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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

Nonfiction

As You Wish

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Author: Cary Elwes

Any fan of The Princess Bride absolutely MUST read this book. Cary Elwes shares wonderful in-depth stories, insights and anecdotes. I also must say I could easily hear his voice speaking to me within the writing style.

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Author: Anand Giridharadas

Days after 9/11, Mark Stroman, a troubled, violent Texan, took revenge by going on a rampage to "kill Arabs." Instead he shot an Indian, a Bangladeshi, and a Packistani, and only one survived. The author follows the lives of the perpetrator and the survivor, focusing on the early lives of both and what led them to that fateful moment in a Dallas convenience store. Although Stroman can be seen as a racist monster for his senseless crimes, it is hard not to feel sympathy after reading about his difficult childhood. His victim, Rais, is left for dead, his American dream turned nightmare, but he survives, and though left with permanent vision loss and physical and emotional scars, he begins to rebuild his life. The book traces Stroman's case as it goes through the courts. He receives a death sentence, and begins corresponding with various people worldwide who oppose capital punishment. It's difficult to tell if Stroman is really reformed or simply trying to save himself, but even Rais is moved by his plight and vows to try and save him. He begins a campaign to aid Stroman, and his ability to forgive is truly remarkable. 

Audiobook Review
Author: James Loehr

Sports pshychology is used to help non-athletes perform better at work and in personal relationships. Instead of focusing on time management, the premise is that people need to manage their energy better by focusing on maximizing their potential physically, emotionally, and mentally. Those feeling burned out and overwhelmed will benefit from tis emphasis on personal values and putting those values to action. The book is filled with many real life examples of how clients transformed there lives by building in rituals in their everyday lives in order to live by their values.

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Author: SI Robertson

What a fun book! For Duck Dynasty fans, this book gives us a look at the serious side of SI without losing sight of his zaniness.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Laura Hillenbrand

Audiobooks are great for road trips! Seabiscuit was an amazing horse. This book showed the love the main characters had for this phenomenal horse. It must have been quite a time to live, to see Seabiscuit race.

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Author: Donalyn Miller

All reading and language arts teachers will appreciate this book on the importance of giving students reading time and reading choices. Those who've been in education for awhile will find it very similar to Nancy Atwell's reader's workshop approach for the 90s. There may be nothing new here, but for teachers who value reading above all else, this book is an affirmation of what we're doing right.

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Title: Cooked
Author: Michael Pollan

Pollan becomes an apprentice barbecuer, chef, baker, brewer, and cheesemaker in this story of his use of fire, water, air, and earth to master the earliest of cooking skills. His adventures with Southern barbecue masters and their recipes for the best barbecue make for the most entertaining part of the book, but the accounts of the time he spends with bakers and fermenters learning their crafts are also fascinating. Readers may never find the time or energy needed to devote to baking bread from scratch (no store-bought yeast here!) or brewing beer, but learning the intricacies of these culinary arts will lead to an appreciation of the skill involved and the ingenuity of our ancestors who discovered these edible wonders. 

Author: Edward Dolnick

Those interested in the history of scientific discovery and the great men competing to prove their theories of the workings of the universe will enjoy this book. It highlights the 17th century, when The Royal Society of London brought many great thinkers together to explore, experiment, and present their findings. As much quackery and hocus pocus as sciene, the society nonetheless promoted men of science who uncovered many mysteries of the universe. In addition to the explanation of such concepts as calculus and the theory of gravity, the author tells lively stories of temperamental scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and his nemesis Wilhelm Von Leibniz, who both claimed to have invented calculus. The unique and often obnoxious personalities of all of the scientists make for entertaining reading. As these scientists struggle to rationalize the contradiction of scientific theories and steadfastly held religious beliefs, the modern world emerges.

Audiobook Review
Author: David Grann

The author, fascinated with Colonel Percy Fawcett, a British explorer obsessed with finding a lost civilization in the Amazon forest, sets off on his own quest to solve the mystery of the explorer who never returned. The book gives a detailed account of Fawcett's life up until his disappearance on his last trip into the Brazilian wild, as well as the stories of other explorers who tried to solve the mystery of what happened to Fawcett, his son, and nephew. Fawcett, until his last journey, seemed invincible, able to survive conditions many others had succumbed to. The exploits of many 19th and early 20th century explorers and their bold attempts to find Eldorado are described as well. Readers interested in exploration and the Amazon region will enjoy this story.

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Author: Anna Quindlen

Fans of Quindlen and women over forty will appreciate this collection of essays on motherhood, careers, and aging. Quindlen has a style that makes writing look easy- a way of putting into words ideas many of us, especially women, have pondered. She can be sarcastic and heartwarming in the same piece. Quindlen, now in her early 60's, has been a reporter, Newsweek columnist, novelist, and mom. I'm looking forward to whatever she writes next.