White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf

By Aaron Bobrow-Strain

How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.

White Bread teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet “pain au levain, ” he shows how efforts to champion “good food” reflect dreams of a better society–even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.

In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, “dirty” bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original “superfood” and even marketed as patriotic – while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America.

The history of America’s one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation’s decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for “unhealthy” eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, White Bread is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.

There’s a Fortune Cookie In My Turtle Soup

By Gerard Brooker

I could see it on the front page of the Hohhot News tomorrow: American Man Shot and Killed at Bus Station. The only detail we have now is that the murder appears to be one of jealousy. The alleged murderer has escaped, and the young woman at the scene appeared to be delirious. More details tomorrow. Fiction.

On Sunday, May 20th, Byrd’s Books will be hosting an author event with Gerard Brooker featuring this book! Click here for more information.

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

By Michael J. Sandel

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?

In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets?

In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life – medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from “having” a market economy to “being” a market society. Is this where we want to be?

In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can’t Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society – and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honor and that money can’t buy?

Spiritual Solutions

By Deepak Chopra

Life is full of challenges, both big and small. Spirituality is here to offer solutions.

Over the course of his career as physician, teacher, and bestselling author, Deepak Chopra has received thousands of questions from people facing every kind of challenge. They have asked how to lead more fulfilling lives, how to overcome relationship problems and personal obstacles. What’s the best way to deal with a passive-aggressive friend? Can a stagnant career be jump-started? In a world full of distractions and stress, how does one find time for meditation?
Hidden among all of these questions are answers waiting to be uncovered.

In this groundbreaking book, Chopra shows you how to expand your awareness, which is the key to the confusion and conflict we all face. “The secret is that the level of the problem is never the level of the solution,” he writes. By rising to the level of the solution in your own awareness, you can transform obstacles into opportunities. Chopra leads the reader to what he calls “the true self,” where peace, clarity, and wisdom serve as guides in times of crisis.

For Chopra, spirituality is primarily about consciousness, not about religious dogma or relying on the conventional notion of God. “There is no greater power for success and personal growth than your own awareness.” With practical insight, “Spiritual Solutions” provides the tools and strategies to enable you to meet life’s challenges from within and to experience a sense of genuine fulfillment and purpose.

 

1616: The World in Motion

By Thomas Christensen

Thomas Christensen illuminates the extravagant age of the early 17th century by focusing on a single riotous year. Woven with color images and artwork from the period, “1616” tells the surprising tales of the men and women who set the world on its tumultuous course toward modernity.

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