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Monday, February 24, 2014

Spotlight: New Non-Fiction February 2014

Posted by Cary H.

I have the wonderful job of being able to select titles to add to the library collection.  Many interesting items cross my desk every day – too many to read all of them, unfortunately.  While my personal tastes run to fiction, certain non-fiction titles really pique my interest and I cart them home to give them a try.  Here are a couple recent books that I think stand out:

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew by Alan P. Lightman.  I really enjoyed this book – a slender volume full of big ideas.  If you are fascinated by the universe and our relation to the “big picture” (not to mention the Big Bang!), this book is for you.  Lightman, a theoretical physicist, manages to relate very thought-provoking discussions about our universe that non-scientists can relate to.  Each chapter is an essay on a variety of themes: science and religion, science and technology, the human need for permanence, and more.  The author utilizes his own experiences and those of his peers to help illuminate cutting edge thought and theory.  Easy to read but not easy to forget.       

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton.  I have never read much Sci-Fi or Fantasy.  When I started working at the public library, several of my co-workers convinced me to give their recommendations a try, and some I did enjoy.  Thinking it would serve me well to better understand this genre better, I checked out this featured title.  The book is comprised of blog posts that Walton (an award-winning SF author herself) wrote for over the span of several years.  She supplies us with great summaries of her favorites.  The author discusses classics and well and newly published gems, but the best part is she manages to get at the root of why many of these books can be savored over time and re-read.  Walton also highlights the “strangest” and most overlooked, and promises rewards well worth the effort of reading them.  She does this with an economy of words which makes it easy to pick up this book and put it down, reading just a few stand-alone chapters at a time.  Although many readers, I predict, will want to read it in one sitting, making a list of what to read next!  I certainly did.

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