Carlos Eire, Sherlock Holmes and Other New Reads

This week: a moving memoir of a Yale historian’s childhood as Cuban refugee, the latest take on Holmes’ adventures, the good and bad of dharma explored, Larry Kramer’s insightful look at the media world, and lost New York stories.

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy by Carlos Eire

Carlos Eire follows up his National Book Award-winning memoir with his years as an American refugee boy.

One of the thousands of children airlifted out of Cuba in 1962, Yale historian Carlos Eire dedicates his new memoir Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy to the “all the those who opened their arms to the Lost Boys and Girls of Castrolandia.” His first memoir, the National Book Award winner Waiting for Snow in Havana, chronicled his first 11 years of life in Cuba, and Eire now tackles his years as a “refugee boy.” Living in a series of foster homes in Miami, Eire tried to rid himself of his Cuban identity and acclimate fully as an American, before eventually reuniting with his mother years later and coming to terms with his identity. The New Yorker writes that Eire “superimposes the perspectives of youth and age in an account both visceral and considered: His anticipation, as a child, of trick-or-treating eclipses the Cuban missile crisis.”

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

A first-time novelist fictionalizes real-life events to write a compelling mystery about the society of Sherlock Holmes scholars.

First-time novelist Graham Moore joins two stories in this suspenseful novel: when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries—chased a killer through the streets of Victorian London and when the world’s leading Sherlock Holmes scholar was murdered in 2004 after declaring he had found Doyle’s missing papers. Chapters alternate between the Sherlockians and Doyle, and The Sherlockian “shifts easily from exposition to pathos to sly comedy,” writes Booklist in a starred review. Not so elementary, Watson, after all.

The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das

A thoughtful meditation on navigating the good and bad through Das’ personal reflections on the ancient epic Mahabharata.

Perhaps one of the most interesting outlets for morality, Gurcharan Das explores the simple yet profound concept of what it means to be good. The former CEO of Procter & Gamble escaped the competitive corporate world to become a full-time writer and columnist for The Times of India. At 50 years old, Das found himself asking, “Is this all there was to life?” He found his answer in the ancient Sanskrit poem, the Mahabharata, to find the essence of dharma. The Difficulty of Being Good expounds on Das’ journey to find happiness, especially as a survivor of corporate excess, and as a witness to the downfall of communities, lives, and the global economy. William Dalrymple of the Financial Times says the book “represents an attempt by Das to bring together the two sides of his life, the literary and the practical. The result is a highly personal and idiosyncratic, yet richly insightful meditation on the application of ancient philosophy to issues of modern moral conduct and right and wrong."

C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today by Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer expounds on a bold, refreshing, four-part concept for entrepreneurs to rethink their business.

The founder of MarketWatch Inc. shares his insights into the changing landscapes of the business world. Larry Kramer points to the digital-media revolution as the source for business survival. Gone are the days of easily navigated business plans, he says. Kramer takes the reader into the uncharted waters of digital media and his latest concept: C-Scape. C-Scape is a “world where consumers, not producers and marketers, make the choices; where content not distribution is king; where curation becomes a primary currency of value; and were convergence continues to revolutionize every part of every business.” A deeply useful and even revolutionary concept that will reshape the thought process for any entrepreneur—from the small-business owner to the CEO of a major conglomerate. CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer calls Kramer, “the toughest and most ethical foe imaginable.” He writes, “His observations reflect a deep understanding of how the media works and what consumers want.”

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More New York Stories Edited by Constance Rosenblum

A bittersweet collection from the now-defunct NYT City Section, you don’t have to be a New Yorker to get these stories.

For 16 years, the Sunday section of the New York Times contained a gem, The City Section. Unlike the daily paper, it wasn’t a slave to the news cycle, which allowed for leisurely features that captured the city’s infinite moods. In More New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of The New York Times, Constance Rosenblum, the editor of the section, pulls together a patchwork of pieces that capture New York after the 9/11 attacks. From the young musician whose father saw him jump to his death on his 21st birthday; to a writer’s fleeting, but deep, relationship to the corner store owner; to a group of men who have been meeting for a game of basketball every week for 33 years—you don’t have to be a New Yorker to get these New York stories. Some of them are very personal and very local, while others use New York as a microcosm for the world. From the prose of Edwidge Danticat and Francine Prose to the regulars who wrote for the section, the book is bittersweet—especially since the section folded in 2009.

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.