Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Down the Nile: alone in a fisherman’s skiff by Rosemary Mahoney
"This is travel writing at its most enjoyable: the reader is taken on a great trip with an erudite travel companion soaking up scads of history, culture and literary knowledge, along with the scenery. The genesis for the trip is simple: the author's love of rowing. Her plan, 'to buy a small Egyptian rowboat and row myself along the 120-mile stretch of river between the cities of Aswan and Qena,' is less so. Mahoney (The Singular Pilgrim; Whoredom in Kimmage) conveys readers along the longest river in the world, through narrative laced with insight, goodwill and sometimes sadness." (Publishers Weekly)
Smile When You’re Lying: confessions of a rogue travel writer by Chuck Thompson
"An aggressively funny account of the world from an acerbic, energetic professional traveler who tells it like he sees it and has no reservations about sharing his stockpile of outrageous (mis)adventures and advice." (Kirkus)
Agent Zigzag: a true story of Nazi espionage, love, and betrayal by Ben MacIntyre
"Meticulously researched—relying extensively on recently released wartime files of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service—Macintyre's biography often reads like a spy thriller. In the end, the author concludes that Chapman 'repeatedly risked his life... [and] provided invaluable intelligence,' but “it was never clear whether he was on the side of the angels or the devils.” (Publishers Weekly)
Zhou Enlai, the last perfect revoluationary: a biography by Wenqian Gao
American Jennie: the remarkable life of Lady Randolph Churchill by Charlotte Mosley
"Biographer and journalist Sebba (Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image) has written a well-researched book on the life of Jennie Jerome Churchill, the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and mother of Winston Churchill. While recent popular biographies (e.g., Charles Higham's Dark Lady) have dwelt much on her affairs during her marriage, this book focuses more on her domestic role. The author uses Churchill family papers and previous biographies to provide a vivid portrait that gives readers a good understanding of Lady Churchill as both vivacious and intelligent. Sebba quotes Winston Churchill saying of her 'Her life was a full one. The wine of life was in her veins.' (Library Journal)
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Stuff of Thought: language as a window in human nature by Stephen Pinker
"In this book, Steven Pinker explains how the mind works by examining the way we use words. Pinker takes on scientific questions - such as how language affects thought, and which of our concepts are innate - as well as questions from the headlines and everyday life. Why does the government care so much about dirty words? How do lobbyists bribe politicians? How do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating? Why do so many courtroom dramas hinge on disagreements about who really caused a person's death? Why have the last two American presidents gotten into trouble through the semantic niceties of their words? And why is bulk e-mail called spam?"-- (Book summary)
Elephants on acid : and other bizarre experiments by Alex Boese
Dewey Decimal 600s (Medicine, health, technology, home economics, gardening, pets)
The Art of Learning: a journey in the pursuit of excellence by Josh Waitzkin
"Using examples from both his chess and martial arts backgrounds, Waitzkin draws out a series of principles for improving performance in any field. Chapter headings like 'Making Smaller Circles' have a kung fu flair, but the themes are elaborated in a practical manner that enhances their universality. Waitzkin's engaging voice and his openness about the limitations he recognized within himself make him a welcome teacher. The concept of incremental progress through diligent practice of the fundamentals isn't new, but Waitzkin certainly gives it a fresh spin." (Publisher's Weekly)
"Capra describes a Renaissance man who integrated traits that we view as peculiar to a scientific mind with the sensitivity and skill of a great artist. Leonardo exemplifies for Capra what science needs today, an 'integrative, systemic thinker.' A theoretical physicist who transitioned to popular science writing, Capra has an engaging style and a thorough understanding of the science behind Leonardo's inventions and thinking." (Library Journal)
Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould.
"Brilliant biography of the Beatles… Page after page, you can hear the music; Gould's deft hand makes the book sing. This is music writing at its best." (Publishers Weekly)
Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
"Guitar wizard Clapton bares his soul in a starkly honest first attempt at autobiography. This bold, intimate, and revealing look at an icon of rock 'n' roll will satisfy all readers, especially his myriad fans." (Library Journal)
Brass diva : the life and legends of Ethel Merman. by Caryl Flinn
"Flinn's extensive use of Merman's 50+ scrapbooks enables her to cover Merman's professional career with microscopic precision. [She] masterfully analyzes Merman's work on stage, screen and TV with a sophisticated eye for detail that will delight theater buffs." (Publishers Weekly)
"Woody Allen biographer Lax has been conversing with the elusive, beloved film director for 36 years, and here’s the proof. From the tremendous stable of actors Allen has directed-especially former muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow-to the deceptively intriguing details of editing Another Woman, Lax’s interviews are penetrating but far from formal, giving readers the unique opportunity to hear Allen’s thoughts on projects-in-progress and to join him on location. Even casual fans will appreciate this work [with] something interesting on nearly every page." (Publishers Weekly)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Dewey Decimal - 000s (Generalities, computer software, news)
Machinima for Dummies by Hugh Hancock
"Machinima, or the technique of making films in virtual worlds (such as video games), has a growing online fan base. This entry in the series moves from the basics of how Machinima is created through the basics of filmmaking (cinematography, storytelling, editing, distribution), advanced creation, and a final section on Pro Machinima (3-D modeling and other advanced techniques). Its DVD contains Moviestorm, tutorials, some top Machinima films, and additional open source, free, and trial software." (Library Journal)
How to Do Everything with Web 2.0 Mashups by Jesse Feiler
Mashups are the combinations of software programs that allow you to use features in new ways not dreamed up by the company or programmer that made the original program. You don't have to be a programmer anymore to do a mashup.
