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The Library Lowdown

The Elm Grove Public Library, established and supported by the citizens of Elm Grove, provides access to library facilities, resources, and services necessary to meet the informational, educational, and leisure needs of all the people in the community. It assembles, preserves, and administers an organized collection of print and non-print materials to fill those needs. It places special emphasis on stimulating interest and life-long appreciation for reading and learning among children and adults alike

Check out these great new non-fiction books, available today at the Elm Grove Library

Looking for a great new book for the backyard or the beach? Before hitting up the bookstore to find that hot new title everyone is talking about, stop by the Elm Grove Library, where you will find a great selection of the newest in non-fiction available for check-out today. This is just a sampling of the newest books available at this very moment in the library. To reserve a book from home, simply click on the cover and follow the steps to place a hold. But hurry, before someone else checks them out…

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, by Sarah Lewis

The rise : creativity, the gift of failure, and the search for mastery

It is one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavors—from Nobel Prize–winning discoveries to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts—are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts. The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both a void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise, a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit, makes the case that many of our greatest triumphs come from understanding the importance of this mystery.

This exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavor.
It explores the inestimable value of often ignored ideas, the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, the propulsion of the near win on the road to mastery, and the importance of grit and creative practice.

Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience, by Eileen Cronin

Mermaid : a memoir of resilience

At the age of three, Eileen Cronin first realized that only she did not have legs. Her boisterous Catholic family accepted her situation as "God's will," treating her no differently than her ten siblings, as she "squiddled" through their 1960s Cincinnati home. But starting school, even wearing prosthetics, Cronin had to brave bullying and embarrassing questions. Thanks to her older brother's coaching, she handled a classmate's playground taunts with a smack from her lunchbox. As a teen, thrilled when boys asked her out, she was confused about what sexuality meant for her. She felt most comfortable and happiest relaxing and skinny dipping with her girlfriends, imagining herself "an elusive mermaid." The cause of her disability remained taboo, however, even as she looked toward the future and the possibility of her own family.

In later years, as her mother battled mental illness and denied having taken the drug thalidomide--known to cause birth defects--Cronin felt apart from her family. After the death of a close brother, she turned to alcohol. Eventually, however, she found the strength to set out on her own, volunteering at hospitals and earning a PhD in clinical psychology.

Reflecting with humor and grace on her youth, search for love, and quest for answers, Cronin spins a shimmering story of self-discovery and transformation.

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, by Adam Braun

The promise of a pencil : how an ordinary person can create extraordinary change

The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving one of the world’s most prestigious jobs to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 200 schools around the world.

The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn your biggest ambitions into reality, even if you start with as little as $25. His story takes readers behind the scenes with business moguls and village chiefs, world-famous celebrities and hometown heroes. Driven by compelling stories and shareable insights, this is a vivid and inspiring book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, by Anand Giridharadas

The true American : murder and mercy in Texas

The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.

The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives—one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.

Ten years after the shooting, an Islamic pilgrimage seeds in Bhuiyan a strange idea: if he is ever to be whole, he must reenter Stroman's life. He longs to confront Stroman and speak to him face to face about the attack that changed their lives. Bhuiyan publicly forgives Stroman, in the name of his religion and its notion of mercy. Then he wages a legal and public-relations campaign, against the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, to have his attacker spared from the death penalty.

Ranging from Texas's juvenile justice system to the swirling crowd of pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca; from a biker bar to an immigrant mosque in Dallas; from young military cadets in Bangladesh to elite paratroopers in Israel; from a wealthy household of chicken importers in Karachi, Pakistan, to the sober residences of Brownwood, Texas, The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions. Ultimately it tells a story about our love-hate relationship with immigrants, about the encounter of Islam and the West, about how—or whether—we choose what we become.

Seven Elements that Changed the World: An Adventure of Ingenuity and Discovery, by John Browne

Seven elements that changed the world : an adventure of ingenuity and discovery

The fascinating story of how seven elements—iron, carbon, gold, silver, uranium, titanium, and silicon—have changed modern life, for good and ill.

With carbon we access heat, light and mobility at the flick of a switch, while silicon enables us to communicate across the globe in an instant.        

Yet our use of the Earth's mineral resources is not always for the benefit of humankind—our relationship with the elements is one of great ambivalence. Uranium is both productive (nuclear power) and destructive (nuclear bombs); iron is the bloody weapon of war, but also the economic tool of peace; our desire for alluring gold is the foundation of global trade, but has also led to the death of millions. John Browne, CEO of British Petroleum (BP) for twelve years, vividly describes how seven elements are shaping the world around us, for better and for worse.       

