Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recently Heard...

in my car, when my cracked muffler-thing wasn't drowning it out...

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick.
This extensive work was impressive, very interesting... sometimes gripping (very detailed accounts of King Philip's War) and sometimes humbling (not too much to be proud of in terms of native relations.) In fact, Philbrick draws a nice parallel between that war and the one in which we currently find ourselves entangled. What's that saying about being ignorant of history and doomed to repeat it? As you know, most of the myths surrounding the Pilgrims are romantic creations; this work provides a much more textured and accurate history, warts and all. There is still much to be admired, however, in the struggle and perseverance of the Pilgrims and in the characters of Benjamin Church, Massasoit, and Mary Rowlandson, a captive.

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich.
The plight of unemployed white-collar workers is not quite as sympathetic as that of the minimum wage employees Ehrenreich profiled in Nickel and Dimed. Her insightful observations and wit are just as sharp, however, as she endures months of job search, career coaching, job fairs, resume counseling, Christian networking un-opportunities, and other sorts of expensive torture in her "transitional" quest for a corporate position. She even gets a makeover! All to no avail.. the only positions she is offered involve selling Aflac Insurance and Mary Kay Cosmetics. It's no Nickel and Dimed, but it is a very funny book, worth a listen, and just a little scary for anyone looking to re-enter the job market. Brush with Fame Moment: Barbara Ehrenreich came to Slippery Rock when Nickel and Dimed was the freshman read and the librarians got to lunch with her... a very nice treat and an honor for us.

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown.
There are times, when I am listening to audiobooks, when I hurriedly turn them off.. in the McDonald's drive-thru, for instance, or in this case, whenever I was concerned about offending innocent bystanders. This is a very frank autobiography about abuse, addiction, and ultimately, a hard-won rebirth that is inspiring. The language is extremely frank and honest and seemingly no sordid detail is glossed over or omitted. Cupcake, or "Cup" as she is known to her friends, turns the corner after spending four days behind a dumpster, alternately smoking crack, drinking, and occasionally emerging to turn tricks to earn enough money to score. She saves herself with the assistance and support of a varied cast of employers, AA sponsors, medical personnel, friends, family members, and some really nice law school professors who donated money to get Cupcake an "interview" suit. Today she is a successful attorney, frequent speaker, and now best-selling author with a website. Lots of personality and an unflinching memoir...


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