Oct 1, 2012

Wallflower at the orgy - Nora Ephron

Wallflower at the orgy - Ephron, Nora

Summary: From her Academy Award—nominated screenplays to her bestselling fiction and essays, Nora Ephron is one of America’s most gifted, prolific, and versatile writers. In this classic collection of magazine articles, Ephron does what she does best: embrace American culture with love, cynicism, and unmatched wit. From tracking down the beginnings of the self-help movement to dressing down the fashion world’s most powerful publication to capturing a glimpse of a legendary movie in the making, these timeless pieces tap into our enduring obsessions with celebrity, food, romance, clothes, entertainment, and sex. Whether casting her ingenious eye on renowned director Mike Nichols, Cosmopolitan magazine founder Helen Gurley Brown—or herself, as she chronicles her own beauty makeover—Ephron deftly weaves her journalistic skill with the intimate style of an essayist and the incomparable talent of a great storyteller. - (Random House, Inc.)

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The deep - Claire Nouvian (Ed.)

The deep - Nouvian, Claire (Ed.)

Summary: Readers are taken on a voyage into the darkest realms of the ocean in this visual and scientific tour that reveals nature's oddest and most mesmerizing creatures in crystalline detail, in a study that brings together two hundred full-color images with information on the latest scientific discoveries. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Before the recent development of submersibles capable of exploring the ocean more than six miles down, oceanographers gleaned most of what they knew about the denizens of the deep from dead fish in trawler nets. One such creature first captured in 1901, the "vampire squid from hell," turned out to be a living fossil whose origins date back more than 200 million years. Now known to be quite benign, so are most of the creatures depicted in this stunning collection of more than 160 color photosâ€"even the Pacific viperfish, with fangs so long it can't close its mouth, and the spookfish, with its enormous telescopic eyes. Species from as far down as four and a half miles are depicted in exquisite detail; most are mere centimeters long, though the giant squid, a timid creature despite its size, grows to almost 60 feet. Fifteen short, jargon-free essays assembled by editor and French journalist Nouvianâ€"who became enthralled with the deep after visiting the Monterey Bay Aquariumâ€"flesh out the fantastical images with scientific fact. They dismiss the myth of deep sea monsters and describe the amazing persistence of life around hydrothermal vents and methane flues; a thoughtful glossary adds to this impressive book's popular appeal. (Apr. 28)

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Stretching - Bob Anderson

Stretching -Anderson, Bob

Summary: This is the book that people tell their friends about, that trainers recommend for virtually every sport and activity, and that medical professionals recommend to people just starting to get back in shape. Stretching first appeared in 1980 as a new generation of Americans became committed to running, cycling, aerobic training, and workouts in the gym - which all seem commonplace now. It features: more than 20 new stretching routines, including those for sports enthusiasts; travelers, children, gardeners, and people in wheelchairs; an abbreviated version of each routine for people in a hurry; new information on the stretching vs. warming up controversy; and new and improved drawings.- (Perseus Publishing)

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Adventure time. The complete first season (DVD)

Adventure time. The complete first season (DVD)

Summary: A 14-year-old boy and his magical dog go on various heroic adventures in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. - (Baker & Taylor).

A genuinely inspired amalgamation of fantasy tropes liberally frosted with absurd humor, the animated series Adventure Time is a charmingly cracked confection that deserves its devoted cult following. Set in a faraway kingdom called Ooo, the series follows the caffeinated adventures of Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and his bespectacled talking dog Jake (John DiMaggio, Futurama) as they thwart the misunderstood but mostly evil Ice King (Tom Kenny, SpongeBob SquarePants) from his regular attempts to kidnap Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch, Teen Titans). Aiding them in their escapades are the bass-playing Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson, Phineas and Ferb), petulant extraterrestrial Lumpy Space Princess (voiced by series creator Pendleton Ward), and Beemo (Niki Yang), a sentient but playable video game console. The 26 mini-episodes that comprise the show's first season pit the heroes against a dizzying array of oddities, including candy zombies in "Slumber Party Panic," a pie-throwing robot (Andy Milonakis), and "Ricardio the Heart Guy," a living heart suavely voiced by George Takei. But more often than not, the characters' own personal issues make for the most inspired moments, most notably in "When Wedding Bells Thaw," where Finn and Jake try to encourage the Ice King to give up his princess-kidnapping pursuits by throwing him a bachelor party.

