Goodreads Monday- The World Between Two Covers

23331535The World Between Two Covers
by Ann Morgan
326 pages
Published May, 2015

From Goodreads: A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author’s year-long journey through a book from every country.

Following an impulse to read more internationally, journalist Ann Morgan undertook first to define “the world” and then to find a story from each of 196 nations. Tireless in her quest and assisted by generous, far-flung strangers, Morgan discovered not only a treasury of world literature but also the keys to unlock it. Whether considering the difficulties faced by writers in developing nations, movingly illustrated by Burundian Marie-Thérese Toyi’s Weep Not, Refugee; tracing the use of local myths in the fantastically successful Samoan YA series Telesa; delving into questions of censorship and propaganda while sourcing a title from North Korea; or simply getting hold of The Corsair, the first Qatari novel to be translated into English, Morgan illuminates with wit, warmth, and insight how stories are written the world over and how place-geographical, historical, virtual-shapes the books we read and write.


I first heard about this book after watching Ann Morgan’s TED Talk about her literary adventure. She realized one day that most of the books she read were by British or American authors and wondered what she was missing out on, so she set out to read a book from every country- 196 of them- in one year. Some things were easy to find, others were extremely difficult, and in the process she encountered issues such as censorship and what makes a person a citizen of ‘Country X’ if they are immigrants or living in exile.

Morgan’s story inspired me to start reading books from other countries, and it’s been interesting (in a good way!) so far. I’ve read Ukranian satires (The Master and Margarita), dark stories about conflicts between siblings and even deeper inner conflicts from South Korea (I Have the Right to Destroy Myself). I have a long way to go, but it’s going to be a fantastic journey.

Goodreads Monday- What Lies Between Us

25663781What Lies Between Us
by Naomi Munaweera
320 pages
published February 2016

From Goodreads: From the award-winning author of Island of a Thousand Mirrors comes the confession of a woman, driven by the demons of her past to commit a single and possibly unforgivable crime.

“The walls of my cell are painted an industrial white, like albumen. They must think the color is soothing. Where I come from it connotes absence, death, unrelenting loneliness.”

In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession.


This is another book I found on my public library’s Pinterest feed that I added to my TBR because I want to read more books from around the world. Given its subject matter, I don’t know if it’s something I’ll read soon. Maybe in the autumn, when it’s not so hot and I feel like tackling stories with heavy subject matter.

Goodreads Monday- The Glass Universe

Goodreads Monday is a weekly feature where you randomly pick a book from your Goodreads To Be Read list and show it off. This week’s selection is The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

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The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
by Dava Sobel
320 pages
Published December 6, 2016

From Goodreads: #1 New York Times bestselling author Dava Sobel returns with the captivating, little-known true story of a group of women whose remarkable contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but by the 1880s the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The “glass universe” of half a million plates that Harvard amassed in this period—thanks in part to the early financial support of another woman, Mrs. Anna Draper, whose late husband pioneered the technique of stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances across space by starlight.

Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars, Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use, and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, who in 1956 became the first ever woman professor of astronomy at Harvard—and Harvard’s first female department chair.

Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of a group of remarkable women who, through their hard work and groundbreaking discoveries, disproved the commonly held belief that the gentler sex had little to contribute to human knowledge.


 

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of other of Dava Sobel’s books, namely Longitude and The Planets, so I’m pretty sure I’ll like this one, too. I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was a little kid, and read everything that my little hometown’s library had on the subject. I’d heard of a few of these women even before they were included in Jason Porath’s Rejected Princesses, and it will be interesting to learn more about them. I should make a night of it, reading The Glass Universe followed by a viewing of Hidden Figures. 

Goodreads Monday- Behold the Dreamers

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly choose a book from our Goodreads To Read list and share it with everyone. A lot of people do this. I got the idea from Danielle over at Books, Vertigo and Tea


dreamersBehold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
380 pages.

From Goodreads: Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

I came across this book while looking through my local library’s ‘New Fiction’ Pinterest board. Because I’m trying to read more books by authors from around the world, and because it has been so well reviewed, I decided to add it to my list.

Goodreads Monday: The Ghosts of Evolution

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday, where I tell you about a book on my TBR that I plan to read…. someday.

This week’s randomly selected book is:

41LmijbcUTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Ghosts of Evolution
by Connie Barlow
Non-Fiction
304 pages

From Goodreads: A new vision is sweeping through ecological science: The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension-the dimension of time. Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct. In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of “missing partners” in nature evolved from isolated, curious examples into an idea that is transforming how ecologists understand the entire flora and fauna of the Americas. This fascinating book will enrich the experience of any amateur naturalist, as well as teach us that the ripples of biodiversity loss around us are just the leading edge of what may well become perilous cascades of extinction.

A friend recommended this to me, saying that it was weird and fascinating. As we have similar tastes in science writing, it sounded like something I would enjoy.

What’s on your TBR?

Goodreads Monday- Sorcerer to the Crown

Golden Gate Bridge
I do not bow to peer pressure when it comes to bridges.

Goodreads Monday is a thing that I’ve seen one or two other people do (including Danielle over at Books, Vertigo & Tea), so I’m going to do it, too, because of peer pressure or something.

To participate in Goodreads Monday, you select a book from your Goodreads To Be Read list and show it off.

 

 


 

My randomly selected book:

23943137Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
Fantasy, 371 pages

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

 

I think I saw this on the shelf at Barnes and Noble and, intrigued by the title and cover design, read the synopsis. I have no idea when I will get to this one, but it looks intriguing.

What’s on your TBR list?