Books and Beyond
Tim Hetherington was a photojournalist who died in 2011 while covering an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. His book Infidel is a poignant photographic look at a small battalion of US soldiers stationed in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. Tim Hetherington was a well-respected photographer because he used his lens to reveal the humanity of his subjects as well as the historical significance of the moment. The pictures are allowed to speak for themselves since they are the only thing you see until the back of the book, where there is commentary describing each picture. In addition, some of the soldiers write about their experiences themselves. The introduction is written by Sebastian Junger, the author of The Perfect Storm and War, among other books. Junger worked with Tim Hetherington on the documentary Restrepo, which looks at the same outpost in the Korengal Valley. Restrepo was the winner of the 2010 Sundance Best Documentary.
Book of Killowen is the newest installment in Erin Hart’s Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire series of archaeological crime novels set in modern Ireland. She is a pathologist, he is an archaeologist and together they find themselves investigating cases built around bodies found in bogs of Ireland. Book of Killowen came out in March and offers up more than a few surprises, chiefly, the discovery of not one but two bodies in a bog, one ancient and one modern! If you like a good blend of history, archaeology and forensics, check out this series.
Haunted Ground (2003)
Lake of Sorrows (2004)
False Mermaid (2010)
Book of Killowen (2013)
Another great resource is the glossary she created to help readers learn how to pronounce things properly.
When I was young, our family lived near my grandmother. On some evenings I spent the night with her at her very splendid apartment in a beautiful building on Connecticut Ave. in Washington, DC. My earliest memories of that apartment were the elevator operator, Calvin, taking my parents and me and up in the creaky elevator with the accordion door he would carefully open and close and the flowery, dusty and a bit dank smell of the apartment. My grandmother and I would have Ritz Crackers, “rat” cheese and apple slices for dinner. She would enjoy hers with a glass of sherry and I would have a small green glass bottle of Coca Cola. After dinner, I would watch her put her hair up in pin curls using bendy fabric covered strips. She was a force in my young life and I loved her. My mother never lived close to my family and still my children had a rich relationship with her. I am entering that wonderful world of grandmothers and am thinking of my mother and her mother. I will be far away from my first grandchild. I will visit often and finally learn about Skype and FaceTime.
Wondrous child: the joys and challenges of grandparenting edited by Lindy Hough; foreword by Jane Isay
Some assembly required: a journal of my son's first son by Anne Lamott; with Sam Lamott
Making toast: a family story by Roger Rosenblatt
I always love hearing about the inspiring efforts to build libraries or bring books to children in third world countries, such as the Donkey Mobile Libraries and The Camel Bookmobile (fiction based on a true story). Turns out a nonprofit group here in Arvada is doing the same thing. They are called SCOPE International, and among other projects, they develop school and community libraries in Kenya. They have an exhibit of bright and interesting photographs on the display wall at Standley Lake this month, and they are having a reception this Saturday, July 13 at 2:00 in the Standley Lake meeting room. Come learn more about their noble endeavors and adventures!
Buettner is a longevity expert who has traveled around the world and talked with folks who have lived extraordinarily long lives – many over 100 years! He worked with both local and international experts to do a more formal study of the habits and traits that these long-lived folks exhibit. The results are useful for anyone who wishes to live a healthier, longer life. Social contact is vital, along with certain diets and exercise that have proved helpful time and again. Personal stories from all over the world make this lively and interesting reading.
Ever heard of Minority Report, Blade Runner, or Total Recall? These are movies based on novels by Science Fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Writing mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, this prolific author has had ten novels and short stories (so far) turned into movies. He’s received a number of Science Fiction writing awards as well. PKD’s works often deal with the idea of reality. Protagonists are faced with determining the true nature of the world in which they exist. Memory is suspect; assumptions turn out to be wrong. The author’s common man hero must work his way through a morass of obstacles to arrive at the truth. Here are three good introductions to his work:
Selected Stories of Philip K Dick
This book is a good introduction to the author and his works and the stories are arranged in order of when they were first written. In the third story, “Paycheck,” PKD hits his stride and keeps on going. Read “Autofac,” “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” and “Imposter” to get a sense of the author at his best.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The question here involves what it means to be human. If androids can pass as humans - and not just in the way they look - does that make them the same as flesh and blood people? PKD paints a world destroyed by war, where live animals are rare and precious, and most people have left Earth to colonize other planets. This is the novel on which the movie Blade Runner is based.
