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WHAT SHOULD I READ THIS WEEK?

Here are 5 books we think should be on your radar.
 

How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow's World Today 

By John Thackara

Are there practical solutions to the many global challenges―climate change, poverty, insufficient healthcare―that threaten our way of life? Author John Thackara has spent a lifetime roving the globe in search of design that serves human needs. In this clear-eyed but ultimately optimistic book, he argues that, in our eagerness to find big technological solutions, we have all too often ignored the astonishing creativity generated when people work together and in harmony with the world around them.

Drawing on an inspiring range of examples, from a temple-led water management system in Bali that dates back hundreds of years to an innovative e-bike collective in Vienna, Thackara shows that below the radar of the mainstream media there are global communities creating a replacement economy―one that nurtures the earth and its inhabitants rather than jeopardizing its future―from the ground up. Each chapter is devoted to a concern all humans share―land and water management, housing, what we eat, what we wear, our health, how and why we travel―and demonstrates that it is possible to live a rich and fulfilling life based on stewardship rather than exploitation of the natural environment.

 

Dear Mr. You

By Mary -Louise Parker

An extraordinary literary work, Dear Mr. You renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Readers will be amazed by the depth and style of these letters, which reveal the complexity and power to be found in relationships both loving and fraught.

 

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

By Mary Beard

In S.P.Q.R., world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even two thousand years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty.

From the foundational myth of Romulus and Remus to 212 ce―nearly a thousand years later―when the emperor Caracalla gave Roman citizenship to every free inhabitant of the empire, S.P.Q.R. (the abbreviation of "The Senate and People of Rome") examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries by exploring how the Romans thought of themselves: how they challenged the idea of imperial rule, how they responded to terrorism and revolution, and how they invented a new idea of citizenship and nation.

 

Numero Zero

By Umberto Eco

A newspaper committed to blackmail and mud slinging, rather than reporting the news. A paranoid editor, walking through the streets of Milan, reconstructing fifty years of history against the backdrop of a plot involving the cadaver of Mussolini's double. The murder of Pope John Paul I, the CIA, red terrorists handled by secret services, twenty years of bloodshed, and events that seem outlandish until the BBC proves them true. A fragile love story between two born losers, a failed ghost writer, and a vulnerable girl, who specializes in celebrity gossip yet cries over the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. And then a dead body that suddenly appears in a back alley in Milan.
 
Set in 1992 and foreshadowing the mysteries and follies of the following twenty years, Numero Zero is a scintillating take on our times from the best-selling author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum.

 

Twain's End

By Lynn Cullen

In Twain’s End, Lynn Cullen reimagines the tangled relationships between Twain, Lyon, and Ashcroft, as well as the little-known love triangle between Helen Keller, her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and Anne’s husband, John Macy, which comes to light during their visit to Twain’s Connecticut home in 1909. Add to the party a furious Clara Clemens, smarting from her own failed love affair, and carefully kept veneers shatter.

Based on Isabel Lyon’s extant diary, Twain’s writings and letters, and events in Twain’s boyhood that may have altered his ability to love, Twain’s End explores this real-life tale of doomed love.

 

This week's BookBuzz is sponsored by:

The Ericksen Connection

By Barry L. Becker

Espionage Thriller: Mark Ericksen, the former Navy SEAL Team-Six Lieutenant and successful businessman was all about duty, honor, and country. When our country urgently needed him again, the CIA came calling.

During a Taliban ambush in 2002, Mark Ericksen, a Navy SEAL Team-Six platoon leader, takes command of Operation Daring Eagles in Afghanistan. The deputy task force commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, Colonel Shane Dawkins, orders him by satphone to kill Bashir Sadozai, his Afghan translator, claiming he is a Talib. At first Ericksen resists the order, but in the thick of battle, surrounded by wounded and dead team members, and with CIA-decoded intercepts proving Sadozai is a spy, Ericksen complies with the order, killing the unarmed man.

A day later, he discovers that his intuition was correct, that the colonel lied to him. He resigns his commission and over the next seven years works for three defense contractors, maintaining his top-secret security clearance, while concealing his PTSD.

In 2009, the CIA receives actionable intel from Saudi Intelligence stating a terrorist mastermind plans to attack two American cities with enriched nuclear suitcase bombs. The mastermind, Khalid Al-Bustani, wants to obtain EyeD4 Systems' cutting-edge biometrics security encrypted communications systems in order to maintain communications with his sleeper cell terrorist operatives. The CIA contracts with Ericksen, now executive vice-president for EyeD4 Systems, to sabotage the terrorist mastermind's plans. Can Ericksen avoid discovery and thwart the nuclear plot before a network of sleeper cell terrorists achieve their evil plans?

 

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