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The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies

With a spellbinding, thriller-like presentation supported by painstaking research, Fischer puts forth evidence to try to unravel the mystery of Le Prince’s life and death. Deftly organized facts, coupled with the technical minutiae of filmmaking, reveal fascinating details of Le Prince’s life and the challenges faced in his work, while also exposing the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Fischer’s stellar, suspenseful narrative is a work of art unto itself that finally gives Le Prince–and the impact of his often overlooked, cut-short creative genius–his due. Read more

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Inspired: Understanding Creativity by Matt Richtel

Richtel, a science reporter for the New York Times, explores the origins and outcomes of creativity in this remarkable guide … At once conversational and intellectual, Richtel’s lucid writing and intensive research showcase the many facets and manifestations of creativity. This profound and at times whimsical volume informs and inspires. Read more

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‘Sandy Hook’ Is Vital Reading in the Post-Truth Age

“Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for the Truth” is exactly what it purports to be, though the title couldn’t have prepared me for the level of schooling I was about to get … Filled with the most impeccable details — the ones that rarely make it into tight news reports — Williamson draws on documented facts to paint pertinent portraits of the families and victims of the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting in Newtown, Connecticut … Expert organization keeps the narrative momentum up, never stagnating on any one person or topic … The thick web of connections explored within reaches from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to QAnon and everything in between … Somehow, despite the depressing nature of the subject matter, Sandy Hook remains hopeful … Conspiracies and our post-truth reality are topics that have become evergreen, making Sandy Hook one of the most important books of 2022. Read more

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How a Death-Row Inmate’s Embrace of Conservatism Led to His Release

In 1957, Edgar Smith, a 23-year-old former Marine who was both a husband and a new father, confessed to the bludgeoning murder of 15-year-old Vickie Zielinski in New Jersey. After deliberating for two hours, a jury convicted him. The judge sentenced him to death and he was sent to Trenton State Prison. What interests Weinman, who writes the Crime column for The New York Times Book Review, is not the murder but what transpired in its wake. Through a confluence of events, William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of National Review and one of the architects of the 20th-century conservative movement, learned that Smith was a fan of his publication. Flattered, Buckley began to mail the inmate the latest issues. These communications initiated a relationship that would add up to nine years and 1,500 pages of correspondence — and, ultimately, Smith’s release from prison. Read more

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Baillie Gifford prize goes to ‘controlled fury’ of Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe’s investigation into the Sacklers, the dynasty whose company Purdue Pharma sold the OxyContin painkiller which is said to have fuelled the US’s opioid crisis, has won the £50,000 Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction. Read more

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