Note:Dubuque All-Community-Reads 2019 selection. Description: The story behind the unlikely friendship which developed between the accused rapist Ronald Cotton--who served eleven years in prison for a crime he didn't commit--and his accuser, Jennifer Thompson, raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept.
Note: Library Standing Order. Description: As of 2015, one in three people worked in agriculture globally. With agriculture contributing only 3 percent of the global GDP, it is challenging for those workers to earn a living wage. Concerns are levied against companies in the food industry, with questions raised about their ethics and their treatment of workers, livestock, and the environment. The massive scale of the industry makes regulation difficult, but under-regulation can result in public health crises. The diverse viewpoints in this volume explore the controversies, challenges, and solutions involved in providing food in our world today. (publ.)
Note: Staff request(JU); 2 HC/2 Audio. Description: One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way. Author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,’ for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill. (publ.)
Description: This book confronts popular myths about memory with scientific evidence on memory permanence, recovered memory and repression, amnesia, eyewitness memory, superior memory, and other topics. The book also discusses the consequences of these myths and possible strategies for debunking them. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 81; FA 98(4) July/Aug. 2019 p. 177; LJ June 2019 p. 125; NYT/BR 18 Aug 2019 p. 14; Economist 10 Aug. 2019 p. 67. Description: During the upheavals of 2007-9, the chairman of the Federal Reserve had the name of a Victorian icon on the tip of his tongue: Walter Bagehot. Banker, man of letters, inventor of the Treasury bill, and author of Lombard Street, Bagehot prescribed the doctrines that–decades later–inspired the radical responses to the world’s worst financial crises. In James Grant’s colorful biography, Bagehot appears as both an ornament to his own age and a muse to our own. Brilliant and precocious, he was influential in political circles, making high-profile friends, including William Glad-stone–and enemies: Lord Overstone, Benjamin Disraeli. As an essayist on wide-ranging topics, he won the admiration of Matthew Arnold and Wood-row Wilson. He was also a misogynist, and while he opposed slavery, he misjudged Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. As editor of the Economist, he offered astute commentary on the financial issues of his day, and his name lives on in an eponymous weekly column. (publ.)
Reviewed: LR June 2019 p. 24. Description: A biography of the prophetic and sympathetic philosopher who along with Voltaire and Rousseau built the foundations of the modern world, and travelled as far as Russia to enlighten the Tsarina Catherine the Great. Denis Diderot is often associated with the decades-long battle to bring the world’s first comprehensive Encyclopédie into existence. But his most compelling and personal writing took place in the shadows. Thrown into prison for his atheism in 1749, Diderot decided to reserve his most daring books for posterity–for us, in fact. In the astonishing cache of unpublished writings that he left behind after his death, Diderot dreamed of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born. Even more audaciously, the writer challenged virtually all of his century’s accepted truths, from the sanctity of monarchy, to the racial justification of slave trade, to the limits of human sexuality. He was also keenly aware of the dangers of absolute power, about which he wrote so persuasively that it led Catherine the Great not only to support him financially but also to invite him to St. Petersburg. In this thematically organized biography, Andrew Curran vividly describes Diderot’s tormented relationship with Rousseau, his feud with Voltaire, his tortured marriage, his passionate affairs, and his often-paradoxical stand on art, morality, and religion. (publ.)
Reviewed: Economist 27 July 2019 p. 72. Description: To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a thirty-nine-year-old Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: assume a fake identity, intentionally get captured and sent to the new camp, and then report back to the underground on what had happened to his compatriots there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside–where the Germans would least expect it. The name of the camp was Auschwitz. Over the next two and half years, Pilecki forged an underground army within Auschwitz that sabotaged facilities, assassinated Nazi informants and officers, and amassed evidence of shocking abuse and mass murder. But as he pieced together the horrifying truth that the camp was to become the epicenter of Nazi plans to exterminate Europe’s Jews, Pilecki realized he would have to risk his men, his life, and his family to warn the West before all was lost. To do so meant attempting the impossible–an escape from Auschwitz itself. Completely erased from the historical record by Poland’s postwar Communist government, Pilecki remains almost unknown to the world. Now, with exclusive access to previously hidden diaries, family and camp survivor ac-counts, and recently declassified files, Jack Fairweather offers an unflinching portrayal of survival, revenge, and betrayal in mankind's darkest hour. (publ.)
Reviewed: NYT 17 Feb. 2019 p. SR7 (referenced) Description: This is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she’s changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. (publ.)
Reviewed: NYT/BR 25 Aug. 2019 p. 17. Description: A guide to investing basics by the author of Broke Millennial, for anyone who feels like they aren’t ready (or rich enough) to get into the market. Millennials want to learn how to start investing. The problem is that most have no idea where to begin. There’s a significant lack of information out there catering to the concerns of new millennial investors, such as: *Should I invest while paying down student loans? *How do I invest in a socially responsible way? *What about robo-advisors and apps–are any of them any good? *Where can I look online for investment advice? (publ.)
Reviewed: LR Sept. 2018 p. 29. Description: Once upon a time, if an official stole money, there wasn’t much he or she could do with it. They could buy a new car or build a nice house or give it to friends and family, but that was about it. If one kept stealing, the money would just pile up in his house until there were no rooms left to put it in, or it was eaten by mice. And then some bankers in London had a bright idea. Join the investigative journalist Oliver Bullough on a journey into Moneyland–the secret country of the lawless, stateless superrich. (publ.)
