My favorite thing to do in the summer is to chill on the deck, at the beach, wherever and read. And, whew, I have done quite a bit of that this summer.
I don't get a lot of reading for pleasure done during the school year, outside of a book or two during winter and spring breaks. But during the summer, I try to kick it into overdrive. I'll read fiction, non-fiction and I am slowly making my way through every Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction since I was born. (Interestingly, there was not a winner the year I was born, 1974. I have read 16 of the 45, including the last seven. Some, I have tried and was not terribly fond of, so I won't read them all, but it's a fun thing.)
The books I have read this summer have been fantastic. From Zakiyah D. Harris' "The Other Black Girl" to Fredrik Backman's "Anxious People" -- and two Pulitzer winners! -- I recommend everything I've read this summer. You can see them all here.
I've also read some fantastic journalism.
The best has been this piece in the The Atlantic by the brilliant Wright Thompson on an overlooked part of the murder of Emmett Till tops the list. I am not a fan when journalists use first-person references in stories. It is typically distracting and needlessly self promoting, or directing needless attention to the author. But sometimes, when employed by the experts, it works. It does here and it is genius.
The lovely, talented, smart and frequent Quinnipiac University guest speaker Katie Barnes did such justice to Layshia Clarendon, the WNBA's first non-binary player, in this ESPN Cover Story. Clarendon and their story is unique, fierce and empowering. Barnes rose to the challenge.
Casey Gerald wrote this excellent profile of Leon Bridges for Texas Monthly. Again, I don't love the first person use -- and I don't think it's necessary in this piece. Still, this is a great profile despite the first person references.
Other great ones:
* This ESPN Cover Story on cancer survivor/Orioles all-star Trey Mancini by Kevin Van Valkenburg mixes triumph, vulnerability and the love of baseball for an emotional narrative.
* The Marshall Project churns out such important investigative journalism. It digs, uncovers and works. But, sometimes, it just brings us stories that would otherwise go untold. This is one of them, written by an incarcerated man named Demetrius Buckley for the ongoing series "Life Inside." If you can get through it with dry eyes, you're tougher than I.
* Ashley Luthern, who I taught in a class at Ohio University early in my doctoral program, did some outstanding watchdog reporting for this investigative piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which looks into 911 call, a delayed police response and the murder of a young mother and her two daughters... on the night of her toddler son's memorial service. (Yes, you have to pay to read this one. It's a $1. Just do it.)
* Last piece is a simple, effective column from Joe Posnanski, lifelong Cleveland baseball fan and purveyor of good thoughts and better words. (You have to pay for this one, too, but The Athletic should be required for sports fans.)
Enjoy the journalism.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Media, Fandom, and Soccer's Biggest Stage is available online from Palgrave Macmillan. (Hardback available in September 2021.)
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.