Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ category

In Extremis: The Life & Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin-by Lindsey Hilsum

March 15th, 2019

Lindsey Hillum’s  In Extremis is a devastating & revelatory biography of one of the greatest war correspondents of her generation.

Marie Colvin lost the sight in one eye while in Sri Lanka covering the civil war.  She interviewed Gaddafi & Arafat many times, repeatedly risked her life covering conflicts in Chechnya, East Timor, Kosovo, & the Middle East.  Colvin lived her personal life in extremis, too:  bold, driven & complex, she was married twice, took many lovers, drank & smoked, & rejected society’s expectations for women.  Despite PTSD, she refused to give up reporting. Like her hero, Martha Gellhorn, Colvin was committed to bearing witness to the horrifying truths of war, & to shining a light on the profound suffering of ordinary people caught in the midst of conflict.  When Marie Colvin was killed in an artillery attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age 56, the world lost a fearless & iconoclastic war correspondent who covered the most significant global calamities of her time.

 

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THE LONG JOURNEYS HOME: the repatriations of Henry Opukaha ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk by Nick Bellantoni

February 15th, 2019

Henry Opukaha ia (ca. 1792–1818), Native Hawaiian, and Itankusun Wanbli (ca. 1879–1900), Oglala Lakota, lived almost a century apart. Yet the cultural circumstances that led them to leave their homelands and eventually die in Connecticut have striking similarities.Opukaha ia was orphaned during the turmoil caused in part by Kamehameha’s wars in Hawai’i and found passage on a ship to New England, where he was introduced and converted to Christianity, becoming the inspiration behind the first Christian missions to Hawai’i. Itankusun Wanbli, Christianized as Albert Afraid of Hawk, performed in Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West” as a way to make a living after his traditional means of sustenance were impacted by American expansionism. Both young men died while on their “journeys” to find fulfillment and both were buried in Connecticut cemeteries. In 1992 and 2008, descendant women had callings that their ancestors “wanted to come home” and began the repatriation process of their physical remains. CT state archaeologist Nick Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment, forensic identifications and return of their skeletal remains back to their Native communities and families. The Long Journeys Home chronicles these important stories as examples of the wide-reaching impact of American imperialism and colonialism on Indigenous Hawaiian and Lakota traditions and their cultural resurgences, in which the repatriation of these young men have played significant roles. Bellantoni’s excavations, his interaction with two Native families and his participation in their repatriations have given him unique insights into the importance of heritage and family among contemporary Native communities and their common ground with archaeologists. His natural storytelling abilities allow him to share these meaningful stories with a larger general audience.

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THE FEATHER THIEF by Kirk Wallace Johnson

February 1st, 2019

 The Feather Thief has a subtitle:  Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century.  

On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music,twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History.  Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession:  the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying.  Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them.

Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist-high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist.  He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief.  In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation.  The gripping story of a bizarre & shocking crime, & one man’s restless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of osession, & a man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

Man is seldom content to witness beauty.  He must possess it.  –Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 1979

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RAPID FALLS by Amber Cowie

January 14th, 2019

Forgive and forget? The past and present collide for two sisters who survived a tragedy—and must now survive the truth behind it.

It’s been twenty years since Cara’s boyfriend died in a horrible accident and her sister, Anna, went to prison. The tragedy has become a local legend, but Cara has moved past her grief to have a successful career and a happy family. Pity about Anna. Recently released from incarceration, she’s struggling with addiction, guilt, and shame—a shattered life. Cara’s forgiveness seems to be the only thing that helps her pick up the pieces.

But as Anna pulls herself together, her memories of that night on the bridge start to come into focus. And few of them match her sister’s.

As past secrets unfold and nothing is what it seems anymore, Anna desperately searches for the truth. But what if Cara doesn’t want her to find it?

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ART MATTERS by Neil Gaiman

December 21st, 2018

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”—Neil Gaiman

Drawn from Gaiman’s trove of published speeches, poems, and creative manifestos, Art Matters is an embodiment of this remarkable multi-media artist’s vision—an exploration of how reading, imagining, and creating can transform the world and our lives.  Art Matters combines the beloved author’s extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations from award winning artist Chris Riddell.

Art Matters bring together four of Gaiman’s most beloved writings on creativity and artistry:

  • “Credo,” his remarkably concise and relevant manifesto on free expression, first delivered in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings
  • “Make Good Art,” his famous 2012 commencement address delivered at the Philadelphia University of the Arts
  • “Making a Chair,” a poem about the joys of creating something, even when words won’t come
  • “On Libraries,” an impassioned argument for libraries that illuminates their importance to our future and celebrates how they foster readers and daydreamers

“Be Bold. Be Rebellious. Choose Art. It Matters.”-Gaiman

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