Books

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Island Life - - Culture Diary -

Strangers Drown­ing: Voy­ages to the Brink of Moral Ex­trem­ity Par­adise of the Pa­cific: Ap­proach­ing Hawaii {

By Su­sanna Moore.} In Par­adise of the Pa­cific, Su­sanna Moore, the award­win­ning au­thor of In the Cut and The Life of Ob­jects, pieces to­gether the elu­sive, dra­matic story of late eigh­teenth cen­tury Hawaii. Its kings and queens, gods and god­desses, mis­sion­ar­ies, mi­grants, and ex­plor­ers; a not-so-dis­tant time of abrupt tran­si­tion. { By Larissa Macfar­quhar.} What does it mean to de­vote your­self wholly to help­ing oth­ers? In Strangers Drown­ing, Larissa MacFar­quhar seeks out peo­ple liv­ing lives of ex­treme eth­i­cal com­mit­ment, and tells their in­ti­mate sto­ries: their stub­born in­tegrity, com­pro­mises, brav­ery and their reck­less­ness and wrench­ing dilem­mas. Be­tween her sto­ries, Macfar­quhar threads a lively his­tory of the nov­els, phi­los­o­phy, so­cial sci­ence, and self-help that have con­trib­uted to a deep sus­pi­cion of do-good­ers in Western cul­ture. Mov­ing and provoca­tive, Strangers Drown­ing chal­lenges us to think about what we value most, and why.

More Let­ters of Note: Cor­re­spon­dence De­serv­ing of a Wider Au­di­ence

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By Shaun Usher.} More Let­ters of Note is an­other rich and in­spir­ing col­lec­tion, which re­minds us that much of what mat­ters in our lives finds its way into our let­ters. Th­ese let­ters de­liver a mix of the heart­felt, the his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant, the tragic, the comic and the un­ex­pected. Dis­cover Richard Bur­ton’s farewell note to El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, He­len Keller’s let­ter to The New York Sym­phony Or­ches­tra about ‘hear­ing’ their con­cert through her fin­gers or the fi­nal mis­sives from a doomed Ja­pan Air­lines flight in 1985. In­clud­ing let­ters from Jane Austen, Alan Tur­ing, Al­bus Dum­ble­dore, Eleanor Roo­sevelt, Henry James, Sylvia Plath, John Len­non, Ger­ald Dur­rell, Ja­nis Jo­plin, Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart, Hunter S. Thomp­son, C. G. Jung, Che Gue­vara, Eve­lyn Waugh and many more.

Notes from the Vel­vet Un­der­ground {

By Howard Sounes.} Lou Reed was best known to the gen­eral pub­lic as the grumpy New Yorker in black who sang ‘Walk on the Wild Side’. To his ded­i­cated ad­mir­ers, how­ever, he was one of the most in­no­va­tive Amer­i­can song­writ­ers of mod­ern times. In this in-depth, metic­u­lously re­searched and very en­ter­tain­ing bi­og­ra­phy, re­spected bi­og­ra­pher Howard Sounes ex­am­ines the life and work of this fas­ci­nat­ing man, from birth to death, in­clud­ing his time as the leader of The Vel­vet Un­der­ground. In the course of his re­search, Sounes has in­ter­viewed over 140 peo­ple from ev­ery part of Lou Reed’s life - some of whom have not spo­ken pub­licly about him be­fore.

The Vis­it­ing Priv­i­lege: New and Col­lected Sto­ries

{ By Joy Wil­liams.} Joy Wil­liams has been cel­e­brated as a mas­ter of the short story for four decades. Thirty-three of th­ese sto­ries are drawn from three col­lec­tions and a fur­ther thir­teen ap­pear for the first time in book form. Forty-six sto­ries in all, the most com­pre­hen­sive vol­ume in her long ca­reer, show­cas­ing her crisp el­e­gant prose, dark wit, and un­canny abil­ity to il­lu­mi­nate our world through char­ac­ters and sit­u­a­tions that feel at once pe­cu­liar and dis­turbingly fa­mil­iar.

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