Multcolib Picks: While You Wait for...Gulp by Mary Roach
Annotation:Did you know, unbelievably, that Chernobyl may be one of the largest nature preserves in Eastern Europe? Wait...what? There's loads more environmental disaster though if that's not your thing. Maybe Port Arthur, Texas, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is more your style. You'll love the precise language and Blackwell's wry humor.
Annotation:The hilarious, insightful account of one man's unlikely epic journey through Jeopardy! , exploring triumph and failure, the nature of memory, and how knowledge can transform us in unpredictable ways--all against the backdrop of the most popular quiz show in history. Harris chronicles his evolution from a struggling stand-up comic, repeatedly failing the Jeopardy! audition test, to an elite player going up against some of the game's biggest winners.
Annotation:Weingarten describes the world as you think it is before revealing how it actually is, in narratives that are by turns hilarious, heartwarming, and provocative, but always memorable. The very short essay on his dad's illness is some of the very best nonfiction I've ever read. Ever.
Annotation:Highways roar in the background, gunshots are heard on a regular basis, and a homeless guy sleeps in his car just down the street. This is the sweet and surprising truth of one woman living on her very small farm in downtown Oakland, California.
Annotation:Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide. Weiner takes us from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." A brilliant mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor--he investigates not what happiness is, but where it is.
Annotation:Delicious blend of history and drama, biochemistry and toxicology, and the very beginning of the science of forensics. Un-put-downable.
Annotation:Do you now, or have you ever loved candy? The kind you could get at the corner store in your neighborhood, back in the day? You will love this book. Sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes wry and more personal, I consider his feelings on coconut some of the funniest sentences ever written, and I agree with them completely.
Annotation:The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America. If you're going to take a hike back east, it's probably the place to go. Bryson is a brilliant observer of people and he will make you laugh out loud, mostly as you see yourself in other people's weirdness.
Annotation:I don't have a huge bug freak-out factor, except for centipedes. So the short chapter on the giant centipede that hangs from cave ceilings to catch bats in flight will give me nightmares for years to come. Great book that appeals to all ages.
Annotation:Go ahead, you can do it. Make one last attempt at understanding the periodic table. I never found it that interesting until I read this book--chemists can be so whacky!
Annotation:There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes can explain a lot, including JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius.
Annotation:Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of-or has the courage to ask.
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If you're a fan of Mary Roach, you know ~exactly~ why you're a fan of Mary Roach. Maybe her choice of topics--sex, death, outer space, the paranormal, and now the human digestive system. Could be her sense of humor--6th grade potty humor with a dash more irreverence. Perhaps it's her smarts and fearlessness. She doesn't talk down to you and she'll try anything once. She loves the world a whole lot and wants to find out all about it, and have a great time in the process. Here's a list of suggested reading while you're waiting for her latest book, Gulp.
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