Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon (1:6)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 6

This week’s Sunday Salon is jam-packed with interesting reads from a variety of topics, including science, literature, writing, and my very own contributions here at Roof Beam Reader. It was a very busy week for me personally and professionally, but somehow I managed to read a lot of fascinating articles that I’d like to share with you all. For my own contributions, please scroll through to the bottom.

I look forward to hearing about what you’ve read/written this week, or what you think about the links I’ve shared. Please feel free to comment below. Happy September!

Blog Posts I Loved

  • Fanda Classiclit:  6 Degree of Separation: From The Origin to…. “I have just finished a wonderful book, of which I still need time to digest: Irving Stone’s The Origin—a historical account on Charles Darwin. As always with great books, it’d take me much time and efforts to review. On the other hand, my head is full of it and I was eager to write something. I have just finished a wonderful book, of which I still need time to digest: Irving Stone’s The Origin—a historical account on Charles Darwin. As always with great books, it’d take me much time and efforts to review. On the other hand, my head is full of it and I was eager to write something.”
  • Bookish Byron: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton. “Considering this was Gaskell’s debut novel, I think it’s very telling of her ability as a writer. She often, more times than not, goes against the grain. She lived in Manchester, at the heart of the industrial revolution, and saw the negative impacts it had on the lives of the working class.”
  • Nut Free Nerd: A Classic Couple: The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. “This classic/contemporary duo always reminds me of the start of the school year, which makes this the perfect time to write about them here. I’m sure this pairing has been done many times before, but I still think there are some interesting parallels worth discussing.”

Literary Miscellany

  • Tor: Problematic Classics: Four Questions to Ask When Beloved Books Haven’t Aged Well. “Most of us who love speculative fiction run into this problem at some point. There are classics of the genre that are uncomfortable for various reasons. Some of them are straight-out racist, or unrepentantly misogynistic, or homophobic, or all of the above. How and why and when we come to these realizations can change depending on who we are.”
  • Literary Hub: What Does Immersing Yourself in a Book Really Do? “The act of taking on the perspective and feelings of others is one of the most profound, insufficiently heralded contributions of the deep-reading processes. Proust’s description of “that fertile miracle of communication effected in solitude” depicts an intimate emotional dimension within the reading experience: the capacity to communicate and to feel with another without moving an inch out of our private worlds.”
  • Scary Mommy: 20 LGBTQ Books for Kids from Preschooler to High School. “[Neither you nor your kid needs to be queer to enjoy these books. In fact, it if you are not queer, you should read them. Understand and see us. Then teach kindness and acceptance. LGBTQ books should be part of all kids’ reading materials and educational narrative.”

History & Politics

Culture & Society

  • Literary Hub: Grammar Purity is One Big Ponzi Scheme. “There’s no separating this debate from issues of class, race, geography, and socioeconomic status. The minute someone says x is standard and y is not, they’re making a judgment call about whose English reigns supreme. Just as the winners write the history books, the most powerful group of English language users write the grammar books.”
  • Oxford English Dictionary: A Brief History of Singular “They.” “Since forms may exist in speech long before they’re written down, it’s likely that singular they was common even before the late fourteenth century. That makes an old form even older.”
  • The Atlantic: Why Some Parents Turn Boys’ Names Into Girls’ Names. “She says that some parents “celebrate the idea of naming a baby girl James,” for instance, as an attempt to upset gender expectations by showing that girls can take on traits that are traditionally perceived as masculine. What’s noticeably absent, though, is a boomlet operating in the other direction.”

Science, Tech., & Nature

  • Scientific American: What Lucid Dreams Look Like. “Last month, for the first time in over a year, I had lucid dreams for two nights in a row. A lucid dream, or realizing that you’re dreaming while still inside of the dream, is not an unusual experience: most people will have at least one lucid dream in their lives.”
  • The Atlantic: Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read. “Surely some people can read a book or watch a movie once and retain the plot perfectly. But for many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain.”

Teaching & Writing

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

Currently Reading

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • So Big by Edna Ferber (for #CCSPIN)

Thank you for stopping by and taking part in another SUNDAY SALON. There was much to choose from this week, and I hope I have presented you with a decent selection. Some of these I found interesting and engaging, others troubling and bothersome. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these or the other things you’ve read this week!


