Have You Read This?

Bee's Knees Books




By Pramod K.Nayar
Published: 2014
ISBN: 9780745662411

This timely book examines the rise of posthumanism as both a material condition and a developing philosophical-ethical project in the age of cloning, gene engineering, organ transplants and implants.

Nayar first maps the political and philosophical critiques of traditional humanism, revealing its exclusionary and ‘speciesist’ politics that position the human as a distinctive and dominant life form. He then contextualizes the posthumanist vision which, drawing upon biomedical, engineering and techno-scientific studies, concludes that human consciousness is shaped by its co-evolution with other life forms, and our human form inescapably influenced by tools and technology. Finally the book explores posthumanism’s roots in disability studies, animal studies and bioethics to underscore the constructed nature of ‘normalcy’ in bodies, and the singularity of species and life itself.

As this book powerfully demonstrates, posthumanism marks a radical reassessment of the human as constituted by symbiosis, assimilation, difference and dependence upon and with other species. Mapping the terrain of these far-reaching debates, Posthumanism will be an invaluable companion to students of cultural studies and modern and contemporary literature.

How to Be a Woman



How to Be a Woman

By Caitlin Moran

Published June 16th 2011 by Ebury Press
ISBN 0091940737 (ISBN13: 9780091940737)
edition language English
Caitlin Moran (born Catherine Elizabeth Moran; 5 April 1975) is an English broadcaster, TV critic and columnist at The Times, where she writes three columns a week: one for the Saturday Magazine, a TV review column, and the satirical Friday column “Celebrity Watch”. Moran is British Press Awards (BPA) Columnist of the Year for 2010, and both BPA Critic of the Year 2011, and Interviewer of the Year 2011.
“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”
― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them?

Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from the riot of adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother. With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth—whether it’s about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or children—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism. With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.


100 of the Worst Ideas in History


100 of the Worst Ideas in History: Humanity’s Thundering Brainstorms Turned Blundering Brain Farts

By Michael N. Smith and Eric Kasum

Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc
ISBN: 1402293917
288 pages
24.8 MB

What were they thinking?

Ever since Adam snacked on the forbidden fruit and was chased naked out of the Garden of Eden, mankind has bitten off a bevy of bad ideas.

From skinny-dipping Presidents to toxic tooth fillings to singing pop stars who can’t carry a tune, 100 of the Worst Ideas in History is a celebration of humanity’s historical—and often hysterical—missteps that have started wars, sunk countries, wrecked companies, scuttled careers, lost millions, and even endangered the Earth.

• How a confused chauffeur helped start World War I
• Who turned down the greatest product placement opportunity in Hollywood history
• How a Chicago White Sox game helped hasten the demise of disco
• The toad that nearly ate Australia
• The most dangerous children’s game ever invented
• And so much more (of so much less!)

Spanning politics, pop culture, fashion, sports, technology, and more, this irreverent and witty book is packed with fun photos and sidebars, tracing how these thundering brainstorms turned into blundering brain farts-and the astonishing impacts our faux pas and foibles still have on us today.

Business Adventures


Business Adventures
By John Brooks
Publisher: Open Road Media (September 9, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1497644895
ISBN-13: 978-1497644892
From Wall Street to Main Street, John Brooks, longtime contributor to the New Yorker, brings to life in vivid fashion twelve classic and timeless tales of corporate and financial life in America

What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at GE and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.

Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. John Brooks’s insightful reportage is so full of personality and critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm, or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history repeats itself.

Five additional stories on equally fascinating subjects round out this wonderful collection that will both entertain and inform readers . . . Business Adventures is truly financial journalism at its liveliest and best.

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator

by Randall Stross

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591846587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591846581

A behind-the-scenes look at how tomorrow’s hottest startups are being primed for greatness

Investment firm Y Combinator is the most sought-after home for startups in Silicon Valley. Twice a year, it funds dozens of just-founded startups and provides three months of guidance from Paul Graham, YC’s impresario, and his partners. Receiving an offer from YC creates the opportunity of a lifetime.

Acclaimed journalist Randall Stross was granted unprecedented access to Y Combinator, enabling a unique inside tour of the world of software startups. Over the course of a summer, we watch as a group of founders scramble to make something people want.

