What We Are Reading Today: The Irish Assassins

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Updated 18 July 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Irish Assassins

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Author: Julie Kavanagh

The book is about the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke while walking in the Phoenix Park in Dublin on May 6, 1882.
The murders ended what should have been a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations.
In a story that spans Dublin, London, Paris, New York, Cannes and Cape Town, Julie Kavanagh “thrillingly traces the crucial events that came before and after the murders,” said a review on goodreads.com.
The book contains several side stories including that of the political relationship between William Gladstone and Charles Stewart Parnell.
The book centers around the themes of colonization and its after affects on the generations that follow.
It also looks at terrorism/civil war and how outside influences can affect the outcome of these situations.
“This is an unputdownable book from one of our most compulsively readable writers,” said the review.
As Kavanagh’s book amply demonstrates, life is indeed stranger than “the creations of fiction.”
The book “is too academic to be a general interest history, but too general to be of use to academics,” added the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Alien Oceans; The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Hand

What We Are Reading Today: Alien Oceans; The Search  for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Hand
Updated 21 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Alien Oceans; The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Hand

What We Are Reading Today: Alien Oceans; The Search  for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Hand

Where is the best place to find life beyond Earth? We often look to Mars as the most promising site in our solar system, but recent scientific missions have revealed that some of the most habitable real estate may actually lie farther away. Beneath the frozen crusts of several of the small, ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn lurk vast oceans that may have existed for as long as Earth, and together may contain more than 50 times its total volume of liquid water. Could there be organisms living in their depths? Alien Oceans reveals the science behind the thrilling quest to find out.

Kevin Peter Hand is one of today’s leading NASA scientists, and his pioneering research has taken him on expeditions around the world. In this captivating account of scientific discovery, he brings together insights from planetary science, biology, and the adventures of scientists like himself to explain how we know that oceans exist within moons of the outer solar system, like Europa, Titan, and Enceladus.


What We Are Reading Today: The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales by Cristina Mazzon

What We Are Reading Today: The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales by Cristina Mazzon
Updated 21 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales by Cristina Mazzon

What We Are Reading Today: The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales by Cristina Mazzon

The Pomegranates and Other Modern Italian Fairy Tales presents 20 magical stories published between 1875 and 1914, following Italy’s political unification. In those decades of political and social change, folklorists collected fairy tales from many regions of the country while influential writers invented original narratives in standard Italian, drawing on traditional tales in local dialects, and translated others from France.

This collection features a range of these entertaining jewels from such authors as Carlo Collodi, most celebrated for the novel Pinocchio, and Domenico Comparetti, regarded as the Italian Grimm, to Grazia Deledda, the only Italian woman to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature. With one exception, all of these tales are appearing in English for the first time.

The stories in this volume are linked by themes of metamorphosis: A man turns into a lion, a dove, and an ant; a handsome youth emerges from a pig’s body; and three lovely women rise out of the rinds of pomegranates.


What We Are Reading Today: A Thousand Small Sanities

What We Are Reading Today: A Thousand Small Sanities
Updated 20 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: A Thousand Small Sanities

What We Are Reading Today: A Thousand Small Sanities

Author: Adam Gopnik

A stirring defense of liberalism against the dogmatisms of our time from an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author.
Not since the early twentieth century has liberalism, and liberals, been under such relentless attack, from both right and left. The crisis of democracy in our era has produced a crisis of faith in liberal institutions and, even worse, in liberal thought.
A Thousand Small Sanities is a manifesto rooted in the lives of people who invented and extended the liberal tradition, according to a review on goodreads.com. Taking us from Montaigne to Mill, and from Middlemarch to the civil rights movement, Adam Gopnik argues that liberalism is not a form of centrism, nor simply another word for free markets, nor merely a term denoting a set of rights.
It is something far more ambitious: The search for radical change by humane measures. Gopnik shows us why liberalism is one of the great moral adventures in human history — and why, in an age of autocracy, our lives may depend on its continuation.


What We Are Reading Today: They Will Have to Die Now

What We Are Reading Today: They Will Have to Die Now
Updated 19 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: They Will Have to Die Now

What We Are Reading Today: They Will Have to Die Now

Author: James Verini

A searing narrative of the battle of Mosul, Iraq, described by the Pentagon as “the most significant urban combat since World War II.”
In this masterpiece of war journalism based on months of frontline reporting, National Magazine Award winner James Verini describes the climactic battle in the struggle against Daesh, says a review on goodreads.com.
Focusing on two brothers from Mosul and their families, a charismatic Iraqi major who marched north from Baghdad to seize the city with his troops, rowdy Kurdish militiamen, and a hard-bitten American sergeant, Verini describes a war for the soul of a country, a war over and for history.
Seeing the battle in a larger, centuries-long sweep, he connects the bloody-minded philosophy of Daesh with the ancient Assyrians who founded Mosul.


What We Are Reading Today: The New World: Infinitesimal Epics

What We Are Reading Today: The New World: Infinitesimal Epics
Updated 18 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The New World: Infinitesimal Epics

What We Are Reading Today: The New World: Infinitesimal Epics

Author: Anthony Carelli

The New World, Anthony Carelli’s new collection of poems, is an American travelogue that unfolds in a series of darkly comic episodes, with allusions to Dante as a thread throughout. In these epics in miniature, we meet a pilgrim-poet as he awaits the arrival of his child, a would-be Columbus, on the shores of a land “disenstoried” by explorers present and past. It’s a land and a people largely lost in mindscapes and mythscapes, haunted by sketchy aspirational visions, misbegotten misremembering, and emptiness. Nonetheless, the poet steps out to the shore to sing for the child—and reader—to do what Columbus never did: “land gently. /And listen and/ listen and listen/and stay.”
From an Arizona nursing home and a grandmother’s memory of a stolen golden Schwinn in the occupied Philippines, to a tale of road-tripping west through Pennsylvania as sunrise transpires in the wrong sky, The New World opens strange spaces for us to re-see, lament, and re-sing the stories we tell.