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New Book Highlights

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Dancing in the Dark book cover
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
Divas on screen: Black women in American film by Mia Mask

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“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 book cover
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 book cover
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 book cover
Sinister yogis by David Gordon White

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“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

More about David Gordon White

What Else But Home book cover
What else but home: seven boys and an American journey between the projects and the penthouse by Michael Rosen

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“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:

When the Rains Come book cover
When the rains come : a naturalist’s year in the Sonoran Desert by John Alcock

“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

New Book Highlights

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you.

Bigfoot book cover
Bigfoot : the life and times of a legend by Joshua Blu Buhs

“Independent scholar Buhs (The Fire Ant Wars) skeptically but affectionately surveys the evidentiary traces of bigfoot and his yeti and Sasquatch kin in sightings, tracks, sideshow exhibits and film, but his focus is on the megapod as cultural signifier. To the white working-class men who are his biggest fans, Buhs contends, bigfoot is an icon of untamed masculinity, a populist rebel against scientific elites, the last champion of authentic reality against a plastic, image-driven, effeminate consumer society.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Hear Joshua Bluh Buhs discuss the book on the radio program Focus 580.

Censoring an Iranian Love Story book cover
Censoring an Iranian love story by Shahriar Mandanipour ; translated from the Farsi by Sara Khalili

“Imagine trying to write about romance in a society in which it’s a crime for a woman to walk down the street with a man who isn’t a relative, and in which government censors scrutinize every line. Shahriar Mandanipour, the struggling Iranian author portrayed with mischievous wit and serious intent in this elaborately chambered double-novel by the real-life Shahriar Mandanipour––a prominent, censored Iranian writer––labors anxiously over the love story of Sara and Dara under the sharp eyes of Mr. Petrovich, a censor of disturbingly omniscient powers.” –Booklist

Visit the author’s website.

Finding the Lost Year book cover
Finding the lost year : what happened when Little Rock closed its public schools by Sondra Gordy

“Much has been written about the Little Rock School Crisis of 1957, but very little has been devoted to the following year – the Lost Year, 1958-59 – when Little Rock schools were closed to all students, both black and white. “Finding the Lost Year” is the first book to look at the unresolved elements of the school desegregation crisis and how it turned into a community crisis, when policymakers thwarted desegregation and challenged the creation of a racially integrated community and when competing groups staked out agendas that set Arkansas’ capital on a path that has played out for the past fifty years.” –Publisher’s information

Learn about Gordy’s documentary on the same topic.

The Protest Singer book cover
The protest singer : an intimate portrait of Pete Seeger by Alec Wilkinson

“A true American original is brought to life in this rich and lively portrait of Pete Seeger, who, with his musical grace and inextinguishable passion for social justice, transformed folk singing into a high form of peaceful protest in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on his extensive talks with Seeger, New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson lets us experience the man’s unique blend of independence and commitment, charm, courage, energy, and belief in human equality and American democracy.” –Publisher’s information

Preview on Google Books

See an excerpt from the American Masters documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

New Book & DVD Highlights

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

How to Read Bible Stories in Myths and Art book cover How to read Bible stories and myths in art: decoding the old masters from Giotto to Goya by Patrick de Rynck.

“In How to Read Bible Stories and Myths in Art, Patrick De Rynck explores the roots of Western civilization from three different angles: He introduces the reader to the best-known stories from the Bible and mythology; he presents a selection of exquisite masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest painters; and he shows the reader how these painters interpreted these famous scenes.” –Publisher’s information.

An Orchard Invisible book cover An orchard invisible: a natural history of seeds by Jonathan Silvertown ; with illustrations by Amy Whitesides

“The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself.” -Publisher’s information

The Myth of Mars and Venus book cover The myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron

“Ambitious in scope and exceptionally accessible, The Myth of Mars and Venus tells it like it is: widely accepted attitudes from the past and from other cultures are at heart related to assumptions about language and the place of men and women in society; and there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women, often associated with social roles and relationships. Cameron concludes that we have an urgent need to think about gender in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow. A compelling and insightful read for anyone with an interest in communication, language, and the sexes.” -Publisher’s information

The West Wing Season 2 DVD coverThe West Wing. The complete second season.

“It’s never politics as usual inside this Oval Office. The President and his staff have been targeted for disruption by rival politicians, soon after being targeted by would-be assassins. Yet the determined colleagues continue to serve the U.S. and its President as the administration heads through midterm elections and into a crisis that leads to allegations of criminal conduct. The West Wing’s second season won the Best Drama Series Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.” -Publisher’s info

Watch excerpts from Season 2 of The West Wing:

New Book and DVD Highlights

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you.

Farm Sanctuary cover Farm Sanctuary : changing hearts and minds about animals and food by Gene Baur

“In 1986, Gene Baur co-founded Farm Sanctuary, a group opposed to factory farming and dedicated to cruelty-free living and providing refuge to weak and sickly animals abused or rejected by slaughterhouses. The group has two farms; one in upstate New York and one north of Sacramento. Each has more than a dozen barns and hundreds of acres of pasture.” –Los Angeles Times

“Factory farms subvert democracy and are some of the nation’s worst polluters. This book shows how they also treat animals with unspeakable cruelty. Farm Sanctuary is a compelling testament to the need to civilize this industry and end its radical practices for producing meat, dairy, and eggs.” -Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Preview the book on Google.

Watch a video about Farm Sanctuary and the book:

Critical Perspectives on Bell Hooks cover Critical perspectives on Bell Hooks edited by Maria del Guadalupe Davidson and George Yancy.