All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon (1:5)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 5

This second week of September might mean Pumpkin Spice lattes and early autumn feelings for many North Americans, but here at Roof Beam Reader it means 108-degree temperatures and another Sunday Salon!

This week, in addition to recapping my own posts and sharing what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing my favorite reads from my favorite bloggers, as well as a number of fascinating articles from across the web, including some on science, history, and politics.

I look forward to hearing about what you’ve read/written this week, or what you think about the links I’ve shared. Please feel free to comment below. Happy September!

Blog Posts I Loved

  • Wild Moo Books: Wrap Up: Big Book Summer Challenge. “Back in June I enthusiastically jumped into my friend Sue’s Big Book Summer Challenge. The challenge was to read books over 400 pages long between Memorial Day and Labor Day.”
  • Interesting Literature: The Pit and the Pendulum and the Short Story: “Of these lesser-known Poe tales, the one that stood out to me was ‘The Domain of Arnheim’, in which Poe seems to lay out his artistic credo in the form of a work of fiction. It’s a love letter to the imagination and a late-Romantic expression of the primacy of the human imagination, describing an imaginary voyage through a poet’s mind.”
  • An Historian About Town: Creating Your Library. “While this is a lovely dream to have, it isn’t as easy as it might seem on the surface, and there is a lot to consider. For a lot of people, it is a way to establish their intellectual self in their home.”

Literary Miscellany

History & Politics

Culture & Society

Science, Tech., & Nature

Teaching & Writing

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

Currently Reading

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • So Big by Edna Ferber (for #CCSPIN)

Thank you for stopping by and taking part in another SUNDAY SALON. There was much to choose from this week, and I hope I have presented you with a decent selection. Some of these I found interesting and engaging, others troubling and bothersome. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these or the other things you’ve read this week!


All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon (1:4)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 4

Welcome to the fourth volume of Roof Beam Reader’s Sunday Salon!

This week, in addition to recapping my own posts and sharing what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing my favorite reads from my favorite bloggers, as well as a number of fascinating articles from across the web, including some on science, history, and politics.

I look forward to hearing about what you’ve read/written this week, or what you think about the links I’ve shared. Please feel free to comment below. Happy September!

Blog Posts I Loved

Literary Miscellany

  • Lifehacker: “You Shouldn’t Have to Read these Books in High School.” “My own high school stuck close to the classics, making conservative choices that I had to supplement on my own time. This is normal. But given little structure for finding the great books of my own era, or even the less musty ones of recent past, I flailed around, grabbing my mom’s copies of Grisham and Crichton, spending too much time on Palahniuk—all stuff I’d grow out of, and not regret but not particularly cherish.”

History & Politics

  • CNN Politics: “READ: Sen. John McCain’s  Farewell Statement.” “We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. [ . . . ] We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.”

Culture & Society

  • Clarion Ledger: “Emmett Till Is No Less Powerful, 63 Years Later.” “In 1955, the image of a battered Emmett Till gave a face to all black men who were victims of violence, men who by the virtue of the color of their skin were presumed to be dangerous.”
  • The Silent Film Quarterly: “No More Tears Over Lost Films.” “In the 21st century, it is easy to look back and lament how many films could have been saved. But the harsh reality is that movie studios were businesses, first and foremost, and there was zero monetary incentive to preserve early films. Once a movie was released and shown at theaters across the country, it was effectively finished. Storage of nitrate film reels was costly and dangerous. If these films had no commercial potential, what was the point of utilizing valuable resources to save them?”

Science, Tech., & Nature

Teaching & Writing

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

Currently Reading

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • So Big by Edna Ferber (for #CCSPIN)

Thank you for stopping by and taking part in another SUNDAY SALON. There was much to choose from this week, and I hope I have presented you with a decent selection. Some of these I found interesting and engaging, others troubling and bothersome. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these or the other things you’ve read this week!


All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon (1:3)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 3

Welcome to the third volume of Roof Beam Reader’s Sunday Salon!

