By Deb A.
The first ICYMI of the 2019 is all about gratitude and celebration. Read on!
... to Lin-Manuel Miranda and three Hamilton collaborators, who are saving New York City's Drama Book Shop, (New York Times)
... to Simon Beattie, founder of the gorgeous We Love Endpapers group, and to The Guardian for helping the world discover it.
... to Georg P. Salzmann (1929–2013): With recent surveys showing that 5% of British adults do not believe the Holocaust happened and that 20% of young Canadians don't know or aren't sure what the Holocaust is, it's heartening to return to the story of Georg Salzmann, who spent nearly 40 years collecting around 12,000 books banned by the Nazis. (BBC)
... to Wyatt Walker, college basketball player and man with the arm that will save an ancient Roman statue. (Hyperallergic)
... to Jayant Kaikini and translator Tejaswini Niranjana, winners of the 2018 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for No Presents Please. This is the first time that the award has gone to a translated work. (The Indian Express)
... to Hannah Sullivan, who won the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for her debut collection, Three Poems. (Faber)
... to Duncan Murrell for winning the Ocean Art Underwater Photography Contest with his "Devil Ray Ballet". (Lonely Planet)
By Deb A.
Let's start the year with some optimism: $1.7 million dollars has been awarded to an academic research project focused on rescuing the poems, letters, and reflections written by European women in the early modern period (1500-1780).
The goal of Women's Invisible Ink: Trans-Genre Writing and the Gendering of Intellectual Value in Early Modernity is not to find the female Shakespeare. Instead, Carme Font, a lecturer in English literature at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, wants to finally accord value to the writing that until now had been cast aside.
Font and her team will uncover texts written by women who, for the most part, had no formal education. While their style may be less sophisticated than the treatises of their educated male contemporaries, these stories and diaries and prayers and poems nevertheless contain intellectually valuable thoughts.
Taken together, they present a view of the world that has yet to be acknowledged and appreciated.
Most of what women of the time wrote about their lives and ideas was not considered intellectual, whether they were addressing philosophical or religious questions or describing their lives and struggles. Font argues that throughout history, misogyny has permeated how people evaluate texts, leading to what she terms "cognitive androcentrism."
We still tend to forget that women's experiences are worthy too; as Font told El País, "we do not value a woman's text about the pain of childbirth, but we do value a soldier's letter from the front."
In recovering women's voices, Font aims to change our perceptions of women's intellectual contribution to civilisation. With her European Research Council funding, she will employ five full-time researchers to pore through national archives, libraries, and private collections, amassing a powerful collective legacy for us all.
By Deb A.
For anyone who lacks Pantone's confidence in predicting the future (get ready for the "life-affirming" Living Coral), there is always the calm comfort of a look back into the recent past with the intent of crowning a champion. And so this year, we once again scrape through a series of 'best books of 2018' lists in order to see what titles pop up again and again. Please note that what you are about to read may be helpful if you're looking for a last-minute Christmas gift or a treat for yourself, but it is completely and utterly emancipated from scientific rigour.
This year we consulted sources that skew American: the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, NPR staff picks, Publishers Weekly, and the New York Public Library, along with the CBC, the Financial Times, and the Guardian's favourite authors. Here's what they think you should read.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
From the publisher: "A dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world."
Esi Edugyan's third novel pleased Americans, Brits, and Canadians alike—hardly surprising for a book that won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker.
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
From the publisher: "...explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice."
Lisa Halliday's debut juxtaposes a May-December affair between an editor and a Philip Rothlike novelist with the detention of an Iraqi-American at Heathrow airport.
There There by Tommy Orange
From the publisher: "a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide."
Championed by Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange's first novel follows 12 Urban Indians at the Big Oakland Powwow.
From the publisher: "An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University."
Tara Westover didn't go to school until she was 17. Educated is her story of her life in a fundamentalist Mormon family and her relentless quest for knowledge.
From the publisher: "A brilliant and brave investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences."
Coming off a hypnotically stylish Netflix documentary series based on his book, Cooked, Michael Pollan's next step after years of examining food and our relationship to it is a first- and third-person examination of mind-altering drugs and human consciousness.
By Deb A.
What makes a book difficult, and is that a bad thing? (The Guardian)
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation has announced its shortlist for next year's prize.
Behind the scenes with the impressive list of celebrities reading children to sleep on CBeebies Bedtime Stories. (BBC)
Jawohl! The Deutsche Welle has put together a list of 100 must-reads translated from German into English.
Artist Tania Willard's recent work turns the wind into a poet. (CBC)
The science is in on how to become a successful artist. (artnet; full study, published in Science, available here)
The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books are here!
By Deb A.
For young readers
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy; illustrated by Elizabeth Baddely
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor; illustrated by Lulu Delacre
The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life by Jane S. De Hart (out October 16, 2018)
Elena Kagan: A Biography by Meg Greene
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
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