Alison Gopnik’s latest book, The Gardener and the Carpenter, differs from most parenting books in two important ways. For one thing, Gopnik rejects the word parenting, which she associates with the conventional idea that children are molded or built rather than grown. The second is that a great number of individuals, from siblings to grandparents, contribute to the caring and loving of a child; this book honors that shared network of child-rearing, which stretches far beyond parents.

In her new memoir, A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain, Christina Crosby seeks to understand her life following a catastrophic bike accident that left her a quadriplegic. A professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies at Wesleyan University, Crosby approaches her subject—herself—from both a personal and scholarly perspective, drawing from her extensive background in philosophy, psychology and queer studies. The book is fascinating and painful, humiliating and beautiful.

Mediander is a great source for learning about all sorts of subjects, and our Connected Topics format—including videos, insightful blog posts and CultureMaps, AP news, and books—lends itself to multiple modes of learning. Why does this matter? As University of Wisconsin–La Crosse assistant professor of psychology Tesia Marshik explains, meaning is constructed contextually, using multiple modes of learning in a variety of formats. But don’t confuse this with the widely held myth of learning styles—the idea that people can learn best through a single mode. Marshik (pictured above) debunks this notion in her work, in this TEDx video and in our interview here.