Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Staff Picks

At our staff meetings we take a few minutes to talk about the books we are reading. This is a list of recent favorites.

Make the Holidays Green

Winter is the season of parties, from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year's Eve. But sometimes a host's budget doesn't allow new decorations for each celebration and holiday. Enter Danny Seo and his new book Upcycling Celebrations, which shows us how to use what we have to decorate, entertain and even give gifts. In the era of green living, Seo promises that the holidays can be good for the environment as well as your wallet.

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The WitchesThe Witches
By Dahl, Roald
Illustrator Blake, Quentin
Photographer Blake, Quentin
1983-10 - Farrar Straus Giroux
9780374384579 Check Our Catalog

This rollicking story of a heroic boy's fight to save the children of England from the Grand High Witch of the World is "a fast-moving, well-paced adventure that children will love".--School Library Journal. ALA Notable Children's Book. …More
The Casual VacancyThe Casual Vacancy
By Rowling, J. K.
2012-09 - Little Brown and Company
9780316228534 Check Our Catalog

What lies behind the facade of Pagford is a town at war. The empty seat on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations? Rowling's first novel for adults is blackly comic, thought-provoking, and constantly surprising.
The Woman Who Died a Lot: Now with 50% Added SubplotThe Woman Who Died a Lot: Now with 50% Added Subplot
By Fforde, Jasper
2012-10 - Viking Books
9780670025022 Check Our Catalog

The newest tour de force starring Thursday Next in the "New York Times"-bestselling series. The Bookworld's leading enforcement officer has been forced into a semiretirement following an assassination attempt. …More
Cold CerealCold Cereal
By Rex, Adam
2012-02 - Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
9780062060020 Check Our Catalog

A boy who may be part changeling, twins involved in a bizarre secret experiment, and a clurichaun in a red tracksuit try to save the world from an evil cereal company whose ultimate goal is world domination. …More
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of ThomasBeyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas
By Pagels, Elaine
2003-05 - Random House
9780375501562 Check Our Catalog

Special edition including the complete text of the Gospel of Thomas
Elaine Pagels, one of the world's most important writers and thinkers on religion and history, and winner of the National Book Award for her groundbreaking work "The Gnostic Gospels, now reflects on what matters most about spiritual and religious exploration in the twenty-first century. This bold new book explores how Christianity began by tracing its earliest texts, including the secret Gospel of Thomas, rediscovered in Egypt in 1945.
When her infant son was diagnosed with fatal pulmonary hypertension, Elaine Pagels's spiritual and intellectual quest took on a new urgency, leading her to explore historical and archeological sources and to investigate what Jesus and his teachings meant to his followers before the invention of doctrine-and before the invention of Christianity as we know it.
The astonishing discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, along with more than fifty other early Christian texts unknown since antiquity, offers startling clues. Pagels compares such sources as Thomas's gospel (which claims to give Jesus' secret teaching, and finds its closest affinities with kabbalah) with the canonic texts to show how Christian leaders chose to include some gospels and exclude others from the collection we have come to know as the New Testament. To stabilize the emerging Christian church in times of devastating persecution, the church fathers constructed the canon, creed, and hierarchy-and, in the process, suppressed many of its spiritual resources.
Drawing on new scholarship-her own, and that of an international group of scholars-that has come to light since the publication in 1979 of The Gnostic Gospels, Pagels shows that what matters about Christianity involves much more than any one set of beliefs. Traditions embodied in Judaism and Christianity can powerfully affect us in heart, mind, and spirit, inspire visions of a new society based on practicing justice and love, even heal and transform us.
Provocative, beautifully written, and moving, "Beyond Belief, the most personal of Pagels's books to date, shows how "the impulse to seek God overflows the narrow banks of a single tradition." Pagels writes, "What I have come to love in the wealth and diversity of our religious traditions-and the communities that sustain them-is that they offer the testimony of innumerable people to spiritual discovery, encouraging us, in Jesus' words, to 'seek, and you shall find.'" 
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of RevelationRevelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
By Pagels, Elaine
2012-03 - Viking Books
9780670023349 Check Our Catalog

A startling exploration of the history of the most controversial book of the Bible, by the bestselling author of "Beyond Belief."…More
Vagina: A New BiographyVagina: A New Biography
By Wolf, Naomi
2012-09 - Ecco Press
9780061989162 Check Our CatalogBookPage Notable Title

One of our bestselling and most respected cultural critics, Wolf brings an astonishing work of cutting-edge science and cultural history that radically reframes how the vagina and women are understood. …More
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for EvolutionThe Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
By Dawkins, Richard
2009-09 - Free Press
9781416594789 Check Our Catalog

