Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Report from MLA

Yesterday, Modern Language Association's annual meeting in San Francisco ended at 1 pm. A dash to the airport got me on the 3:25 pm to JFK. After a 35-minute wait for my luggage and a taxi ride with a driver who thought Inwood was in the Bronx, I walked in the door at 1:30 am!

MLA keeps promising to move the meeting to a less holiday-busting time--but it hasn't happened yet.

8100 attended--and the 50 degree weather seemed to lift everybody's spirits.

Our most popular title in the booth was The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Christopher R. Beha. Other books of interest were Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.
One professor told me that he makes a deal with his students: If they buy a copy of Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold, he will refund their money if they don't like it. Many students have bought a copy--but the professor hasn't had to reimburse anybody.
Now, MLA is a smart and polite group, but one annoying thing happened over and over again. Why would groups of Ph.D.s cluster at the foot of the down escalator to chat and chat while everybody else had to stumble around them?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Can we talk about the two-spaces-after-a-period thing?

One of the many ways I, as a freelance writer, cobble together enough income each month to pay the electric bill is by taking on the occasional editing job. Right now I'm editing a Chinese-restaurant guidebook, and last month I was working on a couple of magazine pieces.

One thing I see time and again is the persistent use of two spaces after a period or other final punctuation. This relic of the typewriter era has had incredible staying power. Even many young Millennials, who have never used a typewriter for anything, have inherited this habit from their parents or schoolteachers, or from following the examples of others.

Yet if you look at modern, professionally published material -- such as books from HarperCollins, magazines, newspapers and professionally produced websites -- you will not see two spaces after a period. In addition, most web browsers automatically render one space after a period no matter how many spaces appear in the source material.

There are a number of reasons why two spaces after a period are no longer necessary, but the main one is that the typefaces we use today (Times New Roman, etc.) are proportionally spaced. On a typewriter, the typeface (Courier) was not proportionally spaced -- every letter and character used exactly the same width. But with proportional spacing, the "i" is narrower than the "m" and -- most relevant to the current rant -- the space is already the right size for a visually pleasing break after the end of a sentence. Indeed, if you use two spaces after a period with a proportionally spaced typeface you risk creating a visually unpleasant quantity of white space.

I hope you'll all join me in eradicating the two-spaces tradition once and for all. Or, if not, I'd love to hear why.

Chicago Manual of Style Q&As on this subject

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I can never decide if academic conferences are easier or more difficult when they are in my hometown. When they're in NYC, I feel that I must stop by the office to do "a few things." Drycleaning has to be picked up. Dishes need washing. At times, an out-of-town conference seems more focused. Plus, the hotel maid makes my bed.

This year's American Historical Association meeting is in New York City from January 2-5 at the Hilton. Stop by booth 424 to visit us. We'll feature our formidable backlist--and new titles such as Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan and How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein.

I promise to stay focused.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Name is Steven Shaw and I'm an Academic

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, as I will be one of the regular contributors to the fine HarperAcademic blog. As you can see from the preceding post, I'm the author of the book Asian Dining Rules: Essential Strategies for Eating Out at Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Korean, and Indian Restaurants. But that's not what makes me an academic.

I actually became an academic just a few weeks ago when I signed on as Director of New Media Studies at the International Culinary Center. Come spring I'll be teaching a course about the culinary blogosphere, an area in which I have a fair amount of experience thanks to a decade in that space and seven years heading up the eGullet online community. I'm looking forward to sharing with HarperAcademic's loyal readers as the course develops.

In the meantime, continuing with the Chinese-food-on-Christmas theme, you might enjoy this article from Time Out New York about Chinese-restaurant tactics.

If you'll eat Chinese food on Christmas Day...

If Christmas isn't your holiday, chances are your tradition on December 25th is to go out for a movie and Chinese food.

Steven Shaw, author of Asian Dining Rules and Turning the Tables, provides tips on how to have the best dining experience on any day of the year.

On the movie side of things, why not try Marley & Me?

Interview: Scott McCloud

There's a terrific interview with Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics and Making Comics, at Graphic Novel Reporter.
Understanding Comics is adopted in all sorts of classes--from comics as literature and art appreciation to new media.

