We take it for granted that our language will grow and change. But one thing we think less often about is that our alphabet is subject to the same forces. Herewith, Carlos Lozada reads Michael Rosen’s new book Alphabetical, which delves into the origins and future prospects of our writing system.
You may not have known that Thomas Jefferson – author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. President, founder of the University of Virginia – also found time to amass the largest contemporary collection of books in North America. For sixteen years, The Library of Congress has been trying to track down copies of the final 250 listed in Jefferson’s collection.
Fans of Moby-Dick should read Nathaniel Philbrick’s outstanding historical account In the Heart of the Sea. The book, which tracks the fate of The Essex, a New England whaling vessel sunk by a humongous sperm whale in the South Pacific, is vivid and harrowing. It’s also, as it turns out, only one of the naval catastrophes to befall George Pollard, Jr., The Essex‘s captain: a second wreck of his was recently located off the coast of Hawaii.
At The Daily Beast, Newsweek reporter Barbie Latza Nadeau on Amanda Knox, the American university exchange student convicted of the murder of her roommate, an English exchange student, Meredith Kircher, by Italian criminal courts in December 2009. The murder took place in Perugia, Italy, where both girls were studying abroad. The case, with its suggestions of ritual sexual violence, and Knox’s bizarre behavior throughout the investigation and trial transfixed the Italian media. The excerpt at the Beast is from Nadeau’s new book Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox.
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