By: Rachel Maddow
“One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Founders could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rusting nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we’ve arrived to such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan’s radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse.
Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a “loud and jangly” political debate about how, when and where to apply America’s strength and power—and who gets to make those decisions. (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Jonah Lehrer
New York Times best-selling author Jonah Lehrer shows us how we can all learn to be more creative. Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output? From the best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.
Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration, and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective. You’ll learn about Bob Dylan’s writing habits and the drug addictions of poets. You’ll meet a Manhattan bartender who thinks like a chemist, and an autistic surfer who invented an entirely new surfing move. You’ll see why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixar’s office space is designed to spark the next big leap in animation. Collapsing the layers separating the neuron from the finished symphony, Imagine reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind, and its essential role in our increasingly complex world. (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Jack Kerouac
In the spring of 1943, during a stint in the Merchant Marines, twenty-one-year old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Now, nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon.
Written seven years before The Town and The City officially launched his writing career, The Sea Is My Brother marks a pivotal point in which Kerouac began laying the foundations for his pioneering method and signature style. A clear precursor to such landmark works as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that bears all the hallmarks of classic Kerouac: the search for spiritual meaning in a materialistic world, spontaneous travel as the true road to freedom, late nights in bars and apartments engaged in intense conversation, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness. (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Anne Lamott
Lamott burst onto the literary scene in 1993 with Operating Instructions, her achingly honest account of her son Sam’s first year of life, endearing herself to single mothers, parents, and even nonparents. She is set to do the same thing now for grandparenthood, as she and Sam explore their first year with Sam’s son, Jax. When Sam announced that he and recent girlfriend Amy were about to become parents, Lamott reacted as only Lamott could, with a joyful Oh, yes! followed by a fearful Oh, no! After all, at fifty-something, she was too young to be a grandmother, and at 19, Sam was too young to be a father. But tell all that to Jax, who is, of course, the Perfect Baby. That his parents’ relationship is less so is a source of constant consternation for Lamott, who tries to fix things in her own inimitable and irritating way. Funny, frantic, and frustrating, Lamott enthusiastically embraces this new chapter in her life, learning that she is a wiser grandparent than parent who, nevertheless, managed to produce one pretty remarkable son. (Booklist)
By: I.C. Springman
lots of stuff,
and a few friendly mice
show us that less is
This innovative and spare picture book asks the question: When is MORE more than
enough? Can a team of well-intentioned mice save their friend from hoarding too
much stuff? With breathtaking illustrations from the award-winning Brian Lies, this
book about conservation wraps an important message in a beautiful package. (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Sylviane Donnio
A scrawny little crocodile wants the opportunity to bite off more than he can chew. He’s tired of bananas; today he’d like to eat a child. But he’s smaller than he thinks, and the little girl he chooses for his first meal puts him in his place—she picks him up and tickles his tummy! The little crocodile is going to have to eat a lot of bananas and grow a lot bigger before he can add children to his menu! Simple yet hilarious artwork brings this droll story to life. (Publisher’s Marketing)