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SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

Current Issue: October 2018, Issue #234

We're happy to announce that from Issue #230 onward our previous issues of SirReadaLot will be stored as pdf files.

Previous Issues:

Go to Chronological Review List for previous issues.

Guide to Contents this Page 

Arts & Photography / Computers & Internet

Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, 4th edition by Katrin Eismann, Wayne Palmer, & Dennis Dunbar (Voices That Matter: New Riders, Pearson)

Arts & Photography / Filmmakers / Animation / Biographies & Memoirs

Hayao Miyazaki: Exploring the Early Work of Japan's Greatest Animator (Animation: Key Films/Filmmakers) by Raz Greenberg, with Series Editor Chris Pallant (Bloomsbury Academic)

Arts & Photography / Religion & Spirituality / Crafts & Hobbies

Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers: Secrets of Harmonic Creation by John Oscar Lieben (Inner Traditions)

Business & Economics

Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi by James Freeman & Vern McKinley (HarperBusiness)

Business & Economics / Management / Computers & Internet

Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business by Sunil Gupta (Harvard Business Review Press)

Children’s Books / Ages 10-17 / Reading Level: Grades 3-4

Tangled Up, Library Binding by Shannon Layne (Beverly Hills Prep Series: Epic Press, ABDO Publishing)

Children’s Books / Grades 5-8 / Reading level: Grade 5

Frankenstein, Library Binding by Kenny Abdo (Hollywood Monsters Series: Bolt!, ABDO Zoom)

Children’s Books / Grades 6-12 / Reading level: Grade 8

The Future of Work in America, Library Binding by Duchess Harris, with Kari A. Cornell (Class in America Series: Essential Library, ABDO Publishing)

Children’s Books / Grades 2-5 / Reading Level: Grade 4

Iron Man: Invasion of the Space Phantoms, Library Binding by Steve Behling, illustrated by Khoi Pham & Chris Sotomayor (Mighty Marvel Chapter Books: Marvel Press & Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Cooking, Food & Wine / Portugal / Travel

Porto: Stories from Portugal’s Historic Bolhão Market by Gabriella Opaz and Sonia Andresson Nolasco, with photography by Ryan Opaz and a foreword by José Avillez (Surry Books, Agate)

Crafts & Hobbies / Antiques / Needlework / Tools

Antique American Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronningen (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

History / Ethnicity / Jewish / Orthodox / Feminism / Memoirs

Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture by Karen E. H. Skinazi (Rutgers University Press)

Philosophy / Popular Culture / TV & Film

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy: A Dangerous Dimension to Visit edited by Heather L. Rivera & Alexander E. Hooke (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

Politics / Current Events

The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement edited by David S. Meyer & Sidney Tarrow, with an afterword by Jacob S. Hacker (Oxford University Press)

Religion & Spirituality / Buddhism

The Complete Foundation: The Systematic Approach to Training the Mind by The Dalai Lama, translated by Thupten Jinpa (Core Teachings of Dalai Lama Series: Shambhala)

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History

Give Love and Receive the Kingdom: Essential People and Themes of English Spirituality by Benedicta Ward SLG (Paraclete Press)

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah by Aelred of Rievaulx, translated by Lewis White, with an introduction by Marsha L. Dutton (Cistercian Fathers: Cistercian Publications)

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Early / Textbooks

Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction by Mitzi J. Smith & Yung Suk Kim, with a foreword by Michael Willett Newheart (Cascade Books)

 

Reviews

Arts & Photography / Computers & Internet

Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, 4th edition by Katrin Eismann, Wayne Palmer, & Dennis Dunbar (Voices That Matter: New Riders, Pearson)

Most people do not have a photographic memory – but they do have actual photographs that have frozen the time of their family and community history. These images are memory treasures, and they deserve to be cared for and shared with family and friends as prints, in email attachments, and on social media.

Currently, the most popular camera is the smart-phone, and the convenience of a phone camera to take and share pictures has changed the actual experience of photography for all of us. Of course there is no film in a phone, but that does not mean that film is dead. While the essence, the meaning of the film image is not dead, the actual medium is dying a slow death as it fades, degrades, and is eaten by pests.

Professional photographers as well as family shutterbugs should not miss the long-awaited 4th edition of the classic Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching.

Katrin Eismann and co-authors Wayne Palmer and Dennis Dunbar have reviewed, updated, and revised every single technique to address the most important features in Adobe Photoshop CC. They've also added three brand new chapters on how to photograph, scan, and process RAW files; how to apply the techniques taught in Photoshop Restoration & Retouching when using Photoshop Elements; and how to retouch and enhance still life, product, and real estate shots.

Katrin Eismann, the founder and chair of the Masters in Digital Photography department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005 Eismann was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame. Wayne Palmer teaches Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and digital photography in the continuing education department of the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Dennis Dunbar teaches workshops around the world, sharing professional strategies and insights into retouching and compositing that are accessible to both beginners and advanced users.

Using clear, step-by-step instructions and professional examples, the authors present powerful tools and techniques photographers, designers, restoration studios, and beauty retouchers can use to restore valuable antique images, retouch portraits and product shots, and enhance glamour photography. Readers master today's best ways to:

  • Correct extreme exposure errors and improve color, contrast, and tone.
  • Rescue heirloom originals suffering from mold damage, cracks, and torn edges.
  • Replace missing image information.
  • Remove dust and scratches quickly and easily.
  • Transform old photos into beautiful, original works of art by converting them to black-and-white or tinted images.
  • Use sharpening techniques and tonal correction tools to add life and sparkle to digital photos.
  • Enhance portraits by removing blemishes, reducing wrinkles, and enhancing eyes, lips, and hair, while maintaining the subject's essential character.
  • Apply the secrets of top glamour and beauty industry retouchers to perfect skin, make-up, and hair.

Photoshop Restoration & Retouching is right for readers if they love images or work with photographs as dedicated amateurs or full-time professionals. They may be historians, photographers, librarians, teachers, multimedia artists, designers, artists, or grandparents who wants to share the best photos with the rest of the family. This book addresses salvaging historical images and righting the contemporary image that has gone wrong: the missed exposures, the poor color balance, the busy and distracting background, or the inevitable wrinkle, pimple, or extra pounds that just drive them crazy every time readers look at that photo.

Photoshop Restoration & Retouching is not an introductory book. To get the most out of it, readers should be comfortable with the fundamentals of Photoshop, know where the tools are and what they do, and be familiar with common tasks, such as how to activate a layer or save a selection.

Photoshop Restoration & Retouching is divided into three primary areas:

  • Improving tone, contrast, exposure, and color.
  • Removing dust and mold, and repairing damage.
  • Professional portrait, beauty, and product retouching.

In fact, the book is structured in the same way readers should work with their images, starting with a brief overview of Photoshop essentials, file organization, and the tools a retoucher needs. It then works through tonal and color correction (the first things to focus on when retouching an image), followed by chapters on dust and damage removal; portrait, product and architectural retouching; and the tech­niques professional retouchers use in the fashion and glamour business.

Each chapter starts with a brief overview of what will be covered in the chapter and a straightforward example that leads to more advanced examples. The teaching and chapter structure serve the purpose of building up the tools and techniques, and the introductory examples serve as the foundation for the advanced examples. Similarly, the chapters on tonal and color correction serve as the foundation for the portrait and beauty retouching chapters.

Reader comments on the previous editions

Just had to drop you a note to tell you how much I love your restoration and retouching book. It's intelligently organized; clear and enlightening, and seasoned with just the right amount of artistic philosophy and sensitivity. I bought it to guide me through a project I've embarked on – scanning thousands of family negs and slides using a film scanner – and it's been a superb resource. – Jim Heid, Senior Content Manager, Lynda.com-at Linkedln

Question: Can you recommend a book that assumes I'm smart and will quickly get me up to speed?

Answer: That's easy: Adobe Photoshop Restoration & Retouching (3rd edition) by Katrin Eismann and Wayne Palmer takes a refreshing grown-up approach. – Popular Photography Magazine

With new example images, illustrations, and techniques throughout, Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, 4th edition will help readers transform faded, damaged photographs into beautiful images that are as clear and crisp as the day they were taken (maybe even better) – and turn casual snapshots and studio portraits into the most flattering images possible.  <> 

 

 

Arts & Photography / Filmmakers / Animation / Biographies & Memoirs

Hayao Miyazaki: Exploring the Early Work of Japan's Greatest Animator (Animation: Key Films/Filmmakers) by Raz Greenberg, with Series Editor Chris Pallant (Bloomsbury Academic)

Hayao Miyazaki's career in animation has made him famous as not only the greatest director of animated features in Japan, the man behind such classics as My Neighbour Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001), but also as one of the most influential animators in the world, providing inspiration for animators in Disney, Pixar, Aardman, and other leading studios.

However, the animated features directed by Miyazaki represent only a portion of his 50-year career. Hayao Miyazaki by Raz Greenberg examines his earliest projects in detail, alongside the works of both Japanese and non-Japanese animators and comics artists that Miyazaki encountered throughout his early career, demonstrating how they all contributed to the familiar elements that made Miyazaki's own films respected and admired among both the Japanese and the global audience.

Greenberg is a teaching fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

As Greenberg says in the preface to Hayao Miyazaki, when animated shows that adapted classic children's literature appeared on Israeli television screens featuring a design style that was somewhat similar to that of Heart, their viewers became vaguely aware that these shows were produced in Japan. Indeed, throughout the 1980s, it was the main exposure (alongside very few science-fiction shows) of his generation to Japanese animation. What they did not realize, at the time, was just how significant these shows were – how, despite adapting western literature, they very much reflected Japanese culture – and, above all, the fact that the production of Heart employed the services of a man who at the time was already one of Japan's most acclaimed animators, and who would go on to win an Academy Award in 2003 for his film Spirited Away: Hayao Miyazaki.

