Staff Pick

Since Lab Girl, Jahren relocated to Oslo, Norway, where, along with her award-winning work in paleobiology, she teaches a course on the origins of climate change. This is a course everyone should take. Presented here, it’s an engaging, fast-paced survey of how our relentless drive for “more” fuels increases in our population, longevity, urbanization, travel, industrial and agricultural production, with  concurrent negative impacts on the natural environment. Jahren uses a lot of statistics—leavened with plenty of engaging stories—and her book is also a mini-primer on data interpretation. Although global fossil fuel use and meat production have tripled since 1969, regional consumption rates are uneven; OECD nations waste food and struggle to declutter, but places like Bangladesh barely register on energy-usage maps, even as they suffer the brunt of the Anthropocene’s devastating storms and rising seas—not to mention supplying materials essential for the richer nations’ turbines and digital devices. Jahren’s intent isn’t to blame or frighten, however, but to inform, and her data boils down to “use less and share more.” If we do, there will be enough to go around. Recognizing that this is a tough sell—“consuming less is not…a new product that can be marketed”—Jahren urges a wholesale re-envisioning of how we use energy. That vision is still vague, but if we scale back to rates roughly equivalent of those in Switzerland in the 1960s, “humanity might survive civilization.”

 

The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525563389
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020

Staff Pick

Prescott’s favorite writer is Kafka, so any echo of The Trial or The Castle in his title is likely deliberate, as is the plot's philisophical blend of the mundane and the surreal. Never breaking its low-key, reflective tone, the novel is narrated by an unnamed writer researching a book about the disappearing towns of New South Wales, Australia. The one he finds himself (or perhaps loses himself) in seems more simulacrum than town—its buses go nowhere and no one rides them, houses are there for “display,” people spend their days roaming stores without wanting anything.  Then mysterious holes start popping up and replace chunks of the town with a strange, mirror-like blankness. Despite this ominous development, the townspeople carry on much as usual, leading lives with few hopes or expectations. As the narrator ponders what it might mean if this is the end of the world, Prescott captures something chillingly true about today, where we cling to business as usual even as the climate crisis grows more dire by the day—almost as if we don’t really have anything to lose.

The Town: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374278526
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 4th, 2020

Staff Pick

Bob Mankoff, cartoon and humor editor for Esquire, former New Yorker cartoon editor, and author of the memoir How About Never—Is Never Good For You?, introduces this collection of his favorite Jewish cartoons, Have I Got a Cartoon for You! (MomentBooks, $19.95), by quipping that the People of the Book are also “the People of the Joke.” Exploring how Jewish humorists have drawn on traditions such us Talmudic disputation for material, Mankoff surveys the long tradition of Jewish humor and the cartoon’s place in it and refl ects on how his own Jewish heritage—which included early experiences of Borscht Belt comedians like Jerry Lewis and Buddy Hackett—shaped his career as a cartoonist.

Have I Got a Cartoon for You!: The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons Cover Image
By Bob Mankoff (Editor), Roz Chast (Foreword by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781942134596
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Momentbooks - September 17th, 2019

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