For some of us, the beauty of a book lies in the solitude, the way we dive into the pages and lose ourselves in the gentle current of others’ lives. The world falls away, time is contained and dispersed through the whim and work of the author. Left to revel in silence, the reader listens only to sound of the imagination. For others, a book is something to be passed around, a currency of connection that can spawn ideas, spur inspiration. A coffee table book, a novel read aloud to a lover, a family’s favorite bed time story: we crave these literary tangos much in the way we savor cooking together, sharing a good movie. Lately I’ve taken to keeping a few interesting library books on my coffee table, ready to be recommended to family and friends. Today I’d like to share with you a few excellent shareables, all new to our library, and all relying on photography to tell their unique tale… Read More..
In the Spotlight
Tonight our presenters will talk about the cycle of extinction, host domination, and neolithic burial practices. Here’s your sources for getting nerdier on death.
How to be a Great Host: Toxoplasma Gondii and You
For centuries, parasites have lived in nightmares, horror stories, and the darkest shadows of science. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer takes readers on a fantastic voyage into the secret universe of these extraordinary life-forms-which are not only among the most highly evolved on Earth, but make up the majority of life’s diversity. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the parasite-riddled war zone of southern Sudan, Zimmer introduces an array of amazing creatures that invade their hosts, prey on them from within, and control their behavior. He also vividly describes parasites that can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead. This comprehensive, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us all about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe-the laws of Parasite Rex.
Zombie Makers : True Stories of Nature’s Undead
Are zombies real? Scientists know this for sure: dead people do not come back to life. But there are things that can take over the bodies and brains of innocent creatures, turning them into senseless slaves. Meet nature’s zombie makers Nincluding a fly-enslaving fungus, a suicide worm, and a cockroach-taming waspNand their victims.
Parasites Radiolab (But there are a few factual errors)
Ed Yong’s Ted Talk on how parasites take over the behavior of their hosts.
Bring Out Your Dead: the cozy relationship between living and dead in 7000 BCE Çatalhöyük
Catalhoyuk, in central Turkey, became internationally famous in the 1960s when an ancient town – one of the oldest in the world – was discovered together with wonderful wall-paintings and sculptures, many featuring images of leopards. The archaeological finds included female figurines that suggested the possible existence of a “Mother Goddess” cult.” “Ian Hodder peels back the layers of history to reveal how people lived and died, how they engaged with one another and with the spirit world. Full of insights into past lives and momentous events, The Leopard’s Tale is illustrated with images of the art, the artifacts, and the excavations at this world-famous site.
Veteran science writer Michael Balter skillfully weaves together many threads in this fascinating book about one of archaeology’s most legendary sites— Çatalhöyük. First excavated forty years ago, the site is justly revered by prehistorians, art historians, and New Age goddess worshippers alike for its spectacular finds dating almost 10,000 years ago. Archaeological maverick Ian Hodder, leader of the recent re-excavation at this Turkish mound, designated Balter as the project’s biographer. The result is a skillful telling of many stories about both past and present: of the inhabitants of Neolithic Çatalhöyük and the development of human creativity and ingenuity, as revealed in the recent excavation; of James Mellaart, the original excavator, whose troubles off the mound eventually overshadowed his incisive work at the site; of Hodder and his intense, brilliant crew who marveled and squabbled over the meaning of finds in dusty trenches while attempting to reintepret Mellaart’s work; and of the recent history of the theory and methods of archaeology itself. Part story of the human past, part soap opera of modern scholarly life, part textbook on the practice of modern archaeology, this book should appeal to general readers and archaeological students alike.
