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Old 08-19-2012, 08:32 AM   #1
WT Sharpe
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September 2012 Book Club Nominations

MobileRead Book Club
September Nominations


Help us select the next book that the MobileRead Book Club will read for September 2012.

The nominations will run through midnight EST August 30 or until 10 books have made the list. The first poll will then be posted and will be open for 4 days, followed by a 3 day run-off poll between the two* top vote getters.

Book selection category for September is:

NonFiction

In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).

How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.

How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a poll at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.

How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.

How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others may consider their level of interest.

How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.

When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the initial poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.

The floor is open to nominations. Please comment if you discover a nomination is not available as an ebook in your area.

* In case of a first or second place tie in the first voting poll, the run-off poll may have more than two choices.


Official choices with three nominations each:

(1) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson [Format C:, orlok, JSWolf]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, "...how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.“Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between... brims with strange and amazing facts... destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” THE NEW YORK TIMES“Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science.” PEOPLE“Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent... a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story.” SEATTLE TIMES“Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable.” SIMON WINCHESTER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL“All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations.” NATIONAL POST"Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.” OTTAWA CITIZEN“Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (from CyberRead)


(2) The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost [jabberwock_11, sun surfer, Asawi]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: At 26, Troost followed his wife to Kiribati, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific. Virtually ignored by the rest of humanity (its erstwhile colonial owners, the Brits, left in 1979), Kiribati is the kind of place where dolphins frolic in lagoons, days end with glorious sunsets and airplanes might have to circle overhead because pigs occupy the island's sole runway. Troost's wife was working for an international nonprofit; the author himself planned to hang out and maybe write a literary masterpiece. But Kiribati wasn't quite paradise. It was polluted, overpopulated and scorchingly sunny (Troost could almost feel his freckles mutating into something "interesting and tumorous"). The villages overflowed with scavengers and recently introduced, nonbiodegradable trash. And the Kiribati people seemed excessively hedonistic. Yet after two years, Troost and his wife felt so comfortable, they were reluctant to return home. Troost is a sharp, funny writer, richly evoking the strange, day-by-day wonder that became his life in the islands. One night, he's doing his best funky chicken with dancing Kiribati; the next morning, he's on the high seas contemplating a toilet extending off the boat's stern (when the ocean was rough, he learns, it was like using a bidet). Troost's chronicle of his sojourn in a forgotten world is a comic masterwork of travel writing and a revealing look at a culture clash. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Although accustomed to globe trotting, Troost and his wife, Sylvia, were truly innocents abroad when they moved to the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, where Sylvia had accepted a government position. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati--a republic of tiny atolls located just above the equator--and the place where Troost's dreams of paradise were shattered. Although Tarawa has much to offer, such as stultifying heat, dogged bureaucracy, toxic water, La Macarena , and the fantastic rituals of the I-Kiribati people, it lacks running water, television, restaurants, air-conditioning, and, the most crucial amenity, beer. Culture shock ensued for Maarten and Sylvia, and he chronicles their two years on Tarawa in a hilarious, sardonic travelogue. Among the more memorable episodes is the time a simple fishing trip turns into a hunt for a giant thresher shark and when Troost blasts a Miles Davis CD to combat the incessant repetition of La Macarena . Troost's mystified admiration for the I-Kiribati people shines through it all, and readers learn how humor itself can be a necessary tool for survival. Jerry Eberle Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved (from Amazon.com)


