What do Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams have in common? According to a recent article in Foreign Policy Journal, “two remarkable women have been in the news promoting their books. [Sandberg's ubiquitous Lean In and Williams' recent UC Press book, My Name Is Jody Williams] Both women are brilliant, hardworking, dedicated, focused and very accomplished. They have much in common [...]”
The similarities end there, however. FPJ argues that Sandberg and Williams “hold opposing philosophical belief systems.” Read the full article to learn about Sandberg and Williams’ divergent paths to success.
In the wake of Mayor Bloomberg’s decision last summer to remove formula samples from the diaper bags given to new mothers in New York City, the breast vs. bottle feeding debate is more contentious than ever.
The Spiked Review of Books recently took up this issue in a review of Suzanne’s Barston’s new book, Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t. Discussing the politics of breastfeeding and several misguided public health strategies used to denigrate bottle-feeding, Nancy McDermott says Bottled Up “should be required reading for all new parents, regardless of how they feed their infant, just because it does such a great job of interrogating the scientism that has come to permeate every child-rearing decision.” Read the full review at Spiked.
Sabine Heinlein sent a finished copy of her book, Among Murderers, to Richie, an interviewee serving time at Attica prison. He then passed it around to friends and fellow cellblock-mates. Two of them were so moved by her research on the struggle to navigate life after a murder conviction, they felt compelled to write responses to Heinlein.
Below are excerpts from their letters, which are honest, heartfelt, and at times, conflicted. Read the full letters on Sabine Heinlein’s blog.
Letter #1, from Jason Rodriguez, who is serving 37 years-to-life for murder:
I started questioning the true essence of remorse, rehabilitation, and the whole process of corrections; what society deems fit when they’re looking in from the outside at a bunch of papers, data. If it’s anything remotely close to the little girl who got scared at the Halloween party or the arbitrariness of the parole board, then certainly we are the worst thing we’ve ever done. If they’re like you, having the ability to empathize, then there is still hope. In this regard I share, and am grateful for, your sentiments on page 18, “each man’s story—his needs, desires, risks, failures and moral responsibilities—calls for a highly individualized approach.”
Letter #2, from a prisoner who has served 48 years of his 20-to-life murder sentence and wishes to remain anonymous:
I read until 1:30 AM, then finished your book this morning. It kept my interest. I was thrown off some by chapter 20, The New Home, which for me kind of broke the flow. But that was read at about 1 AM, I was tired and that may have contributed.
I found it very honest and real. Your handling of personality profiles was, as always, excellent. I think it will be an eye opener for those who have the misconception that parole is freedom. I’d like to see it as mandatory reading for all first offenders because they often think “parole is freedom” and are quickly, very negatively struck with profound disappointment when reality smacks or kicks them in the face.
The exhibition Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu, on display at the Oakland Museum through June 30, is the first comprehensive survey of the artwork of pioneering Chinese-American artist Hung Liu. The exhibition explores the evolution of Liu’s artistic practice, and investigates the complex interactions between individual memory and history, and documentary evidence and artistic expression, among other themes. UC Press published the companion book to the exhibition, which includes 140 color illustrations, and essays that reflect on the ties between Hung Liu’s evocative art and her equally rich and complex life.
Bay Area residents will have a chance to see the artist in person later this month. Liu will visit the Oakland Museum for a Meet the Artist talk and book signing on April 20, and will be back to lead an in-Gallery talk and informal tour on April 26.
Read more about Hung Liu’s life and work in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine.
Legendary environmental leader and publisher David Brower (the subject of an exhibit at Doe Library at UC Berkeley until March 31) worked as an editor at UC Press 70 years ago and met his future wife, Anne, on the job. In the current issue of the Cal alumni magazine, their son Kenneth Brower shares this story of how his parents met:
My parents met in 1941 as editors at the University of California Press. To my mother’s annoyance, the press manager assigned my father a desk in her small office. The new hire—a mountain climber, tall, unpolished—irritated her not just by his personality and his invasion of her space, but by his salary. Gender equality was not yet a blip on the radar. (Radar itself, coined just the year before, was not yet a blip on the radar.) My mother had seniority, yet from his first day my father, with his Y chromosome, drew a paycheck nearly equal to hers.
In time she relented. Their conversations grew warmer. My father found he could make her laugh.
It happened one week that Anne Hus, my mother, was struggling with a dull manuscript overloaded with footnotes. David Brower, my father, waited until she was away at lunch and then typed up a page himself and slipped it in. His insert began in the author’s stuffy style, then slowly morphed into parody and finally into ridiculousness, complete with nonsensical footnotes. My mother, pencil in hand, was halfway through the page when she realized her manuscript had been hijacked. The look on her face, and then her laughter—it was a small triumph my father would never forget. There were complications to the stunt, unfortunately: When the author asked for the manuscript back to make some changes, my mother forgot to remove the apocryphal page. The author was not amused.
But it all worked out in the end. As nearly as I can figure, I owe my existence to a slow day at UC Press and a bunch of counterfeit footnotes.
Are you ready for more uncensored Mark Twain? The eagerly-anticipated Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2, will be published in October. Volume 2 delves deeper into Mark Twain’s life, uncovering the many roles he played in his private and public worlds. Filled with his characteristic blend of humor and ire, the narrative ranges effortlessly across the contemporary scene. He shares his views on writing and speaking, his preoccupation with money, and his contempt for the politics and politicians of his day.
And if you can’t wait until October, check out our free app for iPhone and iPad, a treasure trove of rarely seen images of Samuel Clemens and his family, plus audio excerpts from both Volumes 1 and 2 of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. Get a glimpse into the wide-ranging and candid narrative of the life that Mark Twain embargoed until 100 years after his death.
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