Atlas Obscura

atlas-obscuraIt’s time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.

Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton, Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.

Anyone can be a tourist. Atlas Obscura is for the explorer.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World

hidden-treesBy Peter Wohlleben. Draws on up-to-date research and engaging forester stories to reveal how trees nurture each other and communicate, outlining the life cycles of “tree families” that support mutual growth, share nutrients and contribute to a resilient ecosystem. Illustrations.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

hidden-figuresBy Margot Lee Sheerly. An account of the previously unheralded but pivotal contributions of NASA’s African-American women mathematicians to America’s space program describes how they were segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws in spite of their groundbreaking successes.

When in French: Love in a Second Language

when-in-french“When New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins moves to Geneva, Switzerland, she decides to learn French–not just to be able to go about her day-to-day life, but in order to be closer to her French husband and his family. When in French is at once a hilarious and idiosyncratic memoir about the things we do for love, and an exploration across cultures and history into how we learn languages, and what they say about who we are”

Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness

pearl-harborBy Craig Nelson. An account based on years of research and new information illuminates less-understood aspects of how and why Japan targeted America, sharing additional details about the experiences of survivors. By the award-winning author of Rocket Men.

The Lion in the Living Room on Thursday December 8th at 7:00pm

the-lion-in-the-living-room-9781476738239Author Abigail Tucker joins us on Thursday December 8th at 7:00pm for a discussion of her new book, “The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World”.

About the book:

A lively adventure through history, natural science, and pop culture in search of how cats conquered the world, the Internet, and our hearts.
House cats rule back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, and our bedrooms. Clearly, they own the Internet, where a viral cat video can easily be viewed upwards of ten million times. But how did cats accomplish global domination? Unlike dogs, they offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent rat-catchers and pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still.
To better understand these furry strangers in our midst, Abby Tucker travels to meet the breeders, activists, and scientists who ve dedicated their lives to cats. She visits the labs where people sort through feline bones unearthed from the first human settlements, treks through the Floridian wilderness in search of house cats on the loose, and hangs out with Lil Bub, one of the world s biggest feline celebrities.
Witty, intelligent, and always curious, Tucker shows how these tiny creatures have used their relationship with humans to become one of the most powerful animals on the planet. The appropriate reaction to a cuddly kitten, it seems, might not be aww but awe.

About the author: abby-tucker

Abigail Tucker was the first ever staff writer for Smithsonian magazine, where she remains a contributor. She previously wrote for The Baltimore Sun. Her work has been featured in the Best American Nature and Science Writing. The first word of both of her daughters was cat.

To save a spot, click HERE.

To watch a video of the book, click HERE.

The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees

Man who made thingsA history of the role of ash trees in the English-speaking world draws on expert understandings of ash’s wide-ranging properties, revealing the thriving existence of ancient traditions in ash craftsmanship while exposing threats to today’s remaining ash forests.

Navigating Life: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me

Things I WishWith charming candor and insight, Bergen addresses her college-bound daughter, Charlotte, on subjects such as love, friendship, education, and work. The book’s eight essays offer advice on facing “the hidden horrors and private joys of adult life”: conversation tactics gleaned from friends and cab drivers, the importance of dental care (“This is America and teeth matter”), and impulse control (“learn why you drink”). She discusses career moves and handling prickly employers and sudden terminations with grace before meaningfully recounting her experience with depression and the death of her alcoholic father. Her comments on divorce are wise and sensitive, stressing the value of romantic love despite its risk, “the daily glory of understanding and being understood.” Bergen is at her most poignant when describing the fluctuations of intimacy and parental control with a child on the verge of adulthood: “I still watch over you but now you watch me too. I am not used to the scrutiny.” Bergen’s style belongs to the tradition of Michel de Montaigne, providing guidance through an alchemy of personal reminiscence and thoughts on the general human condition. Her story may not be remarkably exciting, but it is well told and piercing in its honesty.

On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games

On the origins of sportsby Gary Belsky and Neil Fine

Did you know that James Naismith invented basketball as a way to keep his students indoors during the cold Massachusetts winter? Or that many of the Southerners who began racing stock cars got their early driving experience escaping police while running moonshine? On the Origins of Sports is jam-packed with these compelling tidbits of information tailor-made for obsessive sports fans, and covers a wide range of sports—whether national pastimes like football and cricket or global obsessions such as soccer and basketball.

Each sport will have its own chapter, which will include the sport’s original rules; a short history of the sport in accessible, insightful text; and informative line illustrations. Also included are annotated interstitials that take a deeper look into an element of the sport: for example, the evolution of the baseball glove; sports with war roots; a compendium of sports balls; iconic sports trophies; and more. Aside from facts and figures, rules and history,On the Origins of Sports will be a book that sports enthusiasts and history buffs alike will want to display on their coffee tables, showcase on their bookshelves, and treasure for generations

Valiant Ambition

ValiantBy Nathaniel Philbrick. Presents an account of the complicated middle years of the American Revolution that shares insights into the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

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