Books Behind the Headlines

Dive deeper into this week's top stories.

Books Behind the Headlines

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“Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage” from USA Today

This morning (Friday, June 26) the Supreme Court of the United States legalized gay marriage in every state of the union. The historic 5-4 ruling now makes it impossible for the 14 states that outlaw gay marriage to prevent gay couples from getting married and is being celebrated by LGBT communities and their allies as a victory for civil rights everywhere.

Further Reading: Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, by Jo Becker (Penguin Books)

Pulitzer Prize winner Jo Becker provides insight into the riveting gay-rights struggle over the last several years, detailing Supreme Court rulings, Proposition 8, and the shift in political rhetoric that led up to today’s ruling. Released just last month, it has everything you need to get up to date on the issue.


“Gmail Finally Lets You ‘Undo Send’ Emails You Wish You Didn’t Send” from Mashable

In this week’s edition of “Where would we be without Google?” comes news of Gmail’s new “Undo Send” feature, which allows users to delay the sending of their emails for a varying number of seconds, providing them with the option to delete the email in the case of an error or an overlooked mistake. Apparently the result of a six-year project, the idea of an “Undo Send” button had seemed like an idealistic myth up until this very week.

Further Reading: Emily Post’s Manners in a Digital World, by Daniel Post Sennings (Open Road Media)

A read-through of the ultimate guide to online tact and manners is the perfect solution to ensuring you never need an “Undo Send” button in the first place.


“There’s No Rat in KFC’s Kitchen” from CNN

The original story: KFC tried to pass off a fried rat as fried chicken. The updated story: After being sent for DNA testing (which is apparently something you can perform on a chicken tender), KFC was able to prove that though the tender in question was in fact shaped like a rat, it was indeed white meat.

Further Reading: The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair (Waxkeep Publishing)

If you’re looking to learn more about the American food industry, now’s as good a time as ever to finally read Upton Sinclair’s classic … and then ponder veganism.


“It’s No Longer Just a Rumor: Ava DuVernay Is Directing Marvel’s Black Panther” from Flavorwire

Ava DuVernay made headlines back in January when her Oscar-nominated film, Selma, drew rave reviews. Now the director who chronicled history is making history: DuVernay is slated to direct Marvel Studios’s highly anticipated Blank Panther, a film about the famed African American superhero. Not only will DuVernay be the first African American director of a Marvel film, she’ll also be the studio’s first-ever female director.

Further Reading: Black Panther Vol. 1: Who Is the Black Panther?, by Reginald Hudlin (Marvel)

You know Superman and Batman, but you might not know much about the Black Panther, the first black superhero to appear in mainstream American comics. Get to know the cat who’ll undoubtedly be everywhere in a few years with the Black Panther’s origin story, then prepare to feel entirely hip when everyone’s asking about him in 2018.


“Update: Taylor Swift Got Apple to Change Its Payment Policy” from  Vanity Fair

Taylor Swift is on her way to world domination. Just last week, Apple unveiled it’s new music-streaming service, which would offer users three initial months of free music. That free music, however, comes at the price of musicians who would not be paid for the trial period in which consumers would be able to listen to their tunes cost free. Sound unfair? Swift thought so — so she penned a short essay in which she voiced her opinion on Apple Music’s mistreatment of musicians, placing an emphasis on the up-and-coming acts in need of an income. Within 24 hours, Apple announced it had changed its policy and would indeed pay musicians for those first three months of free streaming. Swift, on her part, was elated and relieved.

Further Reading: Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender (Crown Business)

If you’re interested in familiarizing yourself with Apple and the man behind the tech juggernaut, Becoming Steve Jobs is being heralded by the company as much more of an accurate portrayal of Apple’s founder than the 2011 best seller. And if you’re interested in experiencing more of Taylor Swift’s indomitable Internet presence, check out her Tumblr (which includes the above essay).


“Stonewall Inn Wins Landmark Status” from CBS News

On June 23rd, 2015, New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted in favor of deeming the historic Stonewall Inn a New York City landmark. Widely considered the birthplace of the LGBT rights movement, the Stonewall Inn was made famous after it housed a resistance to a police raid back in June of 1969.

Further Reading: Stonewall, by Martin Duberman (Open Road Media)

To learn more about the famed Stonewall Inn and the origins of the gay rights movement, check out Martin Duberman’s Stonewall, a powerful firsthand account of the Stonewall riots and the birth of the modern gay rights movement.


“A Sedated Man Accidentally Recorded a Doctor Insulting Him During a Colonoscopy” from BuzzFeed News

A man from Virginia was awarded $500,000 this week after he accidentally recorded a doctor making defamatory and rude comments about him while he was anesthetized. After accidentally leaving his phone on before his procedure began, the patient found that his anesthesiologist had called him “annoying” and noted that she wanted to “punch [him] in the face and man [him] up a little bit,” among other rather cruel comments.

Further Reading: Kill as Few Patients as Possible: And Fifty-Six Other Essays on How to Be the World’s Best Doctor, by Oscar London (Ten Speed Press)

In London’s collection of essays from the pros of the medical profession, readers are treated to a wide array of vignettes about doctors, patients, and the medical field as a whole. The essays range from humorous to poignant to educational, while remaining entirely engrossing (and free of patient hazing) throughout.


“New York Prison Worker Allegedly Smuggled Escape Tools in Frozen Hamburger Meat” from USA Today

These days, it seems impossible to be sure of what’s inside processed meat. For inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt, it was tools that a smitten prison guard smuggled in using frozen hamburger patties, which aided in their escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.

Further Reading: Death Row Breakout, by Edward Bunker (Open Road Media)

If prison-break stories pique your interest, then take a look at Death Row Breakout, by Edward Bunker. Inmate-turned-author Bunker has created a relevant and simultaneously gripping collection of short stories for anyone interested in crime novels that offer prime insight into the life of the incarcerated.


“Wal-Mart, Amazon, Etsy and Other Major Retailers Will No Longer Carry Confederate Flag Merchandise” from BuzzFeed News

In light of recent events, including a national debate surrounding the use of the confederate flag after the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina, retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon have decided to no longer sell products that display images of the confederate flag. In the meantime, activists continue to protest the use of the flag — and advocate for its banning — outside of the South Carolina Statehouse.

Further Reading: The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem, by John M. Coski (Belknap Press)

In a wholly relevant book, author John M. Coski discusses the origins of the confederate flag and its association with racist ideologies. So if you’re interested in learning about the flag’s history and how it came to acquire such negative associations, Coski’s read is the way to go.


“Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: I’m Running for President” from NBC News

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, announced Wednesday that he’s officially pining for a spot as the Republican presidential candidate. A video uploaded to his campaign site features the governor telling his three young children about his presidential aspirations, clearly emphasizing the candidate’s desire to come off as a family man. Though he’s considered a long shot for the GOP nomination, his supporters argue that the candidate’s strong Christian values and successful spending cuts are a credit to his capabilities.

Further Reading: What It Takes: The Way to the White House, by Richard Ben Cramer (Open Road Media)

As yet another Republican hopeful steps up to the plate, why not take a look at what goes into the modern candidate’s presidential campaign? Richard Ben Cramer’s detailed look into the complex campaigns of presidential hopefuls is as in depth and detailed as it is enlightening and enthralling.

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