New Books Network

Nick Yee, “The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us-and How They Don’t” (Yale UP, 2014)
The image of online gaming in popular culture is that of an addictive pastime, mired in escapism. And the denizens of virtual worlds are thought to be mostly socially awkward teenaged boys. In his new book The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us-and How They Don’t... Read More
Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter, “Thai Stick” (Columbia Press, 2013)
Reading Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter‘s book Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade (Columbia Press, 2013) is the most fun I have had doing this podcast. Maguire makes a point during the interview that police officers preferred to arrest marijuana smugglers because they were so... Read More
George E. Vaillant, “Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study” (Harvard UP, 2012)
There are very few studies like the Harvard Grant Study.  Started in 1938, it has been following its approximately 200 participants ever since, analyzing their physical and mental health and assessing which factors are correlated with healthy living and healthy aging.  One of the psychiatrists of the study is George... Read More
Joshua Dubler, “Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)
In almost every prison movie you see, there is a group of fanatically religious inmates. They are almost always led by a charismatic leader, an outsized father-figure who is loved by his acolytes and feared by nearly everyone else. They’re usually black Muslims, but you also see the occasional born-again Christian... Read More
Gilbert Mireles, “Continuing La Causa: Organizing Labor in California’s Strawberry Fields” (Lynne Rienner, 2013)
Gilbert Mireles is the author of Continuing La Causa: Organizing Labor in California’s Strawberry Fields (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013). He is associate professor of sociology at Whitman College. Mireles applies theories from political sociology and organizational management to the question of how unions organize workers. He examined the effective and... Read More
Leslie Irvine, “My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and their Animals” (Lynne Rienner, 2013)
Homelessness and stigma go hand in hand, and nowhere is this more apparent than pet ownership among the homeless.  From nasty looks to outright insults  – ” you can’t even take care of yourself, you have no business having a dog!” – homeless pet owners use a variety of strategies... Read More
Sarah Franklin, “Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship” (Duke University Press, 2013)
Sarah Franklin‘s new book is an exceptionally rich, focused yet wide-ranging, insightful account of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the worlds that it creates and inhabits. Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship (Duke University Press, 2013) treats IVF as a looking-glass in which can see not... Read More
Steven Engler and Michael Stausberg, eds., “The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Religious Studies” (Routledge, 2011)
In almost every graduate program in Religious Studies and many undergraduate majors you will find a course on theories and methods in the study of religion. Usually, in these types of courses you will find lots of Freud, Marx, and Durkheim but there is generally very little directed training in... Read More
Aswin Punthamabekar, “From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry” (NYU Press, 2013)
Aswin Punthamabekar‘s From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry (New York University Press, 2013) offers a deeply researched and richly theorized look at the evolution of the world’s largest film industry over the past few decades. Combining ethnographic research with close textual analyses of Bollywood films,... Read More