That blend of grownup, self-aware humor and childlike silliness can be difficult to balance, but Adventure Time frequently succeeds, thanks in part to the epic sprawl of its universe, which provides a sizable canvas that preserves the tone of the series while maintaining a never-ending supply of weird and wonderful encounters. It is unquestionably an acquired taste, but it's also a sweetly offbeat series and an awful lot of fun.--Paul Gaita (Amazon)

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The open road - Pico Iyer

The open road: the global journey of the fourteenth Dalai Lama - Iyer, Pico

Summary: An illuminating account of the Dalai Lama explores his diverse roles as a politician, scientist, philosopher, and religious leader; discusses his ideas about religion, Tibet, peace, and world events; and examines his hidden life, often pragmatic messages, and the daily challenges he confronts. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A mindful world wanderer and renowned travel writer, Iyer has a 30-year connection to the Dalai Lama stemming from a meeting between Iyer's philosopher father and the Dalai Lama shortly after his dramatic escape from Tibet in the wake of the Chinese invasion. Iyer has often arranged to be in the same place at the same time as the Dalai Lama, and he now reports on the beloved "spiritual celebrity" in action. His coverage includes vivid descriptions of the highly charged atmosphere of Dharamsala, the capital of Tibet-in-exile; surreal aspects of the Dalai Lama's ecstatic reception at his numerous appearances; and the profoundly mysterious elements of the Dalai Lama's "private and almost unimaginable Tibetan world," the realm of oracles and reincarnation. In the book's most inquisitive passages, Iyer offers rare insights into contradictory roles the Dalai Lama plays as a monk with a passion for science; a philosophic, exiled leader of an occupied nation that is threatened with extinction; and an icon espousing "global ethics." The combination of Iyer's exacting observations, incisive analysis, and frank respect for the unknowable results in a uniquely internalized, even empathic portrait of one of the world's most embraced and least understood guiding lights. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Prairie nocturne - Ivan Doig

Prairie nocturne - Doig, Ivan

Summary: Teaching voice lessons to the privileged members of society during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Susan Duff is hired by a man who once harbored political ambitions to teach his African American chauffeur how to sing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Doig returns to several of the characters from his much-loved Dancing at the Rascal Fair (1987) in this gripping story set not only in Montana's Two Medicine country, the landscape indelibly associated with the author, but also in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. It's 1924, and Susan Duff, the headstrong schoolgirl from Rascal Fair, is now a middle-aged voice teacher in Helena, resigned to spinsterhood after her affair with gubernatorial candidate Wes Williamson cost him the election. Then Wes seeks her out with a proposition: teach his black chauffeur, Monty, to sing. Returning to Two Medicine country, Susan does just that, as the narrative twists and turns its way back into the pasts of the three principal characters and ahead into their shared futures in New York: Monty on the concert stage and Susan and Wes, their relationship still tumultuous, in the wings. As always, Doig incorporates a vast amount of fascinating historical material into his personal drama: the story of the "Buffalo soldiers" of the tenth cavalry in the late nineteenth century; the saga of the Ku Klux Klan's incursion into Montana; and, of course, the Harlem Renaissance itself. The heart of the matter, though, is the three-sided relationship among Susan, Wes, and Monty; skirting the melodrama into which this triptych might easily have tumbled, Doig tightens the reins on his sometimes mannered prose and constructs a subtle, highly textured love story, nicely balancing period detail and well-modulated emotion. ((Reviewed August 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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A separation (DVD)

A separation (DVD)

Summary: A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.

Video Librarian Reviews
An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, writer-director Asghar Farhadi's ambiguous, enigmatic meditation on marital conflict is set in contemporary Iran, where two couples appear before a judge to defend their legal, moral, and religious beliefs in family court. As the drama begins, Simin (Leila Hatami) has received permission for her family to emigrate from Tehran, following a year-and-a-half of bureaucratic aggravation. Simin is trying to convince her banker husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi) and adolescent daughter Termeh (played by the director's daughter, Sarina Farhadi), to opt for a better life. But middle-class, moderate Nader feels he must stay and care for his frail father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who is afflicted with Alzheimer's. When frustrated Simin moves back to her parents' home, Nader hires poor, pious Razieh (Sareh Bayet) to care for his father during the day—unbeknownst to her debt-ridden, unemployed husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini). When pregnant Razieh is subsequently injured in an accident, the foursome winds up before an Iranian judge. Deftly exploring ethical and cultural issues surrounding Iranian women living under the Islamic theocracy that has dominated the country since the 1979 revolution, A Separation is highly recommended. (S. Granger)Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2011.

