September 2010 Nonfiction

Religion

St. John’s Gospel: a Bible study guide and commentary

As Catholics in ever-growing numbers are taking part in Bible studies, many questions arise. How do I study the Bible? Where do I begin? Is it OK to interpret the Bible for ourselves? What Bible should I use? How can I understand such a deep book as the Gospel of St. John? How can I be guided in my studies?

Social Sciences

Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: in praise of adoption

In this warm, funny, and wise new book, NPR’s award-winning and beloved Scott Simon tells the story of how he and his wife found true love with two tiny strangers from the other side of the world. It’s a book of unforgettable moments: when Scott and Caroline get their first thumb-size pictures of their daughters, when the small girls are placed in their arms, and all the laughs and tumbles along the road as they become a real family. Woven into the tale of Scott, Caroline, and the two little girls who changed their lives are the stories of other adoptive families. Some are famous and some are not, but each family’s saga captures facets of the miracle of adoption. Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other is a love story that doesn’t gloss over the rough spots. There are anxieties and tears along with hugs and smiles and the unparalleled joy of this blessed and special way of making a family. Here is a book that families who have adopted-or are considering adoption-will want to read for inspiration. But everyone can enjoy this story because, as Scott Simon writes, adoption can also help us understand what really makes families, and how and why we fall in love.

Through a Dog’s Eyes

Stories drawn from dog-trainer Arnold’s life and the lives of the dogs who were her greatest teachers are convincing, unforgettable, and compelling testimony and make this book a heartwarming, captivating read that will forever change the way one sees his or her dog by showing the way dogs see the world.

A Bright and Guilty Place: murder, corruption and L.A.’s scandalous coming of age

Hard-boiled detectives, scheming starlets, and tabloid trials fill this dramatic story of the early years and coming-of-age of Los Angeles.

The Temptress: the scandalous life of Alice de Janze and the mysterious death of Lord Erroll

Using personal letters and extensive research, Spicer examines the fascinating life of femme fatale and gorgeous Chicago heiress, Alice de Janz, offering a solution to the decades-old murder of Joss Hay, the Lord Erroll.

Science

Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Technology

Keeper: one house, three generations and a journey into Alzheimer’s

Winner of the 2009 Wellcome Trust Book Prize in Britain, this searing memoir explores the author’s challenges as the full-time caretaker of her mother-in-law, who moves in with the family after she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Brave Girl Eating: a family’s struggle with anorexia

Deeply honest, captivating, and ultimately inspirational, the moving true story of one family’s experience with anorexia that traces a young woman’s struggle from the disease’s earliest stages toward recovery.

So You Want to be a Chef?

This guide describes the physical demands, tradeoffs, and benefits of working as a chef in various culinary settings, including restaurants, hotels, clubs, business and industry, and cruise ships. In addition to careers in preparing food, the book also introduces food-related jobs such as culinary educator, food stylist, food photographer, and food writer. Interviews with recent graduates and professionals offer more insight on educational and career paths. An introduction discusses factors to consider when choosing a culinary school. The reader-friendly layout features ample space for margin notes, frequent subheadings, b&w charts and graphics, and checklists. This second edition features a new chapter on chefs working in research and development, plus expanded coverage of on-site foodservice areas such as health care, continuing care communities, and the armed forces. A detailed appendix lists all professional culinary organizations mentioned in the book. Brefere is a certified executive chef with 30 years of experience. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Taste of Home: Christmas 2010

Arts and Recreation

Understanding Garden Design: the complete handbook for aspiring designers

Designing a garden is a complex task. Where do you start? What kind of skills do you need? What are the logical steps in creating a design? How do you communicate your ideas to a client, and how do you accommodate a client’s requests while maintaining the integrity of the project? The answers to these questions, and many more, can all be found in Understanding Garden Design. Most books on garden design focus on only one or a few aspects of garden design choosing plants or creating a hardscape, for example. This comprehensive, accessible book lays out the entire process from start to finish in clear, precise language that avoids the pitfalls of designspeak. In fact, garden owners and clients of garden designers who want to understand more about the designer’s craft will be able to profit from the book’s lessons. Among the many topics covered are how to document a site, how to determine what a client needs and wants from the garden, how to take architectural features into consideration, how to think about circulation and lay out paths, how to use basic design principles, how to work with plants, and how to create a final design. Practical aspects are clearly laid out, including working with contractors and staying on top of the various phases of construction. This thorough handbook is profusely illustrated with helpful photographs and diagrams. A particularly interesting tool is the hypothetical garden plan that appears in each chapter to show how to apply the topics at hand. A practical, logical approach to the planning, design, and installation of a garden, this volume will be an invaluable resource for students, landscape professionals, and garden designers.

Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the dawn of the modern woman

“Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.” is the first-ever complete account of the making of the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Literature

Sh*t My Dad Says

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 f**king.” “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.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home: a memoir of friendship

“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge. They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen. The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection-and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices.

The Obama Diaries

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) On May 20, 2010, Laura Ingraham received a package from an anonymous source that will change the history of the United States and the legacy of President Barack Obama. While retrieving her automobile from the underground garage at the Watergate complex (where she had just enjoyed her weekly pedicure), Ingraham discovered a manila envelope on the hood of her car. When she picked it up, a deep baritone voice called out from a nearby stairwell: “Just read it. You will know what to do.” The shadowy figure then disappeared into the darkness without another word. The envelope contained copies of what appeared to be diary entries written by President Barack Obama, his family, and high-ranking administration officials. Because the “diaries” are so revealing, Ingraham felt compelled to release them to the American public and the citizens of the world. Major media outlets love to describe the president as “no drama Obama,” but The Obama Diaries tell a different tale. Through these “diary entries,” readers will see past the carefully constructed Obama facade to the administrations true plans to “remake America.” In The Obama Diaries, Ingraham hilariously skewers the president and his minions. She takes aim at the cynical “razzle-dazzle” marketing of Obama’s radical agenda; the use of the Obama “brand” and family to obscure Obama’s true aim; Michelle Obama’s gardening and anti-obesity initiative; and much more. Informative and hugely entertaining, The Obama Diaries will inspire both laughter and critical thinking about the future of the nation and the man currently at the helm. Excerpts from Laura Ingraham’s The Obama Diaries: Obama on Sarah Palin: “Hell, doesn’t Palin have anything better to do than criticize me? Shouldn’t she be back home shooting some endangered wolf species from a helicopter?” (April 9, 2010). Michelle on being First Lady: “I’ll be damned if all this fabulosity is going to go to waste reading Dr. Seuss to snot-nosed kids all day.” (January 23, 2009). Vice President Joe Biden on Michelle Obama: “She’s kind of like a black Hillary Clinton. I mean that in a good way.” (May 5 2009) Obama on his visit to the Vatican: “If I can ingratiate myself with a few more of these red-hats, the pope thing might not be a bad follow-up to the presidency.”(July 10, 2009).

History, Geography and Biography

A Journey: my political life by Tony Blair

Tony Blair is a politician who defines our times. His emergence as Labour Party leader in 1994 marked a seismic shift in British politics. Within a few short years, he had transformed his party and rallied the country behind him, becoming prime minister in 1997 with the biggest victory in Labour’s history, and bringing to an end eighteen years of Conservative government. He took Labour to a historic three terms in office as Britain’s dominant political figure of the last two decades. A Journeyis Tony Blair’s firsthand account of his years in office and beyond. Here he describes for the first time his role in shaping our recent history, from the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death to the war on terror. He reveals the leadership decisions that were necessary to reinvent his party, the relationships with colleagues including Gordon Brown, the grueling negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland, the implementation of the biggest reforms to public services in Britain since 1945, and his relationships with leaders on the world stage Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush. He analyzes the belief in ethical intervention that led to his decisions to go to war in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and, most controversially of all, in Iraq. A Journeyis a book about the nature and uses of political power. In frank, unflinching, often wry detail, Tony Blair charts the ups and downs of his career to provide insight into the man as well as the politician and statesman. He explores the challenges of leadership, and the ramifications of standing up, clearly and forcefully, for what one believes in. He also looks ahead, to emerging power relationships and economies, addressing the vital issues and complexities of our global world. Few British prime ministers have shaped the nation’s course as profoundly as Tony Blair, and his achievements and his legacy will be debated for years to come. Here, uniquely, we have his own journey, in his own words.

Sliding into Home: a  memoir by Kendra Wilkinson

The breakout star of the E! hit shows The Girls Next Door and Kendra, Playboy cover model Kendra Wilkinson opens up about life, love, and living with Hugh Hefner in this entertaining and candid new memoir.

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