Beauty and the Beast at the “World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup”

The rattlesnake has qualities Texans idealize: fierceness, independent-mindedness, hardiness, strength, a showiness muted by dust. It is the libertarian of the reptile world. Which is probably why Sweetwater loves to hate Western Diamondbacks. They are very alike but in competition.

Reading Moby-Dick at the Newberry

Our feelings, thoughts, and memories do not change the great grinding universe. It is Ahab’s main issue, as well as Melville’s.

Goats, God, and the Grind of the Soil

Before the Baetjes built a renowned goat milk and cheese creamery selling their cheeses to gourmet specialty stores such as Zabar’s in New York City, Veronica Baetje remembered the bliss of having “a Heidi moment” in simpler times.


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The Common Reader, a publication of Washington University in St. Louis, offers the best in reviews, articles and creative non-fiction engaging the essential debates and issues of our time.