Champagne Supernovas

Champagne Supernovas

Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the ’90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion by Maureen Callahan

TT 505 .A1 C35 2014

“At the dawn of the ’90s, three figures were about to change the face of fashion – and culture – forever.

Marc Jacobs was a gorgeous, cool-kid prodigy who had a gift for design and a flair for self-promotion – but his brashness and untamed lifestyle threatened his talent and his entire empire.

Alexander McQueen was a brilliant hellion whose dark obsessions typified the cultural moment and electrified the fashion world – until those same demons became too much for him to handle.

And Kate Moss was an ordinary teenager whose waifish looks came to redefine beauty in the new decade – but who increasingly relied on sex, drugs, and alcohol to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Each had an amazing talent, and each had a dark side that nearly destroyed them. Collectively, they came to represent a moment in fashion and pop culture that upended everything that had come before it – and changed everything that followed. This trio emerged at the exact moment when supermodel glamazons gave way to heroin chic and when hair-metal gave way to grunge. Kate, Marc, and McQueen were three of the central figures who would define the era, but their lasting importance would only become clear in the years that followed. A revolution took place, and no one noticed. Until now.

Just as movies were the driving cultural force in the 1970s, and art was that force in the 1980s, in the 1990s it was fashion that became the prism through which popular culture was refracted. These three iconoclasts, along with others who entered their orbit, collided to create a visionary brew of art, decadence, and genius that would represent not only a sea change in fashion, but also a larger shift in style, commerce, and culture. This was the decade when the alternative became the mainstream – and the mainstream became a multibillion-dollar business.

Through more than one hundred original, in-depth interviews, Maureen Callahan explores this pivotal period through the lives of three people who would become both icons and cautionary tales of the era. Champagne Supernovas is the story of that singular time, as exemplified by the lives of a group of lost souls and wayward geniuses who forever changed the look of the world around us.”
– publisher description

How We Learn

How We Learn

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
by Benedict Carey

BF 318 .C366 2014

“From an early age, it is drilled into our heads: Restlessness, distraction, and ignorance are the enemies of success. We’re told that learning is all self-discipline, that we must confine ourselves to designated study areas, turn off the music, and maintain a strict ritual if we want to ace that test, memorize that presentation, or nail that piano recital.

But what if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong? And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?

In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your recall? Are there times when distraction is good? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields a wealth of strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives – and less of a chore.

By road testing many of the counterintuitive techniques described in this book, Carey shows how we can flex the neural muscles that make deep learning possible. Along the way he reveals why teachers should give final exams on the first day of class, why it’s wise to interleave subjects and concepts when learning any new skill, and when it’s smarter to stay up late prepping for that presentation than to rise early for one last cram session. And if this requires some suspension of disbelief, that’s because the research defies what we’ve been told, throughout our lives, about how best to learn.

The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straight-forward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location and environment. It doesn’t take orders well, to put it mildly. If the brain is a learning machine, then it is an eccentric one. In How We Learn, Benedict Carey shows us how to exploit its quirks to our advantage.”
– publisher description

Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen

Rock Star

Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen by David R. Shumway

ML 3918 .R63 S58 2014

” “All stars are celebrities, but not all celebrities are stars,” states David Shumway in the introduction to Rock Star, an informal history of rock stardom. This deceptively simple statement belies the complex definition and meaning of stardom and more specifically of rock icons. Shumway looks at the careers and cultural legacies of seven rock stars in the context of popular music and culture – Elvis Presley, James Brown, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Springsteen. Granted, there are many more names that fall into the rock icon category and that might rightfully appear on this list. Partly, that is the point: “rock star” is a familiar and desired category but also a contested one.

Shumway investigates the rock star as a particular kind of cultural construction, different from mere celebrity. After the golden age of moviemaking, media exposure allowed rock stars more political sway than Hollywood’s studio stars, and rock stars gradually replaced movie stars as key cultural heroes. Because of changes in American society and the media industries, rock stars have become much more explicitly political figures than were the stars of Hollywood’s studio era. Rock stars, moreover, are icons of change, though not always progressive, whose public personas read like texts produced collaboratively by the performers themselves, their managers, and record companies. These stars thrive in a variety of media, including recorded music, concert performance, dress, staging, cover art, films, television, video, print, and others.

