Monday, August 31, 2009

FREAKONOMICS is now in paperback!

Finally, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is available in paperback--with the added bonus of six Freakonomics columns from the New York Times Magazine and a Q & A with the authors.

Here's Stephen J. Dubner on "Good Morning America" discussing the "Freakonomics" Effect--how the book changed the way we think.

If you'd like to consider Freakonomics for one of your classes, please order a paperback examination copy. If you've already decided to require Freakonomics for your course, please request a desk copy.

And, get ready for Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance to be published in hardcover in October 2009.

A Major Literary Event 50 Years In the Making: IN THE FIRST CIRCLE by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This landmark publication of In the First Circle: The First Uncensored Edition is the first complete English translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "best novel" (Washington Post). Written between 1955 and 1958, In the First Circle is Solzhenitsyn's fiction masterpiece. In order to pass through Soviet censors as much as 25% of the original novel was cut: this was the version that was published in a hastily translated English edition in 1968. Even in its diminished form it was hailed as "a classic" by the New York Times and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Now Solzhenitsyn's most trusted translator, Harry Willetts, has produced the definitive English edition.

In the First Circle finds a brilliant mathematician locked in a Moscow prison filled with the country's brightest minds--a setting that Solzhenitsyn allegorically modeled after Dante's First Circle of Hell. After the Soviet Secret Police intercept a call to the American embassy made by a Russian minister who promises to deliver secrets about the Soviet nuclear program, the prisoners are charged with sleuthing out the caller's identity. They then must make the anguishing choice of whether to aid Stalin's repressive state or refuse and accept transfer to the Siberian Gulags, leading to their almost certain death.

If you'd like to consider In the First Circle for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to require the book, please request a desk copy.
Finally, file this breaking news item under "it's about time!": The Gulag Archipelago, previously banned in Russia due to its examination of Stalinism and Bolshevism, is now listed as required reading for Russian students. The Russian Education Ministry sidestepped any debate, claiming the unexpected change was due to "the vital historical and cultural heritage" of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's work.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Would You Say to Harper Lee on the 50th Anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?

July 2010 will be the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. I remember reading Harper Lee's book in the sixth grade--and my teacher told us it was one of her favorite books. I know many teachers feel the same way.

Now is your chance to tell Harper Lee what you've always wanted her to know about your experience with her book in your classroom. If you make a comment here--it might end up in the next edition of To Kill a Mockingbird. Make certain to include your name and school.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don Hewitt, Creator of "60 Minutes," Has Died

Don Hewitt, creator and executive producer of "60 Minutes," died today at the age of 86.

"60 Minutes" was groundbreaking television: it was the first television magazine, and its format continues to be copied. In Tick... Tick... Tick...: The Long Life and Turbulent Times of 60 Minutes by David Blum, students will find an insider's view of the most successful show in the history of TV--and and a new perspective on how current events become news.

If you'd like to consider Tick... Tick... Tick...: The Long Life and Turbulent Times of 60 Minutes for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to require the book, please request a desk copy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cartoon Guides to Science

If Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guides were available when I was in school, I might have aced my chemistry final. Instead, I passed without flying colors.

For each guide, Larry teamed up with an expert in the field, and each book reflects current curriculum--mirroring the standard textbooks in chemistry, physics, genetics, and environmental science. Larry's cartoons and wit make the science memorable and understandable.

"It puts textbooks to shame," says Matthew Meselson, Professor of Biology, Harvard University of The Cartoon Guide to Genetics.

And, for the social science majors who thought they'd never have to take math again, there's The Cartoon Guide to Statistics.

If you are considering one of the Cartoon Guides for your class, please order an examination copy. If you've decided to require one, please request a desk copy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

HarperAcademic's YouTube Channel

Today, HarperAcademic launched our own channel on YouTube with three videos from Kenneth C. Davis, author of Don't Know Much About History.

In the future, there will be more teaching minutes from Ken--and lots more from our authors on subjects ranging from literature, social studies, and history to science.

Please subscribe.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cambodian Students Learn about the Khmer Rouge

Last week, I got an email from Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers:

Thought this article might interest you. Finally, Cambodian students are set to learn about their own history. Hard to believe that Khmer Rouge history has not been taught in school until now.

I have to agree. It's shocking that Cambodian high school students haven't been taught their country's recent and tragic history.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante

I confess: I didn't know who Elsa Morante was until Lily Tuck's biography, Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante, appeared on our list last year in hardcover. Since then, I've made up for my transgression--reading Woman of Rome and Morante's novel Arturo's Island.

Half Jewish, Morante fled Rome with her husband, the celebrated writer Alberto Moravia, during the Nazi occupation and lived in a remote hill village in southern Italy. After the war, she published a series of prize-winning novels—House of Liars (1946), the lyrical and luminous Arturo's Island (1957), and History (1974)—which firmly established her place in the Italian literary pantheon.

Woman of Rome is now in paperback. If you'd like to consider it for a course, please order an examination copy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving Day

Tomorrow, we relocate to new offices within the same building--but we still had to pack up as if we're moving to another city. We've sorted through old files. (Does anybody remember carbon sets?). We've tossed ten-year-old Political Science and Literature catalogs into dumpsters. We've given away the books on our shelves.

Everything is in a box--and we're just waiting for the movers to come.

We'll be back up and running next week.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Makes Us HUMAN?

Richard Frias, our college intern for the summer, weighs in on Michael S. Gazzaniga's Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique.

Through all my years of rigorous science classes, from third grade earth science to my biology 101 course in college, I have always wondered how humans made the jump from primate to person. Sure, there are the diagrams and pictures of evolution but they do little to explain why I’m able to read a book or enjoy a piece of art. What is it exactly that makes us different from our evolutionary forefathers or the animals that surround us today? If we are just a part of an evolutionary hierarchy then why is it that a whale--with a brain five times larger than mine--is not the one writing this blog post?

By examining the biological, psychological and social context of our lives, Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique reveals unbelievable differences between man and beast while trying to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors. For Gazzaniga, we can only understand the human condition by examining it in the social context of our lives. It’s amazing to think that our social context as a species can be responsible for our unique place in the evolutionary chain. I’ll never look at a group date or social networking sites the same again.

If you'd like to consider Human or Michael S. Gazzaniga's The Ethical Brain: The Science of Moral Dilemmas for one of your classes, please order a paperback examination copy.