Recent Books from My Project Bookshelf
As part of my downsizing efforts, I have given myself strict instructions to read what I have before I purchase a new book, unless that book is by an author I personally know and want to support. Over the past few years, I've read (or sometimes skimmed) many non-fiction books and novels, some more enjoyable than others. If the print is too small or the pages too yellowed and disintegrating, I put the book in the giveaway pile. Otherwise, I make the effort to see what it's about. Some of the books are my own--perhaps given as gifts; others belonged to my parents, especially my father who was a voracious reader.
Here is are four that I have read and enjoyed in the past few months
The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey (2001). This book takes you deep into the intriguing and esoteric world of old and valuable maps and the people who steal them from libraries. The author follows the case of on particular map thief while weaving in the history of map-making.
Women's Letters in Wartime: 1450-1945, edited by Eva Figes (1993). This volume contains a sampling of letters from the 15th century through WWII--some written by wives to their husbands on the front lines; others written by women serving near the battle field. The use of language changes over time while the content of longing ,concern, and everyday matters remains constant.
The New Men by CP Snow (1955). This book, the sixth in a series, was my father's. CP Snow was on the board of my father's company, and my father would escort Snow on occasion during his visits to New York. The novel, centered around the experiences of two brothers, focuses on England's race to develop the atomic bomb as well as the moral implications of the bomb.
An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon (2021). This is a debut novel by an author I know. I had even read and critiqued an earlier draft, so naturally I was eager to read the polished version. This timely and compelling read, set in Nigeria, is about a hermaphrodite, brought up as a boy but with the soul of a girl. Papillon writes gorgeously while tugging at our heartstrings.