LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
"Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human."
This book will be shelved at QE721.2 .E97 K65 2014, with other books on paleontology, once it is no longer a "New Book."
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Masters of the Word
Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History from the Alphabet to the Internet by William J. Bernstein
"This sweeping, although selective, historical narrative by award-winning financial historian Bernstein elucidates in highly readable fashion the role of ‘media’—in which he includes advances from ancient alphabets to movable type to twenty-first-century technology—in shaping civilization and determining democratic versus despotic tendencies. Bernstein's thesis that 'power accruesto the literate' should not be taken simplistically; his larger arguments are learned and elegantly made. … His occasional invocation of modern phenomena in a nonmodern context … lend charm and clarity to what might have otherwise been dauntingly erudite. Instead, Bernstein offers an accessible, quite enjoyable, and highly informative read that will hold surprises even for those familiar with some of the history he covers."
Levine, Mark. "Masters Of The Word: How Media Shaped History." Booklist 109.14 (2013): 32. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.
This book will be shelved at P90 .B43 2013 with other books on communication once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall
Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones
"British journalist Ellsworth-Jones (We Will Not Fight…) here profiles the elusive Banksy, a street artist who fiercely defends what's left of his anonymity and credentials as an outsider. Ellsworth-Jones does a superb job of threading his way through the fascinating world of street and outsider art, asking all the important questions that arise when the art world, social commentary, questions of what is public vs. private, and – most important — commerce, collide.
What does it tell us about the state of the art world when a self-proclaimed vandal and prankster who became famous for stenciling on public walls and surreptitiously adding his own work to famous museums, suddenly commands six figures for his work, produces an Oscar-nominated documentary about an eccentric camera buff (who originally claimed to be making a documentary about him), and needs a sophisticated organization to protect and provide authentication for pieces previously regarded as defacement of public property? Banksy's work is competent, clever, thought-provoking, and accessible.
VERDICT A fluent, enjoyable discussion of an important contemporary cultural phenomenon; this book will appeal especially to readers who are fans of Banksy's work and is an essential title for devotees of pop culture and outsider art."
Woodhouse, Mark. "Banksy: The Man Behind The Wall." Library Journal 138.1 (2013): 86. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 4 Sept. 2014.
This book will be shelved at GT3913.43 .B36 2013, with other books on graffiti, once it is no longer a "New Book.
LaGuardia Library (Beach) Books of the Week
Recent Leisure Reading
Pick one just for fun!
The library has a leisure reading collection which includes these books and many more. Ask a librarian about it!
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Snowden Files
The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding
"A newsworthy, must-read book about what prompted Edward Snowden to blow the whistle on his former employer, the National Security Agency, and what likely awaits him for having done so. … The author casts the prime motivation as a kind of revulsion born of Snowden's experience as an analyst knee-deep in material that-it is very clear-was none of the NSA's business, reinforced by Snowden's time stationed in the relative freedom of Switzerland. It is also clear that Snowden's act was premeditated, though not out of anti-Americanism (he's a Ron Paul-type libertarian, it seems) and not for monetary impulse, though he could have sold the documents to any one of a number of foreign powers.
Harding closes with the thought that Snowden may have no other home for some time to come-but that even wider implications remain to be explored, including the possibility that British activists might be able to introduce something like the First Amendment to protect its press in the future. Whether you view Snowden's act as patriotic or treasonous, this fast-paced, densely detailed book is the narrative of first resort."
"The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World's Most Wanted Man." Kirkus Reviews 82.5 (2014): 310. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 8 July 2014.
This book will be shelved at JF 1525 .W45 .H37 2014, with other books on government intelligence, once it is no longer a "New Book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin
"What was in the water in Toms River? A seemingly high number of childhood cancer cases in the New Jersey town prompted the question, but there turned out to be no easy answer. As Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) investigated the tragic impact that unethical scientific pursuits had on a family, Toms River unravels the careless environmental practices that damaged a community. The book goes beyond the Toms River phenomenon itself to examine the many factors that came together in that one spot, from the birth of the synthetic chemical industry to the evolution of epidemiology to the physicians who invented occupational medicine.
Former Newsday environmental journalist Fagin's work may not be quite as riveting in its particulars as Skloot's book, but it features jaw-dropping accounts of senseless waste-disposal practices set against the inspiring saga of the families who stood up to the enormous Toms River chemical plant. The fate of the town, we learn, revolves Thoreson around the science that cost its residents so much."
Thoreson, Bridget. "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation." Booklist 15 Feb. 2013: 23. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 July 2014.
This book is shelved in the nonfiction leisure collection by the author's last name (Fagin).
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge
Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge by Etan Thomas with Nick Chiles
"Thomas, a star in the NBA as a center for the Atlanta Hawks as well as a participant in President Obama's Fatherhood Initiative, states upfront that he's "not a fatherhood expert." But having collected essays offering insights and experiences about fatherhood from a fascinating and diverse range of individuals—including Bill Cosby, John King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andre Agassi, and others—Thomas has produced an insightful book that provides "a manual for fathers new and old."
Many of the pieces address the experience of fatherless kids in African-American communities. But from rapper Ice Cube to filmmaker Michael Moore, the book's message is one of hope. As Moore states, "One of the 'Big Lies' that we are told in our society is that there's something wrong with you if you come from a 'broken home' or a home with a single mother." Thomas also offers a moving tribute to the many single mothers "who are forced to take on the role of the father in the household." While Thomas's "Tao of fatherhood" is a wonderful distillation of all the book's insights—"Be there"— his book also contains a plethora of memorable and eloquent advice for all fathers, such as that from Dr. Cornel West: "To be a great father, you must be a militant for tenderness, an extremist for love, a fanatic for fairness, and, in the larger society, a drum major for justice.""