Combining history, science, and politics, Seven Elements takes you on a present-day adventure of human passion and innovation. This journey is far from over: we continue to find surprising new uses for these seven elements. In this narrative of discovery, readers will come to understand how titanium pervades modern consumer society, how natural gas is transforming the global energy sector, and how an innovative new form of carbon could be starting a technology revolution.

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind, by Michio Kaku

The future of the mind : the scientific quest to understand, enhance, and empower the mind

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspacetackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.
        
For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist. 
 
The Future of the Mindgives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics.  One day we might have a "smart pill" that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe. 
          
Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about "consciousness" and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.  

With Dr. Kaku's deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force--an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, by Mark Miodownik

Stuff matters : exploring the marvelous materials that shape our manmade world

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.

In Stuff Matters, Miodownik entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor and the graphite in his pencil to the foam in his sneakers and the concrete in a nearby skyscraper. He offers a compendium of the most astounding histories and marvelous scientific breakthroughs in the material world, including:

-          The imprisoned alchemist who saved himself from execution by creating the first European porcelain.

-          The hidden gem of the Milky Way, a planet five times the size of Earth, made entirely of diamond.

-          Graphene, the thinnest, strongest, stiffest material in existence—only a single atom thick—that could be used to make entire buildings sensitive to touch.

From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.

My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants, by Colman Andrews

My usual table : a life in restaurants

My Usual Table is a love letter to the great restaurants that have changed the way we eat—from Trader Vic’s to Chez Panisse and Spago to elBulli—and a vivid memoir of a life lived in food, from a founding editor of Saveur and James Beard Award-winning writer Colman Andrews.

For reviewer, writer, and editor Colman Andrews, restaurants have been his playground, his theater, his university, his church, his refuge. The establishments he has loved have not only influenced culinary trends at home and abroad, but represent the changing history and culture of food in America and Western Europe. From his usual table, he has watched the growth of Nouvelle Cuisine and fusion cuisine; the organic and locavore movements; nose-to-tail eating; and so-called “molecular gastronomy.”

In My Usual Table, Andrews interweaves his own story—from growing up in the sunset years of Hollywood’s golden age to traveling the world in pursuit of great food—with tales of the restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs who are emblematic of the revolutions great and small that have forever changed the way we eat, cook, and think about food.

You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age, by Robert Wagner

You must remember this : life and style in Hollywood's golden age

The legendary actor and bestselling author of Pieces of My Heart offers a nostalgic look at Hollywood’s golden age.

For millions of movie lovers, no era in the history of Hollywood is more beloved than the period from the 1930s through the 1950s, the golden age of the studio system. Not only did it produce many of the greatest films of the American cinema, but it was then that Hollywood itself became firmly established as the nation’s ultimate symbol of glamour and style, its stars almost godlike figures whose dazzling lives were chronicled in countless features in magzazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen.

While these features were a standard part of the work of studio publicity departments, they told eager readers little about what life was really like for these celebrities once they stepped out of the public eye. No one is better qualified to tell that story than Robert Wagner, whose own career has spanned more than five decades and whose New York Times bestseller, Pieces of My Heart, was one of the most successful Hollywood memoirs in recent years. You Must Remember This is Wagner’s intimate ode to a bygone time, one of magnificent homes, luxurious hotels, opulent night-clubs and restaurants, and unforgettable parties that were all part of the Hollywood social scene at its peak.

From a dinner party at Clifton Webb’s at which Judy Garland sang Gershwin at the piano to golf games with Fred Astaire, from Jimmy Cagney’s humble farmhouse in Coldwater Canyon to the magnificent beach mansion built by William Randolph Hearst for Marion Davies, from famous restaurants like the Brown Derby and Romanoff’s to nightspots like the Trocadero and the Mocambo, Wagner shares his affectionate memories and anec¬dotes about the places and personalities that have all become part of Hollywood legend.

As poignant as it is revealing, You Must Remember This is Wagner’s account of Hollywood as he saw it, far from the lights and cameras and gossip columns—and a tender farewell to the people of a mythical place long since transformed, and to a golden age long since passed.

Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America, by Bruce Weber

Life is a wheel : love, death, etc., and a bike ride across America

Riding a bicycle across the United States is one of those bucket-list goals that many dream about but few fulfill. During the summer and fall of 2011, at the age of fifty-seven, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for The New York Times, made the trip, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded mile by mile, a vivid and immediate report of the self-powered life on the road.

Now, expanding upon the articles and blog posts that quickly became a must-read adventure story, Weber gives us Life Is a Wheel, a witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention the pleasures of a three-thousand-calorie breakfast.

