Sara Grady’s Best Reads of 2016

sg-treeMy name is Sara Grady, and I’m a former engineer with the heart of a poet.  As a Road Scholar with the Illinois Humanities Council, I travel the state talking about how stories, myths, and words influence our culture and communities.  I love language, breathe books, and teach science writing at Northwestern University.  I wish I had a green thumb.

 

 

 

1)  The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (2015)

You’ve probably never heard of Alexander von Humbolt, and neither had I.  But his prolific, revolutionary nature writing and scientific explorations inspired a 19th century whos-who, from Charles Darwin and Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir.  Wulf’s detailed biography reads like a novel and quickens the senses like the very best nature writing can.  Rightfully winning a glut of prizes this year, it is a delightful read — and now I truly appreciate the namesake of one of my favorite Chicago parks.

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Writers Reading: Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s latest acclaimed novel hit library shelves on September 4th and demand for a copy instantly hit fever pitch.  Titled NW, the British writer’s first novel since 2005’s On Beauty tells the captivating story of four North West Londoners struggling to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the housing project of their youth.  Written in a daring stream-of-consciousness style, NW has been praised by Booklist as a “quintessential 21st-century urban novel depicting a vibrant, volatile multicultural world… with wit, empathy, and artistry.”  So add this emotional knockout to your must-read queue, and while you eagerly await your copy, don’t miss Smith reading an excerpt below.  Enjoy!