Books

Looking at History Through the Deadly Conflicts Over Territory

LAND How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern WorldBy Simon Winchester We don’t talk much about land reform these days, but after reading Simon Winchester’s “Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World,” I am wondering whether we should. In the United States, Winchester points out, “the top 100” landowners, taken together, […]

Books

An Artist Whose Comics Tell Us What It’s Like to Be Depressed

I came late to Allie Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half” — later than the outspoken fan Bill Gates and numerous enthusiastic writers for Psychology Today — but when I fell, I fell hard. (I even bought the calendar.) A selection of Brosh’s autobiographical word-and-image stories from her blog of the same name (which she began […]

Books

PICTURE THIS

PICTURE THIS THIS BOOK IS LITERALLY JUST PICTURES OF SNOOZY ANIMALS THAT WILL MAKE YOU SLEEP BETTER (Smith Street Books £9.99) This Book is Literally Just Pictures of Snoozy Animals That Will Make You Sleep Better (Smith Street Books £9.99) Sometimes a book does just what it says on the tin and this is certainly […]

Books

Now that's what you call ICEOLATION!

Now that’s what you call ICEOLATION! Thought your lockdown was tough? William Barents and his crew were stranded in the arctic for nine agonising months with barely any food and the mercy of polar bears Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World is by author Andrea Pitzer  It follows the story of William Barents’ […]

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Raised on Le Carré, He Wrote a Thriller Dipped in Poison

Growing up in Moscow, Sergei Lebedev honed his English, reluctantly at first and then greedily, by reading his way through his family’s library of detective fiction. His parents, geologists who often used English in their work, particularly encouraged him to read the work of the spy novelist John le Carré. Lebedev grew to appreciate le […]

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New & Noteworthy, From Western Noir to Humanitarian Aid

Recent titles of interest: THE GOOD AMERICAN: The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian, by Robert D. Kaplan. (Random House, $30.) Kaplan’s homage to a longtime aid worker highlights the potent good that functionaries can effect behind the scenes. YOU ARE NOT AMERICAN: Citizenship Stripping From Dred Scott to the Dreamers, […]

Books

Figuring It Out: Two Novels About Ice Skating and Adolescence

THE COMEBACKBy E.L. Shen ANA ON THE EDGEBy A.J. Sass Gloria Steinem, while being honored in 2015 by the organization Figure Skating in Harlem, spoke about having been a skater herself at an early age. It was, she remarked, one of the few sports deemed suitable for young girls at the time. Steinem went on […]