What We Are Reading Today: Unbecoming

Updated 22 April 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Unbecoming

Author: Anuradha Bhagwati

Unbecoming is a raw, unflinching memoir by a former US Marine captain chronicling her journey from dutiful daughter of immigrants to radical activist effecting historic policy reform.
Anuradha Bhagwati’s memoir offers a distinctive lens on the Marines.
The daughter of two well-known Indian economists, she graduated from Yale and dropped out of graduate school at Columbia, where her parents taught.
“A tale of heroic resilience grappling with the timely question of what, exactly, America stands for, Unbecoming is about one woman who learned to believe in herself in spite of everything. It is the kind of story that will light a fire beneath you, and inspire the next generation of indomitable female heroes,” said a review published in goodreads.com.
In the Marine Corps, Bhagwati held posts in Okinawa, Thailand and Camp Lejeune, and excelled as a marksman and runner.
V.V. Ganeshananthan says in a review published in The New York Times: “The book is at its most powerful when she writes about who she became in response to the violence the military trained her to commit.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien

Updated 06 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien

Author: John Garth

This book takes you to the places that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien to create his fictional locations in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other classic works. Written by renowned Tolkien expert John Garth, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien features a wealth of breathtaking illustrations, including Tolkien’s own drawings, contributions from other artists, rare archival images, and spectacular color photos of contemporary locations across Britain and beyond, from the battlefields of World War I to Africa, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
Garth identifies the locales that served as the basis for Hobbiton, the elven valley of Rivendell, the Glittering Caves of Helm’s Deep, and many other settings in Middle-earth, from mountains and forests to rivers, lakes, and shorelands. He reveals the rich interplay between Tolkien’s personal travels, his wide reading, and his deep scholarship as an Oxford don. Garth draws on his profound knowledge of Tolkien’s life and work to shed light on the extraordinary processes of invention behind Tolkien’s works of fantasy. He also debunks popular misconceptions about the inspirations for Middle-earth and puts forward strong new claims of his own.