By Pat Stuart
The time has come and passed for New Years resolutions. But this doesnt preclude resolving to read more.
The possibilities are endless. In 2018, 1.6 million books were published. That figure includes self-published volumes and e-books. No way you cant find something that appeals.
This came to mind because CBS Sunday Morning ran a piece about an old fictional friend and a famous teen-aged heroine: Nancy Drew. Shes been with us for 90 years! Who knew. Various versions of her adventures have sold over 80 million copies, and the books are still coming. Some are sitting on my bookshelves.
Yikes. To think that my mother read Nancy Drew as a pre-teen, as did I, as did my daughter and as my grandsons would have done if theyd been girls. We all probably picked up tips on how to deal with the world of adults, how to be independent thinkers, how to be adventurous and risk-takers.
Which brings me to one of this seasons acclaimed books, Midnight Library. A great title. Michael Haigs new novel has won rave reviews from the critics, but Im not quite sure why. The writing is mostly good and the plot line tantalizing in the abstract but, in sum, I found it far from the brilliant some critics proclaimed.
The almost middle-aged heroine herself is dull ... running, not walking, from every opportunity life offers until shes bricked herself into a lonely cell. No one wants to enter while theres nowhere she wants to go.
No surprise. She commits suicide ... and finds herself at a nexus between an infinite number of realities (think quantum physics) where every possible permutation of her life comes together. Here, she can sift through her regrets and live the experiences she might have had if only shed had the courage. Think purgatory, atonement and redemption.
I suspect were supposed to cheer when she learns what should be a teen years coming-of-age lesson: You take from this life what you put into it. Nancy Drew knew that.
Much, much better is a 2019 book that almost fell off a library shelf and into my hands. D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose is an extraordinarily well-written and researched non-fiction book about the women Britain sent into France to run spy rings, train saboteurs, blow up rail lines and power plants, and pave the way for an invasion.
The book treats us to belly-shaking wit along with a full range of other emotions as the author expertly draws us through the complexities and dangers of war-time, occupied France. Nor does she spare the spies and partisans while leaving their courage and heroism untouched. Ego trips, self-delusion, wishful thinking, laziness, romance its all there, too often leading to torture and death.
Its no secret that Im a fan of World War IIs espionage heroines who, if they survived, were rusticated to file rooms as what the men of the CIA dismissively called little old ladies in tennis shoes, and our hereditary memory.
Ive mentioned before that some of them were still around when I entered on duty. Now I wish Id visited the file rooms where they spent their last working days. In my own defense, I had no idea then of what theyd done or how brilliantly they had performed. They (and I) were victims of the post-WWII effort to put the war-time genie back in the bottle and women back in the kitchen.
(As an aside and as an example, John Stein a really superb operations officer and a generally supportive one who became Deputy Director for Operations strongly advised me for my own good early in our careers that Id be happier if I devoted myself to cooking for my husband, the way his wife Charlie did. No joke.)
As you can see, the acceptance of the D-Day womens accomplishments and the less spectacular and meaningful ones of my generation came only slowly. But a number of well-researched books this one by Sarah Rose as a superb example is changing that.
Life really is stranger and much more interesting than fiction.
The Night Watchman
Finally, Id like to mention Louise Erdrichs award-winning and much-praised 2020 book of fictionalized history, The Night Watchman. She, too, has a female character in a coming-of-age situation. But, what a difference from Michael Haigs colorless heroine or from the real women of D-Day!
Probably like most of you, I consider a book worth reading when I learn from it. And, learn I did.
For the first time in a long life, years of it lived in proximity to Indian reservations, I found myself walking in the footsteps of our first citizens. Erdrich brings her many characters to life in ways that allow us to come as close as possible to understanding them and to feel their joys and pains, their frustrations, ambitions and resignations. I loved every minute of the page-turning, superbly written read.
Maybe these arent the books for you. We all have our tastes in reading whether in digital or hard copy. Whatever yours might be, one of the easiest and most enjoyable resolutions you can make is to visit your local independent bookseller or your library online or on foot.
