Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Apollo 18' and 'Wrecked'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

Apollo 18 (PG-13, Science Fiction, Horror, Suspense): Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego.

Bodyguard (Action, Comedy): Directed by Siddique and starring Salman Khan, Kareen Kapoor, Karism Kapoor and Reema Debnath.

The Debt (R, Drama, Suspense): Directed by John Madden and starring Sam Worthington, Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson and Marton Csokas.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (PG-13, Thriller, Action, Crime): Directed by Hark Tsui and starring Andy Lau, Bingbing Li, Carina Lau and Tony Leung Ka-fai.

I’m Glad My Mother Is Alive (Not Rated, Drama): Directed by Nathan Miller and Claude Miller and starring Vincent Rottiers, Sophie Cattani, Christine Citti, Yves Verhoeven and Maxime Renard.

Love Crime (Not Rated, Crime, Drama, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by Alain Corneau and starring Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patrick Mille and Julien Rochefort.

Saving Grace B. Jones (R, Drama, Thriller): Directed by Connie Stevens and starring Tatum O’Neal.

Seven Days In Utopia (G, Drama, Family): Directed by Matt Russell and starring Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Lucas Black, Melissa Leo and Brian Geraghty.

Shark Night (PG-13, Horror, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by David R. Ellis and starring Sara Paxton, Chris Carmack, Joel David Moore, Katherine McPhee and Dustin Milligan.

The Zombie Diaries 2 (Not Yet Rated, Horror, Thriller): Directed by Kevin Gates.

New DVD releases for the week of Aug. 30 include:

The 5th Quarter (PG, Drama): Directed by Rick Bieber and starring Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell, Ryan Merriman, Anessa Ramsey and Andrea Powell.

Bereavement (R, Horror, Crime): Directed by Stevan Mena and starring Alexandra Daddario, Michael Biehn, John Savage, Peyton List and Nolan Gerard Funk.

Children of the Corn: Genesis (R, Horror, Suspense): Directed by Joel Soisson and starring Billy Drago, Kelen Coleman, Barbara Nedeljakova, Duane Whitaker and Tim Rock.

Forks Over Knives (Not Rated, Documentary): Directed by Lee Fulkerson and starring Joey Aucoin, Neal Barnard and Gene Baur.

In a Better World (R, Drama): Directed by Susanne Bier and starring Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Camilla Gottlieb and Satu Helena Mikkelinen.

Madea’s Big Happy Family (PG-13, Comedy, Drama): Directed by Tyler Perry and starring Tyler Perry, Loretta Devine, Cassi Davis, Isaiah Mustafa and Bow Wow.

The Perfect Host (R, Drama, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by Nick Tomnay and starring David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, Nathaniel Parker and Joseph Will.

Prom (PG, Comedy, Drama): Directed by Joe Nussbaum and starring Aimee Teegarden, Nicholas Braun, Danielle Campbell, Riley Voelkel and Raini Rodriguez.

Skateland (PG-13, Drama): Directed by Anthony Burns and starring Shiloh Fernandez, Ashley Greene, Haley Ramm, Heath Freeman and Taylor Handley.

Wrecked (R, Drama, Horror, Suspense, Thriller): Directed by Michael Greenspan and starring Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Ryan Robbins, Jacob Blair and Adrian Holmes.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Apollo 18,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Wrecked.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Steampunk Bible' takes readers on tour of Steampunk books, movies and music

My taste for things old-fashioned, science fiction, fantasy, adventure and alternate history has recently led me into the new and growing world of Steampunk, where all of the above and much more are combined in an endless and entertaining world of waiting-to-be-discovered (and enjoyed) books, movies and music.

For those of you unfamiliar with Steampunk, I present you with a modified version of the Wikipedia definition:

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history and speculative fiction that is usually set in Victorian times and features anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them. Think Jules Verne meets H.G. Wells with healthy doses of Bram Stoker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tossed in.

I say all this to say that I recently had the pleasure of reading “The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists and Strange Literature” by Jeff VanderMeer and S.J. Chambers.

Released on May 1 by Abrams Image, this 224-page book “is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes,” according to the book’s official Web site, steampunkbible.com.

“Steampunk evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, and embraces extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future. This ultimate manual will appeal to aficionados and novices alike as author Jeff VanderMeer takes the reader on a wild ride through the clockwork corridors of Steampunk history.”

I especially enjoyed the portions of the book that discussed the origins of the Steampunk movement, early Steampunk writers and their works. As I read, I found myself making mental notes about other Steampunk books to read later, especially early Steampunk-ish books like “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

The portions of the book that talked about Steampunk music and movies were also highly interesting. There aren’t many true Steampunk movies or television shows on the market (yet), but I’m definitely planning to drop those mentioned in this book into my NetFlix queue.