Reading To Be Green

Des Moines Public Library will host Nicolette Hahn Niman, author The Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms, during their "Reading to be Green" series on February 26th.

Jan Kaiser, the event coordinator, notes the timeliness of Nicolette’s event, in reference to the Agriprocessors Inc. raid this past May. The company employed underage workers and illegal immigrants, violating several labor laws, as well as laws (and kosher requirements) relating to the safe handling and processing of meat.

For more "Reading to be Green" books, check out our interactive Environmental Studies catalog.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A December 26 Tradition

My family celebrates Christmas on the 24th. The next day, some go to mass. Others go to the movies. Some of us lay around eating what's left of the holiday pie. It's a mixed bag.

For almost 20 years, the one holiday ritual that hasn't changed is Modern Language Association's annual conference. Every December 26th, I get on a plane or train and head out to set up our exhibit booth. This year Doreen and I will attend.

If MLA is part of your holiday tradition, please come visit us in booth 108. We'll be surrounded by lots of books, catalogs--and leftover holiday candy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

(Snake) Oil Advertising

Chevron's ads tell us it is investing heavily in alternative and renewable fuels--but Antonia Juhasz, author of The Tyranny of Oil, points out that Chevron's corporate reports tell a different story:

"Chevron's "human energy" advertisements are everywhere: TV, magazines, bus stops and newspapers. The commercials--which end with the words "oil," "geothermal," "solar," "wind," "hydrogen" and "conservation" flashing one at a time between the three bars of Chevron's logo--encourage us to believe that the company is equal parts clean energy, conservation and oil. But is it really, as the commercials claim, "part of the solution" to the world's climate crises, rather than at the heart of the problem?" Read the rest of Antonia's Op Ed at the Los Angeles Times.

Adoption of the Week

Michael Largo's darkly brilliant Genius and Heroin has been adopted for a course called "The Creative Process" at Union Institute in Cincinnati. I'd love to sit in on this one.

I wonder why Michael's Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die hasn't shown up in a course on death and dying?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winner: American Book Award

Congratulations to Nikki Giovanni! Her book, The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998, has won a 2008 American Book Award. The American Book Awards were established by the Before Columbus Foundation to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community.

In November, Nikki stopped by our booth at the National Council of Teachers of English meeting to say hello--and we were happy to report that teachers continue to tell us that their students love her poetry.

We thought you might like to sit in as Nikki reads her poetry....

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HarperAcademic is twittering. Now, you can follow our every move.

Waiting in Line at the Bookstore!

Last night, I must have been the happiest person in line at my local bookstore. Why was I so happy? Because there was a line! A 10-minute wait! People were standing in line with more than one book.

Here's what they were buying.

Lydia (visiting from Detroit) bought The Story of Edgar Sawtelle for her sister and Masterpiece by Elise Broach for her 10-year-old niece.

Mike (Upper Westside) got The Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics for his sister-in-law.

Me? The new Artemis Fowl for my niece and The Encyclopedia of Perennials for my sister--a garden designer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fast Food Nation Contest Winner!

This fall, Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation was an All-Campus Read for the Community College of Baltimore County.

Students participated in our Fast Food Nation Contest by entering a creative project--based on the themes of the book.

Our first-prize winner is Bobby Moseley's original song "When Will I Explode."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Columbia Gazetteer for Free--Until January 11

When I was a kid, I spent many hours browsing through my great aunt's print edition of The Columbia Gazetteer of the World. The result? I am very good at answering crossword clues such as "a river in Afghanistan."*

Now, you can try out the new online version for free. The username is eviewsblog. The password is ljgaz. Free access ends on January 11, 2009.


*If it begins with A and has seven letters, it must be Andarab.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Books Make Great Gifts

Elmo, Jon Stewart, Maya Angelou, Julie Andrews, and others remind you why books make great gifts for the holidays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Teaching Guide: The Last Lecture

My November was a whirlwind of educational conferences--and at each meeting, I met teachers who told me how excited they are to be teaching The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow.

At the National Council for Teachers of English--the response was so strong that we ran out of teaching guides.

