If you like pouring over old atlases or scrolling though Google maps, you will probably like this book. The author is a geographer, not a travel guide, and this comes through in the tone of the book as well as subjects covered.
The connection of what makes each of these places so strange is human intervention, either through physical occupation or mapmaking. The book’s first entry is about Sandy Island, which was neither sandy nor an island. But it was on maps for centuries.
Those of us of a certain age grew up to the strains of comma comma down dooby doo down down, comma comma, down dooby doo down down, breaking up is hard to do. That is Neil Sedaka’s signature song, Breaking up is Hard to do. It was released in 1962. Podolsky tells the story of Neil’s early days in Brooklyn. He started his musical training at the prestigious Juilliard School at the tender age of seven.
The Humans is a book I could reread once a year. This is a bold statement, I know, especially since the premise is an alien assassin has been sent to Earth to kill a mathematician and erase all evidence of a potentially dangerous theorem. The story and our narrator, the alien acclimating to human life, become much more. I appreciate a narrator that confides in the reader and becomes a fully developed voice in your mind’s ear. Matt Haig’s alien fills that role beautifully.
Action-packed, interesting characters, and a well-thought out plot make Pierce Brown's debut novel a winner. Darrow is the main character in this sci-fi thriller. He is a hell digger and a "red", the lowest-class human. He, and other reds, live beneath the surface of Mars where they work in the mines to prepare the surface of the planet for human habitation. What Darrow and the other reds don't know is that the surface of Mars is suitable for life. In fact, humans have been living on the surface of Mars for over a hundred years.
Jamie Ford creates a poignant recollection of history with his debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". Henry Lee is a recent widower living in Seattle's Chinatown. The year is 1986, and yesterday's memories have assumed a place in the present with the re-opening of the majestic Panama Hotel. Artifacts found in the basement of the old hotel transport Henry back to 1942 when he was a student at Rainier Elementary serving lunch to his classmates alongside his Japanese friend Keiko Okabe. The twelve year olds attend the school on scholarship, and the
Billie Breslin decides to leave college and move to New York City, where she has an interview for a job as an assistant to the editor of the prestigious food magazine Delicious. Billie’s amazing ability to name all the ingredients in a dish by only tasting it, amazes the staff and secures her the position. It doesn’t take long for Billie to realize that she not only loves her job, but is also beginning to love the large, eccentric magazine family. Sadly, not long after she is hired, the magazine is abruptly shut down by the current owner.
There aren’t that many authors that I love. Jonathan Carroll is one of them.
Carroll writes what inevitably ends up being labeled fantasy, but is really simply our lives and emotions expressed more clearly and intriguingly than our workaday world allows for. The mutable nature of reality and the down-to-earth approach to cosmic revelations recall the works of Philip K Dick.
An interesting story of two wealthy girls who, after doing their grand tour of Europe, were not ready to marry and settle down. Though they had no experience of "roughing it" or of teaching, they applied to become frontier school teachers in the Elkshead mountains in Colorado.
He was honest, witty, loyal, brilliant, and indefatigable.He was also pompous, arrogant, insecure, petty, and cranky.He probably did more than anyone else to persuade Congress to declare American independence, bu
Richard Nixon graduated number three from his Duke University Law School class. Thelma (Pat) Ryan was an orphan in Depression-era California yet she attained the equivalent of a master’s degree in merchandising and she taught high school typing and shorthand classes. Swift tells the story of the Nixon courtship, political life and death after 53 years of marriage. Along the way we read about Nixon’s involvement with the Communist scare, 1960 presidential election footing Nixon against John F.
This story is about four “food bloggers”, each with their own personal struggles. The four women met through their blogs and have become good friends, each helping the other get through traumatic events in their lives. Soon they will all be meeting for the first time face to face at Lavender’s birthday party.
Lavender is the 85 yr old owner of the thriving Lavender Honey Farm, in Washington State. With failing health, Lavender is struggling to find someone to take over her beloved farm. Someone who will love it as much as she has and keep it going after she is gone.
Sweeping tale of an African woman, Aminata Diallo, who is kidnapped near her village, at the age of 11, and sold into slavery in the United States. The story spans 60 years of Aminata's life from Africa to the US, then Canada, back to Africa and ending in England, where Aminata writes down her story for the Abolitionist movement in 1803, hoping to bring an end to the slave trade.
