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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Cover of ''Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity''

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

"A Mumbai slum offers rare insight into the lives and socioeconomic and political realities for some of the disadvantaged riding the coattails (or not) of India's economic miracle in this deeply researched and brilliantly written account by New Yorker writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Boo.

Divided into four parts, the narrative brings vividly to the page life as it is led today in Annawadi, a squalid and overcrowded migrant settlement of some 3,000 people squatting since 1991 on a half-acre of land owned by the Sahar International Airport. (Boo derives her title from a richly ironic real-world image: a brightly colored ad for floor tiles repeating "Beautiful Forever" across a wall shutting out Annawadi from the view of travelers leaving the airport.) Among her subjects is the fascinating Abdul, a sensitive and cautiously hopeful Muslim teenager tirelessly trading in the trash paid for by recycling firms. Crucially, Boo's commanding ability to convey an interior world comes balanced by concern for the structural realities of India's economic liberalization (begun the same year as Annawadi's settlement), and her account excels at integrating the party politics and policy strategies behind eruptions of deep-seated religious, caste, and gender divides. Boo's rigorous inquiry and transcendent prose leave an indelible impression of human beings behind the shibboleths of the New India. "

"Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity." Publishers Weekly 258.42 (2011): 61. Education Research Complete. Web. 2 July 2013.

This book will be shelved at HV4140.M86 B66 2012 with other books on urban poverty once it is not a "New book."

Ask a librarian to help you find resources on this or related topics.

See our previous Books of the Week here.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: American Genesis

Cover of ''American Genesis: The Evolution Controversies from Scopes to Creation Science''

American Genesis: The Evolution Controversies from Scopes to Creation Science by Jeffrey P. Moran

The question of teaching evolution in the public schools is a continuing and frequently heated political issue in America. From Tennessee's Scopes Trial in 1925 to recent battles that have erupted in Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, and countless other localities, the critics and supporters of evolution have fought nonstop over the role of science and religion in American public life.

In American Genesis, Jeffrey P. Moran explores the ways in which the evolution debate has reverberated beyond the confines of state legislatures and courthouses. Using extensive research in newspapers, periodicals, and archives, Moran shows that social forces such as gender, regionalism, and race have intersected with the debate over evolution in ways that shed light on modern American culture. He investigates, for instance, how antievolutionism deepened the cultural divisions between North and South--northerners embraced evolution as a sign of sectional enlightenment, while southerners defined themselves as the standard bearers of true Christianity. Evolution debates also exposed a deep gulf between conservative Black Christians and secular intellectuals such as W. E. B. DuBois. Moran also explores the ways in which the struggle has played out in the universities, on the internet, and even within the evangelical community. Throughout, he shows that evolution has served as a weapon, as an enforcer of identity, and as a polarizing force both within and without the churches.

From the publisher's website

This book will be shelved at QH 362 M67 2012 with other books on evolution once it is not a "New book."

Ask a librarian to help you find resources on this or related topics.

See our previous Books of the Week here.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: The Condemnation of Blackness

Cover of ''The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America''

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America By Khalil Gibran Muhammad

"Lynch mobs, chain gangs, and popular views of black southern criminals that defined the Jim Crow South are well known. We know less about the role of the urban North in shaping views of race and crime in American society.

Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites—liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners—as indisputable proof of blacks’ inferiority. In the heyday of “separate but equal,” what else but pathology could explain black failure in the "land of opportunity"?

The idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans’ own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, Khalil Gibran Muhammad reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies."

From the publisher's website

This book is an electronic title accessible via the Library's catalog, CUNY+. You will need to log on to access it from off campus.

Ask a librarian to help you find resources on this or related topics.

See our previous Books of the Week here.



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Fire in the Ashes

Cover of ''Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years among the Poorest Children in America''

Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years among the Poorest Children in America By Jonathan Kozol

"National Book Award-winner Kozol (The Shame of the Nation) again traces the workings of "savage inequalities"--this time on a generational timescale--in this engrossing chronicle of lives blighted and redeemed. He follows the fortunes of people he met decades ago in a squalid Manhattan welfare hotel and in the South Bronx's Mott Haven ghetto, whose stories range from heartbreaking to hopeful: traumatized boys grow into lost and vicious men; teens go to college and beyond with the help of mentors; many drift through years of addiction, violent relationships, and prison before achieving a semblance of stability and focus.

These lives are full of choices, good and spectacularly bad, but Kozol highlights the institutional forces that shape: them: social service bureaucracies that warehouse the homeless in hellholes; immigration regulations that break up families; the academic "killing fields" of the Bronx's terrible middle schools; the neighborhood church whose ministries rescue many kids. Eschewing social science jargon and deploying extraordinary powers of observation and empathy, Kozol crafts dense, novelistic character studies that reveal the interplay between individual personality and the chaos of impoverished circumstances. Like a latter-day Dickens (but without the melodrama), he gives us another powerful indictment of America's treatment of the poor."

"Fire In The Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among The Poorest Children In America." Publishers Weekly 259.25 (2012): 52. Academic OneFile. Web. 21 May 2013.

This book will be shelved at HV 741 K674 2012 once it is not a "New book."

The library has many of Mr. Kozol’s other books. Ask a librarian for help finding them or other sources on this topic.

See our previous Books of the Week here.



Ngozi Agbim, 1940-2013, Former Chief Librarian

From Chief Librarian Jane Devine:

"It is with great sadness that the Library announces the passing of former Chief Librarian Ngozi Agbim, who was killed in a tragic traffic accident in Brooklyn yesterday, June 24, 2013.

Ngozi was an employee of LaGuardia Community College for over three decades, retiring in 2004. She worked tirelessly on behalf of LaGuardia students, faculty and staff to provide the best library services possible, a legacy that continues to today. She was a driving force behind the Library's move to its current location, the computerization of LaGuardia's Library and Media Resources Center, the Library's Instruction program and countless other programs and initiatives to help the student and faculty experience in the Library.

In retirement, Ngozi worked on various charitable causes with the same tireless, driven effort she provided LaGuardia with during her years of service. She was vibrant and active. Her life was cut short."



LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Cover of ''Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?''

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson

"In her new memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Winterson returns to the source, her grim girlhood in a sooty English industrial town in the 1960s, to tell her story more forthrightly than she has before. Aiming for narrative tidiness tends to dilute this memoir's delightfully unorthodox quality. But for the most part, this bullet of a book is charged with risk, dark mirth, and hard-won self-knowledge."

—Parul Sehgal, Bookforum

A memoir as unconventional and winning as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the rollicking bildungsroman...that instantly established [Winterson's] distinctive voice...

It's a testament to Winterson's innate generosity, as well as her talent, that she can showcase the outsize humor her mother’s equally capacious craziness provides even as she reveals cruelties Mrs. Winterson imposed on her....To confront Mrs. Winterson head on, in life, in nonfiction, demands courage; to survive requires imagination.... But put your money on Jeanette Winterson. Seventeen books ago, she proved she had what she needed. Heroines are defined not by their wounds, but by their triumphs.

New York Times

This book will be shelved at PR 6073 I558 Z46 2011 once it is not a "New book." Other books by this author are available from various CUNY libraries and can be requested.

Ask a librarian for help finding this book or other sources on this topic.

See our previous Books of the Week here.