Tag Archives: non-fiction

Long Live the King

Books are a uniquely portable magic.

Stephen King

If you were to walk into almost any library or bookstore, odds are you’ll find most of the shelf space for the K authors is given over to books written by Stephen King. Not only does he tend to write long books, he has written a lot of books. For better or worse, Stephen King has ruled the realm of popular fiction for decades, and he shows no signs of stepping down from his throne anytime soon.

Stephen Kingcarrie officially started his writing career in the late 1960’s, submitting short stories to magazines to supplement his salary as a worker in an industrial laundry. His first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. It was a runaway success, so much so that Stephen was able to write full time for a living, and he hasn’t looked back since. Although a lot about his life has changed since his first book was published, King still lives in Maine most of the year, he’s still an avid baseball fan, and he’s still giving a lot of people nightmares.

standOne of my favourite bits of King trivia is that he met his wife while they were both working in a university library. Coincidentally, I too first encountered him in a library, although in my case it was my school library, while I was skipping out on an inter-mural floor hockey tournament. Up until then, my only exposure to Stephen King was through the television ad for the movie version of The Shining, which scared the pants off me. To this day I don’t know why I picked up that copy of The Stand, but I did, and I’ve been hooked every since.

itI’m the first to admit that his books aren’t the greatest literature, and I don’t enjoy everything he’s written. But there’s something about the vast stories he’s able to create, and the basic humanity of his characters, that keeps me coming back for more. I prefer his ridiculously long books – It, Under the Dome, and my all-time favourite, The Talisman, to his short story collections.

There’s something about his writing that reminds me of the really gruesome original versions of classic fairy tales, where the world is a dark and scary place filled with wolves that eat grandmothers alive, and wicked queens that demand the hearts of children. In those stories, even though terrible things happened, the characters who were clever, strong and brave came through in the end. These stories were originally told as morality tales, to introduce children to the concept of good and evil. talismanIn that regard, there are a lot of similarities between the stories told by the brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Stephen King. The monsters in Stephen King’s books are sometimes supernatural, sometimes human, and horrible things happen to good people, but at the end of the day evil is defeated by the powers of good. Ultimately, I have to turn to Stephen King’s own words to explain why his books appeal to me and to so many other readers: “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”

-Lori

 

 

 

No Place for a Lady

School’s out and summer is in full swing. Some of you will be planning a trip to the lake, or perhaps to someplace even farther away. Others, like me, will be settling in for a staycation full of day trips to the beach and all the great summer festivals Winnipeg has to offer. Those of us who aren’t quite so lucky with our travel plans this year can still read about the adventures of those who’ve travelled far and wide. Popular travel memoirs, like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Tracks by Robyn Davidson, tell the stories of women setting out alone in challenging environments. But many women of past eras also found a unique freedom on their own in unfamiliar places. Personally, I enjoy reading about other people’s explorations while relaxing on a patio with a cold drink!

Tracks and Wild

In her beautifully illustrated books No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers and Dreaming of East: Western Women and the Exotic Allure of the Orient, Barbara Hodgson tells the stories of several women who defied the restrictive Victorian social conventions to become adventurers and explorers in their own right.

No Place Lady and Dreaming East

The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt is the fascinating journal of Isabelle Eberhardt, a 19th century Swiss writer who travelled widely in north Africa and through the Sahara desert. She scandalized her peers when she started dressing in men’s clothing and converted to Islam.

Englishwoman Isabella Bird wrote many memoirs of her time in America, Korea, Tibet, China, and elsewhere. Her stay in Japan is chronicled in her book Unbeaten Tracks in Japan.

Nomad and Unbeaten Tracks

In 1889, reporter Nellie Bly began a race around the world. Travelling in the opposite direction was another journalist, Elizabeth Bisland, sponsored by a rival newspaper. Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman tells of their competition to circle the globe faster than the character in Jules Verne’s novel.

