Today's Paula's Pick is The Secret Between Us, a story with a lesson. From Amazon: "Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party when their car hits a man running in the dark. Grace was at the wheel, but Deborah sends her home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident. Her decision then turns into a deception that takes on a life of its own and threatens the special bond between mother and daughter."
I was reading another great book on genetics, Genetic Twists Of Fate when, horror of horrors, I found that someone had been making notes in this library book! So in addition to the rule about not stealing library books, please note that it is not OK to write in library books! Please!
The Eternity Brigade is another great read, similar to The Forever War, but with one big exception: The accuracy of its predictions. The Forever War predicted things that actually came true, like the legalization of marijuana, or the government encouraging homosexuality to control population growth. The Eternity Brigade doesn't use wormholes to take us into the future, instead, soldiers are frozen at the end of a war and then thawed out at the start of the next war, keeping the cadre battle hardened without having to maintain a standing army during peacetime. Later the process skips freezing and uses something similar to Star Trek's transporter to digitize the soldiers and keep them in memory until needed, and of course later the Army gets the bright idea to mass produce them to make entire regiments out of one guy, but don't let me spoil it for you!
In The Eternity Brigade, written in 1980, not long after The Forever War, the future is much less fun, much bleaker than The Forever War. Hawker is frozen for 12 years, fights a war in China, survives, then is repatriated back to the States, where he finds conditions pretty horrible. Gasoline is almost non-existent, energy is extremely expensive, and even though he and his buddies are filthy rich after their twelve years of monthly pay has been compounded with interest as they slept, they have to take a bus to New York, whereas before they were frozen they flew cheaply and easily to Las Vegas on just the signing bonus. In this future world, citizens have to have a photo ID card to travel, and permission to enter the cities to keep out illegal aliens, troublemakers and terrorists. As gripping as Stephen Goldin's tale is, it's hard to read something that turned out to be so wrong. But, remember, at the time everyone thought that we would run out of oil, and things would get worse and worse over time.Perhaps authors in search of character motivations in futuristic novels should read this book, The Bottomless Well.
This book tells us that there will never be a shortage of energy, ever again. How many of us wasted our lives worrying that the future was going to be bleaker than the past, when in fact, it's gotten better! Malthus predicted that the whole world would starve to death before the 1900s, instead, in the 21st century, the biggest problem the poor have is obesity! I guess Obamacare is going to have to cover Jenny Craig diets! Oh wait, that turned out to be another red herring too. And since we haven't run out of fuel (we never ran out of whale oil and ambergris either, we just found better alternatives) they have to come up with other lies, like Greenhouse Gas emissions to get us to stop burning "fossil fuels." The Bottomless Well, written in 2005 predicted a glut of energy even before Fracking became a household word. Now the price of oil is dropping again, proving that we will never run out of energy, and making those Prius owners look pretty stupid. It's really hard to read The Eternity Brigade now, given that it was so wrong about the future. It just seems so pointless, obviously we are not going to learn anything from this author because he was so wrong. So instead of reading science fiction, or watching the "fake news" predict the next global catastrophe that will never come about, maybe you should try reading a book like The Bottomless Well, which, sorry to say, you'll have to find elsewhere because the library doesn't have a copy.
Checking the library site I found some interesting trends. I know I have poked fun at this book more than once, but it deserves it. One copy, zero holds. Kind of like a book about a flat earth immediately after it's confirmed that the earth is round.
Trump's book, The Art Of The Deal, 5 copies, 13 holds.
Barack Obama, 3 copies, zero holds.
David Horowitz' 28th book, Big Agenda, 7 copies, 26 holds.
Clearly it's a new day in America, and time for some more books!
