Adam Resnick has pulled together hilarious tales from his life that illustrate his reluctance to interact with people and the belligerence that raises its head when he is forced into social situations. He “refuses to be burdened by chores like basic social obligation and personal growth, living instead by his own steadfast rule: I refuse to do anything I don’t want to do.” Resnick is an Academy Award-winning author for NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” so his self-deprecation is no surprise.
This is a lovely telling of the author’s meeting, relationship, and marriage to her husband, Miles, an Army Apache pilot, and the first years following his death as she finally starts to reclaim her own life. Her writing is clear, honest, and to-the-point, but always deeply felt.
Dr. Patricia McConnell is an applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years experience. The Other End of the Leash is a fantastic read for dog owners or those interested in animal-human interaction. Dr. McConnell very practically illustrates the differences between primate and canid behavior and mannerisms, and explains why many things we as humans do can be difficult or impossible for dogs to understand.
Randall Munroe earned a degree in physics at Christopher Newport University (VA) and went on to work on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia before quitting to become a cartoonist (xkcd.com: “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”). He employs humorous stick figure sketches to help provide scientific answers to absurd hypotheticals submitted to him through his website.
Ove is a 59 year old grump with very strong ideas of what competence and a job well done mean; he also knows when someone isn’t capable of either. His wife has passed away within the last year and now he no longer can find a reason to continue. His reluctant, growing relationship with his new neighbors, however, keeps interfering with his plans and expanding his world. (“Considering how they are constantly preventing him from dying, these neighbors of his are certainly not shy when it comes to driving a man to the brink of madness and suicide. That’s for sure.” 160)
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.
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.
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.
This book was far outside my normal reading, and that novelty may be a large contributing factor towards how much I enjoyed it. Gideon Smith & the Mechanical Girl is a Steampunk novel, set, of course, in Victorian England – specifically 1890. The author, David Barnett, presents an alternate history that includes Pulp-Adventurers, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Bathory, Frog-man M
If you like musing over a book's not-so-clear-cut ending for days afterward, you may love The Other Typist, too. The entire story is presented from Rose’s first-person perspective. Rose works as a typist at a New York City police precinct during Prohibition, transcribing criminals’ confessions. Alone for most of her life, she eventually begins a surprising and close friendship with the appealing and attractive new hire, Odalie.
I had long heard of Mary Roach's titles but never tried one. Gulp fell into my lap when a coworker heard about it and placed it on hold for me, figuring I would like it. I can see why Mary Roach's writing is so popular: she mixes great, science-y information with a fantastic sense of humor that is typically presented in tongue-in-cheek or dry asides as well as side-splitting footnotes.
This recipe book is separated into “Savory” and “Sweet” sections, as well as an “And More” section that incorporates popcorn into meals (I have never done anything from that last section). The very beginning of the book talks a little about popping corn, including how to make your own microwave popcorn in paper lunch bags if you don’t own a popper or don’t like to make it on the stovetop.
The Immigrant Advantage recounts 7 separate cultural traditions observed by some members of immigrant groups after coming to America: the Vietnamese Money Club; the Mexican Cuarentena; South Asian Assisted Marriage; Korean and Chinese Afterschools; West Indian Multigenerational Households; Barrio Stoops, Sidewalks, and Shops; and Vietnamese Monthly Rice.
The Mind is very similar in structure to one of my earlier staff picks: Future Science. Editor John Brockman presents contributions from some of the world’s leading scientists on the workings of the brain and aspects of human consciousness, development, memory, and learning.
This is definitely one of my favorites; it is not, however, a self-help book (if you peruse Amazon reviews, many readers’ expectations were defied and disappointed by that fact – most likely due to a misinterpretation of the sub-title). Rather, Redirect presents the practice of story-editing to effect successful interventions in personal and social issues.
One night I was preparing dinner from a recipe and, tasting it, realized it needed something. I added an ingredient to a small portion of it – an ingredient I didn’t particularly like – and found it was the perfect flavor foil. This was a particularly favorable feat because I did not even consult my copy of The Flavor Bible but, instead, mentally retrieved its explanation of balancing flavors and considered how I could emphasize or ‘push’ the existing taste to a brighter level.
