Like Flaubert and Burroughs rolled into one

Book title: The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Hardcover
The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero - book cover picture

The Nothing That Is is the real Story of O. It combines the narrative thrust of Madame Bovary with the raw power of Naked Lunch. Kaplan is Flaubert and Bill Burroughs rolled into one, but without (I assume) the personality defects and the annoying French accent. One may be the loneliest number, but Kaplan convinces me that 0 is the most important, while giving us all pause about our Eurocentric notions as he demonstrates the brilliance of ancient nonwestern cultures in making one of the greatest discoveries of all time--up there with the western omelet, Capri pants, and the Swyng-O-Matic--the Nothing that most people believe isn't but which Kaplan shows us most certainly is. I've made this book the first--oops, I mean the zero'th--volume on my science shelf.

EAN: 9780195128420
Pages: 225
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Robert Kaplan

Wow! This book was so emotional!

Book title: Belle Prater's Boy
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Audio Cassette
Belle Prater's Boy - book cover picture

Title: BELL PRATER'S BOY Woodrow comes to live with his grandparents when his mother mysteriously disappears one morning, and so begins an entirely new life for the country boy. Gypsy has never seen the likes of Woodrow Prater, but she finds that despite his messy appearance and crossed eyes, he is one of the nicest boys in the town. Gypsy is the main character of this story, and throughout the book, she seems to have a happy outward appearance. It is only through her new best friend that she is able to come to terms with her father's death, and her new stepfather. I found that this book was very touching and real. Many students with stepfathers or stepmothers can easily identify with the hardships that both Gypsy and Woodrow face. I enjoyed finding out the ending of the story, and was relieved at the unexpected outcome. I personally would recommend this book to anyone of all ages. Ruth White did an exceptional job!

EAN: 9780553478983
Publisher: Listening Library
Ruth White

Excellent narrative of scientific discovery (and controversy

Book title: T. Rex and the Crater of Doom (Vintage)
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Paperback
T. Rex and the Crater of Doom (Vintage) - book cover picture

If you're over 30, you've lived through the period during which extinction of the dinosaurs by catastrophic means was debated and explained. At first Luis Alvarez and his son, Walter, were ridiculed for their explanation of what happened at the Cretaceous/Tertiary or K/T boundary.

Walter's book explains the chronology of events in a very readable fashion -- much less academic than the style of Stephen Gould and others. Its a story that tells how father and son found a way to work together, despite very different professions. It also shows how different disciplines worked together, across borders and countries.

What's surprising is how quickly evidence began to accumulate to support the Alvarez' theory. And its interesting to see where they might have been sidetracked or made critical mistakes, were it not for good scientific practice

EAN: 9780375702105
Pages: 208
Publisher: Vintage
Walter Alvarez

Best Introduction to Thermal Physics

Book title: Thermal Physics
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Hardcover
Thermal Physics - book cover picture

Baierlein gives a great introduction to thermal physics. He emphasizes the how and why and writes in english, i.e. this book is not a collection of formulas. He does a very good job of explaning statistical mechanics, providing insiteful discussions of the Maxwell-Boltzman, Einstein-Bose, Fermi, and canonical distributions. Great description of the chemical potential. Easy to understand discussion of entropy and multiplicity and also of the partial and exact differentials used in thermal physics. IMHO, it is the best introduction to the topic available. A similar book, but not as well written is "Thermal Physics" by Kittel and Kroemer. Of course if you are looking for a reference on Statistical Mechanics, chock full of mathematics, try Reif, Reichl, or Landau.

EAN: 9780521590822
Pages: 456
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Ralph Baierlein


Book title: Evidence of Harm : Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Hardcover
Evidence of Harm : Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy - book cover picture

I was taken back and brought to tears repeatedly reading this book. What so many of us have known for years is now written in black and white for the world to read. I didn't vote for Bush and after reading this book I thank God I did not! I came close, but my gut pulled me another direction. I pray that all parents purchase a copy of this book and keep it in their family as a treasure of information. Protect your loved ones and read the truth. God bless all my fellow familys on this victoriuos moment!

EAN: 9780312326449
Pages: 480
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
David Kirby

An invigorating true story

Book title: Tisha : The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Paperback
Tisha : The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness - book cover picture

I usually read science fiction and fantasy during my all too infrequent pleasurereading hours. But I'm out in the middle of nowhere this summer, far from any reasonably well-stocked library, and found this book when going through the book shelves of the nearby Salvation Army. The story caught at my imagination and yearning for adventure almost immediately! I found myself pulled into the story, marvelling at this lively telling of Anne Hobbs' frontier experiences, furious at the closed-mindedness of some of her opponents, warmed by her joys and successes. This one's definitely worth a read, even if it seems outside the realm of your usual genre...

EAN: 9780553265965
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bantam
Robert Specht

The ASCENT OF MAN asks, "Am I to be my brother's keeper?"

Book title: The Ascent of Man
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Paperback
The Ascent of Man - book cover picture

Bronowski uses the Darwinian metaphor for the "Descent of Man" from the apes to trace the Ascent of Man as it has come this far. Man is at once flesh, emotions, intelligence, spirit and soul. Fulfillment of the destiny of man is the rise from cruel beastliness to embodiment of all that is "good". Secular and non-secular views of the goals of society and spirituality are presented in newly conceived paradigms of astonishing freshness. This book, and the TV series Bronowski put together, captured the imagination and enthusiasm of people who knew about it in much the same way as the movie "2001" interested people. Rereading this book some 20 years later, it is still fresh.

EAN: 9780316109338
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P)
Jacob Bronowski

A fairy tale for everybody!

Book title: Spindle's End
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Hardcover
Spindle's End - book cover picture

I have read and loved every one of Robin McKinley's books, but Spindle's End is by far my favorite. I always loved fairy tales as a child, but I thought I had outgrown them. This book proved me wrong. This version of Sleeping Beauty for adults brings the story to life. Despite fairies, magicians, enchantments and magic dust, it is as believable as any nonfiction ever written. Personally, with Ms. McKinley's fantastic talent, I think I would believe anything she wrote. I would recommend this to anyone who still secretly reads Grimm's tales and watches Disney movies!

EAN: 9780399234668
Pages: 422
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Robin McKinley

Truly Fantastic

Book title: Memoirs of a Geisha
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Hardcover
Memoirs of a Geisha - book cover picture

This book is vibrantly and honestly written you find yourself feeling the textures, smelling the aromas and being lost in another world and time. The story of a girls journey to first a geisha and then to a woman is written in a form that is universal.
The most amazing thing was that a man was able to write the in such detail the emotions and anxieties of a complicated woman with such accuracy. I could read this book time and time again and still find myself wistful for more.

EAN: 9780375400117
Pages: 448
Publisher: Knopf
Arthur Golden

Don't miss it

Book title: Exorcist
Rating: 5/5
Binding: Paperback
Exorcist - book cover picture

Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to a great book is to be made into a great movie. The Exorcist is a case in point. First, because the movie was well done and secondly, because it's visual pyrotechnics were so memorable, there is a danger that people will ignore the novel. This would be a great mistake. The Exorcist is not simply a horror novel, like all great horror stories (Frankenstein [see review], Dracula, etc.) the supernatural happenings merely offer a way for the author to meditate upon greater issues. In memory, the movie may seem to be "about" Regan's possession by a demon; in fact, Blatty is telling a story about Father Damian's crisis of faith. Paradoxically, being forced to confront this great evil serves to restore Damian's faith in God.

This is a great book (remarkably enough, it is based on actual incidents), don't miss it.

EAN: 9780552147750
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell
William P Blatty

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