Books to Watch | April 5, 2022
April 05, 2022
This week, our choices are:
Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum, Grand Central Publishing (GMC)
In 1986, renowned nuclear scientist, Anna Berkova, is sleeping in her bed in the Soviet Union when Chernobyl’s reactor melts down. It’s the exact moment she tears through time—and it’s an accident. When she opens her eyes, she’s landed in 1992 only to discover Molly, her estranged daughter, shot in the chest. Molly, with her dying breath, begs Anna to go back in time and stop the disaster, to save Molly’s daughter Raisa, and put their family’s future on a better path.
In ‘60s Philadelphia, Molly is coming of age as an adopted refusenik. Her family is full of secrets and a past they won’t share. She finds solace in comic books, drawing her own series, Atomic Anna, and she’s determined to make it as an artist. When she meets the volatile, charismatic Viktor, their romance sets her life on a very different course.
In the ‘80s, Raisa, is a lonely teen and math prodigy, until a quiet, handsome boy moves in across the street and an odd old woman shows up claiming to be her biological grandmother. As Raisa finds new issues of Atomic Anna in unexpected places, she notices each comic challenges her to solve equations leading to one impossible conclusion: time travel. And she finally understands what she has to do.
As these remarkable women work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they grapple with the power their discoveries hold. Just because you can change the past, does it mean you should?
Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life by Marcus Buckingham, Harvard Business Review Press (JAG)
You've long been told to "Do what you love." Sounds simple, but the real challenge is how to do this in a world not set up to help you. Most of us actually don't know the real truth of what we love—what engages us and makes us thrive—and our workplaces, jobs, schools, even our parents, are focused instead on making us conform. Sadly, no person or system is dedicated to discovering the crucial intersection between what you love to do and how you contribute it to others.
In this eye-opening, uplifting book, Buckingham shows you how to break free from this conformity—how to decode your own loves, turn them into their most powerful expression, and do the same for those you lead and those you love.
How can you use love to reveal your unique gifts?
How can you pinpoint what makes you stand out from anyone else?
How can you choose roles in which you'll excel?
Love, the most powerful of human emotions, the source of all creativity, collaboration, insight, and excellence, has been systematically drained from our lives—our work, teams, and classrooms.
It's time we brought love back in.
Love and Work shows you how.
Easy Beauty: A Memoir by Chloé Cooper Jones, Avid Reader Press (EPP)
“I am in a bar in Brooklyn, listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether my life is worth living.”
So begins Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold, revealing account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every plan, every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as “less than.” The way she has been seen—or not seen—has informed her lens on the world her entire life. She resisted this reality by excelling academically and retreating to “the neutral room in her mind” until it passed. But after unexpectedly becoming a mother (in violation of unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), something in her shifts, and Jones sets off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself.
From the bars and domestic spaces of her life in Brooklyn to sculpture gardens in Rome; from film festivals in Utah to a Beyoncé concert in Milan; from a tennis tournament in California to the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh, Jones weaves memory, observation, experience, and aesthetic philosophy to probe the myths underlying our standards of beauty and desirability, and interrogates her own complicity in upholding those myths.
With its emotional depth, its prodigious, spiky intelligence, its passion and humor, Easy Beauty is the rare memoir that has the power to make you see the world, and your place in it, with new eyes.
Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel & Stian Westlake, Princeton University Press (DJJS)
The past two decades have witnessed sluggish economic growth, mounting inequality, dysfunctional competition, and a host of other ills that have left people wondering what has happened to the future they were promised. Restarting the Future reveals how these problems arise from a failure to develop the institutions demanded by an economy now reliant on intangible capital such as ideas, relationships, brands, and knowledge.
In this groundbreaking and provocative book, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue that the great economic disappointment of the century is the result of an incomplete transition from an economy based on physical capital, and show how the vital institutions that underpin our economy remain geared to an outmoded way of doing business. The growth of intangible investment has slowed significantly in recent years, making the world poorer, less fair, and more vulnerable to existential threats. Haskel and Westlake present exciting new ideas to help us catch up with the intangible revolution, offering a road map for how to finance businesses, improve our cities, fund more science and research, reform monetary policy, and reshape intellectual property rules for the better.
Drawing on Haskel and Westlake’s experience at the forefront of finance and economic policymaking, Restarting the Future sets out a host of radical but practical solutions that can lead us into the future.