Monday, September 26, 2011
“Encounter, that is to say: spark; flash; chance.” As its title suggests, Encounter is a product of Milan Kundera’s deep engagement with illuminating points of intersection—between art and history, memory and forgetting, the artist and his times. The distinguished writer reflects on his signature themes and old loves (Rabelais, Fellini, Janacek, Malaparte), on literature, mortality, and the transformation of civilization as we know it, in an elegant, startlingly original, and beautiful book.
Milan Kundera is a writer of unparalleled erudition, but this is no dry academic account. With rare intimacy, he shares his experiences of reading and writing—describing his discovery of the work of Aimé Césaire as a young man, or the fresh insights he discovered upon a recent rereading Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. He reconsiders from unexpected and rewarding angles the work of such major novelists as Dostoyevski, Céline, and Philip Roth. And with disarming honesty, he looks back on a literary life that took him from young, committed Communist to celebrated author in exile.
If you would like to consider Encounter (Harper Perennial: 9780061894435, paperback, $13.99) for one of your classes, please let us know by filling out our desk copy form.
And, you’ll find all of Milan Kundera’s works here.
Friday, September 23, 2011
In 1968, I was the proud owner of a Cinderella watch with a light-blue leather band and a china figurine. I don’t know where either are today—but my seven-year-old self thought both were incredibly beautiful and the best gifts I’d received to date. I also wore corduroy overalls, played for hours outside with the other kids on the block, and I wasn’t allowed to watch more than a few hours of television a week. Even going to the movies was a very, very big deal that didn’t happen very often. I didn’t live in a media-saturated world like girls today. I thought Cinderella was great—but she didn’t loom especially large in my imagination.
When my nieces were toddlers—I was reintroduced to the cast of Disney princesses—with a few new characters added into the mix. Thank goodness that I also discovered Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Peggy—author of the bestsellling Schoolgirls—was as dismayed I was by all the pink and glitter being pushed at young girls—and—in Cinderella Ate My Daughter, she reveals the dark side of all that sparkle.
The rise of the girlie-girl, Peggy warns, is not that innocent. Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. The pursuit of physical perfection been recast as the source of female empowerment. Commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.
As a parent, Peggy wondered, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-sized wedding gown? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway—especially given girls’ successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from ealry sexualization—or prime them for it? Could today’s little princess become tomorrow’s sexting teen?
Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. The stakes turn out to be higher than she—or I—ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable—yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents, teachers, (and aunts) can effectively counterbalance its influence.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter will be available in paperback (9780061711534, $14.99) in February 2012. However, if you would like to consider it for possible course adoption, I'll be happy to send you a hardcover (9780061711527, $25.99) edition now. Please let me know if you'd like a copy by filling out our desk copy form.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Travelling to the North Pole, Professor Cox demonstrates how spinning worlds create electrical currents and magnetism; he looks at the South Pacific Ocean to explain how the Universe communicates and moves in waves; he shows us how the water of the Angel Falls waterfall in Venezuela behaves exactly like the light does around a black hole. The same laws of light, gravity, time, matter and energy that govern us here on Earth are the same as those applied in the Universe.
Using his expert knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm, Professor Cox shows us that if we can understand the impact of these governing laws on Earth it will bring us a step closer to an understanding of our Universe.
While the book, on its own, is wildly impressive, it also accompanies a documentary special of the same title produced by Discovery’s Science Channel. You can sample the program (which originally aired in the United Kingdom on BBC) on YouTube:
"It's as wonderful as the universe"—Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
“Cox brings a magical enchantment to this life-changing book. . . . Mindblowing . . . . I swear that you will never be the same again after you turn the last page of this unique and irresistible book.”—Sunday Express (London)
*Limited time offer; expires October 14, 2011. One copy per customer, while supplies last.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
- 40 chapters with grammatical explanations and readings drawn from the works of Rome’s major prose and verse writers;
- Self-tutorial exercises, each with an answer key, for independent study;
- An extensive English-Latin/Latin-English vocabulary section;
- A rich selection of original Latin readings—unlike other textbooks, which contain primarily made-up Latin texts;
- Etymological aids, maps, and dozens of images illustrating aspects of the classical culture and mythology presented in the chapter readings
- Also included are expanded notes on the literary passages, comments on vocabulary, and translation tips; new comprehension and discussion questions; and new authentic classical Latin readings, including Roman grafitti in every chapter.
To request the answer key, please fill out this form.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
John Brockman posed the following question to 150 of the worlds brightest and influential minds: "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" The result of their answers is This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking. Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, collects contributions from some of the leading experts including:
- Steven Pinker on positive-sum games
- Nassim Nicolas Taleb on anti-fragility
- and Richard Dawkins on the double-blind control experiment
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2011: Hot Air, The Estrogen Dilemma, and The Trouble With Scientists!
The topics explored this year cover the entire scientific spectrum, ranging from “Earth on Fire” to “Gut Bacteria in Japanese People Borrowed Sushi-Digesting Genes from Ocean Bacteria.”; from biochemistry, physics, and astronomy, to genetics, evolutionary theory, and cognition. Your students will be exposed to the best examples of scientific and technical writing that 2011 has to offer while also providing a comprehensive overview of the year’s most compelling, relevant, and exciting scientific developments.
Praise for The Best American Science Writing:
Thursday, September 8, 2011
With journalistic prowess, Hadden works his beat even after the region is largely abandoned and most foreign bureaus are shut down in the wake of 9/11. During this time, he documents overlooked and extraordinary events, striving to unearth the real story that Americans needed to hear. Your students will be hard-pressed to find a better example of what life as a foreign correspondent in a war torn region is like than with Never the Hope Itself.
