Wednesday New Books



"My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate."—Chelsea Handler

It's no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out "dumbassness," the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers—they've all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they've lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them.


The stunning debut from "one of the best British writers to emerge in the past decade." (Julian Barnes)

With a voice that is at once fierce and lyrical, Adam Foulds tells the story of the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule in 1950s Kenya. Tom, a young man who has returned to his family's farm, rapidly becomes caught up in the intensifying events of violence and brutality in a conflict Foulds illustrates as both utterly contemporary and yet deeply burdened by the history of race and empire in this region. The Broken Word was the recipient of the Costa (Whitbread) Poetry Award, and Foulds's The Quickening Maze was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.



Eva Longoria was not my favorite Desperate Housewife - mind you, I've only ever watched the 1st season, and how many seasons ago was that? But I did love her gardener...yum.

So, I was going to basically blow this book off, but it is so much food porn. Every dish looks yummy and she even has a recipe for Hungarian Paprika Chicken which I will be xeroxing here in a minute and taking home to try out - the recipe, I mean.



From gardening during drought conditions to the best friendly fungi and how to make the perfect compost, essential advice on symbiotic gardening

Revealing the techniques that work in grand gardens yet are just as applicable for small yards, a vegetable patch, or several acres, the advice in this guide covers good plant nutrition, including how to make a plant healthy from organic spraying with milk. Composting is covered as well, including hot composting techniques; the ultimate leaf mold, bracken compost, and potash; and composting food waste. Gardeners will learn how to survive droughts and downpours with low-watering regimes, how to increase plants' drought resistance, how to choose the right plant for any condition, and how to keep plants healthy in water-logged soil. Tips on being a greener gardener include water-collection systems, using beneficial insects to control pests, alternatives to pesticides and fungicides, sterilizing without bleach, peat-free composts, and alternatives to plastic. Gardening by the moon is also covered, with simple and scientific experiments in biodynamic gardening.



Chaz Bono's groundbreaking and candid account of a forty-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body and his transformation from female to male

At first, America knew the only child of Sonny and Cher as Chastity, the cherubic little girl who appeared on her parents' TV show. In later years, she became famous for coming out on a national stage, working with two major organizations toward LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and publishing two books. And just within the past eighteen months, Chaz Bono has entered the public consciousness as the most high-profile transgender person ever.

All through the hoopla surrounding his change, Chaz has insisted on maintaining his privacy. Now, in Transition, Chaz finally tells his story. Part One traces his decision to transition, beginning in his childhood-when he played on the boys' teams and wore boys' clothing whenever possible-and going through his painful, but ultimately joyful, coming out in his twenties, up to 2008, when, after the death of his father, drug addiction, and five years of sobriety, Chaz was finally ready to begin the process of changing his gender. In Part Two, he offers an unprecedented record in words and photographs of the actual transition, a real-time diary as he navigates uncharted waters. These chapters capture the day-to-day momentum of his life as his body changes.

Throughout the book, Chaz touches on themes of identity, gender, and sexuality; parents and children; and how harboring secrets shatters the soul. It is an amazing contribution to our understanding of a much- misunderstood community.



We have spent the last two centuries building a civilization on coal and the last century building it bigger still on oil. Fossil fuels have been the wellspring of our complex, glorious modern world, but they are about to run out. By the end of the 21st century, our oil and natural gas supplies will be virtually nonexistent, and limited coal supplies will be restricted to only a handful of countries.

In Life without Oil, environmental scientist Steve Hallett and veteran journalist John Wright make abundantly clear that we are at the crest of a remarkable two-hundred-year glitch in the history of civilization and are about to embark on the decline. Experts may argue about whether peak oil production has already arrived or will come in a decade or two, but in any case, as Hallett and Wright show, we must plan for a future without reliance on oil.

But successful planning depends on a realistic assessment of the facts about our current situation. To that end, Hallett and Wright describe how the petroleum interval of the last century, on which our civilization is based, fits in to the larger history of civilization. They describe the fate of civilizations and empires of the past that have come and gone based on their vital connection with the environment.

Turning to an even longer timeframe, the authors make a compelling case that the key determinant of our global economy is not so much the invisible hand of the marketplace but the inexorable laws of ecology. When it comes to the long term, nature will impose limits beyond which our economy cannot go. Despite increased emphasis on renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, our current obsession with growth is ultimately unsustainable. The authors foresee the coming decades as a time of much disruption and change of lifestyle, but in the end we may learn a wiser, more sustainable stewardship of our natural resources.

This timely, sobering, yet constructive discussion of energy and ecology offers a realistic vision of the near future and many important lessons about the limits of our resources.

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