Freya Stark began her extensive travels in the Middle East after World War I. She wrote more than two dozen books about her experiences. The first, The Valleys of the Assassins and other Persian Travels, describes her journeys through western Iran.

Eighty Days Valley Assassins

So if you’re stuck in the city this summer, pick up a good book and let one these interesting ladies show you the world!

  • Melanie

 

Colour Me Happy

This month Westwood Library is on trend with the latest craze: adult colouring! That’s right, colouring books with intricate detailed designs, aimed at adults, are the hottest thing going right now. The idea is to disengage from the stressful adult world by revisiting childhood, and focusing on the simple joy of colouring instead of the many worries competing for your attention. Adherents say it’s a great tool for easing anxiety and dealing with pressure; women in France, where colouring books now outsell cookbooks, say the practice is more effective than antidepressants.

Colouring page with intricate designs.

Find out for yourself on Saturdays, November 14 and 21 at Westwood Library’s colouring for grown-ups drop-in. We’ll be providing pencil crayons and colouring sheets in a range of designs – including geometric patterns, animals, garden scenes, and more! – from 1-3pm. Stop by for as long or as little as you like, and see what it’s all about!

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in more serious mindfulness practices, or true art therapy (in which you develop skills and create your own original works), the library offers all kinds of great reads to help you get started.

Cover image of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of MindfulnessFully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness introduces the concept of mindfulness – that is, “the art of paying attention with an open and curious mind to present-moment experiences” – along with scientific explanations of how the practice positively affects the body, and guidance for introducing mindfulness to your everyday life. For more information on mindfulness techniques and how to integrate them into your daily routine, try The Rough Guide to Mindfulness or The Mindfulness Workbook.

Cover image of Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

If you’re interested in a more detailed exploration of mindfulness, check out the 
classic bestseller Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. The 10th anniversary edition linked to here includes a new afterword by the author. Also of interest is Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health, which explores encounters between Buddhist traditions of believing the mind can heal the body, and Western medicine, which is uncovering evidence to support those beliefs.

Cover image of Uncovering happiness : overcoming depression with mindfulness and self-compassion.You can also explore mindfulness techniques as they relate to specific life situations. There are guide books for people who are managing shyness, anxiety, addiction, or depression. Some mindfulness techniques aim to help people with illnesses ranging from cancer to chronic pain. There are even mindfulness guides for parenting, quitting smoking, and working in public service. It just goes to show that mindfulness can be a part of anyone’s life.

Cover image of Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul.
If you’re looking to go deeper than simple relaxation through colouring and mindfulness, try delving into the world of art therapy. In Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul, expert Shaun McNiff explains how a variety of forms of creative expression – from painting to performing – allow individuals to share, interpret, and heal their emotions.

cover image of Art Journals & Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit Through Self-Expression.To engage in art therapy yourself, check out The Art Therapy Sourcebook and Art Journals & Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit Through Self-Expression for techniques and other advice on using art to overcome life’s challenges and experience personal growth. The Magic of Mess Painting: The Creativity Mobilization Technique and Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony both examine specific forms of art therapy. Art therapy can even help us connect with other people in our lives, as described in Creative Therapy for Children With Autism, ADD, And Asperger’s: Using Artistic Creativity To Reach, Teach, and Touch Our Children.

So take a deep breath, relax … and express yourself!

— Lauren

Have a Laugh!

You know, it’s okay if you just want to laugh out loud, sometimes, when you sit down to read, right? Sure, you may feel compelled to read the latest “important” book by Malcolm Gladwell, or the latest gut-wrenching tale from Joseph Boyden, or maybe your book club is all about this year’s version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” or “Gone Girl,” or “The Girl from the Train”. And speaking of that, what’s up with all these disturbing thrillers with “Girl” in the title? When I write my great Canadian thriller, it’s going to be called “The Girl in the Library.” Look for it!