"This step-by-step guide to creating mashups provides full-code examples using Google Maps, eBay, Flickr, and Amazon." (Library Journal)
"tips on managing money and investments, tracking income and expenses, automating bill-pay, reconciling checking, savings, and credit card accounts, creating reports, and more." (Book summary)
Dewey Decimal 100s (Philosophy, metaphysics, psychology)
What Would Socrates Say: philosophers answer your questions about love, nothingness, and everything else edited by Alexander George
Teach Yourself to Meditate in 10 Simple Lessons: discover relaxation and clarity of mind in just minutes a day by Eric Harrison
Have a Nice Doomsday: why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world by Nicholas Guyatt
Dewey Decimal 300s (Social Sciences)
Father Knows Less or Can I Cook My Sister?: One Dad's Quest to Answer His Son's Most Baffling Questions by Wendell Jamieson
"Jamieson, city editor for the New York Times , whose seven-year-old son, Dean, has been in 'full-bore question mode' for the past few years, decided that the best strategy for giving Dean the answers was also to give himself a challenge. He would get each answer 'from a real person who knows it by heart, whose very livelihood depends on the knowledge' that Jamieson would present without sugarcoating or simplification. The result is a compendium of hilariously insightful questions from kids (age seven and under) with often insightfully hilarious answers from adults." (Publishers Weekly)
Sell, Keep, or Toss?: How To Downsize A Home, Settler An Estate, And Appraise Personal Property by Harry L. Rinker
The numbers behind NUMB3RS : solving crime with mathematics by Keith Devlin and Gary Lorden.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
From the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Christmas Shoes" comes the next inspiring novel in her Christmas Hope series: a deeply moving story about second chances and the power of love. (Book Summary) Also, The Christmas Hope.
Evan's latest Christmas offering (after The Christmas Box and Finding Noel) is the story of Nathan Hurst, a man with a troubled family past. Nathan, who has Tourette's syndrome, travels across the country as a detective for a retail chain. While stranded at the airport just before Thanksgiving, he invites a stranger, Addison, and her two children to share his hotel suite until a storm passes. Nathan finds himself falling for Addison and mysteriously cured of his syndrome by her son's touch. Evans's inspirational titles are perennial best sellers. (Library Journal)
At the start of the lighthearted fourth yuletide mystery from the bestselling mother-daughter Clarks (after 2004's The Christmas Thief), Randolph Weed, "self-styled commodore," launches his newly refurbished boat, the Royal Mermaid, from Miami with a "Santa Cruise" to raise money for charity and reward 400 "Do-Gooders of the Year." Meanwhile, Weed's greedy nephew, Eric Manchester, has made a secret $2 million deal with escaped felons Bull's-Eye Tony Pinto and Barron Highbridge to keep them hidden aboard the Royal Mermaid until it reaches Fishbowl Island, where they can make trouble out of federal jurisdiction. Fortunately, there are plenty of Do-Gooders to foil the bad guys, notably the mystery mavens of the Oklahoma Readers and Writers group and sleuthing philanthropist Alvirah Meehan. Full of mystery-lite cheer ... (Publishers Weekly)
[Yes, that Thomas Kinkade, the artist!] Christmas comes again to the little town of Cape Light and the spirit of the season gives its residents hope and happiness. (Book Summary)
And. finally, here's a book with has at least one story dealing with other, equally interesting traditions at this time of year:
Mystery Midrash, an anthology of Jewish mystery and detective fiction edited by Lawrence W. Raphael
"This is not `Christmas in the country', Mother," I snapped, too sharply. That "old flame" had hurt. "Russo's just an old friend now, and he asked me to do him this favor. It's a huge family wedding, his mother can't make it, and somebody's got to represent Mike's side of the family. (Excerpt from first story.)
Raphael serves up a feast of well-chosen tastes and textures in this collection of 13 original stories by well-known authors whose characters span the spectrum of American Jewish experience, from secular to orthodox. (Publishers Weekly)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The physics of Christmas : from the aerodynamics of reindeer to the thermodynamics of turkey by Roger Highfield.
"Roger Highfield, science editor of London's Daily Telegraph and co-author of the highly acclaimed The Arrow of Time, has taken a long-overdue look at our most cherished holiday from the rigorous (but highly entertaining) viewpoint of a scientist." (Book summary)
An idiot girl's Christmas : true tales from the top of the naughty list by Laurie Notaro.
Christmas letters from hell : all the news we hate from the people we love by Michael Lent.
The Haunted tea-cosy : a dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas by Edward Gorey.