bookNear the end of The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups, Dr. Leonard Sax visits Shore, a private school in Sydney, Australia. In a conversation with the headmaster, Dr. Timothy Wright, Sax asks, “What is the purpose of school?”

bookLove. What a loaded word.

Let’s skip the love of country, the love of family, the love of nature, the love of God, the love of reading, the love of hamburgers or pizza or tiramisu, or whatever else we love along these lines.

bookTwenty-five years ago, a pediatrician told my sister that eggs were unhealthy and that she must never serve them to her children. Now nutritionists call eggs one of the perfect foods. Twenty years ago some health experts decried the consumption of coffee, claiming that it was a killer. Today numerous people laud the health benefits of this beverage. Educators have traditionally touted the benefits of homework, yet new studies claim that homework can cause burnout in students and exhaustion in parents.

book“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

— George Orwell, 1984

For the past year, Americans have endured — I use the word deliberately — the charges and countercharges of men and women running for the presidency of the United States. We must now endure another seven months of this ruckus, and as in most American elections throughout our history, mudslinging will be the order of the day.

bookLent, which extends from Ash Wednesday to Easter, is for many Christians a time of fasting and prayer. Some believers also forego certain pleasures. A child, for example, may give up candy while adults swear off tobacco or alcohol. In recent years, some teens and adults have removed themselves from Facebook or in a more positive approach, set for themselves daily Bible readings.

bookBooks brought home from the library: The Art of Grace; Keep It Fake; The Churchill Factor; The Fellowship; South Toward Home; The Conservative Heart; The Road To Character.

bookIn Withering Slights: The Bent Pin Collection (National Review Books, 2015, ISBN 978-0-9847650-3-4, 186 pages, $24.95), the recently deceased (she died in January) Florence King demonstrates once again why she was one of America’s most biting and genuinely funny social and political critics.

bookDuring a recent discussion in the AP Literature class I teach, I mentioned that the actor Alan Rickman had died the previous day. The young lady seated directly in front of me said, “You’re kidding.”

bookWith the new year now upon us, it strikes me that “something old” and “something new” is appropriate for this column.

bookMy name is Joe Ecclesia. On a recent December Saturday, when I interviewed Jeff Minick about his new novel, Dust On Their Wings, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the sixties. We sat creek-side behind the Panacea Coffeehouse in Waynesville’s Frog Level district.

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