Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book of the Week (The Reef by Iain McCalman)

The Reef: A Passionate History

By Iain McCalman

Call Number:  DU 280 .G68 M44 2014

Review from the New York Times Book Review

Publisher's Description:  The Great Barrier Reef, argues Iain McCalman, has been created by human minds as well as coral polyps, by imaginations as well as natural processes. In this landmark book he charts our shifting perceptions of it, from the terrifying labyrinth that almost sunk Cook's Endeavour to a fragile global treasure.

The Reef describes twelve key encounters between people, places, ideas and biosystems. In the nineteenth century the region was infamous for shipwrecks, and when Indigenous clans rescued survivors like Eliza Fraser, their actions were misrepresented in the popular press. Later, the whole world caught the fiery debate between Darwinists and creationists over the origins of this colossal structure. Artists and visionaries celebrated its beauty and fought its exploitation; marine scientists catalogued the threats to its existence.

The first social, cultural and environmental history of this World Heritage-listed site, The Reef is an effortlessly readable work by a born storyteller.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book of the Week (The Bill of the Century by Clay Risen)

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of passage of the Civil Rights Act

The Bill of the Century:  The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act

By Clay Risen
 
Call number:  KF 4749 .R57 2014

Publisher's Description: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This one law so dramatically altered American society that, looking back, it seems preordained—as Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate and a key supporter of the bill, said, “no force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

But there was nothing predestined about the victory: a phalanx of powerful senators, pledging to “fight to the death” for segregation, launched the longest filibuster in American history to defeat it. The bill's passage has often been credited to the political leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, or the moral force of Martin Luther King. Yet as Clay Risen shows, the battle for the Civil Rights Act was a story much bigger than those two men. It was a broad, epic struggle, a sweeping tale of unceasing grassroots activism, ringing speeches, backroom deal-making and finally, hand-to-hand legislative combat.

The larger-than-life cast of characters ranges from Senate lions like Mike Mansfield and Strom Thurmond to NAACP lobbyist Charles Mitchell, called “the 101st senator” for his Capitol Hill clout, and industrialist J. Irwin Miller, who helped mobilize a powerful religious coalition for the bill. The "idea whose time had come" would never have arrived without pressure from the streets and shrewd leadership in Congress--all captured in Risen's vivid narrative. This critical turning point in American history has never been thoroughly explored in a full-length account. Now, New York Times editor and acclaimed author Clay Risen delivers the full story, in all its complexity and drama.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book of the Week (Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith)

The Frangipani Hotel
By Violet Kupersmith

Call Number:  PS 3611 .U639 F73 2014

Review from the New York Times

Publisher's Description:  An extraordinarily compelling debut—ghost stories that grapple with the legacy of the Vietnam War.   A beautiful young woman appears fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub at the Frangipani Hotel in Hanoi. A jaded teenage girl in Houston befriends an older Vietnamese gentleman she discovers naked behind a dumpster. A trucker in Saigon is asked to drive a dying young man home to his village. A plump Vietnamese-American teenager is sent to her elderly grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City to lose weight, only to be lured out of the house by the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread. In these evocative and always surprising stories, the supernatural coexists with the mundane lives of characters who struggle against the burdens of the past.

Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.

Violet Kupersmith’s voice is an exciting addition to the landscape of American fiction. With tremendous depth and range, her stories transcend their genre to make a wholly original statement about the postwar experience.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book of the Week (The Bees by Laline Paull)

The Bees
By Laline Paull

Call Number:  PR 6116.A87 B44 2014

Review from the New York Times Sunday Book Review

Publisher's Description: Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all–daring to challenge the Queen's preeminence–enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive's strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society–and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful, and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees and its dazzling young heroine will forever change the way you look at the world outside your window.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New JSTOR Collections added to JSTOR Profile

The Library is happy to announce the addition of more JSTOR titles to our collection of our JSTOR profile. 

We now have acces to the following (click on the links to see journal titles in each collection):
Arts & Sciences VIII
Arts & Sciences IX
Arts & Sciences X

These are now integrated in our system and available through our "Find Databases" link on the Library's Homepage.

Friday, May 16, 2014

ProQuest's Legislative Insight now available


Thanks to ProQuest and UW-Madison, we now have access to Legislative Insight. 

Legislative Insight is comprised of fully searchable PDFs of full-text publications generated in the course of congressional lawmaking. These include the full text of the Public Law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports, and prints. Also included are Presidential signing statements, CRS reports, and miscellaneous congressional publications that provide background material to aid in the understanding of issues related to the making of the law. We have perpetual access to this content.

You can access Legislative Insight through our "Find Databases" link on the Library's Homepage.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book of the Week (Shouting Won't Help by Katherine Bouton)

Shouting Won't Help : Why I - and 50 Million Other Americans - Can't Hear You

By Katherine Bouton

Call Number:  RF 290 .B58 2013

Review from the Sunday NY Times Book Review

Publisher's Description:  For twenty-two years, Katherine Bouton had a secret that grew harder to keep every day. An editor at The New York Times, at daily editorial meetings she couldn’t hear what her colleagues were saying. She had gone profoundly deaf in her left ear; her right was getting worse. As she once put it, she was “the kind of person who might have used an ear trumpet in the nineteenth century.”

Audiologists agree that we’re experiencing a national epidemic of hearing impairment. At present, 50 million Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss—17 percent of the population. And hearing loss is not exclusively a product of growing old. The usual onset is between the ages of nineteen and forty-four, and in many cases the cause is unknown.

Shouting Wont Help is a deftly written, deeply felt look at a widespread and misunderstood phenomenon. In the style of Jerome Groopman and Atul Gawande, and using her experience as a guide, Bouton examines the problem personally, psychologically, and physiologically. She speaks with doctors, audiologists, and neurobiologists, and with a variety of people afflicted with midlife hearing loss, braiding their stories with her own to illuminate the startling effects of the condition.
The result is a surprisingly engaging account of what it’s like to live with an invisible disability—and a robust prescription for our nation’s increasing problem with deafness.
Visit the author's blog