Posts tagged with "Nonfiction"

Posted by mingh on 06/26/11
cover image

Area 51 begins with the crash of a UFO at Roswell and ends with the crash at Roswell. In 1947, Area 51 (apparently never officially called that) didn't exist. The atomic bomb testing was happening nearby and it seemed efficacious to have the development of new aircraft also occur in this remote area of the western desert. So work was begun in 1951 to create secret projects both aircraft and atomic.

Area 51 : an uncensored history of America's top secret military base, is interesting for anyone wanting to read more about America and UFO's, the escalation of the Cold War, military buffs, and top secret projects, from U2 planes to the drones that now fly over Iraq and Afghanistan. Area 51 is still the stealth capital of our world . . .
as far we know.

Jacobsen is clear about how much information is out there and how much is still classified. What is interesting is how something as small as the radio broadcast of Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds, would still define whether Americans should be told information that may make them panic. Also interesting is how much is defined as classified because it would seem to embarrass or shame those who did the work. It would be hard to point a nasty finger at Stalin for allowing Dr. Mengele to travel safely in exchange for his work, when we were injecting developmentally disabled children with plutonium so that we could see how they reacted.

An in-depth book of details about top secret projects and how the CIA would use conspiracy theories to work in their favor. Cover the truth or deflect the information. Something crashed at Roswell -- it wasn't a weather balloon.


Posted by bpardue on 09/09/13
cover image
Waiting for the latest from Bryson, I opted for this 2010 delight. Having moved into an old English parsonage, Bryson goes through the house room by room and begins to wonder about just how domestic lives evolved into what they have become. In typical Bryson fashion, there's a lot of dry humor, saucy details and fascinating diversions. For example, a discussion about the dangers of the stairwell shifts into thoughts about many of the other things around the house that can kill us (and how dangerous paint and wallpaper once were). Thinking about the lawn leads to a brief history of gardens and public parks. If you're the kind of reader, like me, who often goes through a book in bits and pieces, rather than in a single multi-hour session, then At Home works well--its structure and parade of facts almost welcome occasional breaks. Available in book, CD audiobook, downloadable eBook, and downloadable audiobook formats.

Posted by rkong on 07/10/13
cover image
Raise your hand, or maybe just nod knowingly, if you’ve heard or read about 3-D printers or hackerspaces like the local Pumping Station One. It seems like everyone, including people working in libraries, is talking about the emerging maker culture and getting excited about how it could bring some positive change into the world.

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-Chief of MAKE magazine, speak about the history of making things and the modern maker movement. He pointed out that in 1900, 80% of Americans were living and working on farms, which means they were makers. This obviously changed as time passed, but now more people are re-discovering the joy and satisfaction of making, building, inventing, prototyping, creating (however you want to say it) something on your own and sharing it with others. Frauenfelder explores this DIY (do-it-yourself) way of life in his book, Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World. He talks about his own family’s experience of embracing a new approach to life, one that involved a lot more learning, being self-sufficient, and connecting with your surroundings and others.
 
If you want to slow down your life, simplify things, and get back in touch with your creative side, I highly recommend Made by Hand or MAKE magazine, which can be found in our magazine section near the fireplace. And look for opportunities to get creative in the library, like in Kids’ World during our Summer Reading Program, in the teen Hub, or in the Studio, our new digital media lab!

Posted by crossin on 03/28/13
cover image
It’s rather exciting that the most recent “Biggest Loser,” Danni Allen, is from our neck of the woods. I was rooting for her from the beginning and was so inspired by her attitude and perseverance, especially after all of her teammates were eliminated. Danni’s trainer was Jillian Michaels, who has been called America’s toughest trainer—if you watch the show, you know why. The library has many of Jillian’s workouts on DVD. With summer (hopefully) on its way, you may want to check one out before you hit the pool.
 

Posted by mingh on 07/03/11
cover image

Subtitled, the gilded age crime that scandalized a city & sparked the tabloid wars, Murder of the Century takes place in 1897 when body parts are found scattered in various locations throughout New York. What makes this interesting is this is the start of the tabloid wars in New York. Although William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer had been trying to outdo each other for a few years, it was this murder that really ratcheted up the ante.

Both the Journal and the Herald offered reward money for information leading to the identity of the body (they put the pieces together without the head which was never found). Hearst pushed the Journal to publish more and more about every little clue. Even though some of the clues clearly had nothing to do with the murder, if they had their own sordid story, Hearst went with it. Pulitzer also tried to be first to publish the information.

The solving of the murder is here from the poor detectives who had to do their job under the watchful and following eyes of the reporters, to the courtroom antics, and the viewings at the morgue. Every day for months, people were allowed to come down to the morgue to view the body and make a guess as to whom it belonged.

The murder is solved and actually quite quickly once they get a vital clue. However, the New York papers were never the same. The largest typeface, traditionally held only for declarations of war, appeared for the most sordid stories  for morning and evening reading. And in color!

This isn’t an in-depth view of yellow journalism but how one New York murder changed the way newspapers delivered the news.


Posted by rkong on 06/12/13
cover image
Well, Chicago is once again abuzz with the prospect of another major sports championship, and I find myself looking back on our past champions. I just finished Phil Jackson’s recently published memoir, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, and I highly recommend it for anyone who witnessed the Jordan years and Jackson’s six championships with the Chicago Bulls.
 
