Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush by David Davis recounts the epic clash of an Irish-American, Italian, and Onondaga-Canadian that jump-started the first marathon mania and heralded the modern age in sports.
The eyes of the world watched as three runners – dirt poor Johnny Hayes who used to run barefoot through the streets of New York City; candymaker Dorando Pietri; and the famed Tom Longboat – converged for an epic battle at the 1908 London Olympics. The incredible finish was contested the world over when Pietri, who initially ran the wrong way upon entering the stadium at Shepherd’s Bush, finished first but was disqualified for receiving aid from officials after collapsing just shy of the finish line, thus giving the title to runner-up Hayes. In the midst of anti-American sentiment, Queen Alexandra awarded a special cup to Pietri, who became an international celebrity and inspired one of Irving Berlin’s first songs. David Davis recalls a time when runners braved injurious roads with slips of leather for shoes and when marathon mania became a worldwide obsession. (description from publisher)
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Betty White
In a place where the brown Bar-ba-loots frisk and the Humming-Fish splash around, you will find the Lorax. The Lorax speaks of the trees, which the Once-ler is chopping down as fast as he pleases. Will the Once-ler change his destructive ways and heed the wise warnings of the Lorax? PG
The Raid : Redemption – Iko Uwais
A SWAT team arrives at a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord named Tama. The building has never been raided before, never been touched by police. Seen as a no-go zone, it has since become a sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists, and thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be touched. Making their move in the break of dawn, the SWAT team works its way up the building under cover of silence. R
The Hunger Games – Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she’s pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives. She must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love PG-13
Battleship – Taylor Kitsch, Lian Neeson
Based on the classic Hasbro naval combat game, Battleship is the story of an international fleet of ships who come across an alien armada while on a naval war games exercise. An intense battle ensues over sea, land, and air. PG – 13
The Olympics will showcase the best-of-the-best at the pinnacle of their athletic career. What we don’t usually see is how they got there – the struggle and heartbreak and private triumphs. Here are some new biographies that give us a glimpse of just how hard it can be.
In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard – A seven-time Olympic medalist describes her battles with depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse in spite of her successful career, recounting how she hid her struggles from her loved ones before seeking help and finding renewal in the birth of her son.
Winning Balance : What I’ve Learned So Far by Shawn Johnson – Iowa native Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national and world champion athlete and a winner on the popular “Dancing with the Stars.” This is the amazing true journey of how this young Olympian has found balance in her life.
The Price of Gold : the Toll and Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream by Marty Nothstein – Traces the story of track cyclist Marty Nothstein from his upbringing in a blue-collar home to his gold-medal victory at the Olympic games, recounting how his dedication often forced him to explore his vulnerabilities as an athlete.
Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu – An unflinchingly honest memoir from Olympic gold medalist Moceanu that reveals the often dark underbelly of Olympic gymnastics as only an insider can–and the secrets she learned about the past that nearly tore apart her family.
Webcomics collected for the printed page rarely hang together as cohesive singular works, and this book is no exception. They also rarely deliver a consistent laughs-per-page number or manage to be as fresh on page 50 as they are on page 1; and for these, Hark! A Vagrant is indeed an exception. Kate Beaton’s comic is very funny and accessible; she pokes fun at various literary and historical figures (both infamous and obscure), in addition to hipsters and teenagers and even superheroes. If you like smarmy, witty, smart comedy and drawings that range from the moody and surreal to the supremely cute, this book is a great choice!
Since the humor is hard to describe, just check out this comic. If you like humor about 200 year old inventors or have a soft spot for Tesla…
For more awesome, check out Kate Beaton’s comics at their original home: harkavagrant.com.
Adam Sorkin’s new HBO series, Newsroom, brings to mind 1987’s Broadcast News starring Holly Hunter and William Hurt. Reading reviews of the show, it sounds as if the themes of this show are reminiscent of other great “news” movies.
Like Newsroom, the focus of Broadcast News is the integrity of the news anchors and producers. And, like Jeff Daniel’s anchorman, the William Hurt character yearns for the spotlight and big ratings, yet has his conscience pricked by a woman with whom he has a quasi-romantic relationship with.
Network and Good Night, and Good Luck are much edgier films about television news, while Morning Glory is on the other end of the continuum. Journalistic ethics are discussed, but the real fun of the movie are the sparring amongst Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams.
Take a history ride through tv news – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I checked out this kindle book via WILBOR after a friend described reading it as “entering a bliss-coma.” Perfect for a vacation book, I expected. And if you want an unapologetically romantic, milquetoast, white bread – er, white cake – wish fulfillment fantasy with little and less conflict, Savor the Moment is perfect for you! Laurel McBane is the co-founder and executive pastry chef at Vows, an all-inclusive wedding planning service. Her best friends Mac (photographer), Parker (wedding coordinator), and Emma (florist and decorator) are her co-founders, and the four of them live together in the country mansion where they also host (and cook for) dozens of weddings every summer. Also living and working in their enclave are the soon-to-be husbands of Mac and Emma (see books one and two for their Happily Ever Afters) and Parker’s brother Delaney – the suitably handsome, rich, and dashing hero that Laurel has been in love with half her life.
