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Thursday, April 19 2012

Squeeze This!: A Cultural History of the Accordion in America

No other instrument has witnessed such a dramatic rise to popularity -- and precipitous decline -- as the accordion. Squeeze This! is the first history of the piano accordion and the first book-length study of the accordion as a uniquely American musical and cultural phenomenon.


Thursday, April 12 2012

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

A chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world.


Thursday, April 5 2012

A Dot, A Messenger, An Icon: An “A to Z” Conversation with Paul Kelly

If Paul Kelly were an American, he'd be regarded as the States' premiere Americana songwriter. He'd be the king of Austin, or Nashville's ruling prince. But Kelly was born in Adelaide, and often places the aforementioned universal themes amidst Australian locales and history.


The Story of English in 100 Words

English language expert David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.


Thursday, March 29 2012

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.


Thursday, March 22 2012

Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music

Henry Mancini has sold 30 million albums and won four Oscars and 20 Grammy awards. Through Mancini, mere background music in movies became part of pop culture -- an expression of sophistication and wit with a modern sense of cool and a lasting lyricism that has not dated.


Thursday, March 15 2012

Textbook Oppositions and Alternatives: Re-Thinking the Role of Race in ‘60s Rock and Soul Music

Black rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Arthur Lee (Love), as well as white soul musicians in the racially integrated bands playing on recordings of singers like Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, existed during the '60s. So why is rock and soul so black and white?


Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents

This reprint of the cult classic memoir, based on Ellen Ullman’s early years as a computer programmer, reaffirms the reach and relevance of her thoughts on technology and creativity. Her insight is also foresight, and her story remains immediate, critical – and very entertaining.


Thursday, March 8 2012

Talk About Getting Lost In a Book: Our Favorite Fiction of 2011

Read this book, pass it on to those who deserve it, and be thankful that the world contains artists like...


Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times

Four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrate how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how such musical crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.


Sunday, March 4 2012

20 Questions: Ellen Ullman

Technophile, humanist and storyteller Ellen Ullman is touring for her latest, By Blood. The cult classic Close to the Machine and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, The Bug, are enjoying a resurgence, as well. From the sterile environs of an airport terminal, Ullman recalls a glorious range of artists and intellectuals (and the work they have produced) that have shaped her.


Thursday, March 1 2012

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness

From gospel to soul, funk to freestyle, Kevin Young sifts through the shadows, the bootleg, the remix, the grey areas of our history, literature, and music.


Sunday, February 26 2012

Learning From Vampires: High Stakes Vampire Literature

What does society's fascination with vampire tales tell us about men, women and relationships? It's time to take one more look.


Thursday, February 23 2012

The Best Non-Fiction of 2011

Books have a long shelf-life. A loved book may outlast its original owner by a generation – or more -- if well cared for. With that in mind, we recall our best loved books of 2011 here, well into 2012. Better late than never...


Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘The Last Holiday’

This posthumous memoir provides Scott-Heron’s keen insights into the music industry, the civil rights movement, modern America, governmental hypocrisy, and our wider place in the world.


Wednesday, February 22 2012

Charles Dickens 200: Great Expectations: Bright Hope and Dark Resignation

Where we are now, in 2012, is on a darker plain especially for the large "Underclass". Perhaps Dickens can light our way?


Sunday, February 19 2012

20 Questions: Gail Simmons

Eat. Write. Travel. Cook. Four little words, an amuse-bouche in the great feast that is food for thought, if you will, that would lead Gail Simmons to her prestigious roles with Food & Wine Magazine, Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts.


Thursday, February 16 2012

The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society

The usefulness of physical money -- to say nothing of its value -- is coming under fire as never before. Told with verve and wit, this book explores an aspect of our daily lives so fundamental that we rarely stop to think about it. You’ll never look at a dollar bill the same again.


Thursday, February 9 2012

Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro: A Rock Star’s Midlife Crisis or Valid Literature?

Regardless how history comes to look Nick Cave's The Death of Bunny Munro, in the context of Cave’s career, it stands alone as the purest distillation of his artistry -- a poetic novel with Cave’s inimitable brand of the grotesque, absurd and often comic nature of humanity.


Wednesday, February 1 2012

Carole E. Barrowman’s Authorial Journey to Hollow Earth

Hollow Earth isn’t just any book. It may be the Next Big Thing in young adult (YA) literature. It’s cover proclaims that “Imagination can be a dangerous thing,” but fans of John and Carole E. Barrowman are more than willing to take that risk.


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