The Friday List–New Arrivals in the Library!

Introducing The Friday List! Every week, new books are arriving at RLB Library and to keep you up-to-date on what has come in, we’ll be posting the most recent 30 days of arrivals every Friday. The link below will take you to a catalog listing so that you can explore and find titles that interest you. Be sure to check back regularly to see what else has arrived!


If you want some ideas on what to read, here are some highlights:

Front cover image for King : a life

King : a life, Jonathan Eig, 2023

Vividly written and exhaustively researched, Jonathan Eig’s King: A Life is the first major biography in decades of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.–and the first to include recently declassified FBI files. In this revelatory new portrait of the preacher and activist who shook the world, the bestselling biographer gives us an intimate view of the courageous and often emotionally troubled human being who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. He casts fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as MLK’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows MLK from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father–as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr.

Front cover image for From big bang to big data : a history of the media

From big bang to big data : a history of the media (ebook), Johan Jarlbrink et al., 2023

Does media history really start with a bang? More than just newspapers, television, and social networks, media are best understood as the means by which any information is communicated, from cosmic radiation traces to medieval church bells to modern identity documents. Cultures are held together as much by bookkeeping and records as they are by stories and myths. From Big Bang to Big Data is a long history of the media–how it has been established, used, and transformed from the beginning of recorded time until the present. It is not primarily a story of revolutions and innovations, but of continuities and overlaps that reveal surprising patterns across history. Many media were invented as ways to store and share information, and many have served as powerful tools for administration and control. The concerns raised about media today, whether about privacy, piracy, or anxieties over declining cultural standards, preoccupied earlier generations too. In a playful style, accompanied by more than one hundred illustrations, the authors show us how every society has been a media society in its own way. From antique graffiti to last year’s viral YouTube clip, the past is only approachable through media. From Big Bang to Big Data provides a new way of thinking about media in history–and about human societies past and present.

Front cover image for The education myth : how human capital trumped social democracy

The education myth : how human capital trumped social democracy, Jon Shelton, 2023

Focusing on the era from the New Deal through the present, this book tells the story of how politicians, intellectuals, and other leaders in the United States emphasized investment in education through human capital at the expense of broader social democratic policies such as a jobs guarantee, union rights, and a robust social safety net”– Provided by publisher.The Education Myth questions the idea that education represents the best, if not the only, way for Americans to access economic opportunity. As Jon Shelton shows, linking education to economic well-being was not politically inevitable. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for instance, public education was championed as a way to help citizens learn how to participate in a democracy. By the 1930s, public education, along with union rights and social security, formed an important component of a broad-based fight for social democracy. Shelton demonstrates that beginning in the 1960s, the political power of the education myth choked off powerful social democratic alternatives like A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin’s Freedom Budget. The nation’s political center was bereft of any realistic ideas to guarantee economic security and social dignity for the majority of Americans, particularly those without college degrees. Embraced first by Democrats like Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, Republicans like George W. Bush also pushed the education myth. The result, over the past four decades, has been the emergence of a deeply inequitable economy and a drastically divided political system.

Front cover image for Congratulations, the best is over! : essays

Congratulations, the best is over! : essays, R Eric Thomas, 2023

After going viral “reading” the chaotic political news, having one-too-many awkward social encounters, and coming to terms with his intersecting identities, R. Eric Thomas is ready to live his best life. Or, if not, at least his best-ish life. Now, in this collection of insightful and hilarious essays, Eric finds himself doing things completely out of character, starting with moving back to his perpetually misunderstood hometown of Baltimore. They say you can’t go home again, but what if you and home have changed beyond recognition? From attending his twenty-year high school reunion and discovering another person’s face on his name badge, to splattering an urgent care room with blood à la The Shining, to being terrorized by a plague of gay frogs who’ve overtaken his backyard, Eric provides the nitty, and sometimes gritty, details of wrestling with your past life while in the middle of a new one. With wit, heart, and hope for the future, Congratulations, The Best Is Over! is the not-so-gentle reminder we all need that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, we can still find our way back home.

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