Thursday, August 29, 2013

Over the Counter #178

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. Pick-ups this week......but not in the way you might be thinking....
First up is Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City by Robin Nagle.

From the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux:

" In Picking Up, the anthropologist Robin Nagle introduces us to the men and women of New York City’s Department of Sanitation and makes clear why this small army of uniformed workers is the most important labor force on the streets. Seeking to understand every aspect of the Department’s mission, Nagle accompanied crews on their routes, questioned supervisors and commissioners, and listened to story after story about blizzards, hazardous wastes, and the insults of everyday New Yorkers. But the more time she spent with the DSNY, the more Nagle realized that observing wasn’t quite enough—so she joined the force herself. Driving the hulking trucks, she obtained an insider’s perspective on the complex kinships, arcane rules, and obscure lingo unique to the realm of sanitation workers.

Nagle chronicles New York City’s four-hundred-year struggle with trash, and traces the city’s waste-management efforts from a time when filth overwhelmed the streets to the far more rigorous practices of today, when the Big Apple is as clean as it’s ever been.

Throughout, Nagle reveals the many unexpected ways in which sanitation workers stand between our seemingly well-ordered lives and the sea of refuse that would otherwise overwhelm us. In the process, she changes the way we understand cities—and ourselves within them."

Next up was Hitchhiking with Larry David: An Accidental Tourist's Summer of Self-Discovery in Martha's Vineyard by Paul Samuel Dolman.

From the publisher Gotham Books:

"A memoir about a broken-hearted, middle-aged man who stumbles upon solace, meaning, and Larry David while hitchhiking his way around Martha’s Vineyard.

One summer day on Martha’s Vineyard Paul Samuel Dolman was hitchhiking, and none other than Larry David pulled over and asked, “You’re not a serial killer or something, are you?” The comedic writer and actor from Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm not only gave Dolman a ride, but helped him find his way during his summer of soul-searching and hitchhiking.

Dolman found himself on Martha’s Vineyard that summer having made the catastrophic mistake of visiting “The Parental Asylum” in the wake of a painful breakup. His mother is welcoming, albeit senile and neurotically rigid. But his dad “only has the social energy to be nice to humans for about 10 minutes a day.” Desperately seeking companionship, Dolman begins hitchhiking around the island and meets a wide array of characters: the super-rich and the homeless, movie stars and common folk, and, of course, Mr. David. Astonishingly, it is Dolman’s growing friendship with the famous comedian that becomes the lodestar of his spiritual quest. (Yes, Larry David gets deep!)

Written with disarming honest humor and perfectly capturing Larry David’s unique comic genius, Hitchhiking with Larry David will leave readers simultaneously laughing and crying as they ponder the mystery and spirituality of life."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come to the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But...I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

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