Collection Capers: September 2006

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

Friendship an expose by Joseph Epstein
A wry, critical analysis of the changing face of modern-day friendship examines the diverse forces and factors that have shaped friendship, presenting a witty look at the various types of friendships, the differences between male and female friendships, the duties and requirements of friendship, the impact of marriage and change.

Waking : a memoir of trauma and transcendence by Matthew Sanford
An inspirational memoir about a car accident that ended the lives of two of the author's family members and rendered him a paraplegic. He describes he, his mother and brother picked up the pieces of their lives, his recuperation at the Mayo Clinic, and his decision to become a disabled yoga instructor. The author discovers for himself a new meaning of being and living.

Written on the skin : an Australian forensic casebook by Liz Porter
With a title that could make Friday night ABC crime TV this book shows how forensic investigators, including pathologists, chemists, entomologists, and document examiners, have used their expertise in dozens of fascinating crimes. Readers can picture DrsSam Ryan and Iain McCallum performing their gruesome work.

Rebel Queen : the trial of Caroline by Jane Robbins
The extraordinary story of how the wife of George IV was tried by Parliament for adultery. This action made her a figurehead for anti-government feeling and nearly sparked a revolution. The trial became one of the first true celebrity scandals in which the emerging popular press took sides, confirming the power of 'public opinion'. This was also at a time of rising parliamentarypower and decreasing royal influence.

Gravity’s arc : the story of gravity, from Aristotle to Einstein and beyond by David Darling
Gravity, it gets to all of us. The history of speculation and analysis of gravity is the story of pure research into the unknown. Most ideas of space and time before Copernicus were based on an Earth centric view derived from Aristotle and the Bible. The 16th century brought great leaps forward in science, maths and medicine. Kepler, when working on planetary motion produced 900 pages of calculations, without Excel or Photoshop. That would be enough to get him into the science hall of fame. In fact most of the important work was done without any electronic input. Just some quill pens, parchment and a few ripe apples.

Brainwash : the secret history of mind control by Dominic Streatfield
What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber, or release Sarin gas? This book traces the evolution of the world's most secret psychological procedure, from its origins in the Cold War to the height of the war on terror. If you read Joseph Conrad’s The secret agent you will get a glimpse of the nefarious world of brainwashing. Of course many have seen the same idea used by religious cults and department stores.How else to you explain the mad consumer fever that grips people every Boxing Day?

Women who changed the world : 50 inspirational women who shaped history
A celebration of the lives, careers and influences of 50 women. From empire builders and healers to daring explorers and iconoclastic thinkers, from queens and politicians to musicians and nurses. with the odd saint or two 2 thrown in as well. This would be a good resource for many school projects.

The dead man in the bunker : discovering my father by Martin Pollack
Gerhard Bast, was found shot in an abandoned bunker in northern Italy in April 1947. Martin Pollack, his son, was then three and has no memories of his father. In attempting to piece together his father's life, Pollack assembles the memories of family and friends. His father was a Gestapo leader in Austria and a participant in mass murder in Poland and Slovakia. It must have been a painful journey into his father's dark past for the author.

Struck by lightning : the curious world of possibilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
This book deconstructs the odds and oddities of chance, examining both the relevant and irreverent role of randomness in our everyday lives. It explains the mechanics of randomness and teaches us how to develop an informed perspective on probability. It doesn’t explain why the Cronulla Sharks are going so badly. It’s probably the probability of meeting better teams.

The quantum zoo : a tourist’s guide to the neverending universe by Marcus Chown
The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein's general theory of relativity. This book attempts to explain both without giving you a migraine. But is it worth the risk? Perhaps it’s better to go back to pre-Copernican days and flat Earth beliefs. At least they made sense.

Not buying it : my year without shopping by Judith Levine
The author traces a year during which she and her partner struggled with a pledge to avoid consumer spending practices in spite of their American conditioning, an effort that had a profound impact on their careers, family relationships, and personal identities. I find it hard just getting through Lent, and most of us would probably give up at the first sale we came across.

On the road to Kandahar : travels through conflict in the Islamic world by Jason Burke
Reflecting his intimate knowledge of the Islamic world, the author addressed the wider question of how we are to get to grips with radical Islam and what it really means. He tries to show how various and un-monolithic Islam is, and how the sort of standard Western generalizations about it are dangerous.

Getting stoned with savages : a trip through the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by Maarten Troost
In the sequel to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, the author returns to the South Pacific, heading to Vanuatu and Fiji, where he and his wife cope with Mother Nature--typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes--the relaxed lifestyle of the islanders, and new parenthood. This might be a nice change from the pains and perils of everyday life.

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