This book presents an interdisciplinary study of the role of spirituality and religious ritual in the emergence of complex societies. Involving an eminent group of natural scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and theologians, this volume examines Çatalhöyük as a case study. A nine-thousand-year old town in central Turkey, Çatalhöyük was first excavated in the 1960s and has since become integral to understanding the symbolic and ritual worlds of the early farmers and village-dwellers in the Middle East. It is thus an ideal location for exploring theories about the role of religion in early settled life. This book provides a unique overview of current debates concerning religion and its historical variations. Through exploration of themes including the integration of the spiritual and the material, the role of belief in religion, the cognitive bases for religion, and religion’s social roles, this book situates the results from Çatalhöyük within a broader understanding of the Neolithic in the Middle East.–Provided by publisher
As parents of small children, my wife and I were not surprised when our style of travelling changed. Last summer’s trek to Salina, Kansas, for Aunt Clara’s 100th birthday party summed things up: Perfect travel moments like our Roman sunset on the Campidoglio had been replaced by a sightseeing tour through the hallways of an assisted living facility led by my 2-year old son, a connoisseur of the little ceramic dogs, cats, and Jayhawks occupants keep outside their doors. La vie quotidienne, perhaps, but a perfect moment nonetheless (although it does help this grounded traveler to throw a little ornamental French in to describe it). If, like us, the only foreign tongue you hear spoken these days are snippets of the exotic Gumballic family of languages, such as may be overheard on a transatlantic flight (seated next to a toddler attempting to chew 3 gumballs at the same time), the library has a number of great travel DVDs to remind you either how much fun you may have had in your glory days of international travel, or just how lucky you are to be safe on your couch with your kids tucked neatly in their own beds, instead of accompanying you on a 24-hour train ride to Ulan Bator. Read More..
Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter, even though I came to it later than most. Good versus evil, witchcraft and wizardry, friendship and identity…J. K. Rowling delivers the whole package. And even though there will always be a special place in my heart for Hogwart’s, as a general rule, I tend to prefer my fiction (even my YA fiction) a little…darker. Which is no surprise, considering if I went to Hogwart’s, the sorting hat wouldn’t have to think twice about putting me in Slytherin.
Nerd Nite gets mysterious tonight. We’re going to learn about the enigmatic James Bond of page and screen, the mystery of Big Foot and his other fantastical brethren, and the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin. Check out the full details on our local Nerd Nite page.
Live and Let Dine: James Bond as an Effete Gourmet Assassin
The only book to cover all aspects of the James Bond phenomenon in a single volume, it includes: a) An intimate portrait of Ian Fleming as remembered by his friends and colleagues; b) a character study of James Bond—his background and early life, his clothing and other personal habits, his preferences in food and drink, his attitudes toward women and marriage; c) The by-products of Bondmania and the merchandising of 007; d) Detailed analyses of every James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, as well as those written by other authors through the 1980s; e) A critical look at the 007 film series—the producers, screenplays, directors, actors, soundtracks, and special effects; f) over 100 photographs; g) An Introduction written by Ernest Cuneo, perhaps Fleming’s closest American friend; h) And enough facts, figures, and miscellaneous Bondian trivia to satisfy even the most ardent fan.
The earliest analysis of Fleming’s novels and the Bond character.
Another early analysis of the Bond character written prior to Amis’s writing of the Bond novel, Colonel Sun.
John Pearson’s famous biography remains the definitive account of how only Ian Fleming could have dreamed up James Bond, for he led a life as colourful as anything in his fiction, which in turn became a covert autobiography. Charming, debonair and a ruthless womanizer, globetrotting from wartime Algiers to beachside Jamaica, Fleming was as elusive and opaque as his imaginary creation.
Provides details about each of Fleming’s novels, their chronological relationship to each other, notes about unusual items and events mentioned in the novels, and estimates of the number of days spanned by each novel.
Check out our Ian Fleming books. One of these is not like the other.
Websites that are all things Bond
Snipe Hunt: Cryptozoological Creatures and the Stories They Tell
Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology.
Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its highly publicized sightings; the evolution of the Great Sea Serpent; and Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind the persistent belief in paranormal phenomena, identifying the major players in cryptozoology, discussing the character of its subculture, and considering the challenge it poses to clear and critical thinking in our increasingly complex world.
