Jan/Feb 2022

e c l e c t i c a
n o n f i c t i o n


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Above the Water

You were not a talking, laughing, or crying voice in my ear, or a fist in my arm, or a room or candy shared. You were not my buddy on a walk to the corner store. You were not my sister, nor my other brothers. You were a quiet, still idea, a heart we welded to our hearts. Every night we prayed together, "God Bless our other brother John who lives far, far away." We talked about what you might look like, what you might act like, and what you might think of us.

Molly Anne Blumhoefer

The Four Treasures of the Library

When the girl is old enough, her family hands her a scroll bound in blue silk with a golden thread, and told, "Write!" What, given a blue-silked diary, must one do? What does such a tool demand of its keeper? She sets out to make observations about the world as others before her have done. She looks! Observes! Some of her thoughts are a streaming tail of light, others are not. The world is round (it once was thought to be flat, she reads). Ideas circulate like rivers through cities of people, through nation-states. The people talk story. The girl leans in, listens. The people are starving for lack of knowledge, the girl thinks. Dark Ages in China, Dark Ages in Europe—scholars and books burned and buried alive.

Janay Garrick

Organs, Auctions, and Airbags: This Is Not Your Grandfather's Economics

Examining assumptions is part of every scholar's job, and in economics just as elsewhere the results can turn conventional wisdom on its head. Rubin cites a famous study by Sam Peltzman, 30 years before Freakonomics, indicating that car safety devices like seatbelts and airbags can actually increase the risk of injury by offering the perception of safety—thus inducing risky behavior. The same phenomenon has been documented for four-wheel drive vehicles, whose drivers are nearly four times as likely to talk on the phone.

David Raney