What We Are Reading Today: Ghosts of Gold Mountain

Updated 01 June 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Ghosts of Gold Mountain

In this groundbreaking account, award-winning scholar Gordon H. Chang draws on unprecedented research to recover the Chinese railroad workers’ stories and celebrate their role in remaking America.
Chang, professor of humanities and history at Stanford University, has written a fascinating account of the labor and technology involved in building the Transcontinental Railroad.
Hired at sub-market wages, which were still more than they might have imagined earning at home, thousands of Chinese men risked their lives to make the railroad a reality.
Ghosts of Gold Mountain “is nothing less than a fantastic feat of scholarship that not merely shines a spotlight onto a group that have nearly vanished from America’s historical memory, but makes them all come alive again,” said a review published in goodreads.com.
A lack of primary sources detailing the lives of the men who built one half of the transcontinental railroad — not a single diary and only a few letters — means Chang is forced to rely on payroll documents, inventory lists, folk songs, and other such sources to piece together his story.


What We Are Reading Today: Hosts and Guests by Nate Klug

Updated 23 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Hosts and Guests by Nate Klug

Nate Klug has been hailed by the Threepenny Review as a poet who is “an original in Eliot’s sense of the word.” 

In Hosts and Guests, his exciting second collection, Klug revels in slippery roles and shifting environments. The poems move from a San Francisco tech bar and a band of Pokémon Go players to the Shakers and St. Augustine, as they explore the push-pull between community and solitude, and past and present. 

Hosts and Guests gathers an impressive range: Critiques of the “immiserated quiet” of modern life, love poems and poems of new fatherhood, and studies of a restless, nimble faith. At a time when the meanings of hospitality and estrangement have assumed a new urgency, Klug takes up these themes in chiseled, musical lines that blend close observation of the natural world, social commentary, and spiritual questioning. 

As Booklist has observed of his work, “The visual is rendered sonically, so perfectly one wants to involve the rest of the senses, to speak the lines, to taste the syllables.”