What We Are Reading Today: The Soul of America — The Battle for Our Better Angels

Updated 23 June 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The Soul of America — The Battle for Our Better Angels

In a bid to reveal the essence of America, historian and journalist Jon Meacham documents the words and actions of presidents and other historical figures who helped shape the nation’s culture and politics, making the US the country it is today.

The subject of race is at the core of Meacham’s treatise. He notes that in 1619, long before the nation was formed, a Dutchman brought 20 captive Africans to Virginia — the first chapter in the saga of American slavery.

The book arrives at a time when much about the American political system seems broken. America’s greatness, Meacham believes, stems from the fact that “what Abraham Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature' have prevailed just often enough to keep the national enterprise alive.”

Meacham believes the nation will move beyond Donald Trump because, in the end, Americans embrace their better angels. This book stands as a testament to that choice — a reminder that the country has a history of returning to its core values of freedom and equality.


What We Are Reading Today: Horror Stories: A Memoir by Liz Phair

Updated 14 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Horror Stories: A Memoir by Liz Phair

  • This is a brilliantly written and completely honest, intimate and endearing memoir

The two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter behind the groundbreaking album Exile in Guyville traces her life and career in a genre-bending memoir in stories about the pivotal moments that haunt her.

Horror Stories “is a literary accomplishment that reads like the confessions of a friend. It gathers up all of our isolated shames and draws them out into the light, uniting us in our shared imperfection, our uncertainty and our cowardice, smashing the stigma of not being in control,” said a review published in goodreads.com. 

“But most importantly, the uncompromising precision and candor of Horror Stories transforms these deeply personal experiences into tales about each and every one of us,” it added.

“This is a brilliantly written and completely honest, intimate and endearing memoir. It is refreshing to read a memoir that is more than just facts; one that also shares the personal feelings; personal stories and moments; the courage and despair; the pain and reality that distinguish each of us and make us who we are,” said the review.

Phair’s album Exile in Guyville was chosen as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.