Dept. of Speculation

Posted in Modern Literature by - Apr 15, 2014
Dept. of Speculation
  • Release Date: 1/28/2014

By Jenny Offill
Knopf, $22.95, 179 pages

This is a highly original novel since it is composed of fragments which somehow are weaved into a story of marriage and betrayal. Since the likelihood of marital success in the United States if no better than fifty/fifty, this angry book should resonate with many women who find themselves cast off in favor of a newer, younger model. In this story, there is also a beloved yet colicky child who is in the mix,  engendering ambiguous feelings in the jilted wife. To add insult to injury, the apartment becomes infested by bedbugs, forcing the wife to a …

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Tongwan City

Posted in History by - Apr 15, 2014
Tongwan City
  • Release Date: 1/31/2014

By Gao Jianqun
CN Times Books, $26.00, 272 pages

People love an origin story. We want to know how this all got started. This is the origin story for the nation of China. It is like reading about the single drop of water that will eventually create the ripples we see today. Warlord Helian Bobo has the dream and the manpower to create a unified China. He begins to create Tongwan City.

Written by Chinese author Gao Jianqun, the book follows the path of two men, a lover and a fighter, and how these two men dreamed of unite a nation. The book does a …

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Fairy Tales for Clever Kids

Posted in Children's, Kids' Book Review by - Apr 15, 2014

By Stanislav Ustymenko
Teamich Inc.

This app is about many fairy tales. I read the one called The Ugly Duckling. In this app, there was a duckling who was little and ugly. On each screen of the story, there is a task to complete. I did each task in order to be able to move to the next screen. Some of the tasks are: choosing the color of the swans, finding what food is good for ducklings, and finding out what grows on a tree. There are a lot of words. The pictures move when I touch them. I like reading books on …

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The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery

Posted in Classics by - Apr 15, 2014
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery
  • Release Date: 1/7/2014

By Dorothy L. Sayers
Bourbon Street Books, $14.99, 278 pages

Bellona was the ancient Roman goddess of war. The characters in this novel, General Fentiman (the deceased), his grandson, George, Lord Peter Wimsey, and his manservant are all veterans of wars and forged by that experience. The Bellona Club is the refuge for patriotic aristocratic men. The last thing any of the posh Bellona Club members wanted was a corpse in their lounge. It was unpleasant and inconvenient that ninety year old General Fentiman’s death wasn’t noticed for a while because he generally napped in his customary chair. But he was dead – and …

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Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate nature of Reality

Posted in Science & Nature by - Apr 15, 2014
Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate nature of Reality
  • Release Date: 1/7/2014

By Max Tegmark
Knopf, $30.00, 432 pages

Written in a far-reaching style, this book grabs the reader, twists his mind and then reflects it back on the author’s – providing an insight seldom encountered in a book.  While mathematics alone offers a window into the workings of nature, Tegmark takes a mathematical stand preferring to view the vast cosmos as a gargantuan mathematical puzzle.  He claims that mathematics is everywhere; from the parabola’s path that objects follow under the force of gravity to the dynamics of orbiting bodies it is plain to see the mathematical observations Tegmark observes.

Mathematics is a way to observe nature, …

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Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka

Posted in Modern Literature by - Apr 15, 2014
Forgiving the Angel: Four Stories for Franz Kafka
  • Release Date: 1/14/2014

By Jay Cantor
Knopf, $24.95, 224 pages

Forgiving the Angel is a compilation of four stories relating to Franz Kafka, and based on a real circle of people who were deeply connected to the writer, but you do not have to be familiar with Kafka’s writing in order to enjoy this work of fiction.  It is an interesting read in this regard, because the book as a whole is very cohesive. We meet Max Brod, a good friend of Kafka’s, who was asked to be Kafka’s “literary executioner” and burn all of his unpublished manuscripts, and Dora Diamant, Kafka’s one great love.  We also meet …

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Everything I Ever Needed to Know About _____* I Learned from Monty Python: *History, Art, Poetry, Communism, Philosophy, the Media, Birth, Death, … Mythology, Fish Slapping, and Many More!

Posted in Music & Movies by - Apr 15, 2014
Everything I Ever Needed to Know About _____* I Learned from Monty Python: *History, Art, Poetry, Communism, Philosophy, the Media, Birth, Death, … Mythology, Fish Slapping, and Many More!
  • Release Date: 3/18/2014

By Brian Cogan, Jeff Massey
Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 336 pages

They are considered to be the greatest comedy troupe ever assembled.  They helped inspire generations of comedians after them, including Saturday Night Live.  They went around England banging two empty halves of coconuts together.  They are Monty Python and they are very silly, but what is even sillier is reading an academic book about their comedy, and a book that is quite decent.  This book is wide ranging, and does not need to be read in any order; I dare someone to read it backwards.  It covers the topics that Monty Python skewers: history, religion, …

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In the Morning I’ll Be Gone: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (The Troubles Trilogy)

Posted in Mystery, Crime & Thrillers by - Apr 15, 2014
In the Morning I’ll Be Gone: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel (The Troubles Trilogy)
  • Release Date: 3/4/2014

By Adrian McKinty
Seventh Street Books, $15.95, 300 pages

In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty brings The Troubles Trilogy to an outstanding conclusion. Taken overall, this set of three books which sits on the cusp of historical mysteries and thrillers, has made a major contribution to understanding how the people of Northern Ireland responded to the sectarian warfare going on around them. The combination of unflinching realism and mordant black humor has been a delight to read with the protagonist, Sean Duffy, one of the most interesting of brilliant obsessive depressives we’ve seen in recent books.

This time around, he’s been demoted in the …

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Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific

Posted in History by - Apr 15, 2014
Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific
  • Release Date: 2/25/2014

By Mary Cronk Farrell, with a foreword by First Lieutenant Diane Carlson Evans ANC RVN
Abrams Books for Young Readers, $24.95, 160 pages

Tales of heroism are not simply important narrative tools, both in studying history and sharing stories; they are a crucial record of those moments where humans went above and beyond in order to help and support others. And sadly, some truly worthwhile stories of heroism are only now coming to light after decades in the shadows.

Pure Grit presents an unflinching look at the heroism of American Army and Navy nurses in the Pacific Theater during World War 2 after being captured by …

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Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits

Posted in Technology by - Apr 15, 2014
Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits
  • Release Date: 3/4/2014

By John Gribbin
Prometheus Books, $28.95, 255 pages

In order to understand the possibility, wondrous advantages and problems of building a quantum computer one must first understand computers and quantum.  Gribbin provides a breathtaking vehicle to bring the reader up to speed on both questions. The history of computer development, from wartime code breaking to modern computers, is told in stories of brilliant individuals such as Touring, Von Neumann, Frankel, Feynman and others, examining the genius, determination and skill of those math and science greats who created modern computing. Gribben picks up the quantum thread and tells of the leaps of insight, the false …

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