Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Books I Read in August

Passage by Connie Willis - Psychologist Joanna Lander teams up with a handsome neurologist whose ability to simulate near-death experiences brings them closer to understanding what happens at the threshold of death.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - A breezy comedy of errors that begins with a missing emerald engagement ring and a businessman's stolen phone lead two people to unexpected love.

Deathless by Catherynne Valente - Spun with vivid magic, the Russian folktale "The Death of Koschei the Deathless" is reimagined as a love story between Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and warrior woman Marya Morevna during the early days of the Soviet Union.

Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse - A coveted silver cow-creamer drops hapless gentleman of leisure Bertie Wooster into the middle of two engaged couples, an incriminating notebook, an insufferable Scottie, and blackmail - in short, a situation impossible for any brain but Jeeves' to unravel.

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely - A prominent psychologist shares his insights into the causes of humankind's tendency to cheat - something we all do, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum - Using cutting-edge science and hard-nosed determination, New York's coroner Dr. Charles Norris exposed poisoners, cleared the innocent, and revived American forensic medicine during the wild days of Prohibition.

Aunts Aren't Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse - Following doctor's orders, Bertie goes out to the country for rest - only to have his life interrupted by an overly friendly cat, a lovelorn couple, and his amoral Aunt Dahlia's betting schemes.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley - Though monsters haunt the darkness of her world, Sunshine is still unprepared to be taken prisoner one night by a group of vampires - or to make herself an ally of the otherworldly Constantine.

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone - You don't have to be an academic to enjoy this illustrated look at the history and cultural impact of that controversial fashion doll, Barbie.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel - In this spiritual fable of survival, an Indian boy is stranded in the Pacific ocean for 227 days - accompanied by a Bengal tiger.

Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley - Big Tobacco spokesman Nick Naylor slings BS to pay his mortgage - but after getting death threats he worries that he may have smoked his last cigarette.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton - In this inventive fantasy that re-imagines the Victorian era, members of a genteel family struggle to make their way in the world after the death of their father - and they happen to be dragons.

The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones - In a magical world devastated by packs of other-worldly tourists, a good-hearted wizard Derk is named Dark Lord and must organize the scenic evil - and just maybe free his world from tyranny.

Ignorance by Stuart Firestein - This is a short essay with case studies by scientist Stuart Firestein about the power of ignorance in advancing scientific knowledge and inquiry.

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