For Greenberg, this realization came toward the end of the previous millennium, when his interest in comics led him to the discovery of manga (Japanese comics) and anime (Japanese animation), leading him to major in Japanese during his BA studies. It was during that time that he read and fell in love with Miyazaki's manga masterpiece Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, shortly before being awed by his epic historical fantasy film Princess Mononoke. He became a fan of Miyazaki's works and, as he dug deeper into his filmography, he discovered that, along with his longtime partner Isao Takahata, he was indeed one of the people behind Heart – or 3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother, as the show was known in Japan upon its broadcast in 1976. The design similarities between the show and Miyazaki's later acclaimed works were strong, but as he watched and read more of these works, which led him to write his MA thesis about Miyazaki, he understood that the connection goes deeper into the thematic foundations upon which Miyazaki rose to his prestigious position as Japan's leading animator.

3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother is discussed in the second chapter of Hayao Miyazaki. Like the other chapters, it examines an important stage in Miyazaki's early career, showing how it inspired his later acclaimed works. But there is more to Miyazaki's early career than mere hints of his future acclaimed works. Two stories – Miyazaki's rise to prominence and the Japanese animation industry's rise to the same position – are inseparable; each completes the other in showing the richness of styles, narratives, and themes that dominate both Miyazaki's works and the industry as a whole, and this richness strongly echoes throughout the chapters that comprise Hayao Miyazaki.

The first chapter, "From Fan to Professional;" offers a brief examination of Miyazaki's early life before moving on to analyze the many works he was involved with in Töei, the first animation studio that employed his talents, and the first big animation studio to emerge in post-war Japan. It is no coincidence that Miyazaki found his first job in Töei and worked on the studio's projects for almost a decade; he fell in love with animation after watching the studio's debut feature-length animated film, Panda and the Magic Serpent.

The second chapter, "Tall Mountains and Green Gables;" examines Miyazaki's role in the animated adaptations of classic children's literature. It is here that Miyazaki, assisted by other former Töei employees, as well as new colleagues, began practicing a new form of storytelling: unlike the rollicking adventure yarns that dominated the Töei productions, the literary adaptations were a slower affair, following the everyday lives of their young protagonists.

The third chapter of Hayao Miyazaki, "Our Man, Lupin," focuses on Miyazaki's first significant directorial job on the animated series Lupin the Third. This series, adapted from a successful manga, represented a first for both Miyazaki and Takahata, and the anime industry as a whole: it was the first Japanese animated television series that attempted to appeal to an adult audience, and it featured elements that were new to both Miyazaki's and Takahata's work up to that point: not only a modern setting filled with vehicles and firearms, but also over the top violence and more than a hint of often humorous sexual innuendo, alongside something of an antisocial atmosphere.

The fourth chapter, "To the Valley Below;" offers a study of the creation of Miyazaki's biggest non-animated project – the epic manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The chapter explores the many stylistic and literary influences behind the drawing of the series, from classic mythology and Japanese folktales, through works of European comics and animation to American science fiction literature and cinema.

The fifth chapter, "Bringing it All Together: Studio Ghibli;" explores the beginning of Miyazaki's directorial career in his own studio, showing how the early films he made in this studio are in many ways rooted in the projects he worked on in the two previous decades. The chapter demonstrates how Miyazaki's career as a feature-film director was built on the solid foundations of his earlier career as an animator in the early decades of Japan's post-war animation industry.

The sixth and final chapter, "Growing Up in an Uncertain Present;" is devoted to Miyazaki's films between the beginning of the 1990s and the conclusion of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Ironically, the films produced during this era have gained unprecedented financial and critical success, even though most of them portray a dark vision of Japan as a country that cannot find a proper path, a vision that is very dominant in both Miyazaki's acclaimed Academy Award winner Spirited Away and his final film, The Wind Rises.

Many creative elements, as the chapters in Hayao Miyazaki show, repeated themselves and evolved as Miyazaki's career progressed, but one element is perhaps the most prominent: from the very beginning of his career Miyazaki has brought together narratives and styles from his own country's culture and from foreign cultures; Japanese folk tales and literature inspired him as did foreign children's literature and comics. The puzzlement that many people in Israel felt about Heart being a Japanese production telling the story of an Italian boy in South America is actually the greatest strength behind Miyazaki's work: it is undoubtedly very Japanese but at the same time very cosmopolitan. Miyazaki is an expert in recognizing the best storytelling elements from each culture he encounters, bringing these elements together to create a strong cross-cultural appeal.

The passionate strength of this book is that it presents a concise survey of the formative development of Japan's most renowned animation director, Hayao Miyazaki. What were the sources of his inspirations, how may we connect the associations and allusions of his creative output? Raz Greenberg gives us a one-stop coverage of the director's career denoting the multi-faceted influences of his collective works. – Tze-yue G. Hu, Independent Educator and Author of Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building and Co-Author of Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives
Raz Greenberg has produced a charming, thorough and accessible book, useful for anime aficionados, film students and the general reader. His overview of early works and exploration of influences is detailed, and the footnotes and bibliography open the door to further exploration. Most importantly, Greenberg anchors this erudite, curious and passionate creative powerhouse in the framework of world culture that informs and inspires his works as fully as his environmental activism, political views and profound love for the community in which he has lived and worked for eight decades. – Helen McCarthy, independent scholar and author of A Brief History of Manga: The Essential Pocket Guide to the Japanese Pop Culture Phenomenon

Although several books and many articles have been written about Miyazaki in English, Hayao Miyazaki, accessible and detailed, is the first that offers deep examination of his early career in film and television, alongside works of film, television, and literature that inspired him, shaping his style and themes.

Arts & Photography / Religion & Spirituality / Crafts & Hobbies

Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers: Secrets of Harmonic Creation by John Oscar Lieben (Inner Traditions)

We are in the midst of a revival of an ancient way of looking at the world – an approach that enabled great civilizations of the past to bring forth inventions of great beauty and power. This school of thought – harmonics – envisioned the natural world and the solar system as an interlocking matrix of harmonious numbers, perfectly woven into the creative fabric of life and the surrounding universe.
Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers is an illustrated guide to harmonics – the sacred geometry principles that underlie the natural world – and its practical applications.

The book:

  • Demonstrates how the vesica piscis is a matrix from which ideas and forms emanate, connecting cosmic time cycles, measures of space, and musical tones.
  • Provides harmonic analyses of ancient sculpture, architecture, the solar system, the Earth-Moon relationship, and the structure of water and waves.
  • Explains how to apply sacred geometry to create building floor plans, pottery figures, gardens, and sacred ceremonial spaces.

Exploring the art and science of harmonics, John Oscar Lieben in Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers shows how to create harmonious forms using the ancient tools of number, geometry, and musical tone – an approach that resonates with nature’s own ways of creation.

Lieben, a designer and builder of gardens and ceremonial spaces proportioned by sacred geometry, is a geometer who has researched sacred geometry and harmonics for over 25 years.

He demonstrates practical applications that result from the study of harmonics, providing analyses of ancient sculpture and architecture, as well as original examples of building floor plans, pottery figures based on planetary proportions, gardens based on harmonic principles, and ceremonial spaces that honor cosmic harmonies and sacred geometric relationships.
Showing how harmonics can also be applied to the mysteries of time and space, Lieben in Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers demonstrates how the vesica piscis and many other variations of the vesica shape reveal numerical synchronicities and correspondences that connect cosmic time cycles, measures of space, and musical tones. He applies harmonics and the ‘vesica construction’ matrix to illustrate many of nature’s wonders, including the Earth-Moon relationship, the interactions of the Golden Number and the musical scale, and how the Flower of Life symbol connects the universal field with the pattern of raindrops falling on a pond.

John Oscar Lieben has developed a simple framework with which to view the whole world of geometric formation and proportion. His visual language maintains wholeness while giving detailed examples in architecture, musical proportion, the human form, cosmic time, and the elements. This art and craft can form sacred images which, like traditional mandalas and yantras, find a balanced order in the world. – Richard Heath, author of The Harmonic Origins of the World
From a drop of water to the expanse of the solar system and beyond, this book reveals an unseen harmony pervading the natural world.
– Mark Vidler and Catherine Young, authors of Sacred Geometry of the Earth

Offering an approach to sacred geometry that pairs the mystical with the practical, the cosmic with the earthly, Lieben in Sacred Geometry for Artists, Dreamers, and Philosophers reveals how the art and science of harmonics should be required study for both the artist and the seeker of eternal truths as well as the scientist who seeks an entrance into the sacred foundations of nature.  <> 

Business & Economics

Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi by James Freeman & Vern McKinley (HarperBusiness)

 In the portfolio of 'Too Big to Fail' institutions kept afloat by government bailouts in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the global behemoth Citigroup is a stand out – and not necessarily in a good way.

Borrowed Time is the alarming, untold story of Citigroup – one of the largest financial institutions in the world – from its founding in 1812 to its role in the 2008 financial crisis, and the many near-death experiences in between.

During the 2008 financial crisis, people were told that Citi was a victim of events beyond its control – the larger financial panic, unforeseen economic disruptions and a perfect storm of credit expansion and private greed. To save the economy and keep the bank afloat, the government provided huge infusions of cash through multiple bailouts that frustrated and angered the American public.

But, as Wall Street Journal writer James Freeman and financial expert Vern McKinley reveal, the 2008 crisis was just one of many disasters Citi has experienced since its founding more than two hundred years ago. In Borrowed Time they reveal Citi’s disturbing history of instability and government support.

James Freeman, assistant editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, was previously an investor advocate at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Vern McKinley has advised governments in over 30 countries, many of which were experiencing financial crises at the time. Prior to his consulting career he worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Resolution Trust Corporation and the Department of the Treasury's Office of Thrift Supervision.

Citi has long been tied to the federal government in a relationship that has benefited both. From its earliest years, its well-connected leadership – most of its initial stockholders had owned stock in the Bank of the United States – took massive risks that led to crisis. But thanks to a rescue by private investors, including John Jacob Astor, the bank survived throughout the nineteenth century.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The scale of the financial panic of 2008 was hardly unprecedented. As Borrowed Time shows, crisis and outright disasters have been surprisingly common during the century of government-protected banking – especially at Citi.

