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Nico Muhly's Bookcase

Nico Muhly (/ˈnk ˈmjuːli/; born August 26, 1981) is an American contemporary classical music composer and arranger, who has worked and recorded with classical and pop/rock musicians. He currently lives in the Lower East Side section of Manhattan in New York City. He is a member of the Icelandic music collective/recording label Bedroom Community.

Photo by: Steven Psano

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Better American Living Through Tyranny

In this inventive and biting satire, acclaimed novelist and cultural critic Cintra Wilson reimagines America's Manifest Destiny as helmed by Caligula, the only leader in world history capable of turning our floundering democracy into a fully functioning―and totally fun―tyranny, both here and abroad. With Caligula running the show, America will finally be able to achieve what the founding fathers really wanted, but never had the nerve to admit. Like, how to:

-Achieve the guilt-free looting of natural resources for the sake of immediate gratification;

-Declare war on abstract concepts (drugs, terror, the ocean) for the sake of imperial expansion;

-Utilize propaganda, psychological operations, and other prisoner-of-war techniques to create a sense of learned helplessness in the citizenry, gain their utterly terrified trust and obedience―and leave them begging for more;

-Rape, pillage, and loot―both here and abroad―with impunity

Wilson also traces the historical arc of Caligula's life and not-so-hard times, from his privileged childhood in Syria to his ascent to power to his eventual takedown by the hands of an angry populace, to point out the unsettling parallels between his own extravagant reign and a certain administration, which helped usher in a new golden age of unlimited executive power. Part political parable, part cautionary tale, Caligula for President is an ingenious and hilarious send-up of the current state of our Union by one of this generation's sharpest satirists.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Released January 2016, this Bible translation is faithful to the Textus Receptus, yet easy to understand.  And because Wycliffe translated the Bible during the Middle Ages, this translation uses the Middle Age context, complete with Kings, Queens, Bishops, Knights, Castles and Princes.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

William Boyd’s masterful new novel tells, in a series of intimate journals, the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, art dealer, spy—as he makes his often precarious way through the twentieth century.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

As any traveller to Vietnam will know, the street food is second to none in terms of its diversity, great taste and availability. Vietnam is a real foodie's destination - and nowhere is it more vibrant than among the hustle and bustle of the streets. Vietnamese Street Food gives you an insider's view of the country and features over sixty well-loved and authentic recipes, from the ever-popular pho to prawn rice paper rolls and the tangy, crunchy peanut-studded rice balls favored by snacking students. With stunning food photography of every dish and complemented by evocative location photography, Vietnamese Street Food provides an unforgettable insight into Vietnamese street food and culture that will inspire both the home chef and the armchair traveller.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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The Making Of A Monster

Although it's hard to believe now, Rose West was an exceptionally beautiful little girl with long, glossy dark hair and big brown eyes. Strangers would stop and stare at her in the street and she could entrance people from an early age. Looking at photos of young Rosie as a child, it is almost impossible to comprehend that she would grow up to become one of Britain's most notorious female murderers. What happened to that little girl to make her capable of such violence? Or was there something wrong - a predisposition to cruelty - which she was born with? Crime writer Jane Carter Woodrow goes back to the start of Rose's life to piece together what it was that turned her into a monster. In doing so, she presents us with a profile of the young Rose West and a fascinating insight into the mind of a killer. Rose's early life made her the perfect partner for Fred West when they met just before her sixteenth birthday. But the young teenager would kill for the first time a few months later, alone and unaided, while Fred was in prison. Her part in the killings is very different to that which many people believe even today. ROSE is a gripping read which sheds light for the first time on the real story of Rose West - taking the reader on a journey from her childhood through to her becoming the country's biggest and most infamous female sexual predator and serial killer.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn

Mitzvah Girls is the first book about bringing up Hasidic Jewish girls in North America, providing an in-depth look into a closed community. Ayala Fader examines language, gender, and the body from infancy to adulthood, showing how Hasidic girls in Brooklyn become women responsible for rearing the next generation of nonliberal Jewish believers. To uncover how girls learn the practices of Hasidic Judaism, Fader looks beyond the synagogue to everyday talk in the context of homes, classrooms, and city streets.

