What We Are Reading Today: Wonderworks by Angus Fletcher

What We Are Reading Today: Wonderworks by Angus Fletcher
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Updated 10 May 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Wonderworks by Angus Fletcher

What We Are Reading Today: Wonderworks by Angus Fletcher

This is a long and dense book, but any effort expended in the reading is exponentially rewarded. 

In Wonderworks, Angus Fletcher, a Renaissance literature scholar at Ohio State University, attempts a practical approach to putting the humanities back on the map. 

Fletcher takes a close look at the power of innovations in literature to improve human happiness, and he analyzes these effects on the physical body.

Wonderworks “is an unusual, thought-provoking book. It mixes history, literature, and neuroscience to create essentially a self-help book where the cure for what ails you is a certain element of literature,” said a review on goodreads.com. 

In 25 chapters, Fletcher “travels from the first stories told in caves to the present day showing, comparing and contracting how literature works, and why its messages, when done right, can be so compelling,” the review added. 

It said the book “details various literary inventions, their potential origin from ancient times, and further development through contemporary authors, and ties each one to psychological benefits for readers.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis

What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis
Updated 13 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis

What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis

Author: Edited and translated by Peter Bien

The life of Nikos Kazantzakis — the author of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ — was as colorful and eventful as his fiction.
And nowhere is his life revealed more fully or surprisingly than in his letters. Edited and translated by Kazantzakis scholar Peter Bien, this is the most comprehensive selection of Kazantzakis’s letters in any language.
One of the most important Greek writers of the 20th century, Kazantzakis (1883–1957) participated in or witnessed some of the most extraordinary events of his times, including both world wars and the Spanish and Greek civil wars.
As a foreign correspondent, an official in several Greek governments, and a political and artistic exile, he led a relentlessly nomadic existence, living in France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Soviet Union, and England.

He visited the Versailles Peace Conference, attended the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Bolshevik Revolution, interviewed Mussolini and Franco, and briefly served as a Greek Cabinet minister — all the while producing a stream of novels, poems, plays, travel writing, autobiography, and translations.


What We Are Reading Today: The Profession

What We Are Reading Today: The Profession
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Updated 12 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Profession

What We Are Reading Today: The Profession

Authors: Bill Bratton and Peter Knobler

The Profession is both a searching examination of the path of policing over the past fifty years, for good and also for ill, and a master class in transformative leadership.
“A riveting combination of cop stories and community involvement, The Profession presents not only a fascinating and colorful life at the heights of law-enforcement leadership, but the vision for the future of American policing that we sorely need,” said a review on goodreads.com.
A review in The New York Times said that The Profession “begins in Boston, where William Bratton joins the police force out of high school as a highly ambitious but also highly cerebral cop, one who liked computers, geography and demographics.”
He absorbed Sir Robert Peel’s 19th-century dictum that “the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.”
Over a 50-year career in which he has headed three big-city police departments, he has walked a political and ideological tightrope that has maintained his credibility on all sides.


What We Are Reading Today: Life on the Line by Emma Goldberg

What We Are Reading Today: Life on the Line by Emma Goldberg
Updated 11 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Life on the Line by Emma Goldberg

What We Are Reading Today: Life on the Line by Emma Goldberg

In her new book, Life on the Line, New York Times journalist Emma Goldberg focuses on six young doctors during the COVID-19 surge in New York City last spring.
Woven together from in-depth interviews with the doctors, their notes, and Goldberg’s own extensive reporting, this page-turning narrative is an unforgettable depiction of a crisis unfolding in real time and a timeless and unique chronicle of the rite of passage of young doctors.
In this powerful book, Goldberg offers an up-close portrait of six bright yet inexperienced health professionals, each of whom defies a stereotype about who gets to don a doctor’s wArab Newshite coat.
Goldberg illuminates how the pandemic redefines what it means for them to undergo this trial by fire as caregivers, colleagues, classmates, friends, romantic partners and concerned family members.
This is a raw and emotional depiction of young professionals thrust into the middle of a crisis.
As the surge of cases “hit New York hospitals like a tsunami” in March and April 2020, some medical schools graduated fourth year students early so they could work at understaffed hospitals.


What We Are Reading Today: Blood and Treasure

What We Are Reading Today: Blood and Treasure
Updated 09 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Blood and Treasure

What We Are Reading Today: Blood and Treasure

Edited by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin’s Blood and Treasure is a fast-paced and fiery narrative which chronicles the explosive saga of the legendary figure Daniel Boone and the bloody struggle for America’s frontier.

It is the mid-eighteenth century, and in the 13 colonies founded by Great Britain, anxious colonists desperate to conquer and settle North America’s “First Frontier” beyond the Appalachian Mountains commence a series of bloody battles. These violent conflicts are waged against the Native American tribes whose lands they covet, the French, and finally against the mother country itself in an American Revolution destined to reverberate around the world.

This is the setting of Blood and Treasure, and the guide to this epic narrative is America’s first and arguably greatest pathfinder, Daniel Boone — not the coonskin cap-wearing caricature of popular culture but the flesh-and-blood frontiersman and Revolutionary War hero whose explorations into the forested frontier beyond the great mountains would become the stuff of legend.


What We Are Reading Today: Valcour by Jack Kelly

What We Are Reading Today: Valcour by Jack Kelly
Updated 09 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Valcour by Jack Kelly

What We Are Reading Today: Valcour by Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly’s Valcour is a wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.

During the summer of 1776, a British incursion from Canada loomed. In response, citizen soldiers of the newly independent nation mounted a heroic defense. Patriots constructed a small fleet of gunboats on Lake Champlain in northern New York and confronted the Royal Navy in a desperate three-day battle near Valcour Island. 

Their effort surprised the arrogant British and forced the enemy to call off their invasion.

Valcour is a story of people. 

The northern campaign of 1776 was led by the underrated general Philip Schuyler (Hamilton’s father-in-law), the ambitious former British officer Horatio Gates, and the notorious Benedict Arnold. An experienced sea captain, Arnold devised a brilliant strategy that confounded his slow-witted opponents.