Anyway, yeah – I enjoy those kinds of books too, but sometimes you want a good laugh, and if you’re in one of those moods, then why not try one of the following?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

why not me

For those who don’t know who she is, Mindy Kaling got her start as a writer and minor cast member on the American version of The Office. She has gone on to write and star in her own series, the hilarious “Mindy Project” and is active on Twitter and other social media platforms. This is actually her second memoir so, if you want to start at the beginning, I highly recommend Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which covers her childhood, her time working the Fringe Festival circuit, and getting her big break in television. The second memoir carries on where she left off in the first and talks about the struggles she’s had keeping her show on the air, all the work that goes into making something great, as well as the ups and downs of being a minor celebrity. As she says: she’s well enough known that she can have lunch with Reese Witherspoon, but not well enough known to have people go through her garbage. Ms. Kaling is a wonderful writer and has excellent comedic sensibilities. I strongly recommend both of her books and look forward to what she has planned next.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Food a Love Story

Jim Gaffigan is one of those guys who pops up in supporting roles on TV and in movies, and you’d recognize his face but maybe not remember his name. I first saw him a few years ago doing stand up on Dave Letterman and took an instant shine to him. His latest book, Food, A Love Story is really just an expansion of his recent comedy tour, transcribed to print, about the weird food traditions he’s experienced all over America and around the world. It’s funny, but it would probably be even funnier to see him perform the material in person. His first book is much better. It is called Dad is Fat, and it is about becoming a father. Not just a father, actually, but a father to five children who all live (with Mr. Gaffigan and his long-suffering wife) in a two bedroom apartment in New York City. It’s a great mixture of humorous parenting stories.

I Must Say: The Life of a Humble Comedian by Martin Short

i must say

Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts

lady parts

I’ll finish off with these two books together. By the Martins. Anyone of a certain age (let’s say over 30), who had access to TV, and who grew up in Canada will remember the wacky wonderfulness of Second City Television (SCTV). For all you too young to remember, it was a sketch comedy show based around a fictional TV network. The humour was often absurd, but distinctly Canadian, and I must have seen every episode multiple times. In addition to Andrea Martin and Martin Short, the show launched the careers of John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, and Harold Ramis.

It was fun to read these memoirs within a few weeks of each other, to hear different stories about the same time period, and different perspectives of the same events. While I read and enjoyed Andrea Martin’s memoir very much, I may have enjoyed Martin Short’s even more. This was probably because I borrowed the audiobook from the library and listened to it on a road trip. Martin Short reads it himself, and is able to slip into various characters and voices as he tells the stories, which really enhanced my enjoyment.

The old gang.

The old gang.

  • Trevor

Get Informed! Get Political!

election“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all”
– John F. Kennedy

On Sunday, 2 August, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, asked the Governor General to dissolve parliament and start what will be the longest election in Canada since 1870. Many were quick to point out how much this will cost the Canadian public, or the advantages the Conservative Party of Canada may have with its larger funding base, but there is one other thing to consider: more time to make an informed decision.

As the quotation above by JFK insinuates, informed voters are key to a functioning democracy. And the library is an obvious place to help you make that informed decision on poll day. As we showcase every February during Freedom to Read Week, the library is a staunch defendant of freedom of speech, which means we make sure to have every side of the discussion as long as books and articles are written on it. Libraries have a central role in the democratic process and it all has to do with providing that information to anyone who requests it. So I am going to list some books that may help you be more informed about some major topics that are being discussed this election.

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” – Andrew Carnegie

Leader Biographies

Publishing a biography before an election was something that was more common in the United States with Jimmy Carter starting the trend, while Canadian politicians usually published their memoirs after their term in office: e.g. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Brian MulroneyKim Campbell, Paul Martin. The first to launch a book before a campaign was Jean Chrétien with his title Straight from the Heart, and many candidates have since followed suit: Michael Ignatieff, Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton (though his book was not a memoir but rather a manifesto) .

Here is a list of the most recent books on the leaders vying for the position of prime minister.

Justin Trudeau published his autobiography Common Ground last year, just five months after becoming the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and one full year before the fixed election date of 19 October. This memoir outlines the major moments in Mr. Trudeau’s life that have prepared him for his political career.

