This isn't a book. It is the 150th anniversary edition of a magazine I subscribe to called The Atlantic. Normally I don't write about the other things I read; magazines, the newspaper, the books I read with the kids, or I would never be caught up, but this edition really impressed me.
The Atlantic was founded to write about the American Idea, so for this issue, they got many people to write short essays on The Future of the American Idea. I really enjoyed reading them. There were some I disagreed with, some I really liked and some that made me think. They deliberately put contrasting ideas next to each other: for example, a famous atheist is next to the author of the Left Behind series. They were so short that even the ones you really hated were too short to make you upset, just enough to start thinking of your own reply.
It made me wish I could have a week uninterrupted to write my own version. They asked for reader submissions and will publish the best ones in a coming issue. If I were a teacher my class would be writing them. If I had child-free writing time I might be too. But as I started thinking about it I feel like my thoughts are too scattered to write a coherent 200 word essay about something as huge as the American Idea. It is still wandering around in my head, but very unformed.
The website has additional essays, I haven't looked at them yet, but I plan to. So if you happen to spot this magazine at the library, pick it up and read the essays, they will give you something to think about for the rest of the day, if nothing else.
Oh, and just a note, I changed the comment section, so you don't have to sign in to leave one, just in case anyone is interested. Thanks.
The Atlantic. Nov. 2007. pp 13-62.