Bibliofuture's blog

Eric Lomax, River Kwai Prisoner Who Forgave, Dies at 93

Eric Lomax, a former British soldier who was tortured by the Japanese while he was a prisoner during World War II and half a century later forgave one of his tormentors — an experience he recounted in a memoir, “The Railway Man” — died on Monday in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. He was 93. Full article in the NYT.

Book: Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World

Photographer Edward Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing Native American tribes at the end of the 19th century. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.

Full piece on NPR

Dining By Rail

Dining By Rail: The History and Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine

Readers who sigh at the names "Super Chief" and "Zephyr," and who remember the meal Cary Grant ate on the train in North by Northwest , may find this book fulfilling their wildest dreams. In an attempt to "preserve a record of one of the ways we used to eat," rail fan and Penn State professor Porterfield presents a detailed history of train dining. Beginning as an alternative to railroad station eateries, train dining reached its peak in 1930, when 1732 railroad dining cars were registered with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and all but ended in 1971 with telegrams like the May 1 order to Union Pacific to shut its passenger lines and make way for Amtrak. Model railroaders and social historians will find the 150 photographs and illustrations invaluable: a photo spread with dimensions of the pantry of the New York Central's Twentieth Century Limited, a sample 1920s dinner menu from the Milwaukee Railroad's Pioneer Limited, descriptions of staff sleeping quarters. The second half of the book offers 250 recipes from 48 railroad lines, featuring early-20th-century fare like Lobster Newburg New York Central, Poinsettia Salad-Merchant's Limited and Baked Potato Pennsylvania. For authentic American versions of lamb fricassee, deviled eggs and blanc mange presented without campiness or apology, this is the source. -- Read More

When I Was a Child I Read Books

When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays

Washington Post: Marilynne Robinson’s ‘When I Was a Child I Read Books’: Essays on faith, reading

New York Times: Her Calling

Read the Booklist starred review on Amazon. First line of review - There is more food for thought in one of Robinson’s well-turned paragraphs than in entire books.

The Poetry Home Repair Manual

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets—aspiring or practicing—can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry’s ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.

Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend—a friend who is willing to share everything he’s learned about the art he’s spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

Note: Kooser was U. S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

From Princeton University Press:

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

See video trailer for book.

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren't a special breed--they just use their minds differently. By using the straightforward and thought-provoking techniques in The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself--revealing previously hidden opportunities. -- Read More

A Guide to the Good Life

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

(Oxford University Press)

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. -- Read More

Some five star reviews....

Some five star reviews on Amazon are worth more than others.

The books:

Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965

In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969

The books have five star reviews from many people. One review stands out. There is a five star review by Al Worden. Alfred Worden was the pilot of Endeavour, the command-module for the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Some five star reviews are worth more than others.

Tuning into Mom: Understanding America's Most Powerful Consumer

Tuning into Mom: Understanding America's Most Powerful Consumer

American mothers are household CFOs, in charge of an estimated $2.45 trillion in direct spending. They are also an important influence on other family members' buying habits. Many organizations have identified moms as an important customer group, but the broad, age-based definitions these companies work with mask an array of different consumer behaviors. Written by two leading marketers, this book provides a new approach to understanding the American Mom market, examining the mom's influence on (or control of) the purchasing habits of children of all ages, from infants and toddlers to young adults, and bring focus to the frequently overlooked purchase influence of moms on teenagers. The authors combine large-scale quantitative research of more than 4,700 mothers with qualitative case studies from individual participants. Highly recommended for practitioners in retailing and product development, this book will also be a valuable supplemental text for college courses in consumer behavior and marketing strategy.

In Search of Paradise

In Search of Paradise: Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis

A new revolution in homeownership and living has been sweeping the booming cities of China. This time the main actors on the social stage are not peasants, migrants, or working-class proletariats but middle-class professionals and entrepreneurs in search of a private paradise in a society now dominated by consumerism. No longer seeking happiness and fulfillment through collective sacrifice and socialist ideals, they hope to find material comfort and social distinction in newly constructed gated communities. This quest for the good life is profoundly transforming the physical and social landscapes of urban China.