"Fatherhood: Rising To The Ultimate Challenge." Publishers Weekly 259.13 (2012): 73-74. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 8 July 2014.
This book will be shelved at at HQ756 .T476 2013 with other books on parenting once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Walkable City
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
"Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. Making downtown into a walkable, viable community is the essential fix for the typical American city; it is eminently achievable and its benefits are manifold.
Walkable City — bursting with sharp observations and key insights into how urban change happens—lays out a practical, necessary, and inspiring vision for how to make American cities great again."
This book will be shelved at at HT 175 S64 2013 with other books on urban studies once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness
The Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness by Giles Slade
"In The Big Disconnect, award-winning writer Giles Slade offers a bracing look at an America where intimacy with machines is increasingly replacing mutual human intimacy. In a sweeping overview that ranges from the late nineteenth century to the present, Slade reveals how consumer technologies changed from analgesic devices that ameliorated the loneliness of a newly urban generation in the Gilded Age to prosthetic machines that act as substitutes for companionship in contemporary America. Mining insights from neuroscience, the author delves deeply into the history of this transformation, showing why Americans use certain technologies to mediate their connections with other human beings instead of seeking out face-to-face contacts. In a final investigative section, Slade describes ways in which some people are bucking the trend by consciously including interpersonal strategies that build empathy, community, and mutual acceptance."
This book will be shelved at at T 14.5 S577 with other books on technology once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The DREAMers
The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate by Walter J. Nicholls
"The DREAMers provides the first investigation of the youth movement that has transformed the national immigration debate, from its start in the early 2000s through the present day. Walter Nicholls draws on interviews, news stories, and firsthand encounters with activists to highlight the strategies and claims that have created this now-powerful voice in American politics. Facing high levels of anti-immigrant sentiment across the country, undocumented youths sought to increase support for their cause and change the terms of debate by arguing for their unique position—as culturally integrated, long term residents and most importantly as "American" youth sharing in core American values.
Since 2010 undocumented activists have increasingly claimed their own space in the public sphere, asserting a right to recognition—a right to have rights. Ultimately, through the story of the undocumented youth movement, The DREAMers shows how a stigmatized group—whether immigrants or others—can gain a powerful voice in American political debate."
This book will be shelved at at JV6477 .N53 2013 with other books on immigration once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the LGBT Community
That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesiban, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community by Kevin Nadal
"While overt forms of discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have been well documented, members of this community, throughout their lives are also subject to a host of microaggressions. Although more subtle, these "smaller" forms and acts of discrimination can have cumulative negative effects on physical and mental health. That’s So Gay! reviews the history of discrimination toward LGBT people and shows how microaggressions manifest in families, the workplace, health care stings, the media, school systems, and society at large.
—from the book jacket
Dr. Nadal is a psychology professor at John Jay.
This book will be shelved at at HQ 73 N24 2013 with other books on sexuality once it is not a new book.
Maya Angelou Remembered
Maya Angelou, who passed away last week, first reached a large audience with the publication of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
In Newsweek’s original review, the reviewer wrote:
"Her autobiography regularly throws out rich, dazzling images which delight and surprise with their simplicity: a call of nature in church (“…a green persimmon, or it could have been a lemon, caught me between the legs and squeezed”), cold cathead biscuits that "sat down on themselves with the conclusiveness of a fat woman sitting in an easy chair," and many other usually unnoticed incidents of daily life.
But Miss Angelou’s book is more than a tour de force of language or the story of childhood suffering: it quietly and gracefully portrays and pays tribute to the courage, dignity and endurance of the small, rural Southern black community in which she spent most of her early years in the 1930s."
For the complete review see http://www.newsweek.com/newsweeks-original-review-i-know-why-caged-bird-sings-252587
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion Elizabeth L. Cline
"Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are pro¬ducing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.
But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?"
This book will be shelved at HD 9940 A2 C54 with other books on the clothing trade once it is not a new book.
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Moby-Duck
Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalist, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn
"Whimsical curiosity begets a quixotic odyssey and troubling revelations about plastics polluting the seas in former high school teacher and journalist Hohn's charming account of what he learned searching for 28,800 rubber bath toys lost at sea in 1992. His curiosity, prompted by a student's quirky essay, begins in 2005 around Sitka, Alaska, where yellow "duckies," frogs, turtles, and beavers washed up after three-story waves buffeted a container ship traveling from China to America. Hohn, a senior editor at Harper's magazine, eventually tracks more rogue ducks bobbing up from isolated Gore Point, Alaska, to Maine beaches. The author's quest leads him to a research vessel trawling for degraded plastic in Hawaiian seas, to the Chinese factory where the toys were manufactured, aboard a container vessel traversing the same route as the original ship (a particularly hair-raising section), and finally to the high Arctic to study the science of oceanic drift. Packed with seafaring lore and astute reporting, this enthralling narrative is the Moby Dick of drifting ducks."
"Moby-Duck: The True Story Of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost At Sea And Of The Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, And Fools, Including The Author, Who Went In Search Of Them." Publishers Weekly 257.42 (2010): 36. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 15 May 2014.
This book will be shelved at GC 231.2 H65, with books on oceanography when it is no longer a "new book."
LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Words Will Break Cement
Words will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen
"On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a "punk prayer" beseeching the "Mother of God" to "get rid of Putin." They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.
Masha Gessen's riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph."
This book will be shelved at ML 421 .P88 G47 2014 with other music books when it is no longer a "new book."