Shrayer interview

Boston College Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies Maxim D. Shrayer was interviewed by Jewish Telegraphic Agency about his recent book, With or Without You: The Prospect for Today’s Jews in Russia (Academic Studies Press, 2017). Part historical and cultural investigation, and part memoir and travelogue, With or Without You is a portrait of Russia’s dwindling, but still vibrant and influential Jewish community. Shrayer is the author/editor of more than 15 books, including the memoirs Waiting for America: A Story of EmigrationLeaving Russia: A Jewish Story (2013 National Jewish Book Award finalist), and Yom Kippur in Amsterdam. JTA article “A son of refuseniks chronicles the slow dissolve of Russia’s Jews.”

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How America went haywire

Bestselling writer Kurt Andersen—acclaimed for his analysis of historical and cultural trends— will give a talk on January 24 at 7 p.m., in Gasson 100. The topic of his address is that of his recent book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year Historywhich makes the case that today’s strange, “fake news” moment is the ultimate expression of our national character, a believe-whatever-you-want fantasy deeply embedded in our DNA. Andersen is also the author of True BelieversHeyday and Turn of the Century. He has written for New York and Time magazines, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. He is host and co-creator of the Peabody Award–winning public radio program Studio 360, broadcast on more than 200 stations and distributed by podcast to a weekly audience of nearly one million. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series

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By the numbers

Summing It Up: From One Plus One to Modern Number Theory (Princeton University Press), written by BC mathematicians Avner Ash and Robert Gross, is now available in paperback. Appropriate for numbers novices as well as college math majors, Summing It Up uses addition as a springboard to provide an accessible look at numbers and number theory. Ash and Gross explore addition’s most basic characteristics before moving onward to issues at the forefront of current mathematical research. Ash and Gross are also the co-authors of Elliptic Tales: Curves, Counting, and Number Theory and Fearless Symmetry: Exposing the Hidden Patterns of Numbers.  The authors talk about their work in this BC Libraries video.

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Lamott’s  Hallelujah Anyway

The School of Theology and Ministry’s non-credit online program, STM Online: Crossroads, is presenting a 4-week book club course on Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (Riverhead Books, 2017). In the book, which entwines essays and narratives, Lamott rediscovers mercy in the everyday messiness of life and connects it to kindness and forgiveness for oneself and others.  Course participants will discuss the text under the guidance of a facilitator. The course will run from January 31 to February 27. Registration closes January 26 or when filled to capacity.

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More from the Outcasts

Whispers of Spring, the third installment in Chuck Abdella‘s Outcasts fantasy book series, has been published. The series continues to follow the story of Octavia, Alexia, Quintus, Hector and friends. As the adventure continues, some secrets will be revealed, and others will remain untold. The previous titles in the Outcasts Series are: The Lies of Autumn and The Darkest ForestsAbdella is a Boston College graduate who teaches history at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mass.

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Put on your game face

Boston College alumna Brigitte Henry Cooper has written four titles for the Game Face series published by Calico, an imprint of Magic Wagon/ABDO Publishing. Cooper’s books, which are geared for readers in elementary and middle school, feature a different girl and different sport in each story. Each girl must face her weaknesses, find her strengths, and navigate the pressures of competition as well as the ups and downs of friendship. The books in the series are: Balancing Act (Louie Lin’s story); STEAM & Ice (Alana O’Brien’s story); Sports Report (Maya Esposito’s story), and Softball Surprise (Rana Parisi’s story). Illustrations by Tim Heitz.

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The other Middle East

The new book The Other Middle East: An Anthology of Modern Levantine Literature (Yale University Press, 2018) offer readers a nuanced understanding of the mosaic that is the contemporary Middle East. The anthology, compiled by Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies Franck Salameh who introduces and annotates each selection, offers a window on the contemporary Levant, a region comprising most of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, parts of southern Turkey and northwestern Iraq, and the Sinai Peninsula. Originally written in Arabic, French, Aramaic, Lebanese, Egyptian, and Hebrew, the selections in this book  reflect a diversity of cultures, faiths, traditions, and languages and a wide range of ideas and perspectives. Salameh is the author of the books Charles Corm: An Intellectual biography of a Twentieth-Century Lebanese “Young Phoenician” and Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East; The Case for Lebanon, among other works.

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