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Terrific Reviews for Alan Weisman's COUNTDOWN

“Spirited descriptions, a firm grasp of complex material, and a bomb defuser’s steady precision make for a riveting read….Weisman’s cogent and forthright global inquiry, a major work, delineates how education, women’s equality, and family planning can curb poverty, thirst, hunger, and environmental destruction. Rigorous and provoking.” Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“In Countdown, Alan Weisman, a journalist probing whether a sustainable balance between nature and the human population can be achieved, offers a key message to guide future action. He says that no matter what environmental, environmental, ecological, or social problem we face, it will be easier to solve with fewer people….Weisman’s book…offers hope.” Hania Zlotnik, Nature

“Countdown is [Weisman’s] bold, troubling, and often inspiring search for ways to save ourselves.” Julia Holmes, Men’s Journal

“This is not a jeremiad but a realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)


COUNTDOWN: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

By Alan Weisman

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Price: $31.00 CAN

Pages: 528

Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"

ISBN-13: 9780316097758

On Sale Date: 09/24/2013




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Books for November

Here are a few books that you should add to your shelf this month: Who hasn't missed their daily Oprah fix since her show ended in May? The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy is a beautiful book, available 11/15 from Abrams Books. Featuring never before printed photos and plenty of celebrity contributions, this book will be a great addition to your coffee table.

Another beautiful find: this book will appeal to artists, tattoo enthusiasts, and even the scientifically inclined! Science Ink, from Sterling Publishing has over 250 photographs of science inspired tattoos. Pick this one up not only for the beautiful images, but for the accompanying text which reflects on and explains each image.

Cult of Lego from No Starch Press (distributed by IPS) is also available this month. Flipping through this book will make you want to get out your old bucket of Lego blocks and start building! Chapters delve into the history of Lego, its various uses in art and technology, and the minifig phenomenon.

Click here for some recommended YA books for November!

Guinness World Records 2012 Available Now!

The 2012 edition of Guinness World Records is now available everywhere books are sold! Highlights include Most Dogs Skipping, Biggest Afro, Tightest Parallel Park, updated new records on classics like Longest Fingernails, and over 4000 more. In addition to 900 eye-popping photos, this year's edition offers hidden augmented reality technology: see the pictures come alive! Visit the GWR website for more details and a sneak peek...

Finally in Paperback!

If a Man Booker shortlisted author is not enough to get you to read this book, maybe the subject matter will. You don’t often hear Gregor Mendel’s name come up in fiction books, but this one manages to weave historical fiction with the present day to create a story that you won’t be able to stop reading. The book is told from the perspective of geneticist Dr. Benedict Lambert, distant relative of Mendel himself and also a dwarf. His personal and professional lives are changing dramatically as he looks for the secrets of his own DNA while also looking for a personal connection. A dark and heart-wrenching read, this was first published in 1997, and is now out in paperback. Available now from Abacus  (ISBN 9780349000053) CDN$14.99


Total global annihilation!...almost.

So, according to The Daily Galaxy, our planet narrowly avoided total destruction yesterday – the latest installment in a 70-million-year lucky streak, without which we would not exist. Kinda makes the so-called death of print sound like a minor issue, eh? To ease my panic, I called upon one of our national heroes, who has plenty of experience with foreign objects from outer space. That's right – William Shatner. According to Star Trek: The Original Series 365 (Abrams, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-8109-9172-9, $38.95 CDN), he "hoped to wrestle" (p. 97) a live rented tiger to the ground during the production of classic episode "Shore Leave," although the idea didn't fly with the crew. Sounds to me like a guy who can shoot a couple of asteroids out of the sky – a far cry from the peacenik approach of Jean-Luc Picard. In a quote from "This Side of Paradise," the memorable episode in which Spock, under the influence of alien spores, succumbs to human emotion, Captain James Kirk says, "We weren't meant for [Paradise]. None of us. Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is." (p. 131)

A thick, widescreen-proportioned hardcover, Star Trek 365 consists of over 700 pages of beautiful photographs and long lost lore from all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek series. Publisher Abrams describes it as "the definitive, authorized guide (...) for old and new fans alike."

Although Star Trek barely survived the entirety of its original run from 1966-1969 – extended into a third season largely because of a massive fan-driven letter writing campaign (p. 263), and, um, Lucille Ball – it became a hit in reruns during the 1970s, which was when I, and many others of my generation, started watching it as a kid. The original series has of course spawned several spinoff series and movies, merchandise, and of course books and comics. So far, this particular book stands out for me as a very effective memory aid – just flipping through, I've pleasantly recalled some of the weirdest episodes of the show, including "This Side of Paradise" mentioned above, which I will forever remember as the "Spock laughing" episode.

Another example: there was the one where Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Yeoman Janice Rand – with a very complex wicker-like hairdo in many of these photos – visit a planet identical to 1960s earth populated only by filthy, feral children.

SPOCK: Guards! Cover me. CHILDREN [OC]: Nyah na nyah. (stones are dropped from above) Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah! [...] SPOCK: Children, Captain. Lots of them. We couldn't begin to get close to them. They just seemed to scurry away, like animals. Only children. [from Chrissie's Transcripts Site]

Brilliant stuff, for sure. But even stranger than this episode is the fact that one of these children was played by actor Phil Morris, a seven-year-old at the time. He has since held many roles in moves and TV, but you'll probably know him best as lawyer Jackie Chiles in Seinfeld. (p. 77)

This is a fun book about what has become a very popular fictional universe. It's definitely more fun than thinking about the real universe – or specifically, how close we often are to global annihilation.

Do you have any fondly remembered episodes from the original series? Post them in the comments section below!