Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids
by Nicholson Baker
LB 2844.1 .S8 B28 2016
“In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. He awoke to the dispatcher’s five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to one of several nearby schools; when he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done. What emerges from Baker’s experience is a complex, often touching deconstruction of public schooling in America: children swamped with overdue assignments, overwhelmed by the marvels and distractions of social media and educational technology, and staff who weary themselves trying to teach in step with an often outmoded or overly ambitious standard curriculum.
In Baker’s hands, the inner life of the classroom is examined anew – mundane worksheets, recess time-outs, surprise nosebleeds, rebellions, griefs, jealousies, minor triumphs, kindergarten show-and-tell, daily lessons on everything from geology to metal tech to the Holocaust – as he and his pupils struggle to find ways to get through the day. Baker is one of the most inventive and remarkable writers of our time, and Substitute, filled with humor, honesty, and empathy, may be his most impressive work of nonfiction yet.”
– publisher description
Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums
by Samuel J. Redman
CC 79.5 .H85 R43 2016
“In 1864 a U.S. Army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. Carefully recording his observations, he sent the skeleton to a museum in Washington, DC, that was collecting human remains for research. In the “bone rooms” of this museum and others like it, a scientific revolution was unfolding that would change our understanding of the human body, race, and prehistory.
In Bone Rooms Samuel Redman unearths the story of how human remains became highly sought-after artifacts for both scientific research and public display. Seeking evidence to support new theories of human evolution and racial classification, collectors embarked on a global competition to recover the best specimens of skeletons, mummies, and fossils. The Smithsonian Institution built the largest collection of human remains in the United States, edging out stiff competition from natural history and medical museums springing up in cities and on university campuses across America. When the San Diego Museum of Man opened in 1915, it mounted the largest exhibition of human skeletons ever presented to the public.
The study of human remains yielded discoveries that increasingly discredited racial theory; as a consequence, interest in human origins and evolution – ignited by ideas emerging in the budding field of anthropology – displaced race as the main motive for building bone rooms. Today, debates about the ethics of these collections continue, but the terms of engagement were largely set by the surge of collecting that was already waning by World War II.”
– publisher description
Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism
by Lucas Graves
PN 4784 .O24 G73 2016
“Over the past decade, outlets such as PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker have shaken up the political world by holding public figures accountable for what they say. Deciding What’s True draws on Lucas Graves’s unique access to the U.S. newsrooms leading the increasingly global fact-checking movement. Graves vividly recounts the routines of the journalists at three of these hyperconnected, technologically innovative news organizations. He shows how they tackle thorny political debates and reveals the values that drive their stories. He also plots a compelling, personality-driven history of the fact-checking movement and its recent evolution from the blogosphere, exploring its revolutionary challenge to journalistic ethics and practice.”
– publisher description
Bush by Jean Edward Smith
E 902 .S59 2016
“Nearly eight years after George W. Bush left the White House, his legacy still shapes American policy at home and abroad. Award-winning historian and biographer Jean Smith has written the most complete account yet of the Bush presidency in this revelatory biography of America’s forty-third president.
A lackluster student with a fondness for alcohol, “W” became a born-again Christian and turned his life around. His deep religious faith rescued his character, but it gave him a worldview that oversimplified complicated problems. For Bush, life was a struggle between good and evil, and he never doubted that he was God’s agent for good. In the fight against the evil of terrorism, other countries were either with us or against us, as he once said. Certain of the morality of his actions, he had no misgivings about detaining terrorist suspects indefinitely at Guantánamo or authorizing unconstitutional surveillance activities in the name of fighting terrorism.
Bush called himself “the decider,” and Smith says that it was an apt description. Others have insisted that Vice President Dick Cheney made key foreign policy decisions in the Bush White House, but Smith shows that it was the president who was in charge, often acting without or even against the counsel of his advisers. No other president in modern times acted with such self-assured autonomy.
Smith credits Bush with leading the global fight against AIDS, improving relations with China, reducing nuclear arsenals with the Russians, and insisting on higher educational standards with “No Child Left Behind.” But he led the country into the disastrous war in Iraq in response to the 9/11 terror attacks even though Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks. The war in Iraq dominated his presidency, and by toppling Saddam he paved the way for the rise of ISIS. He had to violate his own political philosophy to save the economy from collapse in 2008, but he still left his successor with the worst recession in seventy years. Not surprisingly, he exited the White House with the lowest approval ratings of any president in decades.”
