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Dancing in the dark : a cultural history of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein
“The gloom of the Depression fed a brilliant cultural efflorescence that’s trenchantly explored here. Dickstein surveys a panorama that includes high-brow masterpieces and mass entertainments, grim proletarian novels and frothy screwball comedies, haunting photographs of dust bowl poverty and elegant art deco designs.” –Publishers Weekly
Listen to an interview with Dancing in the Dark author Morris Dickstein
Divas on screen: Black women in American film by Mia Mask
“This insightful study places African American women’s stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry.” –Publisher’s information
Watch Halle Berry in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge:
Long past stopping : a memoir by Oran Canfield
“Juggled between an endless succession of friends, relatives, anarchist boarding schools, libertarian commune dwellers, socialist rebels, and born-again circus clowns, Oran Canfield grew up viewing the inconsistencies of the world with a wary eye. The son of Jack Canfield—the motivational speaker and creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul—Oran is intensely self-conscious and reserved, but his life won’t seem to leave him alone.” –Publisher’s information.
Watch Oran Canfield talk about Long Past Stopping, via a prayer hotline:
Our noise : the story of Merge Records, the indie label that got big and stayed small by John Cook, with Mac McCaughan & Laura Balance
“Freelance reporter Cook and Merge cofounders McCaughan and Ballance trace the history of the North Carolina–based record label that started in a bedroom and now releases some of indie rock’s biggest names. While some of the label’s artists may be beyond the scope of the casual music fan, bands like Magnetic Fields, Spoon and Arcade Fire demonstrate how vital Merge is to the indie rock landscape.” –Publishers Weekly
Check out the Merge Records website.
Sinister yogis by David Gordon White
“Marketed as a clear path to self-realization, mind expansion, and taut abs, yoga is also perceived as an ancient and unchanging Indian tradition based on the revelations of benign and limber sages. But this modern conception of yoga derives from nineteenth-century European spirituality, Sinister Yogis reveals, and the true story of yoga’s origins in South Asia is far richer, stranger, and much more entertaining.” -Publisher’s information
“Michael Rosen’s seven-year-old son Ripton one day decided to join a pick-up game of baseball with some older kids in the park. At the end of the game Ripton asked his new friends if they wanted to come back to his house for snacks and Nintendo. Over time, five of the boys—all black and Hispanic, from the impoverished neighborhood across the park—became a fixture in the Rosens’ home and eventually started referring to Michael and his wife Leslie as their parents.” –Publisher’s information.
Watch members of the Rosen family read excerpts from What Else But Home:
“John Alcock knows the Sonoran Desert better than just about anyone else, and in this book he tracks the changes he observes in plant and animal life over the course of a drought year. Combining scientific knowledge with years of exploring the desert, he describes the variety of ways in which the wait for rain takes place—and what happens when it finally comes.” –Publisher’s information
Read an excerpt of When the Rains Come