shipping deadlines ▼

INTERNATIONAL
Priority Mail Express International®: December 8

CANADA
Priority Mail®
: December 11
Priority Mail Express®: December 17

WEST OF MISSISSIPPI
Priority Mail®
: December 19
Priority Mail Express®: December 21

LOCAL
Priority Mail®
: December 21
Priority Mail Express®: December 23


holiday hours ▼

December 24: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
December 25: Closed
December 26: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

December 31: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
January 1: Closed


Welcome to the 2015 Politics and Prose Holiday Newsletter. As we have in past years, we’ve tried to select the best—and most beautiful—recent books, fiction and nonfiction, to help you with gift-giving.

It’s also traditional to emphasize how difficult making these choices has been—it’s not just a matter of so many books, but of so many truly wonderful books. This year there’s been an especially impressive outpouring of short fiction and memoirs, but you’ll find bookseller favorites on all subjects here. Enjoy!

Pages

To go beyond the call of duty—that depends on how you define “duty.” Consider this thought experiment: you see people drowning and can save either a relative or two strangers. What do you do? For most, the first impulse is to save the relative, but the utilitarian view would dictate helping the strangers; why save only one person when you can do twice as much good by saving two? Most of the issues of Strangers Drowning (Penguin Press, $27.95) spiral out from this scenario. Is altruism a matter of emotion or of logic? Is rescue the same as saving? Are humanitarian NGOs just colonialism in another guise? And when have you done enough, if suffering continues? In detailed and compelling narratives that make the moral questions immediate, Larissa MacFarquhar profiles people variously called saints, heroes, or obsessive-compulsives. A couple feels their calling is to save unwanted children—and end up with a family of twenty-two. Driven to eliminate as much sheer suffering as possible, a man advocates on behalf of the millions of agri-business chickens. Another couple, realizing that a few dollars buys a mosquito net, gradually donates every expendable dime to charities, equating buying a soda for themselves to committing a murder. The size of donations, of course, depends on the donor’s income—a woman deliberates whether it’s moral to stay in a low-paying position she loves, if a more lucrative career allows her to give away more money. And if these “do-gooders” never really change the world, does that negate the improvements they make, or render “selfish” the satisfaction—even the exhilaration—they feel in trying?

Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594204333
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - September 29th, 2015

Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143109785
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - September 27th, 2016

Share this