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Top Reads: ‘I Am America (And So Can You!)’

Comedians, journalists, and politicians are strange bedfellows who come together every year to laugh at each other and themselves. The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner gathers members of the press corps, television pundits, top government officials, and play-it-safe comedic talents for an evening of mirth and hilarity. For the 101st gathering of this event, SNL star Cecily Strong took the reins, and if you think Washington’s annual “nerd prom” has been rather tame of late, take another look at Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!), which includes the complete text of his remarkable, historic, and hilarious speech from the 2006 dinner.

You can purchase the book here.

Top Reads: ‘Transgender Complete: A Virtual Handbook’

With legendary Olympic athlete and reality TV star Bruce Jenner now publicly opening up about transitioning to live as a woman, the awareness of transgender people may be reaching a crucial public threshold. But even still, the wider public has very little comprehension of the concept itself. In Transgender Complete: A Virtual Handbook, author Joanne Borden explores this topic from multiple angles — ranging from the lived experiences of herself and others to the scientific research on the biological underpinnings — in order to help create better public understanding.

You can purchase the book here.

Top Reads: ‘The Gyroplane Flight Manual’

Replete with troubleshooting tips, charts, and images for the amateur gyroplane builder, Paul Bergen Abbott’s Gyroplane Flight Manual is invaluable for the aviation hobbyist — or protester who wants to make a dramatic statement. Though it’s unclear whether Doug Hughes had read the manual before he landed his whirlybird on the lawn of the Capitol building, he surely could have used a primer on no-fly zones. The gyrocopter itself is a makeshift craft, a bicycle cross bred with what we might today call a drone. Perhaps the last time the strange little craft got this much attention was 1967’s You Only Live Twice, in which James Bond, played by Sean Connery, piloted “Little Nellie.” “A wonderful girl,” Bond said. “Very small. Quite fast. Can do anything.” He probably didn’t read the manual, either.

You can purchase the book here.

Top Reads: ‘Silent Spring’

In 1962 Rachel Carson published the seminal work Silent Spring, an indictment of the agricultural industry for its careless use of dangerous pesticides, and a touchstone text for the nascent environmentalist movement. Today congressional Republicans are threatening to repeal EPA rules on carbon emissions, and leaders fail not only to address the problem of climate change, but to even admit it exists. Earth Day is this week; Carson’s imperative to protect our planet is more urgent than ever.

You can purchase the book here.