What We Are Reading Today: Tales Things Tell

What We Are Reading Today: Tales Things Tell
Short Url
Updated 30 November 2023
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: Tales Things Tell

What We Are Reading Today: Tales Things Tell

Authors: Finbarr Barry Flood & Beate Fricke

“Tales Things Tell” offers new perspectives on histories of connectivity between Africa, Asia, and Europe in the period before the Mongol conquests of the 13th century. 

Reflected in objects and materials whose circulation and reception defined aesthetic, economic, and technological networks that existed outside established political and sectarian boundaries, many of these histories are not documented in the written sources on which historians usually rely. 

“Tales Things Tell” charts bold new directions in art history, making a compelling case for the archival value of mobile artifacts and images in reconstructing the past.

In this illustrated book, Finbarr Barry Flood and Beate Fricke present six illuminating case studies from the 6th to the 13th centuries to show how portable objects mediated the mobility of concepts, iconographies, and techniques.

The case studies range from metalwork to stone reliefs, manuscript paintings, and objects using natural materials such as coconut and rock crystal. 


What We’re Reading: Fluke

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 24 February 2024
Follow

What We’re Reading: Fluke

Photo/Supplied

Author: Brian Klaas

In “Fluke,” Brian Klaas dives deeply into the phenomenon of random chance and the chaos it can sow, taking aim at most people’s neat and tidy storybook version of reality.

The book’s argument is that we willfully ignore a bewildering but for a few small changes, our lives could be radically different. Drawing on social science, chaos theory, history, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Klaas provides a fresh look at why things happen — all while providing mind-bending lessons on how we can live smarter, be happier, and lead more fulfilling lives.

 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Princeton Field Guide to Pterosaurs’

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 24 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Princeton Field Guide to Pterosaurs’

Photo/Supplied

Author: Gregory S. Paul

Once seen by some as evolutionary dead-enders, pterosaurs were vigorous winged reptiles capable of thriving in an array of habitats and climates, including polar winters. “the princeton field Guide to pterosaurs” transforms our understanding of these great mesozoic archosaurs of the air. This incredible guide covers 115 pterosaur species and features stunning illustrations of pterosaurs ranging in size from swallows to small sailplanes, some with enormous, bizarre head crests and elongated beaks.

 


What We Are Reading Today: A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 24 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy

Photo/Supplied

Author: Richard L. Hasen

Throughout history, too many Americans have been disenfranchised or faced needless barriers to voting. Part of the blame falls on the Constitution, which does not contain an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court has made matters worse by failing to protect voting rights and limiting Congress’s ability to do so. The time has come for voters to take action and push for an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee this right for all.
Drawing on troubling stories of state attempts to disenfranchise military voters, women, African Americans, students, former felons, Native Americans, and others, Richard Hasen argues that American democracy can and should do better in assuring that all eligible voters can cast a meaningful vote that will be fairly counted. He shows how a constitutional right to vote can deescalate voting wars between political parties that lead to endless rounds of litigation and undermine voter confidence in elections.


What We Are Reading Today: The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary

What We Are Reading Today: The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary
Updated 22 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary

What We Are Reading Today: The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary

Author: Hana Videen

Many of the animals we encounter in everyday life, from pets and farm animals to the wild creatures of field and forest, have remained the same since medieval times. But the words used to name and describe them have often changed beyond recognition, starting with the Old English word for “animal” itself, deor (pronounced DAY-or).

In The Deorhord, Hana Videen presents a glittering Old English bestiary of animals real and imaginary, big and small, ordinary and extraordinary—the good, the bad, and the downright baffling.

From gange-wæfran or walker-weavers (spiders) and hasu-padan or grey-cloaked ones (eagles) to heafdu swelce mona or moon-heads (historians still don’t know!), The Deorhord introduces a world both familiar and strange: where ants could be monsters and panthers could be your friends, where dog-headed men were as real as elephants.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematical Radio

What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematical Radio
Updated 20 February 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematical Radio

What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematical Radio

Author: Paul Nahin 

The modern radio is a wonder, and behind that magic is mathematics.

In “The Mathematical Radio,” Paul Nahin explains how radios work, deploying mathematics and historical discussion, accompanied by a steady stream of intriguing puzzles for math buffs to ponder.

Beginning with oscillators and circuits, then moving on to AM, FM, and single-sideband radio, Nahin focuses on the elegant mathematics underlying radio technology rather than the engineering.