To kick off the holiday shopping season, explore the perfect gifts for the inquisitive readers in your life
The holidays are right around the corner, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to get to work on our shopping lists. This year we’ve gathered in one place the perfect gifts for everyone in your life. Explore part three—featuring gifts for your favorite curious readers from our Essential Knowledge Series—below, and discover more perfect gifts here.
Gifts for curious readers who enjoy bite-sized reads with big impact
Deconstruction by David J. Gunkel
This book offers a clear and concise introduction to a topic often considered difficult and abstruse: deconstruction. David Gunkel sorts out the concept, terminology, and practices of deconstruction, not to defend academic orthodoxy, or to disseminate the thought of Jacques Derrida—the fabricator of the neologism and progenitor of the concept—but to provide readers with a powerful conceptual tool for the twenty-first century.
Gender(s) by Kathryn Bond Stockton
In Gender(s), Kathryn Bond Stockton explores the fascinating, fraught, intimate, morphing matter of gender. Stockton argues for gender’s strangeness, no matter how “normal” the concept seems; gender is queer for everyone, she claims, even when it’s played quite straight. And she explains how race and money dramatically shape everybody’s gender, even in sometimes surprising ways. Playful but serious, erudite and witty, Stockton marshals an impressive array of exhibits to consider, including dolls and their new gendering, the thrust of Jane Austen and Lil Nas X, gender identities according to women’s colleges, gay and transgender ballroom scenes, and much more.
Biofabrication by Ritu Raman
You are a biological machine whose movement is powered by skeletal muscle, just as a car is a machine whose movement is powered by an engine. If you can be built from the bottom up with biological materials, other machines can be as well. This is the conceptual starting point for biofabrication, the act of building with living cells—building with biology in the same way we build with synthetic materials. In Biofabrication, Ritu Raman offers an accessible introduction to biofabrication, arguing that it can address some of our greatest technological challenges.
Cybersecurity by Duane C. Wilson
It seems that everything we touch is connected to the internet, from mobile phones and wearable technology to home appliances and cyber assistants. The more connected our computer systems, the more exposed they are to cyber attacks—attempts to steal data, corrupt software, disrupt operations, and even physically damage hardware and network infrastructures. In Cybersecurity, cyber security expert Duane Wilson offers an accessible guide to cybersecurity issues for everyday users, describing risks associated with internet use, modern methods of defense against cyber attacks, and general principles for safer internet use.
Machine Learning, Revised and Updated Edition by Ethem Alpaydin
Today, machine learning underlies a range of applications we use every day, from product recommendations to voice recognition—as well as some we don’t yet use everyday, including driverless cars. It is the basis for a new approach to artificial intelligence that aims to program computers to use example data or past experience to solve a given problem. In Machine Learning, Ethem Alpaydin offers a concise and accessible overview of “the new AI.” This expanded edition offers new material on such challenges facing machine learning as privacy, security, accountability, and bias.
Ketamine by Bita Moghaddam
Ketamine, approved in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of depression, has been touted by scientists and media reports as something approaching a miracle cure. This book chronicles the ascent of a drug that has been around for fifty years—in previous incarnations, a Vietnam-era combat anesthetic and a popular club drug—that has now been reinvented as a treatment for depression. Bita Moghaddam, a leading researcher in neuropharmacology, explains the scientific history and the biology of ketamine, its clinical use, and its recently discovered antidepressant properties, for the nonspecialist reader.
Annotation by Remi H. Kalir and Antero Garcia
Annotation—the addition of a note to a text—is an everyday and social activity that provides information, shares commentary, sparks conversation, expresses power, and aids learning. It helps mediate the relationship between reading and writing. Annotation offers an introduction to annotation and its literary, scholarly, civic, and everyday significance across historical and contemporary contexts. It approaches annotation as a genre—a synthesis of reading, thinking, writing, and communication—and offers examples of annotation that range from medieval rubrication and early book culture to data labeling and online reviews.
Hate Speech by Caitlin Ring Carlson
Hate speech can happen anywhere—in Charlottesville, Virginia, where young men in khakis shouted, “Jews will not replace us”; in Myanmar, where the military used Facebook to target the Muslim Rohingya; in Capetown, South Africa, where a pastor called on ISIS to rid South Africa of the “homosexual curse.” In person or online, people wield language to attack others for their race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other aspects of identity. This book examines hate speech: what it is, and is not; its history; and efforts to address it.
Science Fiction by Sherryl Vint
The world today seems to be slipping into a science fiction future. We have phones that speak to us, cars that drive themselves, and connected devices that communicate with each other in languages we don’t understand. Depending on the news of the day, we inhabit either a technological utopia or a Brave New World nightmare. Science Fiction surveys the uses of science fiction. It focuses on what is at the core of all definitions of science fiction: a vision of the world made otherwise and what possibilities might flow from such otherness.
Extraterrestrials by Wade Roush
Everything we know about how planets form and how life arises suggests that human civilization on Earth should not be unique. We ought to see abundant evidence of extraterrestrial activity—but we don’t. Where is everybody? In Extraterrestrials, science and technology writer Wade Roush examines one of the great unsolved problems in science: is there life, intelligent or otherwise, on other planets?
Featured journal: October
At the forefront of art criticism and theory, October focuses critical attention on the contemporary arts—film, painting, music, media, photography, performance, sculpture, and literature—and their various contexts of interpretation. Examining relationships between the arts and their critical and social contexts, October addresses a broad range of readers. Original, innovative, and provocative, each issue presents the best, most current texts by and about today’s artistic, intellectual, and critical vanguard.
Featured journal: Daedalus
Drawing on the nation’s most prominent thinkers in the arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences, as well as the professions and public life, Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, explores the frontiers of knowledge and issues of public importance. Recent issues have examined Access to Justice; Inequality as a Multidimensional Process; Science and the Legal System; Why Jazz Still Matters; Political Leadership; Ethics, Technology, and War; Russia Beyond Putin; and The Prospects and Limits of Deliberative Democracy.