This is the definitive story of a seismic shift in the business world, in which coding skill trumps experience, undergraduates confidently take on Goliaths, and investors fall in love.


“Y Combinator is a national treasure, a Silicon Valley seed fund that is mass-producing new startups. Randall Stross’s behind-the-scenes look at YC offers a rare glimpse into what it really takes to conceive an idea and get it to market as quickly as possible. The Launch Pad is a must-read for anyone interested in the realities of modern entrepreneurship.”
—Eric Ries, author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup
“The Launch Pad is an intimate look at the white-hot center of the new Silicon Valley star tup ecosystem. Stross’s account of the best new entrepreneurs and the exciting companies they’re building at startup schools is a great read for founders and would-be founders alike.”
—Marc Andreessen, cofounder, Andreessen Horowitz

About the Author

Randall Stross writes the “Digital Domain” column for the New York Times and is a professor of business at San Jose State University. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including eBoys, Planet Google, and The Wizard of Menlo Park. He has a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University.

The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resource Quest is Reshaping the World


The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resource Quest is Reshaping the World
By Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres (Author), Sophal Ear (Author) 

Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Routledge (January 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1857436865
ISBN-13: 978-1857436860

This volume provides an up to date and accessible examination of China’s global search for resources, focusing primarily on oil. This focus provides a powerful rationale to explain China’s actions overseas, as it impacts on economic, energy and foreign policies.

A strong feature of the book is a comprehensive examination of geopolitical issues. Three country case studies (Angola, Brazil and Cambodia) are complemented by two chapters on opportunities and risks to China, and an examination as to how strategies are developed into tangible actions. This book also examines a number of overlapping debates regarding the varieties of capitalisms (autocratic vs. democratic), the urgent need for rebalancing as the world undergoes global crises, and the issues surrounding natural resources in the context of governance, liberal-oriented notions and poverty traps.
The book is aimed at general as well as specialized readers and examines the subject in relation to international affairs, especially how the geopolitics of scarcity is driving states to be tenser, more observant of each other, and more acute to foreign initiatives.
“The Hungry Dragon arrives at a perfect time. Burgos and Ear, already authorities on China’s appetite for resources across the world in journals as varied as Asian Survey, Geopolitics and the Journal of Contemporary China, have written a book of incredible scope and breadth. The Hungry Dragon is the culmination of their scholarly efforts and indispensable for students and scholars of China and energy security alike. If you want to know about China’s energy security strategy and how the rest of the world, but most importantly America, should react, read this book!” - Wei Liang, Monterey Institute of International Studies and co-editor, China and Global Trade Governance: China’s Ten-Year Experience in the World Trade Organization

“The dragon has awakened. Its appetite for energy and natural resources vastly exceed its internal supplies. This book examines the geopolitical ramifications of China’s quest for critical inputs. Given the increasing interconnectedness of global economies and the inherent limits of energy and natural resources, this book should be on your reading list. The authors write with fluid style and frame the key elements that pertain to this seminally important issue that applies to everyone, especially energy-gluttonous Americans who occupy 5% of the world population but consume 25% of world energy.” - Jack Odle, Distinguished Professor, North Carolina State University

“Despite much alarmism about China’s rise and global resource shortages, this well constructed volume suggests that fears of disruptions are misplaced. While the global economy is changing rapidly, China’s growing confidence in international affairs means that it’s rise is both peaceful and transformative. A very useful corrective to simplistic alarmism, this volume deserves a wide readership among both development and international relations scholars and policy makers.”- Simon Dalby, CIGI chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change, Balsillie School of International Affairs.

“The Chinese empire has reawakened! The hungry dragon provides an outstanding vision of China’s quest to engross oil and other natural resources. Whether you are an expert in energy economics, international trade or national security, or if you simply have an interest on any of these areas, this book is a must read. The authors are recognized scholars with an excellent track record in their respective areas of research. Their experience and interesting writing style make this a very distinctive piece of work.” - Dr Marco A. Palma, Associate Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M University

About the Authors
Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres works at the University of South Alabama and is a consultant specializing in international development and foreign affairs. From 2007 to 2012 he was based in Rome, Italy, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He lives in Mobile with his wife.
Sophal Ear is an Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press).

