What We Read: Books That Help Us Get Through These Uncertain Times

While we are cocooned at home, doing our best to keep social distance, we can still enjoy the comforts of old friends. By this we mean the authors we love and the books we devour. Our editors weigh surprising topics on their bedside tables right now.

The Ledger of Spool Murders

“I rushed to the library the day it closed and picked up a bunch of books. The one I’m reading right now is called TThe Ledger of Spool Murders. It is edited by Otto Penzler and is a huge collection of short stories that have inspired great crime films. So you can dive in and out and read stories from Cornell Woolrich, Joyce Carol Oates, W. Somerset Maugham, Daphne Du Maurier, and even MacKinlay Kantor, and also read a bit about the movies that those stories were transformed into. . ” —Kay Kipling, editor

Poisoned water, corporate greed and a 20-year lawyer battle against DuPont

Ohio environmental lawyer and New College of Florida alumnus Rob Bilott fought an epic 20-year battle with DuPont over his use of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, better known as chemical that makes teflon – and, it turns out, causes serious and sometimes fatal illnesses, from cancer to high blood pressure. Bilott’s class action lawsuit representing 70,000 people against the chemical company has resulted in a settlement of ‘worth over $ 670 million and launched a major medical study. His battle was also featured in the 2019 film, Dark Waters, with Mark Ruffalo playing Bilott. (When I saw him at the theater in January, the audience applauded at the end.) Bilott’s book is a memoir and a detailed first-person account of tenacity, focus, and the almost inhuman ability to ‘a person to browse hundreds of thousands of pages. documents to find the hidden and complicated information that was needed to take on a giant business and win. It’s an inspiring book, which we need now more than ever. By the way, Bilott is still fighting and has filed a new lawsuit against several other chemical giants. “-Susan Burns, Editor-in-Chief

The dispossessed

At Ursula K. Le Guin The dispossessed, published in 1974, tells the story of two adjacent planets: Anarres, a dry and harsh world populated by anarchists, and Urras, a magnificent world dominated by a ruthless and hyper-exploitative state. Between the two stands, Shevek, a genius physicist raised in Anarres, captivated by Urras and comfortable on neither. The novel is wonderfully well constructed, and Le Guin’s rendering of two very different societies, and how those societies imprint their values ​​on their people, is compelling. ” —Cooper Levey-Baker, Editor-in-Chief and Culinary Editor

Catch and kill

Catch and kill, by Ronan Farrow, is not exactly the most uplifting book but certainly one of the most gripping that I have read in years. Farrow details his coverage of the Harvey Weinstein investigation, from his first contact with his sources to his experiences at NBC and The New Yorker to the way Weinstein had spy agents watching his every move. It’s non-fiction that reads like a thriller, and I couldn’t let go of it. The happy ending came after the book was published, of course, thanks in large part to Farrow’s reporting: On March 11, Weinstein was convicted and sent to jail for 23 years. ” —Megan McDonald, digital editor

I don’t remember anything

I don’t remember anything, by Nora Ephron, a slim book of essays by the great author (Stomach pains) and screenwriter (When Harry meets Sally, Julie and Julia, You’ve got mail) is bursting with laughter, funny and poignant, since she died two years later at the age of 71. of bells. ” —Ilene Denton, Editor-in-Chief

About Marcia G. Hussain

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