Blog

'Soil and Sacrament' explores farming's spiritual side

Reading the Book of Isaiah on a concrete rooftop in San Cristobál de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, God captured Fred Bahnson, inviting him on the path that would lead to a life of farming, he writes in Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (Simon & Schuster, 2013).

Book Review

The paradox and potential of 'drunk support'

GETTING WASTED: WHY COLLEGE STUDENTS DRINK TOO MUCH AND PARTY SO HARD
By Thomas Vander Ven
Published by New York University Press, $19.95

The negative consequences of students’ binge drinking on U.S. college campuses have been documented and well-publicized: failing grades, vandalism, fights, injuries, sexual assault, illness, hospitalization and even death from alcohol poisoning. “All these bad things happen and yet, students continue to chase the alcohol high,” writes sociologist Thomas Vander Ven, whose new book takes on the question: Why? With all the potential for trouble, why do they do it?

Book Review

The Peace Corps at 50 years old

WHEN THE WORLD CALLS: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE PEACE CORPS AND ITS FIRST FIFTY YEARS
By Stanley Meisler
Published by Beacon Press, $26.95

I knew just enough about the Peace Corps in the fall of 1987 that I attended this “Visiting Scholar” lecture on my own initiative (more typically I would have been there to fulfill a class requirement). Whatever Loret Miller Ruppe, then director of the Peace Corps, said when she spoke at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Mo., that evening, she fired my enthusiasm. Greeting students afterwards, she told me that, as a junior, I was still too far away from graduation to apply just yet. But I picked up one of the little Peace Corps buttons she was giving away. I still have it.

Blog

Nature's \"boundary breakers\"

WEEDS: IN DEFENSE OF NATURE'S MOST UNLOVED PLANTS
By Richard Mabey
Published by Ecco, $25.99

The most straightforward definition of a weed is "a plant in the wrong place." British nature writer Richard Mabey says this definition works "tolerably well," taking in how the label is ever-shifting. But he's interested in exploring what makes a place "wrong" for a plant. When it comes to a weed, it invades somewhere because, as far as the plant's concerned, that place is exactly right. "Weeds always find their way back to places they like," Mabey writes.