What We Are Reading Today: New Guinea

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Updated 25 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: New Guinea

Authors: Bruce M. Beehler and Tim Laman

In this beautiful book, Bruce Beehler, a renowned author and expert on New Guinea, and award-winning National Geographic photographer Tim Laman take the reader on an unforgettable journey through the natural and cultural wonders of the world’s grandest island. 

Skillfully combining a wealth of information, a descriptive and story-filled narrative, and more than 200 stunning color photographs, the book unlocks New Guinea’s remarkable secrets like never before.

Lying between the Equator and Australia’s north coast, and surrounded by the richest coral reefs on Earth, New Guinea is the world’s largest, highest, and most environmentally complex tropical island—home to rainforests with showy rhododendrons, strange and colorful orchids, tree-kangaroos, spiny anteaters, ingenious bowerbirds, and spectacular birds of paradise. New Guinea is also home to more than a thousand traditional human societies, each with its own language and lifestyle, and many of these tribes still live in isolated villages and serve as stewards of the rainforests they inhabit.

Accessible and authoritative, New Guinea provides a comprehensive introduction to the island’s environment, animals, plants, and traditional rainforest cultures. Individual chapters cover the island’s history of exploration; geology; climate and weather; biogeography; plantlife; insects, spiders, and other invertebrates; freshwater fishes; snakes, lizards, and frogs; birdlife; mammals; paleontology; paleoanthropology; cultural and linguistic diversity; surrounding islands and reefs; the pristine forest of the Foja Mountains; village life; and future sustainability.

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What We Are Reading Today: Lateness

Updated 09 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Lateness

Edited by Peter Eisenman and Elisa Iturbe

Conceptions of modernity in architecture are often expressed in the idea of the zeitgeist, or “spirit of the age,” an attitude toward architectural form that is embedded in a belief in progressive time. Lateness explores how architecture can work against these linear currents in startling and compelling ways. In this incisive book, internationally renowned architect Peter Eisenman, with Elisa Iturbe, proposes a different perspective on form and time in architecture, one that circumvents the temporal constraints on style that require it to be “of the times”—lateness. 

He focuses on three twentieth-century architects who exhibited the qualities of lateness in their designs:
Adolf Loos, Aldo Rossi, and John Hejduk. Drawing on the critical theory of Theodor Adorno and his study of Beethoven’s final works, Eisenman shows how the architecture of these canonical figures was temporally out of sync with conventions and expectations, and how lateness can serve as a form of release from the restraints of the moment.

Bringing together architecture, music, and philosophy, and drawing on illuminating examples from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Lateness demonstrates how today’s architecture can use the concept of lateness to break free of stylistic limitations, expand architecture’s critical capacity, and provide a new mode of analysis.