Weekly Reads — January 31, 2016



Back to the university grindstone. In this edition of Weekly Reads I read about Bill Gates’ book reviews, New York Public Library’s historical map collection, and travel writing.

Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic” — The New York Times: Bill Gates has a blog, and reviews books. Who knew? The article is less about the blog itself and more about how he chooses what he reads. I don’t know why, but I really like to learn about other people’s reading interests.

Hope in the Dark: Rebecca Solnit on the Redemptive Radiance of the World’s Invisible Revolutionaries” — Brain Pickings: Brain Pickings always has articles that speak to me. This article addresses Rebecca Solnit’s statements on hope. “We lose hope, Solnit suggests, because we lose perspective — we lose sight of the ‘accretion of incremental, imperceptible changes’ which constitute progress and which render our era dramatically different from the past, a contrast obscured by the undramatic nature of gradual transformation punctuated by occasional tumult.” I’m overly aware of how terrible history has been, but at the same time I remain quite hopeful for the future.

Stanisław Barańczak’s ‘This is Not a Conversation for the Telephone’” — The Paris Review: Stanisław Barańczak was one of the translators of Wisława Szymborska — a favorite poet of mine. I’ve never read Barańczak, so this was a nice introduction to his work. What really interests me is how he was eventually banned from publishing in Poland.

180,000 Historic Maps, Photos, and Postcards Are Now Free for Public Use” — City Lab: Anyone who loves history has to love historical documents. And the internet only makes it easier to check out cool documents all around the world. This is a quick article on all the great things you can find online from the New York Public Library. I would suggest looking at the remixes, which are interactive sites of three document collections.


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