This article originally appeared as the introduction to the February edition of Madison Magazine’s monthly “Sunday Reads” newsletter, curated by Associate Editor Maggie Ginsberg. The rest of the monthly newsletter includes links to other articles within and outside of the magazine, plus book coverage and other literary news around town. Sign up for future newsletters here. The next newsletter will be emailed on Sunday, Mar. 27.
As I sit down to write this monthly Sunday Reads intro, I find it difficult to concentrate on anything but the horror currently unfolding as Russia invades Ukraine. I have no business writing about any of it and I don’t pretend to be saying something smart or profound here. Frankly, I tried to think of something else to write about — any other topic — but failed. Like many of you, I’ve lost sleep these last several nights, not just thinking about murderous dictators and big, faceless concepts like sprawling foreign countries with generations of complex geopolitical forces, but small, specific, human pain — terrified families fleeing, separating, remembering, grieving, fighting.