Readers write: Author Steve Coll’s work, US and world relations, connections across cultures, the comfort of books

Letters to the editor for the April 16, 2018 weekly magazine. 

Ann Hermes/Staff
A bookend holds bestsellers in place on a bookshelf at The Book Cellar, an independent bookstore in Lincoln Square on February 7, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

Author Steve Coll’s work

The Feb. 7 CSMonitor.com book review of Steve Coll’s “Directorate S” was excellent. A previous book written by Coll, “Ghost Wars,” was one of the finest ever written. He is thorough and informative.

Floyd Stone

Burr Ridge, Ill.

US and world relations

Regarding the Jan. 19 Monitor Daily article “ ‘America First’ at one year: what the rest of the world thinks now”: I understood and appreciated the article. I’d like more insight on and support for how future administrations might restore respect for the United States and its role in world relations. I agree that regaining lost ground will not be easy but is possible.

Julie Hartle

Mountain Home, Ark.

Connections across cultures

When reading the Jan. 22 cover story “My return to China,” I was brought to tears by the connection writer Ann Scott Tyson made with the Chinese journalist in Ritan Park. Encounters with others, especially from other countries and cultures, bring some of the most memorable times in one’s life. The Monitor Weekly and the Daily offer moments of joy and humanity in what can otherwise be troubling times. Keep up your mission!

John Wegmann

Port Angeles, Wash.

The comfort of books

The Feb. 19 Mix column, “In bookstores, volumes of refuge – and resistance,” was a very good article concerning the revival of reading. Although I have my Kindle, the touch and nature of the hardcover or paperback provide one with a sense of gratification and comfort. The accumulative feeling as people glance at their books piling up on the shelves, however, can have questionable adverse side effects.

Leonard Hoffman

London

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.