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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

This Pulitzer Prize finalist for biography is based on the life of mathematician John Nash. The book follows the life of Nash from his first entrance into academia, through the onset of his schizophrenic break and his arrival on the other side of said break. This volume not only takes us through the life of Nash but through the period in which he lived; characterizing the world of academia during the middle 20th century as an exclusive and often times anti-Semitic atmosphere. The book also describes the emergence of the new Ivy League, institutions such as MIT and NYU, which won their prestige in part by accepting Harvard and Princeton’s bias cast-offs.

Nasar writes a beautiful biography that any non-fiction reader would enjoy, especially so if they have a mathematic background, however, such background is not required.

In addition to being a Pulitzer finalist, this book was also a 1998 New York Times Notable Book and the Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.

Sylvia Nasar is a professor of business at Columbia University and is a trained economist who has worked for many top news organizations including The New York Times, Fortune and US News.


Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar

A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder by Rober B. Oxnam

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

The Soloist by Steve Lopez


Monday, January 30, 2012

City of Masks

City of Masks by Daniel Hecht

City of Masks is the first in a series of ghost detective stories featuring paranormal detective Cree Black. Cree, after experiencing a terrible tragedy, discovers she has the ability to commune with the spirits of the dead. She uses her ability to try to dispel these spirits and put them to rest.

City of Masks takes place in New Orleans, LA. Cree is hired by Lila Beauforte Warren to investigate a strange manifestation in her family’s 150 year old French Quarter mansion. Cree’s search for ghosts leads her to uncover an array of family secrets that the Beauforte’s matriarch, Lila’s mother, would rather keep hidden.

This book combines spooky ghost manifestations with mystery and would be liked by reads of both genres.

About the Author

Born in New York, Daniel Hecht is an ex-guitarist turned writer. His first book was Skull Session, published in 1998. Hecht holds a MFA from the University of Iowa and currently lives in Vermont. There are currently 3 books in the Cree Black series.


Aunt Dimity Mysteries by Nancy Atherton

Fever Devlin Mysteries by Philip DePoy

Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Victoria Laurie

Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly

Bailey Ruth Mysteries by Carolyn G. Hart

Ghost Dusters Mysteries by Wendy Roberts

Friday, January 27, 2012

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything: A Novel

Author Janelle Brown has written a novel about three women from an affluent Los Angeles family and how they are forced to figuratively leave “LaLa Land” behind and learn to cope with reality. Janice, the wife of pharmaceutical company executive Paul Miller, expects to be fabulously wealthy when the company goes public. Instead, she is shocked to find out that Paul is leaving her for her best friend/tennis partner. Moreover, she discovers that several months earlier, she had unknowingly signed papers giving up rights to half of the money earned during the marriage. Her older daughter Margaret, publisher of a failed feminist magazine that has left her penniless, returns to help Janice cope. It’s also a convenient way for Margaret to hide out from creditors. Teenage daughter Lizzie, always plump and an outsider among her peers, finds new-found popularity when she joins the swim team, slims down and also becomes the school slut. But after hitting bottom, the only way to go is up; the Miller women wise up and decide to fight back. Their trip back to semi-normalcy is loaded with humorous and sarcastic turns of events involving divorce lawyers, drug-dealing pool boys, country club society, evangelical church members, and more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Babylon's Ark: the Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

The true adventures of Lawrence Anthony, a South African conservationist, owner of an animal preserve and founder of the Earth Organization. At the beginning of the Iraqi War, with its human bloodshed and destruction of property, little was known about the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the center of the city. Anthony cared about the well-being of the zoo’s inhabitants and traveled to Baghdad in order to rescue those who had survived the gunfire and bombings. The situation was very rough at first, many of the animals having been killed or stolen to sell on the black market. Anthony’s “can-do” attitude and political savvy got Iraqis, members of the U.S. military and international animal lovers working together to overhaul and revitalize the zoo; a project that still is ongoing today. This is an uplifting narrative.