Description: Esteemed journalist Glynnis MacNicol takes readers to the front counters of bakeries and cafes to offer a candid portrait of modern baking. MacNicol shadows Mary Louise Clemens, the owner and head baker of Ladybird Bakery in Brooklyn, to reveal how bakers work and how they stand out in a neighborhood, community, and city. In this book, MacNicol reveals the path to becoming a baker, from education to the creation of new recipes, from negotiating with suppliers to the possibility of opening a small business. Prepare the legendary “Brooklyn Blackout” cupcakes in Ladybird’s kitchen, shape croissants at the beloved Sea Wolf Bakery in Seattle, and learn why bakers think the Great British Bake-Off has captured our collective imagination. (publ.)
Description: Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue Lindsay Peoples Wagner takes readers to the front lines to offer a candid portrait of this creative career. What does it actually mean to be a fashion designer today? What do they do? How do they do it? Wagner shadows three acclaimed New York City designers to see how each carved their own path: Recho Omondi of Omondi, Rosie Assoulin of Rosie Assoulin, and Becca McCharen-Tran of Chromat. Learn from her pioneering subjects as they design new seasons, hold fittings, manufacture, plan shows, and publicize. Designers must function as skilled craftspeople and artists as well as business people and brands. They all come from different places and have had different trajectories. These talented designers show a profession that is radically changing and increasingly addressing issues of race, identity, and inclusivity. Wagner discovers that modern fashion designers must navigate several worlds at once, all with vision and determination. (publ.)
Description: Journalist Elizabeth Greenwood has been practicing yoga for over twenty years. Now, she takes you along as she studies with teachers across the country to figure out how these women and men rose to the top of their profession–and how they stay there. In these pages, you’ll take a private lesson with Abbie Galvin, a rock star instructor whom other yoga teachers fly around the world to learn from. You’ll visit a small business owner as she opens up her very first studio, and meet newbies hustling as they figure out how to stand out from the competition, whether by leading yoga re-treats to Costa Rica, helping veterans struggling with PTSD, or teaching classes over YouTube. Bursting with inside information about the yoga industry, and the spiritual, physical, and psychological benefits that daily practice can bring to your life, this book is a perfect virtual internship for anyone contemplating turning their love of yoga into a career. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 92; 6 May 2019 p. 48 (author interview), 50. Description: After the local newspaper where she worked as a reporter closed, Emily Guendelsberger took a pre-Christmas job at an Amazon fulfillment center outside Louisville, Kentucky. There, the vending machines were stocked with painkillers, and the staff turnover was dizzying. In the new year, she travelled to North Carolina to work at a call center, a place where even bathroom breaks were timed to the second. And finally, Guendelsberger was hired at a San Francisco McDonald’s, narrowly escaping revenge-seeking customers who pelted her with condiments. Across three jobs, and in three different parts of the country, Guendelsberger directly took part in the revolution changing the U.S. workplace. This book takes us behind the scenes of the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce to under-stand the future of work in America–and its present. Guendelsberger shows us how workers went from being the most expensive element of production to the cheapest–and how low wage jobs have been remade to serve the ideals of efficiency, at the cost of humanity. (publ.)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 105. Description: No longer able to live on the proceeds of her freelance writing and translating income, German novelist Heike Geissler takes a seasonal job at Amazon Order Fulfillment in Leipzig. But the job, intended as a stopgap measure, quickly becomes a descent into humiliation, and Geissler soon begins to internalize the dynamics and nature of the post-capitalist labor market and precarious work. Driven to work at Amazon by financial necessity rather than journalistic ambition, Heike Geissler has nonetheless written the first and only literary account of corporate flex-time employment that offers “freedom” to workers who have become an expendable re-source. Shifting between the first and the second person, this is a nuanced expose of the psychic damage that is an essential working condition with mega-corporations. Geissler has written a twenty-first-century account of how the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Saisonarbeit (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2014).
Reviewed: PW 13 May 2019 p. 43. Description: A child, bored by his toys, contemplates the emotion and concept of bore-dom, and whether or not it is boring to be an adult–or a child. (publ.) Note: Originall published as: つまんないつまんない = Tsumannai Tsumannai (Tokyo: Hakusensha, 2017).
Reviewed: PW 20 May 2019 p. 80. Description: One hundred years ago, a little boy watched his family and community come together to build a grand red barn. This barn become his refuge and home-a place to play with friends and farm animals alike. As seasons passed, the barn weathered many storms. The boy left and returned a young man, to help on the farm and to care for the barn again. The barn has stood for one hundred years, and it will stand for a hundred more: a symbol of peace, stability, caring and community. (publ.)
Description: Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson live ordinary lives. Sometimes their lives feel a bit too ordinary. Sometimes they wish something different would happen. And one day it does, when someone unpredictable finds her way to their front door. In a delightful origin story for the star of the Mercy Watson series, a tiny piglet brings love (and chaos) to Deckawoo Drive–and the Watsons’ lives will never be the same. (publ.) Note: Standing Order; Junior Library Guild.
