The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World by Dan AckermanTetris -- that nerve-wracking shape-stacking game -- is, for many people, instantly recognizable. Created in 1984 in the U.S.S.R., its popularity shot through the roof when it became available on Nintendo's Game Boy, which is when Soviet bureaucrats forced its designer to waive his rights to the game. Combining a history of early gaming with the drama of Tetris' licensing, plus some tidbits on how the game affects players' brains, The Tetris Effect is a well-researched account ideal for those nostalgic for the 1980s -- whether they were there for them or not. For a more visual history, try Box Brown's graphic novel Tetris: The Games People Play.
The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football by S.C. GwynneAs brutal as football can be today, it was much worse in the past -- and one of the reasons was that forward passing was not permitted. When it was eventually legalized thanks to the efforts of those looking to make the game safer, it was still rarely used, as passing continued to be seen as a sissy move. In the 1980s, football coaches Hal Mumme and Mike Leach started developing a pass-centric strategy that came to be known as the Air Raid -- and transformed the sport into a faster, more dynamic game. "A superb treat for all gridiron fans," says Kirkus Reviews.
All These Things That I've Done: My Insane, Improbable Rock Life by Matt Pinfield with Mitchell CohenBeginning with a childhood that played out against the background of the British Invasion, this musical memoir tracks the life of video deejay and rock know-it-all Matt Pinfield. Chronicling the songs and artists that molded him and inspired his career, Pinfield offers a personable and informative story, dropping names and sharing tales from the front lines of a rock and roll life. If you're a rock fan looking for insider perspective, give this dynamic memoir a try.
TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller SeitzWith a complex rubric that incorporates six criteria (innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling, and peak), television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz rank the 100 best scripted American television shows of all time. Which is quite an undertaking -- one that may lead you to binge-watch the best. The essays that accompany their decisions are sure to provoke discussion, and are complemented by short lists of other bests as well as supplementary appendices. Don't know what to watch next? We're pretty sure TV (The Book) can help.
Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and... by Ben WesthoffThis wide-ranging history of West Coast rap offers in-depth biographies of its leading artists -- including Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and others -- as well as accounts of the rivalries between them. It also offers insightful examinations of the glamorizing of thug life and the popularity of hip hop, the consequences of fame, and the still-unsolved murders of Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Ultimately, this is a "comprehensive guide to an inner-city movement that conquered the world" (Publishers Weekly).
Focus on: The Great Outdoors
The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of... by Kevin FedarkoIn 1983, waters were running especially high through the Grand Canyon, giving adventurous oarsman Kenton Grua the idea to attempt a record-setting trip down the Colorado River in a small wooden dory. His hair-raising journey -- accompanied by a small crew -- is recounted in heart-pumping detail here, along with a history of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. For other books that combine history with outdoor adventure, try Daniel Arnold's Salt to Summit or Jon Krakauer's bestselling books Into the Wild or Into Thin Air.
You're Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck: The Further Adventures of... by Bill HeaveyNeed a laugh? This witty essay collection should do, especially if you love fishing and hunting. But this book is more than just entertaining: The Wall Street Journal calls author Bill Heavey, who writes for Field & Stream, "one of the best magazine writers in America." Vividly detailing events from his life and his incredible outdoor adventures hither and yon, Heavey addresses weightier matters (the death of his daughter) amid the fun (things do occasionally go his way), but all are told with the warmth of an old friend, which fans of Bill Bryson should appreciate.
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian... by Ben MontgomeryIn 1955, at the age of 67 and without telling anyone of her plans, Emma Gatewood became the first woman to hike the 2,168 miles of the Appalachian Trail solo. Not content to rest on her (mountain) laurels, this mother of 11 and grandmother of 23 did it two more times (becoming the first person, man or woman, to repeat and three-peat). Conducting interviews with those who knew Gatewood and drawing on her diaries and correspondence, journalist Ben Montgomery gives readers a "quiet delight of a book" (Kirkus Reviews) and shines a welcome light on the amazing Grandma Gatewood, exploring her motivations and her efforts to bring public attention to the joys of nature and the then-poorly maintained Appalachian Trail.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl StrayedConfused and uncertain about the path her life was taking, 26-year-old writer Cheryl Strayed -- an inexperienced hiker -- set out on the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), walking solo from California, through Oregon, and on into Washington State. Though limited to one too-heavy backpack, she had plenty of emotional baggage with her too, and while her "unsentimental memoir" (Kirkus Reviews) is centered around her time on the trail and her dealings with snakes, bears, and blisters, readers should be aware that much of Wild discusses the troubles that sent her (back)packing, including the death of her mother, her heroin use, and her failed marriage.
River Monsters: True Stories of the Ones that Didn't Get Away by Jeremy WadeTry this one if you're a fan of Animal Planet's River Monsters, you fish for fun, or you simply appreciate the great outdoors, traveling the world, or a great story well told. From Thailand and India to the Amazon and Alaska, author and TV host Jeremy Wade shares stories of tracking monster fish that weigh nearly 650 pounds (the Mekong giant catfish) or of those that are more likely to attack than swim by...but other adventures also await (including that time he was arrested as a spy, or the time his plane went down). Pick this one up for some vicarious thrills.
Contact your librarian for more great books!