Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan (born November 9, 1934) popularized science—especially astronomy—for millions of people through his writing and his PBS series, Cosmos. His book of the same name was a bestseller, while his sci-fi novel Contact was adapted into a successful film. His nonfiction work on the evolution of human intelligence, The Dragons of Eden, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978.


Nationalism is not the end in itself!

A lot of air is polluted these days. Unfortunately, the ideological air is polluted more than the environmental air! Indian ideological air today seems to be infected by those ideas that claim to be based on or draw strength from a “holy” concept called nationalism. An old saying goes that excess of everything is bad. Add to this the fact that even noble ideas out of context can create havoc! Excuse me for saying so, but NATIONALISM as it is in the air today seems to be doing more damage than good. In any case, at best of times it is a parochial concept that robs the much better idea of humanism.
Remember, Hitler killed millions of Jews on the pretext of German nationalism. Aurangzeb committed atrocities on the people in the name of Islamic nationalism and the same is being done today by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Just as two wrongs can not make one right, every action cannot be ‘sanctified’ by engulfing it with the holy cow concepts, presently nationalism! To take pride in ones nation is a laudable idea but to force everyone to share my intensity is not. If we lambast Muslim rulers of the yore for their hegemony, how can we justify similar behaviour on our part? Equating every action with my own sense of nationalism is not going to achieve the purpose I espouse. So…let the thousand flower bloom. May be that enriches your own nation.

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

Marie Curie

Happy birthday, Marie Curie! The Nobel Prize-winning scientist (born November 7, 1867) was awarded the coveted medal not once but twice—for physics and then chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel, and she wrote about her life and work with her scientist husband, who shared the first Nobel with her, in the biography/memoir Pierre Curie. They discovered the elements polonium (which she named after her native Poland) and radium. However, her long-term exposure to radiation while working on her groundbreaking discoveries of radioactivity would ultimately claim her life.

Claim your space. Draw a circle of light around it. Push back against the dark. Don’t just survive. Celebrate.

Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier (born November 4, 1950) is the bestselling author of Nightwoods, Thirteen Moons, and Cold Mountain—the last not only won a National Book Award but was adapted into a 2003 film starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renée Zelwegger (who won an Oscar for her role). Frazier’s native North Carolina has served as inspiration for his historical novels; in fact, the story goes that his wife persuaded him to quit his teaching job at North Carolina State University to write full-time, which resulted in the publication of Cold Mountain.

Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.

Auguste Escoffier

Auguste Escoffier (born October 28, 1846) was the master of classical French cooking, earning a worldwide reputation as the kitchen director at London’s Savoy Hotel and Carlton Hotel. He was an advocate for streamlining the organization of professional kitchens, using seasonal ingredients, and doing away with elaborate garnishes. His books include the seminal Le Guide Culinaire, Le Livre des Menus, Ma Cuisine, and his memoir, Souvenirs Inédits. In recognition of his lifetime of culinary service, he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1920.

I Just Realized

I am concerned too…in fact concerned too much.Although I am far away from America. But the world is one! No!

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

I just realized that I may not live to see a female president in the United States.

I just realized that the America I live in is not the America I thought I lived in.

This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope. This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope.

I’m part of a religious community that often laments the state of “the world.” I often hear peple say how “the world” is getting worse and that we have to protect our children from “the world.”

I used to scoff at this idea. I used to think, “No, the world has never been better for women, people of color, the LBGT community” and so on. I used to remember the scripture John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I used…

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Books change us. Books save us. I know this because it happened to me.

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak (born October 25, 1971) is considered the most widely read female writer in Turkey, with her award-winning fiction—touching on themes such as women, immigrants, minorities, youth culture, history, and philosophy—translated into more than 40 languages. Born in France, she has a master’s degree in gender and women’s studies and a Ph.D. in political science. The Forty Rules of Love, The Bastard of Istanbul, and Black Milk are among her bestselling works.