Tag Archives: Authors

Books: ‘The Tiny Bee That Hovers At The Center Of The World’ – David Searcy

An ethereal meditation on longing, loss, and time, sweeping from the highways of Texas to the canals of Mars–by the acclaimed essayist and author of Shame and Wonder

David Searcy’s writing is enchanting and peculiar, obsessed with plumbing the mysteries and wonders of our everyday world, the beauty and cruelty of time, and nothing less than what he calls “the whole idea of meaning.” In The Tiny Bee That Hovers at the Center of the World, he leads the reader across the landscapes of his extraordinary mind, moving from the decaying architectural wonder that is the town of Arcosanti, Arizona, to driving the vast, open Texas highway in his much-abused college VW Beetle, to the mysterious, canal-riddled Martian landscape that famed astronomer Percival Lowell first set eyes on, via his telescope, in 1894. Searcy does not come at his ideas directly, but rather digresses and meditates and analyzes until some essential truth has been illuminated–and it is in that journey that the beauty is found.

Read an essay by David Searcy

Reviews: Author Michael Lewis, ‘The Premonition – A Pandemic Story’ (Podcast)

In 2018, Michael Lewis published “The Fifth Risk,” which argued, in short, that the federal government was underprepared for a variety of disaster scenarios. Guess what his new book is about? Lewis visits the podcast this week to discuss “The Premonition,” which recounts the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It wasn’t just Trump,” Lewis says. “Trump made everything worse. But there had ben changes in the American government, and changes in particular at the C.D.C., that made them less and less capable of actually controlling disease and more and more like a fine academic institution that came in after the battle and tried to assess what had happened; but not equipped for actual battlefield command. The book doesn’t get to the pandemic until Page 160. The back story tells you how the story is going to play out.”

The historian Annette Gordon-Reed visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “On Juneteenth,” which combines history about slavery in Texas and Juneteenth with more personal, essayistic writing about her own family and childhood.

“This is a departure for me, but it is actually the kind of writing that I always thought that I would be doing when I was growing up, dreaming about being a writer,” Gordon-Reed says. “I’ve always been a great admirer of James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal’s essays I thought were wonderful, better than the novels, and that’s the kind of thing that I wanted to do. So it was sort of a dream come true for me to be able to take this form and talk about some things that were very important to me.”

Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and John Williams talk about the latest in literary criticism. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:

“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel

“Jackpot” by Michael Mechanic

Interview: ‘GENIUS MAKERS’ Author Cade Metz On Artificial Intelligence From A Human Perspective

How Cade got access to the stories behind some of the biggest advancements in AI, and the dynamic playing out between leaders at companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.

Cade Metz is a New York Times reporter covering artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality, and other emerging areas. Previously, he was a senior staff writer with Wired magazine and the U.S. editor of The Register, one of Britain’s leading science and technology news sites. His first book, “Genius Makers”, tells the stories of the pioneers behind AI.

Topics discussed: 0:00​ Sneak peek, intro 3:25​ Who is “Genius Makers” for and about? 7:18​ *Spoiler alert!* Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) 11:01​ How the story continues after the book ends 17:31​ Overinflated claims in AGI 23:12​ Deep Mind, OpenAI, and AGI 29:02​ Outsider perspectives 34:35​ Early adopters of ML 38:34​ Who gets credit for what? 42:45​ Dealing with bias 46:38​ Aligning technology with nee

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Quotations: ‘Albert Camus, 1913-1960’ (Video)

Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second-youngest recipient in history. His works include The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall, and The Rebel. Camus was born in Algeria to French Pieds Noirs parents. 

Powerful quotations from the great French philosopher Albert Camus. Narrated by Chris Lines. Song: Quiet by Eleven Tales

Health &The City: Author Carolyn Steel And Urban Epidemiologist Tolullah Oni On 2020 (Podcast)

Andrew Tuck is joined by Carolyn Steel, author of ‘Sitopia’, and urban epidemiologist Tolullah Oni, who unpack the lessons for our cities from 2020. Plus: Jan Gehl brings us some inspiration and hope for what’s ahead.

Top Lectures: ‘A Series Of Fortunate Events’ By Biologist Sean B. Carroll

Is simple chance the source of all the beauty and diversity we see in the world? Sean B. Carroll tells the story of the awesome power of chance. Sean’s book “A Series of Fortunate Events” is available now: https://geni.us/mPPrdQH

Watch the Q&A: https://youtu.be/adrqThhSgYg

Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance.

Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, writer, educator, and film producer. He is Vice President for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Balo-Simon Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland. His books include The Serengeti Rules (Princeton), Brave Genius, and Remarkable Creatures, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. This talk and Q&A was recorded by the Royal Institution on 6 October 2020.

Interviews: Design And Architecture In 2020 – Ilse Crawford & Julia Watson

A look back at the year that was in design and architecture, featuring conversations with creative director Ilse Crawford and designer and author Julia Watson. 

Plus: Venice Biennale 2020 curator Hashim Sarkis.

Tributes: British Author John le Carré (1931-2020)

John le Carré, who forged thrillers from equal parts of adventure, moral courage and literary flair, has died aged 89.

Le Carré explored the gap between the west’s high-flown rhetoric of freedom and the gritty reality of defending it, in novels such as The Spy Who Came in from the ColdTinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager, which gained him critical acclaim and made him a bestseller around the world.

On Sunday, his family confirmed he had died of pneumonia at the Royal Cornwall Hospital on Saturday night. “We all deeply grieve his passing,” they wrote in a statement.

His longtime agent Jonny Geller described him as “an undisputed giant of English literature. He defined the cold war era and fearlessly spoke truth to power in the decades that followed … I have lost a mentor, an inspiration and most importantly, a friend. We will not see his like again.”

Read more at The Guardian

Literary Travel: ‘Hill Top’ – Cumbria, England Home Of Beatrix Potter (Video)

Hill Top, the much-loved Cumbrian home of author Beatrix Potter, creator of the character Peter Rabbit™. Although the farm is closed at the moment you can still explore the writer’s paintings, drawings, treasured objects, as well as the surrounding countryside that inspired her. Look out for your favourite characters along the way.

Hill Top is a 17th-century house in Near Sawrey near Hawkshead, in the English county of Cumbria. It is an example of Lakeland vernacular architecture with random stone walls and slate roof. The house was once the home of children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter who left it to the National Trust.

Book Podcast: ‘Borough Market – Edible Histories’ Author Mark Riddaway

Award-winning food writer Mark Riddaway travels back through the centuries to tell the fascinating, surprising and often downright bizarre stories of some of the everyday ingredients found at London’s Borough Market.

Discover how the strawberries we eat today had their roots in a clandestine trip to South America by a French spy whose surname happened to be Strawberry, why three-quarters of Britain’s late-18th-century intake of tea was sold on the black market, and what Sigmund Freud found so fascinating about eel genitalia.

From the humble apples and onions that we’ve grown on these shores for centuries, to more exotic ingredients like cinnamon and bananas that travel from across the world to finesse our food, Borough Market: Edible Histories offers a chance to digest the charming stories behind every last morsel.