Next we have Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, who published her book around the same: Who we Are: Reflections on my life and Canada. This is described as a cross between an autobiography and a manifesto as it details her life but also her vision for Canada.

Just recently Tom Mulcair published his own autobiography, Strength of Conviction, which discusses his upbringing and political career, and more specifically how his experiences have shaped his vision and beliefs for Canada.

Finally, Globe and Mail journalist and award winning author John Ibbitson took a one year leave of absence from the paper to write Stephen Harper’s biography. The new book simply titled, Stephen Harper, was set to be released in September but the early start date of the election pushed its publication up to 12 August. While many books talk about Stephen Harper’s policies and rise to prime minister (e.g. published in the last two years: The Longer I’m Prime Minister by Paul Wells, Dismantling Canada: Stephen Harper’s new conservative agenda by Brooke Jeffery, Harperism : how Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada by Donald Gutstein, and Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s radical makeover by Michael Harris) this biography takes a deeper look into his private life, and his relationships with Reform Leader Preston Manning, his family, and even his cats. 

Election Issues

In order to properly assess the leaders’ promises, it is important to get a good understanding of the situation they’re talking about. I will present three major issues that have been hitting the headlines recently and give a few books that have been recently published on those issues.

Senate

With the trial of Mike Duffy and the scandal involving other disgraced Senators, there have been many discussions on the role and relevance of the Senate. Here are a few books that discuss the possibility of reform and the scandals that occurred:

A People’s Senate for Canada: not a pipe dream by Helen Forsey
Our Scandalous Senate by J. Patrick Boyer
Duffy: Stardom to Senate to Scandal by Dan Leger

Economy

The economy comes up in every election, and here are two books on this subject published this year:
The Arrogant Autocrat: Stephen harper’s Takeover of Canada by Mel Hurtig
Stalled : Jump-starting the Canadian Economy by Michael Hlinka

Foreign Policy

With the Trans-Pacific Partnership going on during the election, and a constant shift in the international theatre, understanding Canada’s place in the world can be difficult. Here is one book that discusses Canada’s historic relations with China, and another that looks into Canada’s role in the world in the future:
Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper by Paul Evans
Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World by Derek H. Burney and Fen Osler Hampson

Of course these are only a few of the topics that are important. Many more could be highlighted, and if any of these or any other topic interests you, make sure to check out your library for any election queries you may have. We’ll be glad to help!

Remi

The Hotel on Place Vendome

The Hotel on Place Vendôme by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The Hotel on Place Vendome

For centuries Paris has captured our imagination. The French capital is known for its art, fashion, fine dining as well as the passion it evokes in men and women. In The Hotel on Place Vendôme, we travel back through time when this luxury hotel was home to many of France’s most influential citizens.

—-

The Hotel Ritz, located at 15 Place Vendôme, opened its door in June, 1898. From the moment of its inauguration, the Ritz was a place where the elite drank champagne with foreign nobles and battled wits with artists from the burgeoning Parisian art scene.

Meanwhile, a disgraced artillery officer is the subject of an inquiry. The government has launched this latest trial to establish the fact that Alfred Dreyfus supplied Germany with France’s military secrets. The Dreyfus Affair has split society into two camps; the upper class who believe he is guilty, and the Dreyfusards (many of whom were artists) who believe the young officer is innocent.

This is a moment when the upper class was beginning to lose its importance in French society, whereas the artists began to cultivate fame. While the wealthy would retain their fortunes it was the artists, actors, film directors, sculptors and writers who would rise to prominence.

The patrons and staff of the Ritz Hotel would witness the end of the Belle Époque and live through some of the most savage events that would inevitably shape the 20th century.

