August 23, 2019

Think you know books?

Which one starts like this? Click on a book below to answer

We live in the most confusing period in human history. In the past 200 years we have made more advances in science, industry, medicine, democratic government, and the status of women than in all previous centuries combined.
The Humans
Matt Haig

The Humans

By: Matt Haig
Recommended for grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

When an extra-terrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry home to his own utopian planet, where everyone is omniscient and immortal. He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this strange species than he had thought. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music, and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin's family. He begins to see hope and beauty in the humans' imperfection, and begins to question the very mission that brought him there. —from the website of Simon & Schuster

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Art Attack: A Short Cultural History of the Avant-garde
Marc Aronson

Art Attack: A Short Cultural History of the Avant-garde

By: Marc Aronson
Recommended for grade(s): 9, 10

In the army, the advance guard is the first wave of soldiers who rush into enemy territory, risking their lives to map out the terrain. In the arts, the avant-garde consists of people who have devoted their talents, even their lives, to seeing the future and to confronting others with their visions. This intriguing introduction to modern art examines the avant-garde from its nineteenth-century origins in Paris to its meaning and influence today. It presents the visionaries who took the greatest risks, who saw the furthest, and who made the most challenging art-art that changed how we imagine our world. From cubism to pop art and beyond, this is the story not only of those risk takers, but of their creations and of the times in which they lived. --from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Freakonomics- A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything
Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics- A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything

By: Stephen J. Dubner
Recommended for grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an econo-mist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Klu Klux Klan. What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world. —from the HarperCollins website

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence
Ray Kurzweil

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

By: Ray Kurzweil
Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

Ray Kurzweil is the inventor of the most innovative and compelling technology of our era, an international authority on artificial intelligence, and one of our greatest living visionaries. Now he offers a framework for envisioning the twenty-first century--an age in which the marriage of human sensitivity and artificial intelligence fundamentally alters and improves the way we live. Kurzweil's prophetic blueprint for the future takes us through the advances that inexorably result in computers exceeding the memory capacity and computational ability of the human brain by the year 2020 (with human-level capabilities not far behind); in relationships with automated personalities who will be our teachers, companions, and lovers; and in information fed straight into our brains along direct neural pathways. Optimistic and challenging, thought-provoking and engaging, The Age of Spiritual Machines is the ultimate guide on our road into the next century. -- From Penguin

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.