Forget about whether Citigroup was ever too big to fail, all I know is this incredible book was too good to ever put down! Bank on it! Talk about a wild financial ride, and all on our dime. Because if James Freeman and Vern McKinley are right, the ride isn't over, and neither are we! Read it with an open mind... and a closed wallet. – Neil Cavuto, Anchor, Fox News and Fox Business

A relentless expose of the 200-year-old banking enterprise. – Kirkus

This is the first book to focus on Citigroup's handling of the 2008 financial crisis, and readers looking for new insight on the Great Recession will find much here. – Publishers Weekly

This engagingly written book stands Wall Street conventional wisdom on its head. – Charles Calomiris, Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions, Columbia Business School

This book convincingly shows – through fascinating investigative reporting of 200 years of history – how connections between government and Citi grew closer over time and became the ultimate cause of bailouts, detested by so many Americans, and even of the market conditions that led to the financial crisis. – John Taylor, Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University
At the next banking crisis, Citi likely will be there, once again. Borrowed Time explains why. – Bartly Dzivi, Special Counsel, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
If you think the 200-year history of an American bank sounds dry, think again. Borrowed Time is a highly entertaining and informative run through a long list of the crises faced by Citibank. – The Financial Times

As we face new uncertainty on Wall Street and in Washington, Borrowed Time is a well-timed and incisive look at the roots of the 'Too Big to Fail' mindset and its consequences. It is a story that neither Citi nor Washington wants told.  <> 

Business & Economics / Management / Computers & Internet

Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business by Sunil Gupta (Harvard Business Review Press)

Digital transformation is no longer news – it's a necessity.

Despite the widespread threat of disruption, many large companies in traditional industries have succeeded at digitizing their businesses in transformative ways.

The New York Times, formerly a bastion of traditional media, has created a thriving digital product behind a carefully designed paywall. Best Buy has transformed its business in the face of Amazon's threat. In Driving Digital Strategy, Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta provides an actionable framework for following their lead.

Gupta is the Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Cochair of the Executive Program on Driving Digital Strategy.

For over a decade, Gupta has studied digital transformation at Fortune 500 companies. He knows what works and what doesn't. Merely dabbling in digital or launching a small independent unit, which many companies do, will not bring success. Instead, says Gupta, readers need to fundamentally change the core of their business and ensure that their digital strategy touches all aspects of their organization: their business model, value chain, customer relationships, and company culture. Gupta covers each aspect in detail while providing navigation tips and best practices along the way.

In Driving Digital Strategy Gupta provides a rich set of case studies and a compelling framework that encourages companies to reexamine four fundamental aspects of their business to thrive in the digital era:

  • Business strategy – Companies, such as Amazon, are rewriting the rules of business strategy. Industry boundaries are getting blurred and competitive advantage no longer comes from low cost or product differentiation.
  • Value chain – Open innovation has dramatically changed the research and development process and Gupta details why and when it works – and when it does not.
  • Customers – Digital technology has changed the way consumers search for information and buy products. The challenge is that every brand wants to engage consumers in this cluttered environment and Gupta reveals that the answer lies not in technology but in finding new ways to provide unique value to consumers.
  • Organization – Designing an organization structure for innovation is critical and often firms make the wrong choice. Talent management needs to be rethought as data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are automating tasks and having a significant impact on jobs and the skills and capabilities that companies will need. Gupta identifies how to strengthen the core business and build for the future at the same time.

Sunil Gupta provides a strong point of view, a powerful framework, and a plethora of compelling examples to help think through how to compete in the digital age. This is a very stimulating and highly relevant read for anyone leading an organization seeking to thrive in this high-beta environment. – Hubert Joly, Chairman and CEO, Best Buy
Sunil Gupta reminds us that companies need to develop a digital mindset that must be expressed in every facet of their organizations. Driving Digital Strategy is a master class in strategy and actionable insights. – Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard
Navigating digital disruption is a key strategic issue that is front and center in every boardroom and for every executive team. Understanding how to drive a compelling strategy and create the digital DNA to delight customers is an art, and Gupta's book is a must-read guide for any company or executive who wants to make digital a tailwind. – Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO, Adobe
Sunil Gupta has thought deeply about transforming businesses through technology, spoken to innovators across industries, and synthesized his findings in a way that's both compelling and understandable. This book provides much to consider for businesses of all stripes in today's digital age. – R. Martin Chavez, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Goldman Sachs

Sunil Gupta offers sage advice and the experience of moving beyond digital initiatives to a full-on digital business. As machine learning and other technologies continue to evolve, this book is a timely resource for any leader who wants to be relevant in the next decade. – David Kenny, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson and IBM Cloud

Essential reading for anyone looking to reinvent a business, with Driving Digital Strategy Gupta shows how companies can mitigate the threats and leverage the opportunities in the digital era. Filled with rich and illuminating case studies of companies at the forefront of digital transformation, it is the comprehensive guide readers need to take full advantage of the limitless opportunities the digital age provides.  <> 

Children’s Books / Ages 10-17 / Reading Level: Grades 3-4

Tangled Up, Library Binding by Shannon Layne (Beverly Hills Prep Series: Epic Press, ABDO Publishing)

In Tangled Up Margot is a junior at Beverly Hills Prep, on a partial scholarship since her parents' divorce. She finds herself entangled with a group of girls who sell designer handbags to their classmates at a highly discounted rate. Eventually Margot ends up in trouble. Her grades are dropping, and with her dad seeing someone new, everything is falling apart. Can she figure things out with her family – and with school – or will she have to start over?

Tangled Up is book #5 of the Beverly Hills Prep Series, an EPIC Press series, a division of ABDO.

The setting for the series, Beverly Hills Preparatory Academy, is an all-girls prep school, and an illustrious establishment of learning – with more than a few secrets hidden behind the ivy-covered walls. The wealthy and powerful send their daughters here for a world-class education, but books and classrooms are just the beginning. Beverly Hills Prep is a world of power and prestige without limit, where anything can happen. From freshman year until graduation, here is where the girls of the world's future learn what they're capable of – and, once and for all, who they're meant to become.

Titles in the Beverly Hills Prep Series include:

  • If I Fall #1
  • Beneath the Surface #2
  • Lighter Than Air #3
  • Shattered Glass #4
  • Tangled Up #5
  • Royalty #6

The books in the Beverly Hills Prep Series are aligned to common core and correlated to state standards.  <> 

Children’s Books / Grades 5-8 / Reading level: Grade 5

Frankenstein, Library Binding by Kenny Abdo (Hollywood Monsters Series: Bolt!, ABDO Zoom)

Frankenstein focuses on Frankenstein and gives information related to his origin, Hollywood influence, and the legacy he left behind. The title is complete with beautiful, colorful photographs and simple text.

Frankenstein is part of the Hollywood Monsters Series.

These are books so good they're scary! These carefully crafted graphic novels bring the legendary monsters from literature and film to life. Readers should be prepared for a frightening thrill ride with every turn of the page.

Set 1 in the Hollywood Monsters Series includes:

  • The Creature from the Depths
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  • Frankenstein
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Mummy
  • Werewolf

Easy to follow text and colorful pictures bring these chilling tales to life.... A great deal of thought went into what text to include to develop the main plot points. Best for middle grades, but high school students who are fans of graphic versions or struggling with the story will find these options appealing. Teachers looking to introduce these stories or reinforce the plot points in each will welcome these titles. Recommended. – Library Media Connection

Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards, Bolt! is an imprint of Abdo Zoom, a division of ABDO. There are two other sets in the Hollywood Monsters series. Specifications include full-color illustrations, table of contents, glossary, an author biography and free online resources.  <> 

Children’s Books / Grades 6-12 / Reading level: Grade 8

The Future of Work in America, Library Binding by Duchess Harris, with Kari A. Cornell (Class in America Series: Essential Library, ABDO Publishing)

The Future of Work in America examines how automation is changing the workforce in the United States as we know it, predicting a continuous decline in manufacturing jobs and an increase in the field of technology.

Chapters in The Future of Work in America include:

  1. The Future World of Work
  2. Early Work in the United States
  3. Technology and Globalization
  4. The Rise of the Service Industry
  5. The Gig Economy
  6. Workforce Trends
  7. Class and the Workforce
  8. The Future

Authors of the book are Duchess Harris, JD, PhD and Kari A. Cornell. Professor Harris is the chair of the American Studies Department at Macalester College and curator of the Duchess Harris Collection of ABDO books. Before working with ABDO, she served as an associate editor for Litigation News, the American Bar Association Section of Litigation's quarterly flagship publication, and was the first editor in chief of Law Raza. Cornell is a freelance writer and editor.

The Future of Work in America is part of the Class in America Series.

In these books discussions of social and economic class have taken center stage in the modern American political landscape. Activists chant about the greed of the people they describe as ‘the one percent.’ Middle-class workers face industries changing rapidly due to off-shoring and automation. The poorest people struggle for survival every day. With these realities, some are questioning the possibility of the conventional American dream – the belief that with hard work, Americans of any class can achieve anything.

Other books in the Class in America Series include:

  • The American Middle Class
  • Being Poor in America
  • Class and Education
  • Class and Race
  • Class Mobility
  • The Future of Work in America
  • The Health-Care Divide
  • The One Percent

Specifications include historical and full-color images, a glossary and an index.

Features include frequent subheads; sidebars; discussion starter critical thinking questions; essential facts; source notes; diagrams, maps, charts; additional resources, including further readings online resources, organizations to contact for more information; and free online resources. The books in this series are aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.  <> 

Children’s Books / Grades 2-5 / Reading Level: Grade 4

Iron Man: Invasion of the Space Phantoms, Library Binding by Steve Behling, illustrated by Khoi Pham & Chris Sotomayor (Mighty Marvel Chapter Books: Marvel Press & Spotlight, ABDO Publishing)

Whether running Stark Industries or suited up as Iron Man, Tony Stark has dedicated his life to making sure his technologies do not harm others. When two Avengers go missing while looking into one of his inventions, Tony's rescue mission goes awry as he faces mutating dogs, robotic sharks, and shape-shifting monsters from another dimension. Along the way, he realizes he needs help from his fellow Avengers. But will they arrive in time?