Often when two authors work on a book, one is a famous person and the other is the real writing talent. Origins by Richard Leakey (son of Louis Leakey) and Roger Lewin always seemed to be tilted towards Roger's writing, which IMHO subverted Richard's beliefs, so much so that they had to release a new book, Origins Reconsidered, but in this version, Roger is listed as a "contributor," not an author. Other collaborations are more balanced, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray in The Bell Curve, Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele in Race are good examples. But the one collaboration that really touched me recently is Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa in the book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters. Kanazawa is widely hated for his views. Interestingly it's OK to hate non-white people as long as they hold the wrong views, but does he deserve it? In the Preface, Kanazawa tells the story of how WBPHMD came about. Alan asked Satoshi to help him work on another book and gave him full co-authorship in exchange for writing just a couple of chapters. "It was a very generous offer," he says, so he agreed. During the collaboration Satoshi converted Alan to Evolutionary Psychology and they talked about it all the time after the new book came out.. Then they decided to work together on a book for generalists and non-scientists explaining the basics of EP or EvoPsych as it's known. They dove into writing the new book and suddenly Alan fell ill with Hodgkin's disease. Despite an optimistic prognosis Alan became so ill that he couldn't do much work, but completed a couple of chapters while Satoshi worked on his own chapters. Alan died just two years later, at age 44, too young for such a bright mind. Satoshi decided to continue work on WBPHMD as a way of preserving Alan's contribution to the field, but because his dear friend wasn't around to proof, argue and contribute, Satoshi tells us this touching admission:
"Thus Alan never got a chance to see the final manuscript or approve the subsequent revisions that I made to his chapters. I am keeping Alan as the first author of this book because that was the arrangement we agreed upon when we began our collaboration, and because the book was originally his idea. However, the reader should know that I am solely responsible for the entire contents of the final manuscript, which Alan did not have a chance to see or approve. Alan should be credited as the genius behind this book, while any remaining shortcomings should be attributed to me."
Quite a guy, quite a guy.
After discovering Susan Pinker (see Are Sex Differences Real?), the sister of Steven Pinker, author of many great books, I had to root out some more Susan Pinker books, and I found one in the library! The Village Effect was originally going to be called Face To Face, and the cover graphic pretty much echos that title, implying that the cover was complete before the final title was chosen.
In this book, Susan tells us that Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, etc are nowhere near sufficient to replace real face to face contact. And face to face contact can make you healthier, happier and smarter, as she proves all over the book.
I could not agree more. I travelled all over the world to bring technology to people in distant lands. Sure, I can email you a document, a video, a lecture, even Skype you, but until we are face to face, you will never understand what I am saying.
It's rather timely, as I recently was subjected to a "time out" from Facebook thanks to a wacked out stranger who jumped down my throat like a homeless guy with an axe to grind jumping into a private conversation at a bus stop. I realized that while I was saying nothing more indefensible than something you might find in a book by Dr. Richard Lynn, Dr. Jean Philippe Rushton or Dr. Steven Pinker himself, people don't understand that FaceBook is not a replacement for face to face interaction. It's too easy to unwittingly step on someone's toes because you don't really see them as individuals, and if you couch your posts so much that you don't offend someone, you'll never say anything of value to anyone. For that reason, I dropped the FOVCL Facebook page as well as my own personal Facebook page. I will keep up the Booknook Blog, since it's not forced down your throat. You can read it or not, your choice, like borrowing a book. If you don't like it, you can close it up, take out your bookmark and turn it back in, no harm done.
Browsing books can be a very personal experience. I always valued the checkout people at Powell's Books who kept their mouth shut about my book choices, and of course, at the library, since you can checkout all by yourself, so nobody can judge you based on your choices. In this hilarious scene from the movie Norman, Is That You? Ben Chambers played by Redd Foxx tries to discreetly inquire about books on homosexuality after discovering that his son is gay. At first he tries denial, "Son, you can't be homosexual, you must be on drugs! Thank God my son is on drugs!" But after Norman storms out, Ben decides to learn everything he can about homosexuality by reading about it. Unfortunately, the salespeople at the bookstore are less than sympathetic to his plight.
