What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

Updated 06 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

A terrorist attack disables a US Navy submarine in dangerously deep waters off the coast of Florida. The navy is compelled to use its least-favorite strategy to complete a rescue of the submarine crew: Send divers to extreme depths. 

Can a team of the navy’s best ultra-deep divers perform this mission? When things go perilously wrong, can a novel approach in diving physiology that has not been fully tested under controlled laboratory conditions save the rescuers? The plot twists back and forth in time between calm and happy days of friends working together in the laboratory, and the drama of the rescue mission. The story is told from the uncommon viewpoint of the rescuers, not the rescued.

In this tale, Susan R. Kayar, Ph.D., a former physiologist in the Decompression Sickness Research Program of the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, weaves together 21st century technology in disabled submarine rescue and saturation diving with 20th century diving physiology, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

It is a thrilling deep-sea adventure that truly captures the emotional camaraderie, life-and-death bravery and can-do spirit of both the rescuers and those trapped deep below on the icy black ocean floor.


What We Are Reading Today: The Seine: The River That Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

Updated 09 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Seine: The River That Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

The Seine: The River That Made Paris is a wonderful book from Elaine Sciolino that takes readers on a journey along the Seine river, through France’s fascinating history and a thousand little anecdotes that fill it with life. 

The book “tells the story of the Seine’s origin, its little known source in Burgundy, and the goddess that gave the river its name,” said a review in goodreads.com. 

It also “tells the stories of dozens of fascinating characters that have spent their lives on, around and along the river,” the review added.

It said “Sciolino met with people living on their boats, fishermen, the river police, the firefighters who put out the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral using water from the Seine, and many more.” 

The characters “come to live with her skillful writing and share their stories of how the Seine has shaped their lives,” said the review.

Sciolino is a writer and former Paris Bureau Chief for The New York Times, based in France since 2002. 

She contributes to The New York Times’ Food, Culture, Styles and Sunday Review sections.