Tag Archives: beyond the book

Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 9780374534981
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Los Inventores
Spanish Language Edition
224 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 9780374284503

Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

Joshua Davis

Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

Spare Parts illuminates the human side of two polarizing political issues: immigration and education.”

The Washington Post

In 2004, four undocumented Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much—but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT. This was never a level competition, and yet, against all odds . . . they won! But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan. Joshua Davis’s Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out.

Spare Parts is an unforgettable tale of hope and human ingenuity. Joshua Davis offers a moving testament to how teamwork, perseverance, and a few good teachers can lift up and empower even the humblest among us.”—Héctor Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark

“It’s the most American of stories: how determination and ingenuity can bring triumph over long odds. There are too few stories like these written about Latino students. Poignant and beautifully told, Spare Parts makes you feel their frustration at the obstacles and indignities faced by Cristian, Lorenzo, Luis, and Oscar—and to cheer as they rise to overcome each one of them.”—Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey 

“This is important reading . . . Young adults will benefit from from reading and discussing this realistic, eye-opening chronicle . . . Davis pulls no punches as he describes the grim sociopolitical atmosphere that allows the oppression of talented people for no morally acceptable reason. The four young inventors and their struggles helped spur the DREAMers movement.”—Donna Chavez, Booklist (starred review)

“A gratifying human interest story that calls attention to the plight and promise of America’s undocumented youth.”Library Journal

“Davis takes what could have been another feel-good story of triumphant underdogs and raises the stakes by examining the difficulties of these young immigrants in the context of the societal systems that they briefly and temporarily overcame.”Publishers Weekly

Joshua Davis © Sebastian Mlynarski

© Sebastian Mlynarski

Joshua Davis is a contributing editor at Wired, co-founder of Epic magazine, and the author of The Underdog, a memoir about his experiences as an arm wrestler, backward runner, and matador. He has also written for The New Yorker, and his writing is anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best Technology Writing. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Spare Parts has been adopted for more than forty First-Year Experience programs:

Alamo Heights High School (TX); Broward College (FL); The Browning School (NY); California State University – Los Angeles; Cedar Valley College (TX); Chemeketa Community College (OR); Concordia University (TX); Des Moines Area Community College (IA); Hesston College (KS); Hood College (MD); Johns Hopkins University (MD); Kansas State University; Lafayette Public Library and School District (LA); Lewis University (IL); Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods (MO); Miami University (OH); Monroe Community College (NY); Naugatuck Valley Community College (CT); Nash Community College (NC); North Iowa Area Community College; North Lake College (TX); Norwalk Community College (CT); Oakland University, The Honors College (MI); Pasadena City College (CA); Providence College (RI); Queensborough Community College (NY); Rutgers University, Honors College (NJ); Sacramento State University (CA); Salem State University (MA); Santa Ana College; San Jose State University (CA); Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ); Stony Brook University (NY); Texas A&M University; University of Alaska – Southeast; University of Houston – Clear Lake (TX); University of North Carolina – Charlotte; University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science; University of Michigan College of Engineering; Washington State University, Vancouver; Winthrop University (SC)

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Picking Cotton

Picking Cotton

St. Martin’s Griffin
320 pages • $17.99
ISBN: 9780312599539
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Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption

Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo

“The story of Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, as told in first-person voices in this gripping, well-written book, is exceptional.”

St. Petersburg Times

In 1984, Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and because she had studied his face intently during the attack, she later identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken—but Jennifer’s positive identification was the evidence that compelled a jury to put him behind bars. After eleven years in prison, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face. They forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives. In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge ideas about memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.


Jennifer Thompson-Cannino © Scott Witter

© Scott Witter

Ronald Cotton © Scott Witter

© Scott Witter

Jennifer Thompson-Cannino lives in North Carolina with her family. She speaks frequently about the need for judicial reform and is a member of the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission.

Ronald Cotton speaks at various schools and conferences about issues of witness identification and judicial reform. He lives in North Carolina with his family.

