13th Annual New College of Florida Holiday Book Guide

Like all readers, people in the New College of Florida community sometimes read books on the subjects they know best, and sometimes reach for new perspectives and new reading experiences. In this year’s Holiday Book Guide, our reviewers often go beyond the areas that we teach and write about, yet we still make connections with these interests — and with some core human questions, too.
A mathematician reviews a book about red and blue states; a chemist reviews a mystery novel that illuminates the coexistence of loneliness and computer connectedness in today’s young people; several scientists review their favorite science fiction.
As always, some of these books explore complex questions in a way that makes them accessible to nonspecialist readers. Our reviewers choose some of these books to correct misconceptions that people may find in the media, or to relay information that surprised them and will surprise others. It is also important that these books bring to the fore some basic human values that could be obscured in accounts of challenging public issues and social questions.
We can see another distinctive feature of this year’s reviews in the substantial number of books that point to the links between fiction and the real world. Finally, readers can experience a similar connection by reading two books, one the true account of insanity, criminality, and a great scholarly enterprise in Victorian England, and the other a historical novel set in this era, with a dark plot that portrays a man engaged in the business of mourning, and includes social commentary as well.
Wishing everyone a year filled with rewarding books, the New College faculty, administration, and staff present our 13th annual Holiday Book Guide, with reviews compiled by English professor Andrea Dimino.

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