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Image For A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

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by Adam Rutherford

A 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species―births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away―until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story―from 100,000 years ago to the present.

Item: 161519494

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Image For A Crack in Creation

A Crack in Creation

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A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
One of Science News’ Favorite Books of the Year


“Required reading for every concerned citizen.” — New York Review of Books

“The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other.” — George Lucas

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. That is, until 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans. Writing with fellow researcher Sam Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery and describes the enormous responsibility that comes with the power to rewrite the code of life.

“An essential start to educating the public . . . reveal[s] the complex, interlocking, and thoroughly international nature of today’s bioscience.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“An invaluable account . . . We owe Doudna several times over.” — Guardian

Item: 132891536

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Image For A Kind of Freedom

A Kind of Freedom

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by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Long-listed for the National Book Award

Winner of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
A New York Times Notable Book

“Brilliantly juxtaposing World War II, the ’80s and post-Katrina present, Sexton follows three generations of a black New Orleans family as they struggle to bloom amid the poison of racism.” ―People


Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. In 1982, Evelyn’s daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband’s drug addiction. Jackie’s son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn’t survive the storm. For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s critically acclaimed debut is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.

Item: 164009103

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Image For An Odyssey

An Odyssey

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by Daniel Mendelsohn

Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday
A Kirkus Best Memoir of 2017
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize

From award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading--and reliving--Homer's epic masterpiece.


When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his "one last chance" to learn the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that the two men explore Homer's great work together--first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus's famous voyages--it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most triumphant entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.

Item: 034580621

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Image For Data Love

Data Love

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Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies
by Roberto Simanowski

Intelligence services, government administrations, businesses, and a growing majority of the population are hooked on the idea that big data can reveal patterns and correlations in everyday life. Initiated by software engineers and carried out through algorithms, the mining of big data has sparked a silent revolution. But algorithmic analysis and data mining are not simply byproducts of media development or the logical consequences of computation. They are the radicalization of the Enlightenment's quest for knowledge and progress. Data Love argues that the "cold civil war" of big data is taking place not among citizens or between the citizen and government but within each of us.

Roberto Simanowski elaborates on the changes data love has brought to the human condition while exploring the entanglements of those who―out of stinginess, convenience, ignorance, narcissism, or passion―contribute to the amassing of ever more data about their lives, leading to the statistical evaluation and individual profiling of their selves. Writing from a philosophical standpoint, Simanowski illustrates the social implications of technological development and retrieves the concepts, events, and cultural artifacts of past centuries to help decode the programming of our present.

Item: 023117727

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Image For Devotion (Why I Write)

Devotion (Why I Write)

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by Patti Smith

From the renowned artist and author Patti Smith, a rare and generous look into the creative process

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections. Patti Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession—a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus’s house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil’s grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano’s novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.

The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.

Item: 030024022

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Image For Dinner at the Center of the Earth

Dinner at the Center of the Earth

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by Nathan Englander

The new novel from the Pulitzer-nominated, bestselling author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges—a political thriller set against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the Negev desert, a nameless prisoner languishes in a secret cell, his only companion the guard who has watched over him for a dozen years. Meanwhile, the prisoner’s arch nemesis—The General, Israel’s most controversial leader—lies dying in a hospital bed. From Israel and Gaza to Paris, Italy, and America, Englander provides a kaleidoscopic view of the prisoner’s unlikely journey to his cell. Dinner at the Center of the Earth is a tour de force—a powerful, wryly funny, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, and the man who improbably lands at the center of it all.

Item: 052543404

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Image For Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

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by Tim Harford

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 by BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, AND AMAZON

A lively history seen through the fifty inventions that shaped it most profoundly, by the bestselling author of The Undercover Economist and Messy.

Who thought up paper money? What was the secret element that made the Gutenberg printing press possible? And what is the connection between The Da Vinci Code and the collapse of Lehman Brothers?


Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy paints an epic picture of change in an intimate way by telling the stories of the tools, people, and ideas that had far-reaching consequences for all of us. From the plough to artificial intelligence, from Gillette’s disposable razor to IKEA’s Billy bookcase, bestselling author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford recounts each invention’s own curious, surprising, and memorable story.

Invention by invention, Harford reflects on how we got here and where we might go next. He lays bare often unexpected connections: how the bar code undermined family corner stores, and why the gramophone widened inequality. In the process, he introduces characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, and were ruined by them, as he traces the principles that helped explain their transformative effects. The result is a wise and witty book of history, economics, and biography.

Item: 073521614

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Image For Forest Dark

Forest Dark

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by Nicole Krauss

National Bestseller

A New York Times Notable Book of 2017

Named Best Book of 2017 by Esquire, Times Literary Supplement, Elle Magazine, LitHub, Publishers Weekly, Financial Times, Guardian, Refinery29, Popsugar, and Globe and Mail

"A brilliant novel. I am full of admiration." —Philip Roth


"One of America’s most important novelists" (New York Times), the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The History of Love, conjures an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly original novel about personal transformation that interweaves the stories of two disparate individuals—an older lawyer and a young novelist—whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert. Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for sixty-eight years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than thirty years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he’s felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi’s beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project—a film about the life of David being shot in the desert—with life-changing consequences. But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer’s block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality—and her own perception of life—that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can’t turn down, she’s drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined. Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization—of looking beyond all that is visible towards the infinite.

