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Library Blog

LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Struggling For Air


Struggling For Air: Power Plants and The "War On Coal", by Richard L. Revesz & Jack Lienke

Struggling For Air

"Revesz (New York Univ.) and Lienke (Institute for Policy Integrity, New York Univ.) aim to show readers that congressional politics and coal industry lobbying conspired to produce a clean air regulatory regime in the US that continues to produce high levels of criteria pollutants while reinforcing the nation’s contribution to global climate change. The book is a primer on the idiosyncrasies of congressional debates over air pollution policy since the 1970s, the regionalization of anti-environmental interests, and the often venomous attacks on environmental leadership (e.g., President Obama) by conservative elites (i.e., Republicans in Congress). The arguments are often convincing. Students and lay readers will learn useful things about the politics of coal—and air pollution policy."

- Feldman, D. L. "Struggling For Air: Power Plants and The "War On Coal." Choice: Current Reviews For Academic Libraries 53.11 (2016): 1671. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.”

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age


A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind, by David J. Helfand

Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

"We live in the Information Age, with billions of bytes of data just two swipes away. Yet how much of this is mis- or even disinformation? A lot of it is, and your search engine can't tell the difference. As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it—indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to survive on this crowded and finite planet.
This survival guide supplies an essential set of apps for the prefrontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining. It will dissolve your fear of numbers, demystify graphs, and elucidate the key concepts of probability, all while celebrating the precise use of language and logic. David Helfand, one of our nation's leading astronomers and science educators, has taught scientific habits of mind to generations in the classroom, where he continues to wage a provocative battle against sloppy thinking and the encroachment of misinformation."

- From the publisher’s website: https://cup.columbia.edu

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Being Wrong


Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz

Being Wrong

"To err is human. Yet most of us go through life tacitly assuming (and sometimes noisily insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken – and why do we typically react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness and shame?
In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes our relationships—whether between family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations. Along the way, she takes us on a fascinating tour of human fallibility, from wrongful convictions to no-fault divorce, medical mistakes to misadventures at sea, failed prophecies to false memories, “I told you so!” to “Mistakes were made.” Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she proposes a new way of looking at wrongness. In this view, error is both a given and a gift – one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves.
In the end, Being Wrong is not just an account of human error but a tribute to human creativity – to the ways we generate and revise our beliefs about ourselves and the world. At a moment when economic, political, and religious dogmatism increasingly divide us, Schulz explores the seduction of certainty and the crisis occasioned by error with uncommon humor and eloquence. A brilliant debut from a new voice in nonfiction, this book calls on us to ask one of life’s most challenging questions: what if I’m wrong."

- From the publisher’s website: http://beingwrongbook.com/synopsis

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Con Men


The Con Men: Hustling in New York City, by Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

"This vivid account of hustling in New York City explores the sociological reasons why con artists play their game and the psychological tricks they use to win it. Terry Williams and Trevor B. Milton, two prominent sociologists and ethnographers, spent years with New York con artists to uncover their secrets. The result is an unprecedented view into how con games operate, whether in back alleys and side streets or in police precincts and Wall Street boiler rooms. Whether it's selling bootleg goods, playing the numbers, squatting rent-free, scamming tourists with bogus stories, selling knockoffs on Canal Street, or crafting Ponzi schemes, con artists use verbal persuasion, physical misdirection, and sheer charm to convince others to do what they want. Williams and Milton examine this act of performance art and find meaning in its methods to exact bounty from unsuspecting tourists and ordinary New Yorkers alike. Through their sophisticated exploration of the personal experiences and influences that create a successful hustler, they build a portrait of unusual emotional and psychological depth. Their work also offers a new take on structure and opportunity, showing how the city's unique urban and social architecture lends itself to the perfect con."

- From the publisher’s website: https://cup.columbia.edu

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The New Mutants


The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics, by Ramzi Fawaz

The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics

"In 1964, noted literary critic Leslie Fiedler described American youth as "new mutants," social rebels severing their attachments to American culture to remake themselves in their own image. 1960s comic book creators, anticipating Fiedler, began to morph American superheroes from icons of nationalism and white masculinity into actual mutant outcasts, defined by their genetic difference from ordinary humanity. These powerful misfits and "freaks" soon came to embody the social and political aspirations of America’s most marginalized groups, including women, racial and sexual minorities, and the working classes.
In The New Mutants, Ramzi Fawaz draws upon queer theory to tell the story of these monstrous fantasy figures and how they grapple with radical politics from Civil Rights and The New Left to Women’s and Gay Liberation Movements. Through a series of comic book case studies – including The Justice League of America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The New Mutants –alongside late 20th century fan writing, cultural criticism, and political documents, Fawaz reveals how the American superhero modeled new forms of social belonging that counterculture youth would embrace in the 1960s and after. The New Mutants provides the first full-length study to consider the relationship between comic book fantasy and radical politics in the modern United States."

