Tag Archives: science

Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 9780374534981
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Los Inventores
Spanish Language Edition
Paperback
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 is a delightful book . . . Davis writes well, and he keeps his plot moving swiftly . . . A great American story.”

—Peter Carlson, The Washington Post

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. 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 impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.

And build a robot they did.

They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition—and yet, against all odds . . . they won!

But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story—which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement—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 and a cofounder of Epic magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

Spare Parts has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Alamo Heights High School (TX); Broward College (FL); The Browning School (NY); Cedar Valley College (TX); Chemeketa Community College (OR); Concordia University (TX); 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); Salem State University (MA); Santa Ana College; Stony Brook University (NY); Texas A&M University, 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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Mercies in Disguise

Mercies in Disguise

St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback
272 pages • $16.99
ISBN: 9781250064349
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A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them

Gina Kolata

“A moving, suspenseful page-turner that’s likely to become a classic of medical storytelling. Unlike many books about scientific quests, in which authors use patients’ personal experiences like coats of bright paint, a thin veneer for luring readers to engage with the science, this wonderful book by New York Times science writer Gina Kolata keeps the compelling human story at center stage.”

The Washington Post

If your family carried a mutated gene that foretold a brutal illness and you were offered the chance to find out if you’d inherited it, would you do it? Would you walk toward the problem, bravely accepting whatever answer came your way? Or would you avoid the potential bad news as long as possible? In Mercies in Disguise, New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for fifty years along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution—not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma—fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process. It’s a story of a family that had to deal with unspeakable tragedy and yet did not allow it to tear them apart. And it is the story of a young woman—Amanda Baxley—who faced the future head on, determined to find a way to disrupt her family’s destiny.

© Andrew Brucker

Gina Kolata is a writer and medical reporter for The New York Times. She has previously written several books, including Flu, and edited collections of popular science writing. Ms. Kolata lives with her husband in Princeton, New Jersey.

Mercies in Disguise has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Hood College (MD)

In Shock

In Shock

Picador
Paperback
272 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781250293770
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My Journey From Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

Dr. Rana Awdish

“Awdish’s story is grueling: a catastrophic miscarriage, multiple organ failure, the uncertainty that accompanies a sudden medical crisis. In Shock searches for a glimmer of hope in life’s darkest moments, and finds it.”

The Washington Post

Dr. Rana Awdish never imagined that an emergency trip to the hospital would result in hemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. But after her first visit, Dr. Awdish spent months fighting for her life, enduring consecutive major surgeries and experiencing multiple overlapping organ failures. At each step of the recovery process, she was faced with something even more unexpected: repeated cavalier behavior from her fellow physicians—indifference following human loss, disregard for anguish and suffering, and an exacting emotional distance. In Shock allows the reader to transform alongside Dr. Awidsh and watch what she discovers in our carefully-cultivated, yet often misguided, standard of care. She comes to understand the fatal flaws in her profession and in her own past actions as a physician while achieving, through unflinching presence, a crystalline vision of a new and better possibility for us all. As Dr. Awdish finds herself up against the same self-protective partitions she was trained to construct as a medical student and physician, she artfully illuminates the dysfunction of disconnection. Shatteringly personal, and yet wholly universal, she offers a brave road map for anyone
navigating illness while presenting physicians with a new paradigm and rationale for embracing the emotional bond between doctor and patient.

Rana Awdish

© Rana Awdish

Dr. Rana Awdish is the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and a critical care physician. She was recently named Medical Director of Care Experience for the Henry Ford Health System. She was awarded the Speak-Up Hero Award for her work on improving communication, as well as the Critical Care Teaching Award.

Annihilation

Annihilation

MCD x FSG Originals
Paperback
208 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 9780374537159
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A Novel

Jeff VanderMeer

Now a Major Motion Picture
Winner of the Nebula Award

 

Annihilation is a book meant for gulping—for going in head-first and not coming up for air until you hit the back cover.”

—NPR

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

© Kyle Cassidy

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor, and the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and multiple year’s-best anthologies. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife

Borne

Borne

MCD
Paperback
368 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 9780374537654
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A Novel

Jeff VanderMeer

An NEA Big Read Selection 

“VanderMeer’s apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror and grace, can’t be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing and heartbreaking, Borne finds him at a high point of creative accomplishment.”

San Francisco Chronicle

In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump— plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts—and definitely against Wick’s wishes—Rachel keeps Borne. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.

© Kyle Cassidy

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor, and the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and multiple year’s-best anthologies. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife

Binti

Binti

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
96 pages • $9.99
ISBN: 9780765385253
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Nnedi Okorafor

Winner of the Hugo Award
Winner of the Nebula Award

“It’s a fantastic interstellar adventure that follows an impressive central character.”

The Verge

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself—but first she has to make it there, alive.

Nnedi Okorafor

© Anyaugo Okorafor-Mbachu

Nnedi Okorafor born to Igbo Nigerian parents in Cincinnati, Ohio, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa for her children’s book, Long Juju Man. Her adult novel, Who Fears Death, was a James Tiptree, Jr. Honor List book. She is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

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

Owensboro Community and Technical College (KY)

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Geek Girl Rising

Geek Girl Rising

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
272 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-11226-2

Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech

Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens

“This inspiring collection of success stories gives all the dish on the rise of under-the-radar women in the tech world.”

The Wall Street Journal

Meet the women who aren’t asking permission from Silicon Valley to chase their dreams. They are going for it—building cutting-edge tech startups, investing in each other’s ventures, crushing male hacker stereotypes, and rallying the next generation of women in tech. With a nod to tech trailblazers like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, Geek Girl Rising introduces readers to the fearless female founders, technologists, and innovators fighting at a grassroots level for an ownership stake in the revolution that’s changing the way we live, work, and connect. Readers will meet Debbie Sterling, inventor of GoldieBlox, the first engineering toy for girls, which topples the notion that only boys can build; peek inside YouTube sensation Michelle Phan’s ipsy studios, where she is grooming the next generation of digital video stars while leading her own mega e-commerce beauty business; and tour the headquarters of The Muse, the hottest career site for millennials, and meet its intrepid CEO, Kathryn Minshew, who stared down sexism while raising millions of dollars to fund the company she co-founded. These women are the rebels proving that a female point of view matters in the age of technology and can rock big returns if you have a big idea and the passion to build it.

Heather Cabot

© Alison Michael Ornstein

Heather Cabot

© Margot Hartford

Heather Cabot is an award-winning journalist, adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, angel investor and contributor to Women@Forbes. She is a former ABC News correspondent and anchor of World News Now/World News This Morning. Cabot resides in the New York City area.

Samantha Walravens is an award-winning journalist, work-life expert and author/editor of the best-selling anthology, TORN: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood. She is a member of Pipeline Angels and serves on the Alumni Schools Committee for Princeton University. Samantha resides in Marin County, California.

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