What I’ve been reading

I recently finished the D’Artagnan Romances. which consist of The Three (Scandalous) Musketeers, Twenty Years After and Vicomte De Bragelonne.  The last one is around 2000 pages and usually split up into three books called Vicomte De Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask.  The evolution of the Musketeers from rascally 20somethings to middle-aged men to men just waiting to retire and/or die is quite fascinating.  And there is lots of drama and intrigue and action.  And something like 3500 pages total.

I am currently beginning the very long journey that is reading the unabridged (and also steam coming off the 1200+ pages “mature”) Count of Monte Cristo.

I also read some Dorothy Sayers, a couple of memoirs by a 1940s housewife and Winnie the Pooh.  I read all of Narnia, and The Last Unicorn, which is truly magical.

I’m still working on Maria Montessori’s pedagogy.

I have also been reading some demographic analysis stuff, apparently looking into the increase in college education among women and how it was changing their family having patterns was all the rage and then it suddenly wasn’t, around the time they became a majority of all births (the 80s).

And I haven’t done more than glance at it yet, but I have a very interesting book about sorcery, the occult and Christianity and how the neo-pagans of the late 19th century were not creating something new and weird, but echoing long standing occult practices that had been aggressively hidden by Victorians wishing to represent an unbroken line of faithful and untainted Christian practice.  It’s actually about how much of this was carried over the sea by those English and Germans who “founded the country”, but it gets into backstory about the occult in Western Europe up until the 19th century.

I thought I hadn’t been reading much this year, but I haven’t even covered a quarter of what I’ve gotten through and I started on a couple other books.  I guess the Dumas being soooooo long makes it seem like I’ve barely read more than two books in six months, but it’s nowhere near that bad.

The Lazy, stupid, evil–pick two phenomenon

This is where someone looks around at everyone behaving a certain way or doing certain things and decides that they’re two of lazy, stupid or evil.

Common examples are the way liberals tend to assume this of any conservative policy or the way that conservatives tend to assume this of SAHMs with dirty houses and/or kids.

There’s not really a political divide here, it’s common across the political spectrum.  It’s just a recurring tendency that people slip into.

I guess you could also call it Chesterton’s busted fence.

Small update on the black demographic transition

I am not going on a quest for my binder full of (black) women birth statistics right now, but about 10% of black births in recent years are multiracial (that is, black is one of the races listed, but not the only one).  So they’ve started breaking that out and putting it in the “black” birth total.  But since this is births from black moms, this is also a measure of interracial marriage and birth for black women.  Anyway, that number is currently something like 55/45 or 60/40 wed/unwed.  It’s also getting close to parity with black men fathering children interracially. Interracial birth is converging more rapidly than overall interracial marriage among black men and black women because married black women have more children with nonblack husbands.

And foreign-born black moms represent 1 in 6 black births these days and are on track to represent 1 in 5 by as early as 2018.

I was going to add more, but I can’t remember it right now since I’m also trying to supervise cleanup (“I don’t know who did it!”) of a mysterious cucumber soda spill.


Why teen birth in general has declined so much this decade.

In no particular order, not least because correlations are hard to tease out and frankly, the reasons aren’t all that great from a Christian perspective.

  • Less sex and thus less pregnancy
  • Morning after pill use tripling since 2002
  • Condoms everywhere
  • Less driving

Teens increasingly stay home and look sexy at each other instead of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (which was fairly realistic for the time and correspondingly ugly and depressing).  When they do manage to fornicate, they try really hard to remember to use their STD/birth control and if they forget, they race for the morning after pill.


During the 70s and 80s, that was when abortion was the big thing causing (mild) decreases in teen pregnancy, but that hasn’t been a major factor in the recent declines.


Why the current unmarried birth rate for black women has declined nearly every year for the last decade.

Massive drop in teen pregnancy each year and small increase in married births some years.

Teen births still represent about 1 in 11 births for non-Hispanic black mothers, which has brought them in most recent full data to about 1 in 8 unmarried births.  The very most recent couple years of data, including the preliminary stuff for 2016 show that the decline in unmarried childbearing has reached into the 20-24 age group.

As far as black birth goes, there’s still some room for teen births to continue their steep decline.  The question after that is whether the increases in unwed childbearing among older mothers (25+) will keep the overall unwed birth percentage around 65% or whether they too will decline.