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The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers

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Provides information on numbers and what makes particular ones noteworthy
Author: David Wells
Published by Penguin on 09/04/1997
Book details: 231 pages.

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts

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An extraordinary and beautifully illustrated exploration of the medieval world through twelve manuscripts, from one of the world's leading experts. Winner of The Wolfson History Prize and The Duff Cooper Prize. A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Book Gift Guide Pick! Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is a captivating examination of twelve illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period. Noted authority Christopher de Hamel invites the reader into intimate conversations with these texts to explore what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and about the modern world, too. In so doing, de Hamel introduces us to kings, queens, saints, scribes, artists, librarians, thieves, dealers, and collectors. He traces the elaborate journeys that these exceptionally precious artifacts have made through time and shows us how they have been copied, how they have been embroiled in politics, how they have been regarded as objects of supreme beauty and as symbols of national identity, and who has owned them or lusted after them (and how we can tell). From the earliest book in medieval England to the incomparable Book of Kells to the oldest manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, these encounters tell a narrative of intellectual culture and art over the course of a millennium. Two of the manuscripts visited are now in libraries of North America, the Morgan Library in New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts allows us to experience some of the greatest works of art in our culture to give us a different perspective on history and on how we come by knowledge.
Published by Penguin on 10/24/2017
Book details: 640 pages.

Astral Weeks

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A mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory--along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968. On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year, Walsh's book follows a criss-crossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and hippie entrepreneurs, from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV's wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar. A mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks: James Brown quells tensions the night after Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated; the real-life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom. From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes, to acid experiments and film shoots, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place. One of LitHub's 15 Books You Should Read This March
Published by Penguin on 03/06/2018
Book details: 368 pages.

The Spirit of Science Fiction

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From a master of contemporary fiction, a tale of bohemian youth on the make in Mexico City Two young poets, Jan and Remo, find themselves adrift in Mexico City. Obsessed with poetry, and, above all, with science fiction, they are eager to forge a life in the literary world--or sacrifice themselves to it. Roberto Bolaño's The Spirit of Science Fiction is a story of youth hungry for revolution, notoriety, and sexual adventure, as they work to construct a reality out of the fragments of their dreams. But as close as these friends are, the city tugs them in opposite directions. Jan withdraws from the world, shutting himself in their shared rooftop apartment where he feverishly composes fan letters to the stars of science fiction and dreams of cosmonauts and Nazis. Meanwhile, Remo runs headfirst into the future, spending his days and nights with a circle of wild young writers, seeking pleasure in the city's labyrinthine streets, rundown cafés, and murky bathhouses. This kaleidoscopic work of strange and tender beauty is a fitting introduction for readers uninitiated into the thrills of Roberto Bolaño's fiction, and an indispensable addition to an ecstatic and transgressive body of work.
Published by Penguin on 02/05/2019
Book details: 208 pages.

The Secret Life of Cows

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"Within a day of receiving this book, I had consumed it... Absorbing, moving, and compulsively readable."—Lydia Davis In this affectionate, heart-warming chronicle, Rosamund Young distills a lifetime of organic farming wisdom, describing the surprising personalities of her cows and other animals At her famous Kite's Nest Farm in Worcestershire, England, the cows (as well as sheep, hens, and pigs) all roam free. They make their own choices about rearing, grazing, and housing. Left to be themselves, the cows exhibit temperaments and interests as diverse as our own. "Fat Hat" prefers men to women; "Chippy Minton" refuses to sleep with muddy legs and always reports to the barn for grooming before bed; "Jake" has a thing for sniffing the carbon monoxide fumes of the Land Rover exhaust pipe; and "Gemima" greets all humans with an angry shake of the head and is fiercely independent. An organic farmer for decades, Young has an unaffected and homely voice. Her prose brims with genuine devotion to the wellbeing of animals. Most of us never apprehend the various inner lives animals possess, least of all those that we might eat. But Young has spent countless hours observing how these creatures love, play games, and form life-long friendships. She imparts hard-won wisdom about the both moral and real-world benefits of organic farming. (If preserving the dignity of animals isn't a good enough reason for you, consider how badly factory farming stunts the growth of animals, producing unhealthy and tasteless food.) This gorgeously-illustrated book, which includes an original introduction by the legendary British playwright Alan Bennett, is the summation of a life's work, and a delightful and moving tribute to the deep richness of animal sentience.
Published by Penguin on 06/12/2018
Book details: 160 pages.

