Tag Archives: technology

Being Mortal

Being Mortal

Metropolitan Books
Hardcover
304 pages • $26.00
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9515-9

Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration
of aging, death, and the medical profession’s
mishandling of both, is his best and most
personal book yet.” —The Boston Globe

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering. Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

© Tim Llewellyn

Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications; Better; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Being Mortal has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

East Central University Honors Program (OK); Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science (OH); Moravian College (PA); Tufts University School of Medicine (MA); University of Massachusetts Medical School; University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

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Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-53498-1


Los Inventores
Spanish Language Edition
Paperback
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-28450-3

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); 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); 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); Rutgers University, Honors College (NJ); Salem State University (MA); Santa Ana College; Stony Brook University (NY); 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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Thank You for Being Late

Thank You for Being Late

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
496 pages • $28.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-27353-8

An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Thomas L. Friedman

With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Thomas L. Friedman  (author of The World Is Flat and Hot, Flat, and Crowded) returns with an essential field guide to the twenty-first century.

In this new book, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your students need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. This is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

© Ralph Alswang

Thomas L. Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his work with The New York Times and the author of six bestselling books, including The World Is Flat, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and That Used to Be Us (co-written with Michael Mandelbaum). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

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Gamelife

Gamelife

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
224 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-53638-1

A Memoir

Michael W. Clune

“Beyond the brilliant observations that seem to pop up on every page, the scenes of Clune’s childhood make for equally compelling reading, dramatically rendered as they are in rich novelistic prose.”—Christopher Urban, The Millions

You have been awakened. Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: “Computer games have taught me the things you can’t learn from people.” Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent gazing at pixelated maps and mazes train Michael’s eyes for the uncanny side of 1980s suburban Illinois. A game about pirates yields clues to the drama of cafeteria politics and locker-room hazing. And in the year of his parents’ divorce, a spaceflight simulator opens a hole in reality. In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, Michael W. Clune captures the part of childhood we live alone.

© Lauren Voss

Michael W. Clune is a professor of English at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of the memoir White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin and of two scholarly books, American Literature in the Free Market and Writing Against Time.

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Leaving Orbit

Leaving Orbit

Graywolf Press
Paperback
240 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-555-97709-2

Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight

Margaret Lazarus Dean

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

“A wonderfully evocative new book . . . Ms. Dean writes with the passion of a lifelong lover of space exploration and an ability to communicate, with tremendous kinetic power, the glory and danger of its missions.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from Earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a time of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream has ended. In early 2011, Margaret Lazarus Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA’s last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era. With Dean as our guide to Florida’s Space Coast and to the history of NASA, Leaving Orbit takes the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses, such as Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way, Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans, gathering possible answers to the question: What does it mean that a space-faring nation won’t be going to space anymore? “[Leaving Orbit] is an exuberant, wistful account of the author’s repeated schleps from her home in Tennessee to swampy Florida, an account interspersed with the history of American spaceflight and quotes from its great chroniclers.”—Los Angeles Times

© Christopher Hebert

Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall. She is a recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Tennessee Arts Commission and is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee. She lives in Knoxville.

Leaving Orbit has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

University of Tennessee, Knoxville; University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Children of the New World

Children of the New World

Picador
Paperback
240 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-09899-3

Stories

Alexander Weinstein

“The timely, nuanced stories in Alexander Weinstein’s Children of the New World are some of the most brilliantly disconcerting fiction in recent memory . . . As with George Saunders or Ray Bradbury, Weinstein’s satiric ingenuity seldom overpowers his deep compassion for our wayward species . . . The resulting cautionary tales are superlatively moving and thought-provoking, imbued with disarming pathos and a palpable sense of wonder and loss.”David Wright, The Seattle Times

Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago. In “The Cartographers,” the main character works for a company that creates and sells virtual memories, while struggling to maintain a real-world relationship sabotaged by an addiction to his own creations. In “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” the robotic brother of an adopted Chinese child malfunctions, and only in his absence does the family realize how real a son he has become. Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this modern world and how our ever-growing dependence on new technologies has changed the shape of our society. Alexander Weinstein is a visionary new voice in speculative fiction for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon.

© Jessica Spilos

Alexander Weinstein is the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and his stories have received the Lamar York, Gail Crump, and New Millennium Prizes, have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and appear in the anthology New Stories from the Midwest. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Siena Heights University and leads fiction workshops in the United States and Europe.

Children of the New World has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

University of Central Missouri

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Picador
Paperback

304 pages • $15.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-03775-6

A Novel

Robin Sloan

A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist

“Sloan cleverly combines the antiquated world of bibliophilia with the pulsating age of digital technology, finding curiosity and joy in both.”—The Economist

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore. “A fantastic story . . . I loved diving into the world that Sloan created, both the high-tech fantasyland of Google and the ancient analog society. It’s packed full of geeky allusions and wonderful characters, and is a celebration of books, whether they’re made of dead trees or digits. I will point out, though, that if you get the hardcover [or paperback] version of the book, the dust jacket glows in the dark—something you won’t find on your Kindle. Of course, I didn’t know that until Google told me.”—Jonathan H. Liu, Wired

Robin Sloan  © Helena Price

© Helena Price

Robin Sloan grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia); Pennsylvania State University, Altoona