The Lesser Half of Sir John A. Macdonalddownload
Andrew Sullivan's narrator names the lesions on his body after the cities where he has endured the loneliness and pain of homelessness. "The Lesser Half of Sir John A. Macdonald" paints a world in which people can be torn in two, like the eponymous Canadian banknote, by the longing to stay put and the need to keep moving. Sullivan's story follows a young man struggling through the consequences of one bad turn, as he makes his way across Canada.
Excerpt from Helen Keller in Lovedownload
Rosie Sultan reads from her novel Helen Keller in Love (Viking 2012), specifically, the episode in which Keller first meets Peter Fagan, the man she was to fall in love with. The excerpt offers a vivid sense of Keller's world, in which messages are communicated by signs in her palm, and sounds are felt through vibration.
The Tramp Steamerdownload
James McGirk's short story "The Tramp Steamer" presents a side of Richard M. Nixon we've never seen before. McGirk imagines the young lawyer and his new bride traveling on a tramp steamer of the United Fruit Company to celebrate their first anniversary. Seasick, angry, jealous, Nixon reveals his inelegance to his wife who yearns for more glamour and glitz. McGirk takes the facts of the Nixons' actual 1941 trip and spins out an incisive and compelling story of bitterness and dreams.
excerpts from Hiroshima in the Morningdownload
Rahna Reiko Rizzuto's memoir Hiroshima in the Morning weaves together her personal experience during a research sojourn in that city with her growing understanding of the complex political, social, and cultural issues that surround the nuclear bombing and its aftermath. She reads here from three sections of the book, examining the stresses on her marriage as she undergoes this months-long separation from her family, her relationship with her aging mother, and her own changing sense of self. Her writing examines the challenge of memory--what happens when it fails us, and when we fail it by choosing to forget.
"What is it like to be the daughter of a Nazi?" That is the question Christiane Alsop sets out to answer in her essay "Presumed Guilty". Reflecting on her father's tales of his accounts during wartime Germany, contemplating her at-times strained relationship with her father over the years, and her own reactions to the ebb and flow of power, Christiane is torn by the equal tugs of resignation and revelation. Revelation wins out, as she conveys the moral, ethical, and personal challenges of living with that difficult question.
Oh Pure And Radiant Heart first chapterdownload
Lydia Millet's novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart plucks the three scientists who were integral to the invention of the atom bomb: Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi as they watch history's first mushroom cloud rise over the desert on July 16th, 1945, and places them down in modern-day Santa Fe. One by one, the scientists are spotted by a shy librarian who becomes convinced of their authenticity. Entranced, bewildered, and overwhelmed by their significance as historical markers on the one hand, and their peculiar personalities on the other, she, to the dismay of her husband, devotes herself to them. Soon the scientists acquire a sugar daddy - a young pothead millionaire from Tokyo who bankrolls them. Heroes to some, lunatics or con artists to others, the scientists finally become messianic religious figureheads to fanatics, who believe Oppenheimer is the Second Coming. As the ever-growing convoy traverses the country in a fleet of RV's on a pilgrimage to the UN, the scientists wrestle with the legacy of their invention and their growing celebrity, while Ann and her husband struggle with the strain on their marriage, a personal journey married to a history of thermonuclear weapons.