- From the publisher’s website: http://nyupress.org/

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: From Jack Johnson to LeBron James


From Jack Johnson to LeBron James: Sports, Media, and the Color Line, Edited by Chris Lamb

From Jack Johnson to LeBron James: Sports, Media, and the Color Line

"The campaign for racial equality in sports has both reflected and affected the campaign for racial equality in the United States. Some of the most significant and publicized stories in this campaign in the twentieth century have happened in sports, including, of course, Jackie Robinson in baseball; Jesse Owens, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos in track; Arthur Ashe in tennis; and Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali in boxing. Long after the full integration of college and professional athletics, race continues to play a major role in sports. Not long ago, sportswriters and sportscasters ignored racial issues. They now contribute to the public’s evolving racial attitudes on issues both on and off the field, ranging from integration to self-determination to masculinity. From Jack Johnson to LeBron James examines the intersection of sports, race, and the media in the twentieth century and beyond. The essays are linked by a number of questions, including: How did the black and white media differ in content and context in their reporting of these stories? How did the media acknowledge race in their stories? Did the media recognize these stories as historically significant? Considering how media coverage has evolved over the years, the essays begin with the racially charged reporting of Jack Johnson’s reign as heavyweight champion and carry up to the present, covering the media narratives surrounding the Michael Vick dogfighting case in a supposedly post-racial era and the media’s handling of LeBron James’s announcement to leave Cleveland for Miami. "

- From the publisher’s website: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: How Would You Like to Pay?


How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money By Bill Maurer

How Would You Like to Pay: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money

"From Bitcoin to Apple Pay, big changes seem to be afoot in the world of money. Yet the use of coins and paper bills has persisted for 3,000 years. In How Would You Like to Pay?, leading anthropologist Bill Maurer narrates money's history, considers its role in everyday life, and discusses the implications of how new technologies are changing how we pay. These changes are especially important in the developing world, where people who lack access to banks are using cell phones in creative ways to send and save money. To truly understand money, Maurer explains, is to understand and appreciate the complex infrastructures and social relationships it relies on. Engaging and straightforward, How Would You Like to Pay? rethinks something so familiar and fundamental in new and exciting ways. Ultimately, considering how we would like to pay gives insights into determining how we would like to live."

- From the author’s website: https://www.dukeupress.edu/how-would-you-like-to-pay

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Food and the City


Food and the City: New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk about What They Do and Why They Do It By Ina Yalof

Food and the City: New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk about What They Do and Why They Do It

"New Yorkers are so obsessed with eating, they often forget who’s getting the food to them. Here are their stories and their struggles, with appearances by hurricanes, ghettos, poverty, 9/11, Rikers Island, real wars and hot dog wars. You’ll be charmed and you’ll be moved."
- Alan Richman, sixteen-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

"A wonderful book in which amazing cooks, chefs, and artisans tell their unique stories. I was particularly taken with the words of the immigrants, who are rarely celebrated. Their lives are not without struggles, crazy long hours and daily frustrations, yet the spirit of New York cuisine is in all of them."
- Jonathan Waxman, chef/owner Barbuto and Jams, NYC and author of Italian, My Way

"...Collectively, Yalof’s assortment of cuisines and memories paints a multiculturally diverse food tapestry, and each individually embodies a passion for food artistry that crosses generations, cultures, nationalities, and all manner of palates. A wide-ranging, toothsome smorgasbord of Gotham’s good eats and the tireless men and women behind each plate."
- Kirkus Review

- From the author’s website: http://www.inayalof.com/food-and-the-city/

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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Only Woman in the Room


The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys’ Club By Eileen Pollack

Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys’ Club

"…The Only Woman in the Room is a bracingly honest, no-holds-barred examination of the social, interpersonal, and institutional barriers confronting women—and minorities—in the STEM fields. This frankly personal and informed book reflects on women’s experiences in a way that simple data can’t, documenting not only the more blatant bias of another era but all the subtle disincentives women in the sciences still face."

- From the publisher’s website: http://www.beacon.org/The-Only-Woman-in-the-Room-P1145.aspx

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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.