Featured new additions to DPL’s Philosophy, Psychology & Self-Help collections! Click on the title to place a hold. For more new books, visit our Upcoming Releases page. As always, if there’s a title you would like to read, please send us a purchase suggestion.

cover225x225Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday – In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Drawing on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to his­tory, we meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.

 


 

fatherlessbookThe Fatherless Daughter Project: Understanding Our Losses and Reclaiming Our Lives by Denna Babul – Babul, a life coach, and Luise, a counselor and inspirational speaker, join their expertise and experiences-both grew up without their biological fathers-in this wide-ranging look at how fatherlessness affects women. Drawing on over 1,000 interviews and a social media survey to conclude that the loss or absence of a father can cause a woman to suffer effects that include self-doubt, sadness, anger, fear, resentment, and difficulty trusting. They discuss the primary ways that loss can occur, such as divorce, death, abandonment, and incarceration, and explore how age at the time of loss affects a daughter’s response. On the flip side, they find that fatherless daughters also exhibit strength, resilience, and self-awareness, among other positive traits.With interesting personal stories woven throughout, fatherless daughters will find this to be a supportive and encouraging guidebook to reclaiming their lives and healing their wounds.


 

ID_HCO2016MTH05IYOOIs You OK? by GloZell Green –  With this funny and liberating book, YouTube star GloZell uses the stories from her winding journey to unbelievable success to help her fans and young women everywhere navigate the obstacles we all face in life, while helping them find the greatness unique to each of them, inside and out. Is You Okay? speaks truth about the elements of life we wrestle with every day–empowerment, love, body image, school, work, family, relationships, failure, success. GloZell introduces some of her most outlandish, funny, and unforgettable video challenges and uses each to explore a serious yet common hurdle. Sharing formative stories and insights from her own life, she encourages young women to learn to love their body, break free of their shell, and carve out their own identity.


 

Nehamas-On-Friendship-book-cover_324On Friendship by Alexander Nehamas – In On Friendship , the acclaimed philosopher Alexander Nehamas launches an original and far-ranging investigation of friendship. Exploring the long history of philosophical thinking on the subject, from Aristotle to Emerson and beyond, and drawing on examples from literature, art, drama, and his own life, Nehamas shows that for centuries, friendship was as much a public relationship as it was a private one–inseparable from politics and commerce, favors and perks. Now that it is more firmly in the private realm, Nehamas holds, close friendship is central to the good life. Profound and affecting, On Friendship sheds light on why we love our friends–and how they determine who we are, and who we might become.


 

07b22b56ba04e045443d110c7ce6aea8-w204@1xThis Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick – The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family’s perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it–no matter what.

 


 

you-are-the-one-9781501127274_hrYou Are the One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You and Loving Fully by Kute Blackson – A charismatic visionary and transformational teacher offers a bold new look at spiritual awareness providing the tools needed to live a life truly inspired by love for a whole new generation. You Are The One is a reflection of Blackson’s unique and distinctive thoughts, teachings, stories, and poetic inspirations to help you access your true power and live boldly and fully in the world—with no regrets.

quarter life poetryQuarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne is a poetry collection for the disheartened, for the hungry, for the post-college 20-somethings who really thought they would have their life completely together by now. In other words, while reading this book, I felt like it was written for me. This is a book of comedic poetry, one that poses short, amusing, and remarkably light-hearted, sarcastic comments about life that we thought we would have figured out by now.

Samantha Jayne is an actress and writer who lives out in Los Angeles. One of the things she has become famous for are her popular Tumblr and Instagram accounts, Quarter Life Poetry, where she posts snappy four-lined poems about her life as a 20-something post-college. She has poems paired with related images on topics ranging from work, money, sex, life, student loans, love, and any/every other challenge that people going through life post-college are faced with on a daily basis.

