Zócalo’s 2020 Summer Reading List Suits a Time Devoid of the Usual Escapes

From Why We Started Calling Ourselves 'America' to Brains With a Mind of Their Own, These 15 Books Examine Essential Questions About Who We Are

We at Zócalo have always been contrarians when it comes to what constitutes a summer reading list. Our idea of a perfect “beach read” has never been your usual summer escapist fare, which seems right for a summer devoid of the usual escapes. So, we’ve assembled a list of insightful books that can be read while sitting on the stoop, or in a comfy chair at home. And, in this time of a global pandemic and the widespread protests in response to systemic racism—it’s fitting that this year’s Book List …

Does Philosophy Hold Crucial Insights for the Neuroscience of Inspiration?

How Charles Taylor's Exploration of Language is Shedding Light on the Link Between Reading and Big Ideas

In a passage in Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert wrote one of history’s most beautiful descriptions of language: “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we beat crude rhythms …

The 10 Best Books We Read This Year

Zócalo Anoints These 2014 Nonfiction Titles Instant Classics

Why bother reading new books when there are too many great classics for one person to finish in a lifetime? Because people keep writing new classics. Zócalo’s top 10 nonfiction …

L.A.’s Libraries Are Lookers

Even If You’re Not a Bibliophile, You Might Just Fall for the Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Card Catalogue Art, Stunning Murals, and Art Deco Details

by Jennifer Chen

When I was a kid, I read so voraciously my mom found it hard to keep up with my demand for new books. Her solution: Drop me off …

Why This Column Ought To Be a Picture

Californian Voters Won’t Read Thousands of Pages About Public Policy. But They Might Look at a Drawing.

To be an engaged, informed citizen in California is to be hopelessly behind in your reading.

We’re told that we need to follow the big issues in California, that we need …

If You Can Read This, You May Advance to Fourth Grade

Arizona Is Holding Back a Lot of Third Graders. Is It a Good Idea?

A new law in Arizona requires the state to fail—and hold back—third graders who haven’t learned to read. An estimated 1,500 students will be held back this year. Why are …