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Monday, August 13, 2012

Funny, Ha Ha

Need a laugh this summer?  Here are my suggestions for some good giggles...
The Emily Dickinson Reader:  An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems, by Paul Legault

This one is great for all you newly minted English undergrads.  Here's a great example:

Artists wrestled here!
Lo, a tint Cashmere!
Lo, a rose!
Student of the year!
For the easel here
Say repose!

There's paint all over the place.
It looks like a couple of painters got into a fight and
got paint paint all over the place.  Actually, it's a sunset

See!  Super helpful!
I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems By Cats, by Francesco Marciuliano

This is everyone's new favorite book.  EVERYONE'S.  All day long, people are picking this up and giggling and guffawing over it.  It really is literary genius.

Here's Ravenna Regular, Katie, with an impromptu poetry reading of her favorite poem.  THANKS, KATIE!
The McSweeney's Book of Politics & Musicals, edited by those McSweeney's peeps
If you're into current events, this one is for you.  From the back cover...

Ever since John Hancock broke into song after signing the Declaration of Independence, American politics and musicals have been inextricably linked. From Alexander Hamilton's jazz hands, to Chester A. Arthur's oboe operas, to Newt Gingrich's off-Broadway sexscapade, You, Me, and My Moon Colony Mistress Makes Three, government and musical theater have joined forces to document our nation's long history of freedom, partisanship, and dancers on roller skates pretending to be choo choo trains.

And some of the good stuff you'll get:
  • Fragments from PALIN! THE MUSICAL 
  • Barack Obama’s Undersold 2012 Campaign Slogans 
  • Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Financial Crisis 
  • Your Attempts to Legislate Hunting Man for Sport Reek of Class Warfare
  • Donald Rumsfeld Memoir Chapter Title Or German Heavy Metal Song? 
  • Noises Political Pundits Would Make If They Were Wild Animals and Not Political Pundits 
  • Classic Nursery Rhymes, Updated and Revamped for the Recession, As Told to Me By My Father And much more!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravenna Reads Too

Most likely you know, but maybe you don't...Third Place Books has two locations.  And our Ravenna location has been raving about Jess Walter's new book, Beautiful Ruins.  Both Micheal and Caitlin are crazy for this hilarious new novel

Michael says:
This is the perfect summer read.  It is entertaining as all get out and smart and well written to boot.  AND it is a great introduction to a great writer...indulge yourself.
Caitlin says:
Beautiful Ruins is the perfect summer read. It begins in 1964 on the sun-drenched coastline of Italy and unfolds over the next 50 years through multiple perspectives and settings. The twists in this novel kept me interested, and Walter's style kept me laughing throughout. I have to recommend Beautiful Ruins because of its character depth and the portrayal of life as 'a glorious catastrophe'. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion - along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Fever

I am suffering from a severe case of Olympic fever, not quite fatal, but definitely serious.  Normally my immunity to the Summer Olympic fever is pretty strong.  But this year, my antibodies just didn't have it in them.  I blame Ryan Lochte.  If you are also struggling with a bout of the fever, these books might provide a possible remedy.

Something Like the Gods, by Stephen Amidon

A lively, literary exploration of one of the West’s most iconic cultural figures—the athlete.

Why is the athlete so important to us? Few public figures can dominate the public imagination with such power and authority. Even in our cynical times, when celebrities can be debunked at the speed of light, many still look to athletes as models for our moral and emotional lives. An aging fastballer goes for a few last wins in his final season, and he becomes an exemplar for our daily struggles against time. A top golfer cheats on his wife, and his behavior sparks a symposium on marital fidelity more wideranging than if the lapse had come from a politician or religious leader. Drawing from art, literature, politics, and history,

Something Like the Gods explores the powerful grip the athlete has always held on the Western imagination. Amidon examines the archetype of the competitor as it evolved from antiquity to the present day, from athlete-warriors such as Achilles and Ulysses to global media icons like Ali, Jordan, and Tiger Woods. Above all, Something Like the Gods is a lyrical study that will appeal to anyone who has ever imagined themselves in the spikes, boots, or sneakers of our greatest athletes—or wondered why people do.

Complete Book of the Olympics, by David Wallechsinky

Every sports writer assigned to cover the Games ensures they have their early copy of this prodigious work of reference, packed with absorbing anecdotes and essential statistics. A treasure trove of 116 years of Olympic history, it is also an amazingly readable book, for in the course of recording every single Olympic final since 1896, it concentrates on the strange, the memorable, and the unbelievable. Who knew (until reading this book) that croquet was once an Olympic sport, or tug of war, or that a 72-year-old once won a silver medal for target shooting? This new edition also has every finals result, recorded by the top eight competitors in every event at the Beijing Olympics, and full descriptions of rules and scoring for every event included for 2012. It is the one truly essential Olympics book.

London Olympics: 1908 and 1948, by Janie Hampton

The fourth Olympic Games of the modern era, in 1908, were set to be held in Rome, but when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, Italy needed all her resources to rebuild Naples. London stepped up to the plate and with only two years to prepare the British Olympic organisers pulled off a successful Olympic Games in London. Miraculously, they managed to do so while shunning all municipal and government assistance and using only private enterprise for the arrangements.

In under a year, the White City stadium was built on the site of the forthcoming Franco-British exhibition, with a running track, cycling track, football field, swimming pool and platform for gymnastics and wrestling. Events at the 1908 Olympic Games included real tennis, tug-of-war, motor-boat racing, archery, rackets, and rugby; Olympic lacrosse also made its last appearance at these games.

In 1948 the Olympics came to Britain again, and to a country still recovering from the Second World War. During this Austerity Era, food, clothing and petrol were heavily rationed, and the Olympic organizers had to make do with what little they had at their disposal. The indomitable spirit of Londoners cheerfully overcame every obstacle, including shortages of equipment and appalling weather. British women athletes sewed their own kits; American competitors shared their beef steaks with the British; and the French brought a goods train full of wine and steak. Czechoslovakian Emil Z├ítopek, Fanny Blankers-Koen from The Netherlands and British Boy Scouts traveled together on the London Underground. Medals were awarded for art and poetry. The entire budget for the 1948 Games was £760,000, and they turned a profit of £29,000.

This history of London Olympics, which concludes with a look ahead to 2012, is a timely and fascinating chronicle of the Olympic Games of another age.

Time Out Olympic Games Through a Lens, by Time Out

A fascinating look at the modern Olympic Games, from Athens 1896 to the build-up to London 2012, via approximately 230 photographs — each with explanatory text — taken from the world-famous archives of Getty Images. The emphasis is on the two previous Games held in London, in 1908 and 1948, but there are photos from all the summer Games, as well as some winter Games and Paralympic Games. Photos of iconic moments and famous athletes are included, but this is not a conventional history nor a round-up of already well documented incidents; it also features unsung and forgotten athletes, unusual sports, official posters, spectators, background staff, buildings and symbols. Many of the photographs have never been published before. By turns informative and astonishing, heroic and daring, quirky and amusing, the result is a dynamic and absorbing visual biography of the Olympic Games through the ages.