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February 15, 2008 Edition

Born Standing Up, written and read by Steve Martin

Whether or not Martin was part of your formative years, this part show business survival manual, part autobiography will tickle your funny bone and leave you thinking. More than just a wild and crazy guy, Martin is a painstaking performer who worked hard to define his own style, ruthlessly perfecting his delivery and pruning his material, and, in the process, changing the way stand-up comedy looked and sounded. This sharply focused book not only gives telling details about the first jobs that surely shaped him (his first job was hawking souvenirs in Disneyland at age 10; later jobs included a stint as a magician at Knotts Berry Farm and writer for the Smothers’ Brothers show), but also insight into the steps he took to form himself. (cassette)

Footloose in the Himalaya, written and read by Mike Harding

This oldie but goodie will take you back to the 90s when Harding made two treks through the Kingdoms of Ladakh and Zanskar and on to the foothills of Everest. Touching on the ways tourism affects the ecology of the areas (yes, he appreciated the irony of the situation) he also talks about meeting monks and fellow travelers and discovering the charms and dangers of the vast snows. (cassette)

Identical Strangers, by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, narrated by Alma Cuervo and Effie Johnson

Elyse had always known that she was adopted, but she had no idea she had a sister, let alone a twin. Her discovery, when she was in her mid-30s and searching for her birth mother, was momentous and joyful. Paula, her twin, had been adopted by another family, but lived nearby and the two delighted in getting to know each other. But eventually the two became curious – how had their adoption agency allowed them to be separated? The answer was shocking - the agency had a long-standing association with a pair of psychologists who had conducted a study on twins raised apart in which Elyse and Paula were unwitting participants. Though their own records are sealed, the two began their own research into multiple birth siblings and the fascinating results are interspersed with the story of their lives, together and apart. (cassette)

Why do I Love These People? written by Po Bronson, read by Alan Nebelthau

Families can be messy and unpredictable, with no guarantees of happiness or satisfaction at any point. What keeps us bumbling through, hand in hand, with our chosen and blood relatives? Bronson gathers the stories of diverse people who are weathering the ordinary ups and downs of life with optimism and hope. Not a self-help book exactly, but a measure of solace and a reminder that there are myriad ways to approach problems and untangle relationships. (cd)

On Call in Hell, by Cdr. Richard Jadick, read by Lloyd James

Volunteer Navy doctor Jadick’s solid remembrance of battlefield triage, courage, and patriotism is not for the faint of heart or stomach. During the Battle of Fallujah, he refused to wait in aid stations for the wounded to be brought for treatment, chosing instead to follow on the heels of his battalion, treating soldiers as he found them. A testimony to what love of country and fellow soldiers can do. (cd)

Merle’s Door, by Ted Kerasote, read by Patrick Lawlor

Kerasote was on a rafting trip with friends when Merle, a 10-month old Lab mix, appeared at camp. Apparently living on his own, Merle quickly attached himself to Kerasote, proving himself an able raft dog and accomplished hunter and earning a trip home to Kerasote’s small hometown. Once there, he taught his human how to be a good dog partner, which Kerasote shares with readers in tender anecdotes and funny stories, and supports with some of the latest research into the dog brain. (cd)

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