Author Steve Behling is passionate about telling stories for kids. As associate creative director for Marvel Entertainment and Comics Director/Executive Editor for Disney Publishing Worldwide, he has worked with incredible brands like Spider-Man, The Avengers, Phineas and Ferb and Disney/Pixar properties too numerous to name.

Iron Man is part of the Mighty Marvel Chapter Books.

This series features readers’ favorite Marvel superheroes in all-new, cutting-edge chapter books. They have just the right amount of action in the story to keep even the most discouraged reader interested. The stories feature full-color images and character dialogue on select pages, similar to a comic book.

This is the 2nd set in the series. Other books in the 2019 Mighty Marvel Chapter Books include:

  • Avengers: Ms. Marvel's Fists of Fury
  • Black Panther: The Battle for Wakanda
  • Doctor Strange: Mystery of the Dark Magic
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Gamora's Galactic Showdown
  • Iron Man: Invasion of the Space Phantoms

The books are aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Spotlight is a division of ABDO.  <> 

Cooking, Food & Wine / Portugal / Travel

Porto: Stories from Portugal’s Historic Bolhão Market by Gabriella Opaz and Sonia Andresson Nolasco, with photography by Ryan Opaz and a foreword by José Avillez (Surry Books, Agate)

Portugal is in the midst of a tourism boom, and while its most popular city is still Lisbon, Porto captures all the reasons why CNN Money recently noted that the northern city of Porto "is giving the capital a run for its money as the place to go for a unique blend of history, balmy weather, culture, cooking, and nightlife."

Bolhão Market’s century-old walls are crumbling as its vendors and visitors wait for the restoration that will return it to its former glory. Though the deteriorating conditions have forced many vendors to leave, there are fishwives still singing their seductive pregão, bakers still hawking crusty broa baked in wood burning ovens, and butchers still offering up favos de mel for the city’s signature tripe stew. Bolhão still pulses with knowledge earned over generations and the rich culinary heritage of the region.
Porto: Stories from Portugal’s Historic Bolhão Market is about those vendors who remain, and their stories are for those who want to know what to do, see, and eat when they visit the North. Porto, nestled between the sea and the esteemed Douro Valley, is the heart of one of Europe’s premier – though often overlooked – food destinations. The people of Bolhão embody the spirit and tradition of this enchanting city.

Author Gabriella Opaz is an award-winning speaker, writer, and consultant on storytelling and communication. Co-founder and co-owner of Catavino, she contributes to Wine & Spirits Magazine. Co-author Sonia Andresson Nolasco is a journalist, editor, and publicist who primarily works to promote Portugal. She resigned as a public relations director in Manhattan to join Catavino in Porto. Photographer Ryan Opaz is a photographer and knight of the Port Wine Brotherhood who has worked as a chef, butcher, art teacher, public speaker, and wine writer.

Two of the most prominent and awarded Portuguese chefs – Jose Avillez, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Belcanto in Lisbon, and Rui Paula, co-owner of Michelin-starred Casa de Cha da Boa Nova in Porto – have given Porto their seal of approval, contributing the Foreword and Afterword, respectively.

Told through the stories of the vendors and artisan food producers of Bolhao, Porto captures the generations' old culinary traditions of Northern Portugal. Far from a typical culinary tome or collection of trendy recipes, Porto is a book about people, lives, dreams, and desires. It's a book about identity and culture, a journey through Bolhao Market, a discovery of local flavors and life stories.

Porto takes readers on a trip of discovery through the delectable nooks and crannies of the cuisine of the North. Readers hear a piercing cry for the preservation of this ancient culture and the nourishing traditions that enrich the essence of the Portuguese.

Porto is undoubtedly a love letter to readers that are passionate about gastronomy, storytelling, history, and culture. It's for all of those who wish to feel and discover the spirit of the Nortenha (Northern) culinary identity.

More culinary guide than cookbook, [Porto] ... focuses on the edible history of the region, separated into chapters focusing on Portuguese staples: seafood, cured meats, produce and everything you’ll want to want to eat on your visit. – The Globe and the Mail
This book is a visual and gustatory hymn to the honest, simple foods of Northern Portugal as well as a portrait of the proud and welcoming vendors of Bolhão Market who sell and cook it. Flipping through its pages, I felt a tremendous sense of
saudades – an indescribable longing – for my adopted country. – David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table and Notes on a Banana
This book is a wonderful culinary journey through the history of Bolhão Market, the city of Porto, and the little-known wonderful recipes of Northern Portugal. An exploration and delicious education rolled into one, this book is a must have and deserves to be part of one’s Portuguese culinary library. It certainly will be part of mine
. – Ana Patuleia Ortins, author of Portuguese Homestyle Cooking and Authentic Portuguese Cooking

Porto is a photo-rich mix of stories, history, cultural anthropology, and recipes, making it a must-read for anyone who plans to join the 11.7 million other visitors expected to explore Portugal this year. Readers discover the culinary heart of Northern Portugal through the stories, food, and history of Bolhão with Porto. By documenting these stories, authors Opaz and Nolasco have created an essential travel guide for anyone planning to visit Portugal and eat authentically – and well – while there.  <> 

Crafts & Hobbies / Antiques / Needlework / Tools

Antique American Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronningen (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)

Featuring exquisite examples from museums and private collections, including many rare items, Antique American Needlework Tools explains and illustrates the history and beauty of American sewing tools.

Author Dawn Cook Ronningen is a historian and collector of hand sewing and embroidery tools. She conducts research and shares her tool collection in lectures and classes focusing on historic techniques and designs.

Exhaustively researched, Antique American Needlework Tools is the first publication to focus on the topic and shares the story of the American industries, innovations, and uses related to hand sewing and embroidery tools. Insights spring from well-documented primary sources like eighteenth-century American newspaper advertisements or a twentieth-century thimble patent. The book offers historical background, detailed descriptions, and photographs of needles and threads, bodkins and awls, chatelaines, hoops, and lucets. The strong link between women's history and needlework tools is captured as well. Many one-of-a-kind handmade examples represent American subcultures and regional tastes.

With more than 750 color photographs, Antique American Needlework Tools is a resource for historians, scholars, collectors, and embroidery and sewing enthusiasts.

Ronningen says that as long as she can remember she has been fascinated by textiles, sewing, embroidery, and the needlework tools required to create such beauty. As she got older and took sewing in home economics classes she was fascinated with the textiles and tools. She enjoyed hand sewing and was confident enough to pack her hand sewing supplies and sew on the school bus.

In high school she frequented the library, where she found numerous books and magazines related to sewing and embroidery. She also expanded her personal library of needlework tool reference books, but always found a gap in the story of the American pieces in her collection. Therefore, information on the American pieces in her collection was found in pieces and bits from many sources. Her personal research and findings, specific to the American needlework tool story, became the basis of Antique American Needlework Tools. She visited museums and private collections as part of the research process. Utilizing primary resources including journals, US patents, antique books, and letters, the research in the book builds on existing information to document American needlework tools into a single volume.

The strong link between women's history and needlework tools is a fascinating part of the story. A young girl's future depended on a strong marriage. A young woman who could not use a needle was considered unmarriageable. An unmarried woman was a burden to her family.

To complete their needlework, women needed a source for their supplies. The availability of raw materials and entrepreneurialism in America were also drivers in the production of needlework tools. In many cases encouragement from the government to decrease dependence on foreign goods advanced the technology in sewing and embroidery just as it did for other industries.

Ivory and bone were readily available through the nineteenth century. The whaling and cattle industries provided ample raw materials for many needlework tools like bodkins, stilettos, clamps, crochet hooks, and knitting needles. By the beginning of the twentieth century whale baleen became scarce and its use was discontinued. At about this time changes in the cattle industry also impacted needlework tools. Cattle were being slaughtered at earlier ages, and the bones were not strong enough for tools. Cattle shin bones were imported from Argentina for use in American manufacturing. In the 1960s when plastics that imitated ivory and bone were readily available, those replaced the use of the real thing.

Metal deposits were always an attraction for explorers to North America, and were drivers in many of the needlework tools produced. The use of metal in needlework tools was almost always a preference due to its durability and appearance. Designers, inventors, and entrepreneurs looked around them for available raw materials. Most early American iron works extracted iron ore from bog iron deposits. The first American iron works was built in the seventeenth century at Falling Creek near Richmond, Virginia. Early operations were called iron plantations. Over time, the iron works' relocation closer to urban manufacturing areas and evolving technologies made the process more cost effective and efficient. Iron tools were stronger than bone but more expensive and could not be made at home.

Many sterling silver American needlework tools are found. The 1859 discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in Nevada boosted the interest in silver in America. The height of the silver craze was during the fifty-year period from 1870 to 1920. With the passing of the Coinage Act of 1873, increased global supplies of silver together with technological innovation caused silver prices to drop. The affordability of silver made it possible for American silversmiths to offer a wide array of silver sewing implements.

Design influences left their mark not only on architecture, furniture, and artworks, but also on needlework tools. For instance, during the Art Nouveau movement of 1890-1905, flatware lines sometimes included thimbles and sewing tools. The design influence extended beyond the flatware to those items.

Sections of Antique American Needlework Tools are devoted to: Needles and Thread (Needle Storage, Threaders, Emeries, Winders, Waxers, Thread Stands, and Boxes); Pins and Pin Storage (Papers, Boxes and Poppets, Folders, Discs, Cushions, and Balls); Thimbles and Thimble Holders; Bodkins, Awls, and Stilettos; Scissors and Cutting; Sewing Rolls, Reticules, Bags, and Waist Pockets; Sewing Sets (Chatelaines, Baskets, and Boxes); Clamps; Threadwork (Crochet, Tambour, Knitting Tatting and Cording); Hoops and Darning; Closures and Fasteners (Buttons, Snaps, Hooks, and Zippers); and Measuring, Marking, Patterns, and Templates.       

