Recommended reading, selected by John Jay librarians.

Susan Opotow and Zachary Baron Shemtob, New York after 9/11. New York: Fordham University Press, 2018.

Available at John Jay at Stacks HV6432.7.N485 2018

For those of us here on that horrific day, 9/11 is still very much present. But it has been almost 20 years. Susan Opotow (Professor of Sociology at John Jay) and Zachary Baron Shemtob have put together a collection of essays analyzing how memory becomes history. Of particular interest are contributions by architect Daniel Libeskind on his thinking behind the master plan for Ground Zero, and Michael Arad on his design for the memorial. Other chapters discuss the long term health impacts, surveillance of Muslims, and the 9/11 Museum.This volume gives historians, urbanists, and New Yorkers much to consider, as many of the issues the editors raise remain controversial and in play.  Jeffrey A. Kroessler

Benjamin Dreyer, Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. New York: Random House, 2019.

Available to borrow from several CUNY libraries. Place a request through OneSearch.

If you’re looking to improve your writing or answer and re-answer those perennial questions about em dashes and proper pluralizing, this book serves as a style guide that can sit on the shelf right alongside your Fowler’s and Strunk & White. The difference with Dreyer’s is that it’s also an entertaining read, even if you’re not a confirmed grammar geek who read every page like it’s a cliffhanger as I did. As one who eschews the serial (a.k.a. Oxford) comma, I was deemed a godless savage by the author 24 pages in. But that did not diminish my newfound devotion to Dreyer who insists that sentences can begin with “but.” This is a language lover’s book and a witty, authoritative reference rolled into one. Kathleen Collins

Tim Maughan, Infinite Detail. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019.

Available in print, ebook, and audiobook formats from NYPL. Not yet available to borrow through CUNY libraries.

Maughan’s novel takes place in the near future and less-near future, before and after a cataclysmic event that “eats the Internet,” leaving all networked devices unusable. Several storylines intersect in this ominous meditation on how heavily modern life depends on functional networks and software, and how precarious this situation may be. Part of the story fixates on the logistical infrastructure of the global economy, a fictional extension of Maughan’s tech journalism, including his 2015 BBC story, “The Invisible Network That Keeps the World Running,” about his time aboard a container ship. If, like me, you enjoy dystopian fiction, infrastructure studies, and alarmist takes on the “Internet of things,” you will find Infinite Detail to be a pageturner. Robin Davis

More from the Spring 2019 newsletter