We Recommend…The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian
Andy Weir
Crown Publishing, 2014

The MartianAstronaut Mark Watney – stranded alone on Mars, 140 million miles from earth. Read his daily logs and learn how he is surviving on Mars, then discover what’s happening on earth once NASA realizes he survived the accident that everyone thought had killed him. You will be amazed at Watney’s tenaciousness and ingenuity as he tackles one problem after another with grit and humor. You’ll identify with the people on earth, as they are all pulling for him to not only survive his ordeal but to be returned safely home…to earth.

8 Tips for Surviving on Mars from Andy Weir
So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you’re just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You’re going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars’s atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth’s. So basically, it’s nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You’re going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you’ll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it’s almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants…

For more of Andy’s tips on how to survive on Mars, go to Crown Publishing

On the web:
Andy Weir
Science Friday: Interview with Andy Weir
Book Trailer
Wall Street Journal: A Survival Guide To Mars

Book Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Online
Publisher’s Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
International Business Times: Book/Movie review

Read-alikes:
Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (begin with Red Mars)
Geoffrey Landis: Mars Crossing
Gregory Benford: The Martian Race

The Movie opens October 2, 2015

Movie Trailer:

We Recommend…Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted
Naomi Novik
Del Rey, 2015

UprootedUprooted, Naomi Novik’s newest novel, is based on Polish folklore and is reminiscent of a Grimm fairy tale. Agnieszka, the daughter of a woodcutter, finds herself unexpectedly taken from the security of her home in the village and thrust into a world she never imagined existed. Lush descriptions will draw you inexorably into a world of magic that is both despised and revered. A world comprised of villages living in fear of the Wood yet helpless to defend themselves. And a world driven by politics that are shaped in part by the Wood and the desperate fear it generates. Allow yourself to luxuriate in the complex world of Uprooted, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the bonds of friendship, love and loyalty can never be taken for granted.

On the Web:
Naomi Novik
Author Interview
Publisher’s Weekly

Read-alikes:
Robin McKinley: Spindle’s End, Beauty, Rose Daughter, The Blue Sword, and The Hero and the Crown
Juliet Marillier: Heart’s Blood
Catherynne Valente: Deathless
Kate Elliott: Cold Magic

Other Resources:
SurLaLune Fairy Tales
English Fairy Tales: Audio recordings of 43 fairy tales in the public domain.

Video book trailer

We Recommend… Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

Someone is WatchingSomeone is watching
Joy Fielding
Random House, 2015

Someone Is Watching, the new thriller by Joy Fielding, does not disappoint.  Bailey Carpenter is a beautiful, wealthy, and smart private investigator.  When she is raped during a stakeout, her world falls apart.  She is afraid to leave her apartment and every man she sees seems to be the same average height and weight with brown hair as her rapist, and she keeps sending the police to different men she thinks might be the one.  When her half-sister, with whom she has had no contact all of her life, shows up to help, Bailey accepts her help, and they develop a close bond.  When her sister notices a man parading around nude with no curtains in an apartment easily watched from Bailey’s, they joke about him.  But Bailey is receiving phone calls with no one there in the middle of the night, and when she looks out she sees this man bringing young women home and having sex, and then she sees him beating and then shooting his girlfriend, but the police can find no sign of it, and the girlfriend is alive and well.  It seems Bailey is having hallucinations due to PTSD, and after numerous times of being called out, the police no longer believe her.  The story takes twists and turns, and finally there is resolution for Bailey that proves she isn’t crazy or hallucinating, but this is only one problem solved—for Bailey still doesn’t know who her rapist is, until, finally, she does …

On the Web:

http://www.joyfielding.com/
Kirkus Review

Video book trailer:

Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

We Recommend… Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Truth Be Toldtruth-be-told-225 Hank Phillippi Ryan Forge, 2014. Truth Be Told is the third Jane Ryland novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan.  Jane is an investigative journalist (as is the author) and in this newest release she is doing a story on foreclosed houses in Boston, when a dead body is discovered in the empty house she is watching.  Meanwhile, her secret boyfriend is Detective Jake Brogan, who is suddenly faced with a confession about a 20 year old murder that may or may not be true.  Add to the mix some bank fraud, a few more homicides in empty houses, and the fact that Jane and Jake not only have to keep their relationship a secret, but are unable to share with each other what their investigations are turning up, which might help solve all the murders, both new and old.  All of this comes to a head when Jane is in line to become the next dead body in an empty house and things finally are made clear.  This is a terrific mystery, with numerous threads running through, that keeps the reader intrigued until the very last page. On the Web: Author’s Website Interview with the Author Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

We Recommend… Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Life or DeathLife or Death
Michael Robotham
Mulholland Books, 2015.

