What We Are Reading Today: Disney’s Land by Richard Snow

Updated 02 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Disney’s Land by Richard Snow

  • In Disney’s Land, Snow “brilliantly presents the entire spectacular story

Disney’s Land is an interesting and informative book.

It is a propulsive history “chronicling the conception and creation of Disneyland, the masterpiece California theme park, as told like never before by popular historian Richard Snow,” said a review in goodreads.com

On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates. Eight hundred million visitors have flocked to the park since then. 

In Disney’s Land, Snow “brilliantly presents the entire spectacular story, a wild ride from vision to realization, and an epic of innovation and error that reflects the uniqueness of the man determined to build ‘the happiest place on earth’ with a watchmaker’s precision, an artist’s conviction, and the desperate, high-hearted recklessness of a riverboat gambler,” the review added.

Tom Zoellner said in a review for The New York Times: “This is primarily a construction saga, albeit a highly readable one set in an anxious nation that didn’t know it needed Disneyland until Walt provided it.”

“The clockwork of the park — and to some extent, the personality of the man who created it — receives an expert inspection in Disney’s Land,” said Zoellner.


What We Are Reading Today: Good Form by Jesse Rosenthal

Updated 14 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Good Form by Jesse Rosenthal

  • For most, Victorian moralizing is one of the period’s least attractive and interesting qualities

What do we mean when we say that a novel’s conclusion “feels right”? How did feeling, form, and the sense of right and wrong get mixed up, during the 19th century, in the experience of reading a novel? 

Good Form argues that Victorian readers associated the feeling of narrative form — of being pulled forward to a satisfying conclusion —with inner moral experience, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

Reclaiming the work of a generation of Victorian ‘intuitionist’ philosophers who insisted that true morality consisted in being able to feel or intuit the morally good, Jesse Rosenthal shows that when Victorians discussed the moral dimensions of reading novels, they were also subtly discussing the genre’s formal properties.

For most, Victorian moralizing is one of the period’s least attractive and interesting qualities. But Good Form argues that the moral interpretation of novel experience was essential in the development of the novel form — and that this moral approach is still a fundamental, if unrecognized, part of how we understand novels.