Born Both

Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria

HQ 77.98 .V55 A3 2017

“My name is Hida Viloria. I was raised as a girl but discovered at a young age that my body looked different. Having endured an often turbulent home life as a kid, there were many times when I felt scared and alone, especially given my attraction to girls. But unlike most people in the first world who are born intersex – meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female – I grew up in the body I was born with because my parents did not have my sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.

It wasn’t until I was twenty-six and encountered the term intersex in a San Francisco newspaper that I finally had a name for my difference. That’s when I began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders – to be both and neither. I tried living as a feminine woman, an androgynous person, and even for a brief period of time as a man. Good friends would not recognize me, and gay men would hit on me. My gender fluidity was exciting, and in many ways freeing – but it could also be isolating.

I had to know if there were other intersex people like me, but when I finally found an intersex community to connect with I was shocked, and then deeply upset, to learn that most of the people I met had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments to “correct” their bodies. Realizing that the invisibility of intersex people in society facilitated these practices, I made it my mission to bring an end to it – and became one of the first people to voluntarily come out as intersex at a national and then international level.

Born Both is the story of my lifelong journey toward finding love and embracing my authentic identity in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or, and of my decades-long fight for human rights and equality for intersex people everywhere.”
– publisher description

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics by Marjorie J. Spruill

HQ 1421 .S683 2017

“Gloria Steinem was quoted in 2015 (in the New Yorker) as saying the National Women’s Conference in 1977 ‘may take the prize as the most important event nobody knows about.’ After the United Nations established International Women’s Year (IWY) in 1975, Congress mandated and funded state conferences to elect delegates to attend the National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977, where Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and other feminists endorsed a platform supporting abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and gay rights. Across town, Phyllis Schlafly, Lottie Beth Hobbs, and the conservative women’s movement held a massive rally to protest federally funded feminism and launch a pro-family movement.

Divided We Stand explores the role social issues have played in politics by reprising the battle between feminists and their conservative challengers, leading to Democrats supporting women’s rights and Republicans casting themselves as the party of family values. As the 2016 presidential election made clear, the women’s rights movement and the conservative women’s movement have irrevocably affected the course of modern American politics. We cannot fully understand the present without appreciating the pivotal events that transpired in Houston and immediately thereafter.”
– publisher description

Irresistible

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

HM 851 .A437 2017

“Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction – an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at New York University, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today’s products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good – to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play – and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.”
– publisher description

The Vaccine Race

The Vaccine Race

The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease
by Meredith Wadman

RA 644 .R8 W33 2017

“Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of the disease itself. In June 1962, Leonard Hayflick, a young biologist in Philadelphia, produced clean, self-replicating cells in which vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases could safely be grown. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague Stanley Plotkin developed the actual vaccine that would one day wipe it out. The new cells, derived from a legally aborted fetus, led to vaccines that have saved millions of Americans, and billions of people around the world, from some of the deadliest diseases in history.

The Vaccine Race is the story of these major breakthroughs in cell biology and public health, and of their legacies today. Meredith Wadman nimbly explains the science of these achievements, but also describes the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She recounts the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles, and the testing on infants, prisoners, orphans, and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events took place at the dawn of the battle over using human fetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes were coming to the laws governing who owns research cells and who can profit from biological inventions. It is also the story of those for whom the rubella vaccine arrived too late, and of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives.

This is a masterful account of heroic possibilities and tragically missed opportunities at the intersection of science and politics. The new methods and new cells led to vaccines that have fought off polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles, and adenovirus. With frightening viruses constantly emerging – and reemerging – around the world, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.”
– publisher description

Hit Makers

Hit Makers

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

HC 79 .C6 T49 2017

“Nothing ‘goes viral.’ If you think a popular movie, song, or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today’s crowded media environment, you’re missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history – of power, influence, dark broadcasters, and passionate cults – that turns some new products into cultural phemonena. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity if they fail to connect with the right network, and the consumers that matter most aren’t the early adopters but rather their friends, followers, and imitators – the audience of your audience.

In his groundbreaking investigation, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives. Shattering the sentimental myths of hit making that dominate pop culture and business, Thompson shows quality is insufficient for success, nobody has ‘good taste,’ and some of the most popular products in history were one bad break away from utter failure. It may be a new world, but there are some enduring truths to what audiences and consumers want. People love a familiar surprise: a product that is bold yet sneakily recognizable.

Every business, every artist, and every person looking to promote themselves and their work wants to know what makes some works so successful while others disappear. Hit Makers is a magical mystery tour through the last century of pop culture blockbusters and the most valuable currency of the twenty-first century – people’s attention.

From the dawn of Impressionist art to the future of Facebook, from small Etsy designers to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson leaves no Pet Rock unturned to tell the fascinating story of how culture happens and why things become popular.”
– publisher description

Cannibalism

Cannibalism

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt

GN 409 .S38 2017

“For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crime of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism – the role it plays in evolution as well as human history – is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we’ve come to accept as fact.

In Cannibalism, zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism’s role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party – the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti).

Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother’s skin, why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neaderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species – including our own.

Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.”
– publisher description

Secondhand Time

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets: An Oral History
by Svetlana Alexievich

DK 510.76 .A44913 2016

“When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing ‘a new kind of literary genre,’ describing her work as ‘a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul.’ Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation.

In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres – but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.

A magnificent tapestry of the sorrows and triumphs of the human spirit woven by a master, Secondhand Time tells the stories that together make up the true history of a nation. ‘Through the voices of those who confided in her,’ The Nation writes, ‘Alexievich tells us about human nature, about our dreams, our choices, about good and evil – in a word, about ourselves.'”
– publisher description