Tag Archives: Current Topics

We Are the Weather

We Are the Weather

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover
288 pages • $25.00
ISBN: 9780374280000
ebook icon
audiobook icon

Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

Jonathan Safran Foer

“Jonathan Safran Foer’s second book of nonfiction is an eye-opening collection of mostly short essays expressing both despair and hope over the climate crisis, especially around individual choice.”

The New York Times Book Review

Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response? In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves—with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat—and don’t eat—for breakfast.

Jonathan Safran Foer

© Jeff Mermelstein

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Here I Am, and of the nonfiction book Eating Animals. His work has received numerous awards and has been translated into thirty-six languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

We Are the Weather has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Lenoir-Rhyne University (NC)

Continue reading

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover
432 pages • $28.00
ISBN: 9780374191979
ebook icon
audiobook icon
Paperback Available in April 2020

A Border Story

Aaron Bobrow-Strain

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez is an illuminating work of literature, not an ideological tract.”

—Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times Book Review

When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida’s mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America. Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched Friends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey. The daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, Aida has a genius for survival—but returning to the United States was just the beginning of her quest. Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.

Bobrow-Strain, Aaron by Hana Bobrow-Strain

© Hana Bobrow-Strain

Aaron Bobrow-Strain is a professor of politics at Whitman College, where he teaches courses dealing with food, immigration, and the U.S.-Mexico border. His writing has appeared in The Believer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, and Gastronomica. He is the author of White Bread and Intimate Enemies. In the 1990s, he worked on the U.S.-Mexico border as an activist and educator. He is a founding member of the Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition in Washington State.

Don’t Label Me

Don't Label Me

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
288 pages • $27.99
ISBN: 9781250157980
ebook icon
audiobook icon
Paperback available in March 2020

An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times

Irshad Manji

“Profound and nuanced . . . [A] jubilantly intelligent and quintessentially human and optimistic book, one that is fundamentally important in a dangerously polarized and divided time.”

The Toronto Star

 

In these United States, discord has hit emergency levels. Civility isn’t the reason to repair our caustic chasms. Diversity is. Don’t Label Me shows that America’s founding genius is diversity of thought, which is why social justice activists won’t win by labeling those who disagree with them. At a time when minorities are fast becoming the majority, a truly new America requires a new way to tribe out. Enter Irshad Manji and her dog, Lily. Raised to believe that dogs are evil, Manji overcame her fear of the “other” to adopt Lily. She got more than she bargained for. Defying her labels as an old, blind dog, Lily engages Manji in a taboo-busting conversation about identity, power, and politics. They’re feisty. They’re funny. And in working through their challenges to one another, they reveal how to open the hearts of opponents for the sake of enduring progress. Readers who crave concrete tips will be delighted. Studded with insights from epigenetics and epistemology, layered with the lessons of Bruce Lee, Ben Franklin, and Audre Lorde, punctuated with stories about Manji’s own experiences as a refugee from Africa, a Muslim immigrant to the U.S., and a professor of moral courage, Don’t Label Me makes diversity great again.

“Why do diversity initiatives so often fail or backfire? Because we’ve been doing diversity wrong. Irshad Manji shows us a different way to think about identity; one that is humble, loving, humane, and therefore likely to work for many more people. In a time of rising national polarization and distrust, Don’t Label Me is among the most important books for Americans to read now.”Jonathan Haidt, New York University Stern School of Business, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind 

Irshad Manji

© Rene Clement

Irshad Manji is the founder of the award-winning Moral Courage Project at the University of Southern California and the author of The Trouble With Islam, translated into more than thirty languages and later adapted into the Emmy-nominated PBS film Faith Without Fear. Oprah Winfrey selected her as the first winner of the “Chutzpah” prize for boldness. Manji has lived and taught in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Los Angeles. She and her wife now reside in Hawaii with their four rescue dogs.

