Tag Archives: nonfiction

Now You Can Read Bernie Sanders’ Speech

I’m very proud to announce the arrival of The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class, the book form of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) bravura, 8 1/2-hour explication of how the deal President Obama made with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich will effect the fortunes of us all.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

And don’t forget to join us when we welcome author Tim Dorsey and his new Serge Storms Novel, Electric Barracuda. It’s Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m. in the store, followed by a reception with the author at 7 p.m. at La Rosita Mexican Grill.

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GODISNOWHERE

Securing memories on the page would seem to be an immensely superior way of retaining knowledge compared to trying to hold it in the brain. The brain is always making mistakes, forgetting, misremembering. Writing is how we overcome those essential biological constraints. It allows our memories to be pulled out of the fallible wetware of the brain and secured on the less fallible page, where they can be made permanent and (one sometimes hopes) disseminated far, wide, and across time. Writing allows ideas to be passed across generations, without fear of the kind of natural mutation that is necessarily a part of oral traditions.

Moonwalking With Einstein

Remember this

Wasn’t that elegant. I wish I had written it.

That is a passage (and one I am warned not to quote for purposes of review) from Joshua Foer’s upcoming book, Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering. It’s from The Penguin Press and releases on March 7.

Yes, Foer’s surname is familiar. He is the younger brother of Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated. Josh, who used to call his older brother “Jonny,” was a recent college graduate living with his parents when he began this book, though it is clear from my advance reading that he is already an accomplished writer – at least of nonfiction.

Let me leave you with 2 other snippets from the book.

When St. Augustine, in the fourth century A.D., observed his teacher St. Ambrose reading to himself without moving his tongue or murmuring, he thought the unusual behavior so noteworthy as to record it in his Confessions.

Writing, you see, was once seen as no more than the best way to memorize things, and the state of inscription at the time actually required any reader to have pretty much memorized the text already. Accordingly, since most readers “performed” a piece aloud, it was practically unprecedented to imagine that anyone could understand what they were reading without at least subliminally “speaking” the words.

Need an example? GODISNOWHERE. Agree or disagree?

Want more of Foer? Check out his Website.

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The Lists: Sustainability and Community

Today’s list offers recommended reading on the topics of sustainability and community. Those terms mean different things for different people, so let’s just call this my personal list. I’ve either read these or had them recommended by people I know share the same aspirations in these fields as I do. Collectively, they provide a pretty good template for making a start on building a community that’s less wasteful and more attuned to community building and responsibility to our descendants.

All That We Share

Enlightening

I do not rank them in any order and I’m sure to have left some great books out because I’ve limited it to books I have on the shelves this very minute. For example, if on Saturday I sold my last copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, et al., and it won’t be back in stock until Tuesday, then it won’t be on this list.

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget
Leda Meredith (Lyons Press) 9780762755486 – $16.95

Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything
Mary Clemens Meyer & Susanna Meyer (Herald Press) 9780836195125 – $24.99

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)
Jonathan Bloom (Da Capo Press) 9780738213644 – $26

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live off the Land
Kurt Timmermeister (W.W. Norton) 9780393070859 – $24.95

Real Food: What to Eat and Why
Nina Planck (Bloomsbury) 9781596913424 – $15.99

The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food
Amy Cotler (Storey) 9781603424530 – $12.95

Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks, and Food Activists
Katherine Leiner (Sunrise Lane) 9781603582889 – $35

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
Ellen Ruppel Shell (Penguin) 9780143117636 – $16

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Barbara Ehrenreich (Henry Holt) 9780805088380 – $14

The Case Against Wal-Mart
Al Norman (Raphel Press) 9780971154230 – $19.95

The Community Building Companion: 50 Ways to Make Connections and Create Change in Your Own Backyard
Peter D. Rogers, Lisa Frankfort, and Matthew McKay (New Harbinger) 9781572242883 – $10.95

Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future
Matt Hern (AK Press) 9781849350105 – $17.95

Beginner’s Guide to Community-Based Arts: Ten Graphic Stories About Artists, Educators & Activists Across the U.S.
Keith Knight, Mat Schwarzman, and many others (New Village Press) 9780976605430 – $19.95

Growing Local Value: How to Build Business Partnerships That Strengthen Your Community
Laury Hammel and Gun Denhart (Berrett-Koehler) 9781576753712 – $16.95

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
Randy O. Frost and Gaile Steketee (Mariner Books) 9780547422558 – $14.95

Be the Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community
Thomas Linzey with Anneke Campbell (Gibbs Smith) 9781423605614 – $12.99

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Bill McKibben (Henry Holt) 9780805087222 – $14

All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons
Jay Walljasper (The New Press) 9781595584991 – $18.95

All of these books are in stock and can be researched further at our online store here. In honor of all the great news this week about the move toward a more sustainable future, these titles will be on sale for the remainder of February at a 20 percent discount from the list price, while supplies last. Think of it as your reward for reading these weekend blog postings.

And if you know my wife, Ann, join me in wishing her a happy 50th birthday (no, she doesn’t look it, does she?) on Tuesday. Were it not for her, there would not be a Destinations Booksellers.

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How to Make a Small City Great

One of the best books of the last few years is Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy, written by New Albany’s own Dr. John R. Hale. In that book, Hale introduces his history with a compelling story. Here’s a passage, lifted from lordsofthesea.org, that served as inspiration to my first run for public office.

“I cannot tune a harp or play a lyre,” said the Athenian soldier-statesman Themistocles, “but I know how to make a small city great.” His vision set Athens on a course towards greatness when Themistocles persuaded his fellow citizens to build a fleet of 200 warships known as triremes – long galleys propelled by triple banks of oars.

Some of you may have heard that I’m running for office in the New Albany city elections this year (the Democratic Party primary is May 3.) Dr. Hale’s book was instrumental, and the relation of the story of Themistocles leadership and vision had a real effect on my decision to offer my name to the electorate.

The book is called a “thriller history” by one reviewer and I have to agree. Hale perfectly balances the story without dwelling too long on any one segment and anytime I was ready to move on to the next thing, the author was right there with me.

This is a book about a little-known and little-understood era and if you like nonfiction, you owe it to yourself to read it. I can guarantee you an autographed copy, personalized if you wish, if you order the book prior to March 7.

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Recommended: The Death of the Liberal Class

Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges offers up a “stunning” (my new favorite word – it’s an inside joke) diagnosis of the state of America today in his book, Death of the Liberal Class, a recent release from Nation Books.

Death of the Liberal ClassHedges defines “liberal class” as the press, universities, labor movement, culture, Democratic Party, and liberal religious institutions. I would posit that one remaining bulwark of the liberal class is the independent bookstore, but that’s for another day. I’ll just say that we, as an industry sub-group, are by definition liberal in the very best sense of that word.

The death he describes was not sudden – it was lingering – and its absence as an institutional check on the rapaciousness of a corporate capital regime dismantles the last protections for the weakest among us.

Publishers Weekly, in a review, said “his most interesting theses include the parallel between the current domestic climate and the fall of Weimar Germany and the conclusion that ‘Everything formed by violence is senseless and useless. It exists without a future. It leaves behind nothing but death, grief, and destruction.'”

Without a living liberal class, Hedges reports, there remains no “mechanism to make incremental reform possible. Its absence results in anger being channeled into anti-democratic ideologies that “detest … the civilities of a liberal democracy.”

With power grabs flying at us daily, now might be a good time to explore how America allowed itself to become so vulnerable to those ideologies.

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