What We Are Reading Today: ‘Tricks of the Light’ by Jonathan Crary
Updated 30 May 2023
“Tricks of the Light” brings together essays by critic and art historian Jonathan Crary, internationally known for his groundbreaking and widely admired studies of modern Western visual culture.
The book is enhanced by several expansive essays on the unstable status of television, both amid its beginnings in the 1930s and then during its assimilation into new assemblages and networks in the 1980s and 90s.
From the gregarious sea otter and playful dolphins to the sociable narwhal and iconic polar bear, sea mammals are a large, diverse, and increasingly precious group.
In this book, Annalisa Berta, a leading expert on sea mammals and their evolution, presents an engaging and richly illustrated introduction to past and present species of these remarkable creatures, from the blue whale and the northern fur seal to the extinct giant sperm whale, aquatic sloth, and walking sea cow.
The book features more than 50 individual species profiles, themed chapters, stunning photographs, and specially commissioned paleo-illustrations of extinct species.
Review: ‘No One Prayed Over Their Graves’ by Khaled Khalifa is a complex epic
Updated 21 September 2023
CHICAGO: This epic work from award-winning Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa, translated into English by Leri Price, spans several decades — from the late 19th century to the 1950s — and explores both friendship and tragedy.
In 1907, a flood wipes out the village of Hosh Hanna near Aleppo, Syria. The lives of those who survive forever change, especially those of close friends Hanna Gregoros (a Christian) and Zakariya Bayazid (a Muslim whose family took Hanna in as a boy when he fled a massacre). Both young men — until this moment — have lived as if they were invincible. They are now forced to spend the rest of their lives reflecting on a past that has been swept away in one morning.
We are introduced to Hanna and Zakariya at their lowest point: the flood has destroyed their homes, taken their families, and everything of their past, including the generation-long ties they have always relied on. Once wealthy — with land, horses, and a close-knit community of family and friends — Hanna and Zakariya took for granted an Aleppo that was religiously tolerant and thriving. United in their love for each other and their homes, the residents of Hosh Hanna had always helped one another. But the familiar routes are no longer familiar, and life dwindles for the two survivors.
The narrative shifts timelines regularly, giving us a clear portrait of Hanna and Zakariya’s carefree past and a present beset by challenges, which they attempt to navigate while surviving on memories. They recollect joyous moments, but also lament the times when they were only interested in themselves and their own desires, ignoring all the good things that were in front of them. The flood opens their eyes to their shortcomings, their losses, and to the love they never fully appreciated before it was too late. The lives of Khalifa’s characters are riddled with loss and coping mechanisms.
The novel delves into the complex layers of Aleppo’s history through stories that are born of revenge, friendship, oppression, love and loyalty. The pair’s relationship, and their adoration for their land, their neighbors and their villages cannot be erased by a flood, by war or by extremism. A similar love for his country comes through in Khalifa’s writing.
Moscow-born Sergey Brin and Midwest-born Larry Page dropped out of graduate school at Stanford University to, in their own words, “change the world” through a powerful search engine that would organize every bit of information on the internet for free.
“The Google Story” takes you deep inside the company’s wild ride from an idea that struggled for funding in 1998 to a firm that rakes in billions in profits, making Brin and Page the wealthiest young men in America, says a review published on goodreads.com.
What We Are Reading Today: The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives
Updated 19 September 2023
Author: Danna Staaf
Dive deep into the fascinating world of cephalopods — octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and the mysterious nautilus — to discover the astonishing diversity of this unique group of intelligent invertebrates and their many roles in the marine ecosystem.
Organized by marine habitat, this book features an extraordinary range of these clever and colorful creatures from around the world and explores their life cycles, behavior, adaptations, ecology, links to humans, and much more.
“The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives” is a comprehensive, authoritative, and inviting introduction to the natural history of these charismatic creatures.