Thursday New Books


With the British Industrial Revolution, part of the world’s population started to experience extraordinary economic growth—leading to enormous gaps in wealth and living standards between the industrialized West and the rest of the world. This pattern of divergence reversed after World War II, and now we are midway through a century of high and accelerating growth in the developing world and a new convergence with the advanced countries—a trend that is set to reshape the world.

Michael Spence, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, explains what happened to cause this dramatic shift in the prospects of the five billion people who live in developing countries. The growth rates are extraordinary, and continuing them presents unprecedented challenges in governance, international coordination, and ecological sustainability. The implications for those living in the advanced countries are great but little understood.

Spence clearly and boldly describes what’s at stake for all of us as he looks ahead to how the global economy will develop over the next fifty years. The Next Convergence is certain to spark a heated debate how best to move forward in the post-crisis period and reset the balance between national and international economic interests, and short-term fixes and long-term sustainability.


A witty, provocative, story-filled inquiry into the indispensable virtue of loyalty—a tricky ideal that gets tangled and compromised when loyalties collide (as they inevitably do), but a virtue the author, a prizewinning columnist for The Wall Street Journal, says is as essential as it is impossible. Felten illustrates the push and pull of loyalties— from the ancient Greeks to Facebook—with stories and scenarios in which conflicting would-be moral trump cards trap the unlucky in painful ethical dilemmas. The foundation of our greatest satisfactions in life, loyalty also proves to be the root of much misery. Can we escape the excruciating predicaments when loyalties are at loggerheads? Can we avoid betraying and being betrayed?

When looking for love and friendship—the things that make life worthwhile—we are looking for loyalty. Who can we count on? And who can count on us? These are the essential (and uncomfortable) questions loyalty poses.

Loyalty and betrayal are the stuff of the great stories that move us: Agamemnon, Huck Finn, Brutus, Antigone, Judas. When is loyalty right, and when does the virtue become a vice?

As Felten writes in his thoughtful and entertaining book, loyalty is vexing. It forces us to choose who and what counts most in our lives—from siding with one friend over another to favoring our own children over others. It forces us to confront the conflicting claims of fidelity to country, community, company, church, and even ourselves. Loyalty demands we make decisions that define who we are.


The horrors that thousands of lesbian and gay couples face are detailed in this moving political and personal story of immigration and love. As Judy and Karin’s legal battles reveal, when only one half of a gay couple is an American citizen, immigration struggles are confounded by the fact that the partners cannot legally marry in most parts of the United States. With resources that outline which organizations can help and what the challenges and the realities of this situation are, this reference reaches out to couples, their friends and family, and anyone interested in assisting by offering advice and camaraderie on this subset of the gay marriage issue. Royalties from the book, which is published in association with Immigration Equality and Out4Immigration, go to groups working to overcome immigration denial for gay couples.


Africa does not give up its secrets easily. Buried there lie answers about the origins of humankind. After a century of investigation, scientists have transformed our understanding about the beginnings of human life. But vital clues still remain hidden.

In Born in Africa, Martin Meredith follows the trail of discoveries about human origins made by scientists over the last hundred years, recounting their intense rivalry, personal feuds, and fierce controversies as well as their feats of skill and endurance.

The results have been momentous. Scientists have identified more than twenty species of extinct humans. They have firmly established Africa as the birthplace not only of humankind but also of modern humans. They have revealed how early technology, language ability, and artistic endeavour all originated in Africa; and they have shown how small groups of Africans spread out from Africa in an exodus sixty thousand years ago to populate the rest of the world. We have all inherited an African past.


Channeling Steven Millhauser by way of George Saunders, The Great Frustration is a sparkling debut, equal parts fable and wry satire. Seth Fried balances the dark—a town besieged, a yearly massacre, the harem of a pathological king—with moments of sweet optimism—researchers unexpectedly inspired by discovery, the triumph of a doomed monkey, the big implications found in a series of tiny creatures.

In “Loeka Discovered,” a buzz flows throughout a lab when scientists unearth a perfectly preserved prehistoric man who suggests to them the hopefulness of life, but the more they learn, the more the realities of ancient survival invade their buoyant projections. “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre” meditates on why an entire town enthusiastically rushes out to the annual picnic that ends, year after year, in a massacre of astonishing creativity and casualty. The title story illuminates the desires and even the violence that surges beneath the tenuous peace among the animals in the Garden of Eden.

Fried’s stories suggest that we are at our most compelling and human when wrestling with the most frustrating aspects of both the world around us and of our very own natures—and in the process shows why he is a talent to be watched.


There is something that publishers of poetry need to learn: Quit putting sucky images on the covers of your poetry books. YES, you are selling ART but nobody cares about the symbolic representations/suggestions of the cover, if the image is bland and dated. You are doing your/our poets a disservice! Do this not that. Especially when the poetry is actually good:

My Mother As Penelope

Lemon rinds in the dried brook bed,
fireflies failing to light -

all, like me,
suffer the occasional drought.

Outside my window,
no islands of foliage

block my view to the shore.
No river noises trickle in.

Listen, after years of waiting,
I tire of the myth I've become.

If I am not an ocean,
I am nothing.

If I am not a world unto itself,
I need to know it.


"Living Extra Lean has allowed me to enjoy food more than ever, while maintaining my best health, and I want nothing less for my family or yours!" -Mario Lopez

Understanding that a long and healthy life starts at home, actor and host Mario Lopez carefully developed the Extra Lean plan with one simple understanding: what you eat affects those closest to you. As a proud new father himself, Mario is committed to helping his family start on the right foot when it comes to what they eat by applying the principles of Extra Lean to the household. And the first place to start is in the kitchen.

In Extra Lean Family, Mario shows readers how to use the vital resources from Extra Lean to broaden the spectrum of foods your family eats and how to enjoy food and maintain your best health by cooking healthy, quick, and delicious meals. You and your family will take charge of what you eat, control the quality and preparation of meals, and consistently achieve lean results with the guidance of Extra Lean Family. Includes:

  • Detailed food planning tools-including weekly grocery lists-to ensure efficient food prep to jumpstart the week and keep your health on track


  • More than 40 appetizing and exciting recipes that can all be prepared in 20 minutes or less


  • Dozens of simple and satiating snack options that can combat hunger between meals and keep your metabolism moving fast


This fool-proof plan also offers a food journal and nutritional guidelines for different builds and ages. Extra Lean Family will transform the way your family eats, achieve short and long-term health goals, and allow everyone to enjoy delicious food, without the guilt, for life.

And if you don't like Mario in his so-ever cute blue polo, you can buy the same book with him sporting a very so-ever cute black polo.

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