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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Far from the Tree


Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

"…Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human."

- From the author’s website: http://andrewsolomon.com/books/far-from-the-tree

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Undocumented


Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League By Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

"In this dogged journey of a Dominican boy "without papers," Peralta, currently a Mellon research fellow at Columbia University, describes his valiant battle against the obstacles of poverty, prejudice, and government red tape. Peralta, a native of Santo Domingo, came to America at age four with his undocumented parents, but financial demands forced his father to return home, leaving Peralta and his mother to fend for themselves. He writes candidly about hard times including a period spent in a dangerous homeless shelter, breaking through the harsh immigrant cliches to a pure humanistic level that any reader can embrace. Peralta found time to study despite the lack of financial stability; in time, he attended an elite Manhattan private school, then earned a degree from Princeton University. Understanding the "contradictions of his life," he describes himself: "illegal alien, hoodrat, Dominican, classicist," but states no one label could accurately fit him. Part memoir, part confessional, and part coming-of-age tale, Peralta's story holds several truths on the road through loss, sacrifice, and achievement to gaining his slice of the American dream."

- "Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League." Publishers Weekly 8 June 2015: 53. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Vital Question


The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life By Nick Lane

The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there's a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?

The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane's hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.

Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life's vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?–From the author's website: http://www.nick-lane.net

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Beach Book(s) of the Week

Beach Book(s) of the Week -- Recent Leisure Reading

City of the Lost cover'' Patience by Daniel Clowes book cover' Alice & Oliver by Bock cover''

Kill Em and Leave by McBride cover'' Glory Over Everything cover'' Before We Visit the Goddess cover''

Pick one just for fun! The library has a leisure reading collection which includes these books and many more. Ask a librarian about it!

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E101 Opens at noon today!; E111 still open

We're almost ready to open E101! E101 will be open at noon. The Annex is open now.

Library (E101) Closed 8/17-8/31;E111 Remaining Open

The main Library (E101) will be closed August 17-31 due to construction for the Library expansion project. Two-hour and three-day loan books will be available during this time. The Annex (E111) will remain open for:

  • Reading and studying
  • Consulting with a reference librarian
  • Returning all Library materials
  • Visit our site for ebooks and articles.

Please check here for updated open hours.



E101 Closed This Weekend; E111 Remaining Open

The Library (E101) will be closed August 6-7 due to construction for the Library expansion project.

Two-hour and three-day loan books will be available during this time.

The Annex (E111) will remain open for:

  • Reading and studying
  • Consulting with a reference librarian
  • Returning all Library materials

E141 will be open as a computer lab.

Visit our site for ebooks and articles.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – St. Marks is Dead

St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street By Ada Calhoun

St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street by Ada Calhoun

"A vibrant narrative history of three hallowed Manhattan blocks—the epicenter of American cool.

St. Marks Place in New York City has spawned countless artistic and political movements. Here Frank O’Hara caroused, Emma Goldman plotted, and the Velvet Underground wailed. But every generation of miscreant denizens believes that their era, and no other, marked the street’s apex. This idiosyncratic work of reportage tells the many layered history of the street—from its beginnings as Colonial Dutch Director-General Peter Stuyvesant’s pear orchard to today’s hipster playground—organized around those pivotal moments when critics declared 'St. Marks is dead.'

In a narrative enriched by hundreds of interviews and dozens of rare images, St. Marks native Ada Calhoun profiles iconic characters from W. H. Auden to Abbie Hoffman, from Keith Haring to the Beastie Boys, among many others. She argues that St. Marks has variously been an elite address, an immigrants’ haven, a mafia warzone, a hippie paradise, and a backdrop to the film Kids—but it has always been a place that outsiders call home.” – From the publishers website: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/St-Marks-Is-Dead/

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E101 Closed Next Two Weekends; E111 Remaining Open

The Library (E101) will be closed July 30-31 and August 6-7 due to construction for the Library expansion project.

Two-hour and three-day loan books will be available during this time.

