arts 01.15.13

Book Land

The title alone of Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, is enough to make us want to pick it up. Within: Warmth and determination suffuse this tale of the first Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court, and how she got there from the Bronx housing project where she started.

The Tuner of Silences by the Mozambican journalist, environmental biologist, and—not least—writer Mia Couto, has been an international hit. It's an extraordinary novel of a young boy, a refugee of war, in an isolated former African game-park, as far off the grid as it's possible to be.

Off the grid in a whole different way: Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent by scientist and science writer Gabrielle Walker, focuses on the people who inhabit the research outposts way down under and the work they're doing, as well as providing recaps of the explorers who paved the way.

The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine–Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary, by Jenny Uglow, is a biography of the remarkable Losh, born in 1785, who rescued St. Mary's Church Wreay using her formidable imagination and practical skills to leave an unusual architectural and spiritual legacy.

Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, does a deep dive into Scientology in Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Does it merit that kind of attention? If Mr. Wright thinks it does, good enough for us.

As a country, we're living increasingly alone. But loneliness has long been a frequent theme in American fiction, explored in Alone in America: The Stories that Matter by Robert A. Ferguson.

Two for Downtown Abbey fans, who can't get enough: Habits of the House by Fay Weldon

Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell

Announced yesterday, the finalists are here.

Moma (from 2011)

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