Description: A concise and accessible guide to techniques for detecting doctored and fake images in photographs and digital media. Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, and other dictators routinely doctored photographs so that the images aligned with their messages. They erased people who were there, added people who were not, and manipulated backgrounds. They knew if they changed the visual record, they could change history. Once, altering images required hours in the darkroom; today, it can be done with a keyboard and mouse. Because photographs are so easily faked, fake photos are everywhere–supermarket tabloids, fashion magazines, political ads, and social media. How can we tell if an image is real or false? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Hany Farid offers a concise and accessible guide to techniques for detecting doctored and fake images in photographs and digital media. Farid, an expert in photo forensics, has spent two decades developing techniques for authenticating digital images. (publ.)
Description: While today’s presidential tweets may seem a light year apart from the scratch of quill pens during the era of the American Revolution, the importance of political communication is eternal. This book explores the roles that political narratives, media coverage, and evolving communication technologies have played in precipitating, shaping, and concluding or prolonging wars and revolutions over the course of US history. The case studies begin with the Sons of Liberty in the era of the American Revolution, cover American wars in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and conclude with a look at the conflict against ISIS in the Trump era. Special chapters also examine how propagandists shaped American perceptions of two revolutions of international significance: the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution. (publ.)
Reviewed: LJ June 2019 p. 134. Description: The internet was designed to be a kind of free-speech paradise, but a lot of the material on it turned out to incite violence, spread untruth, and pro-mote hate. Over the years, three American behemoths–Facebook, YouTube and Twitter--became the way most of the world experiences the internet, and therefore the conveyors of much of its disturbing material. What should be done about this enormous problem? Should the giant social media platforms police the content themselves, as is the norm in the U.S., or should governments and international organizations regulate the inter-net, as is the call in parts of Europe? How do we keep from helping authoritarian regimes to censor all criticisms of themselves? David Kaye, who serves as the United Nations' special rapporteur on free expression, has been at the center of the discussions of these issues for years. He takes us behind the scenes, from Facebook's "mini-legislative" meetings, to the European Commission's closed-door negotiations, and introduces us to journalists, activists, and content moderators whose stories bring clarity and urgency to the topic of censorship. (publ.)
Note: Library standing order. Description: Since 1989, there have been over 2,200 exonerations in the United States. These have resulted from a number of factors, including the discovery of new evidence, perjury, false identification, and bad forensic evidence. Even when an individual is exonerated, is it possible to compensate them for their loss of time and money? This volume looks at the issue from varying perspectives, exploring causes of wrongful convictions, ways to increase exonerations for those who were unjustly imprisoned, strategies to decrease the number of wrongful convictions going forward, and appropriate compensation for those who have lost years of their lives. (publ.)
Reviewed: CHE 13 Sept. 2019 (online; cited); NYT/BR 25 Aug. 2019 p. 15. Description: Michael S. Roth stakes out a pragmatist path through the thicket of issues facing colleges today to carry out the mission of higher education. With empathy, candor, subtlety, and insight, Roth offers a sane approach to the noisy debates surrounding affirmative action, political correctness, and free speech, urging us to envision college as a space in which students are em-powered to engage with criticism and with a variety of ideas. Countering the increasing cynical dismissal–from both liberals and conservatives–of the traditional core values of higher education, this book champions the merits of different diversities, including intellectual diversity, with a timely call for universities to embrace boldness, rigor, and practical idealism. (publ.)
Description: Historian Johann N. Neem offers a new way to think about the major questions facing higher education today, from online education to disruptive innovation to how students really learn. As commentators, reformers, and policymakers call for dramatic change and new educational models, this collection of lucid essays asks us to pause and take stock. What is a college education supposed to be? What kinds of institutions and practices will best help us get there? And which virtues must colleges and universities cultivate to sustain their desired ends? During this time of drift, Neem argues, we need to moor our colleges once again to their core purposes. By evaluating reformers’ goals in relation to the specific goods that a college should offer to students and society, this book connects public policy to deeper ethical questions. (publ.)