The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence


The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence
By Susanna B. Hecht (Editor), Kathleen D. Morrison (Editor), Christine Padoch (Editor) 

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0226322661
ISBN-13: 978-0226322667

Forests are in decline, and the threats these outposts of nature face—including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation—are the result of human culture. Or are they? This volume calls these assumptions into question, revealing forests’ past, present, and future conditions to be the joint products of a host of natural and cultural forces. Moreover, in many cases the coalescence of these forces—from local ecologies to competing knowledge systems—has masked a significant contemporary trend of woodland resurgence, even in the forests of the tropics.
Focusing on the history and current use of woodlands from India to the Amazon, The Social Lives of Forests attempts to build a coherent view of forests sited at the nexus of nature, culture, and development. With chapters covering the effects of human activities on succession patterns in now-protected Costa Rican forests; the intersection of gender and knowledge in African shea nut tree markets; and even the unexpectedly rich urban woodlands of Chicago, this book explores forests as places of significant human action, with complex institutions, ecologies, and economies that have transformed these landscapes in the past and continue to shape them today. From rain forests to timber farms, the face of forests—how we define, understand, and maintain them—is changing.
“The Social Lives of Forests offers sophisticated, positive perspectives on forests around the world. The authors’ stimulating ideas address important questions of forest dynamics and management. They also apply to the creation of working landscapes that offer space for people and nature everywhere.”(Tobias Plieninger Science)

“A new book of essays, by academics from several nations, . . . attempts to reverse the conventional wisdom about the state of the world’s forests. The Social Lives of Forests . . . captures an emergent trend in research: that while deforestation does occur, there is roughly as much reforestation occurring. While the writers say more work needs to be done, they say that so far, the evidence either for or against net deforestation is inconclusive. This, of course, has implications for forestry and agricultural policy.”(Rob McKenzie National (UAE))

“The Social Lives of Forests should have a strong and positive influence on the fields of ecology, conservation, environmental history, and many social sciences. A clear message emerges that established views and conservation approaches based on seeing people as separate from nature—or viewing the land as divided into the pristine and wild versus the humanized and despoiled—are erroneous and doomed to generate unsuccessful policies and approaches to stewardship. These are not novel ideas, but this volume is unusual and valuable in making a forceful case for their validity based on work from many different landscapes and cultures and a great diversity of environmental and historical conditions.”(David R. Foster director of the Harvard Forest, Harvard University)

“Forests are complex ecological entities, but they are also cultural, historical, political, and social, all at once. Above all, say the contributors to this excellent volume, forests are working landscapes with multiple lives and livelihoods. The Social Lives of Forests brings together a posse of the world’s leading scholars of forests who challenge us to think about trees and people in entirely new ways. This book is an exhilarating and intellectually capacious exploration of forests as biomes and as artifacts. A bravura piece of social science scholarship.”(Michael Watts University of California, Berkeley)

“Very engaging. The Social Lives of Forests offers a must-read, highly interdisciplinary perspective yielding fresh, rich insight and incisive accounts of a global swath of sustainability issues and politics surrounding forests and their current and future management, markets, policies, cultures, and conservation along with their incredible past histories. A joy.”(Karl Zimmerer Pennsylvania State University and editor of “Globalization and New Geographies)

“An all-too-uncommon union of the hard and social sciences, The Social Lives of Forests is a groundbreaking work that reframes both the history of the world’s forest lands and the debate over their future. Stressing the centuries-long human role in the creation and maintenance of wooded landscapes, and their relation to both rural and urban life in the globalized world of today and in the past, the articles in this book collectively provide a new way to think about forest ecosystems and their inhabitants. This is a book that will surprise and inform historians, ecologists, foresters, environmentalists—and anyone who cares about the forests around us.”(Charles C. Mann author of “1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus”)

About the Authors/Editors
Susanna B. Hecht is professor in the Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Scramble for the Amazon and the “Lost Paradise” of Euclides da Cunha. She lives in Topanga, CA. Kathleen D. Morrison is the Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College at the University of Chicago. She is the author or editor of several volumes, including Daroji Valley: Landscape History, Place, and the Making of a Dryland Reservoir System. She lives in Chicago. Christine Padoch is the director of livelihoods research at the Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia. She lives in Bogor, Indonesia.

‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America

‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America

By Naomi Schaefer Riley

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199873747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199873746

In the last decade, 45% of all marriages in the U.S. were between people of different faiths. The rapidly growing number of mixed-faith families has become a source of hope, encouraging openness and tolerance among religious communities that historically have been insular and suspicious of other faiths.

Yet as Naomi Schaefer Riley demonstrates in ‘Til Faith Do Us Part, what is good for society as a whole often proves difficult for individual families: interfaith couples, Riley shows, are less happy than others and certain combinations of religions are more likely to lead to divorce. Drawing on in-depth interviews with married and once-married couples, clergy, counselors, sociologists, and others, Riley shows that many people enter into interfaith marriages without much consideration of the fundamental spiritual, doctrinal, and practical issues that divide them. Couples tend to marry in their twenties and thirties, a time when religion diminishes in importance, only to return to faith as they grow older and raise children, suffer the loss of a parent, or experience other major life challenges. Riley suggests that a devotion to diversity as well as to a romantic ideal blinds many interfaith couples to potential future problems. Even when they recognize deeply held differences, couples believe that love conquers all. As a result, they fail to ask the necessary questions about how they will reconcile their divergent worldviews-about raising children, celebrating holidays, interacting with extended families, and more. An obsession with tolerance at all costs, Riley argues, has made discussing the problems of interfaith marriage taboo.

‘Til Faith Do Us Part is a fascinating exploration of the promise and peril of interfaith marriage today. It will be required reading not only for interfaith couples or anyone considering interfaith marriage, but for all those interested in learning more about this significant, yet understudied phenomenon and the impact it is having on America.


“Riley, a former editor at The Wall Street Journal, is neither a cheerleader nor a scold. Her book functions more as a flashing yellow light at an intersection: slow down, be alert–pay attention to what serious differences may mean to a close relationship. She brings a careful, nuanced and thoughtful approach to an often contentious subject. And she adds considerable value by including results of a poll she commissioned to survey 2,450 Americans on the subject of interfaith marriage.” –Gustav Niebuhr,

“The book is chock-full of fascinating statistics (‘Jews are the most likely and Mormons are the least likely to marry members of other faiths’), but at its heart is a cautionary thesis: the growing number of interfaith couples don’t know what they’re getting into…”
–Stanley Fish, The New York Times

“Engaging and incisive account–combining clear-eyed analysis with polling data and the details of more than a hundred interviews…” –W. Bradford Wilcox, The Wall Street Journal 

“Naomi Schaefer Riley’s well-researched and exceedingly well-written book…is a great
gift to clergy and an even greater challenge to them. It ought to be required reading for anyone who attempts interfaith matrimony, and it’s a crucial resource for anyone seeking to minister to those who contemplate or practice interfaith marriage.”
–William H. Willimon,

“Riley’s book is a very readable blend of survey data (she commissioned a nationwide Interfaith Marriage Survey with the help of the University of Notre Dame’s David Campbell) and anecdotes.” –John Turner, Patheos

”Growth in the number of inter-faith marriages in the U.S. has been a major trend in recent decades, yet few have paid it much attention.`Til Faith Do Us Part redresses that oversight, exploring the meaning and implications, advantages and realistic difficulties of people of different faiths uniting in marriage. Naomi Schaefer Riley is a sociologist’s journalist, and more. She takes empirical data seriously, is balanced and fair-minded, and writes superbly. I recommend this book most highly.”
–Christian Smith, author of Lost in Transition: the Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

”Almost half of all Americans who marry nowadays marry people not of their own faith. In this informative and well-written volume, Naomi Schaefer Riley explores this phenomenon from an inter-religious perspective. Her penetrating interviews and eye-opening statistics paint a fresh portrait of contemporary intermarriage and how it will shape America’s future.”
-Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History

