Category Archives: 2010

The Climate Solutions Consensus by David E. Blockstein and Leo Wiegman

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science Reference Librarian

booksAs the reference & instruction librarian for Tufts’ Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department and Environmental Science, I’m always searching for essential resources that help students and faculty gain a solid overview of a topic. The Climate Solutions Consensus: What We Know and What to Do About It (NCSE/Island Press, 2010) achieves this by bringing together the intricate science, policy and practical applications surrounding the most important social, cultural, environmental and political issue of our time.

Authors David Blockstein, Director of Science Education and Senior Scientist with the National Council for Science the Environment (NCSE) and Leo Wiegman (A ’80), founder of E to the Fourth Communications Strategy and Mayor, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, have written a book pulling together findings and subsequent policies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other summits and symposia. The beginning of the book outlines “Thirty-nine Reasons Why We Have to Act Now”, providing succinct, important global climate change facts and tenets. Blockstein and Wiegman also discuss how the phrase, global warming is too narrow to be used as a synonym for global climate change, but is useful for describing overall increases in average surface temperature of the Earth. This is an important distinction as numerous factors contribute to global climate change.

Throughout the book, the authors use definition, explanation and resources to assist readers in understanding the complex issues covered in the text. Topics such as atmospheric carbon, biodiversity, greenhouse gases, global and local action and science and public policy are clearly and concisely explained with online resources, climate solution actions and works cited/consulted sections providing additional resources and further education. Each chapter includes a “Connect the Dots” section, linking theory/policy with application.

The most appealing chapter of Climate Solutions Consensus, “Strategies for Stabilization, Mitigation, and Adaptation”, presents thirty-five immediate climate actions, describing the policy, research, and education needed to achieve each action item.

Well-documented and accessible, Climate Solutions Consensus, would work as an excellent text for a college/university course in global climate change or environment; it would also be useful as a resource for municipal or citizen environmental/climate change groups looking to educate their community and begin developing policies and actions to address global climate disruption.

Location: Tisch Book Stacks QC903 .B56 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

waterReviewed by Laura Walters, Associate Director for Teaching, Research, and Information Resources, Tisch Library.

Did you dream of joining the circus when you were a child?  Did you want to be an elephant trainer or the beautiful woman on the flying trapeze?  If so, you should enter the world of Water for Elephants, a novel that chronicles life in a second-rate circus crossing America in 1932.  From the moment 22-year old Jacob jumps on a train to escape his grief at his parents’ death, we are enveloped in a world that we have only dreamed about.  Reality is much harsher than dreams, and Jacob has to deal with a sadistic ring leader and a brutal circus owner as he struggles to protect the people and the animals he comes to love.  The novel alternates in time between Jacob at 22 and at 93, and the passages involving the elderly Jacob beautifully capture the pathos and nostalgia of a man reflecting on his life’s journey.

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3607.R696 W38 2007
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Summer 2010 Leisure Reading

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

“Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations. Now the disappearance of two women is bringing Towner back home to Salem- and is bringing to light the shocking truth about the death of her twin sister.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3602.A777548 L33 2009
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

“Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson’s spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men- the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World’s Fair, striving to secure American’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Larson crafts a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.”

Tisch Library Call Number: HV6248.M8 L37 2004
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly


“Welcome to the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son Collie (yes, he was named after the dog breed). Coming of age on Martha’s Vineyard, he struggles within his wildly wealthy, hyperarticulate, resolutely crazy Irish-Catholic family: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie’s mother). It is a world where chaos is exhilaratingly constant and money is no object. Yet it is one where the things Collie wants -understanding, stability, a sense of belonging- cannot be bought at any price. Through his travails, we realize what it really means to grow into one’s family: to find ways to see them anew, to forgive them, and to be forgiven in turn.“

Tisch Library Call Number: PR9199.4.K448 A66 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

greatworldamazon“A rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. A radical young Irish monk struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gathers in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. A 38-year-old grandmother turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s allegory comes alive in the voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century”–a mysterious tightrope walker dancing between the Twin Towers.”

