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New Book Highlights

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The possessed: adventures with Russian books and the people who read them by Elif Batuman

“Odd and oddly profound . . . Among the charms of Ms. Batuman’s prose is her fond, funny way of describing the people around her . . . Perhaps Ms. Batuman’s best quality as a writer though—beyond her calm, lapidary prose—is the winsome and infectious delight she feels in the presence of literary genius and beauty. She’s the kind of reader who sends you back to your bookshelves with a sublime buzz in your head. You want to feel what she’s feeling.” -Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review

Tammy Wynette: tragic country queen by Jimmy McDonough.

“Tammy Wynette, along with Loretta Lynn, represented the female face of country music in the last decades before top-40 country became midtempo rock with fringe and steel guitars…McDonough’s first full-scale supplement to the autobiography Stand by Your Man (1979) and daughter Jackie Daley’s Tammy Wynette (2000) is a crucial acquisition for pop-music and American studies collections and absolutely essential for country-music collections. -Mike Tribby, Booklist

My brain made me do it: the rise of neuroscience and the threat to moral responsibility by Eliezer J. Sternberg

“At some point in our lives, we get puzzled about how we can be held responsible for actions seemingly initiated by brain chemistry. My Brain Made Me Do It is a terrific guide for those who are ready to confront this puzzle in its full scientific and philosophical complexity. It clearly explains the fascinating scientific advances in our understanding of the brain-behavior connection, and carefully considers their relevance to the free will question making these complicated theoretical issues come alive in vivid case studies.” -Jerry Samet, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Brandeis University

The art of plant evolution by W. John Kress and Shirley Sherwood

“‘Art meets science’ in this beautiful book that aims to give readers a sense of some contemporary scientific discoveries that are changing our understanding of plant relationships. 136 botanical paintings from the Shirley Sherwood Collection, by 84 artists, cover 50 orders of plants in 118 families, and a total of 133 species, providing a sweeping overview of the evolution of plants on earth.” –Publisher’s information