12 Days of Giveaways – Day 3: For the Lover of the Sciences

Hi everyone! I’m excited to introduce the third day of the 12 Days of Giveaways! As you know, I’m the resident science nerd and admirer of all things science related. Therefore, I hope that this package will go to a reader that shares my excitement and will put these books to good use. There is a good mix of social and environmental sciences in these giveaway prizes, so I’m confident that they’ll appeal to a bunch of different readers. Instructions follow the book blurbs below. Good luck!

tpotgwtdtThe Psychology of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo edited by Robin S. Rosenberg PhD & Shannon O’Neill – Lisbeth Salander, heroine of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, is one of the most compelling, complex characters of our time. Is she an avenging angel? A dangerous outlaw? What makes Salander tick, and why is our response to her—and to Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—so strong?

In The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 19 psychologists and psychiatrists attempt to do what even expert investigator Mikael Blomkvist could not: understand Lisbeth Salander.

• What does Lisbeth’s infamous dragon tattoo really say about her?
• Why is Lisbeth so drawn to Mikael, and what would they both need to do to make a relationship work?
• How do we explain men like Martin Vanger, Nils Bjurman, and Alexander Zalachenko? Is Lisbeth just as sexist and as psychopathic as they are?
• What is it about Lisbeth that allows her to survive, even thrive, under extraordinary conditions?
• How is Lisbeth like a Goth-punk Rorschach test? And what do we learn about ourselves from what we see in her?

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

eitbEarth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit by Al Gore – Re-released on the heels of Al Gores #1 New York Times bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, comes the paperback edition of his classic bestseller, Earth in the Balance. First published in 1992, it helped place the environment on the national agenda; now, as environmental issues move front-and-center in the public consciousness, the time is right to reflect deeply on the fate of our planet and commit ourselves to its future. While An Inconvenient Truth closely examines one menace to our environment–global warming–Earth in the Balance takes a broader approach, focusing on the threats that everyday choices pose to our climate, water, soil, and diversity of plant and animal life. A passionate, lifelong defender of the environment, Gore describes in brave and unforgettable terms how human actions and decisions can endanger or safeguard the vulnerable ecosystem that sustains us.

(Giveaway is a paperback)

ranachRain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett – Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive.

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world’s water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.

Cynthia Barnett’s  Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our “founding forecaster,” Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Smart Pop Books and Crown Publishing for our ARC giveaway copies!)

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win all three books listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about why science interests you.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Todd’s Review of The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Edited by Robin Rosenberg, Ph.D. and Shannon O’Neill

If you’re like me, then the thought of psychological analysis makes you a little confused.  It’s not that I don’t understand the basic tenants of psychology (I did fairly well in psych 101 in college!), but the finer points of psychoanalysis make me glad that I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist.  I’m used to hard data, such as percent oxygen, protein yields, and absorbance values.  To observe one’s character and make a complete analysis just based on personality traits or familial history alone is pretty cool.  I just have no idea how it’s done.  Hence, my decision to tackle this interesting field segued well into reading The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Edited by Robin Rosenberg (also a contributor) and Shannon O’Neill, The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo compiles the analyses of many experts on the subjects of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and various other subjects to study the inner workings of the characters within Steig Larsson’s amazing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (You can read my joint reviews with Kim on Larsson’s books here, here, and here)  Chiefly, this focus on Lisbeth Salander, the main protagonist of the work, is a huge psychoanalytical undertaking.  Due to her troubled past and history of clashes with a society that attempts to subdue her, Lisbeth has trouble finding herself and finding peace.  The expert analysis begins with Lisbeth’s exterior, examining first why people alter their appearance, whether it be through dress, tattoos, piercings, or other modifications.  Then, the authors focused on Lisbeth, examining why her appearance is radically different than most “normal” individuals, encompassing images that are aimed at provoking others rather than trying to fit in.  After exploring Lisbeth’s appearance, the essays delve deeper into her personality, examining her past and focusing on those around her, both good and bad.  A good deal of work is put into analyzing the relationships that Lisbeth creates with those around her, especially Bloomkvist.  Finally, the work ends on a more positive note, outlining Salander’s achievements, and examining her as a sort of superhero.

Through reading this book I’ve found that there are a series of these works dedicated to analyzing the “psychology of … (insert popular book title here)”.  Although I think it’s an interesting idea, out of all the titles available I feel that this one has the most merit.  The subject material is ripe for psychoanalysis; just judging by appearance alone one can tell that Salander is different, and the types of people she has dealt with in her life are just as psychologically damaged and complex as she is.  A whole book could have been written for each major character, but I’m glad that the editors put most of the focus on Lisbeth, and after reading this work I definitely saw her in a new light.  I never considered her to be an exceptionally strong character (at least in the first book), and I viewed her more as a loaner who finally lets someone (Bloomkvist) in to her personal life.  However, after reading this book and finally elucidating the parts of Lisbeth’s childhood that made her the person she is in the first novel, it’s plain to see that she is an amazingly strong and resilient character who is several times smarter than the average individual.  I definitely have a new respect for her character, and in addition a new respect for Larsson’s work, in that he could create such an innovative and amazingly complex story that integrates all of these multi-layered characters.  In all, it’s definitely an educational read that would benefit those who are having a hard time understanding the motives behind the characters in the Millenium Trilogy.  Definitely give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

The Psychology of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo edited by Robin Rosenburg, Ph.D. and Shannon O’Neill
Smart Pop (2011)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN: 1936661349

Special thanks to Smart Pop books for my review copy!