Exhaustively researched, Antique American Needlework Tools is an invaluable resource inviting readers to explore the story of American needlework tools and find a better understanding and perspective of what America contributed to the world of sewing and embroidery. A treasure trove explaining and illustrating the history and beauty of American sewing tools, this research may become the basis for deeper studies into the entrepreneurs and tool makers that help build the American needlework story.  <> 

 

 

History / Ethnicity / Jewish / Orthodox / Feminism / Memoirs

Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture by Karen E. H. Skinazi (Rutgers University Press)

Media portrayals of Orthodox Jewish women frequently depict powerless, silent individuals who are at best naive to live an Orthodox lifestyle, and who are at worst, coerced into it. Karen E. H. Skinazi delves beyond this stereotype in Women of Valor to identify a powerful tradition of feminist literary portrayals of Orthodox women, often created by Orthodox women themselves. She examines Orthodox women as they appear in memoirs, comics, novels, and movies, and speaks with the authors, filmmakers, and musicians who create these representations.

Skinazi is an academic practice advisor for the Higher Education Futures Institute at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Throughout the work, Skinazi threads lines from the poem “Eshes Chayil,” the Biblical description of an Orthodox ‘woman of valor.’ This proverb unites Orthodoxy and feminism in a complex relationship, where Orthodox women continuously question, challenge, and negotiate Orthodox and feminist values. Ultimately, these women create paths that unite their work, passions, and families under the framework of an “Eshes Chayil,” a woman who situates religious conviction within her own power.

The recognition of the importance of Orthodox women's paid work is a common theme in films by Orthodox women – but unfortunately (or not), men never see these films. In the final chapter of Women of Valor, "She Will Be Praised at the Gates by Her Very Own Deeds;" Skinazi investigates the idea of the Orthodox artist and the exclusive entertainment that Orthodox women generate and consume, films foremost among them. As readers see, there is a creative tension that ensues in the nexus of Orthodox women's artistic yearnings and a culture of gender segregation. This tension gives rise to a feminocentric cultural canon: films, stories, magazines (online and print), and music by and for women only. Although presumably constructed entirely apart from mainstream culture, these works often adopt and adapt popular genres and cultural productions for female Haredi audiences. In these works, then, readers might find a little orphan Annie who is a refugee from pogroms or Mary Poppins quoting Torah, direct from Stamford Hill. Here Skinazi extends the work of Yoel Finkelman, who argues that Haredim have a vested interest in creating kosher entertainment to prevent community members from being lured by the outside world.

The chapter concludes with a discussion of the history, music, and reception of the all-girl alt-rock indie Hasidic band, Bulletproof Stockings, and its derivative, PERL (the latter featured on the front cover of Women of Valor, illustrated by the Orthodox Jewish woman artist, Elke Reva Sudin). As in the secular world, Orthodox women's stories, in novels and on screen, fashion, develop, and sustain a community. It is a community that is primarily virtual: between the making and viewing of a film or the writing and reading of a book lies a temporal and spatial gap. Performances by bands like Bulletproof Stockings offer examples of Orthodox women's cultural productions that audiences encounter in a direct and unmediated fashion. Moving beyond the ‘imagined community’ of the literary and film industries, Bulletproof Stockings – bold, inspiring, engaged with women who are observant Jews (engaged with women of all kinds, in fact) – produced a radical vision of what Orthodox Jewish women can do. Skinazi argues that their concerts provided a revision of the Chabad-Lubavitch farbrengen, a traditional spiritual gathering of single-sex participants who come together, most famously at ‘770;’ Chabad's headquarters, to sing and dance and drink and celebrate. At the twenty-first-century concerts of Bulletproof Stockings, located at such legendary Manhattan venues as Arlene's Grocery or Webster Hall, these participants (Jewish and non-Jewish) coming for Hasidic-inspired music were all women. And through these Hasidic rockers, they united to form a modern, spiritually empowered sisterhood.

Throughout the works examined in Women of Valor is the desire to educate readers, viewers, and listeners; to revise misconceptions; and to explore the possibilities of the ‘woman of valor.’ Readers also find a great deal of ambivalence. For example, Deutsch's taglines indicate a number of positionings of the Orthodox girl. His second Hereville graphic novel, How Mirka Met a Meteorite, bears a tagline that, unlike the first, makes his heroine an exceptional rather than typical specimen of her culture: "Boldly Going Where No 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl Has Gone Before." His third tagline, for How Mirka Caught a Fish, returns to the representational while also reinstating this portrayal within her more expected sphere as caregiver: "Yet Another 11-Year-Old Time-Traveling Orthodox Jewish Babysitter." But it is precisely in this ambivalence that readers can see the richness of the woman of valor. Just as the eshes chayil in the song can be a woman of the home and a woman of a trade, so too can a modern Orthodox woman, even if the two lifestyles don't and can't always act in harmony. Today's narratives by and about Orthodox women are an engaging, at times provocative, counterargument to the mainstream media's picture of the Gitl of the twenty-first century. They are in constant battle with that picture, often manage to reinforce it, and have not emerged as the dominant image – or images.

Skinazi delivers a richly insightful, sensitive, and wide-ranging exploration of religious identity, women’s agency, and autonomy, providing genuinely illuminating perspectives on both the individual and the collective. – Ranen Omer-Sherman, JHFE Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Louisville

This fascinating and engaging book is a significant contribution to the study of contemporary Jewish literature and culture. – Wendy Zierler, Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies, Hebrew Union College

This wonderfully wise, sensitive and beautifully written study is a book I’ve been waiting for. Skinazi’s nuanced rendering of Orthodox Jewish women sees them at long last dodge their popular and academic stereotypes to appear as the agents and storytellers of their own lives. – Devorah Baum, author of Feeling Jewish: (A Book for Just about Anyone)

Women of Valor is eye-opening, energetic and intellectually adventurous. Drawing on a wide range of written, pictorial and cinematic sources, it brings to life a hitherto forgotten group of women. – Bryan Cheyette author of Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing and the Nightmare of History

Women of Valor provides a framework for studying religious women in liberal-democratic societies of the 21st century.  <> 

Philosophy / Popular Culture / TV & Film

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy: A Dangerous Dimension to Visit edited by Heather L. Rivera & Alexander E. Hooke (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

Signpost up ahead. You're about to enter another: dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of – mind. It's the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of human fears and the summit of human knowledge.

You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into ... philosophy!

In The Twilight Zone and Philosophy, philosophers probe into the meaning of the classic TV series, The Twilight Zone. In twenty-one chapters by professional thinkers who are also serious fans of The Twilight Zone, the implications and achievements of this perennial science-fiction favorite are exposed and analyzed. Some of the chapters look at single episodes of the show, while others analyze several or many episodes. Though acknowledging the spinoffs and reboots, the volume concentrates heavily on the classic 1959-1964 series.
Among the questions raised and answered are:

  • What’s the meaning of personal identity in The Twilight Zone? (“Number 12 Looks Just Like You,” “Person or Persons Unknown”).
  • As the distinction between person and machine becomes less clear, how do we handle our intimacy with machines? (A question posed in the very first episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Lonely”).
  • Why do our beliefs always become uncertain in The Twilight Zone? (“Where Is Everybody?”)
  • Just where is the Twilight Zone? (Sometimes it’s a supernatural realm but sometimes it’s the everyday world of reality.)
  • What does the background music of The Twilight Zone teach us about dreams and imagination?
  • Is it better to lose the war than to be damned? (“Still Valley”)
  • How far should we trust those benevolent aliens? (“To Serve Man”)
  • Where’s the harm in media addiction? (“Time Enough at Last”)
  • Is there something objective about beauty? (“The Eye of the Beholder”)
  • Have we already been conquered? (“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”)
  • Are there hidden costs to knowing more about other people? (“A Penny for Your Thoughts”)

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy is Volume 121 in the series, Popular Culture and Philosophy with Series Editor George A. Reisch. Editor Heather L. Rivera has written numerous philosophical articles and lectured at various academic institutions in the Fifth Dimension. Editor Alexander E. Hooke is professor of philosophy at Stevenson University.

Science fiction gets us thinking, but great science fiction gets us thinking deeply about all kinds of philosophical topics, and there really is no greater television series devoted to this genre than The Twilight Zone, as the authors of this wonderfully illuminating look make clear. – Robert Arp, author of Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving

Where do we turn when everyday life begins more and more to resemble an episode from The Twilight Zone? To philosophy, of course! It sharpens our wits and makes us nimble navigators of scary scenarios. It teaches us to question the obvious and lift the curtain on false versions of reality. Welcome to a wide-ranging exploration of a series that was well ahead of its time and remains very relevant to the challenges of the present moment. – Helen Buss Mitchell, author of Roots of Wisdom: A Tapestry of Philosophical Traditions

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy employs orthoslogos – right reason – to reveal the depths of one of the most heterodox – unusual, counter‑cultural – shows of all time. After reading this book, we may still not know what exactly the Twilight Zone is; but we will have a better sense about the nature of time, the existence of nonhuman rational beings, and to what extent robots can love, so that our efforts will have been amply rewarded. – Adam Barkman, author of C.S. Lewis and Philosophy as a Way of Life

Didididi, didididi... has become code throughout the world for the stomach-churning realization that the normal rules, the fashionable assumptions, the accepted theories, just aren't working any more. This is precisely where philosophy comes in. The capable and contrasted philosophers writing in this rich and entertaining volume have served us well ... or on second thoughts maybe I should rephrase that. – Ray Scott Percival, author of The Myth of the Closed Mind

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy takes readers into two different yet equally weird dimensions, The Twilight Zone ... and philosophy.  <> 

Politics / Current Events

The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement edited by David S. Meyer & Sidney Tarrow, with an afterword by Jacob S. Hacker (Oxford University Press)

Even before the 2016 presidential election took place, groups and individuals angry at Donald Trump, and frightened about what a Trump presidency could mean, were taking to the streets. After the election, and particularly after he inaugural, the protests continued. Over time, the Resistance was joined by a broad variety of groups and embraced an increasing diversity of tactics. In The Resistance, David S. Meyer and Sidney Tarrow have gathered together a cast of eminent scholars to tackle the emergence of a volatile and diverse movement directed against the Trump presidency.

