Check out our selection of new books- located on the “New Book” bookshelf on the 3rd floor of the Cofrin Library.

Super species : the creatures that will dominate the planet / Garry Hamilton. 

A gripping examination of invasive species’ impact.

Super species are the phenomenally successful invasive life-forms that are dominating ecosystems. These animals, plants and microbes have spread far from their native habitats, most often as a result of human activities.

The key to super species’ success is their ability to adapt quickly. Super species may be unusually aggressive, difficult to kill, unfazed by the presence and activity of humans, capable of astonishingly rapid rates of growth and reproduction, exceptionally tolerant of pollution or, in many cases, all of the above!

Author Garry Hamilton profiles the 20 super species that are having the greatest impact in our world today, including:

  • Feral pigs– relentless boars that are trampling across Europe, North America and Australia
  • Bullfrogs — predatory amphibians that are endangering native frog populations
  • Jellyfish — spineless wonders that are dominating the world’s oceans
  • C. difficile — potentially deadly microbes that flourish in human intestines
  • Brown tree snakes — unusually vicious reptiles that have overrun Guam and are now infiltrating America
  • Argentine ants — aggressive insects capable of forming super-colonies spanning thousands of miles
  • Humboldt squid — gigantic beasts that hunt in packs of several hundreds

– description from publisher

Absolute monarchs : a history of the papacy / John Julius Norwich.  


With the papacy embattled in recent years, it is essential to have the perspective of one of the world’s most accomplished historians. In Absolute Monarchs, John Julius Norwich captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and devotion, intrigue and scandal. The men (and maybe one woman) who have held this position of infallible power over millions have ranged from heroes to rogues, admirably wise to utterly decadent. Norwich, who knew two popes and had private audiences with two others, recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world.

Norwich presents such brave popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat, and Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun. Here, too, are the scandalous figures: Pope Joan, the mythic woman said (without any substantiation) to have been elected in 855, and the infamous “pornocracy,” the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome’s most powerful families.

Absolute Monarchs brilliantly portrays reformers such as Pope Paul III, “the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s teaching and discipline, and John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 “opened up the church to the twentieth century,” instituting reforms that led to Vatican II. Norwich brings the story to the present day with Benedict XVI, who is coping with a global priest sex scandal.

Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is the astonishing story of some of history’s most revered and reviled figures, men who still cast light and shadows on the Vatican and the world today.

–description from publisher

What is mental illness? / Richard J. McNally.

According to a major health survey, nearly half of all Americans have been mentally ill at some point in their lives—more than a quarter in the last year. Can this be true? What exactly does it mean, anyway? What’s a disorder, and what’s just a struggle with real life?

This lucid and incisive book cuts through both professional jargon and polemical hot air, to describe the intense political and intellectual struggles over what counts as a “real” disorder, and what goes into the “DSM,” the psychiatric bible. Is schizophrenia a disorder? Absolutely. Is homosexuality? It was—till gay rights activists drove it out of the DSM a generation ago. What about new and controversial diagnoses? Is “social anxiety disorder” a way of saying that it’s sick to be shy, or “female sexual arousal disorder” that it’s sick to be tired?

An advisor to the DSM, but also a fierce critic of exaggerated overuse, McNally defends the careful approach of describing disorders by patterns of symptoms that can be seen, and illustrates how often the system medicalizes everyday emotional life.

Neuroscience, genetics, and evolutionary psychology may illuminate the biological bases of mental illness, but at this point, McNally argues, no science can draw a bright line between disorder and distress. In a pragmatic and humane conclusion, he offers questions for patients and professionals alike to help understand, and cope with, the sorrows and psychopathologies of everyday life.

–description from publisher

Imagining sustainable food systems : theory and practice / edited by Alison Blay-Palmer.

  • What defines a sustainable food system? How can it be more inclusive? How do local and global scales interact and how does power flow within food systems? How to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to realizing sustainable food systems? And how to activate change?

    These questions are considered by EU and North American academics and practitioners in this book. Using a wide range of case studies, it provides a critical overview, showing how and where theory and practice can converge to produce more sustainable food systems.

  • Contents: Part 1 Interrogating Sustainable Food Systems: Imagining sustainable food systems, Alison Blay-Palmer; Conceptualizing and creating sustainable food systems: how interdisciplinarity can help, Clare Hinrichs; Sustainability: a tool for food system reform?, Mustafa Koc. Part 2 Inclusion and Exclusion in Sustainable Food Systems: Greening the realm: sustainable food chains and the public plate, Kevin Morgan; Thinking about labour in alternative food systems, Yael Levitte; The urban food desert: spatial inequality or opportunity for change?, Ellen Desjardins. Part 3 The Case for Sustainable Food Systems: Food systems planning and sustainable cities and regions: the role of the firm in sustainable food capitalism, Betsy Donald; The nexus between alternative food systems and entrepreneurism: three local stories, Hélène St. Jacques; Scaling up: bringing public institutions and food service corporations into the project for a local, sustainable food system in Ontario, Harriet Friedmann; Food policy encounters of a 3rd kind: how the Toronto Food Policy Council socializes for sustain-ability, Wayne Roberts; Food insecurity in the land of plenty: the Windermere valley paradox, Alison Bell; Imagining sustainable food systems: the path to regenerative food systems, Alison Blay-Palmer and Mustafa Koc; Index.

–description from publisher