Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kate M. Is Recommending:

A landmark exploration of the vast and expanding impact of technology, rivetingly told through the lens of a deadly collision

One of the year's most original and masterfully reported books, A Deadly Wandering by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Matt Richtel interweaves the cutting-edge science of attention with the tensely plotted story of a mysterious car accident and its aftermath to answer some of the defining questions of our time: What is technology doing to us? Can our minds keep up with the pace of change? How can we find balance? Through Richtel's beautifully constructed narrative, a complex and far-reaching topic becomes intimate and urgent--an important call to reexamine our own lives.

On the last day of summer, an ordinary Utah college student named Reggie Shaw fatally struck two rocket scientists while texting and driving along a majestic stretch of highway bordering the Rocky Mountains. Richtel follows Reggie from the moment of the tragedy, through the police investigation, the state's groundbreaking prosecution (at the time there was little precedent to guide the court), and ultimately, Reggie's wrenching admission of responsibility. Richtel parallels Reggie's journey with leading-edge scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains--showing how these devices, now thoroughly embedded into all aspects of our lives, play to our deepest social instincts and prey on parts of the brain that crave stimulation, creating loops of compulsion, even addiction.

Remarkably, today Reggie is a leading advocate who has helped spark a national effort targeting distracted driving, and the arc of his story provides a window through which Richtel pursues actionable solutions to help manage this crisis individually and as a society. A propulsive read filled with fascinating scientific detail, riveting narrative tension, and rare emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering is a book that can change--and save--lives.

American Cornball is Christopher Miller's irresistibly funny illustrated survey of popular humor--the topics that used to make us laugh, from hiccups and henpecked-husbands to outhouses and old maids--and what it tells us about our country yesterday and today.

Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples that have been passed down through our culture for generations, many originating from the vaudeville age. He explores the (often unseemly) contexts from which they arose, why they were funny in their time, and why they eventually lost their appeal. The result is a kind of taxonomy of humor during America's golden age that provides a deeper, more profound look at the prejudices, preoccupations, and peculiarities of a nation polarized between urban and rural, black and white, highborn and lowbrow.

As he touches on issues of racism and sexism, cultural stereotypes and violence, Miller reveals how dramatically our moral sensibilities have shifted, most notably in the last few decades. Complete with more than 100 period illustrations, American Cornball is a richly entertaining survey of our shifting comic universe.


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Harper Perennial Olive Editions
Starting in 2008, we’ve selected a few of our modern classics each year and reissued them as limited edition, $10 trade paperbacks, beautifully designed by Milan Bozic. 2012 and 2013 did not see any new Olives but this year, in honor of Harper Perennial’s 50th anniversary, we’re releasing eight new Olives! (just click on the cover to learn more about the book)







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