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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006

A Military Miscellany by Thomas Ayres [Bantam - $15.00]


Did you know Stonewall Jackson only ever bathed in cold water, even in the dead of winter? Or that he refused to read by artificial light, that he believed he only sweated on one side of his body, and that he stared at walls for hours nightly? The American military is full of weird facts like these and Thomas Ayres has collected them all. His “Miscellany” is a great gift for military buffs and anyone who loves crazy trivia. Brilliant about Ayres’ book, too, is just how these fascinating and often completely bizarre facts begin to form a history of the U.S. military that, in perhaps the oddest twist of all, aren’t particularly surprising. Did you know that upon hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt collected his thoughts for a full 22 minutes before calling the White House? [Amazon]


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

LibraryThing.com lifetime account [$25]


Tim Spalding, the creator of LibraryThing, has unleashed the inner librarian of thousands of users. LibraryThing tracks your books, and lets you tag, rate, and review them; it lets you see others who own that book, people who use similar tags, plus a hundred other features. LibraryThing taps the catalogs of Amazon (all the different flavors), the Library of Congress, and more than 40 world libraries in order to help identify books and open up cataloging data. If you’re the sort of person who compulsively checks out other people’s bookshelves, you can’t miss LibraryThing.


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

Museum of Lost Wonder by Jeff Hoke [Weiser Books, August 2006, 159 pages, $49.95]


Hoke’s Museum is the ultimate gift for the methodical thinker. It’s a wonderland of creative experience, from investigations into metaphysical, scientific, and evolutionary thought to exercises and DIY models that seek to invigorate the reader’s desire for personal and world discovery. An artist and designer with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, Hoke’s reveals the mystical past that has shaped our all too practical present. It looks like a simple coffee table book, yet opens out into a genuine (in appearance and representative experience, at least) museum complete with unique “halls” containing categories such as: a Hall of Technology, a Hall of Aquaria, and a Gallery of the Arts. [Amazon]


Step inside of the Museum of Lost Wonder and meet its creator, curator and author of the book bearing the same name. See more at www.lostwonder.org.


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