What We Are Reading Today: Fire in Paradise

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Updated 10 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Fire in Paradise

Authors: Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano

Fire in Paradise is a dramatic and moving narrative of the 2018 disaster in the US state of California based on hundreds of in-depth interviews with residents, firefighters and police, and scientific experts.
Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano are California-based journalists who have reported on Paradise since the day the fire began.
Together they reveal the heroics of the first responders, the miraculous escapes of those who got out of Paradise, and the horrors experienced by those who were trapped. Their accounts are intimate and unforgettable.
Gee and Anguiano also explain the science of wildfires, write powerfully about the role of the power company PG in the blaze, and describe the poignant efforts to raise Paradise from the ruins.
Fire in Paradise grew out of Gee and Anguiano’s reporting on the Camp Fire for The Guardian.
Anguiano also had a personal connection to the story; she once lived 20 minutes from Paradise, and her cousin’s house burned down on Nov. 8.

What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

Updated 31 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

The Cubans from Anthony DePalma, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times,  is a must-read for anyone interested in Latin America, say critics.

“In his thoroughly researched and reported book, replete with human detail and probing insight, DePalma renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see,” said Marie Arana in a review for  The New York Times.

DePalma burrows deep into one enclave of Havana, the historic borough of Guanabacoa, some three miles southeast of the capital.

“Lying across the famous harbor from the city center, Guanabacoa is close enough to have ties to Havana’s businesses, politics and culture,” he writes.

“Yet it operates at its own speed, with its own idiosyncrasies and an overriding sense, as one Cuban told me, of ‘geographic fatalism’ that comes from being so close to the capital, yet so very hard to reach from there.”

The book sadly leaves scant hope that anything will change in Cuba in the foreseeable future, but is testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Cuban people.