Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Interviews: Richard Haass – “The World – A Brief Introduction” (Podcast)

The Book Review Podcast“The whole lesson of this pandemic, and the whole lesson of 9/11, is we can’t ignore the world, or if we do ignore the world, it’s at our peril,” Haass says. “These oceans that surround us are not moats. We’ve got to pay attention to the world and we’ve got to fix things here at home.”

The ambition of Richard Haass’s new book is clear from its title: “The World: A Brief Introduction.” In just 400 pages, Haass, who has been the president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, offers a primer on world affairs. On this week’s podcast, Haass talks about why he wrote it. (Read more)

Richard Nathan Haass is an American diplomat. He has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Top New Books: “The Language Of Butterflies” By Wendy Williams (2020)

The Language of ButterfliesButterflies are one of the world’s most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we’ve encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these “flying flowers”—creatures far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for.

In this fascinating book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world’s most resilient creatures—the butterfly—shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives.

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies’ scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible “butterfly biography” explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. Touching, eye-opening, and incredibly profound, The Language of Butterflies reveals the critical role they play in our world.

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New Art Books: “Vincent’s Books – Van Gogh And The Writers Who Inspired Him”

From Hyperallergic (June 13, 2020):

Vincent's Books Van Gogh and the Writers Who Inspired Him - Mariella Guzzoni - 2020In his paintings we see books on their own, or books in the company of people or other objects; small, lonely ziggurats of books, or a book beside a candle. That last juxtaposition is telling in the extreme. Vincent had a reverence for books. They were sacred ground. They have a kind of inner glow about them.

He reverenced books for their intellectual and emotional content.

He read Dickens, Carlyle, Flaubert, Balzac, Maupassant, and Zola in the original. Dickens and Carlyle were never very easy to read, then or now, but this Dutchman did so. He even read English poetry – John Keats, for example.

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About the Author

Mariella Guzzoni is an independent scholar and translator living in Bergamo. She has been collecting editions of the books that Vincent van Gogh read and loved for many years, and curated the exhibition ‘Van Gogh’s Passion for Books’ at the Sormani Library, Milan, in 2015.

Podcast Interviews: Filmmaker Jon Wilkman On “Screening Reality”

New Books in History talks to Professional filmmaker Jon Wilkman, who draws on his own experience, as well as the stories of inventors, adventurers, journalists, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists who framed and filtered the world to inform, persuade, awe, and entertain.

Screening Reality: How Documentary Filmmakers Reimagined America (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a widescreen view of how American “truth” has been discovered, defined, projected, televised, and streamed during more than one hundred years of dramatic change, through World Wars I and II, the dawn of mass media, the social and political turmoil of the sixties and seventies, and the communications revolution that led to a twenty-first century of empowered yet divided Americans.

Podcast Interviews: Irish-British Author Maggie O’Farrell On Her New Novel “Hamnet” (BBC)

BBC Radio 4 Books and AuthorsBBC Radio 4 “Books And Authors” Talks To Maggie O’Farrell on her new novel, “Hamnet”

 

Hamnet Maggie O'Farrell March 31 2020On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

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Podcast Interviews: GQ Creative Director Jim Moore – His Four Decades Of “Hunks & Heroes”

Monocle 24 The StackMonocle 24 “The Stack” speaks with creative director Jim Moore about his latest book ‘Hunks and Heroes: Jim Moore – Four Decades of Fashion at GQ’.

GQ is revered globally as the ultimate style guide for modern men, and Hunks and Heroes is an epic journey into the world of men’s style as told and edited by Jim Moore. Hunks & Heroes Jim Moore Four Decades of Fashion at GQHe began his career at GQ as an intern in 1979 and has since played a pivotal role in reshaping men’s fashion during his nearly forty-year tenure at the magazine. From discovering new designers, distilling the latest men’s trends, and extolling fashion advice and critiques in his popular online video series GQ Rules, to Channing Tatum wearing a “JIM F&%#ING MOORE” T-shirt, Moore’s influence and impact on men’s style is unequivocal.

In these pages, Moore takes us through forty years of men’s fashion: featuring the most iconic GQ fashion looks, the magazine’s unforgettable covers and editorial shoots, essential styling tips like how to dress up denim or style a khaki suit, insights on developing your own personal style, and stories showcasing Moore’s knack at reworking the look of everyday men the magazine literally pulled off the street. This volume features 250 of Moore’s iconic men’s fashion photographs produced with internationally renowned image makers like Peggy Sirota, Craig McDean, and Inez & Vinoodh, and includes seminal GQ images of cultural icons such as celebrities, athletes, and politicians. This is the must-have style bible for all readers interested in men’s fashion, style, culture, and celebrity.

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Archaeology Lectures: “The Scythians – Nomad Warriors Of The Steppe” Author Barry Cunliffe

Brilliant horsemen and great fighters, the Scythians were nomadic horsemen who ranged wide across the grasslands of the Asian steppe from the Altai mountains in the east to the Great Hungarian Plain in the first millennium BC.

Their steppe homeland bordered on a number of sedentary states to the south – the Chinese, the Persians and the Greeks – and there were, inevitably, numerous interactions between the nomads and their neighbours. The Scythians fought the Persians on a number of occasions, in one battle killing their king and on another occasion driving the invading army of Darius the Great from the steppe.

Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Barry Cunliffe taught archaeology at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton and was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to 2008, thereafter becoming Emeritus Professor. He has excavated widely in Britain (Fishbourne, Bath, Danebury, Hengistbury Head, Brading) and in the Channel Islands, Brittany, and Spain, and has been President of the Council for British Archaeology and of the Society of Antiquaries, Governor of the Museum of London, a Commissioner of English Heritage, and a Trustee of the British Museum.

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Book Interviews: “Out Of Darkness, Shining Light” Author Petina Gappah

BBC Radio 4 Books and AuthorsBBC Radio 4 speaks to Petina Gappah on her new book, “Out of Darkness, Shining Light”.

 

“This is how we carried out of Africa the poor broken body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, David Livingstone, so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own land.” 

Petina Gappah Author
Author Petina Gappah

So begins Petina Gappah’s powerful novel of exploration and adventure in nineteenth-century Africa—the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body, his papers and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there.

Narrated by Halima, the doctor’s sharp-tongued cook, and Jacob Wainwright, a rigidly pious freed slave, this is a story that encompasses all of the hypocrisy of slavery and colonization—the hypocrisy at the core of the human heart—while celebrating resilience, loyalty, and love.

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Podcasts: The “Brilliance” Of Hilary Mantel’s Trilogy On Thomas Cromwell

Monocle on Culture Monocle 24 logoRobert Bound, John Mitchinson and Ted Hodgkinson review the final – and rather hefty – instalment of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

Best New Fiction Books: 57-Year Old Author Lily King’s “Writers & Lovers” – On The Road To Happiness

Writers & Lovers Lily King March 2020Writers & Lovers follows Casey―a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist―in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Written with King’s trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.

Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Euphoria Lily KingLily King returns with another instant New York Times bestseller: an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman.

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Lily King is the author of five award-winning novels. Her most recent novel, Writers & Lovers, will be published on March 3rd, 2020. Her 2014 novel Euphoria won the Kirkus Award, The New England Book Award, The Maine Fiction Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award. Euphoria was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times Book Review. It was included in TIME’s Top 10 Fiction Books of 2014, as well as on Amazon, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, and Salon’s Best Books of 2014.

Lily’s website