Amazing Reads, Monday 23rd January, 2012

More Amazing Monday Reads! Martin, our E-services Librarian shares his list of Amazing Reads.

Into thin air / Jon Krakauer A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray.

Breath / Tim Winton Breath is an extraordinary evocation of an adolescence spent resisting complacency, testing one’s limits against nature, finding like-minded souls, and discovering just how far one breath will take you. It’s a story of extremes—extreme sports and extreme emotions.

Foucault’s Pendulum / Umberto Eco One for the conspiracy theorists, a literary Da Vinci Code...Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled—a point located in Paris, France, at Foucault’s Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth.

Everything is Miscellaneous / David WeinbergerMy favourite book on the impact that new technology is having on our lives. In this book David Weinberger charts the new principles of digital order that are remaking business, education, politics, science, and culture. In his rollicking tour of the rise of the miscellaneous, he examines why the Dewey decimal system is stretched to the breaking point, how Rand McNally decides what information not to include in a physical map (and why Google Earth is winning that battle), how Staples stores emulate online shopping to increase sales, why your children's teachers will stop having them memorize facts, and how the shift to digital music stands as the model for the future in virtually every industry. Finally, he shows how by "going miscellaneous," anyone can reap rewards from the deluge of information in modern work and life.

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance This book has little to do with eastern philosophy or motorcycle repair. In essence it is an essay on quality. Maybe its resonance had something to do with the time of life that I read it - as a young adult, but it remains for me a though provoking book. Some may find it too pretentious and for that reason I’m too scared to read it again. I do think that everyone should read it at least once.

Bustin’ Down the Door / Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew Most sporting biographies I’ve read are dryer than a Sao biscuit. Rabbit’s story is a rollicking ride that tells the history of professional surfing through the eyes of someone who lived it. He’s a natural raconteur with a thirst for adventure. A must read for any surfers.

Fatal Storm / Rob Mundle
This book is an account of the horrific 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race in which several lives were lost. While Rob Mundle isn’t the most engaging writer ever to put pen to paper the tragic series of events during the race leave a lasting emotional impact on the reader.
Photo credit: "Bookman" from Flickr user Markhillary.