Jayne’s poetry really captures what it’s like when you find out that yet another one of your friends in pregnant while you’re just trying to keep a plant alive, how you feel trying to pay off your student loans while working a 40 hour a week job that doesn’t allow for much of a social life, and also how it feels to be stuck in a dating scene with what seems like the less than desirables right after college. Jayne perfectly illustrates the fact that students in college think life post-college is glamorous, when in reality, the post-college adults know that being in your 20s is really all about just trying to find yourself amongst piles of student loan debt, cheap take-out, and the more-than-occasional trip to the store to buy more wine. While this book was marketed towards post-college 20-somethings, it is a quick, short read that people of all ages can enjoy as they reminisce on their post-college life.

online colorHow’s your summer going? And how’s your June Reading Challenge – Summer Reads – coming along? Find anything especially good, or are you still trying to decide what to read?

I’m working on Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen. It’s going well, in fact, I would have finished it by now except for other distractions (like the garden). So far it’s been charming, lighthearted and funny, perfect for summer. I’m looking forward to carving out some time to finish it soon!

If you’re still looking for a Summer Read, here are some more suggestions.

Mysteries by Nevada Barr. Each of Barr’s 18 mysteries is set in a National Park and, while they don’t all take place in the summertime, they do take place in favorite vacation sites as we follow Ranger Anna Pigeon on her various postings (Although, really – who would hire this woman? Someone is always getting killed when she’s around! Wouldn’t people get a little suspicious – or nervous – about having her come to their park?) The mysteries are engaging and suspenseful, the main character is gritty and real and very likable and the settings – various National Parks, Monuments and historic sites across the country – are vividly described. I haven’t read all of her books but my favorite Barr mystery is Firestorm. It takes place in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and takes place during a terrible fire that Rangers and National Guard from across the country are fighting. I could barely set the book down the suspense was so great, as Anna uncovers a murderer in their midst.

Again, not always set in the summer, but often during hot and sunny weather – the mysteries of Tony Hillerman. These beautifully written, atmospheric mysteries set in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest follow the cases of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, their uneasy partnership, the clash of old and new, of ancient rivalries and always, the unrelenting desert, both beautiful and terrible. I don’t have a favorite Hillerman mystery simply because I love all of them. Do yourself a treat and pick one up.

Still looking? All of these classics are set during the hot summer months including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare, and Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Or try some more recent summer scorchers such as Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters which jumps between two summers, one on the Italian coast and one in Hollywood, or The Vacationers by Emma Straub where a beautiful beach rental in Spain does not magically fix a dysfunctional family.

Now, if only summer lasted a lot longer, just so I could get to all these books!

Featured new additions to DPL’s Religion & Spirituality collections! Click on the title to place a hold. For more new books, visit our Upcoming Releases page. As always, if there’s a title you would like to read, please send us a purchase suggestion.

y450-293The Book of the People: How to Read the Bible by A.N. Wilson – In The Book of the People, A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it might be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing, Wilson argues that it remains relevant even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical work, a work of literature, and a cultural touchstone that the western world has answered to for nearly two thousand years. Erudite, witty and accessible, The Book of the People seeks to reclaim the Good Book as our seminal work of literature, and a book for the imagination.

 


 

91PTTburk-LGiddy Up, Eunice: Because Women Need Each Other by Sophie Hudson – It’s easy for women to focus on what seems to separate us: differences in age, parenting styles, career goals, or maybe even core beliefs about whether leggings can adequately serve as pants. Sophie Hudson, in the delightfully quirky Southern style, sends out a rallying cry for women everywhere to open our eyes and see the people God has put in our lives whether they re behind us, beside us, or in front of us.

 

 


 

rsz_we_are_charlestonWe Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel by Herb Frazer – On June 17, 2015, a young man with a handgun opened fire on a prayer meeting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine members of the congregation. The captured shooter, twenty-one-year-old Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, was charged with their murders. Two days after the shooting, while Roof’s court hearing was held on video conference, the families of his nine victims, one by one, appeared on the screen–forgiving the killer. The “Emanuel Nine” set a profound example for their families, their city, their nation, and indeed the world. We Are Charleston not only recounts the events of that terrible day but also offers a history lesson that reveals a deeper look at the suffering, triumph, and even the ongoing rage of the people who formed Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church and the wider denominational movement.


