|Sent on:||Tuesday, July 17, 2012 4:12 PM|
The poll to vote for September's selection is up until next Tuesday morning (7/24). Descriptions below, vote here.
On Being Authentic by Charles Guignon (104 pgs)
"To thine own self be true." From Polonius's words in Hamlet right up to Oprah, we are constantly urged to look within. Why is being authentic the ultimate aim in life for so many people, and why does it mean looking inside rather than out? Is it about finding the "real" me, or something greater than me, even God?
Thought-provoking and with an astonishing range of references, On Being Authentic is a gripping journey into the self that begins with Socrates and Augustine. Charles Guignon asks why being authentic ceased to mean being part of some bigger, cosmic picture and with Rousseau, Wordsworth and the Romantic movement, took the strong inward turn alive in today's self-help culture. He also plumbs the darker depths of authenticity, with the help of Freud, Carl Jung and Konrad Lorenz, and reflects on the future of being authentic in a postmodern, global age. He argues ultimately that being authentic is not about what is owed to me but how I depend on others.
Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery (304 pgs)
From the author of the critically acclaimed literary SF novels Spaceman Blues and Liberation comes an incandescent and thrilling post-apocalyptic tale in the vein of 1984 or The Road.
In the not-distant-enough future, a man takes a boat trip up the Susquehanna River with his most trusted friend, intent on reuniting with his son. But the man is pursued by an army, and his own harrowing past; and the familiar American landscape has been savaged by war and climate change until it is nearly unrecognizable.
Lost Everything is a stunning novel about family and faith, what we are afraid may come to be, and how to wring hope from hopelessness.
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand (568 pgs)
If past is prologue, then The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand may suggest an intellectual course for the United States in the 21st century. At least Menand, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, thinks so. This enthralling study of Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey shows how these four men developed a philosophy of pragmatism following the Civil War, a period Menand likens to post-cold-war times. Together, "they were more responsible than any other group for moving American thought into the modern world."Despite this potentially forbidding theme, The Metaphysical Club is not a dry tome for academics. Instead, it is a quadruple biography, a wonderfully told story of ideas that advances by turning these thinkers into characters and bringing them to life.
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. (320 pgs)
The first novel to articulate the rage and pain of life in "the other America," Last Exit to Brooklyn is a classic of postwar American writing. Selby's searing portrait of the powerless, the homeless, the dispossessed, is as fiercely and frighteningly apposite today as it was when it was first published more than thirty-five years ago. “Last Exit to Brooklyn should explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years.”—Allen Ginsberg "An extraordinary achievement . . . a vision of hell so stern it cannot be chuckled or raged aside."--The New York Times Book Review.