The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism - Andrew J. Bacevich

A stimulating argument that citizens need to act as watchdogs over the honesty and competence of our federal government, The Limits Of Power (Metropolitan, $24), by Andrew Bacevich, offers a thoughtful, sobering, and fresh re-assessment of the past 60 years of American politics and economics. As citizens, Bacevich believes, we have ducked such basic responsibilities as defending our country; we have too few soldiers for too many wars.  We have redefined freedom as “just another word for nothing left to buy.”  Bacevich invokes the 20th-century liberal theologian and activist, Reinhold Niebuhr, to buttress his call for a return to responsible citizenship. Citing Niebuhr’s warning that our dreams of omniscience, born out of arrogance and delusion, posed a potential deadly threat to America, Bacevich adds, “Today we ignore that warning at our peril.”

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project) By Andrew Bacevich Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805090161
Availability: Backordered
Published: Holt Paperbacks - April 27th, 2009

Ms. Hempel Chronicles - Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum was a National Book Award finalist for Madeleine Is Sleeping, and her new book of interconnected stories is a delightful portrait of a young teacher early in her career. Ms. Hempel Chronicles (Harcourt, $23) is the perfect present for a grade-school teacher, but any reader will find “pure pleasure,” as Jonathan Franzen says, in reading about Ms. Hempel, a seventh-grade teacher who begins the year having her students read Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse.” She’s persistently concerned with what’s appropriate and what’s not, and not only when teaching sex education. In English class she selects Tobias Wolfe’s This Boy’s Life, an obscenity-laced memoir of a dysfunctional family, and struggles over presenting such a failed adolescent portrait. Bynum has made a wonderfully endearing character out of Beatrice Hempel.

Ms. Hempel Chronicles By Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547247755
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Mariner Books - September 18th, 2009

Yesterday's Weather - Anne Enright

When Anne Enright visited last February, she enchanted the large audience with her sparkling Irish humor, which was in sharp contrast with the sorrowful occasion at the center of The Gathering, winner of the 2007 Booker Prize. If you’re one of the many readers who loved that novel, you’ll also love the 31 stories gathered in Yesterday’s Weather (Grove, $24). In her distinctive economical, yet evocative, prose, Enright offers a sharp account of the shifting ground of a marriage, when a wife, husband, and new baby visit the husband’s family, a visit in which the couple is subject to rapid shifts in love, hate, and desire. Enright’s microscopic eye for detail gives us hard-lined characters, complemented by a slightly blurred, yet ominous, background.  Her women are smart but cynical, and no matter how dysfunctional her characters are, Enright treats them with sympathy, presenting them as brave to have so far survived the minefields of daily life.

Yesterday's Weather By Anne Enright Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144324
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - June 3rd, 2009