Erin Torneo is a Los Angeles-based writer. She was a 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts Nonfiction Fellow.

Picking Cotton has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Concordia University (MN); East Carolina University (NC); Florida State College, Jacksonville; Georgia Gwinnett College; Georgia Perimeter College; Hilbert College (NY); Iowa Lakes Community College; North Carolina Central University; Pitt Community College (NC); Queensborough Community College (NY); Roberts Wesleyan College (NY); Somerset Community College (KY); University of Kentucky; University of Mount Olive (NC); University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Wheelock College (MA)

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Beautiful Souls

Beautiful Souls

208 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-02408-4

The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times

Eyal Press

“[Beautiful Souls] provides rich, provocative narratives of moral choice . . . Press makes us wonder if we would have the strength to act against the crowd, and in so doing spread a bit of light in our own dark times.”—Michael S. Roth, The Washington Post

On the Swiss border with Austria in 1938, a police captain refuses to enforce a law barring Jewish refugees from entering his country.

In the Balkans half a century later, a Serb from the war-blasted city of Vukovar defies his superiors in order to save the lives of Croats.

At the height of the Second Intifada, a member of Israel’s most elite military unit informs his commander he doesn’t want to serve in the occupied territories.

History has produced many specimens of the banality of evil, but what about its flip side, what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention? Eyal Press explores the flip side of banality through dramatic stories of unlikely resisters who feel the flicker of conscience when thrust into morally compromising situations.

Press shows that the boldest acts of dissent are often carried out not by radicals seeking to overthrow the system but by true believers who cling with unusual fierceness to their convictions. Drawing on groundbreaking research by moral psychologists and neuroscientists, Beautiful Souls examines the choices and dilemmas we all face when our principles collide with the loyalties we harbor and the duties we are expected to fulfill. The book culminates with the story of a financial industry whistleblower who loses her job after refusing to sell a toxic product she rightly suspects is being misleadingly advertised.

Eyal Press © Todd France

© Todd France

Eyal Press is the author of Absolute Convictions. His work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Raritan Review and numerous other publications. He lives in New York City.

Beautiful Souls has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Brown University (RI); College of the Holy Cross (MA); Middlesex School (MA); Pennsylvania State University; Pennsylvania State University, Berks; St. Joseph’s College (NY); Queens University (NC); Washington College (MD)

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Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed

256 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-312-62668-6

On (Not) Getting By in America

Barbara Ehrenreich

The Tenth Anniversary Edition Featuring a New Afterword by the Author

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

“A valuable and illuminating book . . . [Ehrenreich] is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism.”—The New York Times Book Review

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired, in part, by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour?

Ehrenreich reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion. Nickel and Dimed has become an essential part of the nation’s political discourse. “This book is thoroughly enjoyable, written with an affable. up-your-nose brio throughout. Ehrenreich is a superb and relaxed stylist, and she has a tremendous sense of rueful humor, especially when it comes to the evils of middle-management, absentee ownership, and all the little self-consecrating bourgeois touches gracing the homes she sterilizes, inch-by-square-inch, as a maid in Maine.”—Stephen Metcalf, Los Angeles Times

Barbara Ehrenreich © Sigrid Estrada

© Sigrid Estrada

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of twenty books, including Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing in the Streets and Blood Rites. A frequent contributor to Harper’s and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.

Nickel and Dimed has been adopted for more than one hundred First-Year Experience programs:

