In our new arrivals this week is Out on the Wire by Jessica Abel, a nonfiction graphic novel all about narrative radio. From the back of the book:
Go behind the scenes of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts, including This American Life and Radiolab, in this graphic narrative.
Every week, millions of devoted fans tune in to or download This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial, Invisibilia and other narrative radio shows. Using personal stories to breathe life into complex ideas and issues, these beloved programs help us to understand ourselves and our world a little bit better. Each has a distinct style, but every one delivers stories that are brilliantly told and produced. Out on the Wire offers an unexpected window into this new kind of storytelling—one that literally illustrates the making of a purely auditory medium.
What do an Italian cardinal, a Connecticut blacksmith, and a German diplomat have in common with an MIT linguist, a Hungarian translator, and a Scottish church organist? They were all “hyperpolyglots,” “language superlearners,” or “massive multilinguals.” In Babel No More, Michael Erard delves into the lives and minds of these intriguing individuals both past and present and discovers the upper limit of the human ability to learn, speak, and remember languages.
A brilliant, original history of the spice trade–and the appetites that fueled it.
It was in search of the fabled Spice Islands and their cloves that Magellan charted the first circumnavigation of the globe. Vasco da Gama sailed the dangerous waters around Africa to India on a quest for Christians–and spices. Columbus sought gold and pepper but found the New World. By the time these fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorers set sail, the aromas of these savory, seductive seeds and powders had tempted the palates and imaginations of Europe for centuries.
In new arrivals this week is Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds by Tim Flannery.
From the back of the book, a quote from Jared Diamond:
This book combines an irresistible author with an irresistible subject: Tim Flannery, a great zoologist and writer about science, relating his explorations of New Guinea, a vivid tropical universe. The result is a dangerous book that you pick up at your peril, because it is so hard to put down.
In new arrivals this week is The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down: An Informal History of Hospitality by Jesse Browner.
From the book jacket:
Four thousand years ago, an Akkadian father offered his son this advice: “Give food to eat, beer to drink, grant what is requested, provide for and treat with honor.” Today, we still think of hospitality much the same way – as a simple expression of our generosity and humanity. In truth, something far darker and more elemental often lurks behind a host’s best intentions.
Partisan, witty, and laced with astonishing historical detail, The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down is dedicated to a new understanding of the art of hospitality. Jesse Browner leads the way back through Western civilization, from a present-day poker game where Browner’s devastatingly delicious sandwiches leave the best players penniless, to the ancient Greeks, whose gods punished or exalted the mortals according to their excellence as hosts. On the way, we visit Hitler at his summer home, Gertrude Stein in Paris and Lady Ottoline Morrell in England, Audubon in nineteeth-century America, Louis XIV at Versailles, and the Roman emperors, for whom classic dinner-table entertainment was a good poisoning. As delightful and edifying as an evening in favored company, The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down is a must-read for anyone who’s ever accepted an invitation-or wonders why they keep sending them out.
Currently available is a hardcover A Degree of Mastery: A Journey through Book Arts Apprenticeship by Annie Tremmel Wilcox.
From the back of the book, a quote by Mindy Dubansky (Associate Museum Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art):
In A Degree of Mastery, Annie Tremmel Wilcox displays a passion for the craft of bookbinding and a deep respect for her notable mentor, Bill Anthony. Over the years I have seen this passion take hold of countless people. For bookbinders there is nothing more emotionally, sensually, and sometimes even spiritually fulfilling than repairing books, using the materials and methods that have come down to us through the generations.
Among our new arrivals this week is a nice hardcover edition of The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created by William J. Bernstein.
From the back of the book:
A bold new look at the continuing era of prosperity – how we got here and where we could be headed.
Why didn’t the Florentines invent the steam engines and flying machines that Da Vinci sketched? What kept the master metallurgists of ancient Rome from discovering electricity? The Birth of Plenty takes a fascinating new look at the key conditions that had to be in place before world economic growth – and the technological progress underlying it – could occur, why those pathways are still absent in many parts of today’s world, and what must be done before true universal prosperity can become a reality.