The Annex (E111) will remain open for:

  • Reading and studying
  • Consulting with a reference librarian
  • Returning all Library materials

Visit our site for ebooks and articles.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – Unsettled

Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto by Eric Tang

Unsettled Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto by Eric Tang

"Scrupulous, courageous and fiercely argued, Unsettled is an ethnographic revelation. . . . Tang, a former organizer, brings to light the political ecology of a community that has survived war, genocide, and displacement and is now struggling to remake the Bronx hyperghetto, exposing in the process the ‘impossible’ condition that may be the fate of all refugee communities in the neoliberal city." —Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

“After surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide, followed by years of confinement to international refugee camps, as many as 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees arrived in the Bronx during the 1980s and ‘90s. Unsettled chronicles the unfinished odyssey of Bronx Cambodians, closely following one woman and her family for several years as they survive yet resist their literal insertion into concentrated Bronx poverty.

Eric Tang tells the harrowing and inspiring stories of these refugees to make sense of how and why the displaced migrants have been resettled in the “hyperghetto.” He argues that refuge is never found, that rescue discourses mask a more profound urban reality characterized by racialized geographic enclosure, economic displacement and unrelenting poverty, and the criminalization of daily life.

Unsettled views the hyperghetto as a site of extreme isolation, punishment, and confinement. The refugees remain captives in late-capitalist urban America. Tang ultimately asks: What does it mean for these Cambodians to resettle into this distinct time and space of slavery’s afterlife?” – From the publishers website: http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2333_reg.html

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – Saving Gotham

Saving Gotham: A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors, and the Fight for Eight Million Lives by Tom Farley, M.D.

Saving Gotham: A Billionaire Mayor, Activist Doctors, and the Fight for Eight Million Lives by Tom Farley, M.D.

"“In 2002, a dynamic doctor named Thomas Frieden became health commissioner of New York City. With support from the new mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Frieden and his health department team prohibited smoking in bars, outlawed trans fats in restaurants, and attempted to cap the size of sodas, among other groundbreaking actions. The initiatives drew heated criticism, but they worked: by 2011, 450,000 people had quit smoking, childhood obesity rates were falling, and life expectancy was growing.

Saving Gotham is the behind-the-scenes story of the most controversial—and successful—public health initiative of our time. Thomas A. Farley, MD, who succeeded Frieden as health commissioner, introduces a team of doctors who accepted the challenge of public health: to care for each of New York City’s eight million inhabitants as their own patients. The biggest threats they faced were not cholera or chemical toxins or lack of medical care but instead habits like smoking and unhealthy eating. As these doctors pressed to solve these problems, they found themselves battling those who encouraged those habits, and they reshaped their own agency for a different sort of fight.

Farley shows what happens when science-driven doctors are given the political cover to make society-wide changes to protect people from today’s health risks—and how industries exploit legislatures, the courts, the media, and public opinion to undermine them. With Washington caught in partisan paralysis and New York City’s ideas spreading around the world, Saving Gotham demonstrates how government—local government—can protect its citizens and transform health for everyone.”

– From the publishers website: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Saving-Gotham/

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – Just Kids from the Bronx

Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was By Arlene Alda

Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was By Arlene Alda

“A touching and provocative collection of memories that evoke the history of one of America's most influential boroughs-the Bronx-through some of its many success stories.

The vivid oral histories in Arlene Alda's Just Kids from the Bronx reveal what it was like to grow up in the place that bred the influencers in just about every field of endeavor. The Bronx is where Michael Kay, the New York Yankees' play-by-play broadcaster, first experienced baseball; where J. Crew's CEO Millard ("Mickey") Drexler found his ambition; where Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dava Sobel fell in love with science; and where local music making inspired singer-songwriter Dion DiMucci and hip-hop's Grandmaster Melle Mel.

