"Our relationship with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable." —Diane Ackerman, from The Human Age

Diane Ackerman’s new book, The Human Age, goes on sale September 10th. That evening Ackerman will be joined by Dava Sobel at the 92y for a conversation on our responsibilities as the dominant force shaping the future of planet earth.

Get tickets now.

No menu will ever be the same. In his new book The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky, a MacArthur fellow and professor of linguistics and computer science at Stanford, peels away the mysteries from the foods we think we know. 

The Atlantic just highlighted Jurafsky’s findings after analyzing 6,500 restaurant menus. After you discover the linguistic divide between Per Se and Pizza Hut, enter to win The Language of Food on Goodreads.

Track

There Goes My Baby

Artist

The Drifters

Album

Up On The Roof: The Best Of The Drifters

storyofpop:

Modern pop is essentially urban, and city living is a matter of constant shifting of context, between neighborhoods and between roles. Two or more seemingly incompatible styles working at once is the existential reality of urban life. The term “authenticity,” one which causes a constant tension throughout the story of modern pop, was popularized by existentialism, the du jour beatnik/student philosophy of the early sixties. Beatniks, jazz fans, and readers of Kierkegaard and Sartre may have heard “There Goes My Baby” by the Drifters (1959) in the context of a TV show like Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and dismissed it as inauthentic, emotionally infantile, but right here was a blend of different musics and neighborhoods (Spanish Harlem, Long Island, the Bronx, Broadway) that related to shape-shifting street life much more closely than the venerated, undiluted directness of Pete Seeger’s folk or Chris Barber’s jazz. 

From Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley, out now in hardcover and ebook.

This is a classic Stanley nugget: incisive, provocative, and spot-on.

storyofpop:

In a proto-goth move, newly liberated teens—as well as yearning for sex and childhood—developed a taste for “death discs” around 1960/61, possibly prompted by the early demise of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and Eddie Cochran. Mark Dinning’s “Teen Angel” (girlfriend dies on a railroad track) and Ray Peterson’s “Tell Laura I Love Her” (boyfriend dies in a stock-car race) were huge hits, but the “death disc” monster was John Leyton’s “Johnny Remember Me,” the most thrilling, feverish pop record Britain had yet produced—the drums galloped and the skies darkened as Leyton’s echo-choked voice mourned the girl he “loved and lost a year ago.”

From Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley, out now in hardcover and ebook.

Things are getting spooky over on storyofpop.

politicsprose:

Cover to Cover: Preparing the Ghost by Matthew Gavin Frank

Should your ideal book be best described as ‘peculiar’ or perhaps ‘containing tentacles’ then Preparing the Ghost is for you. At first glance, this book is the real-life story of Harvey Moses, who, in 1874, obtained a dead giant squid from some fishermen and paid them to deliver it to his house. He draped the squid over his bathtub and a local photographer took the first known photo of what until then had been largely considered a mythical creature. Yet that event is only one layer of this delightfully strange book. Matthew Gavin Frank is a Renaissance man and he treats his reader to an assortment of strange facts, ideas, and connections (plus, you discover words like ‘scapulimancy’). You will learn about the giant squid and people who search for it, as well as about how calamari came to be an item on American menus, how ice cream gained popularity, and where latex comes from (no, not from a squid). Frank’s breadth of interests makes this small volume contain not only history, memoir, travelogue, but a philosophical study on myth-making and myth-destroying as well.

Preparing the Ghost is itself like an antique photograph—vaguely disturbing and fascinating, with a complex story behind a single image. It is an autopsy report of sorts for the giant squid and its place in our imagination. The fact that it was dead and that there was now a photo of it did not make the giant squid any less mythical. Frank’s own obsession with the animal and people who hunted it becomes most apparent towards the end, when the book turns on itself. The author questions his own descriptions of what transpired when Harvey Moses obtained the squid. Frank writes his own myths and, in turn, inspires a whole new wave of obsession (ourselves included).

-Anton Bogomazov

Preparing the Ghost is the most original book I have read in years.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Dora: A Headcase

books:

carpentrix:

I’ve seen Rachel’s beaming face holding a lot of different books, and on Friday afternoon it was strange indeed — and amazing — to scroll through Tumblr and see my book in her hands. Her copy made it to her faster in New York than it did to me in Cambridge, and I came home yesterday to find a package from Norton with two copies, two galleys of the book. What a thing to hold. It’s gonna be a book. Coming March, 2015.