—-

It is the summer of 1917. A blackout turns the French capital into a ghost town. German planes drop their bombs on the darkened city. The populace holds its breath, terrified. Yet in spite of the bombardment life continues. Marcel Proust attends yet another party at the Hôtel Ritz. As the guests drink their cocktails they attempt to discuss gossip, politics – anything except the horrors of the Great War. As conversations continue to flow the writer tries to seduce his hostess, Hélène Chrissoveloni Soutzo, a Romanian Princess.

It’s another night at the Ritz.

—-

When the Germans begin their occupation of France in 1940, Paris takes on a new significance. As a tourist attraction it offers numerous pleasures to beleaguered soldiers. Furthermore, as the cultural capital of Europe, Paris is beyond value. Those who are willing to collaborate with the new rulers will be compensated; some are given material rewards while others are awarded prominent positions within the new government. Unfortunately for most Parisians, the occupation meant food shortages, incarceration for political prisoners, deportation and eventually extermination for its Jewish population.

Because of the occupation many of the other hotels closed; however, the Ritz remained open. Its manager Franz Elminger was Swiss, and like his homeland the hotel remained neutral through out the war. This was a calculated move. The staff would continue to offer comfort and fine dining to anyone who could afford it, regardless of their nationality.

Unlike other long term residents of the hotel, Coco Chanel managed to keep her suites. Throughout the war she was romantically involved with the German officer Hans von Dincklage. Given her status and wealth, Ms Chanel was able to ignore the harsh realities of the occupation and continue living in opulence.

Until its liberation, Paris became an illusion. The Third Reich did everything it could to maintain the city as it had been. But the veneer wouldn’t last forever. Like the rest of their European possessions, the Germans went to extraordinary lengths to exert their control over France and its populace. As the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels famously stated, “The capital will be gay- or else.”

—-

The Hotel on Place Vendome, written by Tilar J. Mazzeo, is a wonderful book that brings the past to life. Whether you’re a Francophile or a student of history this is a worthwhile read.

Daniel

Getting On the Same Page: Manitoba’s Largest Book Club

OTSP

Manitoba’s biggest book club is getting ready to choose what we will all be reading next year, and you can help pick the winner! On the Same Page, a project developed and run by The Winnipeg Foundation and Winnipeg Public Library, encourages all Manitobans to read and talk about the same book at the same time. There will be special events, author appearances and book giveaways throughout the winter. The choice has been narrowed down to 4 candidates, and voting closes on September 18, 2015. Between now and then you can vote for the title you’d like to see win by filling out a ballot at any of the branches of your Winnipeg Public Library system, or by simply voting online.

If you are not sure what to read this summer, picking up any of these four candidates would be a great idea. Although each of these candidates deal with serious, even tragic, subject matter, all of them have wonderful things to offer to those who discover them. I’m still undecided as to which one I’ll vote for, so if you need a little help, please read through these brief descriptions of each book. Hopefully we can get more people than ever before on the same page next year…

All+My+Puny+Sorrows[1]

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

“She wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other”. Former Winnipegger Miriam Toews tells the powerful semi-autobiographical story of two sisters, Elfrieda and Yoli, who grew up together in a small Mennonite community outside of Winnipeg. Elf, who is a talented concert pianist, is also suffering from Depression and wants to end her life. Her sister, Yoli, is determined to find a way to help her sister through her illness and back to wellness, despite Yoli’s own crumbling personal life. Another masterpiece from Miriam Toews. It isn’t an easy read, but her ability to create such full and relatable characters is unmatched.

Detachment-cover-June11[1] Detachment: An Adoption Memoir by Maurice Mierau

In 2005, Maurice Mierau and his wife traveled to the Ukraine to adopt two young boys, aged 5 and 3. This book is their story of returning to Winnipeg and adjusting to life as a new family and the parallels the author draws from his own feelings of detachment towards his son and memories of his own emotionally distant father growing up. It is the only non-fiction candidate in this year’s OTSP’s program. Maurice Mierau was WPL’s Writer-in-Residence in 2010.

