Archive for the 'New Books' Category

New on the Shelves…

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

And yet a little more non-fiction for the shelves – The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley:

evolThe Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch—the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy, Matt Ridley’s wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or morality. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to, and termites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning can happen without teaching and morality changes without a plan.

Although we neglect, defy and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land can be released for nature—these were largely emergent phenomena, as were the Internet, the mobile phone revolution, and the rise of Asia. Ridley demolishes the arguments for design and effectively makes the case for evolution in the universe, morality, genes, the economy, culture, technology, the mind, personality, population, education, history, government, God, money, and the future.

As compelling as it is controversial, authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s stunning perspective will revolutionize the way we think about our world and how it works.

New on the Shelves…

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Now, I’ve got some new stuff to share that I hope to be reviewing soon. First up is Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century by Alistair Thorne:

hubrisSir Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years and in this wise and masterly work, he revisits six battles of the past century and examines the strategies, leadership, preparation, and geopolitical goals of aggressors and defenders to reveal the one trait that links them all: hubris.

In Greek tragedy, hubris is excessive human pride that challenges the gods and ultimately leads to total destruction of the offender. From the 1905 Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War, to Hitler’s 1941 bid to capture Moscow, to MacArthur’s disastrous advance in Korea, to the French downfall at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other. In a sweeping narrative written with his trademark erudition and wit, Horne provides a meticulously detailed analysis of the ground maneuvers employed by the opposing armies in each battle. He also explores the strategic and psychological mindset of the military leaders involved to demonstrate how devastating combinations of human ambition and arrogance led to overreach. Making clear the danger of hubris in warfare, his insights hold resonant lessons for civilian and military leaders navigating today’s complex global landscape.

A dramatic, colorful, stylishly-written history, Hubris is a much-needed reflection on war from a master of his field.

New on the Shelves…

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Well, I’m back. I’d like to say it was nice to have a break, but mostly I’ve been slammed with work. Still, I’ve got some new books to tell you about and a few to get added to the review list.

This week, I want to feature 2 books that I picked up for my personal library. First is one I’ve been really looking forward to: Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck. I love their website, I’ve got a couple of their shopping bags (which occasionally scandalize the women at the grocery store), and I think the cookbook is going to be a lot of fun!

thugThug Kitchen started their wildly popular website to inspire people to eat some goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (‘This might be my favorite thing ever’) and with half a million Facebook fans and counting, Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food.

Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell -and most people can’t afford the hype.

Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.

This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.

New on the Shelves…

Monday, October 26th, 2015

The next new book this week is an interesting one: The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life. I love the book sculptures and altered books you find online, and I always have a few books sitting around that I didn’t love and might make great art projects. I thought this might be fun to tackle.

repWe all love to read and learn from books, but The Repurposed Library takes our passion even further, presenting us with 33 projects to make–quite literally–out of books. For these projects, Lisa Occhipinti rescues and repurposes orphaned and outdated books from flea markets and library sales and turns them into new art objects and practical items for the home. Her creations range from artfully constructed mobiles, wreaths, and vases, to functional items like shelves, storage boxes, and even a Kindle “keeper” for those who want to replicate the sensation of holding a “real” book while reading from an e-reader. Projects utilize every imaginable part of a book–from hardback cover to individual pages–and are a DIY celebration of a new way to view a book’s potential.

New on the Shelves…and it’s a doozy!

Monday, October 5th, 2015

What a way to start the week! My package from Amazon showed up (and that’s a whole ‘nother story – they get a rare “F” in customer service on this one) and I can’t wait to start this one: I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

graceLegendary influential performer Grace Jones offers a revealing account of her spectacular career and turbulent life, charting the development of a persona that has made her one of the world’s most recognizable artists.

As a singer, model, and actress—a deluxe triple threat—Grace has consistently been an extreme, challenging presence in the entertainment world since her emergence as an international model in the 1970s. Celebrated for her audacious talent and trailblazing style, Grace became one of the most unforgettable, free-spirited characters to emerge from the historic Studio 54, recording glittering disco classics such as “I Need a Man” and “La Vie en Rose.” Her provocative shows in underground New York nightclubs saw her hailed as a disco queen, gay icon, and gender defying iconoclast.

