Τρίτη, 1 Νοεμβρίου 2016

What to read when the world has gone mad

Fifteen years ago today, the twin towers came down. As thousands of dead lay entombed in the ruins and lower Manhattan was coated in toxic dust, the world's most powerful country was grievously wounded, anxious and angry. There was a sense that things were becoming unraveled, at least in the wealthy parts of the world where things had been assumed to be raveled in the first place.

It's nothing new, this feeling that the world is becoming more dangerous and precarious, that things are spinning out of control. People certainly felt that way during the Cold War, the Depression and the two World Wars.

That doesn't make the feeling any less real today, after a year of brazen and horrifying terror attacks and mass shootings, natural disasters, refugee crises and brutal civil war.

The Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump in Britain and US -- two countries that are supposed to be guardians of global order -- only add to the sense that the world is becoming unhinged. You could be forgiven if you've found yourself turning off the news for fear, unable to absorb another atrocity or outrage.

When we find ourselves in times of trouble (and Mother Mary's not available), a lot of us turn to books. We look for comfort, or the wisdom to face the madness the world throws at us.

We have four wise people -- prodigious readers and writers -- to talk about the power of books to give solace and strength, when the world is too much with us.

Anakana Schofield is an Irish-Canadian novelist, literary critic and essayist. Her first book won Amazon's First Novel Award. Her second, Martin John, was on the short-list for the Giller Prize last year.

Samantha Nutt is a physician who has worked in many violent zones across Asia and Africa, and is the Founder and Executive Director of War Child Canada. Dr. Nutt is currently on staff at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. In her spare time, she wrote the bestselling book, Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid.

Kamal Al-Solaylee is a journalist and professor at Ryerson University. His acclaimed memoir of growing up gay in the Middle East is called Intolerable, and his most recent book is Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone).

University of Toronto English professor Nick Mount was my guest a few years ago after he was named one of the top ten post-secondary school teachers in Canada.
OUR GUESTS' RECOMMENDATIONS
Samantha
Stuart McLean Vinyl Café books
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
The Crucible by Arthur Miller 
Judy Blume books
The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Saturday by Ian MacEwan
​​Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War by Mark Danner
​Enid Blyton books
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
Kamal
Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
A Rage for Order by Robert F. Worth
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Anakana 
Hannah Arendt books
Wittgenstein's Nephew by Thomas Bernhard
 The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
Nick
Louis Lamour books
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Virginia Woolf books
Martin John by Anakana Schofield
 A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
The Ask: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Sweetland by Michael Crummey
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
Michael
Good Poems for Hard Times by Garrison Keillor
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien


Source: cbcradio

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