(3) The Bible Unearthed by Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finkelstein [Format C:, fantasyfan, sun surfer]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: The Bible Unearthed is a balanced, thoughtful, bold reconsideration of the historical period that produced the Hebrew Bible. The headline news in this book is easy to pick out: there is no evidence for the existence of Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs; ditto for Moses and the Exodus; and the same goes for the whole period of Judges and the united monarchy of David and Solomon. In fact, the authors argue that it is impossible to say much of anything about ancient Israel until the seventh century B.C., around the time of the reign of King Josiah. In that period, "the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah." Yet the authors deny that their arguments should be construed as compromising the Bible's power. Only in the 18th century--"when the Hebrew Bible began to be dissected and studied in isolation from its powerful function in community life"--did readers begin to view the Bible as a source of empirically verifiable history. For most of its life, the Bible has been what Finkelstein and Silberman reveal it once more to be: an eloquent expression of "the deeply rooted sense of shared origins, experiences, and destiny that every human community needs in order to survive," written in such a way as to encompass "the men, women, and children, the rich, the poor, and the destitute of an entire community." --Michael Joseph Gross Finkelstein, director of Tel Aviv University's excavations at Megiddo (ancient Armageddon), and Silberman, author of a series of successful and intriguing books on the political and cultural dimensions of archeology, present for the first time to a general audience the results of recent research, which reveals more clearly that while the Bible may be the most important piece of Western literature--serving concrete political, cultural and religious purposes--many of the events recorded in the Old Testament are not historically accurate. Finkelstein and Silberman do not aim to undermine the Bible's import, but to demonstrate why it became the basic document for a distinct religious community under particular political circumstances. For example, they maintain that the Exodus was not a single dramatic event, as described in the second book of the Bible, but rather a series of occurrences over a long period of time. The Old Testament account is, according to the authors, neither historical truth nor literary fiction, but a powerful expression of memory and hope constructed to serve particular political purposes at the time it was composed. The authors claim quite convincingly that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah became radically different regions even before the time of King David; the northern lands were densely populated, with a booming agriculture-based economy, while the southern region was sparsely populated by migratory pastoral groups. Furthermore, they contend, "we still have no hard archaeological evidence--despite the unparalleled biblical description of its grandeur--that Jerusalem was anything more than a modest highland village in the time of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam." Fresh, stimulating and highly engaging, this book will hold greatest appeal for readers familiar with the Bible, in particular the Old Testament--unfortunately, a shrinking percentage of the population. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Carol Mann. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. (from Amazon.com)


(4) Mythologies by Roland Barthes, Annette Lavers (Translator) [HomeInMyShoes, issybird, RoccoPaco]
No eBook found.
Spoiler:
"[Mythologies] illustrates the beautiful generosity of Barthes's progressive interest in the meaning (his word is signification) of practically everything around him, not only the books and paintings of high art, but also the slogans, trivia, toys, food, and popular rituals (cruises, striptease, eating, wrestling matches) of contemporary life . . . For Barthes, words and objects have in common the organized capacity to say something; at the same time, since they are signs, words and objects have the bad faith always to appear natural to their consumer, as if what they say is eternal, true, necessary, instead of arbitrary, made, contingent. Mythologies finds Barthes revealing the fashioned systems of ideas that make it possible, for example, for 'Einstein's brain' to stand for, be the myth of, 'a genius so lacking in magic that one speaks about his thought as a functional labor analogous to the mechanical making of sausages.' Each of the little essays in this book wrenches a definition out of a common but constructed object, making the object speak its hidden, but ever-so-present, reservoir of manufactured sense."--Edward W. Said (from GoodReads.com)


(5) "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman [WT Sharpe, HomeInMyShoes, Synamon]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
The outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.

In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize*-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature. (from Amazon.com


(6) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank [John F, odiakkoh, Asawi]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
The diary as Anne Frank wrote it. At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne's burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne's youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne's father, Otto -- approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne's emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother. Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne's record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the "Secret Annex," and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For young readers and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen -- and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal. (From Overdrive.com)


(7) A Thousand Miles Up the Nile by Amelia Edwards [HarryT, AnemicOak, sqdancer]
Inkmesh / MR Library upload by HarryT - Mobi/prc / ePub / BBeB/LRF
Spoiler:
An excellent Victorian travelogue of a journey through Egypt in the mid 19th century. Amelia Edwards is the real person on whom Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" is based.


(8) Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson [GA Russell, Kevin8or, Synamon]
Inkmesh / Inkmesh (Audiobook) / Amazon
Spoiler:
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. (from Amazon)


(9) My Life in France by Julia Child [JSWolf, AnemicOak, TimW]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: Book Description Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef , but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France. Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years. Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France . Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images. Famed chef Child, who died in 2004, recounts her life in France, beginning with her early days at the Cordon Bleu after WWII. Greenberg, an actress for radio and commercials, does a fine job capturing Child's joie de vivre and unmatched skill as a culinary animateur . We hear Child's delight and excitement when she discovers her calling as a writer and hands-on teacher of haute cuisine; her exasperation as yet another publishing house rejects her ever-growing monster of a manuscript; and her joy at its publication and acclaimed reception after more than a decade of work. Child's opinionated exuberance translates remarkably well to audio, from her initial Brahmin-like dismissal of the new medium of television (why would Americans want to waste a perfectly good evening staring into a box, she wondered?) and frustration at her diplomat husband being investigated in the McCarthy-driven 1950s to her ecstasy about roast chicken and mulish insistence on the one correct method to make French bread at home. The seamless abridgment has no jarring gaps or abrupt transitions to mar the listener's enjoyment. Potential listeners should beware, however: this is not a book to hear on an empty stomach. Bon appétit! Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (from Amazon.com)


(10) The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt [issybird, Synamon, TimW]
Amazon / Barnes&Noble / Sony Reader
Spoiler:
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.

