Lucy Randall



BOOKED SOLID: Stressed? Just reach for a cold one

Even during the Bacchic frenzy that is Green Key, the average Dartmouth partygoer would admit that he or she considers beer -- especially of the Keystone variety -- as more of a vehicle than a destination. If I got one thing out of reading Tom Robbins' latest book, the strange amalgam of a public-service announcement and marketing strategy gone dreadfully awry titled "B is for Beer," it's that we're not doing anything wrong if we only think of brewskis as a means to an end.


BOOKED SOLID: Zombies terrorize in Austen comedy of manners

Zombies dressed in empire-waisted gowns and riding pants are attacking bookstores everywhere, and they're hungry for young brains. A fixture on The New York Times' paperback trade fiction bestseller list for the last two weeks, Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance -- Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!" (Quirk 2009), transports us to 19th century England, where life is just like a scene from America's favorite BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth, except for one small detail: a plague of zombies has overtaken the country.


BOOKED SOLID: Art and evolution

Courtesy of After the blissful mind rot of spring break, I jolted my brain back into shape with a great, informative read this week that will please both the art snobs and bio nerds among us: "The Art Instinct" (Bloomsbury 2009) provides ample cocktail party conversation fodder for the right-brained and left-brained alike. In his new book, Denis Dutton, co-founder and editor of the go-to humanities web site Arts & Letters Daily, takes an innovative approach to aesthetics, demonstrating that the human desire for beauty is an innate trait that has evolved in us over thousands of generations. Laying the groundwork for his theory in terms of Darwinian principles and basic aesthetic philosophy from Hume and Kant, Dutton forges on to explain that "the art instinct" is a by-product of adaptations that are crucial for human survival. In doing so, Dutton undertakes the seemingly impossible task of proving that artistic taste -- that set of convictions, which seems to many of us to be the very definition of subjectivity -- is as pre-programmed as any other element of our genetic code. Dutton's book abounds with examples from other researchers who have studied the arts around the world.


BOOKED SOLID: New book offers a guide to 'Saving the World'

It must be nice to have it all figured out. In his new book, "Saving the World at Work: What Companies and Individuals Can Do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference" (2008), business lecturer and former Yahoo chief solutions officer Tim Sanders proposes a "Responsibility Revolution" that he claims will not only cure our environmental ills, but make us better workers, better citizens and happier people. A complete overhaul of the corrupt, cynical and unsustainable status quo will be ours if we see the revolution through the five phases Sanders identifies, he claims. Afterwards, "Social responsibility will be the new king.

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