However, as you think about what you'll assign in your classroom for the fall, keep in mind that all of these wonderful teaching resources are available online--making it easy to incorporate The Last Lecture into your curriculum.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Paula J. Giddings Wins Gustavus Myers Award

Congratulations to Paula J. Giddings, whose book Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching has won an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. The Myers Center Outstanding Book Awards identify and review books that analyze the myriad forms of bigotry and discrimination, and, importantly, advance pathways towards human rights for all.

Modern Thought

HARPER PERENNIAL MODERN THOUGHT is the definitive home for the modern world's most influential minds. Enhanced by original commentary from today's leading scholars, these editions seek to preserve the spark of great thought--and inspire new ideas from future generations.

Stop by booth 53 at the American Philosophical Association in Philadelphia to see them up close.

Lost & Found: The Red Leather Diary

For more than half a century, the red leather diary languished inside a steamer trunk. Rescued from a Dumpster on Manhattan's Upper West Side, it found its way to Lily Koppel, a young writer. The diary painted a breathtaking portrait of a bygone New York—of glamorous nights at El Morocco and elegant teas at Schrafft's during the 1920s and '30s—and of the headstrong, endearing teenager who filled its pages with her hopes, heartaches, and vivid recollections.

Intrigued, Koppel followed her only clue, a frontispiece inscription, to its now ninety-year-old owner, Florence Wolfson, and was enchanted as Florence, reunited with her diary, rediscovered a lost younger self.

Joining intimate interviews with original diary entries, The Red Leather Diary re-creates the romance and promise of a remarkable era and brings to life the true story of a daring, precocious young dreamer.

It will be available in paperback in January.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Author Event: Francine Prose at NCTE

Francine Prose, the author of the classroom favorite Reading Like A Writer and the recently published Goldengrove, spoke at the Secondary Get-Together at the National Council of Teachers of English conference that was held last month in San Antonio. Over 400 high school English teachers attended the event, which featured the teachers participating in a class assignment based on Francine's books. The teachers were completely captivated with Francine, who is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and a spirited question and answer session followed her talk about the process of writing. File this tidbit under "writing a book is very hard work and not for the easily stressed": Francine revealed that Goldengrove went through 13 drafts which she revised ten times each. That's 130 revisions!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coming Soon to a Backyard Near You

It's almost here... the 2009 Backyard Abolitionist Tour with Not For Sale founder David Batstone and in-house artist Brant Christopher. This January, Dave and Brant will be hitting the road hard to recruit and inspire Abolitionists across the US.

These fast-paced and interactive shows will be like a movie on stage... live music, dynamic media, and a powerful message of freedom for the captives. These events are a remarkable way to spread awareness, motivate the community, and launch an Abolitionist movement in your area.

How to bring the movement to your school:

Universities - These dynamic evening events will jump-start a student movement on your campus. The shows have a sliding price scale - $2500 for small private schools and $5000 for large public universities. Prices within that range are negotiable dependent on components of the show.

High Schools - These exciting daytime events are interactive and engaging for students. They happen as an appendage to other scheduled events in the area, and are $500 per event. If you are wanting to bring NFS to your high school, consider partnering with your local church or a university.

For more information, you can download the Backyard Abolitionist pdf HERE

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Better than Madonna

We just returned from Houston, TX for the annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) meeting. We had a great time meeting with social studies teachers, and talking to them about what they are teaching, and what books they are using in the classroom. We were glad to find that some of our books continue to be favorites. We brought with us some of our new books that we feel will fit nicely into the social studies curriculum, namely Not For Sale by David Batstone, and Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner and Emily and Sarah Buder. Both books were very well recieved, along with accompanying teaching materials which will be available for download soon.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday's keynote speaker, our own author, Dr. Howard Zinn. Author of the well-known, and widely used A People's History of the United States, Dr. Zinn was quite a draw. One young social studies teacher said upon meeting Dr. Zinn that she was going to see Madonna in concert that night, but that meeting and hearing Dr. Zinn was "even better than Madonna." We certainly agree. Look for a summary of his speech in an upcoming NCSS newlsetter.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

AAR Report

I've just gotten back from the American Academy of Religion's annual conference--which took place in Chicago.

