I don’t read Harper’s Magazine very often, because I don’t read very many magazines, and I avoid issues which prominently feature American politics. When I do pick up a copy, though, I always really enjoy it.
I finally got around to reading the December, 2006 issue, and there was so much to like about it:
- Garret Keizer’s “Loaded” is the most erudite, elegant essay I’ve ever read about gun control: “Anyone who owns firearms for reasons other than hunting and sport shooting (neither of which I do) has admitted that he or she is willing to kill another human beingÃ¢â‚¬â€as opposed to the more civilized course of allowing human beings to be killed by paid functionaries on his or her behalf.”
- “Clash of the Time Lords” by Michelle Stacey, about the shift from solar to atomic time.
- “The Magic Mountain” by Matthew Power, about the economics of a Philippine garbage dump. This piece taught me a new word: cloaca.
- Finally, “Kinderscenen” is yet another beautiful, perfect short story by John Updike. He is such a fine, fine writer: “There is on this shadowy side (its lawn faintly spongy underfoot) the stillness of things Toby doesn’t like to think about–church, and deep woods, and cemetaries where a single potted plant has been left in memory of someone, but, itself forgotten, has long dried out and died.” I have mixed feelings about linking to it, but the whole story is online.