“Interfaith marriage became steadily more common in America throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Nationally speaking, these marriages have eased interfaith tensions and increased religious tolerance, producing a country that is at once remarkably religious and remarkably tolerant. But in the lives of individuals the blessings of interfaith marriage are more mixed. ‘Til Faith Do Us Part brilliantly highlights the rich complexities and compromises and difficult tradeoffs that intermarriage entails. It is a profoundly important book-a must-read for the growing majority of Americans living interfaith lives.”
–Robert D. Putnam, co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

“Having been an atheist married to a Christian, I know the turmoil that a spiritual mismatch can create in marriage. Here’s a well-researched book that offers invaluable insights into this important yet seldom discussed topic.”
–Lee Strobel, coauthor of Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage

About the Author

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a former Wall Street Journal editor and writer whose work focuses on higher education, religion, philanthropy, and culture. She is the author of God on the Quad and The Faculty Lounges. 

The Oldest Living Things in the World




The Oldest Living Things in the World
By Rachel Sussman (Author), Carl Zimmer (Contributor), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Contributor) 

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 022605750X
ISBN-13: 978-0226057507

The Oldest Living Things in the World is an epic journey through time and space. Over the past decade, artist Rachel Sussman has researched, worked with biologists, and traveled the world to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning and unique visual collection of ancient organisms unlike anything that has been created in the arts or sciences before, insightfully and accessibly narrated by Sussman along the way.
Her work is both timeless and timely, and spans disciplines, continents, and millennia. It is underscored by an innate environmentalism and driven by Sussman’s relentless curiosity. She begins at “year zero,” and looks back from there, photographing the past in the present. These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah. Sussman journeyed to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the beginnings of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to capture a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind. Her portraits reveal the living history of our planet—and what we stand to lose in the future. These ancient survivors have weathered millennia in some of the world’s most extreme environments, yet climate change and human encroachment have put many of them in danger. Two of her subjects have already met with untimely deaths by human hands.
Alongside the photographs, Sussman relays fascinating – and sometimes harrowing – tales of her global adventures tracking down her subjects and shares insights from the scientists who research them. The oldest living things in the world are a record and celebration of the past, a call to action in the present, and a barometer of our future.
“Something astounding happens when Rachel Sussman photographs the most ancient organisms to be found across our planet. A fraction of a second of time in her photographic exposures animates forms that have evolved across nature’s deep time to create a profound experience of being alive. Sussman’s ten-year investigation of the symbols of the earth’s ecology is rigorous and exploratory, realized with such generosity to the reader and her ambitions make an impossibly vast subject both felt and understood.”(Charlotte Cotton, author of The Photograph as Contemporary Art)

“The Oldest Living Things in the World serves us the humbling profundity and pathos of things that live almost forever. We see our abstract selves and feel the terrible bludgeon of that which we cannot have and are fated only to behold. Rachel Sussman brings you to the place where science, beauty, and eternity meet.”(Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine)

“The Oldest Living Things in the World adds in dramatic manner a fascinating new perspective—literally, dinosaurs—of the living world around us.”(Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University)

“Contemplate life through the time scale of The Oldest Living Things, and you’ll find your mind expanded and heart inspired. I’m thrilled to see Rachel’s powerful TED talk develop and deepen into this captivating book. “(Chris Anderson, TED curator)

“Longevity means continuity. Long-lived people connect generations for us. Really long-lived organisms, like the ones Sussman has magnificently collected photographically, connect millennia. They put all of human history in living context. And as Sussman shows, they are everywhere on Earth. This book embodies the Long Now and the Big Here.”(Stewart Brand, cofounder, The Long Now Foundation)

“I am in awe—awe staring at my planet’s old sages, who know the way things were, will be, and should be—awe when I appreciate Rachel Sussman’s epic quest to round them all up and her daring in stealing their soul with her photographs.”(Paola Antonelli, senior curator, Museum of Modern Art)

“There’s a sense of wonder imbued in these photographs of organisms that seem to be a physical record of time, but there’s also a call to action. Many of these subjects of Sussman’s portraits are under threat from habitat loss or climate change or simple human idiocy.”(Time)

“Beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life. With an artist’s gift for ‘aesthetic force’ and a scientist’s rigorous respect for truth, Sussman straddles a multitude of worlds as she travels across space and time to unearth Earth’s greatest stories of resilience, stories of tragedy and triumph, past and future, but above all stories that humble our human lives.”(Brain Pickings)