- The windswept German island that inspired quantum physics - Spectator.co.uk - April 8th, 2021
- A Tiny Particles Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics - The New York Times - April 8th, 2021
- New computing algorithms expand the boundaries of a quantum future - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory - April 8th, 2021
- Quantum Computing Revolution: Is it the next big thing? - Analytics Insight - April 8th, 2021
- Scientists Are Baffled By A Mysterious Particle That Defies Physics And Violates The Laws Of The Universe - BroBible - April 8th, 2021
- Officials Aim to Diversify the U.S. Quantum Workforce Early On - Nextgov - April 8th, 2021
- Searching for New Physics in the Subatomic World - SciTechDaily - April 8th, 2021
- Herms collaborates with artists on Watches and Wonders 2021 scenography - Wallpaper* - April 8th, 2021
- Quantum Physics to Disrupt Geospatial Industry over the Coming Decade - GIM International - April 4th, 2021
- The mystery of the muon's magnetism | symmetry magazine - Symmetry magazine - April 4th, 2021
- 6 Quantum Computing Stocks to Invest in This Decade - Investment U - April 4th, 2021
- Can science explain the mystery of consciousness? - The Irish Times - April 4th, 2021
- 'Spacekime theory' could speed up research and heal the rift in physics - Big Think - April 4th, 2021
- Where did the antimatter go? - The Express Tribune - April 4th, 2021
- Small things misbehaving leads to the greatest question of all - Spectator.co.uk - April 4th, 2021
- Ultracold Quantum Collisions Have Been Achieved in Space for the First Time - Scientific American - March 23rd, 2021
- I'm Agonizing over My Naive Realism - Scientific American - March 23rd, 2021
- Six fabulous facts about the Standard Model - Symmetry magazine - March 23rd, 2021
- Cryptocurrency: Can it be climate conscious, and if so, how? - Landscape News - March 23rd, 2021
- Physicists Create Quasiparticles That Bind Together Two Differently Colored Particles of Light - SciTechDaily - March 6th, 2021
- Element Sixs DNV-B1 Announced Winner for the Quantum Category at the 13th Edition of the SPIE Prism Awards - AZoM - March 6th, 2021
- Tech that sees through the earth could help build cities of the future - The Times - March 6th, 2021
- Physicists Just Found 4 New Subatomic Particles That May Test The Laws of Nature - ScienceAlert - March 6th, 2021
- Living in a simulation: Is Universe a Neural Network? - The Indian Wire - March 6th, 2021
- This Is the Fastest Random-Number Generator Ever Built - Scientific American - March 4th, 2021
- Physics - The Tiniest Superfluid Circuit in Nature - Physics - March 4th, 2021
- New research indicates the whole universe could be a giant neural network - The Next Web - March 4th, 2021
- New History of the Physics Department by Raj Gupta and Paul Sharrah Published - University of Arkansas Newswire - March 4th, 2021
- International Business Machines : The Decade of Quantum Computing Is Upon Us, IBM Executive Says - Marketscreener.com - March 4th, 2021
- Quantum Tunneling in Graphene Advances the Age of High Speed Terahertz Wireless Communications - SciTechDaily - March 4th, 2021
- Subtle quantum phenomenon found to alter chemical reactivity for the first time - Chemistry World - March 4th, 2021
- Physicists believe faster-than-light travel is indeed possible with new warp drive - ZME Science - March 4th, 2021
- Exclusive! Ashwin Sanghi on his dream to cast Sushant Singh Rajput in 'Keepers Of The Kalachakra' series: He was like an excited child when it came to... - March 4th, 2021
- Can god be disproved using the laws of physics? An expert explains how it depends on perspective - Scroll.in - March 4th, 2021
- Global Quantum Computing Technologies Market will grow to at CAGR 15.89% from 2020 to 2027 KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper - KSU | The Sentinel... - March 4th, 2021
- Quantum Technology Innovation Hub to transform local businesses - University of Birmingham - March 4th, 2021
- And So It Begins Quantum Physicists Create a New Universe With Its Own Rules - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries Channel - February 18th, 2021
- Quantum Theory May Twist Cause And Effect Into Loops, With Effect Causing The Cause - ScienceAlert - February 18th, 2021
- Extracting information stored in 100,000 nuclear quantum bits - Advanced Science News - February 18th, 2021
- Light and a Single Electron Used to Detect Quantum Information Stored in 100,000 Nuclear Quantum Bits - SciTechDaily - February 18th, 2021
