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What to Read this Month: August 2017

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 17:16

whattoread

Welcome back to a new semester!  While you’re exploring all that Duke has to offer, why not explore our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections?  One of the great things about the books in these collections is the variety of subject areas and genres represented—everything  from popular novels, political histories, and books about animals (and many things in between).

monkeytalkMonkeytalk: Inside the Worlds and Minds of Primates by Julia Fischer. Monkey see, monkey do–or does she? Can the behavior of non-human primates–their sociality, their intelligence, their communication–really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves.  An eye-opening blend of storytelling, memoir, and science, Monkeytalk takes us into the field and the world’s primate labs to investigate the intricacies of primate social mores through the lens of communication.

mothstorytellingThe Moth Presents All these Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown, edited by Catherine Burns. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more.

walkawayWalkaway: A Novel by Cory Doctorow.  From New York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow, an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.  Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation SF thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years…and the very human people who will live their consequences.  You can read reviews here and here.

 

 

TheEvangelicalsThe Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald.  This groundbreaking book from a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America–from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election.  Evangelicals have in many ways defined the nation. They have shaped our culture and our politics. Frances FitGerald’s narrative of this distinctively American movement is a major work of history, piecing together the centuries-long story for the first time.  You can read reviews here and here.  You may also appreciate this interview with the author.

fortunateonesThe Fortunate Ones: A Novel by Ellen Umansky. One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–will connect the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in this enthralling and transporting debut novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.  This painting will bring Lizzie and Rose together and ignite an unexpected friendship, eventually revealing long-held secrets that hold painful truths. Spanning decades and unfolding in crystalline, atmospheric prose, this book is a haunting story of longing, devastation, and forgiveness, and a deep examination of the bonds and desires that map our private histories.

What to Read this Month: July 2017

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:18

What to Read this Month

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster.  Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born.  From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast.  Read reviews here and here.

American Sickness An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal.  At a moment of drastic political upheaval, this book is an investigation into the dangerous, expensive, and dysfunctional American healthcare system, as well as solutions to its myriad of problems.  Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries–the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers–that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before.  You can read a review here.

Comfort FoodComfort Food: Meanings and Memories, edited by Michael Owen Jones and Lucy M. Long, explores this concept with examples taken from Atlantic Canadians, Indonesians, the English in Britain, and various ethnic, regional, and religious populations as well as rural and urban residents in the United States. This volume includes studies of particular edibles and the ways in which they comfort or in some instances cause discomfort. The contributors focus on items ranging from bologna to chocolate, including sweet and savory puddings, fried bread with an egg in the center, dairy products, fried rice, cafeteria fare, sugary fried dough, soul food, and others.

Samantha IrbyWe Are Never Meeting in Real Life is a collection of essays by Samantha Irby, who runs the blog bitches gotta eat.  Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette—she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something”—detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms—hang in there for the Costco loot—she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

Fever of the BloodA Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel.  New Year’s Day, 1889.In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey.Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient–a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition?McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill–home of the Lancashire witches–where unimaginable danger awaits.

What to Read this Month: June 2017

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:42

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!

 The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes was named a “10 New Books we Recommend this Week” by the New York Times Book Review.  Tim O’Brien said that “The Afterlife of Stars moved me more than any other novel I’ve read in recent memory.” With dazzling storytelling and a firm belief in the power of humor in the face of turmoil, Kertes has crafted a fierce saga of identity and love that resonates through its final page. The Afterlife of Stars is not only a stirring account of one displaced family’s possibilities for salvation, but also an extraordinary tale of the singular and enduring ties of brotherhood.

 The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power by Joseph Turow is a revealing and surprising look at the ways that aggressive consumer advertising and tracking, already pervasive online, are coming to a retail store near you.  Drawing on his interviews with retail executives, analysis of trade publications, and experiences at insider industry meetings, advertising and digital studies expert Joseph Turow pulls back the curtain on these trends, showing how a new hyper-competitive generation of merchants–including Macy’s, Target, and Walmart–is already using data mining, in-store tracking, and predictive analytics to change the way we buy, undermine our privacy, and define our reputations.

Eveningland by Michael Knight is a collection of stories.  Grappling with dramas both epic and personal, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the “unspeakable misgivings of contentment,” Eveningland captures with crystalline poeticism and perfect authenticity of place the ways in which ordinary life astounds us with its complexity.   These stories, told with economy and precision, infused with humor and pathos, excavate brilliantly the latent desires and motivations that drive life forward.  You can read reviews here and here.

 

 I’d Die for You: And Other Lost Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a collection of the last remaining unpublished and uncollected short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Anne Margaret Daniel. Fitzgerald did not design the stories in I’d Die For You as a collection. Most were submitted individually to major magazines during the 1930s and accepted for publication during Fitzgerald’s lifetime, but were never printed. Some were written as movie scenarios and sent to studios or producers, but not filmed. Others are stories that could not be sold because their subject matter or style departed from what editors expected of Fitzgerald. They date from the earliest days of Fitzgerald’s career to the last. They come from various sources, from libraries to private collections, including those of Fitzgerald’s family.

 The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy.  In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.  You can read reviews here and here.