I’ve already checked out many of the bands mentioned in the book on YouTube. Some aren’t my cup of tea, but others are pretty cool. I found more than a few to be discordant, but some are highly entertaining and worth listening too, particularly Abney Park.

Many Steampunks are really into the fashion and do-it-yourself aspects of the movement, and I understand that these are two of the main things that draw people into Steampunk. Not so much for me, but to each his own. I have to admit that many of the costumes are pretty awesome and the 150 color photos between the covers of this book really brings it all to life in full, vivid detail.

In the end, I really enjoyed “The Steampunk Bible” and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Steampunk.

How many of you have had the chance to read this book? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sidewise Awards for Alternate History announced

During the past week, I read that the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History had been announced on Aug. 18 at the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nev.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Sidewise Awards, they have been presented annually since 1995 to recognized excellence in alternate historical fiction.

If you’ve never read any alternate history, you’re missing out. In a nutshell, these types of books explore “what if” situations and how they would have impacted history. Probably the most famous book of this type is Harry Turtledove’s book, “Guns of the South,” which explores what would have happened if the Confederate army had been supplied with AK-47s during the Civil War.

The winner of this year’s Sidewise Award in the Long-Form category was “When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Eric Swedin.

The winner is the Short-Form category was “A Clash of Eagles” by Alan Smale, which was originally published in Panverse Two, edited by Dario Ciriello.

The other finalists in the Long-Form category included:

- Columbia & Britannia by Adam Chamberlain and Brian A. Dixon

- Red Inferno: 1945 by Robert Conroy

- Pinion by Jay Lake

The other finalists in the Short-Form category included:

- Mammoths of the Great Plains by Eleanor Arnason

- Alten Kameraden by Barry B. Longyear

- Sidewinders by Ken MacLeod

- Goin’ Down to Anglotown by William F. Wu

Swedin’s “When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis” joins a long list of great Long-Form category winners. What follows is a complete list of the winners in that category.

1995 – “Pasquale’s Angel” by Paul J. McAuley
1996 – “Voyage” by Stephen Baxter
1997 – “How Few Remain” by Harry Turtledove
1998 – “Making History” by Stephen Fry
1999 – “Resurrection Day” by Brendan DuBois
2000 – “Ash: A Secret History” by Mary Gentle
2001 – “The Children’s War” by J.N. Stroyar
2002 (tie) – “Ruled Britannia” by Harry Turtledove and “The Severed Wing” by Martin J. Gidron
2003 – “Collaborator” by Murray Davies
2004 – “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth
2005 – “The Summer Isles” by Ian R. MacLeod
2006 – “The Family Trade,” “The Hidden Family” and “The Clan Corporate” (series) by Charles Stross
2007 – “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon
2008 – “The Dragon’s Nine Sons” by Chris Roberson
2009 – “1942” by Robert Conroy
2010 – “When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Eric Swedin

A panel of six judges selects the Sidewise Award winners annually, and the membership of the panel changes from year to year. The current judges are Stephen Baxter of Great Britain; Stuart Shiffman of Seattle; Evelyn Leeper of Matawan, N.J.; Kurt Sidaway of Great Britain; Jim Rittenhouse of Lisle, Ill. and Steven Silver of Deerfield, Ill.

For more information about the Sidewise Awards, visit http://www.uchronia.net/sidewise/.

In the end, how many of the works mentioned above have you had a chance to read? What did you think about them? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

My ballot for this week's ASWA prep football poll

For those of you who are interested, here's my ballot for this week's upcoming Alabama Sports Writers Association prep football poll. The overall poll, which is voted on by reporters from across the state, will be released later this week.

Class 6A
1. Daphne
2. Hoover
3. Spain Park
4. Prattville
5. Davidson
6. Clay-Chalkville
7. Mountain Brook
8. Auburn
9. Oxford
10. Central-Phenix City

Class 5A:
1. Briarwood
2. Hueytown
3. Hartselle
4. Vigor
5. Eufaula
6. Chelsea
7. Muscle Shoals
8. Spanish Fort
9. St. Paul’s
10. Fort Payne

Class 4A:
1. Thomasville
2. Jackson
3. Dadeville
4. North Jackson
5. Deshler
6. Bibb Co.
7. Andalusia
8. Straughn
9. Fairview
10. Hillcrest-Evergreen

Class 3A:
1. Leeds
2. Piedmont
3. Hamilton
4. Handley
5. Washington Co.
6. T.R. Miller
7. Bayside Ac.
8. Daleville
9. Lauderdale Co.
10. Gordo

Class 2A:
1. Elba
2. Fyffe
3. Tanner
4. Lineville
5. Leroy
6. American Chr.
7. Colbert Heights
8. Fultondale
9. Reeltown
10. Millry

Class 1A:
1. Linden
2. R.A. Hubbard
3. Parrish
4. Sweet Water
5. Lynn
6. Collinsville
7. Brantley
8. Maplesville
9. Ragland
10. Cedar Bluff

AISA:
1. Monroe Ac.
2. Pike Liberal Arts
3. Fort Dale Ac.
4. Edgewood
5. Bessemer Ac.
6. Patrician
7. Lowndes
8. Springwood
9. Glenwood
10. Clarke Prep

In the end, how would you vote in this week's poll? Which teams do you think should be No. 1 in each class? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

'The Omen Machine' takes top spot on hardcover fiction best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got one new book at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"The Omen Machine" by Terry Goodkind replaced "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard kept its No. 1 spot on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham retained the top spot on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett retained the top spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are three books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "The Omen Machine" by Terry Goodkind (1), "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larrson (10) and "Rules of Civility: A Novel" by Amor Towles (14).

