Ideas and Society eNewsletter for September

Enjoy our newly arrived eBooks including Breaking Connections that takes us places in NZ and Hawaii. Plus there’s the story of computer scientist and code breaker Alan Turing and many other mind opening books. You are also invited to join us at our Vinyl collection launch party on the 24th of September.

Library News

Literature

This month’s titles from Overdrive are set across the globe, from the sand hills of Nebraska to a Swedish caravan park. And we haven’t forgotten the Pacific: Breaking Connections by Albert Wendt takes place in both New Zealand and Hawaii. So have your map, compass and e-reader at the ready, and enjoy!

Overdrive cover Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, by Barney Norris
“One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard and a widower. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)
Overdrive cover Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight
“Single mother Kate is in the meeting of her career when she is interrupted by a call to say her teenaged daughter Amelia has been suspended from school. Torn between her head and her heart, Kate eventually arrives at St Grace’s, only to find her daughter has jumped off the roof of the school, apparently in shame. A grieving Kate can’t accept that her daughter would kill herself: Amelia would never leave her alone like this. So begins an investigation into Amelia’s troubled world.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)
Overdrive cover Breaking Connections, by Albert Wendt
“A dynamic group has emerged in Auckland whose members refer to themselves as the Tribe. Mainly Polynesian, they grow up together and become successful professionals, bound by the self-destructive Aaron. But when Daniel receives a call in Hawaii telling him Aaron has been killed, he must return to New Zealand and step into the most dangerous crisis he has ever faced. What has the Tribe become?” (Adapted from Overdrive description)
Syndetics book cover Writing your legacy : the step-by-step guide to crafting your life story / Richard Campbell M.Ed., Cheryl Svensson, Ph.D.
“Craft a meaningful life story! A written legacy of your life–one that encompasses experiences, lessons learned, failures and triumphs–is a gift your family and friends will cherish for years to come. Writing this story may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Writing Your Legacy is a step-by-step guide to chronicling a life story that reflects your true self. Leave an eloquent record of your life for future generations.” (Syndetics summary)

Read more

Popular Non-Fiction

An interesting collection this month takes us on journeys around the globe and back in time.

Syndetics book cover This brave new world : India, China and the United States / Anja Manuel.
“In the next decade and a half, China and India will become two of the world’s indispensable powers–whether they rise peacefully or not. During that time, Asia will surpass the combined strength of North America and Europe in economic might, population size, and military spending. Both India and China will have vetoes over many international decisions, from climate change to global trade, human rights, and business standards…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Nordic theory of everything : in search of a better life / Anu Partanen.
“A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children. Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life–from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare–was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland… As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Man (dis)connected : how the digital age is changing young men forever / Philip Zimbardo and Nikita D. Coulombe.
“Masculinity is in meltdown. Young men are failing as never before : academically, socially and sexually. But why? And what needs to be done? Internationally-acclaimed psychologist Philip Zimbardo, and research partner Nikita Coulombe, show how symptoms include excessive gaming and porn use, apathy and drug abuse. They argue that digital technologies create alternative worlds that many boys find less demanding and more rewarding than real life, yet which are ultimately harmful.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A million years in a day : a curious history of everyday life from the Stone Age to the phone age / Greg Jenner.
“Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? Every day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. Structured around one ordinary day, [this book] reveals the astonishing origins and development of the daily practices we take for granted… It is the story of your life, one million years in the making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

Religion & Beliefs

August’s listed books are quite a mixed bunch, across a range of religions. However, they invite the reader to challenge their misconceptions, and look below the surface to think more deeply about our beliefs and moral decisions.

Syndetics book cover Break the norms : questioning everything you think you know about God and truth, life and death, love and sex, by Chandresh Bhardwaj.
“Have you ever felt like you’re living out a script written for you by others–in your work, your relationships, or spirituality? “To break through the norms we’ve been conditioned to believe is an act of rebellion,” writes Chandresh Bhardwaj. “We must be prepared to be brutally honest. We must overturn our assumptions and unlearn our suffering. We must be willing to discover our real reasons for being alive….Authenticity is inherent each of our souls. When we start to be authentic, we start to get back in touch with our divine source.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Why be Jewish? : a testament, by Edgar M. Bronfman.
Completed just weeks before the author’s death, this charts his respect and love for his Jewish faith. This is a personal journey and walk through the main ideas and beliefs, explaining meanings and traditions gathered over a lifetime of study. He explains that even secular Judaism is still immersed in moral values derived from the ancient texts.
Syndetics book cover Queer virtue : what LGBTQ people know about life and love and how it can revitalize Christianity, by Reverend Elizabeth M. Edman.
“Christianity, at its scriptural core, incessantly challenges its adherents to rupture false binaries, to “queer” lines that pit people against one another. Thus, Edman asserts that Christianity, far from being hostile to queer people, is itself inherently queer. Arguing from the heart of scripture, she reveals how queering Christianity – that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other – can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that “Christian love = tolerance,” Edman offers a bold alternative: the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.” (Drawn from the Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The cities that built the Bible, by Robert R. Cargill.
“For many, the names Bethlehem, Babylon, and Jerusalem evoke epic stories from the Bible – fortresses, moonlit mangers or magnificent temples. This is a magnificent tour through fourteen cities: the Phoenicia cities of Tyre, Sidon, Ugarit, Nineveh, Babylon, Megiddo, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Qumran, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome, with dig sites, ruins, and relics. An interesting and informative adventure through time.

Read more

Science

Scientific writing can take many forms, and these latest arrivals to the collection are evidence of a happy marriage of science and story-telling. Muse on personal stories behind big inventions, the biographies of three very different scientists, or the challenge of explaining complex stuff using only the 1,000 most popular words in our language.

Syndetics book cover The invention of science : a new history of the scientific revolution, by David Wootton.
We live in a world made by science. How and when did this happen? This book tells the story of the extraordinary intellectual and cultural revolution that gave birth to modern science, and mounts a major challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy of its history. … “[this] is a truly remarkable piece of scholarship. His work has an ingenious and innovative linguistic foundation, examining the invention and redefinition of words as tracers of a new understanding of nature and how to approach it. His erudition is awesome, and his argument is convincing.” Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University.
Syndetics book cover The human side of science : Edison and Tesla, Watson and Crick, and other personal stories behind science’s big ideas, by Arthur W. Wiggins and Charles M. Wynn Sr. ; with cartoon commentary by Sidney Harris.
“This lively and humorous book focuses attention on the fact that science is a human enterprise. The reader learns about the foibles and quirks as well as the admirable ingenuity and impressive accomplishments of famous scientists who made some of the greatest discoveries of the past and present. Examples abound: Robert Hooke accused Isaac Newton of stealing his ideas about optics. Plato declared that the works of Democritus should be burned. …book takes the reader behind the scenes of scientific research to shine new light on the all-too-human people who “do” science.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover Penguins, pineapples & pangolins : first encounters with the exotic, by Claire Cock-Starkey.
Can you remember the first time you saw an elephant? In these modern times every child has seen a video clip, or a photo at the very least, of far away animals or plants. But, if we travel back in time a few hundred years, to the age of exploration or before trades routes became more frequented, people were discovering new animals, food or other cultures for the first very first time – with absolutely no frame of reference. Based on stories gleaned from the British Library archives, this new book reflects the awe and wonder these fresh encounters.
Syndetics book cover Prof : Alan Turing decoded : a biography, by Dermot Turing.
If you enjoyed the Imitation Game, dip into this biography of Alan Turing by his nephew, Sir Dermot Turing. We meet him in the film as mathematician, codebreaker, computer scientist, and as a war hero underestimated and mistreated by his own country. This is a fresh look at the influences on Alan Turing’s life and creativity, and the later creation of a legend. This is a unique family perspective drawing on sources only recently released to the UK National Archives, including photos.

Read more

 

Read more