Saturday, January 8, 2011

January Book Report:: New Arrivals

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson is a fascinating and accessible history. The chronicle highlights three individuals, Ida Mae Gladney, from Mississippi, George Starling, from Florida, and Robert Foster of Louisiana, against the backdrop of the decades-long migration of African Americans to northern cities. Wilkerson was the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize (for her reporting as Chicago bureau of the New York Times).

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong, author of, among others, The Case for God, The Battle for God, and A History of God, is an exquisite volume which unpacks our concepts and practices of compassion, mindfulness, suffering, and sympathetic joy. "Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two" (Knopf).

Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, by Lewis Hyde explores the arena of intellectual property and the idea that all creative work is, somehow, copyrightable. Hyde "brings the past to bear on present matters, shedding fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan's musical roots" (Farrar).

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival is John Vaillant's beautifully written narrative of man, the wild, and of a particular set of events surrounding a man-eating Siberian tiger. The book avoids sensationalism as it delves into the lives of Vladimir Markov and Yuri Trush, the former a poacher and the latter a tracker."Throughout [this book] we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist" (Knopf).

Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, is out with a new non-fiction saga, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Hillenbrand tells the story of lieutenant Louis Zamperini and his pilot, second lieutenant Russell Allen Phillips, who survived more than forty days adrift on a raft after their plane crashed into the Pacific, I'm not going to give this one away but I will say it's a great story, inspiring, fraught with difficult decisions, horrific conditions, and an ending that is exuberant and incredibly moving.

From Vermont's Folk Life Center, George Bellerose chronicles the life of a Vermont dairy farm: Forty-Six Years of Pretty Straight Going. This fascinating and heart-felt narrative tells the story of Larry and Grayson Wyman and the "day-to-day realities and sensibilities... of a small dairy farm" (Vermont Folk Life Center).  The volume is beautifully illustrated and documents the aspects and intricacies of  46 years of dairy farming.

The narrative of Christopher McDougall's fascinating best-seller, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Ever Seen, moves from high-tech labs at Harvard to the "sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks of North America" (Knopf), documenting the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexico's Copper Canyons and their ability to run for hundreds of miles without stopping; even running down deer. It is also a tale of colliding cultures and the ways theories of modern running has evolved.

Last but not least among the new arrivals at Woodbury Community Library, is The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: The Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe.  Jeanne Baret disguised herself as a boy and joined the crew of Louis-Antoine de Bougainville's expedition to South America. Exposed in Tahiti, Jeanne Baret faces enormous danger but won the admiration of de Bougainville, who wrote "How was it possible to discover the woman... who was already an expert botanist... with so much courage and strength...?" (159). Check this biography out and you'll discover much much more!!

No comments:

Post a Comment