I wasn't surprised that our two most requested books were The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins and The Green Bible.

Philip Jenkins, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities in History and Religious Studies at Penn State University, gives us a history, revealing that, for centuries, Christianity's center was actually in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, with significant communities extending as far as China.

"Philip Jenkins’s book is a tour de force in historical retrieval and reconstruction, a work of scholarly restoration that strikes an overdue balance in the story of Christianity. It is studded with insight, with the story presented in a lively and lucid style."
— Lamin Sanneh, Professor of World Christianity and Professor of History, Yale University

To request a desk copy, please use the form under Academic Resources in the right-hand column.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ken Davis on the Today Show

Don't miss Ken Davis on The Today Show. The charming author of the Don't Know Much About series will be on The Today Show tomorrow, November 5th to discuss little-known trivia about the new President-elect and to quiz Today Show hosts about presidential history.

And since today is Election Day, here is a video of Ken Davis sharing trivia about the Electoral College. Happy Voting!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Green is the New Black

Our new Environmental Studies catalog is available online under the "Academic Catalogs" header. Featuring such classics as The Monkey Wrench Gang, current favorites like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and the cutting-edge science of Dr. Robert Morris's The Blue Death--the catalog also includes links to related resource content on the web to provide a fluid interactive experience that goes beyond the traditional printed catalog. Please feel free to let us know what you think about this exciting informational tool.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Romancing a Robot

Han Solo never raised my pulse. Luke is too boyish for my taste. Now, consider Artoo-Detoo. He is always there when you need him—and he always knows what to do. Plus, there's something very endearing about his beeps and whistles. Am I crazy? David Levy says no.

The author of Love and Sex with Robots, a leading expert in artificial intelligence, explains: "My thesis is this: Robots will be hugely attractive to humans as companions because of their many talents, senses, and capabilities. They will have the capacity to fall in love with humans and to make themselves romantically attractive and sexually desirable to humans. Robots will transform human notions of love and sexuality. . . . Love and sex with robots on a grand scale is inevitable. This book explains why."

"Fascinating. It raises important questions about the future of robots, what we might want from them, and what our interactions with them might teach us about ourselves."—New Scientist

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Vision for the Future

When your freshman class arrives on campus, I know you have great hopes--and great concerns--for each of them. How many will thrive? How many will lose their way during the tumultuous first year of college?

Vision boards ask students to focus on what they want to accomplish--and how they plan to achieve those goals. They are modern-day life maps--highly inspirational and personal in nature--comprised of photographs, collages, mementos, drawings, and quotes, which create a visual layout of one’s career and personal aspirations.

Joyce Schwarz has been guiding students and professionals for over twenty years. In The Vision Board, she shows you and your students how to use this powerful tool.
If you would like to invite Joyce to visit your campus, please contact us.

The Economy & Stay-at-Home Moms

With the economy in shambles, Leslie Bennetts's The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? about the ramifications for women who leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms makes even more sense.

“In a time of trumped-up 'opting-out' and 'nesting-fever' trends, The Feminine Mistake comes as an essential corrective. With good sense, hard facts, ample wit and compelling urgency, Leslie Bennetts delivers an incontrovertible argument for economic self-sufficiency as the fundamental of women’s well-being. The Feminine Mistake should be required reading for all young women, and a lot of older ones, too." --Susan Faludi, author of Backlash

Check out her latest article at The Daily Beast.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Author Event: Howard Zinn at NCSS

Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Houston on Sunday, November 16.

Thanks to a donation from one of Howard Zinn's former students, the same man who funded the Zinn Education Project, the first 700 people at Zinn's talk will receive a free copy of the teaching guide, A People's History for the Classroom.

Make sure to stop by the HarperCollins booth (#711) throughout the conference.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Research: Green Works

California's energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000, according to a study conducted by David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Green Collar Economy is already a reality. In this book, Van Jones "illustrates the link between the struggle to restore the environment and the need to revive the US economy. He demonstrates conclusively that the best solutions for the survivability of our planet are also the best solutions for everyday Americans." (Al Gore)

In The Clean Tech Revolution, Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder uncover the profits and potential of the new industrial revolution in this definitive book on clean technology—technologies designed to provide superior performance at lower costs, greatly reducing the world’s dependence on “dirty” fossil-based energy sources and other environmentally damaging products.