The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.


Nominations are now CLOSED.

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 08-29-2012 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Thru post 112
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
WT Sharpe
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Wondering if a particular book is available in your country? The following spoiler contains a list of bookstores outside the United States you can search. If you don't see a bookstore on this list for your country, find one that is, send me the link via PM, and I'll add it to the list. In addition, if members let me know that an ebook is unavailable in a particular geographic location, I'll note it in this post, right beside the Inkmesh search for that particular book.

Spoiler:
Australian
Angus Robertson
Booktopia
Borders
Dymocks
Fishpond
Google

Canada
Amazon. Make sure you are logged out. Then go to the Kindle Store. Search for a book. After the search results come up, in the upper right corner of the screen, change the country to Canada and search away.
Google
Sony eBookstore (Upper right corner switch to/from US/CA)

UK
BooksOnBoard (In the upper right corner is a way to switch to the UK store)
Amazon
Foyle's
Google
Penguin
Random House
Waterstones
WH Smith


Nominations:

*** A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson [Format C:, orlok, JSWolf]
Inkmesh[/COLOR][/URL]
Spoiler:
Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, "...how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.“Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between... brims with strange and amazing facts... destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” THE NEW YORK TIMES“Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science.” PEOPLE“Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent... a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story.” SEATTLE TIMES“Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable.” SIMON WINCHESTER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL“All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations.” NATIONAL POST"Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.” OTTAWA CITIZEN“Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (from CyberRead)


* SEAL Team Six, Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin [voodooblues]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: A book that takes you inside SEAL Team Six - the covert squad that killed Osama Bin Laden SEAL Team Six is a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes readers deep inside the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) the toughest and longest military training in the world. After graduating, Wasdin faced new challenges. First there was combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. Then the Green Course: the selection process to join the legendary SEAL Team Six, with a curriculum that included practiced land warfare to unarmed combat. More than learning how to pick a lock, they learned how to blow the door off its hinges. Finally as a member of SEAL Team Six he graduated from the most storied and challenging sniper program in the country: The Marine's Scout Sniper School. Eventually, of the 18 snipers in SEAL Team Six, Wasdin became the best which meant one of the best snipers on the planet. Less than half a year after sniper school, he was fighting for his life. The mission: capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. From rooftops, helicopters and alleys, Wasdin hunted Aidid and killed his men whenever possible. But everything went quickly to hell when his small band of soldiers found themselves fighting for their lives, cut off from help, and desperately trying to rescue downed comrades during a routine mission. The Battle of Mogadishu, as it become known, left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. Howard Wasdin had both of his legs nearly blown off while engaging the enemy. His dramatic combat tales combined with inside details of becoming one of the world's deadliest snipers make this one of the most explosive military memoirs in years. (from Kobo)


* Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow [WT Sharpe]
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ReaderStore (Sony)
Spoiler:
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events.

Your preference in politicians, the amount you tip your waiter—all judgments and perceptions reflect the workings of our mind on two levels: the conscious, of which we are aware, and the unconscious, which is hidden from us. The latter has long been the subject of speculation, but over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the hidden, or subliminal, workings of the mind. The result of this explosion of research is a new science of the unconscious and a sea change in our understanding of how the subliminal mind affects the way we live.

