Blogs

Directors Ken Burns, Lynn Novick Revisit Vietnam with 10-Part Series

There are troves of books and documentaries produced on the Vietnam Era, but critics and audiences alike have discovered a fresh perspective in director Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s new documentary. The 10-part series, which was released on DVD and started airing on PBS last week, follows the U.S.’ controversial involvement through the eyes of more than 80 interviewees.

A companion book, written by historian Geoffrey C. Ward, has also been released. You can check out both titles via JDL below. The series soundtrack is available in our Hoopla music collection as well.

PBS is also asking viewers to submit their own stories from the Vietnam War. Veterans are encouraged to share their stories here.

The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward

Hillary Clinton Breaks Silence on 2016 Election with What Happened

For a portion of America’s voters, the title of Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir is still a pressing question: What Happened? Though media polls and analyst predictions had essentially declared Clinton as the victor of 2016’s presidential election, the election results were a different story. While Clinton ran an outspoken campaign, the months that followed Donald Trump’s presidential victory were notoriously silent ones for Clinton, and What Happened presents her first long-form reaction since last year’s election. From qualms with Bernie Sanders to former FBI Director James Comey, to a retelling of her concession call to Donald Trump, many of Clinton’s tales have already made national news. You can check the whole thing out for yourself via JDL.

Prepare Yourself for The Solar Eclipse with These Titles

Anyone who has turned on a TV or computer this month is probably well aware of the looming solar eclipse, the United States’ first total eclipse since 1979. The event will take place Monday, Aug. 21 between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in Jackson, according to Space.com. Though Jackson is out of the “path of totality,” meaning the disc of the moon will not completely eclipse the sun, we can expect an 80 percent eclipse around 2:25 EST.

For anyone interested in learning more about solar eclipses, we have many titles. Check out a few below.

American eclipse : a nation’s epic race to catch the shadow of the moon and win the glory of the world
Totality [electronic resource] : eclipses of the sun.
Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets
Mask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses

Upcoming Films Reignite Interest in Two Stephen King Classics

Much of Stephen King’s work is as iconic on the screen as it is on the page. Many King fans no doubt remember terrifying scenes from the film versions of Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, Pet Sematary, and many more, but they can now add two more adaptations to that list. The Dark Tower, which stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, is set to hit theaters on August 4, while the first part of the two-movie adaptation of It will be released on September 8.

Both books have seen a notable rise in interest, with The Dark Tower placing as No. 10 on Amazon’s Most Sold list last week.
You can check them both out via JDL below.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

It

The Vanishing American Adult Examines a New Generation’s Reliance Issues

The vanishing American adult : our coming-of-age crisis–and how to rebuild a culture of self-reliance

By Benjamin E. Sasse

Published: 2017

306 pages

In recent years, the terms “millennial” and “baby boomer” put an extra emphasis on characteristics that have little to do with age. While millennials might be associated with safe spaces and emojis, there is also a new narrative surrounding young people in the workplace. As Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse argues in his new book, The Vanishing American Adult, there is an existential crisis in the American workforce that has left young American adults unequipped for life after high school:
Raised by well-meaning but overprotective parents and coddled by well-meaning but misbegotten government programs, America’s youth are ill-equipped to survive in our highly-competitive global economy.
Many of the coming-of-age rituals that have defined the American experience since the Founding: learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant—are being delayed or skipped altogether. The statistics are daunting: 30% of college students drop out after the first year, and only 4 in 10 graduate. One in three 18-to-34 year-olds live with their parents.
Sasse’s book was released to widespread acclaim, but many readers suggest that his critique is too broad to span an entire generation. Either way, The Vanishing American Adult is an interesting introduction to a conversation that could last for decades.

Detroit Horror Writer Josh Malerman Releases His Second Novel, Black Mad Wheel

Michiganders might recognize the name Josh Malerman for a few different reasons. First, music fans might remember him as the lead singer of a band called The High Strung—a national rock act that toured the United States and even penned the theme song to the Showtime TV series Shameless. But Malerman also proved himself to be a talented novelist in 2014 with his debut novel Bird Box, which follows a mother and her children as they try to navigate a world dominated by an ominous force that, when seen, turns its victims suicidal. The book gained widespread acclaim due to its breakneck pace and minimalist prose, and earned praise from countless publications. The guy is multi-talented, to say the least.

Last month, Malerman released his follow-up to Bird Box. The novel, titled Black Mad Wheel, follows a washed-up Detroit rock band that is tasked with uncovering a dangerous noise in the heart of an African desert. With Malerman’s own experience in the Detroit music scene and Bird Box’s reputation, it’s one of my most anticipated books of the summer. You can check it out (or revisit Bird Box) in the links below.

Black Mad Wheel
Bird Box

Murakami’s Men Without Women Showcases Unique Talent in Seven Short Tales

Haruki Murakami is known for many things in the fiction world, but his brevity isn’t necessarily one of them. The Japanese writer—who achieved great success with massive tomes like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and IQ84—has gained a dedicated fanbase through his funny, moving, and completely unique characters who ultimately navigate dreamlike realities.

Though Murakami hasn’t published a novel since 2014, new and old fans will be delighted to know that a set of short stories is on the way to JDL. Titled Men Without Women, the seven-story collection explores characters who have found themselves alone in the world. With the collection quickly gathering critical acclaim, there’s no better time to check out Murakami’s unmistakable fiction, especially in such a manageable size.

Men Without Women
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
IQ84
Kafka on the Shore

Timothy Zahn Reintroduces a Beloved Star Wars Villain with Thrawn

The announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy was bittersweet for many readers. Of course, it was great news for obvious reasons: over the next decade, we’ll see plenty of new Star Wars films. But new storylines also meant that beloved books from the Star Wars’ extended universe were excluded from Disney’s new, proper canon. One of those storylines was Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, a series of novels that took place following Return of the Jedi. The three books—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command—were published to great acclaim between 1994 and 1999.

Dazzling fans with his terrifying intellect, the titular Imperial Admiral Thrawn became a fast favorite for Star Wars readers. With Disney’s official canon in place, Thrawn had been excluded from that story until this week, when Zahn course-corrected Thrawn’s place in Star Wars history with this new book. According to fans of the series, Thrawn paints an accurate portrait of the Imperial Admiral while integrating him into the new canon. With May 4 (as in, May the Fourth be with you) acting as the obvious date to celebrate all things Star Wars, there’s no better time to dive into Zahn’s new book.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Remembering WWI a Century Later

Earlier this month, history buffs everywhere commemorated the 100-year anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. Aside from offering many great resources on the subject, JDL also offered a panel on April 20 to discuss Woodrow Wilson’s lasting impact after the World War I era. If you were unable to make the event, JDL still has plenty of resources for those looking to dive into this historic era.

100 Years of WWI

World War I Day by Day by Ian Westwell

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, a Great War by Joe LaConte

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Wilson by Scott A. Berg

Adam Alter’s ‘Irresistible’ Illuminates the Science Behind Tech Addiction

There is a surprising fact that opens Adam Alter’s newest book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked: the late Steve Jobs, Apple computers’ co-founder, wouldn’t allow his children to handle an iPad. Nearly a decade after the product’s release, it is easy to understand Jobs’ rationale: Americans are interacting with small, glowing screens more than ever—and many researchers now agree that these devices might also cause behavioral addictions.

Alter’s book isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, as there are many books that discuss technology’s negative impact on humans. But Alter encourages readers to co-exist with—not quit—devices by understanding the behaviors associated with tech addiction. This is a must-read for anyone curious about managing their own tech habits, or understanding how it might impact young children and adolescents.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

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