Take a look at Ron Pernick's syllabus for his course Clean-Technology Markets, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Portland State University.

To request a desk copy of either book, use the form under Academic Resources.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It Is Easy Being Green

Just posted under the "Academic Catalogs" header is our new Environmental Studies catalog. This beautiful online (not printed!) catalog is an excellent resource as a primer to our top green titles, providing informative hyperlinks from the books to related resource content on the web. We think this catalog is terrific, but of course we're a bit biased, so please let us know what you think of it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Meet the Author: Gregory Maguire

High school students have read and re-read Wicked. They've begged their parents to take them to the musical. (My 12-year-old niece declared it "awesome.") They've listened to the Broadway score over and over again. Now, they can read Gregory Maguire's latest tale from Oz, A Lion Among Men.

Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men should follow in Wicked's footsteps and find a place on high school summer reading lists.

Recently, Gregory sat down with the Borders Book Club to talk about his new book. To watch the video, click here.

Gregory will be on tour through December. If you and your students would like to meet him, make sure to check his schedule. He might be coming to your town.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Book for Turbulent Times

Peter Drucker was a visionary--and in Managing in Turbulent Times he foresaw the volatility of the global economy. In chapters on everything from adjusting for inflation and transnational world money to business policies for the world economy, Drucker focused on actions and strategies that will ensure a company's capacity to survive a blow, to adapt to sudden change, and to avail itself of new opportunities.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal re-printed a 1992 column by Peter Drucker, “Planning for Uncertainty,” to help businesses cope with the current financial turmoil. “Now with the imploding economy forcing companies to rip up their game plans, managers need sage advice more than ever,” the Journal said. “So, we hunted down some classic wisdom from Drucker himself. . . . Some of the details are rooted in that time, but much of it is timeless.”

In the same week, The Economist also turned to Drucker--publishing an article on his work--and driving home his visionary status with this short quote: "In the next economic downturn there will be an outbreak of bitterness and contempt for the super-corporate chieftains who pay themselves millions.”

Here's classic reading for today's managers and management students. To request a desk copy, use the form under Academic Resources.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Olive Editions

Although I like my e-Reader, I'm still in love with the book as object, and I've fallen hard for these Olive Editions. The beautiful and quirky cover designs and illustrations by Milan Bozic make me want to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Everything is Illuminated, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh for a second (or third) time.

Plus, as you'll see in the video below, these Olive Editions fit in your back pocket and are as portable as your Blackberry.

Haven't you bought a book simply because it's beautiful?

Latin: A Dead Language Rises Again

According to a Modern Language Association survey, Latin enrollments, which had grown by 14.1% from 1998 to 2002, posted another 7.9% increase in 2006. Today, 32,191 college students (undergraduate and graduate) are enrolled in Latin courses.

Last week, the New York Times reported that the number of students taking the Advanced Placement test in Latin has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, to 8,654 in 2007.

As the publishers of Wheelock's Latin, we've always known that Latin never died.

Let us know if you've taken a Latin course.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Syllabus: Clean Technology

At last, here is a bright spot on the economic horizon. In The Clean Tech Revolution, Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder uncover the profits and potential of the new industrial revolution in this definitive book on clean technology—technologies designed to provide superior performance at lower costs, greatly reducing the world’s dependence on “dirty” fossil-based energy sources and other environmentally damaging products.

“Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat helped people recognize that globalization is pervasive. Similarly, The Clean Tech Revolution shows us that clean energy has arrived and will have a far-reaching impact on the global economy.”—Bob Greifeld, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc.

Take a look at Ron Pernick's syllabus for his course Clean-Technology Markets, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Portland State University.

To request a desk copy, use the form under Academic Resources.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Curriculum Guide: Letters to a Bullied Girl

Olivia Gardner, a northern California teenager, was severely taunted and cyber-bullied by her classmates for more than two years. News of her bullying spread, eventually reaching two sisters Emily and Sarah Buder. The girls were so moved by Olivia's story that they initiated a letter-writing campaign to help lift her spirits.

