks ago that a new biography of Meriwether Lewis has been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, I immediately ordered it. It’s called “Bitterroot: The Life and Death of Meriwether Lewis,” and the author is a woman named Patricia Stroud, whom I had never heard of until now. In a sense, the title gives …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Book Sale

Difficult as it may be to believe, Red Oak House is holding a book sale June 2, starting at 9 a.m. A couple of winters back, I cataloged our collection and culled about 200 books, mostly duplicates as well as books we’ve read that don’t fit in the scope of our permanent collection. For a while, I toyed with the …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Freud And Murder

There has been another mass murder school shooting, this time Friday in Santa Fe, Texas. Not long ago,m I wrote down some thoughts and an extract from the 92-page book “Civilization and Its Discontents” by the Austrian neurologist and writer Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). It was completed during the rise of Adolf Hitler, and among other insights the book anticipated the …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Little Crow

One of my favorite places is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Dorette and I are frequent visitors. She’s out of town, so I drove to the MIA on Saturday and wandered around for a couple of hours. It’s truly a world class institution. Photography is allowed, not the case in many museums. Among the works of art I’m most drawn …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — On Reading

Reading has been important to me since I was a first-grader at Fram Township School No. 3 in Wellsburg, N.D. My teacher, Sylpha Hovland, inspired me. I still have my “report card” from that year long ago — the marks were great for reading, not so hot for “deportment.” Here are the first lines of 10 of my favorite novels. …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Sinking Of The Indianapolis

I can’t resist a used bookstore. On Saturday, I picked up a volume that tells the story of the cruiser U.S.S. Indiana, sunk by the Japanese in World War II after delivering the atomic bomb that would end the conflict. The book, “In Harm’s Way,” reminded me of the description of the disaster that the character “Quint” (Robert Shaw) provided …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — A War Story

Friends know I enjoy used bookstores. There are many within easy driving distance of our place in Bloomington, Minn. I recently purchased the above book for $1.50 at a Salvation Army resale outlet near the place that sells me Starbucks Italian Bold coffee. “What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?” was self-published by Gordon C. Krantz, who like Dorette …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Operation Snowbound’

“Operation Snowbound: Life Behind the Blizzards of 1949,” by David W. Mills. North Dakota State University Press, c2018 (260 pages, photos) How’s this for timing? I finished this interesting new book, one of the many excellent books being produced by North Dakota State University Press, just as the biggest winter storm of the season is upon us. This is the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I Wish For A Friend

The mailman brought me a small package this week, book-sized, postmarked and with a return address from the town in which I grew up, Hettinger, N.D. Well, it was obviously a book, and I love it when people send me books, so I opened it immediately. It was indeed a book, a very special book, with a letter tucked neatly …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life’

“Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” by Edward O. Wilson (Liveright Pub., 2016, 259 pages, illustrations). In between watching the Winter Olympics these past weeks — wasn’t that fun! — I read this interesting book by the great Edward O. Wilson, one I purchased last summer and tucked aside for winter reading. The endorsement we heard last year from Paul Simon …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The Prairie Post Office’

“The Prairie Post Office: Enlarging the Common Life in Rural North Dakota.” K. Amy Phillips and Steven R. Bolduc, history by Kevin Carvell. North Dakota State University Press, 2017, 102 pages, color photographs, maps and other illustrations. Box 172, Rhame, N.D. That was my childhood address in Slope County. Our school bus driver was also our rural mail carrier, driving …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Wonder Of Birds

Thank goodness for winter, a time here at Red Oak House for us to catch up on reading. About a year ago, I bought myself the book “The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future,” by Jim Robbins (Spiegel & Grau, c2017). I tucked it away, waiting for an opportune time to …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Father Sherman’s Magnum Opus: ‘Prairie Mosaic’

With every turn of a page in “Prairie Mosaic,” the reader will delve into the rich ethnic history of North Dakota. The Rev. William C. Sherman labored for many years to reveal an astonishing level of detail, down to the township level, and to tell the story of the state’s inhabitants. “Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota,” …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Jackie Morris And Robert Macfarlane

I have two new British friends, thanks to the magic of books (and Twitter). One is the writer, Robert Macfarlane, and the other is the artist Jackie Morris. My friend, Ken, and I have a mutual appreciation of all of Macfarlane’s books. Macfarlane’s Twitter account is a delight as is his Word of the Day, from which I learn something daily, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Prairie Storyteller Extraordinaire

Come away with me a few moments to the enchanting world of the late Paul Goble, artist and storyteller extraordinaire, my favorite children’s book author of all-time (admittedly there are many I love). Like most college students, I had courses that I preferred above all others. Mine, taught by some exceptional professors, included Myths & Legends, Shakespeare, and, the best, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Owl Moon

Last night, I was still awake at midnight and upon hearing the noise of fireworks, put down my book and looked out the windows. The luminous full moon on the white, almost blue, landscape brought to mind one of my favorite children’s books “Owl Moon,” by Jane Yolen. It is a wondrous story of a father taking his little girl out in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The Hour of Land’

“The Hour of Land: a Personal Topography of America’s National Parks,” Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Book, 2016). The National Park Service observed its centennial in 2016. During this year, writer Terry Tempest Williams published “The Hour of Land,” her personal journey and meditation on the national parks, essays written as she traveled the country visiting some of the iconic sites …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Geography of the Great Plains’

Jim and I took ourselves Wednesday on over to the United Tribes Technical College for a lunchtime program by a member of the faculty there, Dakota Goodhouse. The topic was “The Geography of the Great Plains,” and we knew it would be a worthwhile use of our retired time, not to mention the huge, delicious sloppy Joes we were fed. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The New Wild West’ — A Book Review

“The New Wild West: Black Gold, Fracking, and Life in a North Dakota Boomtown,” by Blaire Briody (St. Martin’s Press, 2017). Readers of the Bismarck Tribune will recognize several of the principal characters in this book in which Blaire Briody tells the story of the Bakken Oil boom in western North Dakota. Briody intersperses the stories of many individuals, including …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Beyond the Bedroom Wall’

The year I was a sophomore in college, one of my mentors, my Lutheran pastor, was reading a novel. He told me I should read it, and so I did. I remember exactly where we were and what the car in which we were riding looked like. I paid attention, as I greatly respected this man. The book was “Beyond …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Laura Ingalls Wilder Quest

Friends and family know that I’m a fervent fan of the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve written about this before on my blog, including in this book review. There was a time in my life when I read her books over and over, but I eventually moved on to devouring the books about her, of which I have a …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Some weeks ago, my dear friend, Ken, loaned me a gem of a book, one he had enjoyed and he knew that I would like it too, entitled “As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Books & Birds,” by Alex Preston and Neil Gower, an exploration of birds in literature. I started it very soon after that day, but then the library alerted me …