Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Introducing Seeker!

Seeker is an exciting new all-encompassing database that searches books, journal and news articles, DVDs, business publications, and many other resources. It combines the library catalog with most of the other library databases, giving a streamlined search that will let you access everything at once. The link to Seeker is in the top right corner of the library webpage. Try it out and fill out this short survey to let us know what you think! You can also email us at 

Ebook of the Week - Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again

Martin, Roger H. Racing Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008

The idea of reliving youth is a common fantasy, but who among us is actually courageous enough to try it? After surviving a deadly cancer against tremendous odds, college president Roger H. Martin did just that--he enrolled at St. John's College, the Great Books school in Annapolis, Maryland, as a sixty-one-year-old freshman. This engaging, often humorous memoir of his semester at St. John's tells of his journey of discovery as he falls in love again with Plato, Socrates, and Homer, improbably joins the college crew team, and negotiates friendships across generational divides. Along the way, Martin ponders one of the most pressing questions facing education today: do the liberal arts still have a role to play in a society that seems to value professional, vocational, and career training above all else? Elegantly weaving together the themes of the great works he reads with events that transpire on the water, in the coffee shop, and in the classroom, Martin finds that a liberal arts education may be more vital today than ever before. This is the moving story of a man who faces his fears, fully embraces his second chance, and in turn rediscovers the gifts of life and learning.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer*.  Click here to read the book  

*Synopsis reprinted from Amazon book description, Sept. 2, 2008.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ebook of the Week - Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life.

Norgaard, Kari Marie. Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2011.

Global warming is perhaps the most significant environmental issue of our time, yet public response in Western nations has been meager. Why have so few taken action?  In Living in Denial, sociologist Kari Norgaard searches for answers to this question, drawing on interviews and ethnographic data from her study of "Bygdaby," the fictional name of an actual rural community in western Norway that experienced an unusually warm winter in 2000-2001. Stories in local and national newspapers linked the warm winter explicitly to global warming, yet residents did not write letters to the editor, pressure politicians, or cut down on use of fossil fuels. Norgaard attributes this lack of response to the phenomenon of socially organized denial, by which information about climate science is known in the abstract but disconnected from political, social, and private life, and sees this as emblematic of how citizens of industrialized countries are responding to global warming in general. Norgaard finds that for the highly educated and politically savvy residents of Bygdaby, global warming was both common knowledge and unimaginable. She traces this denial from emotions, to cultural norms, to political economy. Her report from ‘Bygdaby,’ supplemented by comparisons throughout the book to the United States, tells of the larger story behind our paralysis in the face of alarming predictions from climate scientists.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feeney, Denis. Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Denis Feeney’s Caesar's Calendar investigates time and its contours as described by the ancient Romans, both the early empire and later, as Rome exerted its influence as a major world power. Feeney welcomes the reader into a world where time was changeable, and where simply ascertaining a date required a complex and often contentious cultural narrative. Feeney lucidly investigates the pertinent systems, including the Roman calendar (which is still our calendar) and its near-perfect method of capturing the progress of natural time, as well as its incorporation of the rhythms of consular government, the plotting of sacred time, and the meshing of the Roman city-state's concept of time with those of the foreigners they encountered. Because this web of time was Greek before the Romans transformed it, the book is also an interesting study in the cross-cultural interaction between the Greek and Roman worlds.

Feeney's treatment of specialized historical material is engaging and accessible, and ranges from details of the time schemes used by Greeks and Romans to accommodate the Romans' unprecedented rise to world dominance to an edifying discussion of the fixed axis of B.C./A.D. (or B.C.E./C.E.), and the supposedly objective "dates" implied. He closely examines the time divisions between myth and history, and concludes by demonstrating the impact of the reformed calendar on the way the Romans conceived of time's recurrence. Feeney's book achieves a reconstruction of the Roman conception of time – and it may transform the way his readers inhabit and experience time as well.

Previewed by John Breitmeyer.  Click here to read the book.