This week, in addition to recapping my own posts and sharing what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing my favorite reads from my favorite bloggers, as well as a number of fascinating articles from across the web, including some on science, history, and politics.

I look forward to hearing about what you’ve read/written this week, or what you think about the links I’ve shared below. Happy Sunday!

Blog Posts I Loved

Literary Miscellany

History & Politics

Culture & Society

Science, Tech., & Nature

Teaching & Writing

  • The Atlantic: “The Humanities Are in Crisis.” One common explanation does line up with the data fairly well, at least in part: that students fled the humanities after the financial crisis because they became more fearful of the job market. [ . . . ] The fields that have risen in the past decade are almost entirely stem majors, including nursing, engineering, computer science, and biology.
  • Cult of Pedagogy: “Noticing the Good Stuff.” So much happens in a school day, there are literally thousands of discrete interactions and decisions made [ . . . ] and our brains are wired to hold onto negative information to prevent mistakes in the future. So when good or even great things happen in our classrooms or during the school day, they may not be top of mind once class is over.

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

Currently Reading

  • Good Without God by Greg M. Epstein
  • So Big by Edna Ferber (for #CCSPIN)

All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon (1:2)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 2

Welcome to the second volume of Roof Beam Reader’s Sunday Salon!

This week, in addition to recapping my own posts and sharing what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing my favorite reads from my favorite bloggers, as well as a number of fascinating articles from across the web, including some on science, history, and politics. There’s also a provocative piece on how to organize one’s bookshelf that I would love to hear your thoughts on!

I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I did!

Blog Posts I Loved

  • Bookish Byron: Brontë Dissertation“After a lengthy period of racking my brains, trying to choose an interesting topic to write on, jumping from research solely based on Charlotte to the Byronic hero, I finally settled on exploring the relationship between marriage and class in Charlotte’s Shirley, Emily’s Wuthering Heights, and Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.”
  • Blogs of a Bookaholic: Why You Need to Read Only Love Can Break Your Heart. “Webber’s writing shines as bright as the desert stars she depicts and is as hopeful as the morning sunrise over the rocky sand. It’s also got an almost dreamy/surreal quality to it – this book sucks you in and the rest of the world fades away.”
  • I Would Rather Be Reading: The Beautiful Tragedy of Jane Austen’s Final Novel. “As with all of her other works, Sanditon attracted supporters and detractors in equal measure. While many believed in its innovative style, critics such as E.M. Forster believed that Austen’s lingering illness and approaching death overshadowed the work itself.”

Literary Miscellany

  • The Paris Review: Holy Disobedience: On Jean Genet’s The Thief’s Journal by Patti Smith. “Fourteen years later, Genet writes The Thief’s Journal, his most exquisite piece of autobiographical fiction. He is the transparent observer reclaiming the suffering and exhilaration of his own follies, trials, and evolution. There are no masks; there are veils. He does not retreat; he extracts the noble of the ignoble.”
  • Lit Hub: In Defense of Keeping Books Spine-In. “Here’s a fundamental truth about my life as a writer and reader that might offend my fellow bibliophiles more than anything else I could possibly say: for over two years, I arranged all my books spine-in. I’ve gathered that this is a controversial declaration, and that I risk inciting upset, even outrage.”

History & Politics

Culture & Society

Science, Tech., & Nature

Teaching & Writing

  • The Chronicle: The Rise of the Promotional Intellectual. “The main tasks of a professor are to teach and do research [. . . ] Now, it seems, a new task has been added to the job: promotion. We are urged to promote our classes, our departments, our colleges, our professional organizations . . . ourselves.” (This article may be restricted.)
  • Prolifiko: How to Harness Your Writing Brain’s Hedonic Hotspots. “Writing is never going to be something you do on autopilot – it’s way too difficult for that. But there are some simple methodologies based in neuroscience you can use to make you, and your writing brain, feel more positive about finding a regular time.”

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

Currently Reading

  • Good Without God by Greg M. Epstein
  • So Big by Edna Ferber (for #CCSPIN)

All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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Sunday Salon

RBR Sunday Salon (1:1)

RBR Sunday Salon

Volume 1, Issue 1

Welcome to the first edition of Roof Beam Reader’s Sunday Salon! This new weekly feature was inspired by the many “critical linking” and “weekly round-up” type posts that a number of my favorite book bloggers do so well. I’ve been weighing whether or not to jump-in with my own version of this for some time, now.