evolution of alice The Evolution of Alice by David Alexander Robinson

This novel tells the story of Alice, a single mother raising three young daughters on “the rez” after her abusive ex gets sent to the penitentiary. With the help of her best friend, Gideon, she tries to create the best possible life for her family and help them heal from old wounds. When tragedy strikes, Alice is forced to examine her life and her role in the community. Told from multiple points of view, the novel really underpins the interconnectivity of reservation life.

kiss_of_the_fur_queen[1] Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

“Wars start when two parties haven’t taken the time to learn each other’s tongues” Tomson Highway’s magic realism comes through in the character of the Fur Queen, a wise, shape-shifting trickster character who weaves in and out of the lives of two Cree brothers, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis. These boys are removed from their northern community and forced into the Residential School system, where their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and who are abused by the Priests there. As young men, they no longer feel connected to their community, and yet also do not feel a part of the pervasive European culture. They are somewhere in between, and must find their own path away from their own past. They are survivors in every sense of the word.

-Trevor

Fifty Shades of… 50

Here are some selections from the latest display up here on the fourth floor of the Millennium Library for your reading… errr… pleasure.  Amazing how many of these “50”-inspired titles we found in the collection!
50 Jobs Worse Than Yours50 Jobs Worse Than Yours

“You think your job is bad? Try being a Sherpa, a Saddam Hussein Double (now unemployed), or the person who operates the “It’s a Small World” ride. Satirist Justin Racz has spanned the globe to find fifty jobs worse than yours, so we can all feel better about our own.”
Fifty Dresses That Changed The World

Fifty Dresses That Dhanged the World“Join the Design Museum, the world’s leading museum in contemporary design, on a guided tour of the 50 most important dresses in social history and design. Filled with pages of beautiful clothes, and the famous faces (and bodies) that put them on the world stage -including Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy, Twiggy and Cher and, of course, Princess Di-this fun volume shares fascinating appraisals of what gave the 50 most important garments their iconic status.”

 

50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology

“50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology uses popular myths as a vehicle for helping students and laypersons to distinguish science from pseudoscience:
•Uses common myths as a vehicle for exploring how to distinguish factual from fictional claims in popular psychology
•Explores topics that readers will relate to, but often misunderstand, such as ′opposites attract′, ′people use only 10% of their brains′, and ′handwriting reveals your personality′
•Provides a ′myth busting kit′ for evaluating folk psychology claims in everyday life”
50 Canadians Who Changed the World

50 Canadians Who Changed the World“From Tommy Douglas, Pierre Trudeau, John Kenneth Galbraith, Naomi Klein, Marshall McLuhan, Stephen Lewis and Roméo Dallaire to Glenn Gould, David Suzuki, Mike Lazaridis, Margaret Atwood, Oscar Peterson, Leonard Cohen and thirty-seven others, Ken McGoogan shows us why and how Canadians move in the wider world as influencers and agents of progressive change. Say hello to fifty Canadians who are shaping the future.” Also available as an eBook.

 

Fifty Shades of KaleFifty Shades of Kale

“In Fifty Shades of Kale, you’ll discover fifty enticing new ways to enjoy one of Mother Nature’s hottest properties. … With fifty mouth-watering recipes for kale-centric breakfasts, starters, mains, cocktails, and desserts, Fifty Shades of Kale is certain to spice up your routine and show you how to experiment in the kitchen, cook yourself sexy, and indulge without guilt.” Also available as an eBook.

 

Peace: 50 years of protest

Peace: 50 Years of Protest

“One of the most instantly recognized images in the world–the peace sign–celebrates its 50th anniversary. Miles uses a combination of research and personal recall to recount the evolution of this iconic image.”

The book summaries in this post are taken straight from our catalogue.  Not sure if a title is for you?  When browsing our catalogue simply click on the “Summary” tab found below the main part of the record.  You’ll also find Google Previews and – even better – some suggestions of other titles you may enjoy .

CatalogueSuggestions

-Monique

 

 

List: Books to read on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53AM

Saturday March 14, 2015 (at least for countries that are willing to write out dates in that order) is “perfect Pi day.” Why perfect? Because at 9:26:53 AM, the date and time match the number pi [π] to nine decimal places: 3.141592653.