There are three books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown" by David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer and Cindy S. Spitzer (12), "God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette (13) and "Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker" by Kevin Mitnick, Steve Wozniak and William L. Simon (15).

There are two books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They include "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich (6) and "Moonlight Mile: A Kenzie and Gennaro Novel" by Dennis Lehane (15).

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom" by Jennifer S. Holland (8), "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho (13) and "Empire of the Summer Moon" by S.C. Gwynne (14).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "The Omen Machine" by Terry Goodkind
2. "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin
3. "Full Black" by Brad Thor
4. "Cold Vengeance" by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston
5. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
6. "Ghost Story" by Jim Butcher
7. "The Ideal Man" by Julie Garwood
8. "Victory and Honor" by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
9. "Portrait of a Spy" by Daniel Silva
10. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larrson
11. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
12. "Now You See Her" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
13. "The Magician King: A Novel" by Lev Grossman
14. "Rules of Civility: A Novel" by Amor Towles
15. "Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension" by Christie Golden

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard
2. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
3. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
4. "Prime Time" by Jane Fonda
5. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
6. "Go the F--k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
7. "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon" by Mark Steyn
8. "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles C. Mann
9. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan
10. "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough
11. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
12. "Aftershock" by David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer and Cindy S. Spitzer
13. "God, No!" by Penn Jillette
14. "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker
15. "Ghost in the Wires" by Kevin Mitnick, Steve Wozniak and William L. Simon

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham
2. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
3. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
4. "Private" by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
5. "Hell's Corner" by David Baldacci
6. "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich
7. "Born to Die" by Lisa Jackson
8. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
9. "Dark Watch" by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul
10. "The Templar Salvation" by Raymond Khoury
11. "Out of the Rain" by Debbie Macomber
12. "A Feast for Crows" by George R.R. Martin
13. "Midnight Sins" by Lora Leigh
14. "The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel" by James Lee Burke
15. "Moonlight Mile: A Kenzie and Gennaro Novel" by Dennis Lehane

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
2. "Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
3. "One Day" by David Nicholls
4. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
5. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
6. "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay
7. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
8. "Unlikely Friendships" by Jennifer S. Holland
9. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
10. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
11. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
12. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
13. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho
14. "Empire of the Summer Moon" by S.C. Gwynne
15. "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How many books on this year's 'Most Sought-After Out-of Print Books' list have you read?

The good people at BookFinder.com came out with an interesting book-related list earlier this week called the “Top 100 Most Sought-After Out-of-Print Books of 2011.”

This year marks the ninth year in which BookFinder.com has released such a list, which it compiles annually based on searches on its Web site during the previous 12 months.

Before I get to the list, allow me a few words about out-of-print books. In essence, an out-of-print book is a book that is no longer available for sale or distribution or is a book that is difficult to find because the only copies remaining exist in libraries, private collections or archives. In other words, these books are rare and difficult to get your hands on.

BookFinder.com, which was founed in 1997, comes into play because it mainly serves as a search engine of over 150 million books that are for sale, including used, rare and out-of-print books held by booksellers in over 50 countries.

Without further ado, here is BookFinder.com’s “Top 100 Most Sought-After Out-of-Print Books in 2011” list.

1. Sex by Madonna
2. Promise Me Tomorrow by Nora Roberts
3. Rage by Stephen King (written as Richard Bachman)
4. My Pretty Pony by Stephen King
5. In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting by Ray Garton
6. Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini
7. Man in Black by Johnny Cash
8. Marilyn: A Biography by Norman Mailer
9. Arithmetic Progress Papers by H. Henry Thomas
10. Mandingo by Kyle Onstott

11. Eve of the End by Allan D. Richter
12. Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury
13. The Torch is Passed: The Associated Press Story of The Death of a President
14. The Centurions by Jean Larteguy
15. Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record by Carl Sagan
16. Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe
17. Fly Fishing: Memories of Angling Days by J.R. Hartley
18. Ticket to Ride by Dennis Potter
19. A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price
20. The Pink Dress by Anne Alexander