While browsing the library's fourth floor I stumbled across this book, The Sexual Paradox by the sister of renowned evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate, How the Mind Works, etc. I was impressed by the fact that nowhere on the dust jacket does she mention her kinship to Steven, preferring to stand alone rather than seek to ingratiate herself with Steven's huge following. Her book is an excellent look into the reasons why "equality" just doesn't seem to be panning out the way that feminists might have wanted. Instead of women flocking to the highly paid careers of science and engineering, despite the likes of Intel, Microchip and others desperate to show they can hire women to fill the roles that men traditionally have filled, women still make up less than 20% of these lucrative positions, and the excuses offered such as discrimination or lack of degrees just don't hold up. Susan's book is an excellent look at this conundrum that defies solution, and because she is both a woman and a mother, she speaks from a position of authority on this topic. A great read, look for it.
I saw this book on the shelf at the Booknook and had to admit, I love the title! Doctor Susan Love writes a book on breasts? But this book lets me make a point I want to make to all our loyal patrons. We will not judge you by the books you buy at the Booknook. Let me tell you a story.
Once while I was entertaining a South Korean customer, we made a trip to Powell's books just to give Mr. Kim a look at the biggest bookstore in the area. But when I bought a copy of Richard Michod's newest book (at the time) Eros and Evolution, my guest made a comment:"Are you having sexual problems?" I thought how rude! But, no I told him, this is a book on the evolution of sex, which was a watershed event in the evolution of life on Earth. The provacative cover might have given this neophyte English speaker the wrong impression, but I don't want people guessing what's wrong with me when I buy a book with a painting of a naked Eve on the cover.
We Booknookers promise we won't even take notice of what you buy. If you want to bring it up, that's fine, and if not, that's OK too. Think about people who are going through divorce, death of a child, abuse, alchoholism or in this case, breast cancer. How could they ever find a book to help them get through this difficult chapter in their life if they think they are going to be judged by their purchase? What you buy is up to you, we stock everything and we expect every book will find someone who will love it.
When I saw this book on the shelves at the Booknook I nearly died laughing. Why? Don't you remember that great scene in Airplane! where the stewardess played by Julie Hagarty offers some reading material to an old woman played by Ann Nelson and she asks "Do you have anything light?" The stewardess replies "How's about this leaflet on Jewish Sports Legends?"
Even the show House M.D. joked about this in the season 5 episode, The Social Contract.
Dr. House:"First of all, Wilson played tennis on his college team, and you...are a Jew." He tells Taub he's not athletic. Taub points out Sandy Koufax was Jewish, and House pooh-poohs him, saying that Jews always go on about Sandy Koufax, and the Holocaust. "It gets old."
Well, this book proves that Sandy Koufax is not the only Jew in sports, and actually has many quite exhaustive biographies on many Jewish sports legends. A very nice book in good shape, and thicker that the leaflet offered to Ann Nelson on the plane.
Our own Zita Podany appeared on KATU's AM Northwest to talk about her new book, Vanport. A fascinating book and a very good job Zita, congratulations!
Here is a really interesting book by Geert Wilders that the library has up on the 4th floor (call number 305.697 Wilders). If you don't know who Geert Wilders is, you haven't been paying attention. Geert Wilders is marked for death in the same way that Salman Rushdie is marked for death, he dares to speak up about Islam and its war on Western civilization. Mr. Wilders is hated worldwide, he was even deported from the U.K. after arriving to give a talk at a private gathering in England, home of liberty and freedom (and the first nation to outlaw slavery). Everyone has the right to speak about anything he/she wants to, no one should be under threat of death for anything he says, or at least that's how we in the West approach speech. But just try that in any nation where Islam rules, or even just places where there are more than a few Muslims and you are likely to get your head chopped off on a public street like Theo van Gogh, great-great-grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh who was murdered for a film he produced on Islamic treatment of women.