- IBM Adds Future Developer And Software Details To Its Quantum Roadmap - Forbes - February 18th, 2021
- Physics - A Superconducting Qubit that Protects Itself - Physics - February 18th, 2021
- Black Quantum Futurism receives the Knight Foundations new art and technology fellowship - WHYY - February 18th, 2021
- Warp Drives Are No Longer Science Fiction - Applied Physics - Business Wire - February 18th, 2021
- RI local and star of 'Ghost Hunters' + 'Kindred Spirits' on her search for the paranormal - The Providence Journal - February 18th, 2021
- Quantum Theory Proposes That Cause and Effect Can Go In Loops - Universe Today - February 14th, 2021
- The search for dark matter gets a speed boost from quantum technology - The Conversation US - February 14th, 2021
- A Magnetic Twist to Graphene Could Offer a Dramatic Increase in Processing Speeds Compared to Electronics - SciTechDaily - February 14th, 2021
- Yale Quantum Institute Co-sponsored Event - Alternative Realities for the Living - Quantum Physics & Fiction - Yale News - February 14th, 2021
- In Violation of Einstein, Black Holes Might Have 'Hair' - Quanta Magazine - February 14th, 2021
- Scientists narrow down the 'weight' of dark matter trillions of trillions of times - Livescience.com - February 5th, 2021
- Switching Nanolight On and Off | Columbia News - Columbia University - February 5th, 2021
- Photoelectric effect of physics in technology - The National - February 5th, 2021
- Quantum Physics Story Helgoland to Be Adapted by Fremantles The Apartment, CAM Film (EXCLUSIVE) - Variety - February 2nd, 2021
- 29 Scientists Came Together in the "Most Intelligent Photo" Ever Taken - My Modern Met - February 2nd, 2021
- Silence your stoner friends with this video of a room entirely constructed out of mirrors - The A.V. Club - February 2nd, 2021
- Valuable contributor to society - The Tribune India - February 2nd, 2021
- A Zoom with a view: Wintersession offers a virtual journey from the kitchen to Hollywood - Princeton University - February 2nd, 2021
- IBMs top executive says, quantum computers will never reign supreme over classical ones - The Hindu - January 31st, 2021
- Tech 24 - Welcome to the quantum era - FRANCE 24 - January 31st, 2021
- Physicists Are Reinventing the Laser - Gizmodo - January 31st, 2021
- Record-Breaking Source for Single Photons Developed That Can Produce Billions of Quantum Particles per Second - SciTechDaily - January 31st, 2021
- How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide - WIRED - January 31st, 2021
- Insiders say Comedy Central's top creative executives tokenized employees of color and fostered an environment - Business Insider India - January 31st, 2021
- Copperizing the Complexity of Superconductivity - Newswise - January 31st, 2021
- The Convergence of Internet of Things and Quantum Computing - BBN Times - January 31st, 2021
- Who You Really Are And Why It Matters | Practical Ethics - Practical Ethics - January 31st, 2021
- Improving LIDAR and GPS: Breaking Through the Resolution Barrier With Quantum-Limited Precision - SciTechDaily - January 18th, 2021
- Amy Noelle Parks Brings The Romance of Math and Science To YA - The Nerd Daily - January 18th, 2021
- Surprising Discovery of Unexpected Quantum Behavior in Insulators Suggests Existence of Entirely New Type of Particle - SciTechDaily - January 18th, 2021
- If Wormholes Are Lurking in Our Universe, This Is How We Could Find Them - ScienceAlert - January 18th, 2021
- New quantum technology projects to solve mysteries of the universe - Open Access Government - January 14th, 2021
- Exploring the unanswered questions of our universe with quantum technologies - University of Birmingham - January 14th, 2021
- Wormholes may be lurking in the universe and new studies are proposing ways of finding them - The Conversation UK - January 14th, 2021
- University of Sheffield to lead multi-million pound project which could open up a new frontier in physics - University of Sheffield News - January 14th, 2021
- Raytheon UK part of team transforming the Royal Navy's technology, training and learning solutions - PRNewswire - January 14th, 2021
- Optical selection and sorting of nanoparticles according to quantum mechanical properties - Science Advances - January 14th, 2021
- The unhackable computers that could revolutionize the future - CNN - January 8th, 2021
- Birds Have a Mysterious 'Quantum Sense'. For The First Time, Scientists Saw It in Action - ScienceAlert - January 8th, 2021
- How understanding light has led to a hundred years of bright ideas - The Economist - January 8th, 2021