Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces, 2004 to 2021 by Margaret Atwood
In this brilliant selection of essays, the best-selling author of The Handmaid’s Tale offers her funny, erudite, endlessly curious, and uncannily prescient take on everything from debt and tech to the climate crisis and freedom, — and seeks answers to Burning Questions such as:
• Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories?
• How much of yourself can you give away without evaporating?
• How can we live on our planet?
• Is it true? And, is it fair?
• What do zombies have to do with authoritarianism?
In more than fifty pieces, Atwood aims her prodigious intellect and impish humor at the world, and reports back to us on what she finds. This roller-coaster period brought the end of history, a financial crash, the rise of Trump, and a pandemic. From debt to tech, the climate crisis to freedom; from when to dispense advice to the young (answer: only when asked) to how to define granola, we have no better guide to the many and varied mysteries of our universe.
The Vanished Collection by Pauline Baer de Perignon
“Engrossing … The book reads like a detective story.”―The Washington Post
It all started with a list of paintings. There, scribbled by a cousin she hadn’t seen for years, were the names of the masters whose works once belonged to her great-grandfather, Jules Strauss: Renoir, Monet, Degas, Tiepolo and more. Pauline Baer de Perignon knew little to nothing about Strauss, or about his vanished, precious art collection. But the list drove her on a frenzied trail of research in the archives of the Louvre and the Dresden museums, through Gestapo records, and to consult with Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano. What happened in 1942? And what became of the collection after Nazis seized her great-grandparents’ elegant Parisian apartment? The quest takes Pauline Baer de Perignon from the Occupation of France to the present day as she breaks the silence around the wrenching experiences her family never fully transmitted, and asks what art itself is capable of conveying over time.
Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari
In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding that constantly switching from device to device and tab to tab was a diminishing and depressing way to live. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions—even abandoning his phone for three months—but nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention—and he discovered that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.
Crucially, Hari learned how we can reclaim our focus—as individuals, and as a society—if we are determined to fight for it. Stolen Focus will transform the debate about attention and finally show us how to get it back.
Book descriptions are from Amazon.com