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Thursday, April 3,2014

Book reviews: Notes from Neil

The Space-Pie Continuum

by Neil Rajala

Thursday, April 3 — I don't usually spend much time talking about TV or movie related books, but I'm making an exception this week - for the good of all mankind. Here's what we're reading:



COSMOS

Carl Sagan

While there's not yet a companion book to the new Cosmos TV series so many of us are watching, the good news is, the launch of the show has brought the marvelous original book back to our stores, with a new introduction by Mr. Sagan's collaborator Ann Druyan and a new foreword by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I owned the oversize, more lavishly illustrated version back in the day, and read it in wonder a handful of times. I had always had an interest in astronomy growing up, but had never come across a book that looked at the universe and our place in it with such a wide-ranging and fascinating perspective. I learned what particular kind of furnaces stars really are and what their lifespan is like; what happens in the galaxy at the furthest reaches of our sun's influence; how the evolution of the human brain has led to language and culture, memory and morality. And that's just scratching the surface of all the treasures contained in this book.                                                                                    



SPACE CHRONICLES

Neil deGrasse Tyson

If you're just becoming familiar with Mr. Tyson through the Cosmos series (and his flying around in the best spaceship ever), you should know he's published a dozen or so excellent science books. I haven't read all of them, but I can highly recommend the most recent.

Space Chronicles is a passionate and inspiring argument in favor of us not losing our drive to explore space. By including a history of all we've accomplished so far, and the great gains in technology the space program has facilitated, the author makes his case in language both practical and full of curiosity and wonder. kobo eBook


TEENY'S TOUR OF PIE

Teeny Lamothe

Sometimes I get a book in the mail from one of our publishers that I didn't ask for, or even know about. One of our sales reps will just see something they think I might be interested in. That's how I discovered this absurdly tempting book.

Ms. Lamothe, owner of Teeny Pies in Washington, D.C., took the best possible kind of road trip to research this book. She traveled the country to meet the best pie-makers she could find and gather their best advice, secrets and recipes. She became a firm believer that vodka is a better choice than cold water for making flaky pie crust - it evaporates more completely and the alcohol dissipates with the heat of baking - and that many fruit pies are improved by a small amount of a compatible herb. Strawberry Basil or Rosemary Apple anyone? I tried one recipe immediately, the Grapefruit and Pomegranate Custard. The result? Let's just say if anyone wants my copy of the book they'll have to pry it from my floury, sugary fingers. kobo eBook                                                                                                     

By now, you've probably had the same revelation I did: what would be better on a Sunday evening than watching a compelling science series while eating some delicious pie? You're welcome.

Until next week,


Neil

NeilNeil Rajala is Currently Director of Community & Business Services for Schuler Books, Neil's decade with the company has included the wearing of many different hats - and lots and lots of reading.

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