21. Sisters by Lynne Cheney
22. The Road We Are Traveling, 1914-1942 by Stuart Chase
23. Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis
24. Second Sight by David Williams
25. Little Witch by Anne Elizabeth Bennett
26. 365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert
27. Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
28. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition by C.S. Lewis
29. Endgame Artillery by Alex Angos
30. Gather Yourselves Together by Philip K. Dick

31. Labyrinth: A Novel by A.C.H. Smith
32. The Jerusalem Bible, illustrated by Salvador Dali
33. Hell, I Was There! By Elmer Keith
34. Cards As Weapons by Ricky Jay
35. Ilsa by Madeleine L’Engle
36. The Casket and the Sword by Norman Denny
37. World Without Men by Charles Eric Maine
38. Jennie by Paul Gallico
39. The Bishop’s Wife by Robert Nathan
40. The Star Conquerors by Ben Bova

41. I Go Pogo by Walt Kelly
42. Halloween by Curtis Richards
43. The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book by S.O. Pidhainy
44. The Book of Indians by Clancy Holling
45. The King Ranch by Tom Lea
46. The Magic Talisman by John Blaine
47. Footnote to Youth by Jose Garcia Villa
48. Currier & Ives: Printmakers to the American People by Harry Twyford Peters
49. ERIC: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins by Rasiel Suarez
50. Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore

51. Too Good to be Threw by Kate Holmes
52. The Blood Star by Nicholas Guild
53. Good Medicine by Charles M. Russell
54. The Big Country by Donald Hamilton
55. William Burges and the High Victorian Dream by J. Mordaunt Crook
56. A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption and Football at SMU by David Whitford
57. On Damascus Steel by Leo S. Figiel
58. Pancakes A to Z by Marie Simmons
59. Tellers of Tales by W. Somerset Maugham
60. The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler

61. The Septuagint Bible by Charles Thomson
62. A Treasury of Grand Opera by Henry W. Simon
63. War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495-1975 by Jack S. Levy
64. The Lovely Reed: An Enthusiasts Guide to Building Bamboo Fly Rods by Jack Howell
65. Covenant With Death by John Harris
66. Empty Cloud: The Autobiography of the Chinese Zen Master, Hsu Yun
67. Turkish Delight by Jan Wolkers
68. The Bumper Book: A Harvest of Stories and Verses by Watt Piper
69. Platonism by John Burnet
70. The Nature of Political Theory by David Miller

71. The Wonderful Fashion Doll by Laura Bannon
72. Birds of Britain by John D. Green
73. She Is The Darkness by Glen Cook
74. The Reluctant King by Sarah Bradford
75. The Golden Book of the Civil War by Charles Flato
76. The Modern Gunsmith by James Virgil Howe
77. House of Bondage by Ernest Cole
78. ABC’s of Long Arm Quilting by Patricia C. Barry
79. Wall St. Under Oath: The Story of Our Modern Money Changers by Ferdinand Pecora
80. The Ideal Communist City by A.E. Gutnov and A. Baburov

81. The Lure of the Bush, aka, The Barrakee Mystery by Arthur Upfield
82. Carriage Entrance by Polan Banks
83. The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett
84. Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank by R.P. Hunnicutt
85. Notations by John Cage
86. German Coastal Forces of World War Two by M.J. Whitley
87. Chemical and Determinative Tables of Mineralogy by Roland Pierrot
88. VLF Radio Engineering by Arthur Watt
89. The Columbia Historical Portrait of New York by John Atlee Kouwenhoven
90. The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton

91. Pleased, But Not Satisfied by David Sokol
92. USS New Jersey BB-62 by Steve Wiper
93. The Windflower by Laura London
94. Practical Gunsmithing by Edward Matunas
95. A Treasury of American Prints by Thomas Craven
96. To Drop a Dime by Paul Hoffman
97. British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas, 1740-1914 by Nicholas Brawer
98. Swami and Mantra by Sam Dalal
99. British Battleships of World War Two by Alan Raven and John Roberts
100. Basic Building Data: 10,000 Timeless Construction Facts by Don Graff

In the end, how many of these books have you read? How many of these books do you happen to own? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

(To learn more about the books mentioned above or to see earlier rare books lists, visit BookFinder.com’s Web site at www.bookfinder.com.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Check out the '100 Must Read Books: The Man's Essential Library' list

Back on June 4, I posted a cool recommended reading list compiled by Esquire magazine called “75 Books Every Man Should Read,” which reminded me of a similar list published by Playboy magazine several years ago called “The Top 20 Books Every Man Must Read.”

Earlier this week on the Web site, The Art of Manliness, I ran across another reading list in the same vein called “100 Must Read Books: The Man’s Essential Library.”

Written by Jason Lankow, Ross Crooks, Joshua Ritchie and Brett McKay, this list includes “the top 100 books that have shaped the lives of individual men while also helping define broader cultural ideas of what it means to be a man. Whether it be a book on adventure, war, or manners, there is so much to learn about life’s great questions from these gems.”