It’s so good, you guys!

In which Nina (carpentrix) asks and answers the eternal question: “How do we decide what’s right for our own lives.” Coming March 2015. Pre-ordering begins now!  High-res

books:

carpentrix:

I’ve seen Rachel’s beaming face holding a lot of different books, and on Friday afternoon it was strange indeed — and amazing — to scroll through Tumblr and see my book in her hands. Her copy made it to her faster in New York than it did to me in Cambridge, and I came home yesterday to find a package from Norton with two copies, two galleys of the book. What a thing to hold. It’s gonna be a book. Coming March, 2015.

It’s so good, you guys!

In which Nina (carpentrix) asks and answers the eternal question: “How do we decide what’s right for our own lives.” Coming March 2015. Pre-ordering begins now! 

alwayslovingbooks:

Day 12 : Underrated Book

Back in May 2009, Edan Lepucki (author of California) interviewed Joe Meno for The Millions…

EDAN LEPUCKI: One of my favorite aspects of [The Great Perhaps] is the humor and tragedy with which you depict the teenage lives of Thisbe and Amelia. At one point, Thisbe prays, “Dear Lord… let the wire in my bra poke through my heart,” which is just, well, awesome. Are you, in fact, a teenage girl in disguise? How did you get inside these complicated – and very different – young minds?
JOE MENO: I am not, in fact, a teenage girl. But I am writer which is pretty darn close. Amelia was based somewhat on someone I knew and worked with, at least as a starting point. As I was working on her character, I realized how angry and unappealing she seemed and so I felt like I no choice but to add some humor to temper her rancor. Thisbe, in secret, is kind of my favorite character in the book. Although she is really confused and definitely a kind of zealot, what she really wants is to make sense of her family and herself and her feelings towards Roxie, a classmate. I think she’s a pretty fair example of why evangelical Christianity is so appealing to some, because in the end, it’s based on a search for understanding through love. This is also why it is so insidious and threatening as well. Like Thisbe, trying to oversimplify the world only undercuts what seems so miraculous about life in the first place.

Keep reading Edan’s interview with Joe Meno on The Millions… High-res

alwayslovingbooks:

Day 12 : Underrated Book

Back in May 2009, Edan Lepucki (author of California) interviewed Joe Meno for The Millions…

EDAN LEPUCKI: One of my favorite aspects of [The Great Perhaps] is the humor and tragedy with which you depict the teenage lives of Thisbe and Amelia. At one point, Thisbe prays, “Dear Lord… let the wire in my bra poke through my heart,” which is just, well, awesome. Are you, in fact, a teenage girl in disguise? How did you get inside these complicated – and very different – young minds?

JOE MENO: I am not, in fact, a teenage girl. But I am writer which is pretty darn close. Amelia was based somewhat on someone I knew and worked with, at least as a starting point. As I was working on her character, I realized how angry and unappealing she seemed and so I felt like I no choice but to add some humor to temper her rancor. Thisbe, in secret, is kind of my favorite character in the book. Although she is really confused and definitely a kind of zealot, what she really wants is to make sense of her family and herself and her feelings towards Roxie, a classmate. I think she’s a pretty fair example of why evangelical Christianity is so appealing to some, because in the end, it’s based on a search for understanding through love. This is also why it is so insidious and threatening as well. Like Thisbe, trying to oversimplify the world only undercuts what seems so miraculous about life in the first place.

Keep reading Edan’s interview with Joe Meno on The Millions…

libraryreads:

It’s here! The September 2014 LibraryReads list

This month there are witches, crematoriums, a haunted furniture store, traveling, courts, and so much more. Even if you love summer, there are plenty of things to be excited about this fall.

Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tops the September LibraryReads list! It goes on sale 9/15.

Follow her daily dispatches on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Totally worth it. We also recommend her brilliant “Ask a Mortician” web series on YouTube. What’s in a Mortician’s Purse? is a good one to start with.

Track

In The Still Of The Nite

Artist

The Five Satins

Album

In The Still Of The Nite

storyofpop:

The acme of doo wop, the Five Satins’ “In the Still of the Nite,” was recorded in a church basement. It contains the beautiful noise, the essence of a city, that Neil Diamond later referenced; to my ears it condenses the entire fabric of New York inside three minutes, and has a saturated saxophone break that sounds like it echoes from one end of the Holland tunnel to the other. 

From Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley, out now in hardcover and ebook.

And if you like this, give the Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! doo wop playlist a listen on Spotify.