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Sci-Fi Pick For Teens: Apollo's Outcasts

Jamey Barlowe has been unable to walk since childhood, the result of being born on the Moon. Jamey's father sends him, along with five other kids, back to the Moon to escape a political coup that has occurred overnight in the United States. Jamey will have to learn a whole new way to live, one that entails walking for the first time in his life. It won't be easy and it won't be safe. Jamey soon finds himself at the center of a dangerous political struggle stretching from the Earth to the Moon. 

"My Mother was Nuts" by Penny Marshall

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Comedian/director Marshall writes very openly on her life experiences growing up in the Bronx, getting pregnant and married young in New Mexico, her marriage to Rob Reiner, friendship with Carrie Fisher, and relationship with Art Garfunkel.      Marshall revisits tough subjects like abortion, drugs, lack of mothering skills, and her now fading health.   Great stories abound of her time spent on TV shows, movies, and her career as a movie director.    Marshall's humor is how she gets through the difficult stuff and lives with a simple motto: “try hard, help your friends, don't get too crazy, and have fun.”

Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening

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MISTER OWITA'S GUIDE TO GARDENING is a beautifully written memoir by a first time author Carol Wall. The story is a very personal account of friendship between two people.  Less about gardening, the book is more about those accidental judgments that we make based on prejudices of race, money, education, and plain old general appearances.

I enjoyed this book.  It is about the power of friendship which can change our hearts and transform our lives; it is a reminder we all have more in common with each other than we think.

  

The Inferno

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Dan Brown’s latest, The Inferno follows the pattern of Brown’s other thrillers.  There is an intellectual puzzle to be solved while baddies chase and threaten the good guys. The fate of the world is in Langdon’s hands and hands of the brilliant Sienna Brooks, who accompanies him. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, specifically “Inferno”,   is the key to deciphering an obscure message left by an obsessed scientist, Zorbrist, who is intent on saving the world by destroying it. The chase and race is on… through the streets, alleyways, secret underground passages, hidden doors and tombs of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul.

Along the way Langdon delivers a running commentary on the rich history of the Italian Renaissance, Christian, and Islamic art. The abundance of information can distract from the plot versus enrich.  I would recommend reading this book for the excitement of the chase, the clues and the underlying theme, but not the convoluted plotting.

 

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder

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Do Equal Opportunity Employers really hire without discrimination? Is Twitter destroying our capacity to write, or improving it? Can Facebook predict if your marriage will last? How is Google fighting the flu?

Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid, leverages the company’s massive collection of data as a starting point for this examination of human nature. Rudder keeps the text light and readable, skipping wonky details while being sure to note when his conclusions are limited by his data. His insights range from quirky factoids—white men are most likely to read Robert Heinlein while drinking a home-brewed beer, while Asian women would rather snack on macarons and read Norwegian Wood—to sobering insights about racism, sexism, and homophobia. A must-read for anyone interested in social media and what it reveals about our personalities and communities.

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