Alan Lightman - Searching For Stars on an Island in Maine - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781472152817
    • Publication date:05 Apr 2018

Searching For Stars on an Island in Maine

By Alan Lightman

  • Hardback
  • £12.99

An inspired, lyrical meditation on religion and science, with an exploration of the tension between our yearning for permanence and certainty versus modern scientific discoveries pointing to the impermanent and uncertain nature of the world.

As a physicist, Alan Lightman has always held a purely scientific view of the world. Even as a teenager, experimenting in his own laboratory, he was impressed by the logic and materiality of the universe, which is governed by a small number of disembodied forces and laws. Those laws decree that all things in the world are material and impermanent. But one summer evening, while looking at the stars from a small boat at sea, Lightman was overcome by the overwhelming sensation that he was merging with something larger than himself - a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute and immaterial.

Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is the result of these seemingly contradictory impulses, written as an extended meditation on an island in Maine, where Lightman and his wife spend their summers. Framing the dialogue between religion and science as a contrast between absolutes and relatives, Lightman explores our human quest for truth and meaning and the different methods of religion and science in that quest. Along the way, he draws from sources ranging from St. Augustine's conception of absolute truth to Einstein's relativity, from a belief in the divine and eternal nature of stars to their discovered materiality and mortality, from the unity of the once indivisible atom to the multiplicity of subatomic particles and the recent notion of multiple universes. What emerges is not only an understanding of the encounter between science and religion but also a profound exploration of the complexity of human existence.

Biographical Notes

Alan Lightman - who worked for many years as a theoretical physicist - is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, as well as The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of a memoir, three collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Nature, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472152824
  • Publication date: 05 Apr 2018
  • Page count: 240
  • Imprint: Corsair
The physicist and novelist's discursive essays on the mysteries of the physical world are full of wonder and insight . . . Lightman has a sympathetic gift for recreating the leaps of faith in scientific advance. — the Observer
Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine demonstrates Lightman's ability to make the most abstract notions accessible to all. No background is needed in physics, philosophy, religion or any other field to fully understand every step of the wide-ranging intellectual trek. No matter who you are, you will emerge ready to be more impressive at your next dinner party . . . No matter your views on science and the transcendent, this engaging read will be as pleasant as a summer afternoon spent on an island in Maine with good company. — Washington Post
A lyrical and illuminating inquiry into our dual impulse for belief in the unprovable and for trust in truth affirmed by physical evidence . . . emerging with that rare miracle of insight at the meeting point of the lucid and the luminous . . . Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is a splendid read in its entirety. — Brain Pickings
Stimulating . . . Once again, this deft wordsmith has effortlessly straddled the divide between the hardest of the hard sciences and the nebulous world of existential doubts and longings. — Nature magazine
He's at his best describing the scientific process, able to evoke the thrill of new discovery while explaining dizzyingly complex theories. — Mail on Sunday
Dialogue Books

The Good Immigrant USA

Nikesh Shukla, Chimene Suleyman
Authors:
Nikesh Shukla, Chimene Suleyman

An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as 'lively and vital', editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be in the US is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in nineties fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this singular collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, troubling and uplifting, the essays in The Good Immigrant USA come together to create a provocative, conversation-sparking, multivocal portrait of America now.Essays from:Porochista KhakpourNicole Dennis-BennRahawa HaileTeju ColePriya MinhasWalé OyéjidéFatimah AsgharTejal RaoMaeve HigginsKrutika MallikarjunaJim St. Germain Jenny ZhangChigozie ObiomaAlexander CheeYann DemangeJean Hannah EdelsteinChimene SuleymanBasim UsmaniDaniel José OlderAdrián Villar RojasSebastián Villar RojasDani FernandezFatima Farheen MirzaSusanne Ramírez de ArellanoMona ChalabiJade Chang

Constable

That Good Night

Sunita Puri
Authors:
Sunita Puri

As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine - a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care.Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.

Seal Press

Colonize This!