Employing his trademark wit and lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a tour of this research, unraveling the complexities of the subliminal self and increasing our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with friends, strangers, spouses, and coworkers. In the process he changes our view of ourselves and the world around us. (from Amazon)


** The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch [WT Sharpe, Kevin8or]
Inkmesh / Amazon
Spoiler:
Description: A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge-the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind. (from Diesel eBook Store)


* The World in Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin [HomeInMyShoes]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: Charles Darwin meets the Beatles in this attempt to blend neuroscience and evolutionary biology to explain why music is such a powerful force. In this rewarding though often repetitious study by bestselling author Levitin ( This Is Your Brain on Music ), a rock musician turned neuroscientist, argues that music is a core element of human identity, paving the way for language, cooperative work projects and the recording of our lives and history. Through his studies, Levitin has identified six kinds of songs that help us achieve these goals: songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love. He cites lyrics ranging from the songs of Johnny Cash to work songs, which, he says, promote feelings of togetherness. According to Levitin, evolution may have selected individuals who were able to use nonviolent means like dance and music to settle disputes. Songs also serve as memory-aids, as records of our lives and legends. Some may find Levitin's evolutionary explanations reductionist, but he lightens the science with personal anecdotes and chats with Sting and others, offering an intriguing explanation for the power of music in our lives as individuals and as a society. (Aug.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Fans that have read This Is Your Brain on Music are in for another treat; newcomers to Levitin will still find much to enjoy in this consideration of music and human civilization. Levitin writes with both knowledge of neuroscience and evolutionary biology and a deep appreciation for the musician’s craft—one that will resound loudly with musicophiles. The New York Times Book Review , however, questioned some of Levitin’s “unprovable” scientific claims, and others faulted him for taking a reductionist view of evolution, shamelessly namedropping, cherry-picking songs from a select era, and failing to edit a verbose tome. Despite such flaws, most readers will find something to connect with in the book—even if it’s just one song. Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC (from Amazon.com)


*** "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman [WT Sharpe, HomeInMyShoes, Synamon]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
The outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.

In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize*-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature. (from Amazon.com


*** The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost [jabberwock_11, sun surfer, Asawi]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: At 26, Troost followed his wife to Kiribati, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific. Virtually ignored by the rest of humanity (its erstwhile colonial owners, the Brits, left in 1979), Kiribati is the kind of place where dolphins frolic in lagoons, days end with glorious sunsets and airplanes might have to circle overhead because pigs occupy the island's sole runway. Troost's wife was working for an international nonprofit; the author himself planned to hang out and maybe write a literary masterpiece. But Kiribati wasn't quite paradise. It was polluted, overpopulated and scorchingly sunny (Troost could almost feel his freckles mutating into something "interesting and tumorous"). The villages overflowed with scavengers and recently introduced, nonbiodegradable trash. And the Kiribati people seemed excessively hedonistic. Yet after two years, Troost and his wife felt so comfortable, they were reluctant to return home. Troost is a sharp, funny writer, richly evoking the strange, day-by-day wonder that became his life in the islands. One night, he's doing his best funky chicken with dancing Kiribati; the next morning, he's on the high seas contemplating a toilet extending off the boat's stern (when the ocean was rough, he learns, it was like using a bidet). Troost's chronicle of his sojourn in a forgotten world is a comic masterwork of travel writing and a revealing look at a culture clash. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Although accustomed to globe trotting, Troost and his wife, Sylvia, were truly innocents abroad when they moved to the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, where Sylvia had accepted a government position. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati--a republic of tiny atolls located just above the equator--and the place where Troost's dreams of paradise were shattered. Although Tarawa has much to offer, such as stultifying heat, dogged bureaucracy, toxic water, La Macarena , and the fantastic rituals of the I-Kiribati people, it lacks running water, television, restaurants, air-conditioning, and, the most crucial amenity, beer. Culture shock ensued for Maarten and Sylvia, and he chronicles their two years on Tarawa in a hilarious, sardonic travelogue. Among the more memorable episodes is the time a simple fishing trip turns into a hunt for a giant thresher shark and when Troost blasts a Miles Davis CD to combat the incessant repetition of La Macarena . Troost's mystified admiration for the I-Kiribati people shines through it all, and readers learn how humor itself can be a necessary tool for survival. Jerry Eberle Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved (from Amazon.com)


