RaveBooklistPlokhy notes that radioactive pollution persists for generations, considers what was learned after each accident, documents how safety measures and reactor designs have improved, and asks whether nuclear energy is a viable path forward, considering all the risks.
PositiveBooklistCompelling themes emerge from the first page ... In each essay, Klay’s distinctive ideas expose cracks in the ostensibly glossy but unmistakably fragile veneer of our culture ... Klay’s reassuring voice offers truth, hope, and ways forward during a challenging, polarized period in America.
PositiveBooklistJennings adroitly weaves Samuel’s painful past into a disquieting present and through her characters captures universal human truths.
PositiveBooklistBlack blends creativity with detailed research, placing readers center stage 66 million years ago, during the sudden, apocalyptic fifth extinction ... In her exquisitely written coverage of the life cycles and habits of saurian and other life forms, Black makes it clear that inexorable doom will soon extinguish most plant and animal species on earth ... s she expands her coverage through millions of years, Black’s skill as a writer and scientist and vivid imagination enable her to capture the dramatic transition from the Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic era which brought the flourishing of mammals and, eventually, humanity.
RaveBooklistLim’s outstanding history of Hong Kong is an epic must-read ... From the first page, the importance of language and the voices of Hong Kongers are central themes. Yet Indelible City captures much more as it records the struggle of a people oppressed by British colonialism and suppressed by communist China yet determined in their pursuit of freedom and cultural identity.
PositiveBooklistPart autobiography and part scientific discovery, Hodges’ investigation into music and physics is a wonderfully intimate exploration of her experiences and the enigmatic connections between music, performance, and the laws that govern our universe ... She smoothly transitions to links between sound, time, and neuroscience, which leads to an analysis of \'entrainment\' or syncing to rhythms. Concepts of time and rhythm powerfully galvanize into an exquisite, eye-opening discussion of improvisation and its connection to entropy as measured in the quantum universe. In considering symmetry, the book’s flow intensifies as Hodges simultaneously and courageously illuminates her biracial upbringing with her Korean mother and white father. The book closes with a dazzling look at memory and the universe as hologram. Is reality as we perceive it? Can we know both the beginning and the end of time? Hodges ponders these puzzles with intellectual depth, unique perspectives, and an artistic, eloquent, and inspiring voice.
PositiveBooklistFrom the award-winning author of We Need New Names (2013), Glory centers on a fictional country, Jidada, inhabited and ruled by anthropomorphic animals ... Will the downtrodden citizen-animals of Jidada have the strength and resilience to seize a new opportunity to create equity and freedom for all? Bulawayo’s second novel mirrors events in Zimbabwe’s history, Robert Mugabe’s decades-long reign, and the colonial and post-colonial influences of the West and China in Africa.
RaveBooklist... a wonderfully detailed record of the Democratic Party, from its beginnings to the present ... Kazin captures the successes and failures, personalities, and intersections with movements that continue to shape an ever-evolving nation. While noting party-defining transformations over time, Kazin honestly and forthrightly frames the party’s achievements, but also its contradictions, imperfections, and blemishes, especially regarding its nascent views on slavery, women’s rights, and the rights and land of Native Americans ... Accomplishments and flaws continue and will be debated for years to come, especially in this turbulent political climate, but Kazin’s account is an unvarnished and illuminating look at the past and potential future of a political party that endures.
PositiveBooklistA beautifully written novel that captures the complexities and challenges of growing up in India and the simultaneous struggle to find meaning and a way forward in life.
RaveBooklistWith authority, humor, and detail, Gee...traces the progression of life on earth from its initial stirrings ... Readers will find this eye-opening book compelling for years to come.
PositiveBooklistKumar doesn’t use a traditional plot structure; instead, he focuses on illuminating his protagonist’s internal conflicts as Satya grapples with fake news, prejudice, and the threats of a pervasive virus ... In this milieu, Satya must balance dark, despotic external pressures with experiences of love, memory, and family so that truth, a concept that seems to have lost so much value, becomes foundational once again in his art and life.
