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Growing a Garden City

Jeremy N. Smith

Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95/hardcover

Per environmentalist Bill McKibben's foreword, some one-third of Americans are obese, and we have more prisoners than farmers in the U.S. Flash to the home of the Garden City Harvest small farm and community garden initiative, Missoula, Mont., where one in five people lives in poverty. Surprisingly, this is where the gloom stops — the remainder of Jeremy N. Smith's work aims to inspire through success stories and big, pretty photos of happy farmers, smiling children eating real food, and a handful of requisite food-porn shots. It's organized into chapters written by each community participant: the student, the food bank officer, the single mother ... as well as utilitarian "how it works" chapters on topics such as community outreach. An inspiring compilation, it validates the efforts of Venetucci Farm and Pikes Peak Urban Gardens (on whose board I serve) here in the Springs. — Matthew Schniper

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The Best Technology Writing 2010

Julian Dibbell, editor

Yale University Press, $17.95/paperback

Julian Dibbell has taken the widest possible view of what technology is (see: Harvard University professor Jill Lepore's intriguing essay on the history of breast-pump technology and how it has changed mothering), which is a wise move indeed. Mixed in with writing about Facebook and erasure of an online identity are articles about the design of a stove that might be economical, efficient and sustainable, and an attempt to overcome the fear of flying. The most intriguing — and frightening, for a print writer — is Clay Shirky's "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable" essay, which had never appeared in print until this collection was published. Oh, and one of the pieces? It's a tweet from space by astronaut Michael James Massimino: "From orbit: Listening to Sting on my iPod and watching the world go by — literally." — Kel Munger

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The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book

Gord Hill

Arsenal Pulp Press, $11.95/paperback(Release date: Nov. 1)

Cultural guilt isn't actively practiced in this country, but after reading this graphic survey of the history of indigenous resistance to the European colonization of the Americas, I figure it should be. Illustrating the time of Columbus through today, author Gord Hill presents with fat, jagged lines a legacy of occupation, enslavement and efforts to erase cultures, and the wars of resistance in return. Hill, an activist for Native Americans, allows anger to seep off each page, lending a sense of first-person passion to an otherwise straightforward series of historical events. I learned a lot, especially about Native American resistance in the 20th century, and enjoyed this unconventional medium for historical exploration. It's no Maus: A Survivor's Tale by any means, but just as important. — Edie Adelstein

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