“Although bell hooks has long challenged the dominant paradigms of race, class, and gender, there has never been a comprehensive book critically reflecting upon this seminal scholar’s body of work. Her written works aim to transgress and disrupt those codes that exclude others as intellectually mediocre, and hooks’ challenge to various hegemonic practices has heavily influenced scholars in numerous areas of inquiry. This important resource thematically examines hooks’ works across various disciplinary divides, including her critique on educational theory and practice, theorization of racial construction, dynamics of gender, and spirituality and love as correctives in postmodern life.” –Publishers information

Preview this book at Taylor & Francis.

Watch bell hooks talk about cultural criticism and transformation:

Confessions of a Mullah Warrior book cover Confessions of a mullah warrior by Masood Farivar

“In this earnest bildungsroman, Farivar tells the remarkable tale of how he went from Afghan refugee to resistance fighter to Harvard University student. Fleeing the increasing violence and political instability in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, the author and his family escaped to Pakistan-and the hardships and alienation of refugee life. The young Farivar entered a madrassa where he studied the Koran intensively and became a devout Muslim. Eventually deciding he had a duty to return to Afghanistan to fight, he left his family to embrace jihad against the occupying Soviet troops. While serving on the front lines, Farivar continued “brushing up on [his] Pythagorean theorems, among other things” in preparation for the SAT and made his way to an American prep school and later, Harvard.” –Publishers Weekly

Preview this book on Google.

Read an interview with author Massod Farivar in The Boston Globe.

Milk DVD cover Milk [videorecording] written by Dustin Lance Black, directed by Gus Van Sant

“Director Gus Van Sant uses the account of one of the country’s first openly gay public officials, who was assassinated in 1978, to invest the gay rights movement with mythic grandeur, as a successor to all the heroic social protest movements in American history.” -Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Its] power lies in its uncanny balancing of nuance and scale, its ability to be about nearly everything — love, death, politics, sex, modernity — without losing sight of the intimate particulars of its story. Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. “Milk” is a marvel.” –A. O. Scott, New York Times

Watch the Milk trailer:

New Book and DVD Highlights

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The UVM Libraries’ new book list is updated weekly. Subscribe via RSS feed to subjects that interest you.

Town of mirrors : the reassembled imagery of Robert Pollard, words and pictures by Robert Pollard, introduction by Rick Moody, edited by Eric Reynolds.

[Bailey/Howe Books (3rd Floor), N6537.P564 A4 2008]

“Robert Pollard is the Dayton, Ohio singer-songwriter, who was the leader and creative force behind the legendary indie rock group Guided by Voices, one of the most influential bands of its generation.  In addition to being a prolific songwriter/recording artist, Pollard is a gifted and prolific visual artist, working mostly in the medium of collage.  Town of Mirrors collects the very best of Pollard’s visual art and lyrics/poetry.  Featuring over 175 of Pollard’s favorite collages, hand-picked by the artist, as well as over a dozen new collages produced exclusively for this collection, Town of Mirrors is the first comprehensive collection of Pollard’s visual art ever released.” –Publisher information.

See inside Town of Mirrors.

The hip hop wars : what we talk about when we talk about hip hop–and why it matters by Tricia Rose

[Bailey/Howe Books (3rd Floor), HN59.2 .R68 2008]

“Tricia Rose is the distinguished dean of hip hop studies in America. Her recent book not only affirms this grand status but also transforms our understanding of the present and future of hip hop-and race-in America. Rose’s courageous voice and progressive vision are so badly needed at this time!” -Cornel West, http://www.triciarose.com/hiphopwars.shtml

Read a Time magazine interview with author Tricia Rose.

Crude reflections : oil, ruin and resistance in the Amazon rainforest by Lou Dematteis and Kayana Szymcza

[Bailey/Howe Books (3rd Floor), QH545.O5 D46 2008]

Crude Reflections/Cruda Realidad chronicles the human and environmental impact of oil drilling in the Ecuadoran Amazon, where the pollution is so extensive that medical experts currently predict thousands of deaths from cancer and the disappearance of five indigenous rainforest communities. Community leaders and doctors already report elevated rates of cancer in the region, as well as birth defects. Photographers Lou Dematteis and Kayana Szymczak have documented the physical and emotional reality of those affected by this toxic contamination, roughly 30 times greater than the more widely reported Exxon Valdez spill.” –Publisher info.

See the photographs from Crude Reflection.

Watch Justicia Now!, a documentary about the legacy of oil drilling in North Ecudaor.

Man on wire [videorecording] directed by James Marsh

[Bailey/Howe Media Resources (Ground Floor), DVD 6204]

“On the morning of Aug. 7, 1974, after months of preparation and years of dreaming, a French daredevil named Philippe Petit stepped into the sky above Lower Manhattan. For almost 45 minutes he ambled back and forth on a metal cable strung between the towers of the World Trade Center, a feat of illegal tightrope walking that, according to a New York Police Department sergeant who recounted Mr. Petit’s act of physical poetry in dry press-conference prose, would more aptly be described as dancing. For many years after, Mr. Petit’s stunt was a cherished footnote in the annals of New York history, one of the touchstones of a crazy, awful, glittering era in the life of the city. The destruction of the twin towers in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, revived the memory of that earlier aesthetic assault on the buildings, which is now the subject of Man on Wire, James Marsh’s thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.” -A. O. Scott, New York Times

Read A. O. Scott’s complete review of Man on Wire.

Watch the Man on Wire preview: