Beach Bound Reading List

This week, I’ll be heading down to sunny Florida for vacation- rather, I should say driving down to sunny Florida- so of course I will be bringing my tablet and will need to buy some books for the (very long) drive down.

Here are some fun reads for the summer months whether you’re a beach bum or bumming around the house.

1. First, take some time and read up on some novels by Jane Austen, then pick up Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Suk-Young Chwe

Game theory–the study of how people make choices while interacting with others–is one of the most popular technical approaches in social science today. But as Michael Chwe reveals in his insightful new book, Jane Austen explored game theory’s core ideas in her six novels roughly two hundred years ago. Jane Austen, Game Theorist shows how this beloved writer theorized choice and preferences, prized strategic thinking, argued that jointly strategizing with a partner is the surest foundation for intimacy, and analyzed why superiors are often strategically clueless about inferiors. With a diverse range of literature and folktales, this book illustrates the wide relevance of game theory and how, fundamentally, we are all strategic thinkers.

Although game theory’s mathematical development began in the Cold War 1950s, Chwe finds that game theory has earlier subversive historical roots in Austen’s novels and in “folk game theory” traditions, including African American folktales. Chwe makes the case that these literary forebears are game theory’s true scientific predecessors. He considers how Austen in particular analyzed “cluelessness”–the conspicuous absence of strategic thinking–and how her sharp observations apply to a variety of situations, including U.S. military blunders in Iraq and Vietnam.

Jane Austen, Game Theorist brings together the study of literature and social science in an original and surprising way.

2. Odd Couples by Daphne J. Fairbairn- Because nothing says beach reading like a book with two seals on the cover. Also, animals are cool.

While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can’t compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae–even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. From the fields of Spain to the deep oceans, evolutionary biologist Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristics–in size, behavior, ecology, and life history–that exist in these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn describes how male great bustards aggressively compete to display their gorgeous plumage and large physiques to watching, choosey females. She investigates why female elephant seals voluntarily live in harems where they are harassed constantly by eager males. And she reveals why dwarf male giant seadevils parasitically fuse to their giant female partners for life. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world.

Looking at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, Odd Couples sheds astonishing light on what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom.

 

3. A Glossary of Chickens by Gary J. Whitehead. Some poetry on the beach or while swaying in a hammock- picture perfect.

With skillful rhetoric and tempered lyricism, the poems in A Glossary of Chickens explore, in part, the struggle to understand the world through the symbolism of words. Like the hens of the title poem, Gary J. Whitehead’s lyrics root around in the earth searching for sustenance, cluck rather than crow, and possess a humble majesty.

Confronting subjects such as moral depravity, nature’s indifference, aging, illness, death, the tenacity of spirit, and the possibility of joy, the poems in this collection are accessible and controlled, musical and meditative, imagistic and richly figurative. They are informed by history, literature, and a deep interest in the natural world, touching on a wide range of subjects, from the Civil War and whale ships, to animals and insects. Two poems present biblical narratives, the story of Lot’s wife and an imagining of Noah in his old age. Other poems nod to favorite authors: one poem is in the voice of the character Babo, from Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, while another is a kind of prequel to Emily Dickinson’s “She rose to His Requirement.”

As inventive as they are observant, these memorable lyrics strive for revelation and provide their own revelations.

4. The Fairies Return Compiled by Peter Davies- Revisit some classic fairy tales with a modern twist.

Originally issued in 1934, The Fairies Return was the first collection of modernist fairy tales ever published in England, and it marked the arrival of a satirical classic that has never been surpassed. Even today, this reimagining of fourteen timeless tales–from “Puss in Boots” to “Little Red Riding Hood”–is still fresh and bold, giving readers a world steeped not in once upon a time, but in the here and now.

Longtime favorites in this playfully subversive collection are retold for modern times and mature sensibilities. In “Jack the Giant Killer,” Jack becomes a trickster who must deliver England from the hands of three ogres after a failed government inquiry. “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” is set in contemporary London and the world of financial margins and mergers. In “The Little Mermaid,” a young Canadian girl with breathtaking swimming skills is lured by the temptations of Hollywood. And Cinderella becomes a spinster and holy woman, creating a very different happily ever after. These tales expose social anxieties, political corruption, predatory economic behavior, and destructive appetites even as they express hope for a better world. A new introduction from esteemed fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar puts the collection in context.

From stockbrokers and socialites to shopkeepers and writers, the characters in The Fairies Return face contemporary challenges while living in the magical world of fairy tales.

5. The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science by Neil Downie- For when you are at home and feel like doing actual activities on a summer day.

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science is Neil Downie’s biggest and most astounding compendium yet of science experiments you can do in your own kitchen or backyard using common household items. It may be the only book that encourages hands-on science learning through the use of high-velocity, air-driven carrots.

Downie, the undisputed maestro of Saturday science, here reveals important principles in physics, engineering, and chemistry through such marvels as the Helevator–a contraption that’s half helicopter, half elevator–and the Rocket Railroad, which pumps propellant up from its own track. The Riddle of the Sands demonstrates why some granular materials form steep cones when poured while others collapse in an avalanche. The Sunbeam Exploder creates a combustible delivery system out of sunlight, while the Red Hot Memory experiment shows you how to store data as heat. Want to learn to tell time using a knife and some butter? There’s a whole section devoted to exotic clocks and oscillators that teaches you how.

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science features more than seventy fun and astonishing experiments that range in difficulty from simple to more challenging. All of them are original, and all are guaranteed to work. Downie provides instructions for each one and explains the underlying science, and also presents experimental variations that readers will want to try.

Happy reading!

Cinco de Søren!

Happy 200th birthday to Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)! The nineteenth-century Danish philosopher is considered the father existentialism, as he held controversial and insightful contemporary views on life and theology. His unique concepts of love, religion, and self-awareness hold serious significance into the twenty first century, and remain central to discussions concerning not only philosophy and theology, but also fields such as social thought, psychology, contemporary aesthetics, and literary theory. Today, celebrate Søren by reading his own words (free chapter excerpts below!).

k7809Encounters with Kierkegaard: A Life as Seen by His Contemporaries
Collected, edited, and annotated by Bruce H. Kirmmse
Translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse and Virginia R. Laursen
This is a collection of every known eyewitness account of the great Danish thinker. Through many sharp observations of family members, friends and acquaintances, supporters and opponents, the life story of this elusive and remarkable figure comes into focus, offering a rare portrait of Kierkegaard the man.

Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography
Joakim Garff, Translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse
Read Chapter 1
“The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life–the intriguing secret of all the machinery–will be studied and studied.” Kierkegaard’s remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard’s life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Garff’s biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic j6784Dane who changed the course of intellectual history.

The Essential Kierkegaard
Edited by Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
This is the most comprehensive anthology of Søren Kierkegaard’s works ever assembled in English. The selections represent every major aspect of Kierkegaard’s extraordinary career. They reveal the powerful mix of philosophy, psychology, theology, and literary criticism that made Kierkegaard one of the most compelling writers of the nineteenth century and a shaping force in the twentieth. Together, the selections provide the best available introduction to Kierkegaard’s writings and show more completely than any other book why his work, in all its creativity, variety, and power, continues to speak so directly today to so many readers around the world.

k9988Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death (New in Paperback)
Søren Kierkegaard
Translated and with notes by Walter Lowrie, new introduction by Gordon Marino
Walter Lowrie’s classic, bestselling translation of Søren Kierkegaard’s most important and popular books remains unmatched for its readability and literary quality. Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death established Kierkegaard as the father of existentialism and have come to define his contribution to philosophy. Lowrie’s translation, first published in 1941 and later revised, was the first in English, and it has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to Kierkegaard’s thought.

The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology
Søren Kierkegaard
Edited and introduced by Thomas C. Oden
Check out the Introduction
Who might reasonably be nominated as the funniest philosopher of all time? With this anthology, Thomas Oden provisionally declares Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)–despite his enduring stereotype as the melancholy, despairing Dane–as, among philosophers, the most amusing. Kierkegaard not only explored comic perception to its depths but also practiced the art of comedy as astutely as any writer of his time. This k9987collection shows how his theory of comedy is integrated into his practice of comic perception, and how both are integral to his entire authorship.

The Seducer’s Diary (New in Paperback)
Søren Kierkegaard
Read Chapter 1
Edited & translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, foreword by John Updike
“In the vast literature of love, The Seducer’s Diary is an intricate curiosity–a feverishly intellectual attempt to reconstruct an erotic failure as a pedagogic success, a wound masked as a boast,” observes John Updike in his foreword to Søren Kierkegaard’s narrative. This work, a chapter from Kierkegaard’s first major volume, Either/Or, springs from his relationship with his fiancée, Regine Olsen.

A Short Life of Kierkegaard (New in Paperback)
Walter Lowrie
In this classic biography, the celebrated Kierkegaard translator Walter Lowrie presents a charming and warmly appreciative introduction to the life and work of the great Danish writer. Lowrie tells the story of Kierkegaard’s emotionally turbulent life with a keen sense of drama and an acute understanding of how his life shaped his thought. The result is a wonderfully informative and entertaining portrait of one of the most important thinkers of the past two centuries. This edition also includes Lowrie’s wry essay “How Kierkegaard Got into English,” which tells the improbable story of how Lowrie became one of Kierkegaard’s principal English translators despite not learning Danish until he was in his 60s, as well as a new introduction by Kierkegaard scholar Alastair Hannay.

The Quotable Kierkegaardk10061
Edited by Gordon Marino
Be sure to keep an eye out for this anticipated collection of quotes (October 2013). Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations (“Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward“) and obscure ones (“Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves’ clothing but inwardly are sheep–i.e., the phrasemongers”). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said, “my grief is my castle,” but who also taught that “the best defense against hypocrisy is love.” Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers.

Be sure to check out our two PUP Kierkegaard series Kierkegaard’s Writings and Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks.

HP & PUP: Hufflepuff’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Hufflepuff house. Hufflepuffs don’t really get too much attention; their only notable student was Cedric Diggory who was killed by He-Who-Can’t-Be-Named. Yet, Hufflepuffs value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play making them interested in some of our books about art and overall well-being.

1. No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth Wisse- This book is a perfect balance of scholarly and funny.

Humor is the most celebrated of all Jewish responses to modernity. In this book, Ruth Wisse evokes and applauds the genius of spontaneous Jewish joking–as well as the brilliance of comic masterworks by writers like Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Philip Roth. At the same time, Wisse draws attention to the precarious conditions that have called Jewish humor into being–and the price it may exact from its practitioners and audience.

Wisse broadly traces modern Jewish humor around the world, teasing out its implications as she explores memorable and telling examples from German, Yiddish, English, Russian, and Hebrew. Among other topics, the book looks at how Jewish humor channeled Jewish learning and wordsmanship into new avenues of creativity, brought relief to liberal non-Jews in repressive societies, and enriched popular culture in the United States.

Even as it invites readers to consider the pleasures and profits of Jewish humor, the book asks difficult but fascinating questions: Can the excess and extreme self-ridicule of Jewish humor go too far and backfire in the process? And is “leave ‘em laughing” the wisest motto for a people that others have intended to sweep off the stage of history?

2. The Importance of Being Civil: The Struggle for Political Decency by John A. Hall- Knowing of Hufflepuffs’ desire for cooperation, they would probably praise this book and recommend it to those at the Ministry of Magic.

Civility is desirable and possible, but can this fragile ideal be guaranteed? The Importance of Being Civil offers the most comprehensive look at the nature and advantages of civility, throughout history and in our world today. Esteemed sociologist John Hall expands our understanding of civility as related to larger social forces–including revolution, imperialism, capitalism, nationalism, and war–and the ways that such elements limit the potential for civility. Combining wide-ranging historical and comparative evidence with social and moral theory, Hall examines how the nature of civility has fluctuated in the last three centuries, how it became lost, and how it was reestablished in the twentieth century following the two world wars. He also considers why civility is currently breaking down and what can be done to mitigate this threat.

Paying particular attention to the importance of individualism, of rules allowing people to create their own identities, Hall offers a composite definition of civility. He focuses on the nature of agreeing to differ over many issues, the significance of fashion and consumption, the benefits of inclusive politics on the nature of identity, the greater ability of the United States in integrating immigrants in comparison to Europe, and the conditions likely to assure peace in international affairs. Hall factors in those who are opposed to civility, and the various methods with which states have destroyed civil and cooperative relations in society.

3. Why Philanthropy Matters: How the Wealthy Give, and What it Means for Our Economic Well-Being by Zoltan Acs- I could see a Hufflepuff doing good magical deeds for others and this book shows the necessity of such deeds as philanthropy.

Philanthropy has long been a distinctive feature of American culture, but its crucial role in the economic well-being of the nation–and the world–has remained largely unexplored. Why Philanthropy Matters takes an in-depth look at philanthropy as an underappreciated force in capitalism, measures its critical influence on the free-market system, and demonstrates how American philanthropy could serve as a model for the productive reinvestment of wealth in other countries. Factoring in philanthropic cycles that help balance the economy, Zoltan Acs offers a richer picture of capitalism, and a more accurate backdrop for considering policies that would promote the capitalist system for the good of all.

Examining the dynamics of American-style capitalism since the eighteenth century, Acs argues that philanthropy achieves three critical outcomes. It deals with the question of what to do with wealth–keep it, tax it, or give it away. It complements government in creating public goods. And, by focusing on education, science, and medicine, philanthropy has a positive effect on economic growth and productivity. Acs describes how individuals such as Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey have used their wealth to establish institutions and promote knowledge, and Acs shows how philanthropy has given an edge to capitalism by promoting vital forces–like university research–necessary for technological innovation, economic equality, and economic security. Philanthropy also serves as a guide for countries with less flexible capitalist institutions, and Acs makes the case for a larger, global philanthropic culture.

4. A Glossary of Chickens: Poems by Gary Whitehead- For some lighter reading, Hufflepuffs would certainly enjoy this collection of poetry.

With skillful rhetoric and tempered lyricism, the poems in A Glossary of Chickens explore, in part, the struggle to understand the world through the symbolism of words. Like the hens of the title poem, Gary J. Whitehead’s lyrics root around in the earth searching for sustenance, cluck rather than crow, and possess a humble majesty.

Confronting subjects such as moral depravity, nature’s indifference, aging, illness, death, the tenacity of spirit, and the possibility of joy, the poems in this collection are accessible and controlled, musical and meditative, imagistic and richly figurative. They are informed by history, literature, and a deep interest in the natural world, touching on a wide range of subjects, from the Civil War and whale ships, to animals and insects. Two poems present biblical narratives, the story of Lot’s wife and an imagining of Noah in his old age. Other poems nod to favorite authors: one poem is in the voice of the character Babo, from Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, while another is a kind of prequel to Emily Dickinson’s “She rose to His Requirement.”

As inventive as they are observant, these memorable lyrics strive for revelation and provide their own revelations.

Now that all four Hogwarts houses have their respective required reading lists, which house do you belong in?

HP & PUP: Slytherin’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Slytherin house. These students certainly get a bad rap for being evil with alum like Draco Malfoy and Lord Voldemort- oops, I said his name! However, I think the more redeeming quality of these students is that they are fierce in their quest for power. What would a Slytherin read?

1. How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders ed. Philip Freeman- Cicero’s ancient advice could help them climb to the top.

Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic’s highest office at a time when his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. Sound familiar? Cicero’s letters, speeches, and other writings are filled with timeless wisdom and practical insight about how to solve these and other problems of leadership and politics. How to Run a Country collects the best of these writings to provide an entertaining, common sense guide for modern leaders and citizens. This brief book, a sequel to How to Win an Election, gathers Cicero’s most perceptive thoughts on topics such as leadership, corruption, the balance of power, taxes, war, immigration, and the importance of compromise. These writings have influenced great leaders–including America’s Founding Fathers–for two thousand years, and they are just as instructive today as when they were first written.

Organized by topic and featuring lively new translations, the book also includes an introduction, headnotes, a glossary, suggestions for further reading, and an appendix containing the original Latin texts. The result is an enlightening introduction to some of the most enduring political wisdom of all time.

2. Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter–and More Unequal by Brink Lindsey- Lindsey explains the growing class divide and how the rich get richer and the poor are trapped in a life of poorness… though the more evil Slytherins may want to keep it this way.

What explains the growing class divide between the well educated and everybody else? Noted author Brink Lindsey, a senior scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, argues that it’s because economic expansion is creating an increasingly complex world in which only a minority with the right knowledge and skills–the right “human capital”–reap the majority of the economic rewards. The complexity of today’s economy is not only making these lucky elites richer–it is also making them smarter. As the economy makes ever-greater demands on their minds, the successful are making ever-greater investments in education and other ways of increasing their human capital, expanding their cognitive skills and leading them to still higher levels of success. But unfortunately, even as the rich are securely riding this virtuous cycle, the poor are trapped in a vicious one, as a lack of human capital leads to family breakdown, unemployment, dysfunction, and further erosion of knowledge and skills. In this brief, clear, and forthright eBook original, Lindsey shows how economic growth is creating unprecedented levels of human capital–and suggests how the huge benefits of this development can be spread beyond those who are already enjoying its rewards.

3. Niccolò Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography by Corrado Vivanti, Trans. by Simon MacMichael- This is the biography of the man behind The Prince which was about how a prince’s aims such as glory and survival can justify the immoral means to get those ends. (Okay, so maybe I think Slytherins are a bit corrupt…)

This is a colorful, comprehensive, and authoritative introduction to the life and work of the author of The Prince–Florentine statesman, writer, and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). Corrado Vivanti, who was one of the world’s leading Machiavelli scholars, provides an unparalleled intellectual biography that demonstrates the close connections between Machiavelli’s thought and his changing fortunes during the tumultuous Florentine republic and his subsequent exile. Vivanti’s concise account covers not only Machiavelli’s most famous works–The Prince, The Discourses, The Florentine Histories, and The Art of War–but also his letters, poetry, and comic dramas. While setting Machiavelli’s life against a dramatic backdrop of war, crisis, and diplomatic intrigue, the book also paints a vivid human portrait of the man.

