Weekend Reading

Erin Kodicek on September 28, 2018
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In this edition, an Antarctic adventure by one of our favorite authors, a book to help us balance logic and emotion, a young adult novel inspired by an infamous cult, and more...

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The White Darkness by David Grann

We love David Grann. It’s not just because he’s a really nice guy (he is), but also that he unearths fascinating stories and crafts them into extensively researched, readable books. The Lost City of Z was one of our favorites all the way back in 2009, while Killers of the Flower Moon was our pick for 2017’s best book of the year. (Don’t choose; read both.) Coming October 30, The White Darkness tells the tale of Henry Worsley, an Ernest Shackleton acolyte and relation of Frank Worsley, who accompanied the legendary explorer to the Antarctic. In 2008, Henry determined to measure himself against his hero, aiming to succeed where Shackleton had failed. Though the new book is short (it was previously published in the New York Times), the addition of Worsley’s photographs has turned it into a fascinating record of his own travails. —Jon Foro

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The Art of Logic in an Illogical World by Eugenia Cheng

Says mathematician Eugenia Cheng in the first few pages of this powerful book, "Emotions and logic do not have to be enemies.... Here in this beautiful and messy world of ours we should use emotions to back up logic, and logic to understand emotions." If the concept of logic is at all compelling to you, read on, for Cheng has a playful yet clear method for explaining how logic works, when it is useful to employ, and when it’s not. She also points out, from her own experience, the pitfalls of being pedantic, which no one appreciates (except you, the pedantic one, ruining a perfectly nice dinner party conversation). Rather than dodge the “messy world,” Cheng embraces it, tackling charged issues such as privilege and exploring where logic and emotion intersect. Most interesting to me is how, while only partway through this book, I’ve already noticed that I’m approaching my analysis of “truths” in a more straightforward fashion. I can’t wait to see what Cheng continues to reveal as I finish this book over the weekend. (Apologies in advance to friends and family for when I stray too deep into pedantic territory, which I’m sure I’ll do.) --Adrian Liang

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Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III

An ailing Daniel Ahearn is wending his way down the East Coast to see his daughter, but it's no ordinary visit. Susan hasn’t seen him since 1973, when, in a fit of jealousy, he murdered her mother. In Gone So Long Andre Dubus III has written a novel of profound grit and grace. Can't wait to see how everything shakes out. --Erin Kodicek

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After the Fire by Will Hill

I'm fascinated by cults and whenever there's something new coming out, even if it's fiction, then I'm probably reading it. After the Fire by Will Hill is a new young adult novel (October 2) about a young woman raised in a Texas compound following the teachings of their religious leader, Father John. When the FBI raid the compound she's taken into custody and begins to reflect on life in the cult from a different perspective. Loosely based on the 1993 FBI standoff with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, After the Fire looks like a promising weekend read... --Seira Wilson


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