Zooform Phenomena are the most elusive, and least understood, mystery `animals`. Indeed, they are not animals at all, and are not even animate in the accepted terms of the word, but entities or apparitions which adopt, or seem to have (quasi) animal form. These arcane and contentious entities have plagued cryptozoology – the study of unknown animals – since its inception, and tend to be dismissed by mainstream science as thoroughly unworthy of consideration. But they continue to be seen, and Jonathan Downes – the Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology – who first coined the term in 1990, maintains that many zooforms result from a synergy of complex psychosocial and sociological issues, and suggests that to classify all such phenomena as “paranormal” in origin is counterproductive, and for researchers to dismiss them out of hand is thoroughly unscientific. Author and researcher Neil Arnold is to be commended for a groundbreaking piece of work, and has provided the world’s first alphabetical listing of zooforms from around the world.
In his eagerly anticipated follow-up to Me Write Book, Bigfoot returns from exile to share his inspiring, hilarious, and often deeply disturbing experiences as a misunderstood forest gentleman and tragic media darling. These entertaining and often grizzly stories stand not only as a testament to the greatness of the legendary man-beast, but also as a chilling cautionary tale of the downside of a life of celebrity, cannibalism, celebrity cannibalism, wanton violence, and lack of toilet training. As in Me Write Book, full-color glossy spreads depict every intimate, disgusting, and downright insane moment of Bigfoot’s life. Bigfoot: I Not Dead is an unforgettable memoir that will stay with readers long after his foul scent has dissipated.
The oversized Hellboy hardcover series continues, collecting the climatic “Death of Hellboy” storyline from Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo, and one-shots by some of the greatest talents in comics! Hellboy has racked up multiple awards, numerous spinoffs, a novel line, video games, cartoons, and two feature films. Hellboy Library Edition Volume 6 collects two complete trade-paperbacks: The Storm and The Fury and The Bride of Hell and Others, as well as an extensive selection of previously unreleased art.
Cryptomundo is a place to enjoy the adventures, treks, theories, and wisdom of some of the most respected leaders in the field of Cryptozoology. This is a place for all ages to share, read, see, and learn about the finds and evidence of the most elusive and rare animals (cryptids) on this planet Earth … Bigfoot, Yeti, Chupacabras, Ivory Billed Woodpecker, Nessie, Yowie, and more. Come back often and be part of the community for Cryptozoology breaking news, new views, fun, and yes occasional humor. We’re glad you’re here and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin: Such money. Very technology. So future. Wow.
The original essay about Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin.
A helpful youtube video explaining what Bitcoin mining.
No one has ever accused me of being a good businessman, or having great taste in movies, so it’s no surprise that a recent inspiration to locate a sufficiently boarded up movie theater, purchase it and inaugurate an annual Watergate Film Fest fell on uninterested, and possibly appalled, ears. However, the response I received to this suggestion–that it was a good thing my work in a library limits me from doing too much damage in the so-called “real world”–may not actually have been correct. To wit, the following is a list of movies recommended for anyone out there in the real world who may want to embark on personal Watergate Film Fests in their own homes. Read More..
True story: last fall I looked out my window and saw a coyote lounging in the shade of an apple tree, contentedly eating apples off the ground—the proverbial free lunch, a literal windfall.
Two years previously, at The Land Institute’s Prairie Festival in Salina, writer Naomi Klein gave a talk called “The Message”—meaning, the message of climate change. Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, a powerful and important book with an ominous subtitle: “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” My notes from her talk emphasize her point that, contrary to appearances, the right wing completely understands climate change, and, especially, its effects. Read More..
From printmaking innovator to social and sexual instigator, Andy Warhol was nothing if not a groundbreaker. “Popular opinion crowned Andy Warhol (1928-1987) as the ‘Prince of Pop’, an artist who created a pantheon of pictures that became icons of American consumer culture in the 1960’s.” Thus begins Andy Warhol by Joseph D. Ketner II, a thoroughly enjoyable glimpse into the life of a renowned and unusual celebrity artist. Raised in an immigrant, working class family during the Depression, Warhol rose through the echelons of New York art society to become one of the defining figures of the 60’s. “His eccentric personality and his entourage of acolytes captured media attention and altered the cult of celebrity.” A compact, accessible book with a nice sampling of Warhol’s works, Andy Warhol is a great place to dive into this artist’s complex history.
