Our Favorite News of the Week

Sarah Harrison Smith on January 05, 2018
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For some readers, the only book in the news this week was  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the tell-all that went on sale early and sold out fast. But leaving that news, and all of its controversy, aside, we wanted to be sure you didn’t miss our two favorite bits of book news, which will appeal especially to readers who love a happy ending and to Harry Potter fans who can never get quite enough of their favorite series.

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The most heartwarming story in the press this week was published in the Washington Post, which featured the surviving spouses of Nina Riggs, author of The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, and Paul Kalanithi, author of When Breath Becomes Air.  Nina’s husband, John Duberstein, and Paul’s wife, Lucy Kalanithi, became friends when both were mourning their partners, and eventually the two fell in love. Bill Gates called When Breath Becomes Air “the best nonfiction story I’ve read in a long time.” Here at Amazon, the editors chose it as one of the Best Books of January 2016.

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The Bright Hour was one of our Best Books of June 2017, and in our review, the Amazon Editors said, “To call a book so lovely and sad this year’s When Breath Becomes Air would not be inaccurate, but would not do it justice.” How wonderful that two such tragic narratives should at last come together to form a happy ending.

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The New-York Historical Society announced that it will host the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic starting in October, just a month after the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of the first volume in the Harry Potter series. (As fans will know, that was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, originally published in the United Kingdom as  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.)

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The exhibition, currently on view at the British Library in London, contains objects from the real-life history of magic, such as Chinese oracle bones dating back to 1500 B.C., ancient manuscripts, orbs, and broomsticks, as well as examples of J.K. Rowling’s early drafts, much amended, and work by illustrators Jim Kay and Mary GrandPré. Tickets for the show, which is by all accounts enlightening, and for many visitors, enchanting, will go on sale in February.


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