"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion is best described as delightful, funny, and quirky. The central character, Don Tillman, has a reputation for being a rigid, highly scheduled, socially inept, and brilliant genetics professor at an Austrailian university. Tillman is single, 39 years old, and due to his social limitations, sees himself with no prospects for love. He moves to solve this dilemma through the development of an idea he dubs The Wife Project. The Wife Project involves a 16 page, double sided question
My interest in street art has led me to view numerous pictures on the internet. Many are wonders of creativity and determination—from murals on a building to 3D art made from objects already in place. Street art can have an important message or be a small scale drawing, there just to make you smile.
One of my favorite types of street art is chalk art. While temporary, in the hand of a master artist they can be incredibly detailed and convincing. Chalk art combines art, creativity, perspective, and even performance.
The writer Andrew Ferguson set out to explore how Abraham Lincoln is viewed and commemorated across the nation nearly 150 years after his death.He visits Lincoln places across the country and talks with those obsessed with our 16th president, wheth
I love burgers and trying new recipes. While the (rumored) arrival of summer is bound to make most all of us happy, trying nearly all of this title's beef recipes will further sweeten the deal for me. Also included are recipes for bison, lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian burgers, as well as condiments and sides.
In 1950s New Orleans, Josie Moraine dreams of escaping the Big Easy and attending Smith College in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for her, this is an especially difficult task. Josie is the daughter of a French Quarter prostitute with a penchant for trouble. Josie's mother, Louise, fancies herself to be a gangster's moll and frequently gets Josie entangled in her mistakes.
A.J. Fikry is a miserable man. His wife died tragically, his bookstore is struggling and now his prized possession, a rare edition of Poe’s Tamerlane has been stolen from his apartment. The sale of that book was what was going to get A.J. off this island some day. Now A.J. is stuck on Alice Island, where he has alienated most of the population with his superior attitude and bad disposition. Everything changes for A.J. when a mysterious bundle is left in his bookstore one night. This small bundle gives A.J.
August (Auggie) Pullman is different from other ten year old kids. Born with a rare congenital condition resulting in startling facial deformities, he has a not so ordinary face that invites curiosity and criticism, as well as compassion. He leaves the bubble of his loving and safe home-schooled environment to attend fifth grade at Beecher Prep in New York City. For one year, readers follow Auggie as he stumbles through the minefields of adolescence: vulnerable in a school culture where being different is an oddity not
Phryne Fisher didn’t intend to solve crimes; as a flapper she was enjoying wealth and free time after a childhood of hunger and deprivation. After many parties and dancing, shopping and theater trips, her boredom and restlessness made her wonder what to do with her life. A daring jewelry theft during a high-society ball causes her to spring into action and brilliantly solve the crime, and a detective is born. One of the guests, impressed by her intelligence, asks Phryne to help find out what is going on with her daughter Lydia, who fears she is being poisoned.&
Definitely a compulsive read. The book opens in a London courtroom where we learn the narrator, Yvonne, is on trial for an as-yet unknown crime. The story is presented as though Yvonne is writing a letter to her partner in an adulterous relationship. Although she doesn’t intend to mail it, she is using this method to process the events that transpired between them. This psychological thriller is quite different from what I usually read, but I absolutely loved it and never wanted to put it down.
I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, but haven't been thrilled with her last few books. This one was a game changer for me. Jodi is back in full form! This book completely enthralled me. I particularly enjoyed reading Minka's perspective of the holocaust and life as a Jew inside of occupied Poland and the concentration camps. I did not want to put it down and had a few late nights while reading this book! If you love historical fiction or Jodi Picoult, I do not think you would be disappointed. Great read!
LilyAnn’s hopes and dreams died when her boyfriend was killed in Afghanistan. Eleven years have passed since his death and the former Homecoming Queen is now withdrawn, slightly pudgy and working as a drug store clerk. LillyAnn is convinced that she already had her one true love in her life and lost him so she is done with men. That is bad news for her next door neighbor Mike, who has loved her for his whole life. He has spent the last 11 years trying to make LillyAnn notice him as something more than her best friend.
Two young girls, growing up in Charleston, South Carolina during the early 1800s, struggle to find their wings along the divergent paths they have been allotted in life. Sarah Grimke is the daughter of a wealthy Southern judge while Hetty "Handful" Grimke is the spunky slave presented to Sarah as a "gift" on her eleventh birthday by a domineering mother. Sarah reluctantly welcomes Handful into her life. Finding the practice of slavery distasteful, she uses the opportunity to teach the young black girl how to read and write. Sarah also de
The intro to this book begins with the quote- “Every Pet is a tiny tragedy waiting to happen”, (George Carlin). But apart from facing the relatively short mortality of our pet “children”, this book is also an affirmation of the joys and idiosyncrasies that are part of sharing our lives with pets.