Adelphi University (NY); Appalachian State University (NC); Ashland University (OH); Ball State University (IN); Baruch College (NY); Boston University; Bridgewater State University (MA); Bryant University (RI); California State University, Bakersfield; California State University, Northridge; Central Methodist College (MO); Chardon High School (OH); Clark University (MA); Coe College (MA); Colgate University (NY); College of New Jersey; Colorado College; Corning Community College (NY); Duquesne University (PA); Eastern Kentucky University; Eastern Michigan University; Elon University (NC); Fairfield University (CT); Florida Atlantic University; Francis Marion University (SC); Hamline University (MN); Illinois College; Illinois Wesleyan University; Indiana State University; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Indiana University, South Bend; Ivy Tech Community College (IN); Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington (IN); Lehigh University (PA); LeMoyne College (NY); Lincoln University (MO); Lone Star College-CyFair (TX); Loyola Marymount University (CA); Loyola University (LA); Madonna University (MI); Madonna University (MI); Mansfield University (PA); Miami University at Ohio; Montana State University, Bozeman; Montgomery College (MD); Mount Holyoke College (MA); Mount Union College (OH); Mountain View College; Mt. Saint Mary College (NY); Murray State University (KY); Nazareth College (NY); New Mexico State University; Niagara University (NY); North Idaho College; Northern Arizona University; Northern Kentucky University; Oakland University (MI); Ohio Northern University; Ohio State University; Ohio University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Pennsylvania State University, Hazleton; Pennsylvania State University, New Kensington; Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill; Rockhurst University (MO); Rollins College (FL); Rutgers University (NJ); Saint Francis University (PA); San Diego State University; San Jose State University; Seton Hall University (NJ); Seton Hill University (PA); Siena College (NY); Slippery Rock University (PA); Smith College (MA); Southern Methodist University (TX); Southern Oregon University; Springfield College (MA); State Fair Community College (MO); SUNY, Brockport; SUNY, Buffalo; SUNY, Geneseo; SUNY, LaGuardia Community College; Texas Lutheran University; The Taft School (CT); University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; University of Missouri, Columbia; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Saint Joseph (CT); University of South Carolina, Upstate; University of Southern Mississippi; University of Tampa; University of Toledo; University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire; University of Wisconsin, Marathon County; University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point; Virginia Commonwealth University; Washburn University (KS); Western New England College (MA); Whittier College (CA); Williams College (MA); Windward Community College (HI); Wright State University (OH) York College of Pennsylvania; York County Community College

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No Impact Man

No Impact Man

288 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-312-42983-6

The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

Colin Beavan

“Entertaining and informative, No Impact Man can offer first-year students a fresh perspective on their roles and responsibilities in the new community.”—The Journal of College Orientation and Transition

What does it really take to live eco-effectively? When the guilt about his high-impact lifestyle finally got to Colin Beavan, he swore off plastic, went organic, became a bicycle fanatic, turned off his electricity, and devoted himself to saving the polar bears and the rest of the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his young daughter and his Prada-wearing wife along for the ride. This is the sensational, funny, and consciousness-raising story of how they did it. With No Impact Man, Beavan found that no-impact living is worthwhile—and richer, fuller, and more satisfying in the bargain. “You have to give Colin Beavan credit; the man put his money where his mouth is. A self-proclaimed ‘guilty liberal’ tired of the world’s general ecological decline, he decided to change his life. And in no small way. Even better, he did it with a sense of humor.”—The Boston Globe

Colin Beavan

© CyberStern.com

Colin Beavan’s writing has appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. He lives in New York City. For more information on the book, blog, documentary, and nonprofit project please visit his website at noimpactman.com.

No Impact Man has been adopted for thirty-five First-Year Experience programs:

Atlantic Cape Community College (NJ); Baker University (KS); Bowling Green State University (OH); Cleveland State University; Community College of Baltimore County; Corning Community College (NY); Des Moines Area Community College; Florida State College, Jacksonville; Illinois Wesleyan University; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Johnson & Wales University (RI); Loyola University, Chicago; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Northern Arizona University; Northern Virginia Community College, Extended Learning Institute; Ohio State University; Pennsylvania State University, Altoona; Purdue University (IN); Purdue University, North Central (IN); Rollins College (FL); Texas State University; University of Arkansas; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; University of Kentucky; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Missouri, Kansas City; University of North Carolina, Wilmington; University of Northern Colorado; University of Rhode Island; University of South Carolina; University of Texas, Austin; University of Toledo (OH); University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse; Young Harris College (GA)

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