The book is part of a series published by Phaidon Press called Phaidon Focus. Phaidon lauds the series as offering “accessible, up-to-date, authoritative, enjoyable and thought-provoking books on internationally renowned modern masters.” Other artists featured in the series include Warhol contemporary Robert Rauschenberg, abstract sculptor David Smith, and figurative painter Francis Bacon. Phaidon itself has an interesting story as a publishing house that has focused on high quality, affordable books, especially art books, since its inception in 1923. Founded in Austria with an emphasis on history, philosophy and literature, the press was forced to move to England when the Nazis annexed Austria during World War II. Despite this setback, the press continued to thrive and expanded its operations to include a wider array titles focused on art and academia. According to Phaidon’s website, the press now has “over 1,500 titles in print, featuring the finest creative work from leading innovators in all areas of the arts, architecture, design, photography, cinema, travel and food.” Look for Georgia O’Keeffe, the latest in the Phaidon Focus Series, to be released in March.
If you’d like to peruse Warhol’s art instead of reading about his life, Andy Warhol Portraits, also published by Phaidon, boasts “the most comprehensive collection of Warhol’s portraits.” It’s a wonderfully big, glossy book that showcases well-known figures such as Jackie Kennedy, Elvis Presley, and Truman Capote. Possession Obsession: Andy Warhol and Collecting, another beautiful book by Phaidon, documents Warhol’s art acquisitions and displays items from his $30 million dollar estate. For a great in-depth movie on Warhol’s life, the library also carries PBS’s Andy Warhol: a documentary film. And if you just can’t get enough, Warhol’s prolific legacy can be enjoyed at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, the largest museum in the United States to focus on a single artist. – Rachael Perry, Adult Services
Don’t worry, we won’t get too romantic on you guys. This evening’s Nerd Nite is exploring the nature and myths of love. Whether it’s the myth of the perfect family, the perfect relationship, or questioning roots of violence against women (which is too often couched with the term love). For full bios and descriptions check out our local site. Grab a beverage and prepare to question the very nature of affection and romance.
The Myth of White Picket Fences: The American dream confronted in Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.
Housekeeping in all of it’s formats!
Idioms, currencies, and fantasies: An exploration into the tenants of relational satisfaction
Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships by Dawn O. Braithwaite
Why we love: The nature and chemistry of romantic love by Helen E. Fisher
Anthropologist Fisher argues that much of our romantic behavior is hard-wired in this provocative examination of love. Her case is bolstered by behavioral research into the effects of two crucial chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine, and by surveys she conducted across broad populations. When we fall in love, she says, our brains create dramatic surges of energy that fuel such feelings as passion, obsessiveness, joy and jealousy. Fisher devotes a fascinating and substantial chapter to the appearance of romance and love among non-human animals, and composes careful theories about early humans in love. One of her many surprising conclusions suggests that, since “four-year birth intervals were the regular pattern of birth spacing during our long human prehistory,” our modern brains still deal with relationships in serially monogamous terms of about four years. Indeed, Fisher gathered data from around the world showing that divorce was most prevalent in the fourth year of marriage, when a couple had a single dependent child. Fisher also reports on the behaviors that lead to successful lifelong partnerships and offers, based on what she’s observed, numerous tips on staying in love. And though she’s certain that chemicals are at love’s heart, Fisher never loses her sense of the emotion’s power or poetry.
As women everywhere will attest, when it comes to understanding female sexuality, most guys know more about what’s under the hood of a car than under the hood of a clitoris. And while it seems that men have struggled valiantly since the dawn of time to find ways to reliably elicit the female orgasm, rare is the guy who has the modesty to ask: “What do I do?” Ironically, the answer has always been right there on the tip of his tongue. Welcome to the world of She Comes First, where the mystery of female satisfaction is solved and the tongue is proven mightier than the sword. According to Ian Kerner, clinical sexologist and evangelist of the female orgasm, oral sex has long been deemed an optional aspect of foreplay, but, in fact, it’s coreplay — simply the best way for leading a woman through the entire process of sexual response. Fun, informative, and easy to read, She Comes First is a virtual encyclopedia of female pleasure, detailing dozens of tried-and-true techniques for consistently satisfying a woman and illustrated step-by-step instructions to ensure success. These simple methods represent a new era in sexual intimacy, one in which the exchange of pleasure occurs on a level playing field and fulfillment is mutual. She Comes First exuberantly offers a fresh new sexual philosophy that inspires every man to make a mantra of Rhett Butler’s infamous line to Scarlett O’Hara, “You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Against Love by Laura Kipnis
Against Love examines the meaning and cultural significance of adultery, arguing that perhaps the question concerns not only the private dilemma of whether or not to be faithful but also the purpose of this much-vaunted fidelity. It offers no easy answers. Rather, it intends to engage you in a commonsensical and brave examination of the plight of the modern personality, caught between the vicissitudes of desire and the decrees of social conformity.