Morwenna , age 15, arrived at Arlinghurst with few possessions but a lot of mental baggage. Her twin sister was killed and she was crippled in an accident after trying to peform magic to save the world from her wicked and possibly insane mother.
Fleeing her Welsh home she appealed to her father, who she barely knew. He is controlled by his three spinster sisters, though his interest in science fiction is enough to form a bond between them.
I have always enjoyed Alice Hoffman’s novels, being introduced to her at age 16 and awaiting each new release. Her books have elements of magical realism and dystopian fiction, with several having ended up on bestseller lists and turned into feature films. I was very interested to learn, then, that she had written and published her very first non-fiction book.
Professional beach volleyball player Dune Cates and his partner Mac are back in Dune’s hometown of Barefoot William for a volleyball tournament. The beaches of Barefoot William are crawling with bikini-clad groupies, all wanting Dune’s attention, so why can’t he stop thinking about the quiet, socially -challenged Sophie Saunders?
Melanie Benjamin has assigned Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, the storyteller in her book "The Aviator's Wife." The result is that Charles Lindbergh's co-pilot in the air, and in life, relates an interesting account of the couple's adventures amidst the clouds as well as on the ground. The aviatrix exposes a marriage built upon dependence and high expectation rather than mutual love. Though it is historical fiction, the imaginary and the true are blended together successfully to form a realistic ac
Rufus writes a guide for young dogs in which he shares essential ancient wisdom passed down over the ages from dog to dog. He also includes intimate knowledge of the human condition so young dogs can be better prepared to help humans lead a less pathetic existence. Some things are left out, in case a human might be reading this book.
The book is divided into three sections-The Fundamentals, Troubleshooting and Raising Humans.
Now and again we hear about how there is a war being waged on Christmas. Yet the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In 1659, the Massachusetts General Court even declared celebrating Christmas to be a criminal offense. How did we get from there to here?
The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher’s cousin Edgar, Lord Dalrymple, is in his 50s and childless. He decides search for the family member who legally will inherit the entailed estate of Fairacres and the title of Lord Dalrymple. Potential claimants are a diamond merchant hailing from South Africa, hotel owner from Scarborough, a teenage boy from Trinidad and a rum-running sailor from Jamaica. None of the descendants are known to the family and there are no family papers at Fairacres showing which line of the family should inherit, so Daisy is recruited to he
Hilburn delivers a highly detailed but readable account of the legendary country singer, Johnny Cash. Virtually every aspect of his career and personal life is covered including his boyhood in Dyess, Arkansas, his admiration for Jimmie Rodgers, the start of his recording career with Sun Records, Cash’s first gold record (the album Ring of Fire), his marriage into the Carter family, and his highly acclaimed video of Hurt which was produced by Rick Rubin.
This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner in Biography was also the best book I’ve listened to in 2013. The Black Count by Tom Reiss is both informative and entertaining. Read by Paul Michael, an actor who gave the story even more depth with his expressive style and excellent pronunciation, this book is a step above the average biography. I was enthralled not only by the amazing adventures of the man who was the inspiration for the Count of Monte Cristo but by the writing style of the author.
If you have a child in public schools or even if you don’t, you have likely heard of the Common Core curriculum. Common Core sets benchmarks in learning for each grade level K-12. Here is a quick overview directly from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
I was thrilled to see this has been reissued! This is the first book I remember needing to own. I was so worried someday I would not be able to find it at my library! Peter Brown is a young boy who desperately wants to have a cat. See why I was hooked right from the start?
Malcolm Gladwell has made a career of looking at things we thought we knew from a different perspective, as he did in his previous best-sellers Blink and The Tipping Point. In Outliers, he examines success. What makes someone successful? Sure it’s hard work—did you know that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated work to master just about any field?—but it’s also opportunity. And culture. And pure accident. Using examples from the famous and the unknown, along with the most recent scientific studies, Gladwell presents a surprising c
Just in time for the holidays, this short cookbook has new and traditional sweet and savory cheese ball recipes. If you are inclined, take the time to copy the cheese-ball-sculptures; it will definitely amuse your friends and family. While I'm not one to spend much time on presentation (solely due to lack of skill), the recipes themselves are really good on their own.