Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann

TR 140 .M345 A3 2015

“Sally Mann’s luminous photographs of her three young children growing up on a rural Virginia farm and her evocative explorations of the southern landscape and mortality have become icons of modern art. Hold Still makes it clear that the fearlessness and clarity of vision she possesses as an artist are fully in evidence in her writing as well. In this riveting memoir, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann’s abiding concerns – family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South – are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by a colorful cast of characters who came before her.

In researching the book, Mann set out to understand her parents: a strikingly beautiful and emotionally reserved mother and a brilliant, odd-ball country-doctor father who was obsessed with death. She delves into the mystery of her husband Larry’s parents, social climbers from the North whose lives turn out to be far messier and more complicated than they at first appear. And she unravels threads that lead her to uncanny discoveries about generations past, the indelible marks they made on the world, and how these reverberate in her life and work today.

Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs, she finds “a payload of southern gothic: deceit and scandal, alcoholism, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land, abandonments, blow jobs, suicides, hidden addictions. . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of a prodigal son, and. . . even bloody murder.”

Through words and pictures, Mann crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own remarkable life.”
– publisher description

Women in Early America

Women in Early America edited by Thomas A. Foster

HQ 1416 .W656 2015

Women in Early America tells the fascinating stories of the myriad women who shaped the early modern North American world from the colonial era through the first years of the Republic. In these essays we learn about the conditions that women faced in many different circumstances: during the Salem witchcraft panic and the Spanish Inquisition in New Mexico, as indentured servants in early Virginia and Maryland, while caught between warring British and Native Americans, as traders in New Netherlands and Detroit, as slave owners in Jamaica, as Loyalist women during the American Revolution, while enslaved in the president’s house, and as students and educators inspired by the air of equality in the young nation.

Women in Early America heeds the call of feminist scholars: it does not merely reproduce male-centered narratives, “add women, and stir” but rather rethinks master narratives themselves so that we may better understand how women and men created and developed our historical past.”
– publisher description

Witches of America

Witches of America by Alex Mar

BP 605 .N46 M325 2015

“When most people hear the word “witches,” they think of horror films and Halloween, but to the nearly one million Americans who practice Paganism today, witchcraft is a nature-worshipping, polytheistic, and very real religion. So Alex Mar discovers when she sets out to film a documentary and finds herself drawn deep into the world of present-day magic.

Witches of America follows Mar on her immersive five-year trip into the occult, charting modern Paganism from its roots in 1950s England to its current American mecca in the San Francisco Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world’s most influential magical societies. Along the way she takes part in dozens of rituals and becomes involved with a wild array of characters: a government employee who founds a California priesthood dedicated to a Celtic goddess of war; American disciples of Aleister Crowley, whose elaborate ceremonies turn the Catholic mass on its head; second-wave feminist Wiccans who practice a radical separatist witchcraft; a growing “mystery cult” whose initiates trace their rites back to a blind shaman in rural Oregon. This sprawling magical community compels Mar to confront what she believes is possible – or hopes might be.

With keen intelligence and wit, Mar illuminates the world of witchcraft while grappling in fresh and unexpected ways with the question underlying every faith: Why do we choose to believe in anything at all? Whether evangelical Christian, Pagan priestess, or atheist, each of us craves a system of meaning to give structure to our lives. Sometimes we just find it in unexpected places.”
– publisher description

MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson

MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson by Steve Knopper

ML 420 .J175 K66 2015

The ultimate critical biography of Michael Jackson: a panoramic, vivid, and incisive portrait that explores and celebrates his influence in music, dance, and popular culture.

From the moment in 1965 when he first stepped on stage with his brothers at a local talent show in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was destined to become the undisputed King of Pop. In a career spanning five decades, Jackson became a global icon, selling over four hundred million albums, earning thirteen Grammy Awards, and spinning dance moves that captivated the world. Songs like “Billie Jean” and “Black or White” altered our national discussion of race and equality, and Jackson’s signature aesthetic, from the single white glove to the moonwalk, defined a generation. Though his final years were mired in scandal and controversy, Jackson’s ultimate legacy will always be his music.

Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper explores the beguiling and often contradictory forces that fueled Michael Jackson’s genius, from his early days with the Jackson 5 to his stratospheric success as a solo artist to “Beat It” and “Thriller,” “Bad,” and “Man in the Mirror” to his volatile final years, his attempted comeback, and untimely death. Drawing on an amazing four hundred interviews – ranging from Jackson’s relatives, friends, and key record executives to celebrities like will.i.am and “Weird Al” Yankovic – this critical biography puts all the elements of his career into perspective and celebrates his triumph in art and music. This is a rare and comprehensive view into the genius and influence of an incomparable talent.”
– publisher description

Soda Politics

Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle

TP 630 .N47 2015

“Sodas are astonishing products. Little more than flavored sugar-water, these drinks cost practically nothing to produce or buy, yet have turned their makers – principally Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – into multibillion-dollar corporations with global recognition, distribution, and political power. Billed as “refreshing,” “tasty,” “crisp,” and “the real thing,” sodas also happen to be so well established to contribute to poor dental hygiene, higher calorie intake, obesity, and type-2 diabetes that the first line of defense against any of these conditions is to simply stop drinking them.

And yet soda companies produce and sell the equivalent of nearly two trillion 12-ounce servings of fountain or packaged beverages every year. How is this possible? In Soda Politics, Marion Nestle investigates the extraordinary effort that goes into making soda a ubiquitous part of your normal landscape, whether you live in Seattle or Sao Paulo. She reveals the tactics soda producers use to push their worse-than-useless products on an increasingly obese world: the billions of dollars in advertising spent each year to promote soda sales to children, minorities, and low-income populations, in developing as well as industrialized nations; the lobbying to prevent any measures that would discourage soda sales; the sponsored medical studies designed to make the science about sodas appear confusing; and the strategically donated money to foster goodwill and silence critics.

But Soda Politics does more than just diagnose a problem – it encourages readers to help find solutions. From Berkeley to Mexico City and beyond, advocates are successfully countering the relentless marketing promotion, and political protection of sugary drinks. Health advocacy campaigns are now the single greatest threat to soda companies’ profits. Soda Poltics provides readers with the motivation to take on Big Soda – and the tools to win.”
– publisher description

The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship

The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom with Theresa Donovan Brown

BF 575 .F66 Y35 2015

“In today’s culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Dating back to the Greeks and the Romans, women were long considered “weaker” than men and constitutionally unsuited for friendship at the highest level. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships.

Surveying history, literature, philosophy, religion, and pop culture, acclaimed author Marilyn Yalom and coauthor Theresa Donovan Brown demonstrate how women were able to co-opt the public face of friendship throughout the years. Chronicling shifting attitudes toward friendship – both female and male – from the Bible and the Romans to the Enlightenment, to the women’s rights movements of the 1960s up to Sex and the City and Broad City, they reveal how the concept of female friendship has been inextricably linked to the larger social and cultural movements that have defined human history.

With Yalom and Brown as our guides, we delve into the fascinating historical episodes and trends that illuminate the story of friendship between women: the literary salon as the original book club, the emergence of female professions and the working girl, the phenomenon of gossip, the advent of women’s sports, and more.

Lively, informative, and richly detailed, The Social Sex is a revelatory cultural history.”
– publisher description

The End of Memory

The End of Memory: A Natural History of Aging and Alzheimers
by Jay Ingram

RC 523 .I54 2015

“It is a wicked disease that robs its victims of their memories, their ability to think clearly, and ultimately their lives. For centuries, those afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease have suffered its debilitating effects while family members sit by, watching their loved ones disappear a little more each day until the person they used to know is gone forever. The disease was first described by German psychologist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. One hundred years and a great deal of scientific effort later, much more is known about Alzheimer’s, but it still affects millions around the world, and there is no cure in sight.

In The End of Memory, award-winning science author Jay Ingram writes a biography of this disease that attacks the brains of patients. He charts the history of the disease from before it was noted by Alois Alzheimer through to the twenty-first century, explains the fascinating science of plaques and tangles, recounts the efforts to understand and combat the disease, and introduces us to the passionate researchers who are working to find a cure.

An illuminating biography of “the plague of the twenty-first century” and scientists’ efforts to understand and, they hope, prevent it, The End of Memory is a book for those who want to find out the true story behind an affliction that courses through families and wreaks havoc on the lives of millions.”
– publisher description