Sex matters: The sexuality and society reader by Mindy Stombler
This anthology of more than 50 readings from contemporary scholarly literature, trade books, and popular media, looks at the dual forces of social construction and social control of sexuality.
Massage and Loving by Anne Hooper
Great sex: A man’s guide to the secret principles of total-body sex by Michael Castleman
Author Michael Castleman is the nation’s top journalist specializing in men’s sexuality. He has been a sex educator, counselor, and writer for 30 years, including 5 years as the expert who answered the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor. Written with the help of an advisory board that includes some of the nation’s leading sex therapists, Great Sex is certain to help you overcome your sex problems; become a better, more confident lover; and enjoy the sex of your dreams.
No Means No: Shining light on violence against women and how hope and healing persevere
Gina Egan, PhD
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. “More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century,” they write, detailing the rampant “gendercide” in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China’s meteoric rise was due to women’s economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agent.
The New Soft War on Women by Caryl Rivers
Rivers and Barnett’s (She Works/He Works) vital study of the state of women in the labor force draws upon statistics, interviews, and cultural analysis, to argue that, contrary to the widespread belief that women are outstripping men in the classroom and workforce (“the myth of female ascendance”), the situation is far from ideal. Moreover, the authors claim that gains that women have made since the early part of the 20th century, such as access to contraception, are in danger of disappearing. Although the copious use of statistics to debunk myths can become tiresome, it’s hard to ignore overwhelming evidence that shows the undesirable and unsustainable conditions women face in the 21st century. Though many struggles sound old hat-whether women are natural caretakers and subordinates, the struggle to balance career and family, the undue influence of a woman’s appearance, the disparity in wages-this book will move readers who believe that feminism is an outdated movement, or that gender discrimination is a thing of the past. Although the book doesn’t offer comprehensive strategies to win the “soft war,” it effectively shows how old ideas are still at work and unveils their contemporary manifestations.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick investigates the troubling epidemic of rape in the military while speaking with courageous victims who have refused to be intimidated into silence. In 2009 alone, 16,150 service members were sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that female soldiers in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a male soldier than shot by an enemy combatant. Despite the overwhelming evidence presented by these victimized soldiers, however, only 2% of rape accusations in the military end in prosecution. In some cases, male soldiers have even been awarded medals for bravery and professionalism while being investigated for rape. In addition to hearing from women who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, we also learn how systemic corruption allows the vast majority of their attackers to walk free and what is now being done to ensure that no crime goes unpunished.
Jackson Katz’s TedTalk: Violence against women -it’s a men’s issue
Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change
Websites Gina recommends.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Vday.org is their website.
Another website is A Call To Men aims to end violence towards women by educating men.
http://knowyourix.org/ educates students about their rights under title IX.
David Lisak & Paul M. Miller’s paper on Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists
At least here in Lawrence, Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction this year for 6 more weeks of winter seems to have been on the money. Not a Groundhog Day goes by without fond recollections of its namesake movie, a comedy which, due to the profundity of its central problem—a man doomed to repeat the same one day of his life until he gets it right—has arguably recast the meaning of the holiday itself. Just a month past New Year’s Day and its resolutions, Groundhog Day, as symbolized by Bill Murray’s struggle to break free of banality, is a day to reflect on how difficult it can be to change. It’s another testament to the movie that, for all its lightheartedness, the title itself has become shorthand for bad habits and repetitive situations.