Binds of the Times

Anya and Macio share their recent and current reads.

Girl on the Edge – Memoir  by  Ruth Carneson

Ruth was four years old when her father was arrested for high treason and her world was turned upside-down. She grew up in constant fear of Special Branch policemen knocking on the door to arrest her mother or father, prominent South African communists. Ruth learned how to keep her mouth shut, to look out for microphones in the walls and to beware of friends who could betray her trust.

Heart-wrenchingly sad one minute, bursting with life and vigour the next, seamed throughout by strength and courage, Girl on the Edge allows us to look deep into one woman’s life and travel with her to the brink and back again.

The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World  by  Vernon Head

Part detective trail, part love affair and pure storytelling at its best.

In 1990 an expedition of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar, tucked between the hills of the Great Rift Valley in the Gamo Gofa province in the country of Ethiopia. On that expedition, 315 species of birds were seen; 61 species of mammal and 69 species of butterfly were identified; 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies; 17 reptile species were recorded; 3 frog species were filed; plants were listed. And the wing of a road-killed bird was packed into a brown paper bag.

It was to become the most famous wing in the world.

Dream Angus  by  Alexander McCall Smith

The latest addition to the Myths series from Canongate is a beguiling tale from the beloved author of the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Angus is one of the earliest Celtic deities and one of the most cherished to this day. Like an even more handsome combination of Apollo and Eros, he is the god of love, youth, and beauty. Just the sight of him has made people fall in love, and he has the power to reveal a person’s true love in a dream, if asked politely. Alexander McCall Smith has turned his renowned storytelling talents to crafting irresistible stories from this ancient myth. Five exquisite contemporary fables of love lost and found unfold alongside Angus’s search for the beautiful Caer, the swan maiden he met in his dreams. McCall Smith unites reality and dreams, today and the ancient past, mesmerisingly, leaving the reader to wonder: what is life but the pursuit of dreams?

“Elegant . . . Spare, polished . . . Smith fluidly weaves in contemporary vignettes.” —Publishers Weekly

Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism  by  Rudolf Wittkower

Sir Kenneth Clark wrote in the Architectural Review, that the first result of this book was “to dispose,

once and for all, of the hedonist, or purely aesthetic, theory of Renaissance architecture,” and this defines Wittkower’s intention in a nutshell.

A brief examination of the theory and practice of Renaissance architecture that draws attention to the values underlying this style.

One Summer  by  Bill Bryson

The summer of 1927 began with Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was closing in on the home run record. In Newark, New Jersey, Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole for twelve days, and in Chicago, the gangster Al Capone was tightening his grip on bootlegging. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed, forever changing the motion picture industry.

All this and much, much more transpired in the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things – and when the twentieth century truly became the American century. One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.