Bushra Rehman, Daisy Hernández
Authors:
Bushra Rehman, Daisy Hernández
Hachette Australia

Queerstories

Maeve Marsden
Authors:
Maeve Marsden

There's more to being queer than coming out and getting married. This exciting and contemporary collection contains stories that are as diverse as the LGBTQIA+ community from which they're drawn. From hilarious anecdotes of an awkward adolescence, to heartwarming stories of family acceptance and self-discovery, the LGBTQIA+ community has been sharing stories for centuries, creating their own histories, disrupting and reinventing conventional ideas about narrative, family, love and community.Curated from the hugely popular Queerstories storytelling event this important collection features stories from Benjamin Law, Jen Cloher, Nayuka Gorrie, Peter Polites, Candy Royalle, Rebecca Shaw, Simon 'Pauline Pantsdown' Hunt, Steven Lindsay Ross, Amy Coopes, Paul van Reyk, Mama Alto, Liz Duck-Chong, Maxine Kauter, David Cunningham, Peter Taggart, Ben McLeay, Jax Jacki Brown, Ginger Valentine, Candy Bowers, Simon Copland, Kelly Azizi, Nic Holas, Quinn Eades, Vicki Melson, Tim Bishop and Maeve Marsden.

Hachette Books

Risk!

Kevin Allison
Authors:
Kevin Allison
Robinson

The Physics of Everyday Things

James Kakalios
Authors:
James Kakalios

Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What's the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens and toasters? How do we enter our offices using touch-on passes or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this 'narrative physics' The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that - far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs boson, black holes and gravity waves - sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.

Virago

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It

Lauren Graham
Authors:
Lauren Graham
Virago

What are We Doing Here?

Marilynne Robinson
Authors:
Marilynne Robinson
Fleet

The Colossus of New York

Colson Whitehead
Authors:
Colson Whitehead

In a dazzlingly original work of non-fiction, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad recreates the exuberance, the chaos, the promise, and the heartbreak of New York. Here is a literary love song that will entrance anyone who has lived in - or spent time - in the greatest of American cities.A masterful evocation of the city that never sleeps, The Colossus of New York captures the city's inner and outer landscapes in a series of vignettes, meditations, and personal memories. Colson Whitehead conveys with almost uncanny immediacy the feelings and thoughts of longtime residents and of newcomers who dream of making it their home; of those who have conquered its challenges; and of those who struggle against its cruelties. Whitehead's style is as multilayered and multifarious as New York itself: Switching from third person, to first person, to second person, he weaves individual voices into a jazzy musical composition that perfectly reflects the way we experience the city. There is a funny, knowing riff on what it feels like to arrive in New York for the first time; a lyrical meditation on how the city is transformed by an unexpected rain shower; and a wry look at the ferocious battle that is commuting. The plaintive notes of the lonely and dispossessed resound in one passage, while another captures those magical moments when the city seems to be talking directly to you, inviting you to become one with its rhythms. The Colossus of New York is a remarkable portrait of life in the big city. Ambitious in scope, gemlike in its details, it is at once an unparalleled tribute to New York and the ideal introduction to one of the most exciting writers working today.

Basic Books

The Last Man Who Knew Everything

David N. Schwartz
Authors:
David N. Schwartz

In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything-at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history's greatest mentors. Based on new archival material and exclusive interviews, The Last Man Who Knew Everything lays bare the enigmatic life of a colossus of twentieth century physics.

Seal Press

This Is the Place

Margot Kahn, Kelly McMasters
Authors:
Margot Kahn, Kelly McMasters
Basic Books

The Quantum Labyrinth

Paul Halpern
Authors:
Paul Halpern
Non-Duality Press

The Mala of God

Mooji
Authors:
Mooji

The Mala of God is a unique spiritual gift, an expression of the surrendered heart filled with prayer, devotion, and gratitude, yet imbued with the unsparing wisdom and power of non-dual self-inquiry. With profound simplicity, Advaita zen master Mooji unveils the intimate, mystical ways of the praying heart, and provides insight for those yearning to discover their true nature.Many of us seek inner peace and happiness, lasting self-realization and awakening, or a felt blissful oneness beyond the mere concept of unity. In our search for truth and enlightenment, we may find ourselves drawn deeply into sincere introspection or with a deep affinity for prayer as a means of self-discovery and communion with the Supreme.Using language familiar to many spiritual traditions, including Christianity and Sufism, this book bridges the seeming divide between devotion and non-dual self-inquiry. This beautiful collection can be read start to finish or opened to any page for insight into the moment - perfect for both the spiritual seeker with an interest in non-duality or one who is drawn to devotion and the power of prayer.Including over 100 powerful prayers and blessings, complemented by Mooji's drawings and handwritten sayings throughout, The Mala of God provides wisdom and inspiration that sets your heart free.