Here are the books that made the list:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
4. 1984 by George Orwell
5. The Republic by Plato
6. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
8. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
9. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
10. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
13. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
14. Call of the Wild by Jack London
15. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
16. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
17. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
18. The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer
19. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
20. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

21. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
22. The Master and Margarita by by Mikhail Bulgakov
23. Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
24. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
25. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
26. Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
27. White Noise by Don Delillo
28. Ulysses by James Joyce
29. The Young Man’s Guide by William Alcott
30. Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

31. Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson
32. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
33. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
34. The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry by Christine De Pizan
35. The Art of Warfare by Sun Tzu
36. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
37. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
38. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
39. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
40. The Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt

41. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
42. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
43. The Thin Red Line by James Jones
44. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
45. The Politics by Aristotle
46. First Edition of the The Boy Scout Handbook
47. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
48. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
49. The Crisis by Winston Churchill
50. The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer

51. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
52. Animal Farm by George Orwell
53. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
54. Beyond Good and Evil by Freidrich Nietzsche
55. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
56. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
57. Essential Manners for Men by Peter Post
58. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
59. Hamlet by Shakespeare
60. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

61. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
62. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
63. The Stranger by Albert Camus
64. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe
65. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
66. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
67. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
68. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
69. Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
70. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

71. Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
72. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
73. Paradise Lost by John Milton
74. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
75. American Boys’ Handy Book
76. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
77. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
78. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
79. A River Runs Through It by Norman F. Maclean
80. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

81. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
82. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
83. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
84. All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarq
85. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
86. Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans by Plutarch
87. A Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt
88. The Bible
89. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
90. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

91. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
92. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
93. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden
94. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
95. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
96. The Histories by Herodotus
97. From Here to Eternity by James Jones
98. The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner
99. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
100. Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’d like to read the entire article, which features notes about each book on the list, visit http://artofmanliness.com/2008/05/14/100-must-read-books-the-essential-mans-library/.

If you’d like to read Esquire’s “75 Books Every Man Should Read” list, visit http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-many-of-esquires-75-books-every-man.html.

If you’d like to check out Playboy’s “The Top 20 Books Every Man Must Read” list, visit http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2010/05/top-20-books-every-man-must-read.html.

In the end, how many of the 100 books recommended by The Art of Manliness have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jeff Daniels crosses into Maine on world-famous Appalachian Trail

Jeff Daniels of Evergreen officially crossed the New Hampshire-Maine border on Saturday and has about 250 miles left to go in his effort to become the first Conecuh County resident to “thru-hike” the world famous Appalachian Trail.

On Monday afternoon, Daniels, 53, reported to The Courant from north of the Maine border. He covered 68 miles of the trail since Monday of last week and has hiked 1,930 miles of the trail, which begins in Springer Mountain, Ga. and ends 2,181 miles away in Katahdin, Maine. As of Monday, he had 251 miles to go before finishing the hike.

“I’m also happy to report that I’ve safely navigated the ‘Toughest Mile of the AT,’” he said, referring to Mahoosuc Notch and Mahoosuc Arm. This portion of the trail, which actually measures about three miles in length, is also called the “killer mile” by many AT veterans.

“The Notch is a steep ravine that is full of car-size, washing machine-size and house-sized boulders that have just kind of fallen haphazardly into the cut,” Daniels said. “It took me about two hours. I just took my time and tried to be safe.”

Daniels began his trip on March 13 and hopes to finish his trip in mid-September. The trail, commonly referred to as the “AT,” is arguably the most famous hiking trail in the world. The trail passes through 14 states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

During the past week, Daniels hiked out of the White Mountains of New Hampshire and hiked to the top of 3,780-foot-high Baldpate Mountain in Oxford County, Maine.

“The top was basically just flat, gray rock, and the wind was blowing 30 to 40 miles per hour,” he said. “It’s just a sheer rock face, and I also spotted a peregrine falcon from the top. That was an unusual sight.

“It’s also been raining on and off for the past two or three days. The weather’s also getting colder. It’s in the fifties now, and should get down into the lower forties tonight. I was blowing fog on my breath when I got up this morning, so it was a little cool.”

In the coming week, Daniels expects the trail to flatten out and he will likely cross the Kennebec River.

“There are a lot of river and stream crossings on the trail in Maine, but you have to ford those on foot,” he said. “But to cross the Kennebec, you have to cross in a canoe. That’ll be an experience.”

Daniels noted that he’s continuing to battle through a number of minor injuries and scrapes that a part of hiking this part of the trail.

“I’m falling about once a day now,” Daniels joked. “Everybody at this point is ‘walking wounded.’ I’ve got a bruised left ankle and some right ankle pain. That’s all part of it.”

Daniels is still on track to finish his trip by Sept. 14, which will allow him to make his Sept. 16 flight from Bangor, Maine to Mobile.