Pi day is a day for two things: celebrating math, and eating pie. Why? Because both are awesome! Happy eating, fellow nerds!

[π] : A Biography Of The World’s Most Mysterious Number 

We all learned that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is called pi and that the value of this algebraic symbol is roughly 3.14. What we weren’t told, though, is that behind this seemingly mundane fact is a world of mystery, which has fascinated mathematicians from ancient times to the present.

 

Pie : 300 Tried-and-true Recipes For Delicious Homemade Pie 

Pie is the most comprehensive and accessible book ever written on the subject of American pie. An instructive, anecdotal chapter walks home bakers through pastry making how to’s. Answers to questions home bakers want to know. The only resource a home baker needs.

 

Why Pi? 

This entertaining follow-up to DK’s popular Go Figure!, Why Pi? presents even more mind-bending ways to think about numbers. This time, author Johnny Ball focuses on how people have used numbers to measure things through the ages, from the ways the ancient Egyptians measured the pyramids to how modern scientists measure time and space.

 

Pie It Forward : Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, & Other Pastries Reinvented 

“It’s a conundrum I can’t understand. Someone’s hankering for pie; you can see the pie-longing in their eyes. They want a delicious flaky crust, something with buttery overtones. They want fresh fruit – not a vague whisper of berry in a butter cream, but overt chunks of apple, discernible bites of berry. But it’s just not done. You don’t serve pie at special events like fiftieth birthdays, dinner parties, silveranniversaries, or, God forbid, at a wedding. To which I reply, ‘Bullpuckies.'”

 

Alligator Pie 

Alligator pie, alligator pie, 
If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die.
All the favourites you remember from your own childhood are recaptured in this collector’s edition: “Wiggle to the Laundromat,” “Bump on Your Thumb,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Psychapoo,” “Billy Batter” and all the wonderful poems you treasured as a child are here for your child to love, too.

 

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes From The Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop 

This stunning collection features more than 60 delectable pie recipes organized by season, with unique and mouthwatering creations such as Salted Caramel Apple, Green Chili Chocolate, Black Currant Lemon Chiffon, and Salty Honey. With its new and creative recipes, this may not be you mother’s cookbook, but it’s sure to be one that every baker from novice to pro will turn to again and again.

 

The Pie And Pastry Bible 

The Pie and Pastry Bible is your magic wand for baking the pies, tarts, and pastries of your dreams — the definitive work by the country’s top baker. More than 300 recipes, 200 drawings of techniques and equipment, and 70 color pictures of finished pies, tarts, and pastries.

 

Sir Cumference And The Dragon Of Pi : A Math Adventure 

Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius are back in their second Math Adventure! This time, a potion has changed Sir Cumference into a fire-breathing dragon. Can Radius change him back? Join Radius on his quest through the castle to solve a riddle that will reveal the cure. It lies in discovering the magic number that is the same for all circles.

 

175 Best Mini-pie Recipes : Sweet To Savory 

Mini pies are one of the most popular trends in baking, leading the way in the mini-dessert craze. Everyone loves these adorable, fun-sized desserts and savory morsels that are perfect whether on the go, hosting an elegant party or just snooping for after-school snack ideas.

 

Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie : Comforting Baked Fruit Desserts For Chilly Days.

Nothing beats a home-baked fruit dessert served warm from the oven. Whether bubbling up with delicious juices, fragrant with spices, or encased in crisp buttery pastry, fruit desserts are comfort food at its very best.

Real life adventure and survival titles

I enjoy the comfort of my middle class home in the West End, but when the sun goes down a good read about adventure and survival can vicariously transport me into a whole other world…a world of raw living and potential death. And all true-to-life stories. What are the life lessons these books are teaching me, I keep asking. Stay safe, or risk something for what it may bring? What do I need to risk? So much to ponder.

