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August 12, 2005 Edition

Suspended in Language, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis


This biographical graphic novel tells the life story of Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist nicknamed “the Pope” because of his prestige in the science world. To Churchill, Bohr was a dangerous man; to Einstein, a mentor. His ideas influenced others not only in the field of quantum physics, but also in politics and philosophy, at one point making him the target of a Nazi kidnapping attempt.

Found, by Davy Rothbart


A more motley collection of written material can only be found in the magazine from which this collection is derived. Rothbart’s fans send him things they’ve found on the street, in books, and in laundromats for publication, and everything is fair game, from discarded shopping lists and love letters to photos and angry notes about parking skills. Some inspire pathos while others are merely pathetic, but most are just fun.

Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish, by Joseph J. Keenan


Show this to your favorite Spanish language learner who needs to know how to address a variety of individuals, navigate around (or at least properly use) potentially offensive words, and not sound hopelessly textbookish while hanging out with new friends. Packed with clear information and fun to read – a rare treat in the language-learning world.

Freedom of Expression, by Kembrew McLeod


Hot Property, by Pat Choate


If you’ve already been to the Juneau Arts and Humanities gallery for their Illegal Art display, or if you attended McLeod’s presentation last Saturday, you’ll have gotten a taste of what both these books are about (if you haven’t been to the gallery yet, don’t despair, the display is up for a while yet). The theme for both books is the way in which modern law is grappling with the idea of copyright, property, and our ability to express ourselves. Fascinating reading with important implications for the future of the arts and self-expression.

Verbal Judo, by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins


Written by a former police officer who uses these skills to defuse difficult situations, this is part anecdote, part instruction. Though most of the situations given are law-enforcement related, the techniques can be used in nearly any situation that requires a little finesse.

Hope or Hype, by Richard A. Deyo and Donald L. Patrick


In our technology-oriented world, we are sometimes conned into relying too heavily on the newest medical advances, regardless of expense or effectiveness. Deyo and Patrick, both doctors, lay bare some of the games corporations play using slanted statistics and studies, and the lengths to which some doctors and hospitals will go to inflate their bills through more expensive and sometimes unnecessary tests and procedures. Not a rant, but designed to educate.

Telling Tales, by Gail De Vos


Written to stimulate families to share stories amongst themselves, this is a great blend of encouragement and technique for those who might feel that even if they knew how to tell a story, they still wouldn’t have anything interesting to say. De Vos, a well-known storyteller in her native Canada, believes that everyone has a story to tell, whether it is family history or cultural myths and legends, and illustrates her points with stories from her own family.

Why Birds Sing, by David Rothenberg


The old theories of birdsongs (that they are for marking territory and attracting mates) seem weak when faced with their complexity, length, and frequency. Is it also possible that birds sing because they like to? Rothenberg, a musician, thinks so, and his stories of nightingales accompanying cellos and whistlers seem to bear that out.

Looking Forward, by Ellen Freudenheim


This book is a good antidote for those retirees who’ve found themselves at loose ends and bored to tears instead of enjoying their new carefree life the way they thought they would. Freudenheim offers suggestions of things to do (including going back to work in a new field, taking classes, volunteering, and more) as well as advice on managing money, becoming a caregiver, and downsizing into smaller homes.

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