Michael Robotham’s new novel Life or Death starts out with a prison break.  Audie has been in prison for ten years and he breaks out the very day before he is due to be released!  The story moves forward in real time, but interspersed within the flow is the back story that slowly explains why Audie was in prison in the first place, and why he broke out a day before his release.  The questions that are asked by all at the beginning finally are answered as the novel progresses.  Where is the seven million dollars that was stolen?  Where is Audie’s brother, Carl?  Is he living the high life on a beach in the tropics?  Why are so many people trying to kill Audie, both in and out of jail?  Who is this teenage boy that Audie seems interested in?  This is a fascinating tale of corruption and false imprisonment, along with a heartbreaking love story.  It is thrilling until the very last page.

On the Web:

A quick summary from the author:

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGELife or Death fulfills the challenge to read ‘a book with antonyms in the title,’ among other possible categories.

We Recommend… The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

The Wives of Los Alamosthe wives of los alamos
TaraShea Nesbit
Bloomsbury, 2014.

This historical novel is based on the story of the wives who accompanied their husbands to live at a science lab in New Mexico, but the women did not know that the men were building the world’s first atomic bomb. In the community of Los Alamos, there is secrecy and gossip, worry and pride. From 1943-1945, the women follow news of the war and gather clues from their men’s silence as they speculate together about what role their husbands may have in the war effort.

The author succeeds in her incredible performance of language. The entire book is written in first person plural, always using the pronoun “we” to collectively tell the story of all the wives living at the science base. For example, “We arrived newlyweds, or with a seven-year itch, or still great friends, or no longer in love but trying to keep it together for our children, or for ourselves” (page 18). They are all sharing the same experience of being wives, but they have very different, individual experiences of marriage. In just one concise sentence, the author conveys so much information that applies to the entire community of women. “We stepped off trains nine months pregnant, or carrying six-week-olds in clothes baskets, or holding the hands of our two-year-olds – our Bobbys and our Margarets” (page 14). A single sentence describes the overlapping experience of all the wives arriving with their children, yet succinctly presents the nuances of the different details within the individual woman’s experience.

Although the names of a few women are mentioned more than once, there are not any main characters. There is no protagonist. To be honest, this book does not really have a plot either. The Wives of Los Alamos is an exercise in language. The author carries the language beautifully all the way to the end and lends voice to the women’s shared experience at Los Alamos.

A Reading Group Guide with fifteen questions is included at the end of the book, making it a strong candidate for book groups.

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGEThe Wives of Los Alamos fulfills the challenge to read ‘a book based on a true story,’ among other possible categories.

On the Web:

Publisher Reading Guide
New York Times Review
Los Alamos History Museum

Post by Jodi Griffith, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

Stuttering Awareness Week

May 10 – 16th, 2015 is Stuttering Awareness Week. This is a time developed by The Stuttering Foundation in which awareness can be raised about this speech disorder in order to not only encourage early detection and speech therapy treatment, but to also eradicate the stigma that surrounds the condition. Individuals who stutter often develop a fear of speaking in public, and the condition can affect their self-esteem.

The reality is that this condition doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Many stutters have learned to manage their symptoms or make peace with the disorder and become highly successful public speakers and public figures. See The Stuttering Foundation’s website and poster below to learn more.

"Famous People Who Stutter", by The Stuttering Foundation. Click here to see the poster full size.

“Famous People Who Stutter”, by The Stuttering Foundation. Click the image to see the poster full size.

In addition to the famous names above, some of your favorite authors have battled stuttering disorder.

Click the author’s name below to browse their books in our Library District catalog online. You can place a request for a book here. We also have books and materials available published by the Stuttering Foundation.

Jorge Luis Borges Somerset Maugham
Lewis Carroll David Mitchell
Charles Darwin Alan Rabinowitz
Margaret Drabble Jane Seymour
Dominick Dunne Marc Shell
John Gregory Dunne Nevil Shute
Robert A. Heinlein John Updike
Edward Hoagland Vince Vawter

Super Pi Day!

This Saturday, March 14th, 2015 is Super Pi Day!happy-pi-day

Pi Day is the celebration of the irrational number that calculates the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Commonly expressed as 3.14159 or simply 3.14, the ending of Pi has actually never been determined. Some mathematicians have calculated up to billions or even trillions of decimal places! Here, the Pi Day website shares one million digits of Pi. Even more fascinating, these numbers are said to continue infinitely without repetition or pattern! The theory lies in understanding that squaring a circle would be impossible, thus calculating an ending to Pi would be equally unlikely. Educator Reynaldo Lopes explains the nature and applications of Pi in his TedEd lecture:

 

This Saturday is considered “Super” Pi Day because the date precisely reflects the first few digits:

3/14/15

3.1415

To get even more precise, if one notes the time at 9:26 a.m., 54 seconds, it’s even more super!

3/14/15, 9:26:54

3.14159265359

That is exactly what the University of Arizona plans to do during their Science City event this weekend, held in conjunction with the Tucson Festival of Books. Right before 9:27 a.m., Science City will host a Super Pi Kickoff, at their “Super Pi Zone.” Details here.

