Thursday, March 31, 2011

New books!

This winter has worn out its welcome, like a houseguest or fresh fish after three days. Still, it lingers. Luckily, there are a couple of things that can help distract us from the cold.

For starters, another reminder: The Library is still accepting submissions for the Undergraduate Research Paper Award. If you've written a good paper in the last couple of semesters that used Library resources, send it on in; you might win a $200 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.

We aren't all former English majors, either; past winners have included "Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome," "In Search of Identity: ASL Acquisition of Deaf Adults," "Acrylamides Found in Diet: Foods as Carcinogens?" and "Finding Spirituality in Nature." The upshot is that we don't discriminate based on topic; send in what looks good!

You can find more details about submission here.

And on to Thing Number Two: New books. We're sort of in conference season here -- and will be until June -- so things have been fairly quiet as far as librarian activity goes. There's that background hum that means work is happening, but the big stuff is in temporary remission while we all recover from the Big Deal the express computer workstation turned out to be.

Anyway, some of these fellas are on my to-read list for this blog, although I still have yet to work my way through the books listed in the last few new-book posts. I'll get there eventually. In any case, here goes!

The irresistible Henry House
Raised by a large group of women as part of a home-ec experiment, Henry House is the perfect man -- but because of his upbringing, can't reciprocate the affection he gets from his admirers. Lest this sound outlandish, one should bear in mind that there actually were programs that did this sort of thing in the early 20th Century; they'd get orphans or abandoned infants and use them as "practice babies."

To the end of the land
An Israeli woman looks forward to the return of her son from Army service, only to be forestalled by his sudden decision to volunteer for a West Bank excursion. A planned hike with him becomes instead one with his father, a recluse who is still recovering from his treatment as a prisoner during the Yom Kippur War.

Hiroshima: The autobiography of Barefoot Gen
This is a deep look into the life of Nakazawa Keiji, who was six years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. An event which has ever since colored his outlook on Japan, the United States, and the foreign policies of both, the dropping of the bomb also served as the inspiration for Barefoot Gen, the classic graphic novel about Nakazawa's experiences as a survivor of Hiroshima. This book includes excerpts from that graphic novel, as well as other interviews and stories selected from his life.

Triumph of the city: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier
The lengthy subtitle should give you some idea of what the book's about. Lest you scoff and look at the soybean fields around you, remember that over two-thirds of the American population lives in cities, which occupy just 3% of the United States' land area. The author brings together a variety of styles ranging from personal storytelling to empirical research to drive home his point: Cities are good for you.

Dava Sobel's made quite the name for herself in the popularization of the history of science. In this book, she discusses the history of longitude and how it came to be measured in a way that would prevent the world's great oceangoing empires from losing huge fortunes at sea. The ability to locate oneself on the globe is essential to navigation, especially when you're in the middle of the Pacific without a jot of dry land for thousands of miles. Interestingly, the solution to this problem evaded both Newton and Galileo, but turned out to require only a well-made clock.

The oracle of Stamboul
In this tale of a city, a young Turkish girl in the late 19th Century -- who happens to be a bit of a prodigy -- stows away on her father's boat as he sails to Stamboul (now known as Istanbul) on business. Because of this little piece of impertinence, she learns a great deal about the city, the people in it, and herself.

Through the language glass

The author explores various languages and how culture can influence -- and be influenced by -- the language you speak. Everything from the perception of color to the gender of water can vary from language to language, and this book goes in-depth on a topic that has been fairly controversial in linguistics and cognitive psychology. Also, if you've heard of the concept of linguistic relativity, you'll appreciate more than a few puns in this book.

I think we've got a pretty nice variety going on here. More are coming in every week; come on by and check one out today!

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