The Good with the Bad - New Biographies

Biography at its best is a good read, it appeals to a natural human instinct for gossip, and it answers a real need within us to understand each other better. And it is a noticeable achievement of the new biographies on our catalog list - Recommended Biographies -  that they all begin with the premise that human nature is complex, and as is true with everything else in the world, you have to take the good with the bad.

Amy Poehler Loves Good Government and Books

Parks and Recreation is not just a goofy workplace TV comedy starring Amy Poehler, it’s an argument for faith in government. In Parks and Recreation, the Parks Department contrasts sharply with the incompetent Pawnee City Council and the dilapidated other city agencies, including the library. What I enjoy most about the TV show, which is very funny, is how dedicated Poehler’s Leslie Knope is to her job.

Los Alamos

In 1943, families of mathematicians and scientists, under high security, moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Not knowing where they're going or why, these wives from all over the world cut their ties with friends and relatives to live in isolation, without telephones or uncensored mail.  In the debut novel The Wives of Los Alamos, the collective "we" that serves as the book's narrators only knows that the physicist husbands are working day and night on a secret war project.

Got the Entrepreneurial Itch?

In the coming decades expect increasing numbers of wage slaves to place their bets on self-employment and its potential for both personal fulfillment and profit. Of course, just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t guarantee success. Any decision to go it alone needs to be informed. Markets never remain static and what’s hot today could be cold next year.

The Red Planet for Valentine's Day

The search for life on Mars is now in its sixth decade. Mars has sunlight, water, carbon, and nitrogen. Its surface is no more unpleasant than the inside of a volcanic vent, where bacteria thrive. After a year of zapping, sniffing, and tasting rocks and sand, the Mars rovers Curiosity and Opportunity have revealed the best evidence yet that ancient Mars was indeed habitable, but that does not mean it was inhabited. However, in the fantasy world, two new novels about earthlings on Mars have become big hits.

Legal Fiction

John Grisham likes street lawyers, tempted lawyers, virtuous lawyers, lawyers frustrated by their decency, unhappy lawyers, tapped-out lawyers, shamed lawyers, small-town and small-office lawyers -- them, most of all. At the start of  Sycamore Row, the attorney Jake Brigance needs money bad.

Favorite Antarctica Novels

Thursday a Chinese helicopter dramatically rescued  52 scientists, journalists, and tourists who had been trapped on a Russian research vessel since Christmas Eve. The ship got stuck in sea ice off Antarctica while on a mission to follow the footsteps of historic Antarctic explorer and scientist Douglas Mawson. The event made me think of two of my favorite novels that happen to have Antarctica as a setting.

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