Featured New Nonfiction for October
Magnificent Principia : exploring Isaac Newton's masterpiece / Colin Pask (531 P) -- Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg has written that "all that has happened since 1687 is a gloss on the Principia." Now you too can appreciate the significance of this stellar work, regarded by many as the greatest scientific contribution of all time. Despite its dazzling reputation, Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, or simply the Principia, remains a mystery for many people. Few of even the most intellectually curious readers, including professional scientists and mathematicians, have actually looked in the Principia or appreciate its contents. Mathematician Pask seeks to remedy this deficit in this accessible guided tour through Newton's masterpiece. Using the final edition of the Principia, Pask clearly demonstrates how it sets out Newton's (and now our) approach to science; how the framework of classical mechanics is established; how terrestrial phenomena like the tides and projectile motion are explained; and how we can understand the dynamics of the solar system and the paths of comets. He also includes scene-setting chapters about Newton himself and scientific developments in his time, as well as chapters about the reception and influence of the Principia up to the present day.
The butler : a witness to history / Wil Haygood (B ALLEN) -- When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture, as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served no fewer than eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.During his thirty-four years of service, Allen became what the Independent described as a "discreet stagehand who for three decades helped keep the show running in the most important political theatre of all." While serving tea and supervising buffets, Allen was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made.
Artificial maturity : helping kids meet the challenge of becoming authentic adults / Tim Elmore (649.125 E) -- How to raise kids who can handle the real worldToday's Generation iY (teens brought up with the Internet) and Homelanders (children born after 9/11) are overexposed to information at an earlier age than ever and paradoxically are underexposed to meaningful relationships and real-life experiences. Artificial Maturity addresses the problem of what to do when parents and teachers mistake children's superficial knowledge for real maturity. The book is filled with practical steps that adults can take to furnish the experiences kids need to balance their abilities with authentic maturity. Shows how to identify the problem and what to do to help children balance autonomy, responsibility, and information. Artificial Maturity gives parents, teachers, and others who work with youth a manual for understanding and practicing the leadership kids so desperately need to mature in a healthy fashion.
Stuffed and starved : the hidden battle for the world food system / Raj Patel (338.19 P) -- It’s a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before, while there are also more people who are overweight. To find out how we got to this point and what we can do about it, Raj Patel launched a comprehensive investigation into the global food network. It took him from the colossal supermarkets of California to India’s wrecked paddy-fields and Africa’s bankrupt coffee farms, while along the way he ate genetically engineered soy beans and dodged flying objects in the protestor-packed streets of South Korea. What he found was shocking, from the false choices given us by supermarkets to a global epidemic of farmer suicides, and real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa. Yet he also found great cause for hope—in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable and joyful food system. Going beyond ethical consumerism, Patel explains, from seed to store to plate, the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of both farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.
Armor and blood : the Battle of Kursk, the turning point of World War II / Dennis E. Showalter (940.5421 S) -- One of America's most distinguished military historians offers the definitive account of the greatest tank battle of World War II-- an epic clash of machines and men that matched the indomitable will of the Soviet Red Army against the awesome might of the Nazi Wehrmacht. While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II's Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army's brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than three million men and eight thousand tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some four hundred miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war. The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history's most formidable fighting forces-- a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time.
Oil and honey : the education of an unlikely activist / Bill McKibben (363.7 M) -- Bill McKibben is not a person you'd expect to find handcuffed in the city jail in Washington, D.C. But that's where he spent three days in the summer of 2011, after leading the largest civil disobedience in thirty years to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. A few months later the protesters would see their efforts rewarded when President Obama agreed to put the project on hold. And yet McKibben realized that this small and temporary victory was at best a stepping-stone. With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and Sandy scouring the Atlantic, the need for much deeper solutions was obvious. Some of those would come at the local level, and McKibben recounts a year he spends in the company of a beekeeper raising his hives as part of the growing trend toward local food. Other solutions would come from a much larger fight against the fossil-fuel industry as a whole.
Unbelievable : investigations into ghosts, poltergeists, telepathy, and other unseen phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory / Stacy Horn (133.1 H) -- From The Sixth Sense to Medium, Ghost Whisperer to Ghost Hunters, the paranormal stirs heated debate, spawning millions of believers and skeptics alike. Nearly half of us say we believe in ghosts, and two-thirds of us believe in life after death. What would you make of rain barrels that refill themselves? Psychic horses? Mind-reading Cold War spies? For a group of scientists at the Duke Parapsychology Lab under the leadership of Dr. J. B. Rhine—considered the Einstein of the paranormal—such mysteries demanded further investigation. From 1930 to 1980, these dedicated men and women attempted to test the bizarre, the frightening, and the unexplainable against the rigors of science, ultimately finding proof that the human mind possesses telepathic powers.
Lace one-skein wonders / edited by Judith Durant (741.432 L) -- Judith Durant has done it again! This all-new collection of 101 original lace knitting projects, each using just a single skein of yarn, will thrill knitters of all levels. From clothes and accessories to pillows, curtains, and tablecloths, these beautiful projects were contributed by designers and knitters around the world. Try your hand at an heirloom-quality lace shawl, a lacy pair of gloves, or a dainty child’s dress with a perfect lace insert – the possibilities are endless!
Shady characters : the secret life of punctuation, symbols, & other typographical marks / Keith Houston (411 H) -- A charming and indispensable tour of two thousand years of the written word, Shady Characters weaves a fascinating trail across the parallel histories of language and typography. Whether investigating the asterisk (*) and dagger (†)—which alternately illuminated and skewered heretical verses of the early Bible—or the at sign (@), which languished in obscurity for centuries until rescued by the Internet, Keith Houston draws on myriad sources to chart the life and times of these enigmatic squiggles, both exotic (¶) and everyday (&). From the Library of Alexandria to the halls of Bell Labs, figures as diverse as Charlemagne, Vladimir Nabokov, and George W. Bush cross paths with marks as obscure as the interrobang (‽) and as divisive as the dash (—). Ancient Roman graffiti, Venetian trading shorthand, Cold War double agents, and Madison Avenue round out an ever more diverse set of episodes, characters, and artifacts. Richly illustrated, ranging across time, typographies, and countries, Shady Characters will delight and entertain all who cherish the unpredictable and surprising in the writing life.