Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Finds


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New and Selected Poems Cherie Burbach's poetry has been described as inspirational, uplifting, lyrical, and diverse. She regularly writes about empowerment, self-esteem, and the power of faith. In New and Selected Poems, she includes several new poems combined with the most popular works from her books The Difference Now, A New Dish, and Father's Eyes.

Vivian's Song In the spring of 1998 the residents of a small Missouri town are alarmed to learn that a New Age cult from California has bought land nearby. The leader of this so-called cult is a former champion bull rider, Cadillac salesman, and Viet Nam vet from Texas named Duke Tanner. Duke built his group on the concept of creating wealth through the power of thought, and he proved his theories by investing in the red hot dotcoms of the San Francisco Bay Area. However, it turns out their nearest neighbor is Senator Charles Wentworth, one of the most conservative members of Congress. The local clergy, outraged by Duke's iconoclastic ideas, organize with Senator Wentworth to oust him. The animosity intensifies when Duke befriends Jimmy Hollingsworth, the grandson of one the wealthiest men in Missouri and the heir to MidWest AgPro, the largest corporate backer of Senator Wentworth. It all comes to a head during a massive protest rally in the tiny town in which supporters of both sides clash.

The Palomar Paradox Each of the characters in 'The Palomar Paradox' deals with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in their own way. As in real life, some believe; others don't want you to believe. 'The Palomar Paradox' sees Luper Beauchamps, a brilliant scientist, back in an astronomical observatory searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. He finds himself working with Leila Keiler, a young student recovering from leukaemia, and Karina Lowenhaupt, an experienced astronomer. Other characters include, Trent Foresyth, a senior Pentagon official, and his intern, Rihanna Sørensen. They are charged chiefly with quashing all reports of, and evidence for, extraterrestrial activity.

The Burning Lake Another prominent journalist is found murdered in Putin’s Russia, shot to death on the banks of the Techa River near the radioactive village of Metlino. Katarina Mironova, known around the world as Kato, could simply fade from the public eye, one more journalist killed during Putin’s war on the free press, one more statistic in a grim tally. But to Russian agent Alexei Volkovoy, Kato’s murder evokes far more emotion. It summons too many memories, haunts him in too many ways for him to allow her death go unavenged. Volk's investigation takes him from Moscow to Mayak, the site of a nuclear reprocessing plant where a massive explosion occurred in 1958, then to Las Vegas. All the while the life he has known with his long-time lover, Valya, and his patron, the General, slowly unravels as details about his secret ties to Kato begin to emerge. Meanwhile, American contract agent Grayson Stone and shadowy French assassin Jean-Louis have secrets of their own to protect. Secrets born in the Afghan desert and the streets of Fallujah. Secrets about the tragic consequences of a nuclear alliance among venal Russian, American, and French politicians. Secrets the American and the French governments will pay anything to protect. In the end, Volk becomes both the hunter and the hunted in the glittering neon jungle of Las Vegas. Equally at home in the snow-covered woods of the Ural mountains and the seamy alleyways of Industrial Boulevard, Volk tracks his prey across the world trying to learn the truth about the story Kato died trying to report.

A Dog Name Slugger The true life story of a dog who changed everything for one woman. For the first time in my life, I didn't need to pretend, I didn't need to be tough: I only needed to be honest. "I have cerebral palsy. I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I'm not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it's hard to just bend down and get it." I waited anxiously for the interviewer's response. She smiled. "It sounds like a service dog could be great for you." So began Leigh Brill's journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with a "a coat like sunshine" and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team. Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph. Together, they inspired and educated everyone they met. Now, Leigh honors her friend with the story of their life, together.

A Friendly Life S. Prestley ("Pres") Blake and his brother Curtis Blake started the Friendly Ice Cream Company in 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression. Their parents gave them their initial capital, their mother kept the books, and Pres and Curtis worked day and night in their tiny shop. This small family business kept expanding, and over time grew to a 500 plus restaurant chain. The brothers eventually sold their business to the Hershey Corporation. This autobiography of Pres Blake's life starts with this humble beginning. It shows how the brothers invoked straightforward business principles to guide their growth, and by dent of hard work and good advice from other business people, they were able to rapidly grown their restaurant chain. The book also shows Pres' adventures after retirement, including his fascination with cars, with exploring, and with giving back to people and educational institutions. But just as Pres was enjoying his retirement, he was roused to come back and save his "baby" from the management team that had bought the company from Hershey. The last third of the book is devoted to the amazing saga of Pres' fight to liberate his old company from mismanagement. Pres began the fight at age 86, and it took him seven years and tremendous legal fees to make the current ownership say "uncle." This is a fascinating portrait of a man who fought for principles. Age was not going to be a barrier to Pres Blake, who was motivated to make sure his creation continued to be managed properly.