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The Moral Universe

Barbara Kingsolver On Writing, Politics, And Human Nature

This isn’t about “paper or plastic” or some vision of self-congratulatory parsimony. It’s about replacing material gratifications with spiritual ones. I don’t know how much carbon I’m offsetting with my choices. I just prefer to be a good animal rather than one that fouls its nest.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Why Cook?

Cooking has always been a part of my life, but more like the furniture than an object of scrutiny, much less a passion. I counted myself lucky to have a parent — my mother — who loved to cook and almost every night made us a delicious meal. By the time I had a place of my own, I could find my way around a kitchen well enough, the result of nothing more purposeful than all those hours spent hanging around the kitchen while my mother fixed dinner.

The Gull

I headed back to the cottage, carrying the gull out in front of me with both hands. All it did was paddle its legs. The bird weighed almost nothing, but deep in its dense feathers its body was hot, and the heat of it ran like a shock through my fingers and up my arms.

Anything For Love

When I was eight, I was so obsessed with Erich Segal’s novel Love Story that I memorized the first few paragraphs and recited them at every opportunity: “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she loved Mozart. And Bach. And the Beatles. And me.”

We Did

Did we punch and hammer and jab each other as children, thrashing and rambling, a large family in a small house filled with brothers and one older sister with bony fists and no reluctance to use them?

A Murder Remembered

Grandma Rose’s younger brother Leonard was murdered thirty-seven years before I was born. As a child I was often told I resembled Leonard, which was meant to explain why Grandma didn’t take much interest in me. My father’s mother was a stern, often judgmental woman, and I was scared of her.

Fiction

The Man At Table Five

Fanny had a shit list, and we took turns being on it. It was completely arbitrary. One minute you were Fanny’s pet. “Why can’t the rest of you be more like Ralph?” — the waiter with bad teeth. “Now, there is someone with his head on his shoulders. I’m going to make Ralph the manager.” Next it was “I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with Ralph.”

Readers Write

Being Alone

Running away, getting married, eating at the food court

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Outermost House

Creation is here and now. So near is man to the creative pageant, so much a part is he of the endless and incredible experiment, that any glimpse he may have will be but the revelation of a moment, a solitary note in a symphony thundering through debatable existences of time. Poetry is as necessary to comprehension as science. It is as impossible to live without reverence as it is without joy.

A Classic from the Bookshelf ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

J. Krishnamurti

More Quotations ▸
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