Inspiration knows no bounds, nor does its purpose. Paying it forward honors all karmic currency, and this quarter’s literary selections are linked by the common good, sometimes in the midst of the struggle to maintain. While Peter Singer and Jena Lee Nardella explore the elevation of philanthropy to new high-water marks, Noah Charney discusses deception through the arts and Scott Timberg explores both sides of the technology coin affecting today’s creative world. And a bonus: Ryan Gattis begins where the media left off in a chilling historical novel that reveals the increasingly dangerous life beyond the periphery of the LA Riots.
THE PLOT Where the media stopped, Gattis continues. With the LA Riots as backdrop, he uses realistic fictional prose to show the dangers that lay bare beyond the media’s spotlight, where unreported violence existed, sometimes on a grander scale.
THE MEAT The riot’s viciousness sent the official death toll to 53. Beyond the periphery, though, was a society with no rules, where the value of life quickly deteriorated.
THE TWIST Sometimes the line between safety and violence is razor thin. Unveiled here is a naked reveal of what some call the “Devil’s night in broad daylight.”
FURTHER READING Kung Fu High School (Harvest; 2005)
The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers
Phaidon Press; 2015
THE PLOT Seemingly fictional but absolutely true, master forgers can replicate almost anything. Art crime expert Noah Charney uses compelling narrative to tell stories of artistic deceit committed throughout the past few centuries.
THE MEAT From greed to revenge to ego satisfaction, forgers have reveled in their own mastery, outsmarting the connoisseur. Learn the motivation as well as the “tells” that separate the fakes and the forgeries.
THE TWIST Lavishly illustrated with over 200 images, the book is organized into chapters that reveal the forger’s mindset with titles such as Fame, Crime, and Money and Power.
FURTHER READING The Thefts of the Mona Lisa (ARCA; 2011)
Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class
Yale University Press; 2015
THE PLOT There was a time when books, art, and the creative world dominated the landscape. But that was then, and this is now.
THE MEAT Creativity has never ebbed, albeit today with a financial price, fewer jobs, and less pay. As music, graphic arts, photography, etc. have evolved, technology has streamlined the process; the artists are paying for it.
THE TWIST An integral part of American culture continues to disappear. The number of bookstores, professional musicians, graphic artists, etc. continue to dwindle. Has technology gone too far?
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically
Yale University Press; 2015
THE PLOT Peter Singer extends his philosophy of working out the most effective way to improve the world, where giving doesn’t stop at 10% and the recipient charity gives less to administrative costs and more to the cause.
THE MEAT Spotlighted are true stories of ordinary people and companies who have enjoyed extraordinary success in their effort to alleviate global suffering.
THE TWIST Having argued in previous books for animal welfare and vegetarianism while successfully moving millions, Singer is on track again for global influence.
FURTHER READING The Life You Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty (Random House; 2010)
One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It
Jena Lee Nardella
Howard Books; 2015
THE PLOT Ten years after co-founding the highly successful nonprofit Blood:Water, Jena Nardella retraces her success against overwhelming odds as she travelled from idealism to successful reality.
THE MEAT A member of Christianity Today’s 33 Under 33, Nardella began a simple nonprofit designed to bring water to communities across Africa and watched it and herself grow. Walk the path of personal and spiritual development in this seductive memoir that shows how one individual created a path that within a decade has helped millions.
THE TWIST Religious in nature, the book serves as solid inspiration, authored by a millennial who has epitomized philanthropy with her worldwide success.