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YA Book Club POSTPONED! Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this Saturday's YA book club meeting. We will reschedule and post it here and on our social media as soon as we can. 

Aaron's Staff Picks

ARCADIA

ARCADIA

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"It is a defect of God's humor that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them."--Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

In a large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809 sits Lady Thomasina Coverly, aged thirteen, and her tutor, Septimus Hodge. Through the window may be seen some of the "five hundred acres inclusive of lake" where Capability Brown's idealized landscape is about to give way to the Gothic style: "everything but vampires," as the garden historian Hannah Jarvis remarks to Bernard Nightingale when they stand in the same room 180 years later. Bernard has arrived to uncover the scandal which is said to have taken place when Lord Byron stayed at Sidley Park. Tom Stoppard's masterful play takes us back and forth between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life--"the attraction," as Hannah says, "which Newton left out."

A play about sex and entropy!

This play is a witty reflection on relationships mixed masterfully with philosophical reflections on epistemology and disorder.

-Aaron

BLOCKCHAIN CHICKEN FARM: AND O

BLOCKCHAIN CHICKEN FARM: AND O

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

A brilliant and empathetic guide to the far corners of global capitalism. --Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing

From FSGO x Logic: stories about rural China, food, and tech that reveal new truths about the globalized world

In Blockchain Chicken Farm, the technologist and writer Xiaowei Wang explores the political and social entanglements of technology in rural China. Their discoveries force them to challenge the standard idea that rural culture and people are backward, conservative, and intolerant. Instead, they find that rural China has not only adapted to rapid globalization but has actually innovated the technology we all use today.

From pork farmers using AI to produce the perfect pig, to disruptive luxury counterfeits and the political intersections of e-commerce villages, Wang unravels the ties between globalization, technology, agriculture, and commerce in unprecedented fashion. Accompanied by humorous "Sinofuturist" recipes that frame meals as they transform under new technology, Blockchain Chicken Farm is an original and probing look into innovation, connectivity, and collaboration in the digitized rural world.

FSG Originals × Logic dissects the way technology functions in everyday lives. The titans of Silicon Valley, for all their utopian imaginings, never really had our best interests at heart: recent threats to democracy, truth, privacy, and safety, as a result of tech's reckless pursuit of progress, have shown as much. We present an alternate story, one that delights in capturing technology in all its contradictions and innovation, across borders and socioeconomic divisions, from history through the future, beyond platitudes and PR hype, and past doom and gloom. Our collaboration features four brief but provocative forays into the tech industry's many worlds, and aspires to incite fresh conversations about technology focused on nuanced and accessible explorations of the emerging tools that reorganize and redefine life today.

CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ

CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ

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"This book was originally published in 1959 by Lippincott and in trade paperback editions in 1961 and 1997 by Bantam, and in 1986 by Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers"--T.p. verso.
CATS CRADLE

CATS CRADLE

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"A free-wheeling vehicle . . . an unforgettable ride!"--The New York Times

Cat's Cradle
is Kurt Vonnegut's satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet's ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat's Cradle is one of the twentieth century's most important works--and Vonnegut at his very best.

"[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist."--Harper's Magazine

"Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense."--Atlantic Monthly

CLOUD ATLAS

CLOUD ATLAS

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By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

A postmodern visionary and one of the leading voices in twenty-first-century fiction, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending, philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Umberto Eco, Haruki Murakami, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction as profound as it is playful. In this groundbreaking novel, an influential favorite among a new generation of writers, Mitchell explores with daring artistry fundamental questions of reality and identity.

Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. . . . Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, contrives his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. . . . From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. . . . And onward, with dazzling virtuosity, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

But the story doesn't end even there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

As wild as a videogame, as mysterious as a Zen koan, Cloud Atlas is an unforgettable tour de force that, like its incomparable author, has transcended its cult classic status to become a worldwide phenomenon.

Praise for Cloud Atlas

"[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel's every page."--The New York Times Book Review

"One of those how-the-holy-hell-did-he-do-it? modern classics that no doubt is--and should be--read by any student of contemporary literature."--Dave Eggers

"Wildly entertaining . . . a head rush, both action-packed and chillingly ruminative."--People

"The novel as series of nested dolls or Chinese boxes, a puzzle-book, and yet--not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too. I've never read anything quite like it, and I'm grateful to have lived, for a while, in all its many worlds."--Michael Chabon

"Cloud Atlas ought to make [Mitchell] famous on both sides of the Atlantic as a writer whose fearlessness is matched by his talent."--The Washington Post Book World

"Thrilling . . . One of the biggest joys in Cloud Atlas is watching Mitchell sashay from genre to genre without a hitch in his dance step."--Boston Sunday Globe

"Grand and elaborate . . . [Mitchell] creates a world and language at once foreign and strange, yet strikingly familiar and intimate."--Los Angeles Times

This is a great book for countering burnout or staving off existential dread.

