Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White


by Michael Tisserand

An Amazon Best Book of December 2016: Krazy: A Life in Black and White is the exhaustively researched and fascinating story of a trailblazer with a secret. Nicknamed “The Greek” by a fellow cartoonist, owing to his swarthy complexion and curly hair (which he typically kept hidden under a fedora), it wasn’t until George Herriman, creator of the perpetually lovestruck Krazy Kat, had been dead for twenty-seven years that a would-be biographer discovered the secret Herriman had guarded all his life. He was the product of a mixed-race marriage, and had, like two generations of Herrimans before him, been able to “pass for white.” The creator of a comic strip that has been infinitely more influential among cartoonists and intellectuals than it was popular with the American public (the strips only appeared in newspapers for twenty years because newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was such a fan he gave Herriman a lifetime contract; a visitor to Herriman’s editor found an office junior sopping up a water leak with original Krazy Kat art), this new biography finally gives Herriman his due and frames him as a visionary whose influence helped shape popular culture for decades after his death. It takes a fresh and knowing look at the cheerfully subversive cartoons involving the put-upon but loving black cat and his white, brick-throwing love/nemesis. In addition, Tisserand provides eye-opening dimension with regard to the scale of Herriman’s influence: Michael Chabon, Will Eisner, Charles Schulz, ee cummings and many others credit him with inspiring their work (you may never look at the zigzag on Charlie Brown’s t-shirt again without remembering that it was Charles Schulz’s tribute to the Navaho designs that recurred in Herriman’s work). Ultimately, the reader comes away with a sobering idea of what an exhausting job it must have been for a gentle genius, living on the color line in the first half of twentieth century America, pursuing a career and a point of view that never would have been open to him had his true racial identity been known. —Vannessa Cronin, The Amazon Book Review


A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age


by Daniel J. Levitin

We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process—especially in election season. It’s raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them.

It’s becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories—statistical information and faulty arguments—ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren’t. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning—not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it. Readers learn to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin’s charming, entertaining, accessible guide can help anyone wake up to a whole lot of things that aren’t so. And catch some lying weasels in their tracks!


E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (DVD)

etTime for a classic summer movie?

Relive the adventure and magic in one of the most beloved motion pictures of all-time,E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Captivating audiences of all ages, this timeless story follows the unforgettable journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends. Join Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) as they come together to help E.T. find his way back home.E.T. The Extra-Terrestrialis “one of the great American films” (Leonard Maltin) that forever belongs in the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.


La La Land (DVD)

lalaTake a break from the real world!

Winner of 6 Academy Awards® including Best Director for writer/director Damien Chazelle, and winner of a record-breaking 7 Golden Globe® Awards, LA LA LAND is more than the most acclaimed movie of the year – it’s a cinematic treasure for the ages that you’ll fall in love with again and again. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star as Mia and Sebastian, an actress and a jazz musician pursuing their Hollywood dreams – and finding each other – in a vibrant celebration of hope, dreams, and love.


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