This summer the latest and most-likely last (hopefully not!) installment of the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen), was released. The 8 books follow Artemis’ adventures with the Fairy world: dwarves, trolls, goblins, centaurs, pixies, and more; they all live under the earth’s surface but pop up every now and then. Artemis is a young, criminal mastermind, determined to steal Fairy gold to fund the search for his missing father and to refill the family fortune’s rapidly emptying coffers.
I frequently read in subject ‘clumps.’ Upon reading an interesting fact or blurb, I typically search for more books and articles in that area until my interest has run its course. In this case, what sparked my inquiry into restrictive eating disorders was, for me, a very unusual source.
Peter Reinhart is a major American authority and writer on bread baking. I came across American Pie several years ago while searching the Library catalog for anything else by Reinhart. Since I regularly made homemade pizza, it immediately appealed to me. A week later I purchased my own copy.
Future Science is the first installment in what editor Max Brockman hopes will be an annual collection; it consists of essays by young scientists who, for the first time, are presenting to a general reading audience the scientific hypotheses they are pursuing in their scholarly research. Nearly every essay is accessible (I skipped 2 of the 18 due to lack of interest).
Introverts are often indirectly told that their very way of being is a ‘condition’ or a ‘shell’ out of which they need to emerge. Susan Cain explores the fallacy of this and other beliefs about the introverted temperament in her fascinating book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating; many introverts are even quite sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, and coffee. Extroverts recharge their batteries by socializing, while introverts recharge by being alone.
Victoria is a young woman whose only way of connecting with others is through a language no one knows. When Victoria was 10, Elizabeth, one of her foster mothers, shared with her the near-forgotten language of flowers: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, red roses for love… thistles for hate and distrust of human beings.
In The Psychopath Test, journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson delves into the definition of insanity, eventually coming to question the methods that are currently utilized for diagnosing psychopaths –- methods which, in many cases, require nothing more than a score of 30 or more on a 20-point checklist of characteristics common to psychopaths: things like glib and superficial charm, grandiosity, manipulative behavior, and lack of remorse.
If you consider yourself an outdoorsperson or know someone who loves hunting, fishing, camping or outdoor gear, you will likely enjoy the humor of Patrick F. McManus. His life stories and musings are a mix of truth and exaggeration featuring many memorable characters, like mountain-man-old-timer Rancid Crabtree, and Crazy Eddie Muldoon: a great child-inventor who always had a new, 'good idea' of how to 'surprise' his parents. ("And guess what, Pat! You get to test the deep sea diving outfit! Don't that sound fun?!")
Explores the prevalence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, popularly known in its most extreme form as multiple personality disorder. Dr. Stout, a psychological trauma specialist, conveys how small things we interpret as distraction, spacing out, or situational fatigue are physiologically and behaviorally not different from an abused individual’s experience of dissociation or hypnotic trance.
Hobgoblins kidnap Henry Day when he is 7 years old, leaving an imposter in his place. Each Henry tries to adjust to his new life. Living in the forest with other stolen children who are also waiting to switch places, the 'real' Henry struggles to piece together fragmented memories of who he was. Meanwhile, the 'imposter' continually fears discovery and cannot forget that he is living a life that doesn’t belong to him; he eventually seeks out the truth of who he was before he too had been stolen and exiled to live in the forest as a hobgoblin (long before he stole Henry's life).
Greitens, a Rhodes Scholar and humanitarian whose work took him to Rwanda, Albania, Mexico, India, Croatia, Bolivia, and Cambodia, recounts his unexpected decision to join the Navy SEALS. “We can certainly donate money and clothing, and we can volunteer in the refugee camps. But in the end these acts of kindness are done after the fact. They are done after people have been killed, their homes burned, their lives destroyed. Yes, the clothing, the bread, the school; they are all good and they are all much appreciated.