Friday, February 27, 2009

Two Histories of Ancient Egypt, Now in Paperback!

These two classic works by Barbara Mertz, now revised for a new generation, give students a fascinating glimpse into the human side of ancient Egypt.

Both now available in paperback from Harper paperbacks. Red Land, Black Land. Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs.

“Dr. Mertz has put her considerable writing talent to use in unraveling the twists and turns of the dynasties and makes the broad sweep of Egyptian history understandable and engaging. There is nothing to equal it for a good grounding in ancient Egypt.”— Peter Lacovara, Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University

Barbara Mertz has Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute.

Request a Desk Copy
Order an Exam Copy

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Teaching the New Testament

Bart D. Ehrman's bestselling Misquoting Jesus demonstrated how over time scribes made radical changes to the text of the New Testament. In his new book, Jesus, Interrupted, Ehrman goes back to the original text to reveal the reasons for the Bible's contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life.

Giving educators and students access to current scholarship, Ehrman explains why these opposing perspectives are found in the New Testament:

  • The authors of the New Testament had diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works.
  • Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented radically different religions.
  • Many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later.
  • Central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians.

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He is also the author of God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer and Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


With her experience governing Pakistan and living and studying in the West, Benazir Bhutto was versed in the complexities of the conflict between the Islamic world and the West from both sides. She was profoundly aware of the risk she took in returning to Pakistan in October 2007--but she was hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change.

In Reconciliation, Bhutto spoke out not just to the West but also to Muslims across the globe--presenting an image of modern Islam that defies the negative caricatures and offering a bold new agenda for how to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and to rediscover the values of tolerance and justice that lie at the heart of her religion.

"Fascinating. . . . Stirring and important. . . . A book of enormous intelligence, courage, and clarity. . . . The best-written and most persuasive modern interpretation of Islam I have read."
--Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times Book Review

If you are considering Reconciliation for one of your courses, please order an examination copy of the paperback edition. If you've already decided to adopt Reconciliation, use our desk copy request form.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who is Twittering? HarperAcademic (and John Cleese)

We've been Twittering for two months--and we're happy to announce that we have over 500 followers. John Cleese has 77,966 followers--but it's not a contest, right?

In celebration, we rounded up our followers on TwitterSheep and made a
word cloud.

What to Read on Fat Tuesday

When we headed to New Orleans in 2006 for the American Library Association's annual conference--the first major convention in the city after Hurricane Katrina--we vowed to spend money in the local bookstores. While browsing in the Garden District Book Shop, we ran into Tom Piazza--who makes his home in New Orleans.

Tom's Why New Orleans Matters, written immediately after the hurricane, is a powerful reminder of the mix of history, people, and culture that makes New Orleans so unique. "That spirit is in terrible jeopardy right now," he writes. "If it dies, something precious and profound will go out of the world forever."

Tom Piazza is also the author of City of Refuge--a novel that Richard Ford called, "an old-fashioned realistic novel of New Orleans, with all the sensuousness, all the flash-point tumult, the easy-yet-hard-won virtue of the city."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Are you LOST?

I am one of the many fans of the show Lost. If you're also a fan you'll know that much of the show's intrigue is due to its allusions to literature, philosophy, and even the bible among other things. Included among these influences is C.S. Lewis' fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lost producers have often said that they use Lewis' mythical world as a creative influence for their own fantastical island (one example: one of the characters on the show is named Charlotte Staples Lewis, or, C.S. Lewis).

Those fans who are familiar both with the Narnia books, and with the evolution of the show will notice many similarities, including the most recent— the return of some of the 'Losties' to the Island is very similar to the return of the four Pevensie siblings to Narnia in Lewis' Prince Caspian. This week's episode was entitled "316" which was the flight number of the plane taking the 'Losties' back to their mysterious island (the coordinates of which were discovered at a lab station called the 'Lampost'... seeing more similarities?). While some speculate that "316" may allude to a passage in the bible, it should also be noted that in HarperCollins' unabridged compendium of all 7 Narnia books, page 316 also happens to be the dedication page to Prince Caspian. Go look for yourself.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Teaching the Value of "Slow Medicine": My Mother, Your Mother

Geriatrician Dennis McCullough has spent his life helping families cope with their parents' final passage, an experience he faced with his own mother. In the comforting and much-needed book My Mother, Your Mother, he recommends a new approach that medical students can use when they launch their careers.

Shaped by common sense and kindness, grounded in traditional medicine yet receptive to alternative therapies, "Slow Medicine" is a measured treatment of "less is more" that improves the quality of patients' late lives without bankrupting their families financially or emotionally. Gentle, personal care often yields better results, not only for the dying but for the families who love them.

If you're considering using My Mother, Your Mother in one of your classes, please request an examination copy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A great list of food blogs

Most magazines, when they try to pick the best websites in a category, come across to me as out-of -touch. The Times of London, however, has done an admirable job of assembling a list of some of the best food blogs out there. Definitely worth a look.

