How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense
Author: David Brooks
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Social Science
The author of the acclaimed bestseller Bobos in Paradise, which hilariously described the upscale American culture, takes a witty look at how being American shapes us, and how America's suburban civilization will shape the world's future. Take a look at Americans in their natural habitat. You see suburban guys at Home Depot doing that special manly, waddling walk that American men do in the presence of large amounts of lumber; super-efficient ubermoms who chair school auctions, organize the PTA, and weigh less than their children; workaholic corporate types boarding airplanes while talking on their cell phones in a sort of panic because they know that when the door closes they have to turn their precious phone off and it will be like somebody stepped on their trachea. Looking at all this, you might come to the conclusion that we Americans are not the most profound people on earth. Indeed, there are millions around the world who regard us as the great bimbos of the globe: hardworking and fun, but also materialistic and spiritually shallow. They've got a point. As you drive through the sprawling suburbs or eat in the suburban chain restaurants (which if they merged would be called Chili's Olive Garden Hard Rock Outback Cantina), questions do occur. Are we really as shallow as we look? Is there anything that unites us across the divides of politics, race, class, and geography? What does it mean to be American? Well, mentality matters, and sometimes mentality is all that matters. As diverse as we are, as complacent as we sometimes seem, Americans are united by a common mentality, which we have inherited from our ancestors and pass on, sometimes unreflectingly, to our kids. We are united by future-mindedness. We see the present from the vantage point of the future. We are tantalized, at every second of every day, by the awareness of grand possibilities ahead of us, by the bounty we can realize just over the next ridge. This mentality leads us to work feverishly hard, move more than any other people on earth, switch jobs, switch religions. It makes us anxious and optimistic, manic and discombobulating. Even in the superficiality of modern suburban life, there is some deeper impulse still throbbing in the heart of average Americans. That impulse is the subject of this book.
Do you believe that spending $15,000 on a media center is vulgar, but that spending $15,000 on a slate shower stall is a sign that you are at one with the Zenlike rhythms of nature? Do you work for one of those visionary software companies where people come to work wearing hiking boots and glacier glasses, as if a wall of ice were about to come sliding through the parking lot? If so, you might be a Bobo. In his bestselling work of "comic sociology," David Brooks coins a new word, Bobo, to describe today's upper class -- those who have wed the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise to the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture. Their hybrid lifestyle is the atmosphere we breathe, and in this witty and serious look at the cultural consequences of the information age, Brooks has defined a new generation.
The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Author: Rebecca Solnit
Category: Social Science
A startling investigation of what people do in disasters and why it matters Why is it that in the aftermath of a disaster? whether manmade or natural?people suddenly become altruistic, resourceful, and brave? What makes the newfound communities and purpose many find in the ruins and crises after disaster so joyous? And what does this joy reveal about ordinarily unmet social desires and possibilities? In A Paradise Built in Hell, award-winning author Rebecca Solnit explores these phenomena, looking at major calamities from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco through the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. She examines how disaster throws people into a temporary utopia of changed states of mind and social possibilities, as well as looking at the cost of the widespread myths and rarer real cases of social deterioration during crisis. This is a timely and important book from an acclaimed author whose work consistently locates unseen patterns and meanings in broad cultural histories.
Mike Nichols burst onto the American cultural scene in the late 1950s as one half of the comic cabaret team of Nichols and May. He became a Broadway directing sensation, then moved on to Hollywood, where his first two films--Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967)--earned a total of 20 Academy Award nominations. Nichols won the 1968 Oscar for Best Director and later joined the rarefied EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) club. He made many other American cinematic classics, including Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), and his late masterpieces for HBO, Wit (2001) and Angels in America (2003). Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh regard him with reverence. This first full-career retrospective study of this protean force in the American arts begins with the roots of his filmmaking in satirical comedy and Broadway theatre and devotes separate chapters to each of his 20 feature films. Nichols' permanent achievements are his critique of the ways in which culture constructs conformity and his tempered optimism about individuals' liberation by transformative awakening.
Rochelle Ransom has big plans for winning the prize money on a dating show to help her favorite charity—and if she wins the hot bachelor's heart, even better. But at the last minute she finds out the bachelor is her ex-boyfriend, Grant Drake. Now she's determined to get herself voted off as quickly as possible—even if she has to embarrass herself on national television. But Grant has a different plan for the woman who stole his heart.
Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City
Author: Eric Toensmeier,Jonathan Bates
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a "permaculture paradise" replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden's needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms. In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.
Drawn almost against her will to a vibrant newcomer who has been breaking hearts in their community, Jeanne Cross discovers that she and the woman share deep-seated emotional needs, a commonality that turns deadly when her house is repeatedly burglarized and her son is framed for murder. Reprint.
