Friday, February 25, 2011

Tea, Reality, and Stunts

Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family by Tamara Chalabi
For much of the twentieth century, the Chalabis were among the most influential families in Iraq. In the 1920s they were at the forefront of their country's awakening to modernity, and they played an integral part in the establishment of its monarchy. As courtiers, politicians, businessen, rebels, merchants, and scholars, the Chalabis enjoyed vast privilege until the end of the 1950s, when they were forced to flee to the land of exile, myth, and imagination, where their beloved homeland took on the quality of a phantom country. In between came rebellions, foreign interventions, and the transformative development of oil wealth.

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to the world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that video games are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.

Stuntman! My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life by Hal Needham
"I wrecked hundreds of cars, fell from tall buildings, got blown up, was dragged by horses, and along the way broke fifty-six bones, my back twice, punctured a lung, and knocked out a few teeth...I hung upside down by my ankles under a biplane in The Spirit of St. Louis, jumped between galloping horses in Little Big Man, set a world record for a boat stunt in Gator, jumped a rocket-powered pickup truck across a canal for a GM commercial, was the first human to test the car air bag -- and taught John Wayne how to really throw a movie punch."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love, Revenge, and History

Trespass by Rose Tremain
In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he's become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin while he drowns himself in drink. Meanwhile, his sister Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London, who has escaped to stay with his sister. When he sets his sights on the Mas, a frightening and unstoppable series of consequences are set in motion.

Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the pirates' lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30pm pirate show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim. But Lucky O'Toole smells a rat. She's head of Customer Relations at the Babylon, the newest, most opulent megacasino and resort on the Strip, so she's got a lot on her plate...Still, Lucky can't resist turning over a few stones.

Teaching History With Film: Strategies for Secondary Social Studies by Alan S. Marcus
Visit any school in the United States and chances are that you will find at least one of the social studies teachers showing a film about history. Along with the textbook, movies are one of the most prominent teaching aids in the history classroom. Yet, when middle and high school history teachers look for models of the effective use of motion pictures in history classrooms, the cupboard is surprisingly bare. This book provides a fresh, engaging, and clear overview of teaching with film to effectively enhance social studies instruction.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love, War, and Mystery

Where Serpent's Sleep by C.S. Harris
London, 1812. The slaughter of eight young prostitutes in a house of refuge near Covent Garden leaves only one survivor -- and one witness: Hero Jarvis, reform-minded daughter of the Prince Regent's cousin, Lord Jarvis. When Jarvis quashes any official inquiry that might reveal his daughter's involvement, Hero launches a investigation of her own and turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help. Working in uneasy alliance, Hero and Sebastian follow a trail of clues leading from seedy brothels and docksides of London's East End to Mayfair mansions of a noble family with dark secrets of its own to hide.

Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips
When hostage negotiator Rafe Mancuso takes a bullet to save Sara Rios, his former partner, his actions make him a bona fide hero -- and New York City's newest most eligible bachelor. Then Rafe admits that Sara is much more than just another woman he's rescued. Suddenly, a firestorm of gossip turns him into exactly what he doesn't want to be: the Bachelor Blog's newest hot topic. His only solution is to leave town and get himself out of the spotlight.. and sexy, jaded Sara out of his mind.

Flirting With Destiny by Sara Hylton
Summer 1914. As the storm clouds gather over Europe, four privileged young women prepare to leave school and embark on adult life. But for Louise, Imogen, Cora, and Miranda, the outbreak of war will change everything, shattering dreams and upsetting their plans for the future. Instead of foreign holidays and glamorous parties, leading to marriage to a suitable young man, they must learn to adjust to a new and very different world.

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo
In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Bagdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. This book is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship -- a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war. Reporting from occupied Baghdad, Ciezadlo longs for normal married life. She finds it in Beirut, her husband's hometown, a city slowly recovering from years of civil war. But just as the young couple settles into a new home, the bloodshed they escaped in Iraq spreads to Lebanon and reawakens the terrible specter of sectarian violence.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wilderness, Paths, and Sports

The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom 1879 - 1960 by Douglas Brinkley
A riveting history of America's most beautiful natural resources, The Quiet World documents the heroic fight waged by the U.S. federal government from 1879 to 1960 to save wild Alaska -- Mount McKinley, the Tongass and Chugach national forests, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and the Coastal Plain of the Beaufort Sea, among other treasured landscapes--from extraction industries.
The Simple Abundance: Following Your Authentic Path to Something More by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Before Simple Abundance became a New York Times bestseller that helps millions of women discover their authentic selves, the author was running workshops that actively guided and inspired others onto the Simple Abundance path. Now Sarah recreates the heart of these workshops on the page, bringing their essence to women everywhere. In twelve chapters, one for every month, here is a whole year of soulcraft. From gratitude to play, from connecting to the sacred to facing your fears, Sarah provides thoughtful exercises, explorations, excursions and other creative, pragmatic, hands-on ways to probe your deepest feelings to reveal your authentic self.

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim
University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won, and lost. Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of the games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations, and more.