New Reads (Non Fiction) May 2015

Love Is Love: A new way to talk about family and partnership- Maria Bello biography
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The acclaimed actress and dedicated activist shares her personal journey of discovery, and destroys outdated ideas about partnership, love and family that will resonate with anyone in an unconventional life situation. Actress and activist Maria Bello made waves with her essay, “Coming Out as a Modern Family,” in the New York Times popular “Modern Love” column, in which she recalled telling her son that she had fallen in love with her best friend, a woman–and her relief at his easy and immediate acceptance with the phrase “Whatever Mom, love is love.” She made a compelling argument about the fluidity of partnerships, and how families today come in a myriad of designs. In her first book, Bello broadens her insights as she examines the idea of partnership in every woman’s life, and her own.

Weed The People – Bruce Barcott
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The legalization of marijuana is the next great reversal of history. Perhaps the most demonized substance in America, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa, simply a very fast growing herb, thrived underground as the nation’s most popular illegal drug. Now the tide has shifted: In 1996 California passed the nation’s first medical marijuana law, which allowed patients to grow it and use it with a doctor’s permission. By 2010, twenty states and the District of Columbia had adopted medical pot laws. In 2012 Colorado and Washington state passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana for adults age 21 and older. The magnitude of the change in America’s relationship to marijuana can’t be measured in only economic or social terms: There are deeper shifts going on here – cultural realignments, social adjustments, and financial adjustments. The place of marijuana in our lives is being rethought, reconsidered, and recalibrated.

 

Infamy – Richard Reeves (Internment Camps)
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Bestselling author Richard Reeves provides an authoritative account of the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens during World War II Less than three months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and inflamed the nation, President Roosevelt signed an executive order declaring parts of four western states to be a war zone operating under military rule. The U.S. Army immediately began rounding up thousands of Japanese-Americans, sometimes giving them less than 24 hours to vacate their houses and farms. For the rest of the war, these victims of war hysteria were imprisoned in primitive camps. In Infamy , the story of this appalling chapter in American history is told more powerfully than ever before. Acclaimed historian Richard Reeves has interviewed survivors, read numerous private letters and memoirs, and combed through archives to deliver a sweeping narrative of this atrocity. Men we usually consider heroes–FDR, Earl Warren, Edward R. Murrow–were in this case villains, but we also learn of many Americans who took great risks to defend the rights of the internees.

 

World Beyond Your Head – Matthew Crawford
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A groundbreaking new book from the bestselling author of Shop Class as Soulcraft In his bestselling book Shop Class as Soulcraft , Matthew B. Crawford explored the ethical and practical importance of manual competence, as expressed through mastery of our physical environment. In his brilliant follow-up, The World Beyond Your Head , Crawford investigates the challenge of mastering one’s own mind. We often complain about our fractured mental lives and feel beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. Any defense against this, Crawford argues, requires that we reckon with the way attention sculpts the self. Crawford investigates the intense focus of ice hockey players and short-order chefs, the quasi-autistic behavior of gambling addicts, the familiar hassles of daily life, and the deep, slow craft of building pipe organs. He shows that our current crisis of attention is only superficially the result of digital technology, and becomes more comprehensible when understood as the coming to fruition of certain assumptions at the root of Western culture that are profoundly at odds with human nature.

 

Spinster: Making A Life Of One’s Own – Kate Bolick
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A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate. “Whom to marry, and when will it happen–these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster , a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she–along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing–remains unmarried. This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless–the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life.

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