This novel is a sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes triumphant relay-race toward and backwards in time.

The six interwoven stories of this book demonstrate that in every epoch, the structure of evil always transforms and always commands vast resources, but each time-trancending seed of goodness planted by every individual ultimately undermines that evil -- even if it takes centuries.

-Aaron

Collection of Essays

Collection of Essays

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George Orwell's collected nonfiction, written in the clear-eyed and uncompromising style that earned him a critical following

One of the most thought-provoking and vivid essayists of the twentieth century, George Orwell fought the injustices of his time with singular vigor through pen and paper. In this selection of essays, he ranges from reflections on his boyhood schooling and the profession of writing to his views on the Spanish Civil War and British imperialism. The pieces collected here include the relatively unfamiliar and the more celebrated, making it an ideal compilation for both new and dedicated readers of Orwell's work.

CRISIS CARAVAN: WHAT'S WRONG W

CRISIS CARAVAN: WHAT'S WRONG W

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In her controversial, no-holds-barred exposé Linda Polman shows how a vast industry has grown up around humanitarian aid. The Crisis Caravan takes us to war zones around the globe, showing how aid operations and the humanitarian world have become a feature of military strategy. Impassioned, gripping, and even darkly absurd, journalist Linda Polman "gives some powerful examples of unconscionable assistance...a world where aid workers have become enablers of the atrocities they seek to relieve" (The Boston Globe).

DAYTRIPPER

DAYTRIPPER

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The acclaimed Daytripper follows Bras de Olivias Dominguez during different periods in his life, each with the same ending: his death.

Daytripper follows the life of one man, Bras de Olivias Dominguez. Every chapter features an important period in Bras' life in exotic Brazil, and each story ends the same way: with his death. And then, the following story starts up at a different point in his life, oblivious to his death in the previous issue--and then also ends with him dying again. In every chapter, Bras dies at different moments in his life, as the story follows him through his entire existence--one filled with possibilities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, love and loneliness. Each issue rediscovers the many varieties of daily life, in a story about living life to its fullest--because any of us can die at any moment.

Poignant, heartfelt and thoughtful, this comics landmark is one of the most transcendent pieces of graphic storytelling ever to hit the printed page. Brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba truly compose one of the industry's masterworks.

FOOD LAB: BETTER HOME COOKING

FOOD LAB: BETTER HOME COOKING

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Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)--and use a foolproof method that works every time?

As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don't work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new--but simple--techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

FULL SPECTRUM RESISTANCE, VOLU

FULL SPECTRUM RESISTANCE, VOLUME 2

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A guide to direct action for those disillusioned with the posturing of liberal "activism."

The radical left is losing, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here is the radical's guide to activist work--the manual we need at this crucial moment to organize for universal human rights, a habitable earth, and a more egalitarian society.

Thoroughly exploring the achievements and failures of radical movements throughout history--from 19th-century anti-colonial rebellions in China and the environmental actions of First Nations and Native American tribes throughout the 20th century, to Black Lives Matter and the fight for Gay Liberation--the two volumes of Full Spectrum Resistance candidly advocate for direct action, not just risk-averse models of protest marches and call-ins. With in-depth histories and case studies of social justice and environmental movements, noted writer, activist, and farmer Aric McBay explains why passive resistance alone cannot work, and how we must be prepared to do whatever it takes to create substantial social change.

In Volume 2: Actions and Strategies for Change, McBay uses the successful strategies of various actions, such as the Greek Resisters of the 2008 Greek Television Takeover, to articulate the best practices for inter-activist coordination and communication with mass media to effectively spread message. Covering reconnaissance methods and other forms of intelligence-gathering, Volume 2 guides the reader in smart decision-making and damage control, such as how to recover from both covert and overt adversarial attacks, such as COINTELPRO (1971). Moreover, this manual clearly articulates the best strategies and practices for the financial, logistical, and tactical organization necessary to all successful radical movements in the long term.