The Man in the High Castle
A Hugo award winner, this novel postulates an alternative world, circa 1962, in which Germany and Japan won World War II. America has been split between those two countries. Slavery is legal, the few remaining Jews are hiding, and the two former Axis allies are not too happy with each other. A complex and thought-provoking book in which the I Ching figures prominently, PKD creates a vision of America as a third world country struggling to find its way.
Do you ever have days that leave you feeling as if you've been run over by a train? You know the best remedy for that? Exercise! You know what makes that even better? Music! And where's a great place to try out new music? The library!
I love it when the lyrics or the beat can put a spring back in my step and help me combat those stress chemicals. Here are a few songs from my current playlist that restores me to a semblance of "I'm okay and the world is okay."
"Born this way" by Lady Gaga, from Born this Way
"Don't hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you're set"
"Don't Bring me Down" by Electric Light Orchestra, from All Over the World
"Daddy I'm fine" by Sinéad O'Connor, from Faith and Courage
"I'm going away to London
I got myself a big fat plan
I'm gonna be a singer in a rock 'n' roll band
And I'm gonna change everything I can"
"Private Conversation" by Lyle Lovett, from The Road to Ensenada
"And the moral of this story
Is I guess it's easier said than done
To look at what you've been through
And to see what you've become"
"Keep on singin' my song" by Christina Aguilera, from Stripped
"They can say all they wanna say about me
But I'm gonna carry on
I'm gonna keep on singing my song"
"Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO, from Sorry for Party Rocking
"Perfect" by Pink, from Greatest Hits -- So Far!
"They don't like my jeans, they don't get my hair
We change ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?"
It's almost time! With much-anticipated stores opening soon in Boulder and Denver, you may be interested in learning more about Trader Joe's, the iconic retail grocer. Trader Joe's stores are roughly half the size of today's super-grocers, yet manage to pull in twice the sales per square foot. Learn how the chain was founded, how "fun" is incorporated into daily work, and how value is combined with new merchandise to create key selling points. Although written in 2005, the book is still relevant today.
If you’ve ever eaten a garden-fresh tomato, you know that there’s a world of difference between home-grown and store-bought. While you’re waiting for those home-grown tomatoes to show up in your garden or at your farmer’s market, we offer you three books about growing tomatoes – as a commercial crop, in a backyard vegetable garden and on an organic farm.
Tomatoland : how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our most alluring fruit - Barry Estabrook. The author sees several round green ‘apples’ falling off a truck in Florida. When he discovers that the ‘apples’ are in fact tomatoes and just fine after falling 10 feet and hitting the pavement at 60 miles per hour, he decides to find out just how we got to this point.
The $64 tomato : How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden - William Alexander. The author wonders why the neighbor doesn’t mow the field where the kids play softball. Learning that the land belongs to him, not his neighbor, he decides to plant the ultimate vegetable garden. He soon learns that having a garden may produce wonderful vegetables but costs him more than he anticipates.
It’s a long road to a tomato : tales of an organic farmer who quit the big city for the (not so) simple life - Keith Stewart. For the first 40 years of his life, the author had no idea that he wanted to be a farmer, but in 1986 he traded his office job in New York City for a farm in upstate New York. His essays over the next 20 years range from the specifics of growing vegetables on his farm to agricultural issues that should concern all of us.
And while you’re reading, keep in mind that old John Denver song:
Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without home grown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.
Have you ever thought about what the library at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay might look like? I hadn’t until I came across an article in The New York Times Book Review highlighting the collection. A Tumblr site dedicated to the library and its holdings gives an insider’s view of this 18,000-item collection available to detainees. Predictable favorites include Arabic-language fiction and books on religion. Less predictably there are copies of Danielle Steel, Captain America and Harry Potter that have also seen good use.
For more on the library, read the article here.