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5 Minutes with… Amber Madison

Pull up a sleeping bag. With the cozy candor of a slumber party, Hooking Up: A Girl’s All-Out Guide to Sex & Sexuality (Prometheus Books) gives the straight dope on everything from the structure of the vagina to “guys to be wary of.” (Hint: “Mr. Irresistible” is almost always bad news). Former Tufts sex columnist Amber Madison, A05, combines wit, thorough research, and plenty of reassurance in her sharp debut.

“Our culture bombards us with images of sex, but ironically, there’s not a lot of honest talk about women’s bodies and all the fears and issues that sexuality brings up. I wanted to provide straightforward information about sex that young women could relate to because I’m part of their generation.

It blows my mind how little young women know about their own bodies even after they’ve been having sex for several years. Many are still totally squeamish about their vaginas and don’t even know where their clitorises are. This says to me that a lot of girls are making the decision to be sexually active to please someone else, not because it’s something they truly want for themselves.

One thing that was a huge personal issue for me was figuring out that looking sexy didn’t mean I was stupid or a slut. I went to a conservative southern high school, where I graduated second in my class, but I was suspended twice because my bra strap was showing. A shop teacher actually told me I was distracting the boys.

I don’t think it’s right for girls to engage in sex when they know it’s something they don’t want to do, but by the same token, they shouldn’t feel bullied out of having sex when they want to just because of social stigma.

There are great sex-education programs that have been proven to change young people’s sexual behavior and make them more likely to use contraception. But there’s so much funding going into abstinence-only education that a lot of schools can’t take advantage of these programs. Government funding priorities really need to change.

Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White-Collar Crime

Oxford University Press

Corporate charlatans such as Kenneth Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, and the entire accounting firm of Arthur Andersen have redefined our notions of crime in recent years. Unlike theft and murder, white-collar crimes are characterized by a profound ambiguity born of their perpetration by society’s elite, as well as the absence of easily definable victims. Green, a legal scholar, argues that tax evasion, bribery, extortion, and obstruction of justice need to be understood in terms of everyday moral concepts such as disloyalty, exploitation, and yes, lying, cheating, and stealing.

Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment

Brookings Institution Press

Copious open space and public transit are just two of the signs that Portland, Oregon, unlike, say, Houston, is “green.” But can ideas of what makes a city green be quantified? Economist Kahn tackles this and other questions in the seemingly infinite “sprawl versus sustainable development” debate. In the process, he examines why economic development can be both friend and foe to urban environmental quality.

Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration

W.W. Norton and Company

If your knowledge of global exploration begins and ends with Columbus sailing the ocean blue, allow this ambitious yet accessible history to expand your world. From the migrations of Homo erectus out of East Africa a million and a half years ago to the late-20th-century discovery of new indigenous tribes in Brazil, the entire globe and the sweep of humanity’s time on earth are accounted for. Chapters such as “Stretching,” “Reaching,” and “Deepening” underscore the human impulses of curiosity, ambition, and desire for connection that, as much as political, economic, and technological imperatives, propelled people to seek new worlds.

Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The renowned cosmologist’s vision of a universe populated by an infinite number of invisible regions inhabited by our doubles may sound like science fiction. But his first book for general readers explains how ideas that once occupied the realm of philosophy have made the transition to pure physics. Difficult ideas—including the quantum creation of the universe from nothing, and the existence of primordial remnants stretched across space called “cosmic strings”—are presented in a lucid and entertaining manner (there are even cartoons) that may ease the blow when readers catch on to Vilenkin’s conclusion that we’re not the center of the universe.

Economics for Humans

University of Chicago Press

Julie Nelson balked when her college adviser suggested she fulfill her social science requirement by taking economics. A Lutheran minister’s daughter, Nelson equated economics with greed, and, indeed, Adam Smith’s characterization of the economy as a cold and impersonal machine would appear to make the term “business ethics” an oxymoron.

Nelson’s manifesto on uniting profit and the human heart argues that, to the contrary, economies are vital, living systems that can, when driven by moral choices and social responsibility, contribute to the greater good.

Also of Note

The American Student (iUniverse), a historical novel by Samuel Berkman, M71, follows a 15-year-old Bostonian to a French lycée during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. • Stephanie Solakian Goldstein, J95, provides strategies for boosting a law firm’s bottom line through effective media exposure in Beyond the Brief: Communications Strategies for Lawyers and Legal Marketers (Thomson/Legalworks). • The novel Hard (Carroll & Graf) by Wayne Hoffman, A91, a journalist and the former leader of the Tufts GLBT student group, concerns the lives of gay men in 1990s New York. • Barry Levy, A66, an adjunct professor of public health at Tufts medical school, is co-editor of Occupational and Environmental Health: Recognizing and Preventing Disease and Injury (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins), a guide to reducing work-related and environmentally induced injuries. • Club Meds (Simon and Schuster), a young adult novel by Katherine Hall Page, M.Ed. 74, spins an affecting yarn about a group of ADHD-afflicted teenagers who confront a bully. • In Ellison “Tarzan” Brown: The Naragansett Indian Who Twice Won the Boston Marathon (McFarland and Company), Michael Ward, M.Ed.78, tells of the talented and misunderstood runner who helped name Heartbreak Hill. • Val Williams, BSOT76, an executive coach, promotes leadership skills among senior executives with her titles Executive Think Time: Thinking That Gets Results; Virtual Leadership: Great Tips on Managing People From Afar Using Today’s Technology; Get the Best Out of Your People and Yourself: Seven Practical Steps for Top Performance; and Executive Foundation: Five Essential Skills for Senior Leaders (Shadowbrook Publishing), as well as the CDs “Creating Your Leadership Future” and “Building Your Personal Foundation.” • In the much revised second edition of The European Union and the Member States (Lynne Reiner Publishers), editors Eleanor E. Zeff, J65, and Ellen B. Pirro present essays on the historical roles of member nations.

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