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March 21, 2008 Edition

Poet’s Corner, compiled by John Lithgow

Lithgow grew up hearing poetry read aloud, instilling a lifelong love and appreciation for the power of the well-chosen spoken word. Here, he shares some of his favorite poems, complete with introductions that explain what it is about each poem that calls to him, from poets including Auden, Coleridge, Dickinson, Rosetti, and many more. Each poem was chosen for its spark when read and Lithgow encourages listeners to read them aloud to themselves and their families. In lieu of that, there’s a cd included, with readings by some familiar voices, including that of Lithgow himself.

Father Knows Less, by Wendell Jamieson

This wonderful combination of child-raising memoir and guide to answering those tough child-generated questions is essential reading for parents. Much of the book is taken up with vignettes from Jamieson’s family life, and the rest is filled with questions, and, even better, answers. Each question is carefully attributed to its young investigator and then answered by someone in the know. Jamieson is an able and witty guide into the land of childhood and its questions, and this is a fun read even for the child-free.

Doing Good Even Better, by Edgar Stoesz

Essential reading for anyone who wants to learn how to switch gears from the for-profit world into the non-profit world, whose differences, according to Stoesz, are subtle but important. From an extensive section on what it means to be a board director and outlining the 6 duties of boards, Stoesz continues on with useful information on running meetings, recovering from internal arguments and learning to use a variety of evaluation techniques to monitor the health of the organization. He’s not afraid to shy away from the rough stuff, either and offers chapters on litigation, internal conflict, crises, and re-energizing discouraged non-profits.

Scandals, Vandals, and Da Vincis, by Harvey Rachlin

Don’t look here for art criticism, instead, read all about the stories behind famous paintings and the artists who created them. Rachlin recounts the general denunciation of Manet’s painting, “Olympia;” the true story behind Copley’s “Watson and the Shark;” and the scandalous life of Caravaggio in this tell-all book. Keep in mind that you’ll want a source of color prints for this: the black and white reproductions here won’t satisfy most readers (but the scrupulously researched stories will).

How to Build an Igloo and Other Snow Shelters, by Norbert E. Yankielun

Yes, Spring is nearly here, but keep this in mind anyway for next year or in case you know of a spot where the snow is still mounded high. This small book is big on helping readers learn the basics of a variety of snow shelters including igloos, quinzees, slab shelters, and more. Different snow conditions call for different techniques, and whether you’re building a snow fort to play in or an emergency shelter to keep you alive, the author gives advice for safe construction, use, and demolition of your shelter. Plenty of line drawings accompany the clearly-written text, making the instructions and information a snap to follow.

The Anatomist, by Bill Hayes

Hayes twines the stories of himself as a student of anatomy with the lives of the creators of that anatomy bible, “Gray’s Anatomy.” Henry Gray was a brilliant man who wanted to contribute usefully to the world, and he conceived the idea of an affordable guide for students of anatomy. Together with long-time friend Henry Carter, a talented artist and medical student, Gray embarked on the task with which his name is now synonymous. Working from Gray’s meticulously-kept journals, hospital and school records, and scores of letters, Hayes brings both Gray and Carter the recognition they deserve for a difficult job well done.

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