By: Marie Benedict
Readers who pick this book off the library shelf may be surprised to learn that Albert Einstein's first wife was a brilliant physicist in her own right. Mileva Maric was born in Serbia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1875. Championed by a father who encouraged her talents in math and science, she entered Zurich's Polytechnic Institute in 1896 where she met fellow student Albert Einstein. Slowly, she began to allow herself to enjoy Albert's charms. Against the protests of his parents they married. In the early 1900's, Albert and Mileva completed several important articles and developed the famous theory of relativity. Unfortunately for Mileva, her name was not published alongside Albert's. Scholars continue to this day to debate Mileva's contributions to Albert's scientific accomplishments, but most agree that her contributions were substantial. Author Marie Benedict has written a captivating biographical novel which is well-researched.
By: Michael Eric Dyson
University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, Michael Eric Dyson is also an ordained Baptist minister. He sets forth his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop, in the form of a traditional Sunday service. A form used by black and white Christians alike from call to worship to closing prayer. He weaves his personal experiences as a victim of racism and bigotry into his exhortation to awaken white America. White readers, even those who consider themselves enlightened will find new depths in the distressing plight of black Americans. My own take on this work—easy to read but difficult to contemplate—is that American history must be rewritten and taught to truly reflect the story of all Americans. A stern reprimand, kindly put.
By: Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese
Paul Kalanithi was just completing his training as a neurosurgeon when, at age thirty-six, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In this book, he looks back on his life and his training to become a doctor. He begins to look for meaning in life and in death. What makes life worth living? He examines his relationships with family and friends. He and his wife decide to have a baby who becomes the joy of his remaining life. Readers who enjoy memoirs will wholeheartedly embrace this book, and those hoping to learn more about the choices we face at the end of life, will find it comforting and thought-provoking.
By: Anna Pasternak
The great love story of Doctor Zhivago was based on Boris Pasternak’s own affair of many years with Olga Ivinskaya. Written by his grand niece, this biography tells his story and hers, set in Russia during the Stalinist regime of surveillance and gulags. This is not a happy tale but a revealing one: Olga faithful through imprisonments and Boris both heroic and vain. The reader will find it fascinating not only for their lives but for the times themselves and the great literature born of suffering and fallibility.