Archive for March, 2017

Take Ten: Weird Science

In April, our Reader’s Dozen Challenge is to pick up a book of science or science fiction. Since we figure more people are probably more comfortable finding a good science fiction read, we thought we’d share some good science books. The following titles are what we consider “narrative nonfiction,” true stories told with flair and a storyline to keep you turning pages. And just enough science to potentially make you dangerous…



Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution – Holly Tucker

  • A sharp-eyed expose of the deadly politics, murderous plots, and cutthroat rivalries behind the first blood transfusions in seventeenth-century Europe.

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives – Leonard Mlodinow

  • Critically analyzes the role of chance and random events, forces, and factors in shaping human existence, in a readable study of how the mathematical laws of randomness control the world around us.

The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddartha Mukherjee

  • From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Emperor of All Maladies comes a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

  • Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine.

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs – Brian Switek

  • A regular columnist for Smithsonian and Wired questions our long-held beliefs about dinosaurs and presents the latest scientific findings on what colors they really were, how they got so big and how they actually may have died out.

The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology – Simon Winchester

  • The world’s coal and oil industry, its gold mining, its highway systems, and its railroad routes were all derived entirely from the creation of William Smith’s first map. Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York – Deborah Blum

  • Chronicles the story of New York City’s first forensic scientists to describe Jazz Age poisoning cases, including a family’s inexplicable balding, Barnum and Bailey’s Blue Man, and the crumbling bones of factory workers.

Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach

  • A look inside the world of forensics examines the use of human cadavers in a wide range of endeavors, including research into new surgical procedures, space exploration, and a Tennessee human decay research facility.

A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen – Joe Jackson

  • Traces the breakthrough discovery of oxygen at the end of the 1700s by a pair of rival scientists, describing how English dissenter Joseph Priestley and French aristocrat Antoine Lavoisier waged a fierce competition to solve the “riddle of air.”

The World Without Us – Alan Weisman

  • A study of what would happen to Earth if the human presence was removed examines our legacy for the planet, from the objects that would vanish without human intervention to those that would become long-lasting remnants of humankind.


Annotations courtesy of NoveList Plus. For more book reviews, author information, and reading suggestions, log into NoveList Plus with your TFPL Library card.


Great Online Resource: Sanborn Maps for Idaho

If you’re doing a little history digging, you might find the Sanborn Maps a great resource. The maps – known officially as the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps – were designed to help insurance companies assess liability for buildings in towns and cities across America. Detail on the maps includes the type of material used in construction of a building (say, brick or masonry), as well as information about street and street numbers.

We have some of the physical maps in the Library, but they only cover changes made in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Our patrons can now find Twin Falls maps from 1907, 1909, 1911, and even 1922 through our new database. The map on this page shows the Library and its environs between 1939 and 1949.

Through our subscription, the database can only be accessed inside the Library (using our computers or our wifi). The next time you’re digging into family, house, or even local history, this database will be rather useful – and fun to look through.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1950

Let’s spring into late March with a look back at 1950 – a time of poodle skirts, drag racing, and bouffant hair styles for men and women (or, maybe I’m just remembering Grease…). Anyway, here are a few notable happenings that year that might spark a memory or two:

Now, how about some literature – or at least a fun read for Spring Break? Below are the books gracing the New York Times Best Sellers list for the week of March 19, 1950.



1. The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier

2. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari

3. The King’s Cavalier by Samuel Shellabarger

4. The Wall by John Hersey

5. The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary

6. Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

7. Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow

8. Mary by Sholem Asch

9. A Rage to Live by John O’Hara

10. One on the House by Mary Lasswell

11. The Pink House by Nelia Gardner White

12. The Diplomat by James Aldridge

13. I, My Ancestor by Nancy Wilson Ross

14. The Strange Land by Ned Calmer

15. A Long Day’s Dying by Frederick Buechner

16. Mingo Dabney by James H. Street



1. The Mature Mind by Harry Allen Overstreet

2. This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt

3. The Baby by Simon & Schuster

4. Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes

5. White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes

6. The Peabody Sisters of Salem by Louise Hall Tharp

7. I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin

8. Decision in Germany by Lucius Du Bignon Clay

9. Mr. Jones, Meet the Master by Peter Marshall

10. The Road Ahead by John T. Flynn

11. My Three Years in Moscow by Walter Bedell Smith

12. American Freedom and Catholic Power by Paul Blanshard

13. Chicago Confidential by Jack Lait And Lee Mortimer

14. Modern Arms and Free Men by Vannevar Bush

15. A Guide to Confident Living by Norman Vincent Peale

16. The Greatest Story Ever Told by Fulton Oursler

Extreme Sports

Our Reader’s Dozen Challenge this month is to read a book about sports. And while many of us can probably say we still get some type of physical exercise (right?), most of us would probably rather read about extreme athletes than be one. If you’re wanting to live vicariously through the challenges of tackling an extreme sport, pick up one of these titles – you might still get an adrenaline boost!