The Bomb

Reading to illuminate and remember the beginning of the Atomic Age, and its attendant nightmares.




By John Hersey


Hersey follows six individuals -- a clerk, a seamstress, a physician, a minister, a German priest, and a young surgeon -- through that fateful moment on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima to see how they respond to the disaster, and then revisits them decades later to understand the bomb's long-term effects.




The Making of the Atomic Bomb

By Richard Rhodes


Rhodes's excellent overview, which took home the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction as well as a National Book Award, conducts readers eloquently and engagingly step-by-step through the quarter-century process (politically, culturally, and scientifically) that led from pure theory to the reality of the atomic bomb.




Letters From the End of the World: A Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima 

By Toyofumi Ogura


Toyofumi wrenchingly describes Hiroshima in the days after the Bomb hit in a year's worth of letters to his wife, with whom he was reunited subsequent the bombing, but whose death soon followed. The book also includes diary entries and drawings from the history professor's children.



Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb by the Creators, the Eyewitnesses, and Historians

Edited By Cynthia C. Kelly


Kelly, the president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, gathers the writings and thoughts of the earliest members of the Manhattan Project, who developed the first atomic bombs, as well as excerpts from plays, novels, biographies, etc, which explore the topic. Commentary from historians and nuclear experts puts these vital documents in context.



Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

By Lydia Millet


Dead though they may be, a shy librarian in Santa Fe spots atomic-bomb creators Oppenheimer, Fermi, and Szilard at the start of Millet's black-comic novel that soon finds the trio developing a disparate cult following. Oppenheimer takes on Christ-like characteristics as Millet creatively and passionately indicts all those who passively let life just happen to them.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.