 

4129tuf842L__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment – Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of “the Nones” when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply – “Nothing” – she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion. Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.


 

1458309071GreetingsUtopiahccGreetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood by Claire Hoffman – When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven – Iowa – to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation was a salve that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart. Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.


 

51aNiPAfGaL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible by Richard M. Smoley – A thrilling journey through Bible scholarship and ancient religion shows how much of Scripture is historically false–yet the ancient writings also resound with theologies that crisscrossed the primeval world and that direct us today toward a deep, inner, authentic experience of the truly sacred. Smoley shows how our concepts of the Hebrew and Christian God, including Christ himself, are an assemblage of ideas that were altered, argued over, and edited–until their canonization. . Far from being “untrue,” the Bible is remarkably, extraordinarily true as it connects us to the sublime insights of our ancient ancestors and points to a unifying ethic behind many of the world’s faiths.

futuristic violence and fancy suitsScience fiction and fantasy are not genres that I normally read, but I decided that I needed to expand outside of my comfort zone and started to look for a book that I would enjoy. On a list of best adult books for young adult readers, I discovered Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong. This book immediately intrigued me based on two parts: the machine gun/cat cover and the fact that the cat is named Stench Machine. (It’s a bit scary just how little it takes to get me interested in a book, isn’t it?) Cracking this book open, I was hooked.

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits tells the story of Zoey Ashe, a young girl from a trailer park who lives with her very smelly cat, Stench Machine, and her mother, a waitress at a topless bar. Zoey is living her normal day-to-day life, unaware that a pack of villains from her nightmares that are armed with superhuman enhancements are gunning for her death. Finding herself in a life-and-death situation, Zoey has to decide quickly who she can trust and whether the stories being told to her by “the Suits” are actually the truth.

Traveling to a futuristic city where an all-seeing social network can track your every move, one where there are powerful players controlling everything behind the scenes, Zoey soon realizes that everything outside of her Midwestern trailer park may be more than she can handle. Forced to reconcile her low upbringing with her sudden encampment in her dead father’s mansion, Zoey realizes that she is one of the key players who will decide the future of mankind. Anyone in the world has the ability to get the powers of a god or become as famous as a pop star, thanks to the all-seeing social network and various fantastic and violent elements are popping up all over. Zoey’s fate is entangled in this futuristic city and it’s up to her to figure everything out.

Featured new additions to DPL’s Science Fiction and Fantasy collections! Click on the title to place a hold. For more new books, visit our Upcoming Releases page. As always, if there’s a title you would like to read, please send us a purchase suggestion.

914S4pdzRHLThe Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence –  The epic fantasy Red Queen’s War series continues as a reluctant prince returns from the bowels of Hell to engage in his greatest battle yet–among the living and the dead. All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers.


tumblr_nlsh93CT2s1snjweoo1_1280Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley – In this spirited sequel to the acclaimed The Rook, Myfanwy Thomas returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic – and slimy – supernatural war. When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers – and the bureaucratic finesse – to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries. But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.


A1X-Y8aFOILLeague of Dragons by Naomi Novik – In the final volume of the Temeraire series, Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. Aware of his weakened position, Napoleon has promised the dragons of every country – and the ferals, loyal only to themselves – vast new rights and powers if they fight under his banner. It is an offer eagerly embraced from Asia to Africa – and even by England, whose dragons have long rankled at their disrespectful treatment. But Laurence and his faithful dragon soon discover that the wily Napoleon has one more gambit at the ready – one that may win him the war, and the world.


genevievecogman-theinvisiblelibraryThe Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction. Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.  Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.


FalseHearts-USFalse Hearts by Laura Lam – Raised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder–the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.