Li Zhang, who is from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, turns a keen ethnographic eye on her hometown. She combines her analysis of larger political and social issues with fine-grained details about the profound spatial, cultural, and political effects of the shift in the way Chinese urban residents live their lives and think about themselves. In Search of Paradise is a deeply informed account of how the rise of private homeownership is reconfiguring urban space, class subjects, gender selfhood, and ways of life in the reform era. -- Read More

The Blue Tattoo

The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West)

In 1851 Olive Oatman was a thirteen-year-old pioneer traveling west toward Zion with her Mormon family. Within a decade, she was a white Indian with a chin tattoo, caught between cultures. The Blue Tattoo tells the harrowing story of this forgotten heroine of frontier America. Orphaned when her family was brutally killed by Yavapai Indians, Oatman lived as a slave to her captors for a year before being traded to the Mohaves, who tattooed her face and raised her as their own. She was fully assimilated and perfectly happy when, at nineteen, she was ransomed back to white society. She became an instant celebrity, but the price of fame was high and the pain of her ruptured childhood lasted a lifetime.

Based on historical records, including letters and diaries of Oatman’s friends and relatives, The Blue Tattoo is the first book to examine her life from her childhood in Illinois, through the massacre, her captivity, and her return to white society, to her later years as a wealthy banker’s wife in Texas. This Bison Books edition features a postscript by the author with a newly discovered letter from Oatman.

Measurement

Measurement

From Harvard University Press

For seven years, Paul Lockhart’s A Mathematician’s Lament enjoyed a samizdat-style popularity in the mathematics underground, before demand prompted its 2009 publication to even wider applause and debate. An impassioned critique of K–12 mathematics education, it outlined how we shortchange students by introducing them to math the wrong way. Here Lockhart offers the positive side of the math education story by showing us how math should be done. Measurement offers a permanent solution to math phobia by introducing us to mathematics as an artful way of thinking and living.

In conversational prose that conveys his passion for the subject, Lockhart makes mathematics accessible without oversimplifying. He makes no more attempt to hide the challenge of mathematics than he does to shield us from its beautiful intensity. Favoring plain English and pictures over jargon and formulas, he succeeds in making complex ideas about the mathematics of shape and motion intuitive and graspable. His elegant discussion of mathematical reasoning and themes in classical geometry offers proof of his conviction that mathematics illuminates art as much as science. -- Read More

The Missile Next Door

From Harvard University Press

The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland

Between 1961 and 1967 the United States Air Force buried 1,000 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in pastures across the Great Plains. The Missile Next Door tells the story of how rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that story tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending.

By scattering the missiles in out-of-the-way places, the Defense Department kept the chilling calculus of Cold War nuclear strategy out of view. This subterfuge was necessary, Gretchen Heefner argues, in order for Americans to accept a costly nuclear buildup and the resulting threat of Armageddon. As for the ranchers, farmers, and other civilians in the Plains states who were first seduced by the economics of war and then forced to live in the Soviet crosshairs, their sense of citizenship was forever changed. Some were stirred to dissent. Others consented but found their proud Plains individualism giving way to a growing dependence on the military-industrial complex. Even today, some communities express reluctance to let the Minutemen go, though the Air Force no longer wants them buried in the heartland.

Complicating a red state/blue state reading of American politics, Heefner’s account helps to explain the deep distrust of government found in many western regions, and also an addiction to defense spending which, for many local economies, seems inescapable.

First Position

DVD: First Position

Dave Eggers' wish: Once Upon a School

Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, author Dave Eggers asks the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools. With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_...

Libraries might not be able to duplicate what Eggers has done but I think there are seeds of ideas that could be used from what Eggers has done.

Audiobook Publisher Issues 120-Disc Version of Proust

Lovers of Proust, get out your headphones: Naxos AudioBooks, a British division of the classical music label, has recorded all seven volumes of “Remembrance of Things Past” on CD — 120 discs, which will take 153 hours to get through. The last one comes out on Oct. 29.

Nicolas Soames, the publisher, said in an interview that the new version replaces an earlier, abridged edition — just 36 CDs — that the company recorded between 1996 and 2000. He believes the 120-disc edition (also available for download), which will cost £380 (about $600), to be the longest audiobook in existence.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/audiobook-publisher-issues-120-disc-version-of-...

Konrath and Crouch on Libraries

Interesting piece at Teleread

Konrath and Crouch on Libraries
http://www.teleread.com/drm/konrath-and-crouch-on-libraries/

Reinventing Summer School to stop kids' Learning Loss

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