Thread: MobileRead March 2009 Book Vote
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
JSWolf
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March 2009 Book Vote

It's time to vote for March's eBook to read for the MR book club. We have a grand total of 7 eBooks to vote for. The poll will expire in 5 days from this post. I hope one of them will be to your liking.

Here are books and their summeries...

The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro
Quote:
Laurie Notaro has an uncanny ability to attract insanity--and leave readers doubled over with laughter. Need proof? Check out The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death and try not to bust a gut.

Join Notaro as she experiences the popular phenomenon of laser hair removal (because at least one of her chins should be stubble-free); bemoans the scourge of the Open Mouth Coughers on America's airplanes and in similarly congested areas; welcomes the newest ex-con (yay, a sex offender!) to her neighborhood; and watches, against her own better judgment, every Discovery Health Channel special on parasites and tapeworms that has ever aired--resulting in an overwhelming fear that a worm the size of a python will soon come a-knocking on her back door.

In Notaro's world, strangers are stranger than fiction. One must always check the hotel bathroom for hobo hairs and consciously remember not to stare at old men with giant man-boobies. And then there are the lessons she has learned the hard way: Though it may seem like a good idea, it's best not to hire a tweaked-out homeless guy to clean up your yard.
Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine
Quote:
Intellectual property” – patents and copyrights – have become controversial. We witness teenagers being sued for “pirating” music – and we observe AIDS patients in Africa dying due to lack of ability to pay for drugs that are high priced to satisfy patent holders. Are patents and copyrights essential to thriving creation and innovation – do we need them so that we all may enjoy fine music and good health? Across time and space the resounding answer is: No. So-called intellectual property is in fact an “intellectual monopoly” that hinders rather than helps the competitive free market regime that has delivered wealth and innovation to our doorsteps. This book has broad coverage of both copyrights and patents and is designed for a general audience, focusing on simple examples. The authors conclude that the only sensible policy to follow is to eliminate the patents and copyright systems as they currently exist.
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Quote:
he publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species in 1859 marked a dramatic turning point in scientific thought. The volume had taken Darwin more than twenty years to publish, in part because he envisioned the storm of controversy it was certain to unleash. Indeed, selling out its first edition on its first day, The Origin of Species revolutionized science, philosophy, and theology. Darwin's reasoned, documented arguments carefully advance his theory of natural selection and his assertion that species were not created all at once by a divine hand but started with a few simple forms that mutated and adapted over time. Whether commenting on his own poor health, discussing his experiments to test instinct in bees, or relating a conversation about a South American burrowing rodent, Darwin's monumental achievement is surprisingly personal and delightfully readable. Its profound ideas remain controversial even today, making it the most influential book in the natural sciences ever written—an important work not just to its time but to the history of humankind.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Quote:
Intuition is not some magical and mysterious property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. It is a product of long hours and intelligent design, of meaningful work environments and particular rules and principles. For too long we have thought of intuition as a kind of black box at the very core of who we are and why we act the way we do. This book shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices and in everyday life. Just as he did with his revolutionary theory of the tipping point, Gladwell reveals how the power of 'blink' could fundamentally transform our relationships, the way we consume, create and communicate, how we run our businesses and even our societies.You'll never think about thinking in the same way again.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Quote:
Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a bestselling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning? In this brilliant and groundbreaking book, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story written with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message?that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
Quote:
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary--and literary history. The compilation of the OED began in 1857, it was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird
Quote:
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains is a rare, gem of a book which contains letters written to her sister during her six-month journey through the Colorado Rockies in 1873. Traveling alone, usually on horseback, often with no clear idea of where she will spend the night in what is mostly uninhabited wilderness, she covers over a thousand miles, most of it during the winter months.

A well-educated woman who had known a comfortable life, she thinks nothing of herding cattle at a hard gallop, falling through ice, getting lost in snowstorms, and living in a cabin where the temperatures are well below zero and her ink freezes even as she writes. She befriends desperados and climbs 14,000 foot mountains, ready for any adventure that allows her to see the unparalleled beauty of nature. Her rare complaints have more to do with having to ride side-saddle while in town than with the conditions she faces. An awe-inspiring woman, she is also a talented writer who brings to life Colorado of more than one hundred years ago, when today's big cities were only a small collection of frame houses, and beautiful areas were still largely untouched".
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