If you can’t visit our neighbors in Pima County this weekend, but still want to learn more about this fascinating number, here are some links and books in our collection.

Happy Super Pi Day everyone!


On the Web:

Exploratorium – Pi related crafts, activities, and links
Tucson Festival of Book’s Super Pi Day Official Facebook Page
NationalPiDay.org Activities page

Books:

indexThe Joy of Pi
by David Blatner
1997
“No number has captured the attention and imagination of people throughout the ages as much as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is infinite and, inThe Joy of pi, it proves to be infinitely intriguing.” – Walker & Co Publishing
pi a biography

Pi: A Biography of the World’s Most Mysterious Number
by Alfred Posamentier
2004
“We all learned that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is called pi and that the value of this algebraic symbol is roughly 3.14. What we weren’t told, though, is that behind this seemingly mundane fact is a world of mystery, which has fascinated mathematicians from ancient times to the present. Simply put, pi is weird.” – Prometheus Books


index (1)Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure

by Cindy Neuschwander
1999
“When Sir Cumference drinks a potion which turns him into a dragon, his son Radius searches for the magic number known as pi which will restore him to his former shape.” – Charlesbridge Publishing
index (2) Why Pi?
by Johnny Ball
2009
“This entertaining follow-up to DK’s popular Go Figure!, Why Pi? presents even more mind-bending ways to think about numbers. This time, author Johnny Ball focuses on how people have used numbers to measure things through the ages, from the ways the ancient Egyptians measured the pyramids to how modern scientists measure time and space.” – DK Publishing

download The Joy of Mathematics: The Great Courses DVD

by Lawrence Lessig
2007
“Ready to exercise those brain cells? Humans have been having fun with mathematics for thousands of years. Along the way, they’ve discovered the amazing utility of this field—in science, engineering, finance, games of chance, and many other aspects of life. This course of 24 half-hour lectures celebrates the sheer joy of mathematics, taught by a mathematician who is literally a magician with numbers.” – Teaching Company Publishing

We Recommend… The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Seasonbone-season-samantha-shannon-bloomsbury-cover
Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury, 2013.

Imagine the year 2059, in London.  It is a city where a Grand Inquisitor reigns, and anyone with any kind of clairvoyance or psychic ability has to hide it away, because the normal people call them “unnaturals”.  They are in constant danger of being taken by the guards and sent to a secret city that is ruled by human-looking extraterrestrials. Paige Mahoney is a special kind of clairvoyant, a dreamwalker, and she works for one of the criminal lords with a close-knit group of clairvoyants.  Then a day comes when she is kidnapped and taken to the secret city, where the Rephaim treat humans as slaves.  Paige fights the evil Rephaim, and also the strange creatures that feed on both humans and Rephaim, while constantly hoping to escape.  The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is the author’s debut novel and also the first in her series, followed by The Mime Order.

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGE”, The Bone Season fulfills the challenge to read “A book written by someone under 20″, or “A popular author’s first books”, among other possible categories.

On the Web:

Official Book Series Website

Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger

We Recommend… Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?download (3)
Roz Chast
Bloomsbury, 2014.

This book has been passed around the Library District Office, and I am the third of my co-workers to read it. It has been greatly enjoyed by all of us! If you have never read a Graphic Novel as an adult, or wondered why an adult would read a ‘comic book,’ this book is an opportunity for you to try this genre.

The story is relatable for anyone who has worried about their aging parents or who may find themselves facing this situation in the future. While the subject is serious, it is balanced by hilarious drawings and conversations that often made me laugh out loud.

In this memoir, Roz Chast uses colorful sketches and humorous anecdotes to illustrate her relationship with her aging parents. She feels guilt over the fact that both of her parents can still drive her crazy even though she is now an adult with children of her own. She is particularly concerned that her parents, now in their 90s, continue to avoid discussions about death or what kind of arrangements they would prefer regarding nursing homes and funerals. As an only child, she is on her own as she navigates the confusing world of her parents’ insurance and mounting hospital bills. Her father’s dementia makes him an easy target for her mother’s overbearing nature, yet the relationship between the parents is one of the most amusing aspects of the book.

The graphic novel format adds lightness and humor to the challenges of family relationships. A nice addition is the photos revealing her parents’ pack-rat nature and the accumulation of items over decades, such as eye glasses and kitchenware from the 1950s.

*Bonus: If you are attempting the “2015 READING CHALLENGE”, this book fulfills the challenge to read “A Graphic Novel”, and I am also listing it under the challenge to read “A book that scares you”. I was scared that the topic would be depressing, but it really was funny, true, and fantastic.

On the Web:

Roz Chast’s Offical Website
Jewish Book Council Book Club Reader’s Guide

Post by Jodi Griffith, Pinal County Library District Cataloger