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Books to Watch | October 1, 2019

October 01, 2019

Each and every week, our marketing team—Marketing Director Blyth Meier (BRM), Digital Marketing Specialist Gabbi Cisneros (GMC), and Editorial Director Dylan Schleicher (DJJS)—highlights the five books being released that we are most excited about.

This week, our choices are:

October 1 New Releases.jpg

The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments by Meik Wiking, William Morrow | The famed Danish happiness researcher is back with another beautiful little book that informs and inspires. It encourages nostalgia, helps you plan future nostalgia, and makes remembering more fun and likely easier than you expected, especially if you’re burnt out from trying all those brain training apps on your smartphone. Say goodbye to memorizing digital fruit sequences, because your memory is put to a better test in the non-digital world. The more you appreciate the memories you’ve made, the more you’ll want to make new ones. Meik Wiking’s writing is effervescent, glowing with wonder and a contagious passion for life that it’s hard not to feel while reading—and hopefully while applying its wisdom to your own life. (GMC)

How to Cook Everything—Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Over the years, the person who has most reliably helped me climb the small everyday mountain called “What should I eat?” has been Mark Bittman. Mark does not make you feel bad for not having pomegranate molasses in your pantry. Mark does not shame you for sometimes wanting a real hamburger. Mark doesn’t care if you roughly chop your onions instead of finely mince them. Nope, all Mark cares about is helping cultivate the habit of getting a home-cooked meal in front of us as many nights of the week as possible. Open up the fridge, see what you have, flip through the book, and you are halfway to dinner. You can do it! Mark believes in you! Filled with cooking basics, endless substitutions, and new color photographs, the “Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition” of his classic How to Cook Everything proves that easy food does not mean boring food. It is the book you give to your niece who is moving out of state for her first ‘real’ job, your brother who is trying to kick his take-out habit, or your best friend who is learning ‘how to cook vegetarian’ because someone in the house just won’t eat meat anymore. And most definitely it is the book you buy for yourself and keep close at all mealtimes to make that small mountain easy and fast to climb. (BRM)

A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Who We Are by Flynn Coleman, Counterpoint | The opening quote in Flynn Coleman’s new examination of artificial intelligence, Stephen Hawking’s declaration that “AI is likely to be the best or worst thing to happen to humanity,” is largely predicated on what we impart in the process of creating it. “Whether intelligent machines learn from the darkest parts of our human nature, or the noblest,” writes Coleman, “remains to be seen.” Either way, it is advancing, and it will change life on earth. Her new book calls on us to write “human code instead of rigid rules” as we develop an intelligence that may surpass our own. To explain how we may do so, she incorporates philosophy, psychology, and history to give humane values to a technology that is inherently value-neutral, and use it to benefit the diverse interests of all humanity, indeed all of life on earth, rather than just the tech elite, and to ensure justice rather than just profits. If we can do that, perhaps we can further our humanity rather than lose it in the process. (DJJS)

The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection by Tamim Ansary, Public Affairs | The stories we tell ourselves and each other, and accept as true, shape who we are. Those stories differ depending on locality and time, forming our beliefs and identity, and also our differences. Tamim Ansary has taken the accepted, intertwining, and opposing narratives of all of us here on earth—and the cultures we exist within—and constructed them into an all-encompassing, interconnected history of humanity. He writes of the various groups we end up identifying with as social constellations, of us as individual stars that make up those constellations. And we don’t necessarily all see the same picture when we look up—or at each other—and connect the dots. “The noble assertion that ‘people are all really just the same,’” writes Ansary, “can morph all too easily into the assumption that ‘people are all just like me.’” Ultimately, the book is about cultural context, and how we can honor our diversity and still strive for unity. Because we may not all interpret the stars in the same way, but looking back down from them, we are all a part of one larger human story. (DJJS) 

Stealing Green Mangoes: Two Brothers, Two Fates, One Indian Childhood by Sunil Dutta, Ecco | I think of the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” when reading Sunil Dutta’s memoir, because this is a very simplified version of a family’s relationship with one another. Of course, I know that family members regularly test your limits and that this can sometimes lead to divergence—perhaps temporary, maybe permanent. Dutta's book is a sort of search, or partial meditation, on how and why the brothers lead such different lives: the author became an LAPD officer while his brother became a terrorist. What is choice and what is chance? The book is short but the author’s journey is packed with turbulence, something he works through calmly, intelligently, and poetically. (GMC)

 

 

What we're reading away from work:


A Short Philosophy of Birds.jpg “I am reading A Short Philosophy of Birds which is fulfilling the inner science nerd/bird watcher as well as the yogi/philosopher in me.” —Emily Porter, Customer Service Specialist

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