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This is how you lose her - Junot Diaz

This is how you lose her - Diaz, Junot

Summary: Presents a collection of stories that explores the heartbreak and radiance of love as it is shaped by passion, betrayal, and the echoes of intimacy.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Díaz continues to keep company with his alter ego, Yunior, a Dominican turned New Jerseyan, in his second short story collection. Drown (1996), his first, introduced Yunior and established Díaz as a writer of promise. His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), won the Pulitzer Prize and galvanized a world of new readers. Díaz's standout fiction remains pinpoint, sinuous, gutsy, and imaginative. Yunior kicks things off by stating, "I'm not a bad guy." The women in his life would caustically disagree. We see Yunior as a boy new to America and his long-absent father's temper, a teenager and college student forever infatuated and forever cheating, and a lonely adult confronted by aggressive racism. Each taut tale of unrequited and betrayed love and family crises is electric with passionate observations and off-the-charts emotional and social intelligence. Díaz's involving, diverse characters include Yunior's combative brother Rafa, Magda the coldhearted, Nilda the young man-magnet, and a sexy older woman. Fast paced, unflinching, complexly funny, street-talking tough, perfectly made, and deeply sensitive, Díaz's gripping stories unveil lives shadowed by prejudice and poverty and bereft of reliable love and trust. These are precarious, unappreciated, precious lives in which intimacy is a lost art, masculinity a parody, and kindness, reason, and hope struggle to survive like seedlings in a war zone. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Díaz, as compelling in person as on the page, will connect with his large and loyal readership via a national author tour, extensive media interviews, and a social media campaign. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews

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The Master & Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master & Margarita - Bulgakov, Mikhail

Summary: When the devil arrives in 1930s Moscow, consorting with a retinue of odd associates—including a talking black cat, an assassin, and a beautiful naked witch—his antics wreak havoc among the literary elite of the world capital of atheism. Meanwhile, the Master, author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, languishes in despair in a psychiatric hospital, while his devoted lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him. As Bulgakov’s dazzlingly exuberant narrative weaves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with scenes ranging from a giddy Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane, Margarita’s enduring love for the Master joins the strands of plot across space and time. - (Random House, Inc.)

“Fine, funny, imaginative . . . . The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative.” —Saul Maloff, Newsweek

“The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative and poignant. . . . A great work.” —Chicago Tribune

“Magnificent . . . a gloriously ironic gothic masterpiece . . . had me rapt with bliss.” —Patrick McGrath, Guardian (UK)

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I apologize to every teacher I ever had - Tony Danza

I apologize to every teacher I ever had: my year as a rookie teacher at Northeast High - Danza, Tony

Summary: Television, screen and stage star Tony Danza's absorbing account of a year spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High -- Philadelphia's largest high school with 3600 students.

Booklist Reviews
Not a whole lot of people tuned into the 2010 reality-TV series Teach. But those who did saw the Who's the Boss? star, who had long dreamed of teaching English, suffer reality checks so brutal he regularly broke down in tears. Danza's memoir of his year working at Philadelphia's biggest public school hews closely to the show, from his sweat-drenched first day to his ineffective class clowning to the harsh reprimands from a principal unafraid to toss him out. Dealing with just one-fifth of a typical teacher's workload, Danza indulges in grandiose lesson plans—talent shows, poetry slams, etc.—and yet he is still racked with daily anxiety. This is a breezy read, and when Danza isn't duking it out with the TV producer (who worries they have a boring show), he is able to shed light on a number of the underreported struggles teachers face: dealing with adoption fantasies, reporting sexual abuse, and breaking up fights, among them. A memorable exchange features a student telling Danza to grow some balls, but it took significant cojones for him to even try teaching. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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