“As long as I can continue to make 12 miles or so a day, I should be in good shape,” he said.

(Daniels is keeping an online journal of his trip, and it can be read at www.trailjournals.com/moondoggie. Also, look for continuing updates about Daniels’ trip in future editions of The Courant.”)

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Aug. 25, 2011

NINE YEARS AGO
AUG. 22, 2002

“Sparta Academy, Junior Varsity/Pee Wee Schedule, 2002: Sept. 9, at Greenville; Sept. 16, at Escambia; Sept. 23, v. Escambia; Sept. 30, v. Greenville; Oct. 8, v. Monroe; Oct. 21, v. Cottage Hill (Pee Wee Only). 5 p.m. Kick-off on all Pee Wee games, 6 p.m. Kick-off on all JV games; Oct. 21, Game time to be announced.”

“Hillcrest High School, 2002 Football Schedule, Aug. 30, at W.S. Neal; Sept. 6, at Choctaw County; Sept. 13, v. Jackson; Sept. 20, at Monroe County; Sept. 27, at Geneva; Oct. 4, at UMS-Wright; Oct. 11, v. Andalusia; Oct. 18, v. Thomasville; Oct. 25, v. Gulf Shores; Nov. 1, v. Greenville. 7 p.m. Kick-off on all games.”

“Sparta Hamburger Supper and Pep Rally: Sparta Academy will hold a Pep Rally and Hamburger Cook-out on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the school. They will begin serving hamburger plates at 5 p.m. for $3.50 each. After the supper a pep rally will be held to kick-off the 2002 football season. The Warriors will travel to Monroeville on Friday, Aug. 30, to take on the Monroe Academy Volunteers. Everyone is encouraged to come out Thursday night and bring your spirit and your appetite.”

“JDCC Baseball Team: Jefferson Davis Community College Head Baseball Coach Mark Jackson is looking for assistant baseball coaches for the upcoming 2002-2003 season. Please contact Coach Jackson for more information.”

24 YEARS AGO
AUG. 27, 1987

“Warrior blanks Sparta 21-0: Warrior Academy blanked the Sparta Academy Warriors 21-0 Saturday night in Eutaw.
“Robbie Bolton had 15 yards on four carries; Lee Wild, 10 on 12; Kenny Bledsoe, 15 on 9; and Jamie Deason, 7 on 5.
“Bledsoe completed five of eight pass attempts for 24 yards and was intercepted once. Brad Watts was incomplete on two tosses. Jeff Carrier had two catches for 21 yards; Watts, 1 for 9; Craig Blackburn, 1 for 1; and Deason, 1 for a loss of 7 yards.”

“Probable starters on defense for the Evergreen Aggies when they open the season with J.F. Shields here Friday night at 7:30 at Brooks Memorial Stadium are Craig Palmer, James Gross, Patrick Atkins and James Grace; Travis Stallworth, Greg Stanton, Tony Simpson and Russell Meeks; and Earl Johnson, Steve Cunningham and Marvin Cunningham.”

“This is probably the way the Evergreen High Aggies will line up on offense here Friday night when they meet J.F. Shields in Brooks Stadium in the season-opener at 7:30: Travis Stallworth, TE; Patrick Atkins, T; James Gross, G; Craig Blackburn, C; Russell Meeks, G; Scott Jones, T; and Marvin Cunningham, SE; Tony Simpson, TB; Steve Cunningham, FB; Jack Harvey, QB; and Greg Stanton, TB.”

“Head Coach Ed Parrish and Assistant Coach Gerry Watson are readying their Evergreen High Aggies for their season opener with J.F. Shields High School of Beatrice Friday night.”

39 YEARS AGO
AUG. 24, 1972

“Meeting is set Lyeffion Friday Pee Wee Football: There will be a meeting of all boys who will play Pee Wee football at Lyeffion on Friday night at 7:30 at the school. Boys 8-13 are urged to attend.”

“Jaycees drop Pee Wee football: The Evergreen Jaycees regret that they will not be able to sponsor their previously planned Pee Wee Football program. The decision to drop the program from their list of projects was made due to a lack of coaching help and due to the cost of the program.”

“Lenox Horse Club enjoys trail ride: Member of the Lenox Horse Club and their visitors recently enjoyed a trail ride and camp out. President Paul Brantley announced plans for the Fall Rodeo and Horse Show on Sept. 30. The parking area for the arena has been expanded to solve parking problems.”