Meyer is Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Planning, Policy, and Design, at the University of California, Irvine. Tarrow is the Emeritus Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government at Cornell University and an Adjunct Professor at the Cornell Law School. Tarrow has been visiting professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, the Central European University, the European University Institute, and the University of Trento. The book has 17 contributors.

Collectively, the contributors examine the origins and concerns of different factions of this movement, and evaluate their prospects for surviving and exercising political influence. Through a range of analytical and methodological approaches, The Resistance offers both an overview of the broad scope of the emerging movement and sharp analyses of the campaign as it works through the numerous crises that the Trump era has introduced.

The Introduction to The Resistance by Meyer and Tarrow provides the background and a broad framework for the chapters. In Part One, Doug McAdam and Kenneth Roberts provide, respectively, a historical and a comparative perspective on the Trump presidency and on the resistance to it. McAdam elaborates on this point: that although Trump is an unusual figure and has brought his movement into the heart of the American state, his excesses must be seen in the context of the more general movementization of American politics and of the role of racial resentment in the Republican appeal that goes back to the civil rights era. Similarly, Roberts's chapter shows how, despite his unique characteristics, Trump can be seen as an American version of the right-wing populism that has spread across Latin America and Europe in recent decades. These two chapters embed the book in both a historical and a comparative framework.

Part Two of The Resistance surveys some of the main actors who initiated the anti-Trump resistance. Marie Berry and Erica Chenoweth's chapter begins where the Resistance began – with the organizational tributaries that produced a tidal wave of support for the Women's March on January 21, 2017. Ostensibly the result of a new organization, the Women's March actually represented the sustained work of many well-established interest groups that spread the word and supported the political mobilization.

The next two chapters analyze two highly visible facets of the early phase of the Resistance. In "Mobilizing for Immigrant Rights," Chris Zepeda-Millar and Sophia Wallace draw on the Latino-based movement that grew out of the 2006 struggle against the Sensenbrenner Bill to analyze today's immigrant rights movement. Then, using three on-site protester surveys, Dana Fisher shows how the climate movement expanded over the 3-year period of her research. She also shows how it intersected with other parts of the Resistance through joint participation in the climate and women's marches.

Part Three of The Resistance turns to actors and organizations that powered the Resistance during its first year. In their chapter, Michael Dorf and Michael Chu show how a lawyers' movement rapidly arose to contest the Trump administration's abrupt and savage ban on trying to come to the United States. In his chapter, David Karpf shows how the media – both new and old – transmitted the messages of resistance both to decision-makers and to the various sectors of the resistance. Karpf shows how social media tools – particularly Facebook and Twitter – have become the new town square through which activist messages are shared and protest participants are recruited. In her chapter, Megan Brooker focuses on the Indivisible movement, showing how its founders went from in­stitutional to noninstitutional contention by modeling a campaign for town hall meetings after the campaign of the Tea Party.

Part Four of The Resistance turns to the dynamics of this rapidly changing movement. In his chapter, Sidney Tarrow sees the Resistance as part of complex movement-countermovement interaction whose beginnings go back well before the 2016 election and that ripened into a cycle of contention that has put American democracy to the test. In her chapter, "Generational Dynamics in the Resistance," Nancy Whittier explores the emerging generational dynamics in the Resistance, with special attention to points of generational transmission (particularly the recruitment and framing efforts of longstanding organizations) and generational conflict (particularly differences of collective identity and culture).

In their chapter, Hahrie Han and Michelle Oyakawa show how two different organizations – a traditional church-based grassroots organization and a new organization that began in Washington – the Indivisible movement – proposed two different solutions to the challenges of the Resistance.

The Resistance concludes with two chapters: David Meyer draws on the experiences of Year One of the Resistance to speculate on what we have learned about the dilemmas of coalition-building, focusing on the tensions between tactics and ultimate aims; and, in his Afterword, Jacob Hacker draws on the chapters in the book to reflect on the prospects for American democracy.

The shocking 2016 election stirred hundreds of thousands of American citizens to protest and organize. This important collection assembles the best early studies of the leaders, organizations, and activists who make up a remarkable mass resistance movement. This volume is sure to attract a wide readership – and stimulate lots of further research and debates. – Theda Skocpol, Scholars Strategy Network and Harvard University

In this outstanding collection of essays David Meyer and Sidney Tarrow engage with the challenges posed by the rise of Republican populism around the Trump presidency and its effects on democratic institutions. Taking the Women's March of January 2017 as their starting point the contributors assess resistance and counter resistance movements in America which have flourished since the election of 2016. The distinguished contributors place these forces in the context of previous social movements such as the civil rights and Latino immigrant rights struggles and comparative movements, and carefully analysis the key actors and likely future dynamics of the current resistance. The Resistance is a timely, empirically rich and intellectually compelling volume which will become required reading for scholars and students of US politics. – Desmond King, University of Oxford

The fascinating essays in this volume describe in rich detail ‘the resistance,’ the kaleidoscope of activism that has emerged in the United States since the 2016 election. Yet the contemporary politics of contestation did not begin with Donald Trump's ascent to the White House; to the contrary, as these authors astutely show, social movement activity on both the right and left, across decades of political development, inadvertently created the strong base within the Republican Party that fueled his rise and remain steadfast in support. The Resistance offers astute historical and comparative analysis to illuminate the politics of our times. Its sober assessment, infused with caution but not without hope, provides keys to understanding how our fragile democracy can be saved. – Suzanne Mettler, Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions, Cornell University

In this compelling volume, The Resistance, an impressive array of contributors provides an early analysis of the movement for those struggling to understand what has happened and why and begins to point the way forward.  <> 

Religion & Spirituality / Buddhism

The Complete Foundation: The Systematic Approach to Training the Mind by The Dalai Lama, translated by Thupten Jinpa (Core Teachings of Dalai Lama Series: Shambhala)

In The Complete Foundation the Dalai Lama provides intimate details on advanced mind-training practices using visualization, reason, and contemplation to enhance personal development. His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is considered the foremost Buddhist leader of our time. The exiled spiritual head of the Tibetan people, he is a Nobel Peace Laureate, a Congressional Gold Medal recipient, and a remarkable teacher and scholar who has authored over one hundred books.

Beginning with practices designed to create an effective mental outlook, His Holiness guides students to more advanced techniques for developing the mind’s deepest potential and happiness. With impeccable attention to detail and a seamless balance between technical guidance and a delightful sense of playfulness, The Complete Foundation exemplifies the sophistication and elegance of Tibetan Buddhist methods for spiritual development.
This book was previously published under the title The Path to Bliss.

As the translator Thupten Jinpa explains in the preface to The Complete Foundation, the system of meditation known as Lamrim, stages of the path to enlightenment, was begun by the great eleventh-century saint-scholar Atisha and has been developed over successive generations by Tibetan meditators. It originated with Atisha's eloquent work in verse appropriately titled Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, in which he condensed the essence of the entire Buddhist training of the mind in the stages of mental development suitable to the trainees of initial, middling, and highest capacity. The great scholar and adept Tsongkhapa based his much admired text Lamrim Chenmo (Great Exposition on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) on this classic work. Lamrim explores in great depth the subject matter of Atisha's Lamp.

As was the original intent of the authors, the beauty of Lamrim lies in its systematic approach to training the mind through meditative contemplation, taking into account the complexity of the human mind. With Lamrim practice, one embarks upon a fresh spiritual journey in uncovering the layers of mists that obscure the human personality. Its approach is simple, rational and yet profound and does not presuppose any knowledge or training on the part of the beginner. The example of many great meditators testifies to the efficacy of the Lamrim system. Beginning with elementary trainings, such as how to adopt a sound and right mental outlook and motivation in one's life, it leads the practitioner to the profound discovery of the reality, emptiness, that underlies the entire expanse of phenomena. Such an insight brings into question the very basis and validity of many of our strongly held conventional beliefs which are at the root of all our fluctuating emotions, thus showing the discrepancy between the way things are and how we perceive them to be. It is the state of full enlightenment, where the individual is free of all limitations and has brought his or her human potential to its fullest development, so as to be of limitless service to his or her fellow beings.

The Complete Foundation is a translation, based on an oral teaching of H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, of Panchen Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen's Lamrim, titled Path to Bliss Leading to Omniscience. As the type of commentary given on the text at the discourse was experiential in nature, the tradition requires four repetitions of the main sections of the practices. These repetitions have been incorporated in The Complete Foundation into a single body, thus presenting the entire teaching in an easily readable, yet complete, written form.

Being a commentary on the First Panchen Lama's Lamrim, the original format of His Holiness' teaching followed the structure of that text in which all the main Lamrim meditations were explained within the framework of the preliminary, main, and concluding practices. However, in this book the format has been altered a little to suit the needs of both readers and practitioners. The Complete Foundation is divided into three parts. Part One comprises a general introduction to the spiritual path of a Buddhist practitioner and the origins of the Lamrim instructions. Part Two deals with the elements of preliminary practices within the framework of the six stages of preparation. It ends with an instruction on activities during the between-session periods and a summary note explaining how to integrate the preliminaries with the main Lamrim meditations. In Part Three, all the main Lamrim meditations are explained by topic so that they can be either studied and practiced in conjunction with the preliminary practices found in the preceding chapters, or reflected upon independently. Since the practice of a bodhisattva's way of life is a crucial element in the Lamrim path, the procedure of the ceremony through which a bodhisattva trainee commits himself/herself to follow such an ideal is included in Part Three. Other vital materials on the practices of a bodhisattva, such as the bodhisattva vows and precepts of thought transformation practice, are given in appendices. For readers who wish to cross-reference the sections of The Complete Foundation with the original Tibetan version of The Complete Foundation, the translation of the outline of the original text is provided in Appendix Three. In conforming to the spirit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's personal approach to teaching, a certain style of language has been adopted in this book. Every attempt has been made to keep the language as clear and succinct as possible to convey the spirit of His Holiness' thoughts without compromising the accuracy of the translation.

