More than 55 million Eastern Europeans migrated to America between 1846 and 1940, forever changing the landscapes of both continents. Tara Zahra, a history professor at the University of Chicago, unearths some fascinating revelations about this mass exodus in her new book, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World, including the fact that 30-40% of the immigrants eventually returned to Europe.
If you’d told me back on New Year’s Day that my favorite book of 2016 (in April, at least) would be a love story between an organ tuner and a mathematician, I would’ve balked. I hate math, for starters, and have never been able to appreciate Bach the way most people do.
Chicago is a city that loves stories, especially those about itself. But Chicago’s story is bigger than what can fit onto the bestseller lists and into gangster flicks. One small, independent publisher in town is building a catalog that tells the stories behind and beyond Chicago’s headlines. Sure, sure, Capone. It’s been done. For Emily Victorson, owner of Allium Press, bringing the everyday lives of people to the fore is the true Chicago way.
Jo Marchant is no ordinary scientist, having written on everything from the future of genetic engineering to understanding archaeology for New Scientist, Nature, the Guardian, and Smithsonian. Last month, I spoke with Marchant about her most recent book, Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body, which provides an in-depth, eye-opening look at the mind-body connection.
“Dress to kill” for the 2016 Edgar Awards, says the Mystery Writers of America. This year’s ceremony (named after Edgar Allan Poe) on April 28 in New York boasts a shortlist of nearly 50 nominated novels, short stories, nonfiction books, and TV episodes for a grand total of 14 awards. One of the five books nominated in the Best Juvenile category is Matthew Baker’s If You Find This, his debut middle grade novel released last March.
Rina Garcia Chua is the editor of Sustaining the Archipelago: An Anthology of Philippine Ecopoetry, the first-ever ecopoetics anthology in the Philippines, which will be released later this year by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, a Manila-based university press.
For the first time ever, a picture book won the 2016 Newbery Medal for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year.” Also for the first time, a Hispanic writer took home the award—Brooklyn’s Matt de la Peña, author of Last Stop of Market Street. Illustrated by Christian Robinson, it’s the story of an African-American boy and his grandmother finding beauty in their surroundings as they ride a bus through a gritty cityscape.
Three years ago, A Stranger in Olondria firmly established Sofia Samatar as a unique new voice in contemporary fantasy literature. Written in her spare time while she was teaching English in South Sudan, the story of an island boy embroiled in a mercantile empire’s cold war won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was nominated for a Nebula. Not bad for a debut.