Continue reading

White Rage

White Rage

Bloomsbury
Paperback
304 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 9781632864130
ebook icon

The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Carol Anderson

With a New Afterword by the Author
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

“An extraordinarily timely and urgent call to confront the legacy of structural racism bequeathed by white anger and resentment, and to show its continuing threat to the promise of American democracy.”

The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in The Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work.” Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House. Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

© Dave Wetty @ Cloud Prime Photography

Carol Anderson is professor of African American studies at Emory University. She is the author of many books and articles, including Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960 and Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights: 1944-1955. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

White Rage has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

The University of Northern Iowa

Somewhere in the Unknown World

Somewhere in the Unknown World

Metropolitan Books
Paperback
288 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781250296856
ebook icon
audiobook icon

A Collective Refugee Memoir

Kao Kalia Yang

Available in March 2020

Back in the 1980s, Minnesota’s University Avenue was barely clinging to life. Lined with church thrift stores, boarded windows, and prostitutes leaning against streetlights, the sidewalks were thick with bloody, discarded needles. Today, University Avenue is a bustling commercial center, a hub of Halal butchers, Mexican carnicerias, grocery stores selling delicacies to new arrivals from Ethiopia and Bosnia, Iraq and China. A dying strip of America has been revived by the stateless. As the country’s doors are closing and nativism is on the rise, Kao Kalia Yang—herself a refugee from Laos—set out to tell the stories of the refugees to whom University Avenue is now home. Here are people who have summoned the energy and determination to make a new life even as they carry an extraordinary burden of hardship, loss, and emotional damage: Irina, an ex-Soviet, who still hoards magical American fruit—bananas!—under her bed; the Thai brothers of Vinai and their business selling purified water to gullible immigrants; the Kareni boys, who have brought Minnesota to basketball glory. In Yang’s exquisite, poetic, and necessary telling, the voices of refugees from all over the world restore humanity to America’s strangers and redeem its long history of welcome.

Kao Kalia Yang (c) Shee Yang

© Shee Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Song Poet, which received the 2017 Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, and the PEN USA Literary Award. Her book The Latehomecomer also received the Minnesota Book Award. Yang, a regular contributor to NPR’s On Belief, lives in Minneapolis.

Factfulness

Factfulness

Flatiron Books
Hardcover
352 pages • $27.99
ISBN: 9781250107817
ebook icon
Paperback available in April 2020

Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling
with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.”

—Former U.S. President Barack Obama

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

Hans Rosling was a medical doctor, professor of international health and renowned public educator. He was an adviser to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and co-founded Médecins sans Frontières in Sweden and the Gapminder Foundation. His TED talks have been viewed more than 35 million times, and he was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Hans died in 2017.

Ola Rosling  and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans’s son and daughter-in-law, are co-founders of the Gapminder Foundation. They have both received international awards for their work.

Factfulness has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

The University of South Carolina; Stockton University (NJ); Skidmore College (NY); Fresno State University (CA)

When They Call You a Terrorist

When They Call You a Terrorist

St. Martin’s Press
Paperback
288 pages • $16.99
ISBN: 9781250306906
ebook icon
audiobook icon

A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele

With a foreword by Angela Davis

When They Call You a Terrorist is more than just a reflection on the American criminal justice system. It’s a call to action for readers to change a culture that allows for violence against people of color.”

Time

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a powerful memoir, part personal history, part equal rights movement. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’s story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Patrisse, along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi—the other leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement—have been regularly called terrorists and a serious threat to America; recently, a petition asked the White House to label the Black Lives Matter movement as a “terrorist group.” But in truth, they are loving, courageous women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors (c) Curtis Moore

© Curtis Moore

asha bandele (c) Michael Hnatov Photography

© Michael Hnatov Photography

Patrisse Khan-Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, California. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, public speaker, and the 2017 Sydney Peace Prize recipient.

asha bandele is the award-winning author of The Prisoner’s Wife and four other works. Honored for her work in journalism and activism, asha is a mother, a former senior editor at Essence, and a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.

When They Call You a Terrorist has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

University of Richmond; Northern Illinois University; East Los Angeles College (CA)

Continue reading