Reviewed: CHE 26 Apr. 2019 p. A15 (referenced) Description: People have been reading on computer screens for several decades now, predating popularization of personal computers and widespread use of the internet. But it was the rise of eReaders and tablets that caused digital reading to explode. In 2007, Amazon introduced its first Kindle. Three years later, Apple debuted the iPad. Meanwhile, as mobile phone technology improved and smartphones proliferated, the phone became another vital reading platform. Naomi Baron, an expert on language and technology, explores how technology is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read. Digital reading is increasingly popular. Reading onscreen has many virtues, including convenience, potential cost-savings, and the opportunity to bring free access to books and other written materials to people around the world. Yet, Baron argues, the virtues of eReading are matched with drawbacks. Users are easily distracted by other temptations on their devices, multitasking is rampant, and screens coax us to skim rather than read in-depth. What is more, if the way we read is changing, so is the way we write. In response to changing reading habits, many authors and publishers are producing shorter works and ones that don't require reflection or close reading. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 83; NYT/BR 13 Oct. 2019 p. 18. Description: What should I wear? It’s one of the fundamental questions we ask our-selves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs every sixth person on Earth. Historically, the apparel trade has exploited labor, the environment, and intellectual property–and in the last three decades, with the simultaneous unfurling of fast fashion, globalization, and the tech revolution, those abuses have multiplied exponentially, primarily out of view. We are in dire need of an entirely new human-scale model. Bestselling journalist Dana Thomas has traveled the globe to dis-cover the visionary designers and companies who are propelling the industry toward that more positive future by reclaiming traditional craft and launching cutting-edge sustainable technologies to produce better fashion. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 83; NYT/BR 15 Sept. 2019 p. 11. Description: As we become a more digital society, the gains that have been made for the environment by moving toward a paperless world with more and more efficient devices will soon be or already have been offset by the number of devices in our lives that are always using energy. But many don’t think about the impact on the environment of the “Internet of things.” Whether it’s a microwave connected to the internet, use of Netflix, or online shopping, these technological advances have created new impacts that the people who are most well-versed in these issues haven’t considered. In this book, Tatiana Schlossberg reveals the complicated, confounding and even infuriating ways that we all participate in a greenhouse gas-intensive economy and society, and how some of the biggest and most consequential areas of unintended emissions and environmental impacts are unknowingly part of our daily activities. She will empower people to make the best choices that they can, while allowing them to draw their own conclusions. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 14 June 2019 p. 32. Description: The pastoral image of Amish communities living simply and in touch with the land strikes a deep chord with many Americans. Environmentalists have lauded the Amish as iconic models for a way of life that is local, self-sufficient, and in harmony with nature. But the Amish themselves do not always embrace their ecological reputation, and critics have long questioned the portrayal of the Amish as models of environmental stewardship. In this book, David L. McConnell and Marilyn D. Loveless examine how this prevailing notion of the environmentally conscious Amish fits with the changing realities of their lives. Drawing on 150 interviews conducted over the course of 7 years, as well as a survey of household resource use among Amish and non-Amish people, they explore how the Amish understand nature in their daily lives and how their actions impact the natural world. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 23/30 Aug. 2019 p. 28 (excerpt) Description: April 1945, the last days of the Nazi regime. While bombs are falling on Berlin, the Gestapo still search for traitors, resistance fighters and deserters. People mistrust each other more than ever. In the midst of chaos, a disparate group–a disillusioned young soldier; a trade unionist and saboteur; a doctor helping refugees–continues to fight back. And in Oskar Klose’s pub, the resistance plan their next move, hunted at every step by the SS. Published in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, this is an unforgettable portrait of life in a city devastated by war. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Finale Berlin: Roman (Berlin: Dietz, 1948).
Reviewed: TLS 21 June 2019 p. 33. Description: The most significant poetic work of Slovak literature on anti-war issues is even today a sharp condemnation of the moral and social decline and humiliation of humanity brought about by the First World War. In addition to protesting the bloodshed, the poet, in 32 sonnets, asks who is responsible for the horrors and suffering, and expresses the hope that humanity will learn and live in peace. Hviezdoslav’s poetry was translated into English by the Irish poet and novelist John Minahane, who has been living and working in Slovakia since 1996. He adds a comprehensive introduction and chronology of the poet’s life. This edition of the English translation contains illustrations by Dušan Kállay. (publ.)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 90. Description: “The sound of the first word was made by a tree,” Esthela Calderón tells us in her poem “History,” to which “the animals and waters answered.” For those of us dwelling in concrete forests, it is all too easy to forget what goes on beyond the veils of so-called civilization and mass corporation; what had to happen for everything to be just as it is. … These poems shake our sensibilities into awareness of all the ancestors and just how inextricably linked we all are to other living beings. Her poems pace back and forth be-tween reserved simplicity and wide swaths of thick, expressive words to show that each plant and animal has consciousness, like when she says that “flowers are born from their memories / and live without thinking of death.” (Sarah Warren, WLT)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 81. Description: Nameer is a young Iraqi scholar earning his doctorate at Harvard, who is hired by filmmakers to help document the devastation of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the excursion, Nameer ventures to al-Mutanabbi street in Baghdad, famed for its bookshops, and encounters Wadood, an eccentric bookseller who is trying to catalogue everything destroyed by war, from ojjects, buildings, books and manuscripts, flora and fauna, to humans. En-trusted with the catalogue and obsessed with Wadood’s project, Nameer finds life in New York movingly intertwined with fragments from his home-land’s past and its present–destroyed letters, verses, epigraphs, and anecdotes–in this stylistically ambitious panorama of the wreckage of war and the power of memory. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 9 Aug. 2019 p. 30. Description: A city of stories–short, fragmented, amorphous, and at times contradictory–Tehran is an impossible tale to tell. For the capital city of one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East, its literary output is rarely acknowledged in the West. This unique celebration of its writing brings together ten stories exploring the tensions and pressures that make the city what it is: tensions between the public and the private, pressures from without–judgemental neighbours, the expectations of religion and society–and from within–family feuds, thwarted ambitions, destructive relation-ships. The psychological impact of these pressures manifests in different ways: a man wakes up to find a stranger relaxing in his living room and starts to wonder if this is his house at all; a struggling writer decides only when his girlfriend breaks his heart will his work have depth ... In all cases, coping with these pressures leads us, the readers, into an unexpected trove of cultural treasures–like the burglar, in one story, descending into the basement of a mysterious antique collector’s house–treasures of which we, in the West, are almost wholly ignorant. (publ.) Note: Works translated by Sara Khalili, Sholeh Wolpé, Alireza Abiz, Caro-line Croskery, Farzaneh Doosti, Shahab Vaezzadeh, Niloufar Talebi, Lida Nosrati, Susan Niazi and Poupeh Missaghi.