The Complete Foundation will be of benefit to many and the noble aspirations of H.H. the Dalai Lama will be fulfilled. The book is clear, eloquent, simple, and profound, making His Holiness’s teachings accessible to beginning practitioners yet richly nourishing to those more advanced in practice.  <> 

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / History

Give Love and Receive the Kingdom: Essential People and Themes of English Spirituality by Benedicta Ward SLG (Paraclete Press)

From the greatest living expert on the history of English spirituality comes the most expansive collection ever published of her work – Give Love and Receive the Kingdom.
From the spirituality of Cuthbert, to Bede and the Psalter, Anselm the monastic scholar, and the depths of Julian of Norwich, from twelfth century hermits, through medieval pilgrimage, and by illuminating seventeenth century preachers, Give Love and Receive the Kingdom is Benedicta Ward’s magnum opus. With a title drawn from the writings of St. Anselm – a beautiful summary of the Christian life – this book is designed to both inspire and educate.

Ward, SLG is a sister of the Community of Sisters of the Love of God and one of the world authorities on English spirituality and desert monasticism. She is Reader in the History of Christian Spirituality at the University of Oxford and an honorary lecturer at Harris Manchester College.

Ward says that the papers in Give Love and Receive the Kingdom were all written for different times and occasions. Reading them together is like looking through windows of different colored glass at many people, times, and places; her task is that of a window-cleaner, making it possible for others both to see through clearly and pass over to find pasture. The message of these writers is certainly not one of ease and comfortableness, but of faith, hope, and love. They spoke out of lives lived within and on behalf of a world as torn and agonizing and filled with doubt as our own.

The chief sources for knowing about early Christians are the works of the Venerable Bede (635-736), the greatest scholar of his age and the only Englishman to have been accorded the title of Doctor of the Church. He made it his life's work to offer the new Christians the traditions of Mediterranean Christianity, linking them with the world of the New Testament and the Fathers of the Church.

The basis of Anglo-Saxon spirituality was thus formed by love and not by force. Augustine began by praying and fasting in a small church with the queen and her court, establishing a lasting link between church and state which was dependent on unity of prayer and reality of conduct.

In a rough world, existing ways of life were not so much destroyed as transformed: a love of the glory of gold became a love for the beauty of holiness. Love of a lord was transferred to love of the high King of Heaven, and love of kin could be the basis of care for members of the Church. This instinctive need for companionship was transferred also to the saints, who were known as always present and always available in prayers, miracles, and visions. Bede preserved for readers details of this lived Christianity in stories which show the ideals which inspired the new Christians. This was done orally by preaching but also by using the new technology of writing.

The sense of living in the ante-chamber of heaven, with the shadow of judgment as well as the promise of mercy always present, colored all aspects of later medieval devotion, but, as told in Give Love and Receive the Kingdom, the eleventh century saw a turning point towards a more personal interior approach. The key figure in this was the theologian-monk Anselm of Bec, who ended his life as archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109). He made a break with the long tradition of prayer which flowed mainly through the channels of the psalms by creating out of them a new kind of poetic material for the use of anyone who wanted to pray. His Prayers and Meditations arose out of his own private prayer, and he sent copies of them to those of his friends who asked for them, together with simple and practical advice about how they could be used. Naturally his prayers were shaped by his monastic background and interests, but from the first they were popular with men and women living a busy Christian life in society for whom the monastic life of prayer was an ideal with which they longed to be associated.

Anselm saw no rift between Christian thought and Christian devotion. As well as being a good pastor, a man of prayer, and an affectionate friend, Anselm was an outstanding scholar, and he applied his intellect to the lifelong task of thinking about and living for God. Every part of his fine mental equipment was stretched to its limit, seeking and desiring God in practice as well as in thought. In his advice about praying, he insisted that the first necessity was to want to pray and be ready to give up some part at least of concern with oneself in order to be ‘free a while for God.’

Ward in Give Love and Receive the Kingdom says it is possible to find the same approach in Julian of Norwich (1342-1413.) Julian composed two books, one a long version of the other, called Revelations of Divine Love, containing the first sustained theology to be written in English. She lived as an anchoress in a cell built onto the wall of the church of St. Julian in Norwich. In the twentieth century, she became well known and indeed popular, but she was very little known in her own times and all but lost sight of at the Reformation. Her works were recovered and edited only at the end of the nineteenth century, as if they had been preserved especially for our times.

Sister Benedicta is uniquely qualified to write on the beauties and subtleties of Anglo-Saxon writing about the Christian life. These wonderfully crafted pieces give an invaluable introduction to this world of thought and prayer and image. – Rowan Williams

Sr. Benedicta brings long-ago figures vividly to life – rendering them brilliant as the colors of the Lindisfarne Gospels. This is her art. What she once did for the Fathers, Mothers and Harlots of the desert, she has now done for the great saints of the Isles. To read these pages is to know Britain’s holy men and women as more than points on a timeline, more than feasts on a calendar. They are our close companions on pilgrimage. – Mike Aquilina, EWTN host and author of The Witness of Early Christian Women and The Fathers of the Church
The scope of Sr. Benedicta’s scholarship is truly remarkable. I have benefited hugely over many years from her writings on early desert asceticism. I am also grateful for her personal help with my medieval research. I thoroughly recommend this new book.
– Philip Sheldrake, St Edmunds College, University of Cambridge; author of Spirituality: A Brief History
Whether on the Desert Christians (and harlots!) or the English Church, whether her own prose or her exacting translations, Sr. Benedicta Ward’s work is always informed by the incisive intellect of a scholar and the wise soul of a monastic. Her astute evaluations are replete with spiritual insight. The Christ whose life in His Church her distinguished career has illuminated ‘Easters in her,’ and her elegant and prayerful prose gives us glimpses of what she so clearly sees. We owe Paraclete Press a great debt for making readily available some of her most important essays.
– Bonnie Thurston, scholar, author, poet

Ward in Give Love and Receive the Kingdom brings readers the messages of faith, hope and love from the past, a past in many ways not unlike our own. In exploring their journeys readers can be refreshed and encouraged in their times of suffering and despair.  <> 

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah by Aelred of Rievaulx, translated by Lewis White, with an introduction by Marsha L. Dutton (Cistercian Fathers: Cistercian Publications)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.... What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5, 14)

During his twenty years as abbot of the Yorkshire monastery of Rievaulx, Aelred preached many sermons: to his own monks, in other monasteries, and at significant gatherings outside the cloister. In these thirty-one homilies on Isaiah chapters 13-16, together with an introductory Advent sermon, Aelred in Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah interprets the burdens that Isaiah prophesied against the nations according to their literal, allegorical, and moral senses. He sees these burdens as playing a role both in the history of the church and in the progress of the individual soul. This collection of homilies, Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah, is an ambitious, unified work of a mature monk, synthesizing biblical exegesis, ascetical teaching, spiritual exhortation, and a theory of history.

Translator Lewis White has been a teacher and translator at the Language Center of the Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca, Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, Mexico, since 2009. He was a member of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia, from 2002-2009.

The thirty-one homilies on The Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah, an extended commentary on Isaiah chapters 13 through 16, are far and away the least read of the works of Aelred, a twelfth-century abbot of the Yorkshire Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx. To some extent their neglect reflects the fact that until recently they were only widely available in J.-P. Migne's Patrologia Latina, as Sermones de oneribus. But in 2005 Gaetano Raciti's critical edition appeared in Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalist and Pierre-Yves Emery's French translation was published in 2006. The homilies now appear in English for the first time in White's translation Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah.

These homilies are the most ambitious and challenging of Aelred's works. They are also puzzling, raising numerous questions, such as, Why is this work a series of homilies rather than a unified treatise? Is its date significant? Who is its intended audience? Why did Aelred ask Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London, to evaluate his work?

The complexity of the homilies raises problems of its own with its constant shifting of the signification of words and images. White argues that such ambivalence is essential to their meaning, that as human life and experience are inherently equivocal, these homilies directly confront that equivocality: "Far from being a symptom of confusion, Aelred's ambivalence provides a glimpse into his worldview. His bold reinterpretations ... illustrate a world in which everything is confused and everyone is weighed down. De Oneribus is ambivalent because the world is ambivalent: any phenomenon can lead either to redemption or perdition."

Because of the multiple meanings that Aelred assigns to words and images over the course of his commentary, reading the homilies requires particular effort. In explaining Babylon, for example, the subject of well over half of the thirty-one homilies, he ranges from the relatively straightforward ‘confusion’ (H 1.17) to "the world as Christ found it" (H 3.9) to much greater complexity with "that world that is always impure, the world that dwells in wickedness, the world for which the one who overcame the world does not pray, the world from which those who conquer the world are chosen to greater obscurity" (H 13.2). Not surprisingly, then, the dark confusion represented by Babylon seems tacitly to govern the work. White warns of the burden the constant shifting meanings place on its readers: "Any attempt to understand De oneribus in its integrity ... must confront its brash ambivalence by investing Scriptural images with contradictory referents."

At the same time, Aelred is clear about the spiritual obligation to emerge from confusion. Early on he points to the value of instruction in aiding humans to return to their "original form ... when he who formed us reforms us" and defines that form as wisdom (H 1.3). He also makes it clear that he is undertaking the responsibility of providing that instruction. Readers of these homilies must thus remain alert to the way their equivocalities extend outward from terminology to subject matter to textual interpretation to questions of audience and purpose, because Aelred intends his work to lead the audience not just to acquaintance with Isaiah but to wisdom. He insists on the importance of his work's explication of Isaiah when he writes, "This holy prophet is so deep in meaning, so lofty in mysteries, so clear sighted in foretelling future events, so delightful in moral instruction ... that at times it seems as though he were carried to heaven itself to lay bare the secrets of divine wisdom" (H 1.8).

