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Category Archives: Recommended Books

What Lois Lowry Remembers

The New Yorker: “Lowry, who has lost a sister and a son, has spent decades writing about the pains of memory. Literature, she says, is “a way that we rehearse life…The title character of Lois Lowry’s most famous novel, “The Giver,” is an old man who guards all of human history and memory. The book’s protagonist, Jonas, is his apprentice. Jonas’s training involves withstanding the prismatic flood of the past—memories of joy and pain, war and suffering—so that his tightly regulated community can thrive in ignorance. When the book came out, in 1993, Lowry had already won a fervent following. She received a Newbery Medal, in 1990, for “Number the Stars,” a novel about a Danish family resisting Nazi rule; her series featuring Anastasia Krupnik, a mischievous pre-teen in owlish glasses, charmed both grumpy older sisters and their parents. But “The Giver” remains her deepest achievement. Heaped with accolades, including another Newbery and a reputation as perhaps the best children’s novel ever written, it has sold more than twelve million copies. It also landed on the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books of the nineties. From the vantage of 2021, the novel is a double portent: a dystopian fantasy and an early spark in the tinderbox of the curriculum wars…”

Fake news, misinformation, and disinformation: journalism today?

Oxford University Press Blog: “Fake, false, inaccurate, misleading, and deceptive. This rhetoric is all too familiar to the news consuming public today. But what is fake news and how does it differ from misinformation and disinformation? Referring to falsified or inaccurate information, “fake news” can be defined as “false information that is broadcast or published… Continue Reading

Review – ‘The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity’

The Atlantic – Human History Gets a Rewrite A brilliant new account upends bedrock assumptions about 30,000 years of change. By William Deresiewicz. “…The Dawn of Everything is written against the conventional account of human social history as first developed by Hobbes and Rousseau; elaborated by subsequent thinkers; popularized today by the likes of Jared… Continue Reading

Exponential, book review: Technology acceleration and its impact on society

ZDNet: “An “exponential gap” is opening up between our understanding of our world, which updates slowly, and new technologies, which change faster than we can cope with, argues Azeem Azhar… The exponential growth of computer power led the inventor Ray Kurzweil to propose the Law of Accelerating Returns and predict that by 2045 machine intelligence will pass that of… Continue Reading

This book explains actually helpful actions you can take to fight climate change

Fast Company: “In a new book, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, and a website called Regeneration, Paul Hawken lays out solutions. The book is a sequel to Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, which looked at how existing technologies and approaches could be used to achieve “drawdown,”… Continue Reading

BOOK TALK: If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

Virtual Book Talk – Wednesday, October 6, 2021 – 7:00pm to 8:00pm – Registration Requested: “The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge―decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives… Continue Reading

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

Yale Environment 360 – “James Gustave Speth has been calling for action on climate since serving in the White House in the 1970s. In an e360 interview, he talks about his new book, which chronicles how successive U.S. administrations repeatedly failed to act in response to scientists’ increasingly dire warnings. Few people have followed the… Continue Reading