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Recommended Reading: January 2010

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.







Julian Burnside

WordwatchingWe live in a torrent of words — from radio and television, books and newspapers, and now from the internet. But, as Julian Burnside reminds us in this new edition of the bestselling Wordwatching, words are a source both of pleasure and power, and can be deployed for good or for ill.

Some of these essays explore curiosities in odd corners of the language simply to remind us of the extraordinary richness of the English language. Other pieces use small matters of language to illustrate larger processes of cultural borrowing and change. Burnside’s musings remind us that we should not be alarmed at the instability of the language; rather, we should see its wanton borrowings as a source of its strength and vitality.

Wordwatching also reminds us of the need to be aware of the misuse of language in the service of sinister purposes — whether political, ideological, social, or personal. An ear well tuned to the nuances of vocabulary inoculates the hearer against this epidemic of deception.

With nine new essays, dealing with subjects as diverse as deadlines, fancy words, the problems with ‘issue’, odd sounds, oxymorons, and the fallacy of ‘wading in’, this revised and expanded edition of Wordwatching is a fascinating demonstration of the power and the pleasure of the English language.




The Necessary Revolution
Peter Senge
Allen and Unwin

Necessary_RevolutioinA revolution is underway, and spreading fast. The Industrial Age Bubble - the 'take, make, waste' way of thinking that has dominated the developed world for the past 200 years is coming to an end. Pragmatic and powerful, today's most innovative leaders know that revolutionary changes in the way we live and work are necessary for their, and our, survival.

Full of inspiring stories about tackling social and environmental problems around the globe, The Necessary Revolution reveals how ordinary people at every level are transforming their businesses and communities. Case studies include Coca Cola, BP, Sony Europe, Nike, Ford Motors, Costco, Starbucks, Unilever and more.

The Necessary Revolution contains a wealth of strategies to help everyone, regardless of role or title, respond effectively to the greatest challenge of our time. It is destined to become the essential 'green' handbook for those who understands the need to act now to ensure long term survival and success.




Shrinking the World
John Freeman
Text Publishing

Shrinking_the_worldThe first email was sent less than forty years ago; by 2011 there will be 3.2 billion users.

The flood of messages is ceaseless. As the toll of email mounts, reducing our time for leisure and contemplation, and separating us from each other in the lonely battle with the inbox, Freeman enters a plea for communication that is more selective and nuanced and, above all, more sociable.

Drawing on the research of linguists, scientists, critics and philosophers, Freeman’s history of correspondence reveals how changing methods of communication have eroded the great distances between us. He shows how the telegram, newspapers, synchronised time and railway networks have changed everything from the nature of military intelligence to the messages we write to loved ones.

From carrier pigeon to computer mouse, this fascinating and engaging history of how we communicate will make you view your inbox in a whole new light.




Cool Capitalism
Jim McGuigan
Palgrave Macmillan

Cool_CapitalismThomas Frank coined the term 'the conquest of cool'. This book shows how this conquest is at the heart of the dynamics of contemporary capitalism.Jim McGuigan argues that 'cool capitalism' incorporates disaffection into capitalism itself, absorbing rebellion and thereby neutralising opposition to the present system of culture and society.McGuigan explores a huge variety of cultural examples, from the sleek images of mainstream advertising, to the fringes of artistic production, offering a vigourous critique of our understanding of subversion, resistance and counter-culturalism.

Has capitalism really colonised our planet? McGuigan shows that there is still some space left for rebellion against the seductive power of the free market economy.






Paul Mason
Palgrave Macmillan

 MeltdownMeltdown tells the story of the financial crash that destroyed America's investment banks, pushed the global economy towards a major recession, and began to undermine three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy. BBC journalist Paul Mason explored the roots of financial hubris, documenting the real world causes and consequences, from the Ford factory to Wall Street.

In response to this challenge to the reigning ideology, he outlines a new era of hyper-regulated capitalism that could emerge from the wreckage.







FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science: A handbook for the scientifically perplexed
Dr Ray Green and Niall Shanks
University Press of America

animals_in_scienceThis book offers readers that are not extensively educated in science a balanced critique of the practice of using animals in scientific research. It is about the scientific questions and issues surrounding the use of animals in general areas of science, rather than focusing on the much-discussed ethical issues.

Greek and Shanks explain the scientific merits of using animals in specific areas and criticize the use of animals in areas of science where animal models simply cannot achieve the researcher's goal.

Though this topic can appear daunting, Greek and Shanks have explained the concepts in easy-to-understand prose, avoiding jargon to make the discussion accessible to those that are not members of the scientific community.




Books selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.






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