Years before watching Les Stroud’s  ‘Survivorman’ religiously on TV, I vividly remember reading Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors and later, closer to home, Paddle to the Amazon. I know I was hooked with non-fiction adventure and survival stories. And thankfully I still am. Have you read any of these titles?

UnknownAlive: The Story of the Andes Survivors  bv Piers Paul Read
“In 1972 a plane carrying a team of rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the forty-give original passengers and crew, only sixteen made it off the mountain alive. For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imaging, confronting nature head-on at its most furious and inhospitable. And to survive, they were forced to do what would have once been unthinkable…”

index-1.aspxPaddle to the Amazon: the ultimate 12,000-mile canoe adventure by Don Starkell
“It was crazy. It was unthinkable. It was the adventure of a lifetime. When Don and Dana Starkell left Winnipeg in a tiny three-seater canoe, they had no idea of the dangers that lay ahead. Two years and 12,180 miles later, father and son had each paddled nearly twenty million strokes, slept on beaches, in jungles and fields, dined on tapir, shark, and heaps of roasted ants. They encountered piranhas, wild pigs, and hungry alligators. They had lived through terrifying hurricanes, food poisoning, and near starvation. And at the same time they had set a record for a thrilling, unforgettable voyage of discovery and old-fashioned adventure.”

index.aspxWind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“….captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of th most popular works ever written about flying.”

 

index.aspxThe Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
“Cherry-Gerrard, who accompanied Robert Falcon Scott to the Antarctic on the explorer’s doomed quest for the South Pole, recounts the unforgettable journey across forbidding, inhospitable terrain. He was also a member of the search party that ultimately discovered Scott’s frozen body along with his last notebook entries…this tale of adventure stands out as a literary accomplishment as well as a classic of exploration.”

index-1.aspxInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
“When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top. No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds…”

index.aspxInto the Wild by Jon Krakauer
“In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the painting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris Mccandleuss who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later.”

index-1.aspxThe Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
“A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon…What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?”

index.aspxTouching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson
“Joe Simpson, with just his partner Simon Yates, tackled the unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000 foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in June 1995. But before they reached the summit, disaster struck. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frostbitten, to tell their non-climbing companion that Joe was dead. For three days he wrestled with guilt as they prepared to return home. Then a cry in the night took them out with torches, where they found Joe, badly injured, crawling through the snowstorm in delirium.”

UnknownAdrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan
“…an autobiographical account of the second solo voyage Callahan attempted on the twenty-one-foot yacht he had designed and built, the Napoleon Solo, and his harrowing two-and-a-half-months adrift on a five-foot inflatable raft after the yacht collided with a whale and sank.”

index-2.aspxThe Voyage of The Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey by Diane King Stuemer
“Ever dream of selling up and running away to sea? Diane Stuemer and her husband, Herbert, were once a typical suburban couple entering middle age, with a comfortable home and three boys under twelve. A year later they had sold their business, rented out their house, and were setting out to circumnavigate the globe in a 40-year-old yacht. Their entire sailing experience consisted of six afternoons on the Ottawa River. Over the next four years, squeezed into quarters no bigger than the Stuemer’s old bedroom, the family of five would become seasoned mariners. They would battle deadly storms at sea and evade real-life pirates. Dodge waterspouts and lightning strikes and witness the bombing of the USS Cole. See the staggering beauty of Borneo’s rainforest, and its destruction from logging. Be arrested at gunpoint and entertained like visiting royalty. In all, they would visit 34 countries and cover 35,000 nautical miles.”

index.aspxWave by Sonali Deraniyagala
“A brave, intimate, beautifully crafted memoir by a survivor of the tsunami that struck the Sri Lankan coast in 2004 and took her entire family. Sonali has written an extraordinarily honest, utterly engrossing account of the surreal tragedy of a devastating event that all at once ended her life as she knew it and her journey in search of understanding and redemption.”

And lastly:

index-1.aspxWild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
“A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.”

– Lyle