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Popular Culture March 2014
"The real history of table tennis is a bizarre tale of espionage, aggravation, and reconciliation, of murder, revenge, and exquisite diplomacy."
~ from Nicholas Griffin's Ping-Pong Diplomacy
New and Recently Released!
Wooden: A Coach's Life - by Seth Davis
Publisher: Henry Holt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/14/2014
Share Wooden%3a A Coach ISBN-13: 9780805092806
ISBN-10: 0805092803
Meticulously detailed and comprehensive, this biography of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden provides not only an assessment of the man himself but also a picture of how college basketball has evolved over the decades. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, including with Wooden himself, author and basketball analyst Seth Davis examines Wooden's relationships with his players, his coaching style, and his personal life. Though known for his integrity, Wooden was not perfect -- his flaws as well as his skills are all made clear in this "unusually rich and illuminating portrait" (Publishers Weekly).
Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World - by Nicholas Griffin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Share Ping-Pong Diplomacy%3a The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World ISBN-13: 9781451642773
ISBN-10: 1451642776
In 1971, China invited the U.S. Table Tennis team to play (informally) against their national team. But the invitation wasn't really about sports -- it was actually part of a Chinese plan to ease relations between the U.S. and China; in fact, the table tennis trip paved the way for President Nixon's visit the next year. This story and so much more (Communists! MI5! International espionage! Chairman Mao!) are related in fascinating detail in Ping-Pong Diplomacy, an analysis of the link between global politics and an unlikely sport. For another tale of a sports team attempting to soothe diplomatic relations, try Robert Fitts' Banzai Babe Ruth, about the American all-star baseball players' 1934 goodwill tour of Japan.
I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway - by Greg Kot
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/21/2014
Share I ISBN-13: 9781451647853
ISBN-10: 1451647859
Though Mavis Staples has recently enjoyed a career resurgence as a solo artist, she's probably best known for singing with her family on the church circuit in Chicago before they made their way up the charts with songs like "I'll Take You There." In addition to describing their movements though gospel, R&B, and even disco, author Greg Kot also details friendships with other artists, like Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, and their involvement with the civil rights movement. Check out I'll Take You There for full immersion in the Mavis Staples sound.
1963: The Year of the Revolution  - by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/19/2013
Share 1963%3a The Year of the Revolution ISBN-13: 9780062120441
ISBN-10: 0062120441
Centering mostly on what was happening in the U.K. at the time, this oral history examines the year 1963, a pivotal time in fashion, music, and art. Though the 1960s may have seemed like one long revolution, the authors of this book consider 1963 central to the emancipation of British and American youth from the stodgy culture of their parents. The quotes and interviews contained within come from a diverse group of people, from Rolling Stones member Keith Richards to hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, and illuminate a groundbreaking time. Next, try Mark Kurlansky's 1968 for a detailed look at a similarly remarkable year.
Great Books You Might Have Missed
Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses - by Bess Lovejoy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/12/2013
Share Rest in Pieces%3a The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses ISBN-13: 9781451654981
ISBN-10: 1451654987
In this darkly humorous, whimsically ghoulish collection, author Bess Lovejoy presents the posthumous adventures of famous remains, from Alexander the Great to Dorothy Parker to Jesse James. Grave robbers, fame-seekers, politics, and friends all played roles in the fates of the deceased -- or their various body parts. Those fascinated by this macabre topic can also try Mitchell Fink's The Last Days of Dead Celebrities, which shares intimate details of the final hours of 15 celebrities, or Tod Benoit's Where Are They Buried? How Did They Die?, a field guide to the burial locations of about 500 celebrities. And if you're interested in all the many uses for human cadavers, try Mary Roach's excellent, informative, and witty exploration of the topic in Stiff.
My Ideal Bookshelf - edited by Thessaly La Force; illustrated by Jane Mount
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/13/2012
Share My Ideal Bookshelf ISBN-13: 9780316200905
ISBN-10: 0316200905
Ever wanted to know what leading cultural figures like Malcolm Gladwell, Judd Apatow, Alice Waters, or James Patterson think about reading? Here's your chance to find out. In My Ideal Bookshelf, dozens of influential men and women define the books that mattered most to them as they began to make names for themselves. If the reading habits of famous people interest you, you can also learn all about the favorite bookstores of 84 different authors in My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice.
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road - by Willie Nelson
Publisher: William Morrow
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/13/2012
Share Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die%3a Musings from the Road ISBN-13: 9780062193643
ISBN-10: 0062193643
As in his other books, this charming, low-key collection of "musings" from country singer Willie Nelson contains personal anecdotes about time spent with various collaborators, dirty jokes, song lyrics, philosophical thoughts, and other stories. Always good natured, Nelson entertains throughout the collection, which Kirkus Reviews calls "much like its author: funny, inspirational and bawdy, with a well-honed sense of humor." For a more straightforward account of Nelson's life, try his autobiography (Willie), or Joe Patoski's biography, Willie Nelson.
Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now - by Gary M. Pomerantz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/29/2013
Share Their Life ISBN-13: 9781451691627
ISBN-10: 1451691629
In the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowl trophies, as fans certainly know. How those teams were created and why they were so good are two of author Gary Pomerantz's focal points, but he also portrays those most involved, whether players, coaches, or owners, and the bonds between them. Drawing on over 200 interviews, he also explores what has happened to the men in the years since, from Terry Bradshaw's career as a sports analyst to the many Steelers who have since died before reaching age 60. Don't miss it, whether you're a Steelers fan, a football fan, or you're interested in the toll professional sports takes on those who play it.
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat - by Bee Wilson
Publisher: Basic Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/09/2012
Share Consider the Fork%3a A History of How We Cook and Eat ISBN-13: 9780465021765
ISBN-10: 046502176X
Why use a fork when hands work just as well? That was a common sentiment for centuries after the implement was first introduced to Western Europe in the 11th century; knives, on the other hand, predate the act of cooking. In this tasty blend of history, science, and gastronomy, award-winning British food writer Bee Wilson traces the history of everyday kitchen items past (cider owl, dangle spit) and present (mortar and pestle, frying pans), as well as the ones that didn't quite catch on (water-powered egg whisk, anyone?). Wilson also presents engaging cultural anecdotes while demonstrating how technological innovations (we can thank the military for both microwaves and stainless steel) have shaped how and what we eat.
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