50 of the world's best food blogs

Friday, February 13, 2009

Teaching the Works and Wisdom of C. S. Lewis

We are pleased to announce the publication of the newly repackaged  C. S. Lewis paperback library from HarperOne, featuring ten must-have classics including Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, George MacDonald, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, Weight of Glory, and The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics. An excellent in-depth teaching resource is the C. S. Lewis blog, which offers original work on and about Lewis from scholars who have written on his stories, his theology, and his world. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Writing Contest for Librarians and Booksellers

We are soliciting entries from booksellers and librarians for a version of Ecco’s State By State: A Panoramic Portrait of America edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey.

If you are a bookseller or librarian, please
send us your essay about any state you desire, and we’ll pick the best and publish all-bookseller and all-librarian regional versions in paperback in the next year, with a percentage of the proceeds going to American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

About 2,500 words and by Word doc by
email only.
Deadline: March 1, 2009.

Take a look at some of the pieces in the book now to see the flavor of what we’re looking for, okay? As you’ll see, some authors once lived in the state they wrote about, or do now, but some were sent to the state for a first, fresh look. We don’t think you'll have time for the latter, but really, anything goes. Likewise, we're open to pieces about parts of larger states.

NOTE: These are NOT about bookstore or library life; you’re Jane or John Citizen on this, but of course, working in the book life as part of the piece would be more than fine.

Questions? Just send us an

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'm back from the First-Year Experience conference. It was no surprise that The Last Lecture was a hit. It's being used in freshman seminars at many colleges and universities. Also, high school teachers have told me how much they love teaching Randy Pausch's book.

If you are considering adding The Last Lecture to your curriculum, please take a look at the
online teaching guide.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Food Blogging Course at ICC

The food-blogging course I'm teaching at the International Culinary Center (the entity that comprises the French Culinary Institute and Italian Culinary Academy) here in New York City this April is finally being advertised on the ICC's website: Food Blogging with Steven Shaw.

It's very exciting to me that a prestigious educational institution like ICC (which is one of the small handful of academically serious culinary schools in the country) has seen fit to elevate the subject of food blogging to the level of something worth teaching about. To my knowledge there has never been a course as rigorous as this one (eight weeks of instruction) offered, and I think it will be really interesting to teach it.

I'll provide updates as things develop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Read Walter Dean Myers's New Book for Free

On February 10, Walter Dean Myers's new book Dope Sick will be available online for free reading at Plus, an entire section devoted to writing endeavors, related activities, and online resources for teachers, parents and students will be available. The section includes a video interview with Myers about his work and a reading guide.

Walter Dean Myers hopes to reach teachers, parents, and mentors. He believes that teens who read can make better decisions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards

At the Mid-winter American Library Association conference, the Black Caucus of the ALA honored several of our books and authors with their annual awards.

Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida were awarded an outstanding contribution to publishing citation for Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Do your students use Wikipedia?

If your students continue to use Wikipedia as a primary research tool, show them this video.

30th Anniversary of LET THE LION EAT STRAW

As Black History Month begins, we wanted to honor one of our favorite novels, Let the Lion Eat Straw, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. This remarkable book is the story of one young Southern woman whose abusive mother abandons her as a girl only to return and and move her, suddenly and heartlessly, up North to Brooklyn away from those from whom she has finally found love and hope.

Hailed by Maya Angelou as a “seer of the human landscape,” Elise Southerland is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for poetry and the Ann Ramsey Award for Scholarly Initiative and Action. She is also a contributing editor to Okike, An African Journal of New Writing.

We hope you'll re-visit this classic with us as we celebrate our African-American writers this month and throughout the year. A teaching guide for Let the Lion Eat Straw can be found

Talk to the Author of THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD

Live Chat: Tuesday, February 3, 2pm Eastern time

Frequent visits to the principal's office, detentions, suspensions, and expulsions are the established tools of school discipline for kids who don't abide by school rules. But according to Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child, they are ineffective for most of the students to whom they are applied. In a new book, Lost at School, Dr. Greene presents an alternative for understanding the difficulties of kids with behavioral challenges and explains why traditional discipline isn't effective at addressing these difficulties.

Submit your questions today.

Spotlight On: The Overspent American by Juliet B. Schor

The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need by Juliet B. Schor is a must-read book for these troubled economic times. A modern-day classic that is often quoted in the media, The Overspent American explores why so many of us feel materially dissatisfied, why we work staggeringly long hours and yet walk around with ever-present mental "wish lists" of things to buy or get, and why Americans save less than virtually anyone in the world. Unlike many experts, Harvard economist Schor does not blame consumers' lack of self-discipline. Nor does she blame advertisers. Instead she analyzes the crisis of the American consumer in a culture where spending has become the ultimate social art.