– publisher description
Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment by Jeremy Geltzer
PN 1995.62 .G45 2015
“From the earliest days of cinema, scandalous films such as The Kiss (1896) attracted audiences eager to see provocative images on screen. With controversial content, motion pictures challenged social norms and prevailing laws at the intersection of art and entertainment. Today, the First Amendment protects a wide range of free speech, but this wasn’t always the case. For the first fifty years, movies could be censored and banned by city and state officials charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities. Once film was embraced under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, new problems pushed notions of acceptable content even further.
Dirty Words & Filty Pictures explores movies that changed the law and resulted in greater creative freedom for all. Relying on primary sources that include court decisions, contemporary periodicals, state censorship ordinances, and studio production codes, Jeremy Geltzer offers a comprehensive and fascinating history of cinema and free speech, from the earliest films of Thomas Edison to the impact of pornography and the Internet. With incisive case studies of risqué pictures, subversive foreign films, and banned B-movies, he reveals how the legal battles over film content changed long-held interpretations of the Constitution, expanded personal freedoms, and opened a new era of free speech. An important contribution to film studies and media law, Geltzer’s work presents the history of film and the First Amendment with an unprecedented level of detail.”
– publisher description
Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown by Gerri Hirshey
PN 4874 .B768 H57 2016
“When Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl, first appeared in 1962, it whistled into buttoned-down America like a bombshell: Brown declared that it was okay – even imperative – for unmarried women to have and enjoy a sex life, and that equal rights for women should extend to the bedroom and the workplace. “How dare you?” thundered newspapers, radio hosts, and (mostly male) citizens. But more than two million women bought the book and hailed her as a heroine. Brown was also pilloried as a scarlet woman and a traitor to the women’s movement when she took over the failing Hearst magazine Cosmopolitan and turned it into a fizzy pink guidebook for “do-me” feminism. As the first magazine geared to the rising wave of single working women, it sold wildly. Today, more than 68 million young women worldwide are still reading some form of Helen Gurley Brown’s audacious yet comforting brand of self-help.
“HGB” wasn’t the ideal poster girl for second-wave feminism, but she certainly started the conversation. Brown campaigned for women’s reproductive freedom and advocated skill and “brazenry” both on the job and in the boudoir – along with serial plastic surgery. When she died in 2012, her front-page obituary in The New York Times noted that though she succumbed at ninety, “parts of her were considerably younger.”
Her life story is astonishing, from her roots in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, to her single-girl decade as a Mad Men-era copywriter in Los Angeles, which informed her first bestseller, to her years at the helm of Cosmopolitan. Helen Gurley Brown told her own story many times, but coyly, with plenty of camouflage. Here, for the first time, is the unvarnished and decoded truth about “how she did it” – from her comet-like career to “bagging” her husband of half a century, the movie producer David Brown.
Full of firsthand accounts of HGB from many of her closest friends and rediscovered, little-known interviews with the woman herself, Gerri Hirshey’s Not Pretty Enough is a vital biography that shines new light on the life of one of the most vibrant, vexing, and indelible women of the twentieth century.”
– publisher description
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
HD 53 .G742 2016
“In his new compelling book, Adam Grant, one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders, again addresses the challenge of improving the world around us, but now from the perspective of becoming a trailblazer: choosing to go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we stand up for new ideas, policies, and practices without risking our reputations, relationships, and careers?
Using surprising studies and stories spanning the worlds of business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant debunks the common belief that successful non-conformists are born leaders who boldly embrace risk. Originals explains how anyone can spot opportunities for change, recognize a good idea, overcome anxiety and ambivalence, and make suggestions without being silenced. You’ll learn the successful techniques of
- An entrepreneur who pitches his startups by highlighting the reasons not to invest in them
- A woman at Apple who dared to challenge Steve Jobs from three management levels below
- An analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA
- A billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him
- A movie producer who asked a single question that saved Disney’s first animated film based on an original story from the cutting room floor
Grant demonstrates how originality can be launched, unleashed, and sustained, offering practical insights on how individuals can find allies in unlikely places, leaders can fight groupthink, and parents and teachers can nurture children to think for themselves.
The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about how rejecting conformity can improve our circumstances and propel us forward. People who champion originality have the same fears and doubts as the rest of us, but what sets them apart is that they don’t freeze or faint in the face of a challenge – they take action anyway. Originals will give you the knowledge and the courage to advance your own ideas.