Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's that time of year again...

Textbook rush is upon us so don't be surprised to see boxes & boxes & more boxes piled up everywhere in the store. We don't have a real backroom or basement or anything so you get to see the whole process in all its transparent glory.

New students! Welcome to the valley! Returning students! Welcome back! We look forward to the life and vitality you bring to our little town. Feel free to come and hang out anytime, whether to read a book, use the free wifi, chat with a friend, or just sit and chill.

We are happy to help you with any research or projects you may be pursuing and welcome any questions you may have. Drop us an email at and tell us what's on your mind.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words

Check out this beautiful photo essay (part 1, part 2) of people reading books all over the world...

Photographer Steve McCurry remarks: We are familiar with words describing images, but not so familiar with images describing words and the impact reading has on our lives.
via the ever superlative metafilter

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Speaking of Truth and Power

The folks at underclassrising have an interesting interview with Noam Chomsky in which he discusses, among other things, his recent book Hopes & Prospects:

Your latest book is called Hopes and Prospects. What are the hopes?

The first part of the book is about South America, and in South America there are many quite hopefu developments. For the first time in 500 years, since the Conquistadors, South America is beginning to move towards some degree of independence and integration and at least facing some of its severe internal problems. The colonial structure is extreme in South America, where there is a very narrow concentration of wealth in a mostly Europeanised, sometimes white elite, surrounded by an awful tragedy and some of the worst inequality in the world, in a region that has a lot of resources and a lot of potential. Some steps are being taken to deal with this.

In the US itself there also are changes. Whether they are fast enough to overcome the major problems I don’t know, but just take Israel and Palestine. Not many years ago, if I wanted to give a talk on this I had to have police protection at a university, because the meetings would be broken up violently. I can remember when the police insisted on accompanying me and my wife back to our car after a talk at a university. That’s not completely changed, but it’s been changing over the years, and it changed radically after Gaza. Now there are enthusiastic audiences, very much engaged, very involved, very much wanting to do things.

It hasn’t affected the media, and it hasn’t affected the political class, or the intellectuals, but it’s changing around the country, and sooner or later those things do have effects. In a way it was diverted by the Obama phenomenon, because that did bring about a lot of expectations and it diverted a lot of activism. But now disillusionment has set in. If the changes continue to develop, they can eventually bring about significant change, as they did in the case of South Africa.

... read more

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Diet for a Hot Planet

Anna Lappé has an article in the recent issue of Edible Pioneer Valley that's worth checking out and serves as a nice introduction to her new book Diet for a Hot Planet. If you're local, you can pick up free copies all over the Valley, or check out their free online edition.

In 2006, Henning Steinfeld and colleagues at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization published a dense 390-page report called Livestock’s Long Shadow. Get past the mind-numbing figures and you’d absorb the report’s startling conclusion: Livestock production— especially the pressure on forests for pasture and crop production and the immense waste of industrial feedlots—contributes more to global warming than every single car, truck and plane on the planet. Move over, Hummer; say hello to the hamburger.

The entire food system—from seed to plate to landfill—is responsible for an estimated one-third of the escalating greenhouse gas emissions leading us toward climate catastrophe....

Despite the overwhelming evidence about the climate toll of global industrial agriculture, most of us are missing the story. When we think about climate-change bad guys, we would probably point to BP and ExxonMobil, before naming ADM and Cargill. Most of us are also largely unaware of the potential that sustainable, small-scale farming holds to both help us survive a climate-unstable future and mitigate global warming.

This lack of conversation and consciousness of industrial agriculture’s impact as well as the potential of a sustainable food system to heal the climate prompted me to pen my new book, Diet for a Hot Planet. more

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Modern Day Slavery Museum

We are writing to invite you to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) Modern-Day Slavery Museum exhibit. The museum exhibit will be traveling around the Northeast for the next few weeks, and will be in Northampton at Pulaski Park on Main & Masonic on this upcoming Tuesday, August 10th.

The centerpiece of the museum exhibit is a box truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks used to enslave tomato pickers in a brutal 2008 case (prosecuted in federal court in 2008). The truck was developed in consultation with workers who have escaped from slavery operations, as well as leading academic authorities on labor history and the subject of forced labor. The CIW has aided the DOJ in the prosecution of 6 farmworker slavery operations, leading to the liberation of well over 1,000 workers. A federal indictment for the 8th case of farmworker slavery to happen in the past 12 years was just unsealed this month.

The truck and the accompanying multimedia exhibit look at the history of forced labor, why it continues to occur, and the solution that is being forged to pull slavery up by its roots.

Local organisational sponsors: Alliance to Develop Power (ADP Worker Center / Casa Obrera), UMASS Labor Relations and Research Center (LRRC), Food for Thought Books, C3 Northampton, Verité, Western Mass Jobs with Justice (WMJWJ), In Solidarity With Immigrants (ISWI), Center for Popular Economics (CPE), Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), Northampton Farmer's Market (Tuesday), and the American Friends Service Commitee (AFSC).

If you are unable to catch the Modern Day Slavery Museum but are still interested in learning more about contemporary slavery in the U.S. today, please check out John Bowe's Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy for an excellent (and sobering) overview.

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