What’s happening at the Library: Books for the Future and Words for Every Day of the Year

Published 6:22 pm Monday, December 27, 2021

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By John Maruskin       Almost the New Year. What will it bring? Librarians are not prognosticators, but they can offer resources that allow you to find your own direction, come to your own conclusions.

Here’s a quartet of new books offering new perspectives on perennial questions from the origin of the Universe to the origins of words. They can be found in the New Nonfiction section at the front of the Library.

“Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics,” by Stephon Alexander (call # 523.1 Alex). Stephon Alexander is a professor of physics at Brown University, the 2020 president of the National Society of Black Physicists, and an electronic jazz musician.
In “Fear of a Black Universe,” he draws on ideas from relativity, quantum mechanics, and emergence to explore unconventional theories about the origins of the universe, life, and consciousness. He posits embracing perspectives of marginalized people will produce truly revolutionary insights in physics.

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“Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing and Prisons,” edited by Colin Kaepernick (call # 364.6 Kaep). Over thirty essays from a diversity of voices presenting a vision of an abolitionist future in which communities can be safe, valued, and truly free.

“A world,” Kaepernick writes, “grounded in love, justice, and accountability, a world grounded in safety and good health, a world grounded in meeting the needs of the people.” He does not claim “Abolition for the People” will answer all social and political question. He hopes this book sparks questions that will open possibilities for a future in which everyone can thrive.

“Rebugging the Planet: The Remarkable Things that Insects (and Other Invertebrates) Do-And Why We Need to

Love Them More,” by Vicki Hird (call # 595.7 Hird). This book is about the benefits bugs provide for all life on Earth, including humans. Benefits like pollinating plants, feeding birds, defending crops and cleaning water systems.

“Rebugging the Planet” not only describes important ways insects keep life on Earth healthy, but also describes how individual home owners can contribute to sound local ecosystems by making their yardscapes more insect friendly.

“The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words,” by Paul Anthony Jones (call #422.03 Jones). Offering a word a day along with astute etymologies and entertaining historical corollaries “The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities” provides joyful learning and great anecdotes for conversation.

For example, “Muggle,” the word for June 26, which entered contemporary parlance through Harry Potter books, meaning “a person possessing no magical powers,” has actually been in use since the 13th century as another name for fish tails, probably deriving from “mugil,” the Latin name for the grey mullet.

There’s a lot more where those books came from, The Clark County Public Library. Drop in.

Talk to a librarian. Enrich your perspectives in 2022.

Happy New Year.