Tisch Library Call Number PR6063.C335 L47 2010
Location Tisch Tower Cafe

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

lastsong“Seventeen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside down when her parents divorced. Three years later, she remains alienated from her parents, particularly her father . . . until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she and her brother spent the summer with him. Resentful and rebellious, Ronnie rejects her father’s attempts to reach out to her and threatens to return home before the summer’s end. But soon Ronnie meets Will, the past person she thought she’d ever be attracted to, and finds herself falling for him, opening herself up to the greatest happiness  –and pain- that she has ever known.”

Tisch Library Call Number PS3569.P363 L37 2010b
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

GirlwhoplayedOn the eve of publisher Mikael Blomkvist’s story about sex trafficking between Eastern Europe and Sweden, two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Mikael Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander–the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid years before.

Tisch Library Call Number PT9876.22.A6933 F57 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and Adam Grano

Ghost WorldOne of the best-selling and critically-acclaimed graphic novels of all-time telling the story of two supremely ironic, above-it-all teenagers facing the thrilling uncertainty of life after high school. As they attempt to carry their life-long friendship into a new era, the careful dynamics of their inseparable bond are jolted, and what seemed like a future of endless possibilities looks more like an encroaching reality of strip malls, low-paying service jobs and fading memories.

Tisch Library Call Number PN6727.C56 G62 2008
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

cutting“Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by the mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.”

Tisch Library Call Number: PS3622.E744 C87 2010
Location: Tisch Tower Cafe

Of Water, Turtles and Literature

Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook by David Carroll

Reviewed by Regina Raboin, Science Librarian, Tisch Library

The water’s not too distant from where I live in North Central Massachusetts and though considered just a “swamp” by many; David Carroll’s wetland mosaic is an example of beautiful ecosystems being destroyed by the deleterious changes in Earth’s ecology.

I discovered David M. Carroll’s (Tufts Alum, SMFA65) book, Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook (Houghton Mifflin 2009) in Tufts Magazine (Winter 2010) and thought it would be a wonderful title to review for TIE’s (Tufts Institute of the Environment) newsletter.

Mr. Carroll immediately drew me into his world with his illustrations. I was entranced by his detailed drawings of the wetlands near his home in Warner, NH where for over thirty years he eagerly anticipates the inaugural signs of spring, documenting first turtle sightings and changes to this wetlands brought upon by natural and human intervention. He tells the tale of our ecology through the turtles inhabiting these wetlands lovingly, yet precisely documenting and explaining their behavior and how their ecological niche is disappearing. His writing is affecting, poetic, drawing the reader into his world of naturalist and field biologist. These turtle documentations are windows into how our environment is changing through un-checked development, poor land stewardship and environmental ignorance.

I was moved by Mr. Carroll’s descriptions of the wetland’s seasons, his sighting of the first turtle, and how the wind and water moved through this glacial leftover. In describing a turtle’s first breath since winter, he equates it to all creatures, “For the moment I think of all the living breaths that have been taken in the world”. He laments an otter’s presence in this ecosystem, yet understands that this is the natural order, “I am familiar with reports by others who study turtles of heavy losses on colonies…by otters preying upon them during their hibernation.”

Threads of Thoreau, Carson and Burroughs echo through the book and Carroll makes clear that our species is responsible for the loss of natural landscape, “The species that came to invent wealth created poverty, for its own kind as well as for the natural landscape.” He advocates “…moving beyond stewardship and conservation to preservation…”, recognizing that his isn’t always the most popular view. Although he understands the call for “…getting out of the house and away from electronic pastimes…” he clearly states that open spaces and multi-use conservation lands are not “true preserves” in providing sanctuary for ecologies, and the landscape loses more natural space and thus, its meaning.

Mr. Carroll “follows the water” describing its flow, how it molds the species and land around it – reminding us that through our neglect and unwillingness to “know at least the place where one lives” we are stripping the Earth of “all original meaning”. This book isn’t just for TIE – this is a book for the entire Tufts Community.
Tisch Library Call Number QH105.N4 C267 2009