Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis
(The Johns Hopkins University Press)
One month after the Newtown shootings, The Johns Hopkins University held a two-day summit focusing on national and international gun-violence research. The organizers, knowing that interest groups and politicians would be angling to manipulate the gun-control debate, wanted to gather the best available data to help policymakers and the public make informed choices going forward. An outgrowth of the Hopkins summit, this book collects that research, which is surprisingly accessible and startlingly grim. Thankfully, the editors have done an excellent job organizing the material, which moves from current policy shortcomings to proposals for federal reforms. The debate that’s raging might leave you feeling hopeless, but this book suggests otherwise.
This volume is a recent addition to a series of opera-centric kids’ books from Babetta’s World, cited as “Best Boutique Publisher” in our 2012 “Best of Baltimore” issue. Previous releases have included Aida and La Bohème, and this edition retells the story of Verdi’s classic opera in four languages (Italian, English, German, and Spanish). Laura Castellani’s text, though clear and succinct, sometimes reads more like a plot summary than an engaging children’s story. Ultimately, that’s fine because Alessandra Catalioti’s lavish illustrations richly underscore the major plot points and add nuanced depth to the overall presentation. The textured, heavy stock of the cover adds to the artful feel of this paperback, which makes a great introduction to the opera for kids of all ages. With Rigoletto coming to the Lyric next month (May 17 and 19), it’s an excellent time to start.
So Say the Waiters: Book 1
The waiters referenced in the title aren’t food-service workers——it’s way more complicated than that. They’re actually waiting to be kidnapped, as subscribers to a smartphone app (kidnApp) that facilitates abductions in accordance with the subscriber’s pre-set conditions. Sirois’s lively story, the first installment in a multi-book series, features a pair of well-crafted characters——Henry, a straight-laced computer programmer whose friend developed the app, and Dani, a hipster bartender and kidnApp subscriber——and parallel stories that intersect in unexpected ways. Along the way, Sirois riffs on a technology-saturated society, with friends texting one another from adjacent rooms or seeking meaningful, but staged, interaction with others. Abundant local references add to the fun, and Book 1 ends on an intriguing note. Bring on Book 2.