54 YEARS AGO
AUG. 22, 1957

“Evergreen High Aggies Begin Workouts On Friday Morning: Football practice for the 1957 version of the Evergreen High School Aggies begins officially Friday morning at 5 a.m., according to Coach Wendell Hart. He said it would be much cooler that time of the day for the preliminary workouts.
“Thirteen lettermen will be returning with eight in the line and five in the backfield. Expected to provide a lot of experience in the line will be: Howard Claybrook, Paul Pace, George Bolton, Bobby English, Robert Daniels, Byron Warren and Jerry Mitchell. Thought to be lost to the team this year was Zeke Zukowski, but he will return as the captain of the squad.
“In the backfield, returning stalwarts will be Robert Ellington, who will alternate at halfback and quarterback, Robbie Boykin, Jimmy Moorer, Billy Grace and Jimmy Bell. Also returning will be Ceylon Strong.
“The line is expected to be medium, but fast. The big question in the line at the present will be the reserve strength. Several large boys, with little experience, but lots of determination, are expected to turn out: Wayne Peacock, who weighs about 225, Dale Wiggins, who will weigh in at about 195, and Cleveland Brown, who probably weighs over 200. A number of other boys is also expected to turn out.
“The backfield will probably be a little heavier this year, and overall will average a shade less than 160. Many of the boys report having run this summer getting ready and should be in good shape.
“’The schedule looks rough this year, starting with a hard one against Atmore for the first game,’ Coach Hart said. ‘In fact, every game on the schedule could be hard.’
“Coach Hart’s load is expected to be lighter this year, with the addition of Jeff Moorer to the coaching staff, as assistant coach. Jeff was the assistant coach last year at Andalusia High.
“’In spite of the rough schedule, we’ll probably field a stronger team this year. At any rate, we’re looking forward to Friday and getting down to work,” Coach Hart concluded.

69 YEARS AGO
AUG. 27, 1942

“Aid And Guide To Alabama Fishermen: The fish and game division of the Alabama Department of Conservation is endeavoring to aid all Alabama fishermen and in the past few days has issued fishing reports on lakes and streams of 23 North Alabama counties, 15 counties in Central and 14 counties in South Alabama. The reports tell fishermen, when, where and how fish are biting, the kinds of bait to use, and other details. However, the department does not guarantee that all fishermen will “catch the limit.” Fishermen must plan their own trips, furnish their own equipment including yard sticks and scales, and formulate their own post-trip yarns.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

Newton jersey talk results in sports superstition discussion

Some friends and I were talking last Thursday about the fact that Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton is now wearing jersey No. 1 instead of the No. 2 jersey that he wore when he starred at Auburn.

Eventually, the discussion turned to how some players are superstitious about their jersey numbers and before it was over with, we were in a full-blown conversation about sports-related superstitions in general.

Most of the superstitions I was familiar with growing up had to do with baseball. If a pitcher had a no-hitter or perfect game going, it was an unwritten rule that you were never supposed to mention it to him because you didn’t want to jinx him. There were also a lot of players who believed that you were never supposed to step on the white baselines when walking on or off the field.

I did a little research and discovered that there were many more sports-related superstitions out there. Here are a few that I found that apply to baseball, basketball and football.

· Almost every pro athlete puts on his uniform the exact same way every time.

· Bouncing the basketball before you shoot a free throw is supposed to bring good luck.

· Double numbers (11, 22, 33, etc.) on a football player’s uniform is good luck.

· If you’re an athlete on the road, you’re supposed to pick up a penny regardless of what side it’s on.

· It’s bad luck for a pro football player to take a different number when he’s traded to another team.

· Lending a baseball bat to a fellow player is supposed to put a major jinx on him.

· Many college football teams slap or punch their logos on the way out of the locker room or the tunnel.

· No player from any sport is supposed to ever put their hat or helmet on a bed. If you do so, it will supposedly deteriorate your skills or bring a quick end to the season.

· Position players in baseball tend to avoid the pitcher’s mound because walking across the mound could send you into a hitting slump.

· Some baseball players actually sleep with their bats in order to help them snap a hitting slump or keep a hitting streak going.

· Some baseball players believe it is good luck to step on a base before running off the field at the end of an inning.

· Spitting into your hand before picking up a baseball bat is said to bring good luck.

· Sticking a wad of chewing gum deliberately on another baseball player’s hat is supposed to bring him good luck.

· The last basketball player to shoot the ball during warm-ups will have a good game. If the ball boy takes the last shot, then a cheerleader will supposedly give him her phone number before the end of the night.

· Wearing your baseball cap inside out or folding it just so on top of your head, known as a “rally cap,” from the seventh inning on when your team is losing is supposed to bring good luck.

· Wiping the soles of your basketball shoes is supposed to bring good luck.

In the end, let me know if you’ve ever heard of any other sports-related superstitions. I’d like to hear about them, so e-mail them to me at courantsports@earthlink.net.

Jeff Daniels deserves to be recognized by council, commission

It’s a very rare occasion when I would ever presume to suggest a course of action for the Conecuh County Commission or the Evergreen City Council, but I would like to do just that in this space this week.