I finally made the decision to move forward after realizing that, at the end of every single week, I have something like 18 browser windows open on my phone and/or desktop, stuck on posts that I loved and want to re-read or share. So, why not create a shareable archive of my own, where everyone gets the benefit of what I think constitutes “good and important reading,” and where I can find again in some easy, logically organized way?

As you’ll see, I have a number of genres/categories, each with a few favorite links from things I read in that category during the current week (they might have been published earlier, but I only just got around to reading them myself during the current week.) I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I did!

Blog Posts I Loved 

Noteworthy Literary News

  • JSTOR Daily: “When Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot Were Penpals.” On April 15th, 1869, the famous American novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a letter from her home in Mandarin, Florida, to the famous British novelist George Eliot. Thus began a long, fascinating, passionate, epistolary friendship between these two very different writers.
  • BBC: “The 100 Stories that Shaped the World.” In April, BBC Culture polled experts around the world to nominate up to five fictional stories they felt had shaped mindsets or influenced history. We received answers from 108 authors, academics, journalists, critics and translators in 35 countries…
  • Literary Hub: “25 Nonfiction Books for Anger and Action.” For those looking to channel their fear and grief into anger and action, here are 25 books which help illustrate exactly what’s at stake under the new administration and demystify how you can—and why you should—resist.

History and Politics 

  • The Stranger: “The Green Party, Ladies and Gentlemen.” There are lots of examples out there of Republicans running as Greens or recruiting homeless people to run as Greens or financing the campaigns of Green Party candidates at the local and national level. Republicans donate to Greens, Republicans run as Greens, and useful-to-the-GOP idiots vote for Greens.
  • BBC: “Forbidden Love: The WW2 Letters Between Two Men.” While on military training during World War Two, Gilbert Bradley was in love. He exchanged hundreds of letters with his sweetheart – who merely signed with the initial “G”. But more than 70 years later, it was discovered that G stood for Gordon, and Gilbert had been in love with a man.

Culture and Society

Fascinating Miscellany

  • The New Yorker: “The Many Lives of Pauli Murray.” A poet, writer, activist, labor organizer, legal theorist, and Episcopal priest, Murray palled around in her youth with Langston Hughes, joined James Baldwin at the MacDowell Colony the first year it admitted African-Americans, maintained a twenty-three-year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, and helped Betty Friedan found the National Organization for Women.
  • The New Yorker: “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.”  Coming from a group of academics in the nineteen-seventies, the contention that people can’t think straight was shocking. It isn’t any longer. Thousands of subsequent experiments have confirmed (and elaborated on) this finding.

Essays and Articles on Writing 

  • Medium: “Hello, Go Away.” Writers bravely put their work out into the world and someone who supposedly knows the industry is saying, “I don’t want it.” But undesirable though the message may be, isn’t a direct response better than silence?
  • The Rumpus: “Why Writing Matters in the Age of Despair.” That was the narrative we spun about who we were. It was a better story than the one we were actually living. It turns out you can live in a fiction for a long time. For a lifetime, perhaps, but my limit was twelve years.

Posts from Roof Beam Reader

  • “Joansing for Didion.” Reading Joan Didion is like reading the 4th of July. It is fireworks in my brain and sitting down with an old friend to chat about and think about everything and nothing, and leaving exhausted by the pure and exhilarating experience of being together again.
  • “Considering the Secret of Northanger Abbey.” Neill refers to each character individually, pointing out their less admirable traits, without paying much attention to what positivity or sensibility the characters might actually bring to the story.
  • “Prompt: The Sound of Your Language – Be Gorgeous.” The exercise in general was enjoyable. It reminds me of reading like a writer. The sound and rhythm are important…

Currently Reading

  • Good Without God by Greg M. Epstein
  • Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips

All work found on roofbeamreader.com is copyright of the original author and cannot be borrowed, quoted, or reused in any fashion without the express, written permission of the author.


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