51IyS2UrRsL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey – Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe. Lissa Nevsky’s grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now, to give them their remedies and be their koldun’ia. But Lissa hasn’t had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her–let alone the things Baba kept hidden. Maksim Volkov’s birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it. Lissa’s legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim’s salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it’s a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved.


51VfTha7AvL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Mechanical Failure by Joseph Zieja – The two hundred years’ (and counting) peace is a time of tranquility that hasn’t been seen since … well, never. Mankind in the Galactic Age had finally conquered war, so what was left for the military to do but drink and barbecue? That’s the kind of military that Sergeant R. Wilson Rogers lived in before he left the fleet to become a smuggler. But it turns out that smuggling is hard. Like getting-arrested-for-dealing-with-pirates-and-forced-back-into-service kind of hard. It doesn’t seem so bad, but when Rogers returns after only a year away, something has changed. These are soldiers – actual soldiers doing actual soldier things like preparing for a war that Rogers is sure doesn’t exist. Rogers vows to put a stop to all this nonsense – even if it means doing actual work.

shetlandCrime television shows are one of my favorite things to watch, but sometimes they can follow a predictable plot, so predictable in fact that it is easy to guess who the murderer is within the first ten minutes of the show’s beginning. When I stumbled upon Shetland, I was expecting the same predictable plot. Boy, was I wrong!

First of all, this dvd compilation of Shetland gives you the complete first and second seasons. (In case this seems daunting to you, let me ease your fears. Each season is only six episodes long, so in reality you are only watching twelve episodes total in this one case.) This show is the perfect length to get you hooked and invested in the characters without having to spend a lot of time getting through two full-length seasons of the show. Bonus: I wasn’t able to accurately guess who ANY of the murderers were in any of the episodes! Major score!

Shetland is a BBC Scottish crime drama that follows the life of Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his various staff members as they solve murders against the backdrop of the breathtaking Shetland Isles. Perez is a single dad raising an almost 16-year-old daughter. DI Perez and his team are responsible for keeping people safe within the community, a task that proves difficult as they are investigating crimes within such a close knit community that is spread across a number of islands within the Shetland Isles. This television show takes place against a gorgeous backdrop of sweeping cliffs, deep blue sea, and skies redolent with cloud cover. With such breathtaking scenery, the stories of crime, murder, mystery, and intrigue are pushed to a higher level, letting the writers, producers, and actors explore issues dealing with family and small communities in deep detail. I highly recommend this show as a way to cleanse your palette of the more traditional crime shows.


raven black

The first two seasons of Shetland are adapted from the book Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. Contact the library to find it today!

cyborgWhat is a superhero? Is it someone with a lot of money who makes costumes and weapons for himself? Is it someone living a normal life who then has powers mysteriously thrust upon him? Is it a god or creature from another world? Is it someone who has a near-death experience and is given superhuman qualities in order to save their life? A number of different qualities can factor into the origin story of a superhero, something that I wanted to expand my knowledge base and learn more about. My first stop: Cyborg.

Cyborg, Volume 1: Unplugged introduces readers to the life of Victor Stone. Victor has lived through a large number of near-death experiences, something that his scientist father has seemingly used to his own advantage by saving Victor’s life and implanting cybernetics into his body. As a result of having these cybernetic enhancements thrust upon him, Victor has become a cyber-enhanced superhero called Cyborg, a mantle that rests heavily on his shoulders. After traveling the universe and visiting other worlds to fight with other superheroes, his most recent brush with death, one that has changed and messed with his cybernetics, Victor soon finds himself heading back to his father’s laboratory looking for answers.

