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June 17, 2005 Edition

Cruising the Anime City: an Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo, by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama

American otaku (or anime/manga fans) have a tough time tracking down Japanese anime and manga goods in the US, but once in Japan find themselves overwhelmed by their abundance, not to mention the language and culture differences. Having a guide to help you weave your way through to your goal, whether it is fanfic, t-shirts, or idol photo books, can mean the difference between exhausted confusion and exhausted bliss. Written by an American otaku with his Japanese mentor for the benefit of other Americans who are thinking of visiting Japan, this is an eye-opening romp through Tokyo’s various otaku communities with plenty of commentary and photos. Even if you aren’t planning a trip to Japan, this is a fun read and a good introduction to Japanese pop-culture - Macias is a good writer with plenty to say.

Extreme PC Mods, by Paul Capello and Jon Phillips

If you can’t find a computer case unique enough to express your inner geek, make your own! Look here for unusual lighting, exotic fans, airbrush ideas and more to make your computer stand out from the crowd. With advice on choosing mod-worthy cases, a rundown on materials to use, ideas for everything from appearance to performance, and highlights of some truly amazing customized cases, this is a book worthy of attention.

Share the Care: How to organize a group to care for someone who is seriously ill, by Cappy Capossela and Sheila Warnock

We all feel helpless when someone we know becomes incapacitated by illness or age. Our offers of help can go unaccepted, often because we don’t really know what is needed. But the burden of caring for someone alone can become overwhelming. Here is a book that can help those who want to help understand how to find out what needs doing, and those responsible for caring for a friend or family member draw support to ourselves. Capossela and Warnock provide personal experience and insight in this well-written book about a difficult subject that is rarely addressed.

Globalization and its Discontents, by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, firmly believes that globalization can benefit the world’s poor, but only if changes are made in the ways the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization do business. His overviews of each of these organizations are insightful and thorough, and his proposals for change are based in common sense and experience. Anecdotes from Stiglitz’s years as economic advisor to the White House and as the Chief Economist at the World Bank add depth to his arguments for change in this highly readable economics book for a globalized world. Pair this with Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse,” for another perspective on how economies and cultures can change and be changed.

Jim Tolpin’s Woodworking Wit and Wisdom, by Jim Tolpin

Woodworkers of all persuasions will pick up new ways of thinking about their craft from this wonderful book containing 30 years of Tolpin’s experiences. If you are about to set up a shop for yourself, read his thoughts on synergistic work surfaces, the best tools to own, and sharp tools. Planning a project? He’s got tips on proportions, mockups, and more. And don’t miss his lists of top 20 tools and books!

Manga: Sixty years of Japanese Comics, by Paul Gravett

Comics account for nearly 40% of all materials published in Japan and there is something for nearly every age and interest. Much like the magazine industry in the United States, there is manga meant for boys, for girls, for housewives and businessmen. This book gives an overview of the history of manga from the 1940s to the present, with a brief mention of some of the earliest manga from the early 1800s. Written for adults, this covers the vast range of subjects available in Japan, not all of it familiar to Americans. Heavily illustrated, well-researched and fascinatingly written, this is a must-see for adult manga fans.

The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to American Folk Music, by Kip Lornell

What is American Folk music? Well, according to Mike Seeger, it’s “All the music that fits between the cracks.” Other than that, it’s hard to say: styles as diverse as Cajun, bluegrass, zydeco, blues, and more have all been described as folk music. It has been influenced by successive waves of immigrants (voluntary and not) from Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia, and by the music of Native Americans. In this informative book you’ll find an in-depth discussion of the history of folk music, musical and life biographies of major figures in the genre, a list of “essential” listening, and even short histories of some of the most enduring songs.

An Exaltation of Soups, by Patricia Solley

This unique cookbook not only contains some mouth-watering recipes, but groups them into “uses” - for instance, the section titled Soups of Passage contains recipes to restore health after giving birth, celebrate marriage, and honor the dead. There are Soups with Purpose and Soups of Piety and Ritual, each with subsections and more wonderful recipes. Each recipe has a short introductory paragraph, often a personal memory involving soup, and sidebars illuminating aspects of the ingredients. Easy and complete recipes will make you glad that almost every day in Juneau is a good soup day!

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