Filled with memorable photographs, Rock Star will appeal to anyone interested in modern American popular culture or music history.”
– publisher description

Politics Is a Joke!

Politics Is a Joke

Politics Is a Joke!: How TV Comedians are Remaking Political Life
by S. Robert Lichter, Jody C. Baumgartner, and Jonathan S. Morris

HE 8700.76 .U6 L52 2014

“Does late night political humor matter? Are late night comedians merely entertaining, or do they have the power to influence the way we think about politics and politicians? Using exclusive data from the Center for Media and Public Affairs and a wide range of examples – from jokes about politicians’ physical appearance and sex scandals, to jokes about Congress and the news media – Politics Is a Joke! looks at the impact of political humor on political institutions, politicians, their policies and performance, and the behavior of the voting public. Politics Is a Joke! is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the crucial role late night comedy plays in our political universe – and for anyone who enjoys a good laugh.”
– publisher description

Born Reading

Born Reading

Born Reading: Bringing up Bookworms in a Digital Age – From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between by Jason Boog

LB 1050 .B58 2014

“Experts say that reading to your child is just as important a determining factor of IQ as taking vitamins or eating a healthy diet. But reading is about more than just a score on a standardized test. With Born Reading, you’ll learn how to raise children who not only can read but who love to read. . . and who will take that love of reading with them into the future.

Publishing insider (and dad) Jason Boog has interviewed the experts – librarians, publishers, bestselling authors, brain scientists, and child psychologists, as well as app developers who are coming up with the next generation of reading tools – to show how parents can introduce a love of reading from an early age, and how cutting-edge technology can complement classic books to engage young readers in a whole new way.”
– publisher description



Morphologies: Short Story Writers on Short Story Writers edited by Ra Page

PN 3373 .M67 2013

“What makes for a good short story?

Being short, you might think the story’s structure would yield an answer to this question more readily than, say, the novel. But for as long as the short story has been around, arguments have raged as to what it should and shouldn’t be made up of, what it should and shouldn’t do. Here, fifteen leading contemporary practitioners offer structural appreciations of past masters of the form as well as their own personal perspectives on what the short story does so well.

The best short stories don’t have closure, argues one contributor, ‘because life doesn’t have closure'; ‘plot must be written with the denouement constantly in view,’ quotes another. Covering a century of writing that arguably saw all the major short forms emerge, from Hawthorne’s ‘Twice Told Tales’ to Kafka’s modernist nightmares, these essays offer new and unique inroads into classic texts, both for the literature student and aspiring writer.”
– publisher description



Pretty/Funny by Linda Mizejewski

PN 1590 .W64 M59 2014

“Women in comedy have traditionally been pegged as either “pretty” or “funny.” Attractive actresses with good comic timing such as Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Julia Roberts have always gotten plum roles as the heroines of romantic comedies and television sitcoms. But fewer women who write and perform their own comedy have become stars, and, most often, they’ve been successful because they were willing to be funny-looking, from Fanny Brice and Phyllis Diller to Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett. In this pretty-versus-funny history, women writer-comedians – no matter what they look like – have ended up on the other side of “pretty,” enabling them to make it the topic and butt of the joke, the ideal that is exposed as funny.

Pretty/Funny focuses on Kathy Griffin, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen DeGeneres, the groundbreaking women comics who flout the pretty-versus-funny dynamic by targeting glamour, postfeminist girliness, the Hollywood A-list, and feminine whiteness with their wit and biting satire. Linda Mizejewski demonstrates that while these comics don’t all identify as feminists or take politically correct positions, their work on gender, sexuality, and race has a political impact. The first major study of women and humor in twenty years, Pretty/Funny makes a convincing case that women’s comedy has become a prime site for feminism to speak, talk back, and be contested in the twenty-first century.” – publisher description