*** The Bible Unearthed by Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finkelstein [Format C:, fantasyfan, sun surfer]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: The Bible Unearthed is a balanced, thoughtful, bold reconsideration of the historical period that produced the Hebrew Bible. The headline news in this book is easy to pick out: there is no evidence for the existence of Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs; ditto for Moses and the Exodus; and the same goes for the whole period of Judges and the united monarchy of David and Solomon. In fact, the authors argue that it is impossible to say much of anything about ancient Israel until the seventh century B.C., around the time of the reign of King Josiah. In that period, "the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah." Yet the authors deny that their arguments should be construed as compromising the Bible's power. Only in the 18th century--"when the Hebrew Bible began to be dissected and studied in isolation from its powerful function in community life"--did readers begin to view the Bible as a source of empirically verifiable history. For most of its life, the Bible has been what Finkelstein and Silberman reveal it once more to be: an eloquent expression of "the deeply rooted sense of shared origins, experiences, and destiny that every human community needs in order to survive," written in such a way as to encompass "the men, women, and children, the rich, the poor, and the destitute of an entire community." --Michael Joseph Gross Finkelstein, director of Tel Aviv University's excavations at Megiddo (ancient Armageddon), and Silberman, author of a series of successful and intriguing books on the political and cultural dimensions of archeology, present for the first time to a general audience the results of recent research, which reveals more clearly that while the Bible may be the most important piece of Western literature--serving concrete political, cultural and religious purposes--many of the events recorded in the Old Testament are not historically accurate. Finkelstein and Silberman do not aim to undermine the Bible's import, but to demonstrate why it became the basic document for a distinct religious community under particular political circumstances. For example, they maintain that the Exodus was not a single dramatic event, as described in the second book of the Bible, but rather a series of occurrences over a long period of time. The Old Testament account is, according to the authors, neither historical truth nor literary fiction, but a powerful expression of memory and hope constructed to serve particular political purposes at the time it was composed. The authors claim quite convincingly that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah became radically different regions even before the time of King David; the northern lands were densely populated, with a booming agriculture-based economy, while the southern region was sparsely populated by migratory pastoral groups. Furthermore, they contend, "we still have no hard archaeological evidence--despite the unparalleled biblical description of its grandeur--that Jerusalem was anything more than a modest highland village in the time of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam." Fresh, stimulating and highly engaging, this book will hold greatest appeal for readers familiar with the Bible, in particular the Old Testament--unfortunately, a shrinking percentage of the population. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Carol Mann. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. (from Amazon.com)


* The Night Lives On by Walter Lord [fantasyfan]
Amazon / Barnes&Noble
Spoiler:
It has sometimes been called a sequel to Lord's justly famous A Night To Remember But that is not what it really is.

The Night Lives On is a series of chapters on new approaches to the disaster which Lord felt had developed in the thirty years since he wrote his great book. The separate chapters are really individual essays on a number of different topics. Some, of course are better than others--but they are all interesting. As an example, Lord explores the third "mystery" ship which some feel was in the area. But, of course, he isn't able to really come to a definitive conclusion. He personally feels that the only other ship very close to Titanic was The Californian. and the mysterious lights seen by the passengers on the life boats came from it. But that explanation, while logical and believable, is by no means definitive and to this day, 27 years after Lord's book, the controversy rages on.

He also deals with myths that have developed since. Most significant is his analysis of the last tune played by the band. Most people believe it was "Nearer My God To Thee" but Lord shows that this is quite unlikely. First, the hymn uses very different melodies in America and in Britain. Hartley, the band leader, preferred a Methodist arrangement by the English composer Sullivan. Yet those who claimed the hymn was played were from both sides of the Atlantic. Colonel Gracie--a very dependable witness said that it was not played by the band, nor did they go down playing. Shortly after the survivors landed in New York, the surviving wireless operator said that the last song played by the band was "Autumn". He left them when they were playing it and when he returned they were gone. Now there is a little known Episcopal hymn called that, but it was eventually removed from the hymnbook--or so Lord says. And I should mention here that Lord consulted with expert hymnologists to work out these conclusions. It seems likely that MacBride was not referring to a little-known hymn but to an enormously popular piece called "Songe d'Automne" which, in fact was usually simply called "Autumn". Lord is probably correct in saying that it is the main contender for being the last piece played.

Finally, one last problem. Lord notes that there were two musical groups. As well as Hartley's band there was also a string trio that played in the Parisian cafe. Did the two join up for the final songs? Did some passengers remember what one group played rather than the other?

It's available in Kindle and epub formats and is available in Overdrive.