“The series, and now book, is part art, part science, and part travelogue, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Because whether you look at these as documentary photography or scientific snapshots of millennia-old species that are now being threatened by the looming specter of climate change, there’s something in this book for everyone.”(PetaPixel)

“A gorgeous book of stunning portraits which almost seem to capture the wise, wizened personalities of these scraggy pines, rippling sea grasses, and otherworldly mosses. Accompanying the photo are Sussman’s essays, which serve as both a scientific explainer and a captivating travelogue, transporting the reader to often freakishly remote locations on all seven continents. The book and its subjects are at once inspiring and terrifying—a testament to the resiliency of nature, of course, but also a reminder of its fragility.”(Gizmodo)

“Photographer Sussman has spent the past decade looking for the oldest things alive. Her search has led her to every continent, to specimens such as a 2,400-year-old fungus in Oregon to an ancient shrub in Tasmania (age: 43,600). She documents 30 of those organisms in her new book, The Oldest Living Things in the World. To find them, she enlisted the help of biologists and explorers—and even collaborated with the Polar Geospatial Center to get arctic satellite maps to reach a rare moss.”(Wall Street Journal)

“The Oldest Living Things in the World by contemporary artist Rachel Sussman features photographs of 30 of the oldest continuously living organisms in the world. They’re a dry, scraggly lot, like 5,500-year-old, weather-worn Antarctic moss (first picture, below), and a 2,000-year-old, brittle-looking pafuri baobab tree in South Africa (second picture). Like the very oldest human beings, tucked away in nursing homes, the oldest plants tend to live in out of the way places, stolid in the desert or reproducing slowly beneath the permafrost. But unlike human beings, who fade away, these organisms quietly thrive, diligently repairing their aged molecules and stonewalling generations of pathogens. Most of the time these old things are an afterthought, but collected together, they begin to appear as the main event on earth.”(Boston Globe)

“Sussman has humbler, nobler designs: creating additional art and advocating for UNESCO recognition for all ancient organisms. God bless her. We need more artists, musicians, dancers, and poets to give humanistic expression to the pursuit of environmental knowledge. I wish major research institutions supported artist-in-residence programs alongside labs. Sussman believes that ‘[t]he best art and science projects enhance and extend each other, bringing something new to both; they are not about simply making the research pretty, or making artworks using novel scientific tools.’ By this measure, The Oldest Living Things in the World is a work for the ages.”(Science)

“Anyone who sees Sussman’s images will be struck by their beauty, but the photos also have the power to make one ponder our fate, and the planet’s.”(San Francisco Chronicle)

“At a time when science is increasingly specialized, her artist’s vision transcends the divides between disciplines, and she highlights the importance of analyzing longevity across species as a way of understanding our world.”
(Boston Globe)

“The photos are beautiful, and even more so when you learn how ancient each living thing is. Her youngest subjects are 2,000 years old (such as brain coral she found in Tobago, and a strange exotic plant called welwitschia spotted in Namibia), and these are mere toddlers compared to their elders, like the 80,000-year-old aspen trees from Utah (pictured above) and the 400,000-600,000 year-old continually living Siberian bacteria! A photography book filled only with these incredible miracles of nature would have certainly made for a gem to be displayed. But Sussman surprised me with what most coffee table books don’t do – she told an engaging story, filled with humor, intrigue, and fascinating science, based on her experience over the last 10 years researching, traveling and photographing this book. If Oldest Living Things contained no photos, her story would still easily stand on its own as a captivating memoir … or an engaging science textbook … or both, actually.”
(Boing Boing)

About the Author
Rachel Sussman is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn. Her photographs and writing have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, and NPR’s Picture Show. She has spoken on the TED main stage and at the Long Now Foundation, is a MacDowell Colony and NYFA Fellow and is a trained member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and Europe, and acquired for museum, university, corporate, and private collections. She is fiscally sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council.

The Mockingbird Next Door

The Mockingbird Next Door

By Marja Mills

Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594205191
ISBN-13: 978-1594205194

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.

In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.


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