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 89. Description: These arresting stories capture the voices of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. A cleaning lady is caught up in a violent demonstration on her way to work. A five-year-old girl attempts to escape war-torn Syria with her mother by boat. A suicide bombing shatters a neighborhood in Aleppo. And in the powerful story, “Seher,” a young factory worker is robbed of her dreams in an unimaginable act of violence. Written with Demirtas’s signature wit, warmth, and humor, and alive with the rhythms of everyday speech, he paints a remarkable portrait of life behind the head-lines in Turkey and the Middle East–in all its hardship and adversity, freedom and hope. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Seher (Ankara: Dipnot Yayinlari, 2017).
Reviewed: Economist 22 Sept. 2018 p. 76 Description: In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her six-ties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s uncon-ventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved in the investigation. By no means a conventional crime story, this existential thriller by “one of Europe’s major humanist writers” (Guardian) offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalized people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination–and caused a genuine political uproar in Tokar-czuk’s native Poland. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Prowadz Swój Plug Przez Kosci Umarlych (Kra-ków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2009).
Reviewed: Poetry Foundation 4 Sept. 2019 POTD. Description: Explores what it is like to be a woman, a person of color, an immigrant, and a headscarf-wearing Muslim in a non-Muslim country. Kahf establish-es herself as a new voice in the tradition of ethnic American poets, blending the experiences of recent Arab-American immigrants into contemporary American scenery. In her poems, Muslim ritual and Qur’anic vocabulary move in next door to the idiom of suburban Americana, and the legendary Scheherazad of the Thousand and One Nights shows up in New Jersey. (publ.)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 86. Description: Xuan Juliana Wang’s debut story collection introduces us to the new and changing face of Chinese youth. From fuerdai (second-generation rich kids) to a glass-swallowing qigong grandmaster, her dazzling, formally inventive stories upend the immigrant narrative to reveal a new experience of be-longing: of young people testing the limits of who they are, in a world as vast and varied as their ambitions. Xuan Juliana Wang was born in Heilongjiang, China, and moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and received her MFA from Columbia University. (publ.)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 101. Description: Twenty-five years ago, Margaret Busby’s Daughters of Africa was published to international acclaim and hailed as an extraordinary body of achievement …a vital document of lost history (Sunday Times) and the ultimate reference guide (Washington Post). This anthology continues that tradition for a new generation. It brings together fresh and vibrant voices that have emerged from across the globe in the past two decades, from Antigua to Zimbabwe and Angola to the United States. Key figures, including Margo Jefferson, Nawal El Saadawi, Edwidge Danticat, and Zadie Smith, join popular contemporaries such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Imbolo Mbue, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Taiye Selasi, and Chinelo Okparanta in celebrating the heritage that unites them. Each of the pieces in this remarkable collection demonstrates an uplifting sense of sisterhood, honors the strong links that endure from generation to generation, and addresses the common obstacles female writers of color face as they negotiate issues of race, gender, and class and address vital matters of independence, freedom, and oppres-sion. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 21 June 2019 p. 8; LRB 12 Sept. 2019 p. 39; NYT/BR 29 Sept. 2019 p. 16. Description: A novel of two aging criminals at the butt ends of their damage-filled careers. In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen–Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs–sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter, Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humor and the hardboiled Hibernian lyricism that have made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today. (publ.) Note: Longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 80. Description: Contemplates the psychology of the female human body, looking at the ways it exists and moves in the world, refusing to be contained in the face of grief and trauma. Bold and raw, Mahtem Shiferraw’s poems explore what the woman’s body has to do to survive and persevere in the world, especially in the aftermath of abuse. (publ.)
Description: Many people have a love of maps. But what lies behind the process of map-making? How have cartographers through the centuries developed their craft and established a language of maps which helps them to better represent our world and users to understand it? This book tells the story of how widely accepted mapping conventions originated and evolved - from map orientation, projections, typography and scale, to the use of colour, map symbols, ways of representing relief and the treatment of boundaries and place names. It charts the fascinating story of how conventions have changed in response to new technologies and ever-changing mapping re-quirements, how symbols can be a matter of life or death, why universal acceptance of conventions can be difficult to achieve and how new mapping conventions are developing to meet the needs of modern cartography. (publ.)