The book opens with a foreword by Mark Steyn, author and occasional "undocumented anchor-baby" fill-in host for the Rush Limbaugh show who has been through his own version of hell with the Canadian courts for writing less than complimentary articles about Islam in Canada. Free speech? What's that?
I was reading an article online about a new book that just came out and checked the library to see if there were any available. No, but 4 holds on a book that has already been ordered! That is why we Booknookers work those "grueling" three hour shifts for free, to bring in some money to help the library buy books. And that is what happens with your donations too, we sell them, the library gets money and we get new books on the shelves. And let's not forget the people who actually buy the books, that's where the money actually comes from! We are all doing our part to help get more books on the shelves of our beautiful library.
A few weeks ago I mentioned Zita Podany's new book, Vanport, but just yesterday I got my copy (I pre-ordered it) and I couldn't put it down! Everyone in the area has heard about the floods of the Columbia River, and some of us know about shipbuilding in the area, but Vanport tells the whole story of how the most diverse workforce in Oregon's history came together in the second largest city in Oregon, built in just a year by the private sector to give Rosie the Riveter and thousands like her a place to live while they worked three shifts to build ships faster than the Japanese and Germans could sink them. Zita makes the point that we won the war partly because of Vanport and the people who lived there. It was also a great social experiment. What would be the character of workers who were given everything they needed, from a job, housing and food? The answer might surprise you, and it's in this book. Congratulations Zita, great job, and a fantastic read!
Would you buy a used copy of The Great American Bathroom Book? You must know that it's been read in a bathroom sometime in the past. There is a hilarious episode of Seinfeld where George is browsing at a bookstore, but needs to relieve himself, so takes a book on French Impressionist Art off the shelf and sneaks it into the bathroom. When he's done, he gets caught by the store owner and is forced to buy the book which is quite costly. From then on he decides to try to sell it to recoup his money, but no one will buy the book because they somehow sense it's been in a bathroom. While this book is pretty cheap, only a buck, it's darn certain to have been treated to informal bouts of "fumigation" if you will. Buyer beware, no refunds!
I came across this book at a recent visit to Barnes and Noble and almost bought it, then checked the library and sure enough they had hidden a copy at the Cascade Park branch. I put a Hold on it, and got it delivered to the Vancouver Community Library and dug in with gusto. What I found is a fantastic book that covers everything, and I mean everything having to do with evolution, genetics, history, institutions and of course race. Even among the braver souls of science, the Evolutionary Psychology (EvoPsych) folks like Pinker, Cosmides, Tooby, et al who do admit that human behavior is subject to evolutionary pressures, they still refuse to admit that human groups might have drifted apart genetically over the last 10,000 years, as though there is one race for all eternity. Had Darwin believed this, he would have never noticed the variety among the Galapagos Finches. Nicholas Wade, writer for Science and the New York Times explains that just because all we can find of our ancestors is bones, and bone structure evolves slowly (but not imperceptibly) we cannot overlook the fact that it can take as few as 5 generations to change the aggressiveness of animals using artificial selection. Natural Selection works the same way, which explains why we no longer burn witches, instead we self-domesticated our race and now we give them treats every October 31st. I have read a lot of books in this genre over my lifetime, but this is the very best book on the topic so far. Don't waste your time with The Bell Curve, this book goes so far beyond every other book on the topic that after reading it, you will have a thorough understanding of so many topics that your understanding of the human race will crystalize into the immutable truth of us all. We all share the same genes, but tiny, almost imperceptible differences give the world the Diversity we live in today.
Back in February I told you how to write your own book using CreateSpace. Well, some of my friends listened, and now I am happy to show you two new books written by friends who chose to use CreateSpace.
