Archive for August, 2010

Rock On!

Keith Richards, 1972

The dreams of many a teenager begins with a spotlight and a microphone. How many of you out there wished you were a rock star?  Beyond the whole “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” thing was the idea of fame, wealth, and a little bit of rebellion. The music was just the right medium for our youthful expression of emotions. We may have outgrown our dreams (or just learned to live without them), but we can live vicariously through these musicians. The bios listed here will give you the taste of the rocker lifestyle, without the consequences. And no one will remark on your air-guitar stance…



AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll by Murray Engleheart

Bob Marley: The Untold Story by Chris Salewicz

Bowie: A Biography by Marc Spitz

The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton

Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross

Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad

Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd by Glenn Povey

Elton: The Biography by David Buckley

Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac by Mick Fleetwood

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon — and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx

Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason

John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

KISS and Make -Up by Gene Simmons

Making Tracks: The Rise of Blondie by Debbie Harry

No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins

Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin

Piece of My Heart: A Portrait of Janis Joplin by David Dalton

The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting: An Oral History by Jim Walsh

Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix by Charles R. Cross

Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen’s American Vision by Louis P. Masur

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story by Simon Leng

Strange Things Happen: A Life with the Police, Polo, and Pygmies by Stewart Copeland

There’s a Riot Going On: Revolutionaries, Rock Stars, and the Rise and Fall of the 60s by Peter Doggett

U2 Reader: A Quarter Century of Commentary, Criticism, and Reviews

When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall

Around the World – Peru

Machu Picchu at sunset

Can you believe we’re more than halfway through our year-long “around the world” journey? Just to recap, we’ve visited Nepal, Botswana, Portugal, Paris (France),  Belize, and Burma. I’ve been having so much fun – and learning a ton – that I may just continue this look into next year…

This month, we visit Peru, which sits on the Pacific Coast of South America. Peru is the home of the Incas, a highly developed nation-state that was eventually conquered by the Spanish under Francisco Pizarro. Today, it’s home to about 30 million people, most of whom live in the urban areas.

Other interesting facts:

  • Machu Picchu, called the “Lost City of the Incas” remained largely forgotten (except by locals) until it was “recovered in 1911.
  • Peru has been a member of the UN since 1949, and of the eight Secretary-Generals that have served, Javier Perez de Cuellar (1982-1991) was Peruvian.
  • Geographically, the Andes divide the country into three regions – a coastal plain along the Pacific, the mountains, and the Amazon plain in the east.


The CanopyAngela Elwell Hunt

City of Silver: A Mystery – Annamaria Alfieri

God of Luck – Ruthanne Lum McCunn

Excavation – James Rollins

Lima Nights – Marie Arana

The Lost City – Henry Shukman

Sunflower – Richard Paul Evans

Treasures of the Sun: A South-Western Story – Theodore V. Olsen

Useful Fools – C.A. Schmidt

When Mountains Walked – Kate Wheeler



Between the Lines: The Mystery of the Giant Ground Drawings of Ancient Nasca, Peru – Anthony F. Aveni

Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu – Christopher Heaney

Eight Feet in the Andes – Dervla Murphy

A Fish in the Water: A Memoir – Mario Llosa Vargas

A Land of Ghosts: The Braided Lives of People and the Forest in Far Western Amazonia – David G. Campbell

Lori: My Daughter, Wrongfully Imprisoned in Peru – Rhoda Berenson

The Mapmaker’s Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon – Robert Whitaker

Modern Latin America – Thomas E. Skidmore

Monuments of the Incas – John Hemming

Peru Before Pizarro – George Bankes



CIA World Factbook: Peru

Country of Peru Official Tourism Council

Machu Picchu: UNESCO World Heritage Site

National Geographic Travel: Peru

Wikipedia: Peru

End of Summer Reading :(

Well, we had another successful run of Adult Summer Reading this year! We started out a bit slow, but by the end we had 30% more recommendations turned in than last year. This summer we also allowed for online recommendations – we received 18 of them – and that may become a more permanent feature in the coming years.

