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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

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

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

$49.95
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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 1

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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 1: Building Movements and Fighting to Win, McBay describes the need for resistance movements, and paints a portrait of what a thriving resistance movement might look like today. Citing successful movements such as the Deacons of Defense of the American Civil Rights Movement, the anti-colonial revolutions in Guinea and Cape Verde, and activist groups like Act-UP, McBay deftly illustrates how to organize activist groups and encourage enlistment, while also noting the necessary precautions one must take to secure these radical circles from infiltration and collapse.

FULL SPECTRUM RESISTANCE, VOLU

FULL SPECTRUM RESISTANCE, VOLUME 2

$18.95
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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.

RIGHTEOUS MIND

RIGHTEOUS MIND

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New York Times Bestseller

In this "landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself" (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike.

Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you're ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.

This book outlines one of the most insightful theories into why liberals and conservatives almost literally speak different languages, and will help you understand and appeal to the "moral tastes" of those you're least likely to agree with politically so you can get through to them. Drawing from research across psychology (and specifically from moral psychology) the startling, fascinating, and often terrifying insights from studies outlined in this book justify the idea -- sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill -- that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

-Aaron

THIS IS NOT PROPAGANDA: ADVENT

THIS IS NOT PROPAGANDA: ADVENTURES IN THE WAR AGAINST REALITY

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Learn how the perception of truth has been weaponized in modern politics with this "insightful" account of propaganda in Russia and beyond during the age of disinformation (New York Times).
When information is a weapon, every opinion is an act of war.

We live in a world of influence operations run amok, where dark ads, psyops, hacks, bots, soft facts, ISIS, Putin, trolls, and Trump seek to shape our very reality. In this surreal atmosphere created to disorient us and undermine our sense of truth, we've lost not only our grip on peace and democracy -- but our very notion of what those words even mean.

Peter Pomerantsev takes us to the front lines of the disinformation age, where he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, "behavioral change" salesmen, Jihadi fanboys, Identitarians, truth cops, and many others. Forty years after his dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, Pomerantsev finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power. His research takes him back to Russia -- but the answers he finds there are not what he expected.

Blending reportage, family history, and intellectual adventure, This Is Not Propaganda explores how we can reimagine our politics and ourselves when reality seems to be coming apart.

From troll farms and Facebook groups toying with the cognitive biases of the masses to win elections to cyber attacks and information warfare, I found this book very easy to get through. Luckily, while allowing me to see snahpshots of those at the center of each of these individual areas of the mad world of the media today.

-Aaron

THROUGH THE LANGUAGE GLASS

THROUGH THE LANGUAGE GLASS

$21.00
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A New York Times Editor's Choice
An Economist Best Book of 2010
A Financial Times Best Book of 2010
A Library Journal Best Book of 2010

The debate is ages old: Where does language come from? Is it an artifact of our culture or written in our very DNA? In recent years, the leading linguists have seemingly settled the issue: all languages are fundamentally the same and the particular language we speak does not shape our thinking in any significant way. Guy Deutscher says they're wrong. From Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, and through a strange and dazzling history of the color blue, Deutscher argues that our mother tongues do indeed shape our experiences of the world. Audacious, delightful, and provocative, Through the Language Glass is destined to become a classic of intellectual discovery.

After seeing the movie “Arrival” which became an instant favorite, I bought this book to explore one of the core ideas in that movie and was not disappointed. “Languages differ especially in what they must convey and not what they may convey,” explained anthropologist Franz Boas (pg 151). 

So the Amazonian tribe, the Matses, who must convey exactly when and where they learned any piece of information is a great example of this. From colors to genders, this book explores how language alters worldview. 

-Aaron

WHITE MAN'S BURDEN: WHY THE WE

WHITE MAN'S BURDEN: WHY THE WE

$19.00
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From one of the world's best-known development economists--an excoriating attack on the tragic hubris of the West's efforts to improve the lot of the so-called developing world

In his previous book, The Elusive Quest for Growth, William Easterly criticized the utter ineffectiveness of Western organizations to mitigate global poverty, and he was promptly fired by his then-employer, the World Bank. The White Man's Burden is his widely anticipated counterpunch--a brilliant and blistering indictment of the West's economic policies for the world's poor. Sometimes angry, sometimes irreverent, but always clear-eyed and rigorous, Easterly argues that we in the West need to face our own history of ineptitude and draw the proper conclusions, especially at a time when the question of our ability to transplant Western institutions has become one of the most pressing issues we face.