Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kate M. Is Recommending:
From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, comes The Good Luck of Right Now, a funny and tender story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere--an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.

For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

Bartholomew thinks he's found a clue when he discovers a "Free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother's underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard--there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man's heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.

A struggling priest, a "Girlbrarian," her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the cat Parliament and find his biological father . . . and discover so much more.
Based on the terrible truths of Jonestown, Jim Jones's utopian commune in Guyana, Children of Paradise is a beautifully imagined novel that interweaves history and fiction to portray a mother and daughter's escape from the rule of a religious madman.

Joyce and her young daughter, Trina, have followed a charismatic preacher from California to the wilds of Guyana, where a thousand congregants have cleared a swath of dense jungle and built a utopian society based on a rigid order guarded over by armed men and teenage "prefects." Each day ends with sermons that demonstrate the preacher's capricious violence and his utmost hostility toward even a whisper of skepticism. But try as the preacher may to block out the world, the commune's seclusion is being breached, first by tribal elders complaining of polluted river water downstream, then by an invisible presence that has helped a young boy to disappear, and finally with rumors of the imminent arrival of a congressional delegation on a fact-finding mission.

As the camp begins rehearsing an endgame of mass suicide, Joyce and Trina attempt a daring escape, aided by a local boat captain and the most unlikely of prisoners--the extraordinary Adam, the commune's caged gorilla.

Told with a sweeping perspective in lush prose, shimmering with magic, and devastating in its clarity, Children of Paradise is a brilliant and evocative exploration of the liberating power of storytelling.
What happens when German spies collaborate to unleash a campaign of terror upon America at the start of World War I?

In the summer of 1914, New York Police Department captain Tom Tunney is preoccupied by Manhattan's raging gang rivalries and has little idea that, halfway around the world, a much more ominous threat to the city is brewing. As Germany teeters on the brink of war, its ambassador to the United States is given instructions to find and finance a team of undercover saboteurs who can bring America to its knees before it has a chance to enter the conflict on the side of the Allies.

At the page-turning pace of a spy thriller, Dark Invasion tells the remarkable true story of Tunney and his pivotal role in discovering, and delivering to justice, a ruthless ring of German terrorists determined to annihilate the United States. Overwhelmed and undermatched, Tunney's small squad of cops was the David to Germany's Goliath, the operatives of which included military officers, a germ warfare expert, a gifted Harvard professor, a bomb technician, and a document forger. As explosions leveled munitions plants and destroyed cargo ships, particularly in and around New York City, pan- icked officials talked about rogue activists and anarchists—but it was Tunney who suspected that these incidents were part of something bigger and became determined to bring down the culprits.

Through meticulous research, Blum deftly reconstructs an enthralling, vividly detailed saga of subterfuge and bravery. Enhanced by more than fifty images sourced from global archives, his gritty, energetic narrative follows the German spies—with Tunney hot on their heels—from the streets, harbors, and warehouses of New York City to the genteel quads of Harvard, the grand estates of industry tycoons, and the steps of the U.S. Capitol. The New York Police Department's breathtaking efforts to unravel the extent of the German plot and close in on its perpetrators are revealed in this riveting account of America's first encounter with a national security threat unlike any other—the threat of terrorism—that is more relevant now than ever.
Drawing from the horizons of science, today's leading thinkers reveal the hidden threats nobody is talking about--and expose the false fears everyone else is distracted by.

What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of ("The world's smartest website"--The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them--particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more--here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.

Steven Pinker uncovers the real risk factors for war * Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi peers into the coming virtual abyss * Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek laments our squandered opportunities to prevent global catastrophe * Seth Lloyd calculates the threat of a financial black hole * Alison Gopnik on the loss of childhood * Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains why firefighters understand risk far better than economic "experts" * Matt Ridley on the alarming re-emergence of superstition * Daniel C. Dennett and george dyson ponder the impact of a major breakdown of the Internet * Jennifer Jacquet fears human-induced damage to the planet due to "the Anthropocebo Effect" * Douglas Rushkoff fears humanity is losing its soul * Nicholas Carr on the "patience deficit" * Tim O'Reilly foresees a coming new Dark Age * Scott Atran on the homogenization of human experience * Sherry Turkle explores what's lost when kids are constantly connected * Kevin Kelly outlines the looming "underpopulation bomb" * Helen Fisher on the fate of men * Lawrence Krauss dreads what we don't know about the universe * Susan Blackmore on the loss of manual skills * Kate Jeffery on the death of death * plus J. Craig Venter, Daniel Goleman, Virginia Heffernan, Sam Harris, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, and more.

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