Description: This clinically oriented book covers all aspects of the evidence-based decision making process in multidisciplinary management of the natural dentition. The book opens by clarifying the principles of evidence-based decision making and explaining how these principles should be applied in daily practice. Individual chapters then focus specifically, and in detail, on en-dodontic, periodontal, and prosthetic considerations, identifying aspects that need to be integrated into decision making and treatment planning. Evidence-based decision making with regard to preservation of the natural tooth versus extraction and implant placement is then discussed, and a concluding chapter examines likely future trends in dentistry and how they may affect clinical decision making. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 78. Description: As a teenager, Molly Case underwent an operation that saved her life. Nearly a decade later, she finds herself in the operating room again–this time as a trainee nurse. She learns to care for her patients, sharing not only their pain, but also life-affirming moments of hope. In doing so, she offers a compelling account of the processes that keep them alive, from respiratory examinations to surgical prep, and of the extraordinary moments of human connection that sustain both nurse and patient. In rich, lyrical prose, Case illustrates the intricacies of the human condition through the hand of a stranger offered in solace, a gentle word in response to fear and anger, or the witnessing of a person’s last breaths. It is these moments of empathy, in the extremis of human experience, that define us as people. (publ.) “At its core …[this is] a lucidly written narrative about patient care.” (PW)
Note: Library Standing Order. Description: Though first introduced in 2003, vaping’s popularity has rap-idly increased in recent years. Vaping involves the inhalation of aerosols and is generally considered safer than smoking tobacco, but little is currently known about its health impacts. Additionally, although evidence suggests that vaping can help curb tobacco smoking, there is also concern that it increases addiction among non-smokers, especially children and teenagers. This concern is exacerbated by marketing strategies for electronic cigarettes, which often seem targeted toward young people. The perspectives in this resource explore the facts that are currently available on vaping along with its relationship to addictive substances. (publ.)
Reviewed: FA 98(1) Jan./Feb. 2019 p. 201. Description: The era known as Reconstruction is one of the unhappiest times in Ameri-can history. It succeeded in reuniting the nation politically after the Civil War but in little else. Conflict shifted from the battlefield to the Capitol as Congress warred with President Andrew Johnson over just what to do with the South. Johnson’s plan of Presidential Reconstruction, which was sympathetic to the former Confederacy and allowed repressive measures such as the “black codes,” would ultimately lead to his impeachment and the institution of Radical Reconstruction. While Reconstruction saw the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments, expanding the rights and suffrage of African Americans, it largely failed to chart a progressive course for race relations after the abolition of slavery and the rise of Jim Crow. It also struggled to manage the Southern resistance towards a Northern free-labor economy. … Reconstruction suffered from poor leadership and uncertainty of direction, but it also laid the groundwork for renewed struggles for racial equality during the civil rights movement. In this concise history, award-winning historian Allen C. Guelzo delves into the constitutional, political, and social issues behind Reconstruction to provide a lucid and original ac-count of a historical moment that left an indelible mark on the American social fabric. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 25 Feb. 2019 p. 24. Description: Pastor and activist James E. Atwood issues an urgent call to action to Christians to work together to stop gun violence. An avid hunter for many years, Atwood enumerates the tragic and far-reaching costs that accrue in a country with more guns than people. He includes a generalized fear and loss of trust. Suicides and homicides. Trauma for children in neighbor-hoods plagued by gun violence and in schools with frequent lockdown drills. A toxic machismo that shapes our boys and men in unhealthy ways. Economic costs that exceed $229 billion per year. Atwood also considers the deeper story of racism, inequality, and mass incarceration in which the conversation about gun violence is lodged. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 25 Feb. 2019 p. 24. Description: Young people are suffering the most from the epidemic of gun violence—as early as kindergarten students are crouching behind locked doors during active shooter drills. Teens are galvanizing to speak up and fight for their right to be safe. They don’t just want to get involved, they want to change the world. … This handbook deftly explains America’s gun violence issues–myths and facts, causes and perpetrators, solutions and change-makers–and provides a road map for effective activism. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 25 Feb. 2019 p. 24. Description: Shannon Watts was a stay-at-home mom folding laundry when news broke of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. In one moment, she went from outraged to engaged and decided to do something about it. What started as a simple Facebook group to connect with other frustrated parents grew into Moms Demand Action, a national movement with mil-lions of supporters and a powerful grassroots network of local chapters in all 50 states. Shannon has been called “the NRA’s Worst Nightmare”–and her army of moms have bravely gone up against the gun lobby, showing up in their signature red shirts, blocking the hallways of congress with their strollers, electing gun sense candidates and running for office themselves, and proving that if the 80 million moms in this country come together, they can put an end to gun violence. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 93; NYT/BR 29 Sept. 2019 p. 9. Description: Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In this book, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. He weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. (publ.)