In a brilliant follow-up to his blockbuster "The God Delusion," world-renowned evolutionary biologist and author Dawkins lays out the evidence for evolution. …More
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as TruthsThe Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
By Shermer, Michael
2011-05 - Times Books
9780805091250 Check Our Catalog

Bestselling author Shermer presents a comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. …More
Delusion in DeathDelusion in Death
By Robb, J. D.
2012-09 - Putnam Adult
9780399158810 Check Our Catalog

After 12 minutes of violence at a downtown bar, 80 people lay dead. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things--monsters and swarms of bees. The patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone to temporary insanity--if not kill them. …More
Last to DieLast to Die
By Gerritsen, Tess
2012-08 - Ballantine Books
9780345515636 Check Our Catalog

For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at 14, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family's mass murder. …More
Stranger in the MoonlightStranger in the Moonlight
By Deveraux, Jude
2012-08 - Pocket Books
9781416509752 Check Our Catalog

In the second novel in her bestselling Edilean trilogy, Jude Deveraux returns to the idyllic Virginia town where three best girlfriends joyfully reunite as they each seek out their heartfelt dreams and desires. …More
By Patterson, James
Author Ledwidge, Michael
2012-09 - Little Brown and Company
9780316097444 Check Our Catalog

Young biologist Jackson Oz watches escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear. With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. …More
You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and ForgivenessYou Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness
By Sellers, Heather
2011-10 - Riverhead Books
9781594485404 Check Our Catalog

A "poignant" ("Boston Globe") family memoir that gives new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness.
Heather Sellers is face-blind-that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people's faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait. The truth was revealed two decades later when Heather took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and discovered the astonishing truth about her family and about herself. In this uplifting memoir, Sellers illuminates a deeper truth: that even in the most chaotic and heartbreaking of families, love may be seen and felt. …More
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in MathematicsPrime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
By Derbyshire, John
Author John Derbyshire
2003-04 - Joseph Henry Press
9780309085496 Check Our Catalog

In August 1859 Bernhard Riemann, a little-known 32-year old mathematician, presented a paper to the Berlin Academy titled: "On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity." In the middle of that paper, Riemann made an incidental remark a guess, a hypothesis. What he tossed out to the assembled mathematicians that day has proven to be almost cruelly compelling to countless scholars in the ensuing years. Today, after 150 years of careful research and exhaustive study, the question remains. Is the hypothesis true or false?
Riemann's basic inquiry, the primary topic of his paper, concerned a straightforward but nevertheless important matter of arithmetic defining a precise formula to track and identify the occurrence of prime numbers. But it is that incidental remark the Riemann Hypothesis that is the truly astonishing legacy of his 1859 paper. Because Riemann was able to see beyond the pattern of the primes to discern traces of something mysterious and mathematically elegant shrouded in the shadows subtle variations in the distribution of those prime numbers. Brilliant for its clarity, astounding for its potential consequences, the Hypothesis took on enormous importance in mathematics. Indeed, the successful solution to this puzzle would herald a revolution in prime number theory. Proving or disproving it became the greatest challenge of the age.
It has become clear that the Riemann Hypothesis, whose resolution seems to hang tantalizingly just beyond our grasp, holds the key to a variety of scientific and mathematical investigations. The making and breaking of modern codes, which depend on the properties of the prime numbers, have roots in the Hypothesis. In a series of extraordinary developments during the 1970s, it emerged that even the physics of the atomic nucleus is connected in ways not yet fully understood to this strange conundrum. Hunting down the solution to the Riemann Hypothesis has become an obsession for many the veritable "great white whale" of mathematical research. Yet despite determined efforts by generations of mathematicians, the Riemann Hypothesis defies resolution.
Alternating passages of extraordinarily lucid mathematical exposition with chapters of elegantly composed biography and history, Prime Obsession is a fascinating and fluent account of an epic mathematical mystery that continues to challenge and excite the world. Posited a century and a half ago, the Riemann Hypothesis is an intellectual feast for the cognoscenti and the curious alike. Not just a story of numbers and calculations, Prime Obsession is the engrossing tale of a relentless hunt for an elusive proof and those who have been consumed by it. …More
Gone GirlGone Girl
By Flynn, Gillian
2012-06 - Crown Publishing Group (NY)
9780307588364 Check Our CatalogBookPage Notable Title

Flynn's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds readers at every turn. When his wife disappears on their anniversary, Nick starts having cringe-worthy daydreams and becomes oddly evasive, eschewing his golden boy past. …More