RaveBooklistIn his first novel in nearly 50 years, Soyinka’s brilliance shines in a dark, sardonic depiction of an imagined Nigeria where greed, duplicity, and corruption reign supreme ... Soyinka’s novel offers rich commentary on political corruption, crime, and profiteering in a narrative that requires deep and sustained focus to fully appreciate its cryptic characters, interweaving plot lines, complex themes, and sharp intricacies and ironies.
RaveBooklistAs with all other life forms, humanity is inextricably linked to water. With a favorable balance, we progress; absent that balance, we struggle. We understand this truth on a fundamental level, but Boccaletti’s wonderfully detailed account of humankind’s relationship with water truly brings this fact to life. A trained atmospheric scientist and an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, Boccaletti is eminently qualified to lead readers through the fascinating details of the stories of civilizations and the water systems that sustained or failed them ... During this time of accelerated population growth, climate change, and political instability, Water is essential reading.
RaveBooklist[An] intimate novel ... With soaring descriptions and forthright observations about our planet and the life it supports, Bewilderment is centered on a devoted father-and-son relationship, but it also offers rich commentary on the complex, often mystifying intersections between science, popular culture, and politics.
PositiveBooklistCliff expertly mixes chemistry, physics, a dash of astronomy, and an abundance of humor, offering everyone interested in baking and the universe the most thorough and wonderfully appealing apple pie recipe of all time (at least for the last 13.8-billion years!) ... Cliff’s rich use of metaphor and analogy provides readers with fascinating and easily digestible summaries of major discoveries by legendary scientific minds past and present as he masterfully reassembles the history of human understanding into an astounding confection. Set your cosmic cooker to a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang and enjoy. Cliff’s review of the origins of matter and scientific mysteries still to be solved is a delicacy.
RaveBooklistGalgut\'s...compelling new novel blends characters and history and intricate themes to reveal the devastating impacts of white privilege and institutional racism ... Lyrical, brimming with situational irony and character contrast, The Promise is timely, relevant, and thematically significant.
PositiveBooklist... weaves together the lush setting of the Penobscot River in Maine and disparate characters struggling to coexist on a verdant, alluring land ... profound truths, the mournful beauty of the land, and mythologies encoded within the people who live there are revealed.
Semezdin Mehmedinovic, tr. Celia Hawkesworth
RaveBooklistNotable Bosnian poet Mehmedinović writes in first person in this autobiographical novel that explores themes of survival, perseverance, and love, ultimately conveying an intimate, yet profound and lyrical portrait of a man and his family. Each of the novel’s three parts is a soulful reverie that opens with the narrator, nicknamed Me’med, describing an unforgettable physical experience that then serves as a catalyst for deep, internal reflection ... an introspective, literary journey worth taking.
Todd Robert Petersen
RaveBooklistBlending dark comedy and crime fiction, Petersen examines a moment in time that exquisitely reveals timeless and far-reaching themes ... Throughout the novel’s adrenaline-filled external conflicts, Sophia is simultaneously considering deep, universal questions: To whom does this treasure really belong? Who owns this land? And, ultimately, who owns history itself? Picnic in the Ruins is an excellent read for those who enjoy thrillers set in the Southwest and readers interested in the preservation of history and culture.
PositiveBooklistMorley views his subject through the lens of his decades-long accomplishments as a music journalist as he expertly probes classical composers’ agitated minds and collective oeuvres. Adeptly framing observations of pop, rock, and classical music within the context of the industry, Morley also underscores extraordinary changes in our time, highlighting the rapid growth of technology and its impact on music ... includes copious recommendations and is a rich resource for music lovers.
Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong'o
RaveBooklist[An] eloquent retelling of an epic Kenyan origin story ... essential reading and especially vital for our times. Told in verse, its plot, characterization, and setting are masterfully woven to create an enigmatic, yet uplifting atmosphere in which the human spirit and its interconnectedness with the natural world shine.