Reviewed: LR July 2019 p. 47 Description: English professor Peter Martin recounts the patriotic fervor in the early American republic to produce a definitive national dictionary that would rival Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of the English Language. But what began as a cultural war of independence from Britain devolved into a battle among lexicographers, authors, scholars, and publishers, all vying for dictionary supremacy and shattering forever the dream of a unified American language. The overwhelming questions in the dictionary wars involved which and whose English was truly American and whether a dictionary of English should attempt to be American at all, independent from Britain. Martin tells the human story of the intense rivalry between America’s first lexicographers, Noah Webster and Joseph Emerson Worcester, who fought over who could best represent the soul and identity of American culture. Webster believed an American dictionary, like the American language, ought to be informed by the nation’s republican principles, but Worcester thought that such language reforms were reckless and went too far. Their conflict continued beyond Webster’s death, when the ambitious Merriam brothers acquired publishing rights to Webster’s American Dictionary and launched their own language wars. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 104. Description: In the 1970s, the behavioral psychologist Herbert S. Terrace led a remark-able experiment to see if a chimpanzee could be taught to use language. A young ape, named “Nim Chimpsky” in a nod to the linguist whose theories Terrace challenged, was raised by a family in New York and instructed in American Sign Language. Initially, Terrace thought that Nim could create sentences but later discovered that Nim’s teachers inadvertently cued his signing. Terrace concluded that Project Nim failed–not because Nim couldn’t create sentences but because he couldn’t even learn words. Language is a uniquely human quality, and attempting to find it in animals is wishful thinking at best. The failure of Project Nim meant we were no closer to understanding where language comes from. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 45; LJ June 2019 p. 109. Description: Award-winning poet and literary critic Stephanie Burt offers an accessible introduction to the seemingly daunting task of reading, understanding, and appreciating poetry. Burt dispels preconceptions about poetry and ex-plains how poems speak to one another–and how they can speak to our lives. She shows readers how to find more poems once they have some poems they like, and how to connect the poetry of the past to the poetry of the present. Burt moves seamlessly from Shakespeare and other classics to the contemporary poetry circulated on Tumblr and Twitter. She challenges the assumptions that many of us make about “poetry,” whether we think we like it or think we don’t, in order to help us cherish–and distinguish among–individual poems. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 9 Aug. 2019 p. 29. Description: With the writers of the Golden Age as her guides–Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol and Turgenev, among others–Wheeler travels across eight time zones, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields and far-eastern Arctic tundra to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus. She follows nineteenth-century footsteps to make connections between then and now: between the places where flashing-epauletted Lermontov died in the aromatic air of Pyatigorsk, and sheaves of corn still stand like soldiers on a blazing after-noon, just like in Gogol’s stories. On the Trans-Siberian railway in winter she crunches across snowy platforms to buy dried fish from babushki, and in summer she sails the Black Sea where dolphins leapt in front of violet Abkhazian peaks. … At a time of deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news–a Russia of humanity and daily struggles. She gives voice to the “ordinary” people of Russia, and discovers how the writers of the Golden Age continue to represent their country today. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 20 May 2019 p. 28. Description: When a parent, spouse, sibling, or loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it can be difficult to know what to do. Your day can spiral into a never-ending series of tasks and attempts to communicate that leave you both frustrated. Instead of burning out, discover a new approach. When your loved one behaves differently than they used to, they’re just communicating in a new way. As caregivers, the most important thing we can do is learn that new language. (publ.)
Description: 9/11 was an inside job. The Holocaust is a myth promoted to serve Jewish interests. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were a false flag operation. Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. These are all conspiracy theories. A glance online or at bestseller lists reveals how popular some of them are. Even if there is plenty of evidence to disprove them, people persist in propagating them. Why? Philosopher Quassim Cassam explains how conspiracy theories are different from ordinary theories about conspiracies. He argues that conspiracy theories are forms of propaganda and their function is to promote a political agenda. Although conspiracy theories are sometimes defended on the grounds that they uncover evidence of bad behaviour by political leaders, they do much more harm than good, with some resulting in the deaths of large numbers of people. (publ.)
Description: You can hardly pass through customs at an airport today without having your picture taken and your fingertips scanned, that information then stored in an archive you’ll never see. Nor can you use your home’s smart technology without wondering what, exactly, that technology might do with all you’ve shared with it: shopping habits, security decisions, media choices. Every day, Americans surrender their private information to entities that claim to have their best interests in mind, in exchange for a promise of safety or convenience. This trade-off has long been taken for granted, but the extent of its nefariousness has recently become much clearer. The problem is not so much that data will be used in ways we don’t want, but rather how willing we have been to have our information used, abused, and sold right back to us. …Cappello shows that this state of affairs was not the inevitable by-product of technological progress. … Americans have had numerous opportunities to protect the public good while simultaneously safeguarding our information, and have squandered them every time. The wide range of the debates and incidents presented here shows that, despite America’s endless rhetoric of individual freedom, they actually have some of the weakest privacy protections in the developed world. (publ.)
Reviewed: LR June 2019 p. 43. Description: Statistics has played a leading role in our scientific understanding of the world for centuries, yet we are all familiar with the way statistical claims can be sensationalised, particularly in the media. In the age of big data, as data science becomes established as a discipline, a basic grasp of statistical literacy is more important than ever. In this book, David Spiegelhalter guides the reader through the essential principles we need in order to derive knowledge from data. Drawing on real world problems to introduce conceptual issues, he shows us how statistics can help us determine the luckiest passenger on the Titanic, whether serial killer Harold Shipman could have been caught earlier, and if screening for ovarian cancer is bene-=ficial. How many trees are there on the planet? Do busier hospitals have higher survival rates? Why do old men have big ears? Spiegelhalter re-=veals the answers to these and many other questions–questions that can only be addressed using statistical science. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 103; 20 May 2019 p. 73; LJ June 2019 p. 144; NYT/BR 1 Sept. 2019 p. 15. Description: Insects comprise roughly half of the animal kingdom. They live every-where–deep inside caves, 18,000 feet high in the Himalayas, inside computers, in Yellowstone’s hot springs, and in the ears and nostrils of much larger creatures. There are insects that have ears on their knees, eyes on their penises, and tongues under their feet. Most of us think life would be better without bugs. In fact, life would be impossible without them. Most of us know that we would not have honey without honeybees, but without the pinhead-sized chocolate midge, cocoa flowers would not pollinate. No cocoa, no chocolate. The ink that was used to write the Declaration of In-dependence was derived from galls on oak trees, which are induced by a small wasp. The fruit fly was essential to medical and biological research experiments that resulted in six Nobel prizes. Blowfly larva can clean difficult wounds; flour beetle larva can digest plastic; several species of insects have been essential to the development of antibiotics. Insects turn dead plants and animals into soil. They pollinate flowers, including crops that we depend on. They provide food for other animals, such as birds and bats. They control organisms that are harmful to humans. Life as we know it depends on these small creatures. (publ.)
