Monday, July 1, 2013

June Books

Front CoverSince prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide of the modernist kitchen. It can also mean the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks.

In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson provides a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of everyday objects we often take for granted. Knives—perhaps our most important gastronomic tool—predate the discovery of fire, whereas the fork endured centuries of ridicule before gaining widespread acceptance; pots and pans have been around for millennia, while plates are a relatively recent invention. Many once-new technologies have become essential elements of any well-stocked kitchen—mortars and pestles, serrated knives, stainless steel pots, refrigerators. Others have proved only passing fancies, or were supplanted by better technologies; one would be hard pressed now to find a water-powered egg whisk, a magnet-operated spit roaster, a cider owl, or a turnspit dog. Although many tools have disappeared from the modern kitchen, they have left us with traditions, tastes, and even physical characteristics that we would never have possessed otherwise.

Blending history, science, and anthropology, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be, and how their influence has shaped modern food culture. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths,Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.

A joy to read, from beginning to end. Recent developments in the world of vegetable peelers are nothing short of spectacular.

Front CoverAre you looking for a complete course in Serbian which takes you effortlessly from beginner to confident speaker? Whether you are starting from scratch, or are just out of practice, Complete Serbian will guarantee success!

Now fully updated to make your language learning experience fun and interactive. You can still rely on the benefits of a top language teacher and our years of teaching experience, but now with added learning features within the course and online.

The course is structured in thematic units and the emphasis is placed on communication, so that you effortlessly progress from introducing yourself and dealing with everyday situations, to using the phone and talking about work.

By the end of this course, you will be at Level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages: Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

Learn effortlessly with a new easy-to-read page design and interactive features: 

First tablet-based attempt at learning a new language is going well. Similar to Macedonian, but just enough to be frustrating.

Front Cover 
The prophetic landmark work exploring the corrosive effects of electronic media on a democratic society Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman's groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media--from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs--it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

Huxley was right, not Orwell. Big Brother doesn’t deny freedom, he just gives you so much mindless entertainment that you surrender it willingly.

Front Cover 
Tolstoy's last major work, the novel Resurrection, offers a probing critique of the social institutions and mores that resulted in so much injustice in the author's era. The protagonist, the well-born Dmitri Ivanovich Nekhlyudov, repents for contributing to the wrongful conviction and exile of an innocent chambermaid. In his quest to set things right, he finds out that virtually everything he has believed about the world around him has turned out to be untrue.

First Tolstoy, but definitely not my last (hat tip, Master P). That boy can write. Wish the hero hadn’t picked up the bible at the end, though.

Front CoverYou don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

Concise and insightful look at the creative process. Read it.

With this extended essay, economist and blogger Arnold Kling grapples with the problem of intelligent, well-meaning and decent people talking past each other on the critical issues of the day. How can this be? What is the solution?

Arnold Kling has a hypothesis, which he calls the 'Three-axis Model'. In his model, we each have a way we tend to think and communicate about issues. These ways have polarized along three different axes (I'll get to them in a moment). Just as right handed people use their right hand without thinking, we tend to think and communicate at our comfortable point in the spectrum of each axis. This serves to quickly validate our existing views, allow us to discard discordant information and reinforces us within our tribe of similar believers. Unfortunately, just as using the wrong hand is awkward and obviously wrong, these ways are so different from how people polarized on other axes think that it marks us for dismissal by their tribes, even as it reinforces them in their own.

The challenge then is, how do we step back from these dominant ways to thinking to see the world through the eyes of others and communicate with them on terms they would understand and recognize, rather than dismiss? How do you have a discussion that informs, rather than one that simply reinforces the existing polarization? Arnold Kling here outlines the beginnings of an answer.

To get to his answer, he starts by hypothesizing three polarized axes of thought:

oppressor/oppressed [naturally preferred by progressives]

civilization/barbarism [naturally preferred by conservatives]

freedom/coercion [naturally preferred by libertarians]

Interesting hypothesis from one of my favourite realists. Too long, though, even in the Single format. Could have been a blog post.


  1. Just ordered Steal Like an Artist for me and Consider the Fork for Cherry. Thanks

  2. You will enjoy the first couple of chapters as well. I very much liked learning about the "stuff and cut" method of eating back in the day.