Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Books

Aside

1918 pandemic + COVID-19 reading list: Three books that are worth your time

Want to better understand the times we are living in? Here’s a collection of pandemic literature that is credible, trustworthy, and fascinating.

  1. The Coming Plague: First published in 1994 in hardcover by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance was a New York Times bestseller in 1994-5. Laurie Garrett researched and wrote The Coming Plague for ten years, starting in the mid-1980s when the very premise of the effort was highly controversial.
  2. The Great Influenza: Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004) provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.
  3. Pale Rider: In this gripping narrative history, Laura Spinney traces the overlooked pandemic to reveal how the virus travelled across the globe, exposing mankind’s vulnerability and putting our ingenuity to the test. As socially significant as both world wars, the 1918 flu dramatically disrupted — and often permanently altered — global politics, race relations and family structures, while spurring innovation in medicine, religion and the arts.

NPI’s Literary Advocate David Johnson reviewed Pale Rider the same year that it came out; you can read his favorable review at the Cascadia Advocate.

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New life for old classics as they enter the public domain

Via The New York Times: “This coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status — a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.”

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Quotation

I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is… I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.

— Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump’s bestselling book, which Schwartz says “is a work of fiction”. (The New Yorker)

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Paper book sales soar as people put down their e-readers

Who says print media is dead? Arrogant futurists and tech pundits may say that books are an anachronism, but that’s nonsense. As with vinyl LPs, there is still a huge market for books. A market that’s actually growing in tech-saturated countries like Canada. CTV has more.

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Quotation

Bill O’Reilly is not somebody who as far as I can tell really invests a lot of time or energy in the truth… He’s a snake oil salesman, he’s a huckster, he’s a carnival barker, but that’s about it. He’s not a journalist.

Ron Reagan rips “Killing Reagan” author Bill O’Reilly as a “snake oil salesman” (Media Matters for America)

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The data and details of the Sherlock Holmes canon, visualized

The Guardian has published a striking set of images which depict some interesting facts about the Sherlock Holmes canon. The famous fictional detective appeared in several dozen stories authored by British author Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Quotation

In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge. All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside; and some of them, those that were high up in dangerous places, were roped together for safety.

— Excerpt from a previously unpublished chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, released online and print in The Guardian Review.

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