"Andi Dorfman, the beloved finalist of season eighteen of The Bachelor who infamously rejected Juan Pablo and went on to star on season ten of The Bachelorette, dishes about what it's like to live out a love story--and its collapse--in front of the cameras, offering hard-won advice for moving on after a break-up, public or not"--
Suite Française is both a brilliant novel of wartime and an extraordinary historical document. An unmatched evocation of the exodus from Paris after the German invasion of 1940, and of life under the Nazi occupation, it was written by the esteemed French novelist Irène Némirovsky as events unfolded around her. This haunting masterpiece has been hailed by European critics as a War and Peace for the Second World War. Though she conceived the book as a five-part work (based on the form of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony), Irène Némirovsky was able to write only the first two parts, Storm in June and Dolce, before she was arrested in July 1942. She died in Auschwitz the following month. The manuscript was saved by her young daughter Denise; it was only decades later that Denise learned that what she had imagined was her mother’s journal was in fact an invaluable work of art. Storm in June takes place in the tumult of the evacuation from Paris in 1940, just before the arrival of the invading German army. It moves vividly between different levels of society–from the wealthy Péricand family, whose servants pack up their possessions for them, to a group of orphans from the 16th arrondissement escaping in a military truck. Némirovsky’s immense canvas includes deserting soldiers and terrified secretaries, cynical bank directors and hapless priests, egotistical writers and hardscrabble prostitutes–all thrown together in a chaotic attempt to escape the capital. Moving between them chapter by chapter, this thrilling novel describes a journey hampered and in some cases abandoned because of confusion, shelling, rumour, lack of supplies, bad luck and ordinary human weakness. Cars break down or are stolen; relatives are forgotten; friends are divided; but there are also moments of love and charity. Throughout, whether depicting saintly forbearance or the basest selfishness, Storm in June neither sweetens nor demonizes its characters; unsentimentally, with stunning perceptiveness, Némirovsky shows the complexities that mean no-one is simply a hero or villain. The second volume, Dolce, is set in the German-occupied village of Bussy. Again, Némirovsky switches seamlessly between social strata, from tenant farmers to the local aristocracy. The focus, however, is on the delicate, secret love affair between a German soldier and the French woman in whose house he has been billeted; the passion, doubts and deceits of their burgeoning relationship echo the complex mixture of hostility and acceptance felt by the occupied community as a whole. Némirovsky is amazingly sensitive in her depiction of changing, often contradictory emotions, but her attention to the personal is matched by her sharp-eyed discussion of small-town life and the politics of occupation. In this myth-dissolving book, the French villagers see the Germans as oppressive warriors, but also as handsome young men, and occupation does nothing to remedy the condescension and envy that bedevil relations between rich and poor. Quite apart from the astonishing story of its survival, Suite Française is a novel of genius and lasting artistic value. Subtle, often fiercely ironic, and deeply compassionate, it is both a piercing record of its time and a humane, profoundly moving novel. From the Hardcover edition.
Wearable technology -- whether a Walkman in the 1970s, an LED-illuminated gown in the 2000s, or Google Glass today -- makes the wearer visible in a technologically literate environment. Twenty years ago, wearable technology reflected cultural preoccupations with cyborgs and augmented reality; today, it reflects our newer needs for mobility and connectedness. In this book, Susan Elizabeth Ryan examines wearable technology as an evolving set of ideas and their contexts, always with an eye on actual wearables -- on clothing, dress, and the histories and social relations they represent. She proposes that wearable technologies comprise a pragmatics of enhanced communication in a social landscape. "Garments of paradise" is a reference to wearable technology's promise of physical and mental enhancements. Ryan defines "dress acts" -- hybrid acts of communication in which the behavior of wearing is bound up with the materiality of garments and devices -- and focuses on the use of digital technology as part of such systems of meaning. She connects the ideas of dress and technology historically, in terms of major discourses of art and culture, and in terms of mass media and media culture, citing such thinkers as Giorgio Agamben, Manuel De Landa, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. She examines the early history of wearable technology as it emerged in research labs; the impact of ubiquitous and affective approaches to computing; interaction design and the idea of wearable technology as a language of embodied technology; and the influence of open source ideology. Finally, she considers the future, as wearing technologies becomes an increasingly naturalized aspect of our social behavior.
Steve Elliott and Danny Ortega, two unlucky men incarcerated in a South Texas prison, plan to escape and start life anew. Getting out was the easy part; after that, the hapless pair face obstacles they didn't envision while sitting in their cells. After enlisting the help of Danny's younger brother Ray, they head for Mexico, where they hope to make their way to California undetected by U. S. authorities. The moment they cross the border, their real troubles begin. Kidnapped by a gang of thugs, they are briefly held captive with an attractive woman and three shadowy Mexican "businessmen" who deftly engineer a daring escape for the entire group. After evading imprisonment for the second time in as many days, the duo finds they are now in bigger trouble. It appears their newfound traveling companions are not what they purported to be. To complicate matters, Steve falls for the woman who has her own mysterious agenda. As their true identities and purpose unfold, Steve and Danny are caught up in a horrendous terrorism plot. Forced by circumstances-and guns-to go along with the invaders, it finally comes down to making the right choice-something that has always proven difficult for Steve and Danny.
Recounts the early years of the young Han Solo, beginning with his late teenage years, as he chafes under the sadistic tyranny of the cruel Garris Shrike, and chronicling his transformation into a swashbuckling pilot, smuggler, and rogue. Original.
The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America
Author: David Dante Troutt
Publisher: NYU Press
Category: Social Science
American communities are facing chronic problems: fiscal stress, urban decline, environmental sprawl, mass incarceration, political isolation, disproportionate foreclosures and severe public health risks. In The Price of Paradise, David Troutt argues that it is a lack of mutuality in our local decision making that has led to this looming crisis facing cities and local governments. Arguing that there are structural flaws in the American dream, Troutt investigates the role that place plays in our thinking and how we have organized our communities to create or deny opportunity. Legal rules and policies that promoted mobility for most citizens simultaneously stifled and segregated a growing minority by race, class and—most importantly—place. A conversation about America at the crossroads, The Price of Paradise is a multilayered exploration of the legal, economic and cultural forces that contribute to the squeeze on the middle class, the hidden dangers of growing income and wealth inequality and the literature on how growth and consumption patterns are environmentally unsustainable.