What We Are Reading Today: If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years by Christopher Benfey

Updated 14 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years by Christopher Benfey

Christopher Benfey has written a masterful biography of Rudyard Kipling’s years in the US. 

It is a little-remembered period from the life of the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner for literature.

Benfey, the Andrew W. Mellon professor of English at Mount Holyoke, “sets out to return Kipling not to the right side of history but to this side of the Atlantic,” Stacy Schiff said in a review for The New York Times.

“Like Hemingway’s in Havana or Joyce’s in Zurich, Kipling’s American years make for a fertile foreign chapter. They yielded the bulk of his most popular work,” said Schiff.

Benfey “eloquently argues not only that Kipling’s engagement with the US made him the writer he became, but that he lavishly returned the favor,” said the review. Benfey “reminds us of our debt to a category-demolishing, globe-striding man who indeed contained multitudes, the author of an immortal ode to equanimity who fled America because of a sordid brawl with his brother-in-law,” added the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Updated 21 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Indistractable by Nir Eyal

International best-selling author, former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, Nir Eyal, wrote Silicon Valley’s handbook for making technology habit-forming. Five years after publishing Hooked, Eyal reveals distraction’s Achilles’ heel in his groundbreaking new book.

In Indistractable, Eyal reveals the hidden psychology driving us to distraction, according to a review published on goodreads.com. He describes why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off our devices: Abstinence is impractical and often makes us want more.

Eyal lays bare the secret of finally doing what you say you will do with a four-step, research-backed model. Indistractable reveals the key to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of us.

Empowering and optimistic, Indistractable provides practical, novel techniques to control your time and attention — helping you live the life you really want.

Commenting on the book, James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, said: “Indistractable provides a framework that will deliver the focus you need to get results.”