Collection Capers: July 2006

Collection Capers is a monthly newsletter of NEW interesting or unusual non fiction added to the Sutherland Shire Libraries collection.

The Medici conspiracy : the illicit journey of looted antiquities from Italy’s tomb raiders to the world’s greatest museums by Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini
The Medici are at it again, stealing antiquities from museums which eventually end up in the hands of other museums and collectors. The thefts are so well organized that corruption and inside dealing must seem the only way they could happen. Also implicated are the auction houses who perhaps acted with less than adequate regard for honesty.

Razor’s edge : the unofficial history of the Falklands War by Hugh Bicheno
A former British spy and diplomat goes behind the scenes and official version of the origins of the Falklands War. Also analyses the battles and the political outcome of the war.

Too close to the sun :the life and times of Denys Finch Hatton by Sara Wheeler
Denys Finch Hatton, Eton boy and Oxford graduate with the larrikin aristocrat about him. A soldier in the East Africa Campaign, a white hunter, farmer, pilot - the epitome of a brave pioneer. This book talks about the life of one of the key figures in the mythic story of British settlers in East Africa. An adventurer straight out of the boys own annuals, or a character to fit well in Michael Palin’s Ripping yarns.

Riding rockets : the outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut by Mike Mullane
The memoir of the author's career with the space shuttle program. Describes his work as a Mission Specialist in the first group of shuttle astronauts, and voyages aboard Discovery and Atlantis. Also delves into the politics and personality of NASA, the problems, heartache and ineptitude.

Written lives by Javier Marias
A short compendium of literary biographies with a dash of quirkiness, just taking some interesting facets of some authors’ lives without going into too much detail that clouds the anecdotes.

The mystery of the Tunguska fireball by Surendra Verma
In 30 June, 1908 a huge fireball exploded in the Siberian sky. A thousand times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, it flattened an area of remote Tunguska forest bigger than Greater London, forming a large mushroom cloud. Tremors registered in St Petersburg and soundwaves were registered in England. The prevailing view is that a large meteor did the damage but perhaps the meteor triggered an underground volcanic reaction.

Rat by Jonathan Burt
A beaut little book that traces the history of the rat, particularly its relationship with human beings. Reviled for its tendency to start plagues and run across floors at your fancy dinner party, it also makes a wonderful pet (here Basil). It plays an important part in science and medicine and would no doubt be aggrieved at being put in the same basket as Hitler, Stalin, certain football players and unnamed politicians.

Sing Sing : the inside story of a notorious prison by Denis Brian
A chilling but thrilling account of one of the most infamous prisons in the world (well, at least one we know about – who knows what’s hidden out there). This prison held some of the most cold-blooded killers in history including mafia chiefs, the ‘Lonely Hearts killers’ plus alleged spies the Rosenbergs whose convictions and executions still arouse much controversy.

10 simple solutions to adult ADD by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis
If someone you know is running around crazily, always doing three things at once and stressing out big time, its okay, they’re parents and the situation is normal. But if someone is perhaps being overly forgetful and lacking concentration they could have ADD with an extra A, or adult ADD. This book may help, if you can stop long enough to read it.

The man who wrote Mozart : the extraordinary life of Lorenzo da Ponte by Anthony Holden
The many and varied lives of Lorenzo da Ponte - librettist of three of Mozart's greatest operas. He had an extraordinary life, from court poet to bookseller and Italian Professor at Columbia University. But he is really only known as the librettist of the Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutti and Don Giovanni, any one of which would guarantee immortality. Da Ponte was also a skilful negotiator to make his way in the Viennese court amongst jealous rivals and officials. A triumph of art over trivia.

Sundials : history, art, people, science by Mark Lennox-Boyd
Before the dawn of the modern watch, sundials were the main way of measuring time.This book charts the evolution of sundials around the world from the earliest neolithic rondels and stone circles. It has many historical examples and showcases a range of stunning modern sundials that have been inspired by them. At the time the earliest watches were being developed, people had wrist sundials which they would use to correct their watches as the watches were very unreliable.

Stutter by Marc Shell
Lewis Carroll, E.M. Forster, John Updike are just some of famous writers who stuttered. Written by someone who has himself struggled with stuttering all his life, this provocative and wide-ranging book investigates stuttering across history and culture. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe stuttered? So it affects many people, as well as Donald Duck and Porky Pig.

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