*** Mythologies by Roland Barthes, Annette Lavers (Translator) [HomeInMyShoes, issybird, RoccoPaco]
No eBook found.
Spoiler:
"[Mythologies] illustrates the beautiful generosity of Barthes's progressive interest in the meaning (his word is signification) of practically everything around him, not only the books and paintings of high art, but also the slogans, trivia, toys, food, and popular rituals (cruises, striptease, eating, wrestling matches) of contemporary life . . . For Barthes, words and objects have in common the organized capacity to say something; at the same time, since they are signs, words and objects have the bad faith always to appear natural to their consumer, as if what they say is eternal, true, necessary, instead of arbitrary, made, contingent. Mythologies finds Barthes revealing the fashioned systems of ideas that make it possible, for example, for 'Einstein's brain' to stand for, be the myth of, 'a genius so lacking in magic that one speaks about his thought as a functional labor analogous to the mechanical making of sausages.' Each of the little essays in this book wrenches a definition out of a common but constructed object, making the object speak its hidden, but ever-so-present, reservoir of manufactured sense."--Edward W. Said (from GoodReads.com)


** Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future by Marilu Henner [RoccoPaco, fantasyfan]
Author's site with links to bookstores
Spoiler:
If you could remember the confidence you felt when your prom date said yes, could it embolden you to ask for a raise today? Could the thrill you felt fitting into your skinny jeans five years ago inspire you to skip the doughnuts this morning? Would the details of your early days with a heartbreaking ex help you recognize the potential red flags in a sexy new romance?

Marilu Henner says, “YES!”

In this revolutionary new book, the New York Times bestselling author, renowned health advocate, actress, performer, and memory expert helps you develop the ability to remember more of your past, to recall it more clearly, and most of all, to understand your memories as a blueprint for the extraordinary life you were meant to have! Marilu is gifted with Highly Superior Auto-biographical Memory (HSAM), a rare and incredible ability that allows her to vividly recall every detail of her life since childhood. While most of us may prefer to keep the unhappy times buried in the past, Marilu has discovered that only by remembering what happened then can we change our lives for a better now.

The past is prelude to the future. But how much of our lives do most of us really remember? And what would our memories tell us if they could? Get ready to harness the power of your autobiographical memory. Total Memory Makeover is unlike any memory book ever written. It’s not about using mnemonic devices or unusual strategies to remember lists, definitions, names, or numbers.

The simple, practical (and fun!) exercises in this unique book will help you:

Stop turning painful memories into emotional baggage
Discover your personal memory Track
Unlock repressed memories that are holding you back
Understand the four types of memory retrieval—Horizontal, Vertical, Mushrooming, and Sporadic—and determine which works best for you
Recall memories faster and stop them from fading
Teach your kids to have great memories
Turn your newfound memories into a treasure map to a successful future!

Are you ready? Let’s get started on your Total Memory Makeover! (From marilu.com)


*** The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank [John F, odiakkoh, Asawi]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
The diary as Anne Frank wrote it. At last, in a new translation, this definitive edition contains entries about Anne's burgeoning sexuality and confrontations with her mother that were cut from previous editions. Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring documents of the twentieth century. Since its publication in 1947, it has been a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, read by millions of people and translated into more than fifty-five languages. Doubleday, which published the first English translation of the diary in 1952, now offers a new translation that captures Anne's youthful spirit and restores the original material omitted by Anne's father, Otto -- approximately thirty percent of the diary. The elder Frank excised details about Anne's emerging sexuality, and about the often-stormy relations between Anne and her mother. Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation forces, hid in the back of an Amsterdam office building for two years. This is Anne's record of that time. She was thirteen when the family went into the "Secret Annex," and in these pages, she grows to be a young woman and proves to be an insightful observer of human nature as well. A timeless story discovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For young readers and adults, it continues to bring to life this young woman, who for a time survived the worst horrors the modern world had seen -- and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal. (From Overdrive.com)


* Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern [JSWolf]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is "like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair," has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:

"That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won't screw you. Don't do it for them."

"Do people your age know how to comb their hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their heads and started fucking."

"The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."

More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern's philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny's, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns' kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice. (From books.google.com)


*** The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt [issybird, Synamon, TimW]
Amazon / Barnes&Noble / Sony Reader
Spoiler:
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.

The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.


** Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone by Martin Dugard [sun surfer, John F]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
With the utterance of a single line—“Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”—a remote meeting in the heart of Africa was transformed into one of the most famous encounters in exploration history. But the true story behind Dr. David Livingstone and journalist Henry Morton Stanley is one that has escaped telling. Into Africa is an extraordinarily researched account of a thrilling adventure—defined by alarming foolishness, intense courage, and raw human achievement.

In the mid-1860s, exploration had reached a plateau. The seas and continents had been mapped, the globe circumnavigated. Yet one vexing puzzle remained unsolved: what was the source of the mighty Nile river? Aiming to settle the mystery once and for all, Great Britain called upon its legendary explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, who had spent years in Africa as a missionary. In March 1866, Livingstone steered a massive expedition into the heart of Africa. In his path lay nearly impenetrable, uncharted terrain, hostile cannibals, and deadly predators. Within weeks, the explorer had vanished without a trace. Years passed with no word.

While debate raged in England over whether Livingstone could be found—or rescued—from a place as daunting as Africa, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the brash American newspaper tycoon, hatched a plan to capitalize on the world’s fascination with the missing legend. He would send a young journalist, Henry Morton Stanley, into Africa to search for Livingstone. A drifter with great ambition, but little success to show for it, Stanley undertook his assignment with gusto, filing reports that would one day captivate readers and dominate the front page of the New York Herald.

Tracing the amazing journeys of Livingstone and Stanley in alternating chapters, author Martin Dugard captures with breathtaking immediacy the perils and challenges these men faced. Woven into the narrative, Dugard tells an equally compelling story of the remarkable transformation that occurred over the course of nine years, as Stanley rose in power and prominence and Livingstone found himself alone and in mortal danger. The first book to draw on modern research and to explore the combination of adventure, politics, and larger-than-life personalities involved, Into Africa is a riveting read. (From Amazon.com)


*** My Life in France by Julia Child [JSWolf, AnemicOak, TimW]
Inkmesh
Spoiler:
Description: Book Description Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef , but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France. Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years. Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France . Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images. Famed chef Child, who died in 2004, recounts her life in France, beginning with her early days at the Cordon Bleu after WWII. Greenberg, an actress for radio and commercials, does a fine job capturing Child's joie de vivre and unmatched skill as a culinary animateur . We hear Child's delight and excitement when she discovers her calling as a writer and hands-on teacher of haute cuisine; her exasperation as yet another publishing house rejects her ever-growing monster of a manuscript; and her joy at its publication and acclaimed reception after more than a decade of work. Child's opinionated exuberance translates remarkably well to audio, from her initial Brahmin-like dismissal of the new medium of television (why would Americans want to waste a perfectly good evening staring into a box, she wondered?) and frustration at her diplomat husband being investigated in the McCarthy-driven 1950s to her ecstasy about roast chicken and mulish insistence on the one correct method to make French bread at home. The seamless abridgment has no jarring gaps or abrupt transitions to mar the listener's enjoyment. Potential listeners should beware, however: this is not a book to hear on an empty stomach. Bon appétit! Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (from Amazon.com)


*** A Thousand Miles Up the Nile by Amelia Edwards [HarryT, AnemicOak, sqdancer]
Inkmesh / MR Library upload by HarryT - Mobi/prc / ePub / BBeB/LRF
Spoiler:
An excellent Victorian travelogue of a journey through Egypt in the mid 19th century. Amelia Edwards is the real person on whom Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" is based.


* A Night to Remember by Walter Lord [HarryT]
Amazon / Google eBook / Sony Reader Store
Spoiler:
Lord’s classic bestseller, and the definitive account of the unsinkable ship’s fateful last hours
At first, no one but the lookout recognized the sound. Passengers described it as the impact of a heavy wave, a scraping noise, or the tearing of a long calico strip. In fact, it was the sound of the world’s most famous ocean liner striking an iceberg, and it served as the death knell for 1,500 souls.

In the next two hours and forty minutes, the maiden voyage of the Titanic became one of history’s worst maritime accidents. As the ship’s deck slipped closer to the icy waterline, women pleaded with their husbands to join them on lifeboats. Men changed into their evening clothes to meet death with dignity. And in steerage, hundreds fought bitterly against certain death. At 2:15 a.m. the ship’s band played “Autumn.” Five minutes later, the Titanic was gone.

