Iola Public Library spotlights story of actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr

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February 8, 2019 - 12:54 PM

If you know the name Hedy Lamarr, you probably know her only as an actress.  So how is it she is in the National Inventors Hall of Fame?  Her most important invention was a 1942 patent for a radio-guided torpedo system superior to the ones then in use in World War II (and whose principles are incorporated into Bluetooth technology). “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict is a biographical novel telling the story of Lamarr, an Austrian of Jewish descent who escaped a controlling, fascist-sympathizing husband before the war.  She longed to be recognized for her intellect as much as her beauty and acting talent, a desire which should come to fulfillment in readers of this book.

One of the novels receiving the most advance buzz this year in media, publishing, and library circles is “The Dreamers” by Karen Thompson Walker.  A sleeping college student is unable to be awakened.  She is the first in a spreading contagion which leads to a quarantine of the town while scientists work frantically to identify the illness and devise a treatment.  The sleepers show record high levels of brain activity, indicating heightened dreaming is occurring, but little else is known.

In “The Current” by Tim Johnston, the vehicle of a college student plunges into a river, killing the driver and leaving her passenger alive.  It may not have been an accident.  The survivor’s father, a retired sheriff, was unable to close a similar case a decade earlier, with consequences in the present.

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