In Letters to a Bullied Girl, Olivia and the Buder sisters share an inspiring selection of messages—the personal, often painful remembrances of former targets, remorseful bullies, and sympathetic bystanders.

Letters to a Bullied Girl examines our national bullying epidemic from a variety of angles and perspectives, and includes practical guidance from bullying expert Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.

Our free curriculum guide was written by Mike Koren, a middle-school teacher in Wisconsin. To receive a copy, please send us an e-mail.

Meet the Buder sisters.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wally Lamb's Writing Workshop

For several years, Wally Lamb, the author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, has run a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only maximum-security prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to face their fears and failures and begin to imagine better lives.

Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of their essays, was published in 2003 to great critical acclaim. With I'll Fly Away, Lamb offers a new volume of intimate pieces from the York workshop. Startling, heartbreaking, and inspiring, these stories are as varied as the individuals who wrote them, but each illuminates an important core truth: that a life can be altered through self-awareness and the power of the written word.

Couldn't Keep It to Myself has been used in all sorts of classes from English Composition 101 (syllabus) at University of West Georgia to Women and Crime (syllabus) at the University of Colorado Denver. I'm certain the same will happen with I'll Fly Away.

To request a desk copy of either, fill out the form under Academic Resources to the right.

If you'd like to meet Wally, he'll be on the road in November to promote his new novel, The Hour I First Believed. You can see his schedule here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Love Letter to the Big Easy

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, award-winning author and New Orleans resident Tom Piazza wondered what would become of the city he loved. Moved to illuminate its storied culture as well as ponder its uncertain future, in Why New Orleans Matters he asks students to consider the spirit of his home and all the things it has shared with the world--grace and beauty, resilience and soul.

"Pensive and elegiac. . . . Sharp [and] steely. . . . Like a good jazz funeral, Why New Orleans Matters is both a mournful dirge and a vivacious ode to a city."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Reading [Why New Orleans Matters] is an emotionally wrenching experience--at times hilarious, at times heartbreaking."--New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Best American Science Writing 2008

Even students who have no trouble grasping String Theory struggle when it comes to writing clearly and accurately about their own ideas and research.

The Best American Science Writing 2008--the ninth edition of the revered annual series—lets students learn from the best, most crucial, thought-provoking, and engaging science writing of the year.

Edited by Sylvia Nasar, this edition includes works by Benedict Carey, Daniel Carlat, Thomas Goetz, Al Gore, Jerome Groopman, Stephan S. Hall, Amy Harmon, Gardiner Harris, Joseph Kahn, and Ben McGrath, Jim Yardley, Carl Zimmer, and others.

Here is Jim Yardley, contributor of "Beneath Booming Cities, China's Future Is Drying Up," speaking at UC Berkeley's China Initiative about China's environment.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stuck in Guyland

Why do so many young men seem stuck between adolescence and adulthood? Why do so many of them fail to launch? Just what is going on?

In Guyland, Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, tackles the world of late adolescent boys and young men: the “guys” of America, aged 16 to 26. Michael gives us a tour of Guyland, a world of video games, movies and television, sports, and music--and violent fraternity initiations and sexual predation. He shows us young men who drift through life without deep commitments to work or relationships. Plus, he shows how the culture of Guyland affects young women who are stuck there, too.

"Just as Reviving Ophelia introduced readers to the culture of teenage girls, Guyland takes us to the land of young men." —Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia

If you'd like to invite Michael Kimmel to speak at your school, please contact the HarperCollins Speakers Bureau.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

True Crime Reporting So Intense You'll Swear It's Fiction. It's Not.

I'll be the first to admit that if I turn on the TV and see a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon running my plans for the day go by the wayside; I'll sit down on my couch and never stop watching until the very last episode. Crime stories are fascinating, be they acted on television or in the movies or transcribed as the written word. The Best American Crime Reporting 2008 is a phenomenal collection that shows students what true crime reporting can and should be, with selections from such esteemed publications as Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker on everything from fraud to murder, theft to madness.