Vivanti’s narrative breaks Machiavelli’s life into three parts: his career in a variety of government and diplomatic posts in the Florentine republic between 1494 and 1512, when the Medici returned from exile, seized power, and removed Machiavelli from office; the pivotal first part of his subsequent exile, when he formulated his most influential ideas and wrote The Prince; and the final decade of his life, when, having returned to Florence, he wrote The Art of War, The Florentine Histories, the satirical play The Mandrake, and other works. Along the way, the biography presents unmatched accounts of many intensely debated topics, including the precise nature of Machiavelli’s cultural and intellectual background, his republicanism, his political and personal relationship to the Medici, and his ideas about religion.

Keep coming back to get your reading list for your Hogwarts house!

HP & PUP: Ravenclaw’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Ravenclaw house. What would a Ravenclaw read? Chances are, a Ravenclaw would want to read everything due to their devotion to intelligence, knowledge, and wit. Here we have some books on philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and mathematics that would interest any Ravenclaw.

1. Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman- Ravenclaw students would sink their teeth into a biography about one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.

3-27 worldly philosopherWorldly Philosopher chronicles the times and writings of Albert O. Hirschman, one of the twentieth century’s most original and provocative thinkers. In this gripping biography, Jeremy Adelman tells the story of a man shaped by modern horrors and hopes, a worldly intellectual who fought for and wrote in defense of the values of tolerance and change.

Born in Berlin in 1915, Hirschman grew up amid the promise and turmoil of the Weimar era, but fled Germany when the Nazis seized power in 1933. Amid hardship and personal tragedy, he volunteered to fight against the fascists in Spain and helped many of Europe’s leading artists and intellectuals escape to America after France fell to Hitler. His intellectual career led him to Paris, London, and Trieste, and to academic appointments at Columbia, Harvard, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was an influential adviser to governments in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, as well as major foundations and the World Bank. Along the way, he wrote some of the most innovative and important books in economics, the social sciences, and the history of ideas.

Throughout, he remained committed to his belief that reform is possible, even in the darkest of times.

This is the first major account of Hirschman’s remarkable life, and a tale of the twentieth century as seen through the story of an astute and passionate observer. Adelman’s riveting narrative traces how Hirschman’s personal experiences shaped his unique intellectual perspective, and how his enduring legacy is one of hope, open-mindedness, and practical idealism.

2. The Golden Ticket: P, NP and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow- The Ravenclaw house would be most likely to produce the P-NP problem without magic.

3-25 Fortnow_GoldenTicketThe P-NP problem is the most important open problem in computer science, if not all of mathematics. Simply stated, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by computer can also be quickly solved by computer. The Golden Ticket provides a nontechnical introduction to P-NP, its rich history, and its algorithmic implications for everything we do with computers and beyond. In this informative and entertaining book, Lance Fortnow traces how the problem arose during the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and gives examples of the problem from a variety of disciplines, including economics, physics, and biology. He explores problems that capture the full difficulty of the P-NP dilemma, from discovering the shortest route through all the rides at Disney World to finding large groups of friends on Facebook. But difficulty also has its advantages. Hard problems allow us to safely conduct electronic commerce and maintain privacy in our online lives.

The Golden Ticket explores what we truly can and cannot achieve computationally, describing the benefits and unexpected challenges of this compelling problem.

3. Invisible in the Storm: The Role of Mathematics in Understanding Weather by Ian Roulstone & John Norbury- Their aptitude for mathematics would draw Ravenclaws to this book.

3-27 invisible in the stormInvisible in the Storm is the first book to recount the history, personalities, and ideas behind one of the greatest scientific successes of modern times–the use of mathematics in weather prediction. Although humans have tried to forecast weather for millennia, mathematical principles were used in meteorology only after the turn of the twentieth century. From the first proposal for using mathematics to predict weather, to the supercomputers that now process meteorological information gathered from satellites and weather stations, Ian Roulstone and John Norbury narrate the groundbreaking evolution of modern forecasting.

The authors begin with Vilhelm Bjerknes, a Norwegian physicist and meteorologist who in 1904 came up with a method now known as numerical weather prediction. Although his proposed calculations could not be implemented without computers, his early attempts, along with those of Lewis Fry Richardson, marked a turning point in atmospheric science. Roulstone and Norbury describe the discovery of chaos theory’s butterfly effect, in which tiny variations in initial conditions produce large variations in the long-term behavior of a system–dashing the hopes of perfect predictability for weather patterns. They explore how weather forecasters today formulate their ideas through state-of-the-art mathematics, taking into account limitations to predictability. Millions of variables–known, unknown, and approximate–as well as billions of calculations, are involved in every forecast, producing informative and fascinating modern computer simulations of the Earth system.

4. The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide by William H. Waller- Ravenclaws would want to know everything about the wizarding world, the muggle world, and beyond.

This book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy’s structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems–some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species.

William Waller vividly describes the Milky Way as it appears in the night sky, acquainting readers with its key components and telling the history of our changing galactic perceptions. The ancients believed the Milky Way was a home for the gods. Today we know it is but one galaxy among billions of others in the observable universe. Within the Milky Way, ground-based and space-borne telescopes have revealed that our Solar System is not alone. Hundreds of other planetary systems share our tiny part of the vast Galaxy. We reside within a galactic ecosystem that is driven by the theatrics of the most massive stars as they blaze through their brilliant lives and dramatic deaths. Similarly effervescent ecosystems of hot young stars and fluorescing nebulae delineate the graceful spiral arms in our Galaxy’s swirling disk. Beyond the disk, the spheroidal halo hosts the ponderous–and still mysterious–dark matter that outweighs everything else. Another dark mystery lurks deep in the heart of the Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole has produced bizarre phenomena seen at multiple wavelengths.

5. Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom by Daphne J. Fairbairn- On their quest for knowledge, learning about all types of animals is pertinent- sadly, magical creatures are not covered in this book.

While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can’t compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae–even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. From the fields of Spain to the deep oceans, evolutionary biologist Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristics–in size, behavior, ecology, and life history–that exist in these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn describes how male great bustards aggressively compete to display their gorgeous plumage and large physiques to watching, choosey females. She investigates why female elephant seals voluntarily live in harems where they are harassed constantly by eager males. And she reveals why dwarf male giant seadevils parasitically fuse to their giant female partners for life. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world.

Keep coming back to get your reading list for your Hogwarts house!

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is held every April with the help of schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, writers, and poets throughout the country who come together to celebrate the significance of poetry in our world. Check out AAP’s poets.org for 30 Ways to Celebrate poetry month this year. We’re celebrating PUP style with a reading list (and some free excerpts) of some of our favorite poetry books. Enjoy!

For the Time Beingk9415
W. H. Auden, Edited with an introduction by Alan Jacobs
Here’s the Preface
Check out our series W.H. Auden: Critical Editions

Carnations: Poems
Anthony Carelli
Read some sample poems: The Disciples | The Crucifixion | Agnus Dei

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492
Translated, Edited & Introduced by Peter Cole
Read the Introduction

k9677The Eternal City: Poems
Kathleen Graber
Here’s Chapter 1

The Two Yvonnes: Poems
Jessica Greenbaum
Check out Chapter 1

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman, Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer
Check out some sample entries on Electronic Poetry, Rhythm, Translation, and Verse & Prose

k9947Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem
Catherine Robson
Check out the Introduction

A Glossary of Chickens: Poems
Gary J. Whitehead
Read Chapter 1

Be sure to check out our PUP poetry series: Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets & Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation. Enjoy the month of April in poem!

HP & PUP: Gryffindor’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Gryffindor house. What would a Gryffindor read? Or more specifically, what would Harry Potter read? Since Gryffindors value bravery, nerve, and chivalry, their required reading list would consist of books that highlight ethics, combat, and democracy. I’m sure “The Chosen One” would choose these books:

1. The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It by Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig- Gryffindors natural tendency to fix problems would draw them to Admati and Hellwig’s new book.

j9929[1]

What is wrong with today’s banking system? The past few years have shown that risks in banking can impose significant costs on the economy. Many claim, however, that a safer banking system would require sacrificing lending and economic growth. The Bankers’ New Clothes examines this claim and the narratives used by bankers, politicians, and regulators to rationalize the lack of reform, exposing them as invalid.

Admati and Hellwig argue we can have a safer and healthier banking system without sacrificing any of the benefits of the system, and at essentially no cost to society. They show that banks are as fragile as they are not because they must be, but because they want to be–and they get away with it. Whereas this situation benefits bankers, it distorts the economy and exposes the public to unnecessary risks. Weak regulation and ineffective enforcement allowed the buildup of risks that ushered in the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Much can be done to create a better system and prevent crises. Yet the lessons from the crisis have not been learned.

Admati and Hellwig seek to engage the broader public in the debate by cutting through the jargon of banking, clearing the fog of confusion, and presenting the issues in simple and accessible terms.

2. Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era by Joseph Nye- Their natural born leadership qualities also make Nye’s book a good choice in learning more about past leaders.

3-27 pres leadThis book examines the foreign policy decisions of the presidents who presided over the most critical phases of America’s rise to world primacy in the twentieth century, and assesses the effectiveness and ethics of their choices. Joseph Nye, who was ranked as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Top Global Thinkers, reveals how some presidents tried with varying success to forge a new international order while others sought to manage America’s existing position. Taking readers from Theodore Roosevelt’s bid to insert America into the global balance of power to George H. W. Bush’s Gulf War in the early 1990s, Nye compares how Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson responded to America’s growing power and failed in their attempts to create a new order. He looks at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to escape isolationism before World War II, and at Harry Truman’s successful transformation of Roosevelt’s grand strategy into a permanent overseas presence of American troops at the dawn of the Cold War. He describes Dwight Eisenhower’s crucial role in consolidating containment, and compares the roles of Ronald Reagan and Bush in ending the Cold War and establishing the unipolar world in which American power reached its zenith.

The book shows how transformational presidents like Wilson and Reagan changed how America sees the world, but argues that transactional presidents like Eisenhower and the elder Bush were sometimes more effective and ethical. It also draws important lessons for today’s uncertain world, in which presidential decision making is more critical than ever.

3. The Leaderless Economy: Why the World Economic System Fell Apart and How to Fix It by Peter Temin and David Vines- Gryffindor do-gooders should read this to find out how they can be the leaders in this financial crisis.

Leaderless EconomyThe Leaderless Economy reveals why international financial cooperation is the only solution to today’s global economic crisis. In this timely and important book, Peter Temin and David Vines argue that our current predicament is a catastrophe rivaled only by the Great Depression. Taking an in-depth look at the history of both, they explain what went wrong and why, and demonstrate why international leadership is needed to restore prosperity and prevent future crises.

Temin and Vines argue that the financial collapse of the 1930s was an “end-of-regime crisis” in which the economic leader of the nineteenth century, Great Britain, found itself unable to stem international panic as countries abandoned the gold standard. They trace how John Maynard Keynes struggled for years to identify the causes of the Great Depression, and draw valuable lessons from his intellectual journey. Today we are in the midst of a similar crisis, one in which the regime that led the world economy in the twentieth century–that of the United States–is ending. Temin and Vines show how America emerged from World War II as an economic and military powerhouse, but how deregulation and a lax attitude toward international monetary flows left the nation incapable of reining in an overleveraged financial sector and powerless to contain the 2008 financial panic. Fixed exchange rates in Europe and Asia have exacerbated the problem.