Some of you in the local area may, or may not know that we have a music industry legend in the area. Robert TenEyck is an inventor and electrical engineer who was responsible for many great guitar amplifiers, including the Teneyck guitar amp. Robert's autobiography The Shortest Distance Between Two Events Is Timing is a hilarious account of Robert's life. In one tale he recounts how, while hitchhiking in New Jersey some boys picked him up and drove him past his house and dropped him off 3 miles beyond. Then they came back and picked him up. To find out how many times they picked him up and dropped him off 3 miles from his house, get the book, don't wait for the movie.
One of my friends in Italy has written a really cool book on photography. Luigi Barbano's new book Photography: The f Manual isn't like some dusty old treatise you might find at the Booknook. Luigi's book talks about everything from f stops to file formats, the difference between JPG and TIF and how image scaling and DPI relate. His section on how camera, computer monitor and printer color calibration works is explained so well, you'll never forget it (just think toast). It even has in-depth explanations on photo composition, HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, depth of field, printing your images, publishing, and more.
Luigi's English is pretty good yet his lovely Italian flavor and sense of humor still come through.
Our own Zita Podany, chief architect of the Friends of Vancouver Community Library website, long time Booknooker and Friend of the Library has written a book published locally. Vanport is available now for pre-order. I've ordered my copy and can't wait to see it!
Sorry to give you the spoiler in the title of this post, but what is the answer? On April 15th, Jeopardy!, which was being watched by many librarians cheering for a colleague of theirs, one day champ Margaret Miles. The answer was: A critic said that this bestselling author “makes me wish there were more than 26 letters”
The final scores were incredibly close, as of course, everyone got the right answer:
Margaret 16000 + 15999 = 31999
McKinnie 16200 + 16200 = 32400
Andrew 16600 + 15801 = 32401 (1-day total: $32,401)
I love the 1956 movie The Bad Seed with Patty McCormack as Rhoda, Nancy Kelly as Christine and William Hopper (aka Paul Drake on Perry Mason) as Colonel Penmark, Rhoda's father. The movie was based on a play first performed the same year that William March's novel of the same name came out. The library does not have the novel, but the Cascade Park branch has a copy of the play and I just finished reading it. OMG, what a great piece of work! It is especially fun to read if you have seen the movie like I have. One of the best things about the movie is that the most of the actors were simply reprising their roles from the play which ran from December 1954 to September 1955. Only William Hopper was a new addition, quite possibly because the original actor who played Col. Penmark in the play, John O'Hare was busy with a new TV show. The play is slightly different from the movie. In the play only one set is used, the apartment of Col. and Christine Penmark. In the movie of course it's easier to branch out and film several different locales, including the backyard where Rhoda plays with her tea set, and where Leroy, the janitor who gets wise to Rhoda's homicidal tendencies eventually dies after Rhoda sets him and his bed of Excelsior on fire. She is one evil little girl, which is the point of the novel, play and movie: That criminals are born, not raised, that environment means nothing, heredity drives everything. Sure, in the case of Christine it skipped a generation, thanks to Mendelian genetics. However, with Rhoda, the evil of Bessie Danker, Rhoda's grandmother and Christine's psychopathic mother has been resurrected with a vengeance. Watch the movie, read the play. It's a chilling tale.
For several years I have been writing a memoir of my travels around the world saving the day at "chip" makers in Asia, the U.S. and Europe. I finally got around to publishing it using CreateSpace.com. I really love CreateSpace, they make publishing a real book super easy. All you have to do is create the document and the cover, then upload to CreateSpace. They print your paperbacks very cheaply right here in the USA. My 130 page 6" by 9" black and white paperback with color cover costs me $2.41 each. They also offer paid services from cover artists, proofreaders, editors, etc, or you can do everything yourself like I did and it costs you nothing. You can download templates for your book or create your own. Once published, your book goes up for sale on Amazon.com and can be automatically ported to Kindle for sale on Amazon's Kindle site. You can charge whatever you want, and sell it around the world with the royalties (35% or 70%, your choice) going straight into your bank account. If you have ever dreamed of writing a book I encourage you to try CreateSpace. I'm published and you can be too!
Volunteers crazy about books.