Russia. Romance. Tolstoy. It's Time to Read "War and Peace"

A grand, romantic saga of two noble Russian families and a multitude of lives swept up in the violent tumult of the Napoleonic Wars, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace is considered one of the preeminent literary works of all time. Tolstoy completed this novel in 1866, but it was not until years later--after the author had doubled the book's length with philosophical and historical meditations--that the great novel was published. More than half a century in the making, the result of extraordinary dedication and painstaking research, here is Tolstoy's original version of the timeless classic, which never made it into print in the author's lifetime.
Translated by Andrew Bromfield and available for the first time in English, your students can now enjoy War and Peace as Tolstoy originally intended--with its subtly different characters, dialogue, and ending--and experience the breathtaking masterpiece that has inspired love and devotion for generations.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 1790's: This is the Modern World

From Jay Winik, the author of the New York Times bestseller April 1865 comes The Great Upheaval. Named by USA Today as a Best Book of the Year and now available in paperback, this sweeping, magisterial drama explores the cold, dark battlefields and deadly clashes of ideologies that defined the 1790's and gave birth to the modern world. Highlighting the richest cast of characters to ever walk upon the world stage--Washington, Jefferson, Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great--The Great Upheaval is a gripping portrait of a tumultuous decade that will transform the way your students will view America's beginnings.

Meet the Expert: Reading and Dyslexia

After completing the first part of her graduate studies in English literature and planning to pursue a Ph.D., Maryanne Wolf made a year-long commitment to teach children with a variety of learning challenges in Waialua, Hawaii. It was an experience that changed her life. "That little tiny town taught me the consequences of not becoming literate," says Wolf.

She spent the next twenty years developing and evaluating methods of testing and treating dyslexia. Today, she is the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University.

In Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Dr. Wolf gives educators an eloquent, sweeping account of the evolution of reading, its development across the life of an individual, and the fascinating mix of gift and difference that is dyslexia. Connie Juel, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Stanford University says, "Quite simply this book is spectacular.... Be prepared to be amazed."

If you are interested in having Dr. Wolf speak at your school, please
contact us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Garbage Patch Twice the Size of Texas

It's true: a heap of our plastic discards is floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean--and it is TWICE as big as the state of Texas.

Thomas M. Kostigen, author of You Are Here, shows students how their everyday actions have huge consequences for our planet.
With Kostigen as their guide, your students will take a round-the-world tour with stops in Israel, India, Borneo, China, Alaska, the Amazon Jungle, Staten Island's Fresh Kills Landfill, the Eastern Garbage Patch, the Great Lakes, and Santa Monica, California. Along the way, he'll show them how small changes can have a big impact on the health of our world.

I haven't purchased one plastic bottle since I've read this book. And, I've become a tote-bag user. What changes have you made in your everyday life?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Banned Books Week Is September 27th - October 4th

It is a sad commentary that in 2008 we still have to grapple with the ugly matter of censorship of books. To raise awareness of this issue the last week of September has been dubbed "Banned Books Week." Currently hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country are drawing attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of banned books and hosting a variety of events. Please visit the Banned Books Week website to see which books are currently being challenged and to find out how you can exercise your first amendment rights to fight censorship in your community.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nominate a Teacher Who Changes Lives

Baylor University's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching presents $200,000 to the winning professor. The deadline is November 3.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Day to Celebrate How to Punctuate. Well, Why Not?

Every day is National Punctuation Day here in the Academic Marketing department at HarperCollins Publishers--we don't need a special day to remember that in the end it's all about the punctuation. However, most other people do need a reminder to appreciate the esoteric beauty of the semicolon and the simple ease of the comma. So on that note, we wish you on this September 24th a very happy National Punctuation Day, and please remember not to over use the exclamation point--that drives us crazy!

Students Post Their Notes--and Get Paid for It

An online service, Knetwit, is attempting to serve as a hub for class notes, papers, and other materials—and the site is paying students who supply them.

I think this sounds like an invitation to cheat. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Free Download of Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising

Michael Moore, author of Stupid White Men and Downsize This!, is offering a free download of his forthcoming film Slacker Uprising. University and school libraries can get a free DVD, too. Click here to sign up.