May's Featured New Audiobooks
The splendid things we planned : a family portrait / Blake Bailey (BOOKS ON CD/B BAILEY) -- Meet the Baileys: Burck, a prosperous lawyer once voted the American Legion’s “Citizen of the Year” in his tiny hometown of Vinita, Oklahoma; his wife Marlies, who longs to recapture her festive life in Greenwich Village as a pretty young German immigrant, fresh off the boat; their addled son Scott, who repeatedly crashes the family Porsche; and Blake, the younger son, trying to find a way through the storm. “You’re gonna be just like me,” a drunken Scott taunts him. “You’re gonna be worse.” Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey has been hailed as “addictively readable” (New York Times) and praised for his ability to capture lives “compellingly and in harrowing detail” (Time). The Splendid Things We Planned is his darkly funny account of growing up in the shadow of an erratic and increasingly dangerous brother, an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing story that culminates in one unforgettable Christmas.
In paradise / Peter Matthiessen (BOOKS ON CD) -- In the winter of 1996, more than a hundred women and men of diverse nationality, background, and belief gather at the site of a former concentration camp for an unprecedented purpose: a weeklong retreat during which they will offer prayer and witness at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform, while eating and sleeping in the quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews to their deaths. Clements Olin, an American academic of Polish descent, has come along, ostensibly to complete research on the death of a survivor, even as he questions what a non-Jew can contribute to the understanding of so monstrous a catastrophe. As the days pass, tensions, both political and personal, surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or closure. Finding himself in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observer’s role and to embrace a history his family has long suppressed—and with it the yearnings and contradictions of being fully alive.
Miss Julia's marvelous makeover / Ann B. Ross (BOOKS ON CD) -- It’s summer in Abbotsville, and Miss Julia has visions of enjoying a life of leisure. But before she can even sip some iced tea on her front porch, a letter from her long-lost cousin Elsie informs her that Elsie’s granddaughter is on a bus headed to Abbotsville that very day. Reminding Miss Julia of an old family debt, Elsie proclaims that she is sending Trixie to Miss Julia’s to learn to become a lady. The nerve of some people! When the rude and unkempt Trixie arrives, even Sam and Lloyd agree that Miss Julia faces quite a challenge. Meanwhile, Sam has decided to run for state senate. But when he has a fainting spell and has to go into the hospital for tests, who will run his campaign? Is his no-good rival going to cakewalk into office? No sir, not if Miss Julia has anything to say about it—and indeed she does, including up on the stump.
The philosopher's toolkit : how to be the most rational person in any room / Patrick Grim (BOOKS ON CD/191 G (Great Courses) -- Thinking is one of the things we do best. Wouldn't it be great if we could do it even better? This course, The Philosopher's Toolkit, gives you a set of thinking techniques designed with that goal in mind: tools for conceptual visualization, critical analysis, creative thinking, logical inference, rational decision, real-world testing, effective reasoning, and rational argument. The course uses interactive engagement to introduce a range of conceptual methods and perspectives: mind-stretching philosophical puzzles, mental exercises by example, thought experiments on which to test your powers, and deep questions to ponder. You'll learn "hands on" the simple heuristics that make us smart; the basic strategies of decision theory and conceptual modeling; an d how to handle everyday probabilities, track a train of thought, outwit advertisers, and detect a spin in statistics. The course also emphasizes rationality in the social context: how to use the wisdom of crowds; how to analyze the flow of thought in debate; and how to defuse fallacious reasoning, deflate rhetoric, and break through opinion polarization. You can apply your new tools of analysis in evaluating arguments on both sides in a "great debate." Decision theory, game theory, probability, and experimental design are all introduced as part of the toolkit, but with a philosophical examination of their limitations, as well as their strengths.