Victor and his father, as well as the other scientists in his lab, have a strained relationship, to put it nicely. His father only seems to see Victor’s enhancements, ignoring the man underneath. Exploring the newest changes to Victor’s cybernetics shows that his powers are changing and no one has the slightest clue why. Victor’s new tech seems to be communicating with other worlds, specifically with a group called the Technosapiens. This group wants to possess Victor’s new technology and they are determined to do so by any means necessary. As is par for the course of any superhero graphic novel, Victor finds help in the most unlikely of places: the Tekbreakers, a group of warriors from another world who have a plan to fight the Technosapiens. Victor just has to decide if he can truly trust them, considering they did try to kill him earlier… This graphic novel is a fantastic addition to the DC line and gives readers just enough back story to be able to follow along, while also drawing them in with vivid artwork and connections to other main DC storylines. Check it out!

Featured new additions to DPL’s Science Fiction and Fantasy collections! Click on the title to place a hold. For more new books, visit our Upcoming Releases page. As always, if there’s a title you would like to read, please send us a purchase suggestion.

9780765389794
Runtime by S.B, Divya – The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada. Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support.  But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

 


isbn9780356504537The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – “My name is Hope Arden, and you won’t know who I am. But we’ve met before-  a thousand times. It started when I was sixteen years old. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger. No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit, you will never remember who I am. That makes my life difficult. It also makes me dangerous.” The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of a girl no one remembers, yet her story will stay with you forever.

 


TSS-Final-coverThe Summon Stone by Ian Irvine –  The Merdrun, cruel warriors blooded by thousands of years of slaughter, are gathering in the void between the worlds. Their summon stone is waking, corrupting good people as well as bad, and turning arcane places into magically polluted wastelands. If it is not destroyed it will create a portal and call this marauding army out of exile. Sulien , a nine-year-old girl endowed with untold gifts, sees the Merdrun leader in a nightmare – and he sees her. Karan and Llian must stop the greatest warrior in the void, to save their daughter and their world.

 


1422544372597The Chimes by Anna Smaill – After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, with slums standing next to a walled city of elites. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance. A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise, to locate someone. What he finds is a new family–a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. In this alternate London, the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is considered “blasphony.” But Simon has a unique gift–the gift of retaining memories–that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond his meager life. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom.


9780857664518Outriders by Jay Posey – Captain Lincoln Suh died on a Wednesday. And things only got harder from there. Snatched out of special operations and thrown headfirst into a secretive new unit, Lincoln finds himself as the team leader for the 519th Applied Intelligence Group, better known as the Outriders. And his first day on the job brings a mission with the highest possible stakes. A dangerously cunning woman who most assuredly should be dead has seemingly returned. And her plans aren’t just devastating, they might be unstoppable. How do you defeat a hidden enemy when you can’t let them know they’ve been discovered? You send in the Outriders.


WarFactoryCoverProof2War Factory: Transformation Book Two by Neal Asher -Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity. Penny Royal meanwhile continues to pull all the strings in the background, keeping the Polity at bay and seizing control of an attack ship. It seeks Factory Station Room 101, a wartime manufacturing space station believed to be destroyed. What does it want with the factory? And will Spear find the rogue AI before it gets there?

 

thing explainerThe Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe is an unusual book. I have never seen one quite like it. Its full-page diagrams contain details of complex things using only the most common 1000 words (which are listed alphabetically at the back of the book.) Topics range from the human torso (“bags of stuff inside you”), to a helicopter (“sky boat with turning wings”),  oil rigs (“stuff in Earth we can burn”), and washing machines (“boxes that make stuff smell better”), to name just a few. It is hilarious and educational at the same time.

Munroe’s elevator is a “lifting room.” He doesn’t neglect to inform that riding one while facing the back wall is likely to make others think you are strange. He still manages to provide a thorough explanation of its mechanical workings.

I suppose some parts of the book could be construed as bringing too much irreverence to what are usually regarded as important and serious topics. For instance, according to Munroe, nuclear bombs are “machines for burning cities.” If you have a certain sense of humor and are even a little bit interested in science, however, you are more likely to find this fresh, almost child-like approach endearing.

The book’s temporary residence on our kitchen table at home sparked some delightful conversations among all ages.

Randall Munroe is the author responsible for the xkcd webcomic.