Decades ago, I developed a habit of going to a library once a week or so, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, and reading newspapers and periodicals. NY Times, New Yorker, Harper’s, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, The Atlantic and various fishing, logging and agriculture trade publications.
I fell out of this habit a few years ago, but since have returned to it and have rekindled my love for long-form journalism and the extensive essay. We’re talking about 5000-8000 word pieces, in print, in your hands, rich with introspection and back story. Reading pieces of this length on screen is nearly impossible. I recently read an investigative feature in Harper’s about Republican voter suppression that was truly shocking. I had no idea it ran this deep, systematic, evil. Every American should read it. Every American should never experience a barrier to vote. Oregon figured this out with vote-by-mail decades ago. There is no fraud with it. Bad weather affecting turnout and making people wait in lines in far out polling places would be a thing of the past. It would overhaul the American electoral system. The Republicans don’t want it.
It occurs to me that my reading in libraries might provide me more clarity with the material than reading in other places. My thinking in libraries also seems a bit crisper. I’m sure glad they are still around.