Phil (we’re all on first name basis with him, right?) goes into great detail about his upbringing as the son of two ministers in Montana and also his own NBA playing career with the Knicks. But the best parts are when he discusses applying a number of psychological and spiritual approaches to the locker room dynamics of those Bulls teams. Anyone who has ever played or coached a sport will appreciate the challenges Phil faced with bringing Michael, Scottie, and other players together as one unit. Highlights include the time Michael fought Steve Kerr, not exactly the toughest guy on that team, during a heated practice and the way Phil handled the enigma that is Dennis Rodman.

Give Eleven Rings a chance if you’re a sports fan or even interested in leadership, psychology, or spirituality. And, yes, it is perfectly permissible and expected for Chicago fans to skip over the sections Phil talks about his time with Kobe, Shaq, and the rest of the Lakers. We all know his best years were with Chicago!

Posted by mingh on 07/23/11
cover image

Thad Roberts could never fit in anywhere. He was bullied at school and his teachers felt he wasn’t applying himself. He should be working at genius level. But Thad found a wonderful girl who loved him. When his strict Mormon parents find out about the relationship they make Thad marry and kick him out of the house. His wife works while he finishes his degree in Life Sciences.

Always dreaming of being an astronaut, Thad gets accepted into the Intern program at Johnson Space Center. He knew that all of the shuttles had pilots from the military. But there was always a scientist or two on the shuttle missions and he wanted to be one of them, or God willing, one of the first people on Mars. So leaving his wife to work in Utah, he went to Houston to start his Internship.

Because of his degree in Geology Thad was assigned to the unit that worked with the lunar samples. Due to the long distance between them, his relationship with his wife falls apart. Thad falls in love with another Intern in the program and plans to steal the moon rocks and sell them for millions of dollars so that he and his love can go away and live their own lives. One problem: it is illegal for individuals to own moon rocks in the United States.

This true story is mainly a character study, but the action runs at a steady clip. Thad Roberts shared his story with Mezrich including the events that led up to the most amazing heist in history. Sex on the Moon is a highly readable story of a terribly misguided young man who desperately wants to be accepted and loved and is willing to do anything to get it


Posted by mingh on 07/21/11
cover image
 
In 2002, Miranda Kennedy decides to live in India to become a freelance journalist in that part of the world. She has worked in Iraq and Afghanistan and was asked to travel to the Middle East as well as Indonesia. So India worked well for her as a base. Kennedy chooses to move to Delhi and start her adventure there.
 
Her own challenges when dealing with love force her to look at how women in India are dealing with love. Some have arranged marriages, some have love marriages, and some have a variation of both. She makes friends with a number of women, both Hindu and Muslim and is able to observe their lives. Marriage is the biggest event in a daughter’s life. Depending upon the faith of the family, the event may take months, the planning starts the minute a girl is born.
 
This is a fish-out-of-water story. One of the changes, Kennedy experiences is to put aside her independence and ego and hire maids. At first she doesn’t want maids, because she feels she is subjecting the women to this work. However, others convince her that the women need this work to survive. One of her maids is a member of the Dalit (Untouchable) caste and the other is a Brahmin, representatives of the highest and lowest castes. Kennedy finds both of their opinions valid and learns much about India and its people from them.
 
Some reviews have suggested this book as a read-alike for Eat, Pray, Love. Although there is a lot to learn about love and relationships in India in this book, it is more a memoir of the author's life living and working in a new country. Everything from purchasing groceries and riding the overcrowded buses and trains is included. As a Westerner you can see yourself making the same mistakes that Kennedy makes.
 
The story of a young woman moving to a different culture and seeing herself in the eyes of young women everywhere, who all are looking for a  love to share, a supportive family, and a place to call home. How each culture manages this and the opportunities it presents make this an interesting read. 

Posted by mingh on 07/18/11
cover image
This in-depth book takes a look at the lives of the Churchills from the 19th century through the 20th. Its main focus is Winston Churchill's family and his cousin the Duke of Marlborough. The first chapter gives us a little back ground into the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill and his beloved wife Sarah. But true love matches in the Churchill line are few and far between.
 
Winston Churchill's mother was an American heiress who fell in love with Sir Randolph while visiting England. They cared for each other even through Sir Randolph's very difficult brain fever as a result of syphilis. Winston and his brother Jack also made happy love matches. They were the exception. Even their children couldn't find true love.
 
The saddest are the Dukes of Marlborough. Saddled with keeping up Blenheim Palace this bunch of rogues first would marry for money. Consuelo Vanderbilt, 18 years old, cried as she walked up the aisle to marry the Duke of Marlborough. Her mother wanted her to marry a titled man so as to show off  Mrs. Astor--who ruled New York at the time. Consuelo gave the Duke "an heir and a spare," and was out of the marriage by 23. Her life luckily turned much happier after she left the Churchill family.
 
Lovell also focuses on the Churchills during three wars, the Boer War, WWI, and WWII. Winston Churchill's father, Randolph was involved with the Boer war. Winston and Jack's involvement in WWI was difficult for the family especially when Winston was charged with the responsibility of the failure at Gallipoli. Of course, Winston also dominates the WWII years. By this time, both his and Jack's sons are in the war too.
 
An interesting look at the background and loves of one of the greatest men of the 20th century, Winston Churchill. When reading about the lives of the Dukes or Marlborough, you can understand why Winston Churchill turned down a dukedom. He didn't  want to saddle his children with the burden. He saw what it did to his cousins.