June? Nonfiction? Go!
Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines (M)
by Shohreh Aghdashloo (June 4)
Although you may not know Shohreh Aghdashloo's name, you've probably seen one of her acclaimed performances in films like The House of Sand and Fog (she got an Oscar nomination for it) or popular television programs like 24, Flash Forward or the HBO miniseries The House of Saddam. Born in Tehran, she was already established as a successful actress in Iran before she left for England following the Iranian Revolution. Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines is a fascinating account of her life and experiences: "Lyrical and atmospheric, The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines is a powerful story of ambition, art, politics, terror, and courage—of an extraordinary woman determined to live her dreams."
The Attacking Ocean (M)
by Brian Fagan (June 11)
Here's a book that will be on the one hand fascinating and on the other, terrifying, for us coastal dwelling Nova Scotians: a book that looks at the history and current status of rising sea levels. "Over the past fifteen thousand years the Earth has witnessed dramatic changes in sea level. The last Ice Age, when coastlines were more than 700 feet below modern levels, saw rapid global warming, and over the following ten millennia, the oceans climbed in fits and starts. These changes had little impact on the humans of the day, because the earth's population was then so small, and those few people were more mobile than today's static populations. Global sea levels stabilised about five thousand years ago.
As urban civilisations developed in Egypt, Mesopotamia and South Asia the curve of inexorably rising seas flattened out. The planet's population boomed, and by the Industrial Revolution was five times its size two thousand years earlier. And as we crowded shorelines to live, fish and trade, we put ourselves at ever greater risk from the oceans. Changes in sea level are historically cumulative and gradual, but since 1860, the world has warmed significantly and the ocean's climb has accelerated again. From the Great Flood to Hurricane Sandy, The Attacking Ocean explores the changing complexity of the relationship between humans and the sea at their doorsteps, and shows how vulnerable our modern society is."
High Price: a neuroscientist's journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society (M)
by Carl Hart (June 11)
A timely and powerful book that examines addiction—from a scientific perspective and by looking at government policy and social structures that impact it."High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives. Young Carl didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.
In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing."
The Great Degeneration: how institutions decay and economies die (M)
by Niall Ferguson (June 18)
You may recognize the well respected Ferguson's name from his previous books The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World or several others looking at finance, history and society. This new title follows a similar pattern and looks at a topic that should be of interest to all those in western societies, what Ferguson calls institutional decay. "What causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us today: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, aging populations, antisocial behavior. But what exactly has gone wrong? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues in The Great Degeneration, is that our institutions—the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail—are degenerating...with characteristic verve and historical insight, Ferguson analyzes not only the causes of this stagnation but also its profound consequences."