Hasidic women complicate stereotypes of nonliberal religious women by collapsing distinctions between the religious and the secular. In this innovative book, Fader demonstrates that contemporary Hasidic femininity requires women and girls to engage with the secular world around them, protecting Hasidic men and boys who study the Torah. Even as Hasidic religious observance has become more stringent, Hasidic girls have unexpectedly become more fluent in secular modernity. They are fluent Yiddish speakers but switch to English as they grow older; they are increasingly modest but also fashionable; they read fiction and play games like those of mainstream American children but theirs have Orthodox Jewish messages; and they attend private Hasidic schools that freely adapt from North American public and parochial models. Investigating how Hasidic women and girls conceptualize the religious, the secular, and the modern, Mitzvah Girls offers exciting new insights into cultural production and change in nonliberal religious communities.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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The Biography

Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism, and coexistence. In this masterful narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings the holy city to life, through the people who created and destroyed it—from Herod, Cleopatra and Nero to Churchill, Rasputin and Truman—and draws on the latest scholarship, his own family history, and a lifetime of study to show that the story of Jerusalem is truly the story of the world.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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A Memoir

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller—Jaycee Dugard’s raw and powerful memoir, her own story of being kidnapped in 1991 and held captive for more than eighteen years.

In the summer of June of 1991, I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother that loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.

For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.

On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim, I simply survived an intolerable situation. A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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An Alternative History

"Don't miss this equivalent of a brilliant graduate course froma feisty and exhilarating teacher." -The Washington Post

An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth, The Hindus offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account. Many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated within a century; its central tenets arise at particular moments in Indian history and often differ according to gender or caste; and the differences between groups of Hindus far outnumber the commonalities. Yet the greatness of Hinduism lies precisely in many of these idiosyncratic qualities that continues to inspire debate today. This groundbreaking work elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds, the inner life and the social history of Hindus.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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North Korea's Dear Leader

Kim Jong-il has been the subject of intense interest and fear in recent months. He has been demonised as 'Dr Evil' for his nuclear programme which puts Korea on a collision course with the US. For this reason, the world has a stake in understanding this man and his little-known country. This account aims to tell the compelling story of Kim Jong-il and the country he leads, exploring the pressing question of how he manages to hold onto power in a country that is ravaged by famine and poverty. Unravelling the myths, mysteries, and fallacies that surround this small, desperate country, this fascinating story includes rare photos of Kim Jong-il and his brutal regime.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity. "Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything" (Harpers & Queen), it focuses on the friendship of two men: William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, an old Africa hand, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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Father-Daughter Incest in American History

This history of father-daughter incest in the United States explains how cultural mores and political needs distorted attitudes toward and medical knowledge of patriarchal sexual abuse at a time when the nation was committed to the familial power of white fathers and the idealized white family.

For much of the nineteenth century, father-daughter incest was understood to take place among all classes, and legal and extralegal attempts to deal with it tended to be swift and severe. But public understanding changed markedly during the Progressive Era, when accusations of incest began to be directed exclusively toward immigrants, blacks, and the lower socioeconomic classes. Focusing on early twentieth-century reform movements and that era’s epidemic of child gonorrhea, Lynn Sacco argues that middle- and upper-class white males, too, molested female children in their households, even as official records of their acts declined dramatically.

Sacco draws on a wealth of sources, including professional journals, medical and court records, and private and public accounts, to explain how racial politics and professional self-interest among doctors, social workers, and professionals in allied fields drove claims and evidence of incest among middle- and upper-class white families into the shadows. The new feminism of the 1970s, she finds, brought allegations of father-daughter incest back into the light, creating new societal tensions.

Against several different historical backdrops―public accusations of incest against "genteel" men in the nineteenth century, the epidemic of gonorrhea among young girls in the early twentieth century, and adult women’s incest narratives in the mid-to late twentieth century―Sacco demonstrates that attitude shifts about patriarchal sexual abuse were influenced by a variety of individuals and groups seeking to protect their own interests.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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