In 1980, the always ambitious Grace escaped a crowded disco scene to pursue more experimental interests. Her music also broke free, blending house, reggae, and electronica into a timeless hybrid that led to classic hits such as “Pull Up to the Bumper” and “Slave to the Rhythm.” In the memoir she once promised never to write, Grace offers an intimate insight into her evolving style, personal philosophies, and varied career—including her roles in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

Featuring sixteen pages of stunning full-color photographs, many from her own personal archive, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs follows this ageless creative nomad as she rejects her strict religious upbringing in Jamaica; conquers New York, Paris, and the 1980s; answers to no-one; and lives to fight again and again.


New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

More great new books this week! First up, Killers by Howie Carr:

killersWhitey Bulger is gone from Boston, but Bench McCarthy is here to take his place.

Bench McCarthy is a thug’s thug, a hitman, an underworld jack-of-all-trades running his own mob out of Winter Hill in Somerville while simultaneously handling “wet work” for Sally Curto, a half-demented, totally obscene mob boss.

After years of gangland peace, Bench and Sally suddenly find themselves clay pigeons for unknown hit crews coming at them from every direction. The motives are as murky as the hitmen themselves, but all roads seem to lead back to the State House, where corrupt pols are battling over a bill to legalize billions of dollars’ worth of new casinos.

In order to stay alive as he puts an end to the uprising, the wisecracking Bench must set aside his objections and enlist the help of Jack Reilly, a dodgy ex-cop turned private investigator. The hunter has become the hunted.

Killers is a thrilling ride through the dark underbelly of Boston crime and politics that could only have been written by the man novelist James Ellroy calls “the Bacon-Banging Boston Bossman”-Howie Carr, the newspaper columnist on whom Whitey Bulger first put out a contract and then called as a defense witness during his 2013 murder trial in Boston.

New on the Shelves…

Monday, September 14th, 2015

I’ve been busy and I’ve gotten behind schedule, but I’ve got a stack of new books to tell you about, as well as some things I’ve finished that I want to review. But let’s start out with an easy one –  can’t wait to get this one on the TBR list! Menagerieby Rachel Vincent:

menagerieWhen Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

New on the Shelves…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

This came in while I was out of town and I can’t wait to start on this one: All by Adriana Trigiani

starsAdriana Trigiani, the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker’s Wife, returns with her biggest and boldest novel yet, a hypnotic tale based on a true story and filled with her signature elements: family ties, artistry, romance, and adventure. Born in the golden age of Hollywood, All the Stars in the Heavens captures the luster, drama, power, and secrets that could only thrive in the studio system—viewed through the lives of an unforgettable cast of players creating magic on the screen and behind the scenes.

In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.

The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

Anchored by Trigiani’s masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema’s greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making.


New on the Shelves…

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

More new books – this time, a legal thriller. (Love those!) From Kevin Egan, The Missing Piece:

missingThe Salvus Treasure is a fabulous hoard of ancient Roman silver, worth a total of seventy million dollars. Uncovered decades ago under disputed circumstances, the treasure has been claimed by various parties, some of whom will stop at nothing to secure full ownership of its riches. People have died–and killed–to possess all fourteen pieces of silver.

The legal battle over who truly owns the treasure finally leads to the New York County Courthouse in Lower Manhattan. But as teams of high-priced lawyers wrangle over provenance and witnesses, a shocking act disrupts the trial…and a crucial piece of evidence goes missing.

The missing piece is a silver urn worth at least five million dollars. Now the race is on to discover what became of the urn…before the Salvus Treasure claims more lives.


New on the Shelves…

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

This one comes from my local library. I heard a bit about it on the radio and was so intrigued I ran right to my computer and requested it: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege:

grandfatherWhen Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List—a man known and reviled the world over.

Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege’s grandfather was the Nazi “butcher of Plaszów,” executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: If her grandfather had met her—a black woman—he would have killed her.

Teege’s discovery sends her, at age 38, into a severe depression—and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family’s haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow—to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather “cleared” in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded—and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth’s mistress at Plaszów.

Teege’s story is cowritten by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege’s family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately, Teege’s resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.