What we're reading (November edition)...

Each month, we are sharing a glimpse at "What we're reading..." This ILS blog features a variety of news articles, blog posts, or other websites that have caught the eye and the attention of our faculty recently. Covering a range of different topics in each post, we hope that you might also find these pieces interesting, intriguing or inspiring. 

What has captured your imagination or caught your attention lately? If you have found an interesting article, blog post or website lately, we would love to add that to our personal reading list. Please share in the comments section or email us any time.

Entire chunks of knowledge drop into oblivion. People of today cannot communicate anymore with the people even of the previous generation. Allusions are no longer understood. Language shrinks in scope and power of differentiation. Still, the modern barbarian is no savage since he is not privileged to the savage’s education in myths, ritual, skills, and lore. He is more dangerous than the savage because of his well-nigh unlimited gullibility which puts him at the disposal of any charismatic Anti-Christ. Hence the misery of education redounds to the advantage of the demagogue, the feasibility of terroristic enterprise, the power of mobs, and the disposition for dictatorship.
— Gerhart Niemeyer, "The Glory and Misery of Education"

For the average American family, carving out space for simple, face-to-face fellowship seems like an increasingly difficult task. There are myriad reasons for this. Two-parent families are increasingly dual-income households, and thus balancing a 9-to-5 work schedule with parenting, housework, grocery shopping, and their children’s extra-curriculars.

Many children don’t just have school in the mornings and afternoons: they have soccer practice, flute or ballet lessons, choir, AWANA or Boy or Girl Scouts, homework, etc. We often—even inadvertently—sign up for more than we can handle, then find ourselves overwhelmed by social, scholastic, or communal obligations.
— Gracy Olmstead, "Here's How to Save Your Family from Technology Creep"

Samin Nosrat has become known as the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook, after the famed food writer featured her in his book Cooked and his Netflix show of the same name.

Now, she’s sharing her wisdom with the masses in her new, illustrated cookbook called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. The key to good cooking, she says, is learning to balance those elements and trust your instincts, rather than just follow recipes.
And it was while cooking at Chez Panisse that Nosrat had the revelation that eventually led to this cookbook — that salt, fat, acid and heat are the fundamental elements to good food.
— An Illustrated Guide to Master the Elements of Cooking - Without Recipes

Wall Street Journal reported last week from the annual Frankfurt book fair, a large international gathering of publishers and booksellers, print revenue is up! From 2013 to 2016, print revenue climbed 5 percent, while e-book sales dropped 17 percent in 2016 alone. As the story put it, “Book publishers are giving an advance review of the industry’s future, and it looks a lot like the past.”

Brian Murray, head of HarperCollins, believes a “screen fatigue” has set in. There are other indications, too. Some recent research points to evidence that children prefer print books to e-readers, a finding that doesn’t surprise anyone who has pulled out Goodnight Moon while his three-year-old curled up beside him. When linguist Naomi Baron asked college students which format helped them concentrate and study the most, 92 percent chose the hard copy, not the screen. And this story in Fast Company cites more research showing that “absorbing information from analog mediums now appears to be better for memory retention.” The same material read in a book tends to stay with you longer than when read in digital formats.
— Mark Bauerlein, "The Persistence of Print"

As culinary tastes began to change, gastronomy was also transformed out during the Enlightenment. Food became a spectacle of colors rather than bland white and brown-looking dishes at every meal. French master chef Marie-Antoine Carême “dispensed with overpowering aromas, which had traditionally hidden the foul odors of improperly stored foods,” and favored “simple and subtle scents like orange, rose and lemon.” Culinary manuals and newspapers “were available at affordable prices” to middle class families, “and eating out was a much more common practice than it was fifty years earlier.”
— Michael Taube, "A Sense of Enlightenment"

I would like to make what is perhaps a radical suggestion: we need to rethink, reimagine, and reinstate a different model of family life. At the center of this model is a husband and father whose very success in life is fundamentally, though not solely, seen and judged in terms of what he does in the home. Indeed, a central measure of his manhood is the quality of his presence in the home.
— John A. Cuddeback, "Reclaiming a Father's Presence at Home"

Before adolescents can become better versions of themselves through engaging in certain activities and adopting specific mindsets, they need an understanding of the physiological composition of the brain between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Dr. Francis Jensen, a pediatric neurologist, describes the chemical makeup of the teenage brain on National Public Radio (NPR). Jensen describes the frontal lobe, stating, “It’s the part of the brain that says: Is this a good idea? What is the consequence of this action?” (Richard Knox, “The Teen Brain: It’s Just Not Grown Up Yet,” NPR) The frontal lobe is still developing throughout the teenage years before reaching maturation during adulthood: this is the scientific reasoning that explains why teenagers struggle more than adults to understand how they fit in with the rest of the world. Jensen explains that it leads to the selfish behavior the parents of teenagers are quick to recognize (Jensen, NPR). As a whole, teenagers have trouble seeing outside of themselves.
— Geeta Lalvani, Classical Academic Press