What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy
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Updated 05 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

Author: Owen Matthews

The thrilling true story of Richard Sorge — the man John le Carré called “the spy to end spies,” and whose actions turned the tide of WWII.
Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation, Sorge became a fanatical communist and the Soviet Union’s most formidable spy.
Never before has Sorge’s story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese. Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives — along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge — ​to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as “the most formidable spy in history,” according to a review on goodreads.com.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome
Updated 29 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

What We Are Reading Today: Giuliano da Sangallo and the Ruins of Rome

Author: Cammy Brothers

Giuliano da Sangallo (1443–1516) was one of the first architects to draw the ruins and artifacts of ancient Rome in a systematic way. Cammy Brothers shows how Giuliano played a crucial role in the Renaissance recovery of antiquity, and how his work transformed the broken fragments of Rome’s past into the image of a city made whole.
Drawing new insights from the Codex Barberini and the Taccuino Senese — two exquisite collections of Giuliano’s drawings on parchment—Brothers reveals how the Florentine architect devoted enormous energy to the representation of ruins, and how his studies of Rome formed an integral part of his work as a designer. She argues that Giuliano’s inventive approach, which has often been mischaracterized as fantastical or naive, infused the architect’s craft with the sensibilities of a poet and painter. Brothers demonstrates how his drawings form the basis for a reevaluation of the meaning and method of the Renaissance study of ancient artifacts.


What We Are Reading Today: From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe

What We Are Reading Today: From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe
Updated 27 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe

What We Are Reading Today: From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe

 Author: John Connelly

In the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm.

His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms among his Hungarian, Czech, and other subjects, who feared that their languages and cultures would be lost.

In this sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe since the late 18th century, John Connelly connects the stories of the region’s diverse peoples, telling how, at a profound level, they have a shared understanding of the past.

An ancient history of invasion and migration made the region into a cultural landscape of extraordinary variety, a patchwork in which Slovaks, Bosnians, and countless others live shoulder to shoulder and where calls for national autonomy often have had bloody effects among the interwoven ethnicities.


Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 
Updated 27 January 2022

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 
  • Greece is the guest of honor via a rich cultural program that includes discussion of publications and translated works on the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations
  • Saudi Arabia is participating via 39 publishing houses and in the fair’s cultural and artistic activities

CAIRO: The 53rd Cairo International Book Fair kicked off on Thursday, with Greece the guest of honor and 1,063 Egyptian, Arab and foreign publishers and agencies from 51 countries taking part.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated the exhibition, which will continue until Feb. 7 under the slogan “Egypt’s identity: Culture and the question of the future.”

The late writer Yahya Haqqi is the main personality of this year’s book fair, which comprises five halls and 879 pavilions, and includes discussion sessions and workshops. 

Greece is the guest of honor via a rich cultural program that includes discussion of publications and translated works on the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations.

Saudi Arabia is participating via 39 publishing houses and in the fair’s cultural and artistic activities.

Algeria’s Ministry of Culture and Arts said more than 600 books and publications by Algerian publishing houses are featuring in the exhibition, as are seven writers and poets.

Oman is participating with publications aimed at introducing the country’s culture and highlighting its intellectual production.

The exhibition has a hall dedicated to children’s books and activities, with the works of the late author, translator and publisher Abdel Tawab Youssef at the fore.

The Arab Publishers Association will hold its general assembly on the sidelines of the fair on Sunday, including the election of a new board of directors.

The exhibition had earlier announced the creation of an award for best Arab publisher, and the raising of the financial value of its annual awards in the fields of story, novel, poetry, literary criticism and human studies.


What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms

What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms
Updated 26 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms

What We Are Reading Today: Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms

Author: Angele Christin

When the news moved online, journalists suddenly learned what their audiences actually liked, through algorithmic technologies that scrutinize web traffic and activity.

Has this advent of audience metrics changed journalists’ work practices and professional identities? In Metrics at Work, Angele Christin documents the ways that journalists grapple with audience data in the form of clicks, and analyzes how new forms of clickbait journalism travel across national borders.

Drawing on four years of fieldwork in web newsrooms in the US and France, including more than 100 interviews with journalists, Christin reveals many similarities among the media groups examined—their editorial goals, technological tools, and even office furniture.

Yet she uncovers crucial and paradoxical differences in how American and French journalists understand audience analytics and how these affect the news produced in each country.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley
Updated 24 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

Authors: Indira M. Raman and David L. Ferster

The origin of everything known about how neurons and muscles generate electrical signals can be traced back to five revolutionary papers, published in the Journal of Physiology in 1952 by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley.

The principles they revealed remain cornerstones of the discipline, summarized in every introductory neuroscience and physiology course.

Since that era, however, scientific practice, technology, and presentation have changed extensively. It is difficult for the modern reader to appreciate Hodgkin and Huxley’s rigorous scientific thought, elegant experimental design, ingenious analysis, and beautiful writing.

This book provides the first annotated edition of these papers, offering essential background on everything, from terminology, equations, and electronics, to the greater historical and scientific context surrounding the work.