The parks, the pickup games, the tough and tender mothers, the politics, the gangs, the food-for people who grew up in the Bronx, childhood recollections are fresh. Arlene Alda's own Bronx memories were a jumping-off point from which to reminisce with a nun, a police officer, an urban planner, and with Al Pacino, Carl Reiner, Colin Powell, Maira Kalman, Bobby Bonilla, Mary Higgins Clark, and many other leading artists, athletes, scientists, and entrepreneurs-experiences spanning six decades of Bronx living.”

– From the publishers website: http://us.macmillan.com/justkidsfromthebronx/arlenealda

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – The Gay Revolution

LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman cover

“The sweeping story of the modern struggle for gay, lesbian, and trans rights—from the 1950s to the present—based on amazing interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists, and members of the entire LGBT community who face these challenges every day.

The fight for gay, lesbian, and trans civil rights—the years of outrageous injustice, the early battles, the heart-breaking defeats, and the victories beyond the dreams of the gay rights pioneers—is the most important civil rights issue of the present day. Based on rigorous research and more than 150 interviews, The Gay Revolution tells this unfinished story not through dry facts but through dramatic accounts of passionate struggles, with all the sweep, depth, and intricacies only an award-winning activist, scholar, and novelist like Lillian Faderman can evoke.

The Gay Revolution begins in the 1950s, when law classified gays and lesbians as criminals, the psychiatric profession saw them as mentally ill, the churches saw them as sinners, and society victimized them with irrational hatred. Against this dark backdrop, a few brave people began to fight back, paving the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond. Faderman discusses the protests in the 1960s; the counter reaction of the 1970s and early eighties; the decimated but united community during the AIDS epidemic; and the current hurdles for the right to marriage equality.

In the words of the eyewitnesses who were there through the most critical events, The Gay Revolution paints a nuanced portrait of the LGBT civil rights movement.” -– – From the publisher’s website: http://books.simonandschuster.com/

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – Wedlocked

Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality - How African-Americans and Gays Mistakenly Thought the Right to Marry Would Set Them Free - By Katherine Franke

 Wedlocked The Perils of Marriage Equality By Katherine Franke

“The staggering string of victories by the gay rights movement’s campaign for marriage equality raises questions not only about how gay people have been able to successfully deploy marriage to elevate their social and legal reputation, but also what kind of freedom and equality the ability to marry can mobilize.

Wedlocked turns to history to compare today’s same-sex marriage movement to the experiences of newly emancipated black people in the mid-nineteenth century, when they were able to legally marry for the first time.”

“Wedlocked is a brilliantly conceived cautionary tale of the risks of securing a ‘freedom to marry.’ Drawing upon original research into the complications that marriage rights carried for slaves freed in the 1860s, Katherine Franke warns that marriage rights are not the unalloyed triumph for gay people and same-sex couples that the Supreme Court and virtually all commentators have claimed. Anyone interested in gay marriage should read this book—but so should anyone concerned about the stubborn perseverance of racism in America. For those who appreciate irony, compare this fascinating book with Justice Thomas’s skeptical dissent in the recent marriage equality cases.”-William N. Eskridge Jr.,author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003

– From the publishers website: http://nyupress.org

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week – The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper

BOOK OF THE WEEK

The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America

The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaeli

“Without the Chicago Defender, there would be no Great Migration. There would be no presidents John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, or Barack Obama. In fact, without the Chicago Defender, there would be no Chicago. At least not one we’d recognize.

If those claims sound hyperbolic, read The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, Ethan Michaeli’s captivating account of the Chicago Defender’s history and its undeniable impact—physical, social, and political—on the United States. From its genesis at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to its post-war heyday and eventual decline, Michaeli’s painstakingly researched narrative isn’t just the story of a newspaper, nor of a single African-American community, but the story of the entire city, country, and century.”

(Morgan, Adam. "Ethan Michaeli’s The Defender Will Change the Way You See Chicago." Chicago Review of Books. N.p., 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 June 2016.)

To find other books on related topics try searching the catalog for: (media or newspapers or press or journalism) AND (history or activism)

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See our previous Books of the Week here.