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Browsing all staff pick reviews written by 'libwolf'

A helluva summer

One summer: America, 1927

Title: One summer: America, 1927
By: Bill Bryson

Bryson has done it again; a masterpiece of research and fun. One Summer: America 1927 doesn't have the belly laughs of A Walk in the Woods, but with his wry communication of the delightfully absurd, nonsensical, or totally awesome, he brings four months in our history under the microscope and ... [Read more]



The best American science and nature writing 2013

Title: The best American science and nature writing 2013
By: Siddartha Mukherjee (ed.)

I have a lot of trouble reading articles in magazines even though there are so many good ones. Fortunately, Best American Science and Nature Writing is annually, and 2013 is an especially good year. Editor Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author of Emperor of All Maladies) prefaces the selections with a beautifully ... [Read more]


A tempestuous personality

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the technological wild west

Title: River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the technological wild west
By: Rebecca Solnit

Instead of utilizing the traditional biographical format, Rebecca Solnit has chosen to delineate this remarkable man through his many self-taught accomplishments and innovations. British born in 1830, he left his homeland early on to set off to America to explore his interests and opportunities, working on the docks of New ... [Read more]

non-fiction, biography

Color Mania

Mauve:  how one man invented a color that changed the world

Title: Mauve: how one man invented a color that changed the world
By: Simon Garfield

Has anyone heard of William Perkin and mauve? We have heard of tulipmania, but what of color mania? In 1858, Empress Eugenie, the single most influential woman in the world of fashion, decided that mauve was a color that matched her eyes.The extent of mauve mania was documented well in ... [Read more]


In the name of science and self-glory

The Brother Gardeners: botany, empire, and the birth of an obsession

Title: The Brother Gardeners: botany, empire, and the birth of an obsession
By: Andrea Wulf

The 18th century was an inquisitive and busy time in the world’s history. Darwin was discovering how we evolve, and an egomaniacal Linneaus was making sense of the botanical world with his classification system as well as enraging his fellow botanists and his Holiness the Pope. Explorers like Captain Cook ... [Read more]


Don't get burned

Hot Coffee

Title: Hot Coffee
By: Susan Saladoff

Frivolous Lawsuits--do they exist? Wow! I learned so much from this movie. I learned not to believe the flamboyant stories you see and hear in the media (duh, right). I learned that that the binding arbitration clause you see in most of the contracts you sign today can burn you ... [Read more]


The land

All the Land to Hold Us

Title: All the Land to Hold Us
By: Rick Bass

It's all about the land. This odd, compelling, but challenging book is worth the effort. Using his own background in geology, Bass makes vibrant the desert lands of West Texas--a region of intense heat and endless sand. I found myself keeping a bottle of water within hand's reach while reading ... [Read more]


I want to meet these characters!

Life After Life

Title: Life After Life
By: Jill McCorkle

Where in the world is Pine Haven Estates? I want to meet these characters. There’s Stanley, the retired attorney feigning dementia to avoid an overly attentive son making up for lost time. Toby Tyler, the retired English teacher who rejected four other homes before finding Pine Haven by throwing darts ... [Read more]


Gentle cicerone

A Romantic in Spain

Title: A Romantic in Spain
By: Théophile Gautier

Awww, Spain…I remember 1975, waking up early a.m. in the night train from Paris to Madrid, realizing I was now in the land of poor befuddled Don Quixote and the exquisite Alhambra, and feeling an amorphous affinity for the country and its people. And here in this book in the ... [Read more]

non-fiction, biography, travel

Anti Social Behavior Order

Lionel Asbo: state of England

Title: Lionel Asbo: state of England
By: Martin Amis

Step inside the wacky, Rabelaisian world of Lionel “Li” Asbo (Anti Social Behavior Order) and his 5 brothers-- John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Stuart--sperm donors scattered far and wide. Li, a frequent guest of Her Majesty's home for society's scoundrels, skates through life pilfering, scamming, and murdering the English language. ... [Read more]


Grand Sun

Heat of the Sun

Title: Heat of the Sun
By: David Rain

Grand Opera searching for a Puccini to give it voice is the fast and absorbing read, Heat of the Sun, by David Rain. Madame Butterfly has long ago died for honor in the house on Higashi Hill, Nagasaki, having been discarded by her Lieutenant Pinkerton. Her son has been taken ... [Read more]


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