4. Making War at Fort Hood:Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community by Kenneth MacLeish- Their interest in combat will bring them to this book about life in a military community.

3-6 Making WarMaking War at Fort Hood offers an illuminating look at war through the daily lives of the people whose job it is to produce it. Kenneth MacLeish conducted a year of intensive fieldwork among soldiers and their families at and around the US Army’s Fort Hood in central Texas. He shows how war’s reach extends far beyond the battlefield into military communities where violence is as routine, boring, and normal as it is shocking and traumatic.

Fort Hood is one of the largest military installations in the world, and many of the 55,000 personnel based there have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. MacLeish provides intimate portraits of Fort Hood’s soldiers and those closest to them, drawing on numerous in-depth interviews and diverse ethnographic material. He explores the exceptional position that soldiers occupy in relation to violence–not only trained to fight and kill, but placed deliberately in harm’s way and offered up to die. The death and destruction of war happen to soldiers on purpose. MacLeish interweaves gripping narrative with critical theory and anthropological analysis to vividly describe this unique condition of vulnerability. Along the way, he sheds new light on the dynamics of military family life, stereotypes of veterans, what it means for civilians to say “thank you” to soldiers, and other questions about the sometimes ordinary, sometimes agonizing labor of making war.

Keep coming back to get your reading list for your Hogwarts house!

PUP Books on any Hogwarts Student’s Book list

Becoming a wizard in the Harry Potter series was not all fun and games. In fact it was more like life or death for Harry and the gang. I wanted to go to Hogwarts like every other kid and the closest any of us will ever get to that is by reading the books, watching the movies, and visiting the theme park in Florida (which I am doing this summer- can’t wait!). Another way to learn like a wizard is to read like a Hogwarts student.

Bloggers on Measure of Doubt ponder what kind of books would make up the average wizard student’s required book list. They propose that “Ravenclaws would be interested in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and mathematics; Gryffindors in combat, ethics, and democracy; Slytherins in persuasion, rhetoric, and political machination; and Hufflepuffs in productivity, happiness, and the game theory of cooperation.” While Hogwarts students saved the wizarding and muggle world, they were students after all and would have had to do plenty of reading.

Two of PUP’s books made the list for Hogwarts students on Measure of Doubt’s post.

The Virtues of Our Vices: A Modest Defense of Gossip, Rudeness, and Other Bad Habits is assigned to Slytherin.

3-27 virtues of vicesAre there times when it’s right to be rude? Can we distinguish between good and bad gossip? Am I a snob if I think that NPR listeners are likely to be better informed than devotees of Fox News? Does sick humor do anyone any good? Can I think your beliefs are absurd but still respect you?

In The Virtues of Our Vices, philosopher Emrys Westacott takes a fresh look at important everyday ethical questions–and comes up with surprising answers. He makes a compelling argument that some of our most common vices–rudeness, gossip, snobbery, tasteless humor, and disrespect for others’ beliefs–often have hidden virtues or serve unappreciated but valuable purposes. For instance, there are times when rudeness may be necessary to help someone with a problem or to convey an important message. Gossip can foster intimacy between friends and curb abuses of power. And dubious humor can alleviate existential anxieties.

 

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind is required reading for Hufflepuffs.

3-27 hypocriteWe’re all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind.

Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind’s design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don’t always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves.

This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a “self” with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no “I.” Instead, each of us is a contentious “we”–a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world.

What other PUP books would make it onto the book list for prospective Gryffindors, Slytherins, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs? Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll roll out some of this spring’s book that would surely be on Hogwarts students’ book list for the semester! Keep coming back to see which house you belong in and what books are on your reading list.

Ten Years Later: Reading the Iraq War

Ten years ago today, on March 20, 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq. Among several other issues, the human toll on both sides and the exponential cost of the war has been the subject of critical discussion since troops invaded Iraqi borders. After the Iraq War’s official end and the last American forces withdrew on December 15, 2011, eight years, eight months, three weeks and four days later, many questions remain regarding the serious effects of war. Today, we’ve compiled a reading list of various books that discuss the many aspects of the Iraq War. Reflect, remember, read.

k9084War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War
Matthew A. Baum & Tim J. Groeling
Read Chapter 1

Baum and Groeling take an in-depth look at media coverage, elite rhetoric, and public opinion during the Iraq war and other U.S. conflicts abroad. They trace how traditional and new media select stories, how elites frame and sometimes even distort events, and how these dynamics shape public opinion over the course of a conflict.

Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict
Michael W. Doyle, Edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo
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Tackling one of the most controversial policy issues of the post-September 11 world, Michael Doyle argues that neither the Bush Doctrine nor customary international law is capable of adequately responding to the pressing security threats of our times.

k8933.gifWhat They Think of Us: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11
Edited by David Farber
Read Chapter 1

A remarkable group of writers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America describe the world’s profoundly ambivalent attitudes toward the United States–before and since 9/11.

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building
Noah Feldman
Here’s the Introduction

“[P]art theoretical treatise, part political analysis, part memoir–Noah Feldman . . . makes the case that when the United States invaded Iraq, it not only toppled a tyrant but also undertook a ‘trusteeship’ on behalf of the Iraqi people.”–New York Times Book Review

k9963Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts
Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver & Jason Reifler
Read Chapter 1

Providing a wealth of new evidence about American attitudes toward military conflict, this book offers insights into a controversial, timely, and ongoing national discussion.

Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community
Kenneth T. MacLeish
Here’s the Introduction

Making War at Fort Hood offers an illuminating look at war through the daily lives of the people whose job it is to produce it. Kenneth MacLeish conducted a year of intensive fieldwork among soldiers and their families at and around the US Army’s Fort Hood in central Texas. He shows how war’s reach extends far beyond the battlefield into military communities where violence is as routine, boring, and normal as it is shocking and traumatic.

k8886.gifA Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World
Emile Nakhleh
Read Chapter 1

The CIA’s former point man on Islam makes a vigorous case for a renewal of American public diplomacy in the Muslim world. Offering a unique balance between in-depth analysis, personal memoir, and foreign policy remedies, the book injects much-needed wisdom into the public discussion of long-term U.S.-Muslim relations.