We drew for prizes Wednesday and here are the results:

MP3 Player – Tina Bauer

Summer Reading Shirts – Rebecca Tuft, Cassie Mitchell, and Joy Beard

We hope everyone had a good time challenging (or may be the word should be “allowing”) themselves to read for pleasure this summer. Keep a look out for next year!

According to the Animals

Well, folks, we are definitely into the dog days of summer, when the heat makes us a little loopy. It’s a great time to find reasons to stay out of the heat and do something that doesn’t involve a ton of energy. Reading is perfect – a book is mobile and easy to read in the shade of a tree or beside a fan, and a good one will distract you from feeling the heat.

In honor of the dog days, here are a few titles narrated from an animal’s point of view (note: they’re not all dogs). Told by narrators of different species, these titles offer a unique perspective. Reading a few of these will help while away the lazy hours – but if your pet starts to talk to you, you can still blame the heat and not the novel. (All annotations are from NoveList Plus; check it out for recommendations and more.)

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

  • Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher’s soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe’s maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

  • In a cozy Irish village, when their beloved shepherd, George, is found struck down by a spade, his flock of clever sheep, led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill, launches its own investigation to find George’s killer among the local village inhabitants.

The Labrador Pact by Matt Haig

  • Struggling with the typical throes of human life with the help of their loyal black Labrador, Prince, the Hunter family is aided in unusual ways by their canine friend when he perceives that they are becoming their own worst enemies.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • A satire on totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government.

Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia

  • A down-on-his-luck L.A. private investigator–who also happens to be a dinosaur–explains how the dinosaurs faked their extinction millions of years ago and roam the earth in disguise, while he struggles to uncover the mystery of his partner’s death and overcome his dangerous basil addiction.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

  • In a constant struggle against oppression, a group of rabbits search for peaceful co-existence. Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle

  • The author chronicles the exploits of Boy, his clever canine companion, from the dog’s perspective, from his humble beginnings to joining the Mayle household to his adventures throughout France.

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

  • A novel told entirely from the perspective of African elephants follows young Mud and her family as they desperately struggle to survive the harsh drought and ivory hunters that threaten their lives.

The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor

  • A saxophone playing bear breaks out of a novelty act and starts a serious jazz career, which alternately lands him in jail, with a recording contract, and in love with a beautiful woman named Iris.

Raptor Red by Robert Bakker

  • After her mate is killed in an attack on a brontosaurus, a female raptor embarks on a perilous year-long odyssey as she copes with a flash flood, migrates to the ocean, finds a new mate, and produces a family of chicks, in a novel set against the exotic prehistoric background of the early Cretaceous.

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

  • A large black mongrel named Rowf and a white terrier named Snitter escape from an animal experiment center in England’s Lake District and may be carriers of bubonic plague.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

  • Intrepid canine detective Chet accompanies his human police officer partner, Bernie, on a first assignment involving the disappearance of a teenage girl who ran with the wrong crowd, a case that is complicated by Bernie’s dysfunctional personal life.

Frisco Pigeon Mambo by C. D. Payne

  • After a flock of alcohol and tobacco addicted laboratory pigeons who think they are human are set loose in San Francisco by animal rights activists, they search for Sam Spade, hoping that he will return them to their caretaker.

Felidae by Akif Pirncci

  • When Francis, the cynical feline narrator of this sensuous mystery, and his owner Gustav, a hack romance writer, move into the dilapidated house Gustav plans to renovate, Francis detects a strong odor of chemicals and a lingering sense of disaster.

Winkie by Clifford Chase

  • In this debut novel, a mild-mannered teddy bear named Winkie finds himself on the wrong side of America’s war on terror.–From publisher description.

Song of the Crow by Layne Maheu

  • From the moment that he looks down on the ancient gray head of Noah, who is swinging his stone axe, the narrating crow in this epic knows that these creatures called Man are trouble. He senses, too, that the natural order of things is about to change.–From publisher description.