Reviewed: WLT Summer 2019 p. 74. Description: This new edition of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change has been thoroughly updated to cover global record highs, new research across the spectrum, and the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gases. It re-mains a well-known and much-used reference for providing the most comprehensive, yet accessible, overview of where climate science stands today, acknowledging controversies but standing strong in its stance that the climate is changing–and we must respond. (publ.)
Description: In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 3 took the first photos of the far side of the moon. Even in their poor resolution, the images stunned scientists: the far side is an enormous mountainous expanse, not the vast lava-plains seen from Earth. Subsequent missions have confirmed this in much greater detail. How could this be, and what might it tell us about our own place in the universe? As it turns out, quite a lot. Fourteen billion years ago, the universe exploded into being, creating galaxies and stars. Planets formed out of the leftover dust and gas that coalesced into larger and larger bodies orbiting around each star. In a sort of heavenly survival of the fittest, planetary bodies smashed into each other until solar systems emerged. Curiously, instead of being relatively similar in terms of composition, the planets in our solar system, and the comets, asteroids, satellites and rings, are bewitchingly distinct. So, too, the halves of our moon. (publ.)
Description: Today’s debates about transgender inclusion and public restrooms may seem unmistakably contemporary, but they have a surprisingly long and storied history in the United States–one that concerns more than mere “potty politics.” Alexander K. Davis takes readers behind the scenes of two hundred years’ worth of conflicts over the existence, separation, and equity of gendered public restrooms, documenting at each step how bathrooms have been entangled with bigger cultural matters: the importance of the public good, the reach of institutional inclusion, the nature of gender difference, and, above all, the myriad privileges of social status. Chronicling the debut of nineteenth-century “comfort stations,” twentieth-century man-dates requiring separate-but-equal men’s and women’s rooms, and twenty-first-century uproar over laws like North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” Davis reveals how public restrooms are far from marginal or unimportant social spaces. Instead, they are–and always have been–consequential sites in which ideology, institutions, and inequality collide. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 94. Description: America is a land in which extremism no longer belongs to the country’s shadowy fringes, but comfortably exists in the national mainstream. That is the alarming conclusion by intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson, an expert on domestic extremism with more than twenty-five years of experience tracking radicalized groups for the US government. In this book, Johnson dissects the rapidly expanding forms of American hatred and radicalization, including white nationalists, antigovernment militias, antifascists (An-tifa), militant black nationalists, and extremist Islamic groups. The author develops a concise model that explains how extremists on both the far right and the far left use the same techniques to recruit and radicalize individuals into violent offenders. He also examines the political forces that fuel this threat and have kept the US government from properly identifying and developing countermeasures to deal with it, including a disproportional emphasis on Islamic terrorism. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 5 July 2019 p. 11. Description: Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave-owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South's slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave-owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave-owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America. (publ.)
Reviewed: TLS 21 June 2019 p. 8. Description: Sooner or later, our words take on meanings other than we intended. David Bromwich suggests that the conventional idea of persuasive rhetoric (which assumes a speaker’s control of calculated effects) and the modern idea of literary autonomy (which assumes that “poetry makes nothing happen”) together have produced a misleading account of the relations between words and human action. Words do make things happen. But they cannot be counted on to produce the result they intend. This volume studies examples from a range of speakers and writers and offers close readings of their words. Chapter 1 considers the theory of speech-acts propounded by J.L. Austin. “Speakers Who Convince Themselves” is the subject of chapter 2, which interprets two soliloquies by Shakespeare’s characters and two by Milton’s Satan. The oratory of Burke and Lincoln come in for extended treatment in chapter 3, while chapter 4 looks at the rival tendencies of moral suasion and aestheticism in the poetry of Yeats and Auden. The final chapter, a cause of controversy when first published in the London Re-view of Books, supports a policy of unrestricted free speech against con-temporary proposals of censorship. Since we cannot know what our own words are going to do, we have no standing to justify the banishment of one set of words in favour of another. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 10 Dec. 2018 p. 47. Description: In the tradition of The Elements of Style comes Trish Hall’s essential new work on writing well–a sparkling instructional guide to persuading (almost) anyone, on (nearly) anything. As the person in charge of the Op-Ed page for the New York Times, Hall spent years immersed in argument, passion, and trendsetting ideas–but also in tangled sentences, migraine-inducing jargon, and dull-as-dishwater writing. Drawing on her vast experience editing everyone from Nobel Prize winners and global strongmen (Putin) to first-time pundits (Angelina Jolie), Hall presents the ultimate guide to writing persuasively for students, job applicants, and rookie authors looking to get published. She sets out the core principles for connecting with readers–laid out in illuminating chapters such as “Cultivate Empathy,” “Abandon Jargon,” and “Prune Ruthlessly.” Combining boisterous anecdotes with practical advice (relayed in “tracked changes” bubbles), Hall offers an infinitely accessible primer on the art of effectively communicating above the digital noise of the twenty-first century. (publ.)
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