Jon Foro: It's been almost four decades since a total eclipse of the sun was seen in the U.S. Back then, my 11-year-old imagination raged with both excitement and the fear of blinding myself, while my fifth-grade class prepared by constructing eclipse viewers from shoeboxes and aluminum foil. In the end, February 26 turned out to be a typical Washington day, and we didn't see anything beyond darker shades of Seattle gray. But in just one year and five days, we have another shot. My preparation begins this weekend with Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets, Tyler Nordgren's history of humankind's relationship with the phenomenon. The subtitle says it all. Second on my pile is Northmen: The Viking Saga AD 793-1241, 400 pages covering 400 years of longships, conquest, and plunder, from the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 to the exhausted end of their expansion--but not their influence--and the death of their pagan origins (or maybe not?).
Erin Kodicek: I have been avoiding this one, but it's actually the book I've been most looking forward to reading this month--Mischling by Affinity Konar. In it, twin girls arrive at Auschwitz in 1944 with their mother and grandfather in tow and, not surprisingly, things go downhill from there. (Something of the diabolical psychological experiments variety.) Yes, this subject matter has been well covered, but the gifted Konar is supposed to make an otherwise difficult read well worth it.
Chris Schluep: I will be reading The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies. Here’s the copy: “Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.”
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