Here’s a few examples of the kind of praise Never the Hope Itself has received:
“Radio news won’t be the same again. Suddenly, the voice has a face, and it’s unforgettable. Former NPR reporter Gerry Hadden reminds us that the back story to the news story has its own narrative and one that’s more revealing, compelling and honest, than the stuff we hear and see out of some box. Never the Hope Itself is a welcome antidote to the bullshit of the bullets-and-balls memoirs oozing out of so many journalists these days.”—Rory Nugent, author of Down at the Docks
“Hadden brings his formidable storytelling and reporting skills to bear, whether he’s facing off against migrant-robbing thugs in a deserted train station or finding himself staring straight into the front of a drug war. Some of the visions in this book are scary and bleak, but Hadden always manages to find examples of human generosity and unexpected kindness. He shows his subjects in all their humanity, capturing the worst and best of the human spirit along the way.”—Dan White, author of The Cactus Eaters
Be sure to check out the video below of Hadden describing some of the exciting adventures chronicled in the book, paired with powerful pictures collected along the way:
If you would like a print copy of Never the Hope Itself (ISBN: 9780062020079, paperback, $14.99) to review for possible course adoption, please fill out our online desk copy form.
- Why do civilizations rise and fall?
- What are the origins and purpose of art?
- How does technology shape society?
- Did culture direct human evolution?
- Is the Internet an agent of democracy or dictatorships?
As usual, John Brockman gets answers from some of the world’s leading thinkers and scientists:Jared Diamond on why societies collapse and how we can make better decisions to protect our own future • Denis Dutton on the origins of art • Daniel C. Dennett on the evolution of cultures • Jaron Lanier on the ominous impact of the Internet • Nicholas Christakis on the structure and rules of social networks, both “real” and online • Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov on the new political reality of the digital era • Brian Eno on what cultures value • Stewart Brand on the responsibilities of human power • Douglas Rushkoff on the next Renaissance • W. Daniel Hillis on the Net as a global “knowledge web”
But, John Brockman still isn’t satisfied. He wants to know:
- Who am “I”?
- How is happiness achieved?
- What is the key to memory?
- How do babies become adults?
- Is personality determined?
- What function do emotions serve?
- Are we hardwired to be moral?
And, the result is Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness, a collection of accessible essays from influential scientists and thinkers about the essential aspects of human consciousness and the complex workings of the brain:
Steven Pinker on how the human brain works • Martin Seligman on happiness and what it means to live a good life • Philip Zimbardo on the impact of environment on personality • V. S. Ramachandran on the question of self—who “you” are • Simon Baron-Cohen on the innate differences between boys and girls • George Lakoff on the role of the body and brain on different types of reasoning • Alison Gopnik on why human children are the best learning machines in the universe • Jonathan Haidt on the connection between emotions, morality, and religious belief
Interested in considering Mind (Harper Perennial: 978-0-06-202584-5, paperback, $14.99) or Culture (Harper Perennial: 978-0-06-202313-1, paperback, $14.99) ? Let us know by filling out our desk copy form.
And, don’t forget that this isn’t the first time that John Brockman has asked questions and gotten answers from leading thinkers:
Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?
This Will Change Everything
What We Believe But Cannot Prove
What Are You Optimistic About?
What Is Your Dangerous Idea?
What will John Brockman ask next?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Drawing on more than two decades of research in the emerging field of anthrozoology, the science of human–animal relations, Hal guides students through an exploration of the fierce moral conundrums we face every day regarding the creatures with whom we share our world. It’s not a polemic. It’s a book that will foster thoughtful debate and conversation between the carnivores, vegetarians, pet lovers, and Maru fans in your classroom.
—Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You
“A fascinating, thoughtful, and thoroughly enjoyable exploration of a major dimension of human experience.”
—Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct
It’s already been adopted in hardcover in all sorts of courses from composition and rhetoric (ENG 1060 Composition II: "Us and the Critters") to ethics and anthropology.
For more books in this subject area, take a look at the ethics section of our Philosophy catalog.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
With respect for the history and ever-changing applications of mathematical principles, James Bradley and Russell Howell, along with a team of fellow scholars, invite students to reconsider the generally-held belief that mathematics is all about numbers and formulas, with no religious significance—an attitude that belies the faith-based work of thinkers from Plato to Newton.
Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith invites students to reawaken their sensitivity to the spiritual matters raised by the study of mathematics by exploring such questions as:
- What is the relationship between chance and divine providence?
- Do concepts like infinity point beyond themselves to a higher reality?
- Is mathematics discovered or invented, and why is it effective in the sciences?
Other books in the series are Biology Through the Eyes of Faith, Business Through the Eyes of Faith, History Through the Eyes of Faith, Literature Through the Eyes of Faith, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith, and Sociology Through the Eyes of Faith.To receive quarterly updates about new books, please sign up for our catalog ebulletin.
To receive quarterly updates about new books, please sign up for our catalog ebulletin.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Meanwhile, let me tell you why we’re so excited about The Meaning of the Bible: Two leading Biblical scholars and professors from Vanderbilt University Divinity School guide students through the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament as Christians call it, highlighting the themes with which all of us continue to struggle:
- human evil and God's response
- war, law, and politics
- women and sexuality
- Israel and other nations
- practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision
“Knight and Levine have written a winsome, accessible introduction to the theological thought of the Hebrew Bible. With a congenial exhibit of critical scholarship, they remain, in their thematic approach, at a descriptive level. But they allow room for and affirm the ways in which the biblical text can fund and form on-going interpretations in faith, both Jewish and Christian. This sort of irenic, thoughtful linkage of criticism and interpretation within a confessing tradition is exactly what we most need in Scripture reading.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
Thursday, September 1, 2011
“Only Archie Brown, with his unsurpassed knowledge of the theory, history, and comparative practice of Communism throughout the world, could have written the masterful, indispensible book.”