Item: 006243100

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Image For Free Speech on Campus

Free Speech on Campus

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by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman

Can free speech coexist with an inclusive campus environment?

Hardly a week goes by without another controversy over free speech on college campuses. On one side, there are increased demands to censor hateful, disrespectful, and bullying expression and to ensure an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. On the other side are traditional free speech advocates who charge that recent demands for censorship coddle students and threaten free inquiry. In this clear and carefully reasoned book, a university chancellor and a law school dean—both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates—argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas. This book provides the background necessary to understanding the importance of free speech on campus and offers clear prescriptions for what colleges can and can’t do when dealing with free speech controversies.

Item: 030024001

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Image For Hope Never Dies

Hope Never Dies

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by Andrew Shaffer

The New York Times Best Seller

"[Hope Never Dies is] an escapist fantasy that will likely appeal to liberals pining for the previous administration, longing for the Obama-Biden team to emerge from political retirement as action heroes."—Alexandra Alter, New York Times


Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.

Item: 168369039

Price: $14.99

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Image For I Would Lie to You If I Could

I Would Lie to You If I Could

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I Would Lie to You If I Could: Interviews with Ten American Poets
Ed. by Chard deNiord

I Would Lie To You If I Could contains interviews with nine eminent contemporary American poets (Natasha Trethewey, Jane Hirshfield, Martín Espada, Stephen Kuusisto, Stephen Sandy, Ed Ochester, Carolyn Forche, Peter Everwine, and Galway Kinnell) and James Wright’s widow Anne. It presents conversations with a vital cross section of poets representing a variety of ages, ethnicities, and social backgrounds.

The poets testify to the demotic nature of poetry as a charged language that speaks uniquely in original voices, yet appeals universally. As individuals with their own transpersonal stories, the poets have emerged onto the national stage from very local places with news that witnesses memorably in social, personal, and political ways. They talk about their poems and development as poets self-effacingly, honestly, and insightfully, describing just how and when they were "hurt into poetry," as well as why they have pursued writing poetry as a career in which, as Robert Frost noted in his poem "Two Tramps in Mud Time," their object has become "to unite [their] avocation and [their] vocation / As [their] two eyes make one in sight."

Item: 082296534

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Image For In the Midst of Winter

In the Midst of Winter

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by Isabel Allende

New York Times and worldwide bestselling author Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil.

An instant New York Times bestseller, In the Midst of Winter is about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that offers “a timely message about immigration and the meaning of home” (People).

During the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his sixties, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes a more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house, seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant, Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.

As these three lives intertwine, each will discover truths about how they have been shaped by the tragedies they witnessed, and Richard and Lucia will find unexpected, long overdue love. Allende returns here to themes that have propelled some of her finest work: political injustice, the art of survival, and the essential nature of—and our need for—love.

Item: 150117814

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Image For Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

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by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

“A clear and crisply written account of machine intelligence, big data and the sharing economy. But McAfee and Brynjolfsson also wisely acknowledge the limitations of their futurology and avoid over-simplification.” ―Financial Times

In The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson predicted some of the far-reaching effects of digital technologies on our lives and businesses. Now they’ve written a guide to help readers make the most of our collective future. Machine | Platform | Crowd outlines the opportunities and challenges inherent in the science fiction technologies that have come to life in recent years, like self-driving cars and 3D printers, online platforms for renting outfits and scheduling workouts, or crowd-sourced medical research and financial instruments.

Item: 039335606

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Image For Secrets & Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986-2006

Secrets & Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986-2006

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by H. Philip West Jr.

Between 1986 and 2006 Rhode Island ran a gauntlet of scandals that exposed corruption and aroused public rage. Protesters marched on the State House. Coalitions formed to fight for systemic changes. Under intense public pressure, lawmakers enacted historic laws and allowed voters to amend defects in the state s constitution.

Since colonial times, the legislature had controlled state government. Governors were barred from making many executive appointments, and judges could never forget that on a single day in 1935 the General Assembly had sacked the entire Supreme Court.

Without constitutional checks and balances, citizens suffered under single party control. Republicans ruled during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Democrats held sway from the 1930s into the twenty-first century. In their eras of unchecked control, both parties became corrupt.

Secrets & Scandals tells the inside story of events that shook Rhode Island's culture of corruption, gave birth to the nation's strongest ethics commission, and finally brought separation of powers in 2004. No single leader, no political party, no organization could have converted betrayals of public trust into historic reforms. But when citizen coalitions worked with dedicated public officials to address systemic failures, government changed.

Three times in 2002, 2008, and 2013 Chicago s Better Government Association has scored state laws that promote integrity, accountability, and government transparency. In 50-state rankings, Rhode Island ranked second twice and first in 2013 largely because of reforms reported in SECRETS & SCANDALS.

Item: 099062931

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