They Fought Alone

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"Highly detailed and fast-paced, Charles Glass's They Fought Alone is a must-read for those whose passion is the Resistance literature of World War II." --Alan Furst, author of A Hero of France From the bestselling author of Americans in Paris and The Deserters, the astounding story of Britain's Special Operations Executive, one of World War II's most important secret fighting forces As far as the public knew, Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) did not exist. After the defeat of the French Army and Britain's retreat from the Continent in June 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill created the top-secret espionage operation to "set Europe ablaze." The agents infiltrated Nazi-occupied territory, parachuting behind enemy lines and hiding in plain sight, quietly but forcefully recruiting, training, and arming local French résistants to attack the German war machine. SOE would not only change the course of the war, but the nature of combat itself. Of the many brave men and women conscripted, two Anglo-American recruits, the Starr brothers, stood out to become legendary figures to the guerillas, assassins, and saboteurs they led. While both brothers were sent across the channel to organize against the Germans, their fates in war could hardly have been more different. Captain George Starr commanded networks of résistants in southwest France, cutting German communications, destroying weapons factories, and delaying the arrival of Nazi troops to Normandy by seventeen days after D-Day. Younger brother Lieutenant John Starr laid groundwork for resistance in the Burgundy countryside until he was betrayed, captured, tortured, and imprisoned by the Nazis in France and sent to a series of concentration camps in Germany and Austria. Feats of boldness and bravado were many, but appalling scandals, including George's supposed torture and execution of Nazis prisoners, and John's alleged collaboration with his German captors, overshadowed them all. At the war's end, Britain, France, and the United States awarded both brothers medals for heroism, and George would become one of only three among thousands of SOE operatives to achieve the rank of colonel. Yet, their battle honors did little to allay postwar allegations against them, and when they returned to England, their government accused both brothers of heinous war crimes. Here, for the first time, is the story of one of the great clandestine organizations of World War II, and of two heroic brothers whose ordeals during and after the war challenged the accepted myths of Britain's wartime resistance in occupied France. Written with complete and unrivaled access to only recently declassified documents from Britain's SOE files, French archives, family letters, diaries, and court records, along with interviews from surviving wartime Resistance fighters, They Fought Alone is a real-life thriller. Renowned journalist and war correspondent Charles Glass exposes a dramatic tale of spies, sabotage, and the daring men and women who risked everything to change the course of World War II.
Published by Penguin Press on 09/11/2018
Book details: 336 pages.

Of Love & War

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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and New York Times bestselling author, a stunning and personally curated selection of her work across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist and MacArthur Fellow Lynsey Addario has spent the last two decades bearing witness to the world’s most urgent humanitarian and human rights crises. Traveling to the most dangerous and remote corners to document crucial moments such as Afghanistan under the Taliban immediately before and after the 9/11 attacks, Iraq following the US-led invasion and dismantlement of Saddam Hussein’s government, and western Sudan in the aftermath of the genocide in Darfur, she has captured through her photographs visual testimony not only of war and injustice but also of humanity, dignity, and resilience. In this compelling collection of more than two hundred photographs, Addario’s commitment to exposing the devastating consequences of human conflict is on full display. Her subjects include the lives of female members of the military, as well as the trauma and abuse inflicted on women in male-dominated societies; American soldiers rescuing comrades in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, and Libyan opposition troops trading fire in Benghazi. Interspersed between her commanding and arresting images are personal journal entries and letters, as well as revelatory essays from esteemed writers such as Dexter Filkins, Suzy Hansen, and Lydia Polgreen. A powerful and singular work from one of the most brilliant and influential photojournalists working today, Of Love & War is a breathtaking record of our complex world in all its inescapable chaos, conflict, and beauty.
Published by Penguin on 10/23/2018
Book details: 272 pages.

How the Mind Works

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"A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear." —New York Review of Books In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life. This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on 06/22/2009
Book details: 672 pages.

Marie Antoinette

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France's iconic queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous "Let them eat cake," was alternately revered and reviled during her lifetime. For centuries since, she has been the object of debate, speculation, and the fascination so often accorded illustrious figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted child was thrust onto the royal stage and commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in European history. Antonia Fraser's lavish and engaging portrait excites compassion and regard for all aspects of the queen, immersing the reader not only in the coming-of-age of a graceful woman, but in the culture of an unparalleled time and place. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published by Anchor on 11/12/2002
Book details: 544 pages.

It's What I Do

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A MacArthur Genius Grant and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist documents her relentless pursuit of complex truths in the years after September 11, describing her witness to the American invasion of Afghanistan and the lives of people before and after Taliban reign. Simultaneous.
Published by Penguin on 11/08/2016
Book details: 368 pages.
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