As Dutton points out in the introduction to Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah, Aelred presents his work on Isaiah's prophecies as dual, both a three-part series of only loosely related homilies and a treatise with a single source and end: to instruct the faithful and reform them into their original form of wisdom – their likeness to God through Christ. The homiletic form allows Aelred to explore a variety of concerns and to address a variety of audiences, from monks to princes and prelates, and the treatise allows him to develop a complicated but ultimately unified argument about the man or woman loved, sought, and redeemed by Christ's incarnation.

Throughout his life as a writer Aelred had experimented with different forms for different audiences; this late work can be recog­nized as one more instance of his writerly expression and experimentation, one last opportunity to put down in pen and ink – with his own hand – some of the things he had thought about while he was mostly housebound in his late years, while the kingdom was experiencing a new kind of internal conflict as the great bishops of the English church battled one another. The homilies thus also serve to link Aelred's ascetic, historical, hagiographical, and homiletic works, gathering up the fragments of his life and thought into one great final vision.

The monks of Aelred's community are present in almost every one of the homilies as he greets them and sends them off to bed, acknowledging his own prolixity and their fatigue, insisting on his love for them as he prepares to leave them and again when he returns, even tacitly associating them with both the Virgin Mary and Moab in the culminating rise to spiritual marriage and contemplative vision. The deep commitment he has to his community thus resounds clearly as in all his works. At the same time, his frustration with and despair at the enduring pride, arrogance, and apostasy among prelates and princes – all of which had over the decades of his life led England and the church to conflict, schism, and persecution – recurs in homily after homily. That too was after all a lifelong concern.

Above all, Aelred in Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah proclaims the incarnation, Christ's coming to bring God and humankind together and, through faith, hope, and love, to reform God's people. As Dutton points out, like light itself, the work exists throughout as both particle and stream, its separate insights always comprising a single whole.  <> 

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Early / Textbooks

Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction by Mitzi J. Smith & Yung Suk Kim, with a foreword by Michael Willett Newheart (Cascade Books)

Toward Decentering the New Testament is the first introductory text to the New Testament written by an African American woman biblical scholar and an Asian-American male biblical scholar. This text privileges the voices, scholarship, and concerns of minoritized nonwhite peoples and communities.

Mitzi J. Smith is Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Detroit. Yung Suk Kim is Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University.

Toward Decentering the New Testament is written from the perspectives of minoritized voices. The first few chapters cover issues such as biblical interpretation, immigration, Roman slavery and intersectionality. Questions raised throughout the text focus readers on relevant contemporary issues and encourage critical reflection and dialogue between student-teachers and teacher-students.

Smith and Kim in the introduction says that it is necessary that minoritized scholars produce authoritative texts too, not as the authoritative or legitimate voice, but as one among other introductory texts. This text, Toward Decentering the New Testament, is a step in the direction of creating an introductory text that focuses on and prioritizes diverse and nonwhite readers and contemporary issues that affect real flesh-and-blood minoritized readers and their sisters and brothers as allies. It is presumed that what impacts and concerns the least of these among us and/or oppressed communities, effects all of us. This text does not exclude the expertise and foundational work of majority or dominant scholarship, but such contributions are presented alongside perspectives of the authors and other minoritized scholars as equally legitimate and authoritative. At times, they may unknowingly slip into a dominant mode of reading or Smith and Kim say they may oscillate (like a newborn taking her first steps), but this is their attempt to move in the direction of a decentered introduction to the New Testament that privileges many voices, concerns, and scholarship of minoritized communities. They acknowledge the difficulty and the struggle of constructing this text as a decentering project, given that they have been trained in the academy predominated by white males with scholarship produced mainly by white males from the perspective of white males.

Toward Decentering the New Testament constitutes their attempt to do justice and their due diligence to students of the biblical text. Smith and Kim say they have attempted to make Toward Decentering the New Testament accessible to a broad audience. They have written it with seminary and divinity school students in mind, but they also hope that undergraduate schools and other religious institutions like churches will find the text useful and accessible for their students, parishioners, or congregants. And they have written this text for people who are interested in reading the biblical text but who choose not to occupy a pew in a church.

Toward Decentering the New Testament is cultural, theological, and thematic, and in it they raise critical questions and issues that are relevant to minoritized communities and their allies. They have strategically inserted questions throughout each chapter that introduce a biblical book in order to focus readers' attentions on contemporary concerns and interests in dialogue with biblical texts. In section 1 (chapters 2-8), beginning with chapter 2 they prioritize readers as interpreters addressing matters of interpretation in the format of a dialogue between the authors and invite their readers into this space to engage also in critical reflection. In chapter 3, Kim discusses first-century CE Greco-Roman and Jewish historical influences and background for the NT. In chapter 4, "Refugees, Immigrants, and Foreigners in the New Testament," Smith relates contemporary issues concerning the treatment of ‘others’ and/or foreigners and the constructed perpetual foreign other in relation to the study of the New Testament. In chapter 5, "Roman Slavery and the New Testament;" Smith provides a brief introduction to ancient Rome as a slave society and its significance for reading biblical texts. In chapter 6, "Intersectionality and Reading Complexity in the New Testament," Smith gives a brief history of the development of the term, how it has traveled across disciplines and is used by biblical scholars as a research tool that raises one's consciousness, and how it can address contemporary social justice issues and hopefully impact their thinking, choices, and behaviors in society for justice. In chapter 7, "The Privatization of Water, Ancient Rome, and the New Testament;" Smith discusses the privatization of water in a contemporary context and the problems it causes, especially for the poor, with regard to access to clean and affordable water, Rome's solution to the problem of access to water, and the use and significance of water in the NT. In chapter 8, "Some Matters of Translation and the New Testament;' Kim and Smith discuss particular Greek words, phrases, clauses, or verses, such as pistis Christou (faith of/in Christ), dikaiosune (righteousness/justice), 1 Cor 7:21, and doulos (slave), in order to demonstrate the complexity of NT translation from Greek into English and how context matters.

In section 2, chapter 9, "The Danger of a Single Story: The Synoptic Gospels;" Smith introduces students to source criticism and the Synoptic Problem through the lens of internationally known and award-winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk entitled "The Danger of a Single Story" A single story of a people, event, and place creates stereotypes and robs readers of a kind of paradise. In chapters 10-14, they introduce students to the canonical gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John as well as the Acts of the Apostles. As Smith reads the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles, she sees Jesus as a colonized mulatto revolutionary; God as one who visits the oppressed and downtrodden with hospitality served up with the impossible; Jesus as an unconventional Messiah constantly assailed by border patrols; and an inclusive and empowering God that never relinquishes God's agency, not even to Jesus. In his reading of the Gospel of John, Kim challenges traditional incarnational theology and high Christology in favor of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah who embodies the logos (word) of God.

Section 3 (chapters 15-26) of Toward Decentering the New Testament introduces the Pauline epistles, those considered authentically written by him and those that were likely written by his disciples and/or coworkers in ministry. In chapter 15, "Significance of Paul as a Jewish Man in Diaspora," Kim discusses the significance of Paul as a Jewish Pharisee, whom God called to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and who developed an unwavering passion for the Gentiles and embraced the world as his Diaspora. In chapter 16, "The Body of Christ," Kim investigates the significance of the body of Christ as one of the most complex metaphors that the Apostle Paul employs, which means to embody Christ. Chapters 17-31 (sections 3 and 4), introduces students to Paul's letters, including the catholic or general letters. In chapter 33, "Contemporary and Ancient Apocalyptic Texts and Their Significance," Smith discusses ancient apocalyptic literature through the framework of contemporary apocalyptic film and the apocalyptic vision of the enslaved African Nat Turner who led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831 as a result of his visions and his reading of the biblical text. In chapter 34, Smith provides an introduction to The Apocalypse of John/Book of Revelation, the only book of its kind in the New Testament, that readers might read as the resistance literature of a community that is either under siege or perceives of itself in those terms.

This is the book I wish had been assigned in my days as a young Christian college undergraduate student. The authors go beyond pointing out the hubris of those who think a New Testament introduction can somehow be politically objective or ideologically neutral. Instead, they show us how a 'de-centering' of Scripture – in all its messiness – can serve as a form of 'resistance literature' which opens up ways of thinking otherwise and of imagining new worlds altogether. – Roberto Sirvent, Hope International University
This exemplary volume represents refreshingly unchartered terrain in New Testament introductions, with conceptual and theoretical analyses that will help the reader understand why apprehending the noetic complexities of the politics of empire and power, gender, race, intersectionality, migration, postcolonial theory, and questions of hybridity, and subaltern agency, are thoroughly indispensable in interrogating early Christian origins, and in adjudicating the ever-evolving iterations and often contested implications of what this history means for critical pedagogies and practices of resistance, hope, and justice in our times. – Clarice J. Martin, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
Mitzi Smith and Yung Suk Kim offer a refreshing orientation to the New Testament that privileges marginalized perspectives, and deftly challenges many traditional assumptions about texts. Impressive in its scope and depth, the book masterfully explicates both historical-cultural contexts such as slavery and contemporary issues like migration. Anyone who reads this book will see the New Testament in a very different light. A much-needed addition to biblical scholarship. – Raj Nadella, Columbia Theological Seminary

Authors bring to the literary surface voices often relegated to the margins. The margin does not replace the center, but through historical, racial, ethnic, class, and gender analyses the book provides tools on how to dismantle its metes and bounds. This work renders a less hegemonic and more inclusive hermeneutical lens for studying the New Testament and the context that produced its content. – Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Chicago Theological Seminary

This book establishes so many firsts. The most important may be that it marks a liminal moment in NT studies. In foregrounding what has been in the background it will open up new worlds of learning for students and teachers alike. – Michael Joseph Brown, President of Payne Theological Seminary

Toward Decentering the New Testament leaves readers with the realization of that which minoritized scholars already putatively know, which is that their scholarship is significant, impactful, and should/will not be marginalized. This textbook will stimulate readers to engage critically with biblical texts and to initiate dialogue with more and other diverse voices.  <>         

 

 

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Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction by Mitzi J. Smith & Yung Suk Kim, with a foreword by Michael Willett Newheart (Cascade Books)