What We Are Reading Today: The Myth of the Eternal Return

Updated 09 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Myth of the Eternal Return

Author: Mircea Eliade

First published in English in 1954, this founding work of the history of religions secured the North American reputation of the Romanian émigré-scholar Mircea Eliade. Making reference to an astonishing number of cultures and drawing on scholarship published in no fewer than half a dozen European languages, The Myth of the Eternal Return illuminates the religious beliefs and rituals of a wide variety of archaic religious cultures. While acknowledging that a return to their practices is impossible, Eliade passionately insists on the value of understanding their views to enrich the contemporary imagination of what it is to be human, according to a review on the Princeton University Press website. This book includes an introduction from Jonathan Z. Smith that provides essential context and encourages readers to engage in an informed way with this classic text.
Mircea Eliade (1907–1986) was the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago.


What We Are Reading Today: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Updated 18 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Becoming by Michelle Obama

  • As Michelle Obama writes in “Becoming,” she long ago learned to recognize the “universal challenge of squaring who you are with where you come from and where you want to go.”

Michelle Obama emerges in her memoir — “Becoming” — as a first lady who steadfastly believed in her husband’s abilities but had no illusions that the sludge of partisanship and racism would melt away under the sunny slogans of hope and change, according to a review published in the New York Times.

She is the wife of the 44th president of the US, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American first lady of the US.

According to NYT critic Jennifer Szalai: “The book is divided into three sections — ‘Becoming Me,’ ‘Becoming Us’ and ‘Becoming More’ — that sound like the bland stuff of inspirational self-help.” 

Obama’s friend and former NPR host Michele Norris, who will soon interview the former first lady at her book tour stop in Boston, says the memoir is about much more than politics; it contains “real-life lessons.”

“She is honest about how difficult it is to make a transition. She’s honest about dealing with people who doubted her or underestimated her,” Norris says.

As Michelle Obama writes in “Becoming,” she long ago learned to recognize the “universal challenge of squaring who you are with where you come from and where you want to go.”