Basic Books

A Big Bang in a Little Room

Zeeya Merali
Authors:
Zeeya Merali

An award-winning science writer takes us into the lab to answer some of life's biggest questions: How was the universe created? And could we create our own?What if you could become God, with the ability to build a whole new universe? As startling as it sounds, modern physics suggests that within the next two decades, scientists may be able to perform this seemingly divine feat-to concoct an entirely new baby universe, complete with its own physical laws, star systems, galaxies, and even intelligent life. A Big Bang in a Little Room takes the reader on a journey through the history of cosmology and unravels-particle by particle, theory by theory, and experiment by experiment-the ideas behind this provocative claim made by some of the most respected physicists alive today. Beyond simply explaining the science, A Big Bang in a Little Room also tells the story of the people who have been laboring for more than thirty years to make this seemingly impossible dream a reality. What has driven them to continue on what would seem, at first glance, to be a quixotic quest?This mind-boggling book reveals that we can nurse other worlds in the tiny confines of a lab, raising a daunting prospect: Was our universe, too, brought into existence by a daring creator?

Virago

Radical Hope

Carolina De Robertis
Authors:
Carolina De Robertis
Virago

Whose Model is It Anyway?

Frances Weetman
Authors:
Frances Weetman
Virago

The Givenness Of Things

Marilynne Robinson
Authors:
Marilynne Robinson

A profound essay collection from the beloved author of Gilead, Houskeeping and Lila, now including Marilynne Robinson's conversation with President Barack Obama. Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her trilogy of novels - Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, Orange-Prize winning Home and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila - and in her moving essay collection When I Was a Child I Read Books. Now, in The Givenness of Things, she brings a profound sense of awe and an incisive mind to the essential questions of contemporary life and faith. Through fourteen essays of remarkable depth and insight, Robinson explores the dilemmas of our modern predicament. How has our so-called Christian nation strayed from so many of the teachings of Christ? How could the great minds of the past, Calvin and Locke-and Shakespeare-guide our lives? And what might the world look like if we could see the sacredness in each other? Exquisite and bold, these essays are a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural treasures, to seek humanity and compassion in each other. The Givenness of Things is a reminder of what a marvel our existence is in its grandeur - and its humility.

Grand Central Publishing

Pen & Palate

Lucy Madison, Tram Nguyen
Authors:
Lucy Madison, Tram Nguyen

From the writers of acclaimed blog Pen & Palate, a humorous coming-of-age (and mastering-the-art-of-home-cooking) memoir of friendship, told through stories, recipes, and beautiful illustrations.Getting through life in your twenties isn't easy--especially if you're broke, awkward, and prone to starting small grease fires in your studio apartment. For best friends Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen, cooking was an escape from the daily humiliation that is being a twenty-something woman in a big city. PEN & PALATE traces the course of Lucy and Tram's devoted friendship through miserable jobs and tiny apartments, first loves and ill-advised flings, successes and setbacks--always with a shared love of food at the center of the narrative. A modern take on Laurie Colwin's classic Home Cooking, this coming-of-age memoir for the Girls set weaves together comical (mis)adventures and recipes meant to be shared with a best friend and bottle of wine.

Basic Books

The Jazz of Physics

Stephon Alexander
Authors:
Stephon Alexander
Running Press Mini Editions

Shakespeare Box Set

William Shakespeare
Authors:
William Shakespeare

For fans of the Bard comes a deluxe box set of our three classic Shakespeare mini books: Shakespeare: The Bard's Guide to Abuses and Affronts, William Shakespeare: The Complete Plays in One Sitting , and Love Sonnets of Shakespeare . In this collectible slipcase edition, readers will have access to comprehensive summaries of each of Shakespeare's 36 famous plays, the most eloquent of Shakespeare's insults, and love sonnets to woo the most sought-after lover.