Based on interviews with sixty-three survivors, Lord’s moment-by-moment account is among the finest books written about one of the twentieth century’s bleakest nights. (from Amazon.com)


*** Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson [GA Russell, Kevin8or, Synamon]
Inkmesh / Inkmesh (Audiobook) / Amazon
Spoiler:
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values. (from Amazon)


* Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wocjnarowitz by Cynthia Carr [Prestidigitweeze]
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Sony Reader Store / Kobo Books
Spoiler:
In December 2010, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington made headlines when it responded to protests from the Catholic League by voluntarily censoring an excerpt of David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly from its show on American portraiture.

Why a work of art could stir such emotions is at the heart of Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly, the first biography of a beleaguered art-world figure who became one of the most important voices of his generation. Wojnarowicz emerged from a Dickensian childhood that included orphanages, abusive and absent parents, and a life of hustling on the street. He first found acclaim in New York's East Village, a neighborhood noted in the 1970s and '80s for its abandoned buildings, junkies, and burgeoning art scene. Along with Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wojnarowicz helped redefine art for the times.

As uptown art collectors looked downtown for the next big thing, this community of cultural outsiders was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. The ensuing culture war, the neighborhood's gentrification, and the AIDS crisis then devastated the East Village scene. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of thirty-seven. Carr's brilliant biography traces the untold story of a controversial and seminal figure at a pivotal moment in American culture. (from Kobo.com)


Nominations are now CLOSED.

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Old 08-20-2012, 03:24 AM   #3
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I nominate "A short history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson.

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Spoiler:
Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, "...how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.“Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between... brims with strange and amazing facts... destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” THE NEW YORK TIMES“Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science.” PEOPLE“Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent... a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story.” SEATTLE TIMES“Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable.” SIMON WINCHESTER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL“All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations.” NATIONAL POST"Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.” OTTAWA CITIZEN“Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (from CyberRead)
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:27 AM   #4
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I nominate "A short history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson.

Inkmesh

Description:
Spoiler:
Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, "...how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.“Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between... brims with strange and amazing facts... destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” THE NEW YORK TIMES“Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science.” PEOPLE“Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent... a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story.” SEATTLE TIMES“Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable.” SIMON WINCHESTER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL“All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations.” NATIONAL POST"Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind.” OTTAWA CITIZEN“Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (from CyberRead)
I'll second "A short history of nearly everything".
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:53 AM   #5
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I would like to nominate
"SEAL Team Six, Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper"
Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:28 AM   #6
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I love non-fiction! I'd like to nominate Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow. This is the new work from the co-author (along with Stephen Hawking) of The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time.

Spoiler:
Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events.

Your preference in politicians, the amount you tip your waiter—all judgments and perceptions reflect the workings of our mind on two levels: the conscious, of which we are aware, and the unconscious, which is hidden from us. The latter has long been the subject of speculation, but over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the hidden, or subliminal, workings of the mind. The result of this explosion of research is a new science of the unconscious and a sea change in our understanding of how the subliminal mind affects the way we live.

Employing his trademark wit and lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a tour of this research, unraveling the complexities of the subliminal self and increasing our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with friends, strangers, spouses, and coworkers. In the process he changes our view of ourselves and the world around us.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:51 AM   #7
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For my second nomination, I'd like to nominate The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch, the well-known proponent of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

The book's website: http://beginningofinfinity.com/

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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I nominate The World in Six Songs by Daniel J. Levitin.

Available lots of places.


For group interest only: I'm not going to nominate this one, since it seems unavailable as an e-book and would be difficult and pricey for people to obtain, but for those interested in contemporary sociology I'll mention: Risk Society by Ulrich Beck.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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For my third and final vote, I nominate "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman.

This one should be a riot. I've heard nothing but good about it.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:17 AM   #10
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Aaaaaiiiiiiieieeeee, physics!!!!!!

Actually I will second that choice.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:27 AM   #11
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Aaaaaiiiiiiieieeeee, physics!!!!!!

Actually I will second that choice.
Thank you. Which one are you seconding?
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:39 AM   #12
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Surely, You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:41 AM   #13
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I was not!!!

Oh wait, you're talking about the book.

Never mind!
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
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I would like to nominate The Sex Lives of Cannibals, by J. Maarten Troost. It's a funny account of a couple who move to the tiny island nation of Kiribati. It's a wonderful memoir about the way preconceived notions are often so completely far off from reality.

http://inkmesh.com/ebooks/sex-lives-...s+of+cannibals
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #15
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Second The Sex Live of Cannibals.
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