The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes
Michael E. O’Hanlon
Here’s the Introduction

O’Hanlon explains how the military budget works, how the military assesses and deploys new technology, develops strategy and fights wars, handles the logistics of stationing and moving troops and equipment around the world, and models and evaluates battlefield outcomes.

k9015My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing
Christoph Reuter
Here’s the Introduction

“Against the violent Manichean rhetoric of the times, and its brute interventionism, Reuter offers a counter-narrative: suicide attacks in Israel-Palestine will stop when Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories; more generally across the region, the West should keep out.”–Jacqueline Rose, London Review of Books

The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment
Edited by Julian E. Zelizer
Read Chapter 1

Each chapter tackles some important aspect of Bush’s administration–such as presidential power, law, the war on terror, the Iraq invasion, economic policy, and religion–and helps readers understand why Bush made the decisions he did. History will be the ultimate judge of Bush’s legacy, and the assessment begins with this book.

Celebrate Pi Day with Princeton University Press

Happy Pi Day, everyone!  In honor of the day, we’ve come up with a reading list that includes some of our favorite Einstein books at Princeton University Press, along with some free chapter excerpts. Celebrate Pi Day and Einstein’s birthday with a great book — we’ve got plenty to choose from!

j9268[1]Einstein’s Jury: The Race to Test Relativity
Jeffrey Crelinsten
Read Chapter 1
This book tells the dramatic story of how astronomers in Germany, England, and America competed to test Einstein’s developing theory of relativity.

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein
Collected and edited by Alice Calaprice
Read Chapter 1
“Without the belief that it is possible to grasp reality with our theoretical constructions, without the belief in the inner harmony of our world, there could be no science. This belief is and will remain the fundamental motive for all scientific creation.” 1938; p. 390
Want more quotes? Check out The Ultimate Quotable Einstein’s Facebook page.

The Meaning of Relativity, Fifth Edition: Including the Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field
by Albert Einstein, with a new introduction by Brian Greene

E- StachelThe Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Volume 13: The Berlin Years: Writings & Correspondence, January 1922 – March 1923 (Documentary Edition)
Edited by Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, Ze’ev Rosenkranz, & Tilman Sauer
Check out Chapter 1
Here’s all of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein

Einstein’s Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics
Edited and introduced by John Stachel
Read the Introduction
Far more than just a collection of scientific articles, this book presents work that is among the high points of human achievement and marks a watershed in the history of science.

Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters
Edited by Jürgen Renn & Robert Schulmann, Translated by Shawn Smith
Informative, entertaining, and often very moving, this collection of letters captures for scientists and general readers alike a little known yet crucial period in Einstein’s life.

EisenstaedtThe Curious History of Relativity: How Einstein’s Theory of Gravity Was Lost and Found Again
Jean Eisenstaedt
Read the Introduction
Written with flair, this book poses – and answers – the difficult questions raised by Einstein’s magnificent intellectual feat.

Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture
Edited by Peter L. Galison, Gerald Holton & Silvan S. Schweber
Check out Chapter 1
In this wide-ranging collection, eminent artists, historians, scientists, and social scientists describe Einstein’s influence on their work, and consider his relevance for the future.

GubserThe Little Book of String Theory
Steven S. Gubser
Read the Introduction
A short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today.

The Nature of Space and Time
Stephen Hawking & Roger Penrose
Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? On this issue, two of the world’s most famous physicists – Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose – disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate.

kennTraveling at the Speed of Thought: Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves
Daniel Kennefick
Check out Chapter 1
Daniel Kennefick’s landmark book takes readers through the theoretical controversies and thorny debates that raged around the subject of gravitational waves after the publication of Einstein’s theory.

The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos
by Robert P. Kirshner
Check out Chapter 1
One of the world’s leading astronomers, Robert Kirshner, takes readers inside a lively research team on the quest that led them to an extraordinary cosmological discovery: the expansion of the universe is accelerating under the influence of a dark energy that makes space itself expand.

maudlinQuantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century
Helge Kragh
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Combining a mastery of detail with a sure sense of the broad contours of historical change, Kragh has written a fitting tribute to the scientists who have played such a decisive role in the making of the modern world.

Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time
Tim Maudlin
Read the Introduction
Tim Maudlin’s broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo’s conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity.

RosenkranzIt’s About Time: Understanding Einstein’s Relativity
by N. David Mermin
Check out Chapter 1
The book reveals that some of our most intuitive notions about time are shockingly wrong, and that the real nature of time discovered by Einstein can be rigorously explained without advanced mathematics.

Dynamics and Evolution of Galactic Nuclei
David Merritt
Deep within galaxies like the Milky Way, astronomers have found a fascinating legacy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity: supermassive black holes. This is the first comprehensive introduction to dynamical processes occurring in the vicinity of supermassive black holes in their galactic environment.

RoweEinstein Before Israel: Zionist Icon or Iconoclast?
by Ze’ev Rosenkranz
Read the Introduction
Rosenkranz explores a host of fascinating questions, such as whether Zionists sought to silence Einstein’s criticism of their movement, whether Einstein was the real manipulator, and whether this Zionist icon was indeed a committed believer in Zionism or an iconoclast beholden to no one.

Einstein on Politics: His Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb
Edited by David E. Rowe & Robert Schulmann
Check out Chapter 1
A vivid firsthand view of how one of the twentieth century’s greatest minds responded to the greatest political challenges of his day, this work will forever change our picture of Einstein’s public activism and private motivations.

zeeEinstein’s German World
Fritz Stern
Read the Introduction
At once historical and personal, provocative and accessible, this book illuminates the issues that made Germany’s and Europe’s past and present so important in a tumultuous century of creativity and violence.

Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell
A. Zee
Read the Introduction
This unique textbook provides an accessible introduction to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, a subject of breathtaking beauty and supreme importance in physics.
Check out the In a Nutshell series

Celebrate Women’s History Month with PUP

March is Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month pays tribute and celebrates the struggles, contributions, and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States. This year, join Princeton University Press in celebrating all women — both past and present, near and far. This year, we’ve compiled a reading list with some of our best books on women. Grab a book and get reading!

herrinPoets in the Public Sphere: The Emancipatory Project of American Women’s Poetry, 1800-1900
Paula Bernat Bennett
Read the Introduction.
Based entirely on archival research, this book traces the emergence of the “New Woman” by examining poetry published by American women in newspapers and magazines between 1800 and 1900.

Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom
Daphne J. Fairbairn
Looking at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, this book sheds astonishing light on what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom. Fairbairn also considers humans and compares our own sexual differences against the vast divisions between the sexes in the animal world.

sontagUnrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium
Judith Herrin
Read the Introduction.
This book explores the exceptional roles that women played in the vibrant cultural and political life of medieval Byzantium. Written by one of the world’s foremost historians of the Byzantine millennium, this landmark book evokes the complex and exotic world of Byzantium’s women, from empresses and saints to uneducated rural widows.

Making Silence Speak: Women’s Voices in Greek Literature and Society
Edited by André Lardinois & Laura McClure
Check out Chapter 1.
This collection attempts to recover the voices of women in antiquity from a variety of perspectives: how they spoke, where they could be heard, and how their speech was adopted in literature and public discourse.

pietyNotes on Sontag
Phillip Lopate
Read the Introduction
From our Writers on Writers series, Lopate shows how Sontag raised the bar of critical discourse and offered up a model of a freethinking, imaginative, and sensual woman. Honest yet sympathetic, Lopate’s engaging evaluation reveals a Sontag who was both an original and very much a person of her time.

Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
Saba Mahmood
Check out Chapter 1.
This work is a groundbreaking analysis of Islamist cultural politics through the ethnography of a thriving, grassroots women’s piety movement in the mosques of Cairo, Egypt. This is essential reading for anyone interested in issues at the nexus of ethics and politics, embodiment and gender, and liberalism and post-colonialism.

marcusBetween Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England
Sharon Marcus
Read the Introduction.
Deeply researched, powerfully argued, and filled with original readings of familiar and surprising sources, this book overturns everything we thought we knew about Victorian women and the history of marriage and family life. It offers a new paradigm for theorizing gender and sexuality–not just in the Victorian period, but in our own.

Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right
Michelle M. Nickerson
Read the Introduction.
This book tells the story of 1950s southern Californian housewives who shaped the grassroots right in the two decades following World War II. Nickerson describes how red-hunting homemakers mobilized activist networks, institutions, and political consciousness in local education battles, and she introduces a generation of women who developed political styles and practices around their domestic routines.

okinWomen in Western Political Thought
Susan Moller Okin, With a new introduction by Debra Satz
In this pathbreaking study of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Mill, Susan Moller Okin turns to the tradition of political philosophy that pervades Western culture and its institutions to understand why the gap between formal and real gender equality persists.

Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women’s Movement
Leila J. Rupp
This is a groundbreaking exploration of the “first wave” of the international women’s movement, from its late nineteenth-century origins through the Second World War. Making extensive use of archives in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, Rupp examines the histories and accomplishments of three major transnational women’s organizations to tell the story of women’s struggle to construct a feminist international collective identity.

Your Valentine’s Day Reading List

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Princeton University Press. Today, we’ve selected some of our favorite PUP books on love. Choose a title you love and get reading!

k9679The Paradox of Love
By Pascal Bruckner, Translated by Steven Rendall, With an afterword by Richard Golsan

Mixing irony and optimism, Bruckner argues that, when it comes to love, we should side neither with the revolutionaries nor the reactionaries. Rather, taking love and ourselves as we are, we should realize that love makes no progress and that its messiness, surprises, and paradoxes are not merely the sources of its pain–but also of its pleasure and glory. Read the Introduction.

k7749The Reasons of Love
By Harry G. Frankfurt

The most important form of caring, Frankfurt writes, is love, a nonvoluntary, disinterested concern for the flourishing of what is loved. Love is so important because meaningful practical reasoning must be grounded in ends that we do not seek only to attain other ends, and because it is in loving that we become bound to final ends desired for their own sakes. Check out Chapter 1.

k9458Love’s Vision
By Troy Jollimore

Love often seems uncontrollable and irrational, but we just as frequently appear to have reasons for loving the people we do. In Love’s Vision, Troy Jollimore offers a new way of understanding love that accommodates both of these facts, arguing that love is guided by reason even as it resists and sometimes eludes rationality. Read Chapter 1.

k9987The Seducer’s Diary
By Søren Kierkegaard, Edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, With a foreword by John Updike

“In the vast literature of love, The Seducer’s Diary is an intricate curiosity–a feverishly intellectual attempt to reconstruct an erotic failure as a pedagogic success, a wound masked as a boast,” observes John Updike in his foreword to Søren Kierkegaard’s narrative. This work, a chapter from Kierkegaard’s first major volume, Either/Or, springs from his relationship with his fiancée, Regine Olsen.

k9429Kissing Architecture
By Sylvia Lavin

Kissing Architecture explores the mutual attraction between architecture and other forms of contemporary art. In this fresh, insightful, and beautifully illustrated book, renowned architectural critic and scholar Sylvia Lavin develops the concept of “kissing” to describe the growing intimacy between architecture and new types of art–particularly multimedia installations that take place in and on the surfaces of buildings–and to capture the sensual charge that is being designed and built into architectural surfaces and interior spaces today. Check out Chapter 1.

k8867.gifLove Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini
Translated by Susan Stewart

Whether she is working in the briefest, most incisive lyric mode or the complex time schemes of longer meditations, Merini’s deep knowledge of classical and Christian myth gives her work a universal, philosophical resonance, revealing what is at heart her tragic sense of life. At the same time, her ironic wit, delight in nature, and affection for her native Milan underlie even her most harrowing poems of suffering. In Stewart’s skillful translations readers will discover a true sibyl of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Read the Introduction.