US & Canada

Mark Mardell: Best reads of the week

  • 21 September 2012
  • From the section US & Canada
  • comments

If you are anything like me you will find there is too much to read, too much to absorb.

So, as a consumer - a reader - I have really enjoyed BBC Magazine's Seven of the Week's Best Reads.

I would never have stumbled across Peter Thomas Ryan's fabulous article on the hunting and eating of squirrels on my own.

So, in the same spirit, I am going to have a go at making my own list at the end of each week. Or most weeks. Depending on the week. Or perhaps just today. Heavy on the politics. But not just politics.

As with all links and tweets, I hardly need to say that I am not endorsing any views contained within my picks. But I am saying they are worth a read.

1. Romney's campaign woes

The article of the week was Politico's tremendous report on the blame game that has already started within the Romney campaign.

The article drove the week in some ways and I am told this well-informed piece was a major weapon in an internal coup aimed at reigning in Mr Romney's chief strategist, Stuart Stevens.

By the end of the week, it is obvious that those urging more focus and discipline have won.

Mr Romney's problems did not end there, and were compounded by the publication of a secret video.

You could not throw an online stone without hitting a commentator arguing his characterisation of 47% of non-tax paying Americans was a huge blunder, so it is worth reading Red State for the alternative view.

2. #MuslimRage

The hashtag #MuslimRage became a Twitter meme, mocking the Newsweek cover. But the protests in the Middle East made their way into the election campaign.

While there were plenty of articles lambasting President Barack Obama for a policy failure or mocking Mr Romney for a shallow world view, only a few takes tried to step back from partisan politics and argue neither man wanted to talk about the real problems.

Robert Wright's was about the best.

3. Neil Young profile

Turning away from politics, there is a great New York Times article on one of rock's survivors, Neil Young. Unlike many stars in their 60s, he is still a creative force, exciting and experimental.

Learn about the comfort he finds in his remote ranch and his relationship with his half-century old guitar "old black" and his severely disabled son.

4. Was Jesus Married?

But my favourite read of the week has been a Smithsonian take that dives behind the fascinating but facile headline Was Jesus Married?

It profiles the theologian Karen King, who brought to light the papyrus that raises that question.

It is about how some early Christians gave a much more central role to women and asks why those traditions were suppressed.

Happy reading.