Hey there. It's been a rainy May here in Charlottesville, and colder than I'd like. But it seems the weather is finally starting to turn. The clouds broke; Wednesday and Thursday were warm, and I saw my first lightning bug of the season last night. (I swear I used to say "firefly" when I lived in Texas. I've been told "lightning bug" is the appropriate term here in Virginia.)
Is this your first time receiving this newsletter? Welcome! The full archive is available here.
1. Bronwen Dickey's Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon tells the story of how pits acquired their reputation as dangerous dogs to be feared and avoided, when they used to be beloved and celebrated. It will not surprise you that humans are responsible for this shift. Socialization: more trouble than it's worth? (Listen to Dickey talk to Terry Gross about this and more on Fresh Air, and read a review of the book in the New York Times.)
2. I can't quite think of how best to convey the sheer and utter joy I felt upon first encountering Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine series almost twenty years ago. Part mystery, part illustrated novel, it is an adventure in reading creatively—in epistolary form. The first book has just been rereleased in honor of its twenty-fifth anniversary. The boxed set of the first three books might be the best way to go, though. (This is how I experienced the romantic saga. The boxed set really allows you to blow right through the story, turning the pages and reading the postcards at your own, likely quickened pace.) But! There are two follow-ups: The Gryphon (2001) and The Pharos Gate, the final volume. (I just learned of this last book in the course of researching today's newsletter and it's all I can do not to order it. Seriously. My pinky is getting awfully twitchy on the "confirm order" button.)
3. In light of the recent news out of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, a reminder that Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon were out in front of that story: "Silence at Baylor," from Texas Monthly last August.