Among a blur of other people’s weddings, and entirely too closely surrounded by friends and a woman called Mrs. G. who acts as nanny and short-order cook for reasons not made totally clear (is she an employee? a relative? a servant? does she owe them a debt!?), Laurel and Del begin dating. You know the rest. Since they’re already friends, there’s no getting-to-know-you phase. Their whole journey is about negotiating the way their friends and relatives will see them once they’ve transitioned from buddies to bedfellows. This thin love story isn’t a very sturdy backbone for the novel, but it doesn’t really need to be, surrounded as it is by love stories big and small, glorious descriptions of gowns and cakes and desserts and wedding ceremonies, and a lot of meaningful female friendships.
The business side of Vows is pretty interesting; I like reading about women who are smart and talented, and making this business run smoothly – coordinating dozens of vendors and hundreds of guests for almost daily events – requires the characters to be brainy and focused. It’s a tough job, and Roberts’ characters are good at it. It’s great to see an author really understand and illustrate the way weddings work instead of glossing over the details, but reading about those details – the stressed out brides, the last-minute changes, the groomsmen who show up late – can walk the line between boring (if you’re not interested in weddings) and stressful (if you remember these things too clearly from your own wedding). If you adore weddings, brides, cakes, and comforting, easy love stories, this series is the right choice for you.
Here is a fun do-it-yourself guide to transforming the smallest of spaces into functional living areas easily and economically featuring tips on organization, personalization, and using colors and vintage materials.
A fireplace on wheels? A chandelier light by Xerox? A shrink-wrapped designer closet? These are just a few of the more than one hundred innovative projects in Living in a Nutshell, a DIY guide of decorating ideas that fool the eye into seeing and believing a little lair is larger and more glamorous than its four walls. Here are fresh ideas for enhancing every living area of a tiny space. All are simple, affordable, portable, and big on style. An illustrated survival tool kit as well as extensive listings of untapped, off-the-beaten-track design resources and a select buying guide round out this invaluable book. (description from publisher)
Rich in aromatic spices, herbs, and flavorings, Asian food explodes deliciously in your mouth. Now, thanks to Leemei Tan, shows how home cooks can easily master the art of preparing this delectable cuisine in Lemongrass and Ginger Cookbook.
Tan explains how to make perfect sushi, creamy curries, spicy stir-fries, and crisp tempura, and work with noodles, kaffir lime leaves, or wasabi. More than 100 recipes feature a marvelous range of tastes, textures, and aromas from across the continent. From Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup and Japanese Sake Steamed Salmon to Thai Papaya Salad and Indian Saffron Chicken Pilau, these imaginative recipes will inspire and delight. (description from publisher)
If you have a passing familiarity with Star Trek, you’ve probably heard the term “redshirt” before. It refers to a random low-ranking crew member (always wearing a red shirt) who gets sent on an away mission with the main characters. The redshirt inevitably dies early in the episode. The novel Redshirts, written by prolific sci-fi author John Scalzi, lovingly pokes fun at this phenomena. Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the Universal Union’s flagship, the Intrepid, and he soon starts to notice the high mortality rate on the ship’s away missions. His suspicions are raised when he notices that while the captain, the lieutenant, and the chief science officer are always on these missions and always come out alive (though often with dramatic injuries), a lower-ranking officer always seems to die pretty much as soon as the ship lands. Along with a few of his fellow new crew members, Andrew begins to investigate and is shocked to discover that things are not as they seem on the Intrepid.
Even though I felt like the book started to lose steam around halfway through, it is still funny and entertaining. If you’ve ever seen classic Star Trek episodes, you’ll enjoy all the inside jokes and the way that Scalzi parodies the series. But don’t worry, this novel is accessible even if you’ve never seen a single episode. The humor still manages to come through, and the more poignant moments (particularly in the three codas that follow the story) will still move you. If you like sci-fi, space travel, Star Trek, or humorous fiction, I’d recommend giving this fun and quick novel a chance.
Headed to London for the Olympics? First of all : jealous! Second : I hope you have tickets/hotel/transportation already arranged – the grand old city is bound to be bursting at the seams. Still looking for some tips on how to occupy your time between watching the handball semi-finals and the whitewater rafting qualifying? Here are some books that will give you lots of ideas, whether you’re in town for the Games or just dreaming of visiting someday.
DK Eyewitness Travel London – Offers maps, history, and general features, detailed guides through the various areas of the city. and suggestions for specific walks. Also provides a street finder and hints on shops and markets, entertainment, children’s interests, transportation. Colorful photographs adorn every page.
Britain and Ireland’s Best Wild Places by Christopher Somerville – Storm-battered headlands, hidden waterfalls, tumbledown cottages, the ruins of haunted chapels deep in forgotten woods, medieval Green Men, old mines and quarries being recaptured by nature, rusting sea-forts tottering on sandbanks. Britain and Ireland are full of wild places, some remote, many often astonishingly close to civilization.
Berlitz Handbook of Great Britain – What sets this guide apart is the illuminating Unique Experiences section which are packed full of practical advice on how to make the most of all the opportunities unique to Britain – from visiting royal residences to watching a soccer match, or exploring Brontë country in Yorkshire.
Frommer’s 24 Great Walks in London– Features walking tours of London including the Royal Parks, Jack the Ripper’s trail in the East End, a walk along the Thames, literary themed walks that feature the inspirational settings ranging from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.