The story begins on the Oregon coast, with Weber wondering what he’s gotten himself into, and ends in triumph on New York City’s George Washington Bridge. From Going-to-the-Sun Road in the northern Rockies to the headwaters of the Mississippi and through the cityscapes of Chicago and Pittsburgh, his encounters with people and places provide us with an intimate, two-wheeled perspective of America. And with thousands of miles to travel, Weber considers— when he’s not dealing with tractor-trailers, lightning storms, dehydration, headwinds, and loneliness—his past, his family, and the echo that a well-lived life leaves behind.

Part travelogue, part memoir, part romance, part paean to the bicycle as a simple mode of both mobility and self-expression—and part bemused and panicky account of a middle-aged man’s attempt to stave off, well, you know—Life Is a Wheel is an elegant and beguiling escape for biking enthusiasts, armchair travelers, and any readers who are older than they were yesterday.

Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee, by Michael Korda

Clouds of glory : the life and legend of Robert E. Lee

New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's fresh, contemporary single volume historical biography of General Robert E. Lee—perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes.

Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant and the bestsellers Ike and Hero, paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee as a brilliant general, a devoted family man, and principled gentleman who disliked slavery and disagreed with secession, yet who refused command of the Union Army in 1861 because he could not "draw his sword" against his beloved Virginia.

Well-rounded and realistic, Clouds of Glory analyzes Lee's command during the Civil War and explores his responsibility for the fatal stalemate at Antietam, his defeat at Gettysburg (as well the many troubling controversies still surrounding it) and ultimately, his failed strategy for winning the war. As Korda shows, Lee's dignity, courage, leadership, and modesty made him a hero on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and a revered American icon who is recognized today as the nation's preeminent military leader.

Clouds of Glory features dozens of stunning illustrations, some never before seen, including twelve pages of color, twenty-four pages of black-and-white, and nearly fifty in-text battle maps.

Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation, by Judith Mackrell

Flappers : six women of a dangerous generation

By the 1920s, women were on the verge of something huge. Jazz, racy fashions, eyebrowraising new attitudes about art and sex—all of this pointed to a sleek, modern world, one that could shake off the grimness of the Great War and stride into the future in one deft, stylized gesture. The women who defined this age—Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Tamara de Lempicka—would presage the sexual revolution by nearly half a century and would shape the role of women for generations to come.

In Flappers, the acclaimed biographer Judith Mackrell renders these women with all the color that marked their lives and their era. Both sensuous and sympathetic, her admiring biography lays bare the private lives of her heroines, filling in the bold contours. These women came from vastly different backgrounds, but all ended up passing through Paris, the mecca of the avant-garde. Before she was the toast of Parisian society, Josephine Baker was a poor black girl from the slums of Saint Louis. Tamara de Lempicka fled the Russian Revolution only to struggle to scrape together a life for herself and her family. A committed painter, her portraits were indicative of the age’s art deco sensibility and sexual daring. The Brits in the group—Nancy Cunard and Diana Cooper— came from pinkie-raising aristocratic families but soon descended into the salacious delights of the vanguard. Tallulah Bankhead and Zelda Fitzgerald were two Alabama girls driven across the Atlantic by a thirst for adventure and artistic validation.

But beneath the flamboyance and excess of the 1920s lay age-old prejudices about gender, race, and sexuality. These flappers weren’t just dancing and carousing; they were fighting for recognition and dignity in a male-dominated world. They were more than mere lovers or muses to the modernist masters—in their pursuit of fame and intense experience, we see a generation of women taking bold steps toward something burgeoning, undefined, maybe dangerous: a New Woman.

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942, by Nigel Hamilton

The mantle of command : FDR at war, 1941-1942

Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving aides and Roosevelt family members, Nigel Hamilton offers a definitive account of FDR’s masterful—and underappreciated—command of the Allied war effort. Hamilton takes readers inside FDR’s White House Oval Study—his personal command center—and into the meetings where he battled with Churchill about strategy and tactics and overrode the near mutinies of his own generals and secretary of war. 

Time and again, FDR was proven right and his allies and generals were wrong. When the generals wanted to attack the Nazi-fortified coast of France, FDR knew the Allied forces weren’t ready. When Churchill insisted his Far East colonies were loyal and would resist the Japanese, Roosevelt knew it was a fantasy. As Hamilton’s account reaches its climax with the Torch landings in North Africa in late 1942, the tide of war turns in the Allies’ favor and FDR’s genius for psychology and military affairs is clear. This intimate, sweeping look at a great president in history’s greatest conflict is must reading.

If you have any questions, call the Elm Grove Library at (262) 782-6717.

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