In the coming weeks, both governing bodies will hopefully take the opportunity to recognize Jeff Daniels of Evergreen for his “thru-hike” of the world famous Appalachian Trail. As of Monday, Daniels had about 250 miles to go in his quest to become the first Conecuh County resident to ever successfully hike the 2,181-mile trail from its start in Georgia to its finish in Maine.

Daniels, age 53, started his trip in March and hopes to finish it in mid-September. He crossed into Maine on Saturday. For full details about his trip, see this week’s sports page.

Relatively few people have ever successfully hiked the entire trail and to successfully do so requires no small amount of skill, planning, willpower, dedication and toughness (not to mention a little luck).

At the very least, resolutions honoring Daniels’ historic accomplishment would be a very appropriate way to recognize him. The commission and council may already have plans in the works to do just that, but if not, I thought I’d just put the idea out there.

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I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the coolest thing that I saw in person during the past week was an electric bicycle at the Lee Motor Co. car lot in Monroeville.

Tommy Lee, who owns the car lot, had the bike on display Friday morning, and he let a few of us brave souls test it out. The bike looks almost like any other bike you’ve ever ridden, except for a thick central support where a battery is stored and the back tire assembly, which houses an electric motor.

From what I could tell, the bike has three settings. The first allows it to operate just like any other bike. You pedal and it moves forward.

The second setting allows you to pedal and after a few turns, you can feel it assist you as you move forward. I could see where this setting would be useful to someone who needs to do low impact exercise after an injury.

The third setting was the most impressive because after three turns of the pedals, the motor totally takes over, and the bike will go up to 25 miles per hour. On that setting, you can control the vehicle’s speed with a hand throttle that operates just like the throttle on a motorcycle. To totally kill the motor, all you have to do is release the hand throttle.

The bike, which operates whisper quiet, also has hand brakes just like a normal bicycle. The bike’s battery will allow it to travel at full speed for about an hour on a full charge.

I have to admit that I was kind of leery about getting on the bike because I could only imagine how much it must cost. Like a lot of folks, I bear scars from careless childhood stunts on bicycles, and I could picture in my mind having to repair a scuffed up, expensive electric bike after a bad spill on a Monroeville side street at 25 miles per hour.

Surprisingly, the bike, which is of high-quality Swiss manufacture, costs less than $3,000, much less than the figure I had in mind, considering the quality of the bike. I thought it would have cost at least twice as much given the slick, heavy-duty construction of the bike.

In the end, if you find yourself in Monroeville, this might be something you’d want to check out if you’re in the market for a cutting-edge electric bicycle.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My movie picks this week are 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' and 'Troll Hunter'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

Buzzkill (Comedy): Directed by Steven Kampmann and starring Daniel Raymont, Krysten Ritter, Reiko Aylesworth, Mike Starr and Darrell Hammond.

The Caller (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, R): Directed by Matthew Parkhill and starring Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzman, Ed Quinn and Lorna Raver.

Chasing Madoff (Documentary, Special Interest, Not Rated): Directed by Jeff Prosserman.

Columbiana (Action, Crime, PG-13): Directed by Olivier Megaton and starring Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Jordi Molla, Lennie James and Cliff Curtis.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Horror, Suspense, Thriller, R): Directed by Troy Nixey and starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Alan Dale and Dylan Young.

The Family Tree (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Vivi Friedman and starring Dermot Mulroney, Hope Davis, Selma Blair, Max Thieriot and Bow Wow.

Higher Ground (Drama, R): Directed by Vera Farmiga and starring Farmiga, Donna Murphy, John Hawkes, Joshua Leonard and Dagmara Dominczyk.

Our Idiot Brother (Comedy, R): Directed by Jesse Peretz and starring Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones and Emily Mortimer.

Redemption Road (Drama, PG-13): Directed Mario Van Peebles and starring Michael Clarke Duncan, Morgan Simpson, Kiele Sanchez, Taryn Manning and Luke Perry.

Swinging With The Finkels (Comedy, Romance, R): Directed by Jonathan Newman and starring Mandy Moore, Martin Freeman, Melissa George, Jerry Stiller and Jonathan Silverman.

New DVD releases for the week of Aug. 23 include:

The Beaver (Comedy, Drama, PG-13): Directed by Jodie Foster and starring Foster, Mel Gibson, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Zachary Booth.

The Bleeding House (Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Not Rated): Directed by Philip Gellat and starring Patrick Breen, Alexandra Chando, Charlie Hewson and Nina Lisandrello.

Blitz (Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller, R): Directed by Elliott Lester and starring Jason Statham, Luke Evans, David Morrissey, Aidan Gillen and Paddy Considine.

Closed for the Season (Horror, Thriller): Starring Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei and Joe Unger.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Comedy, Documentary, Special Interest, PG-13): Directed by Morgan Spurlock and starring Spurlock, Ralph Nader, Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, J.J. Abrams.

Henry’s Crime (Comedy, Romance, R): Directed by Malcolm Venville and starring Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, James Caan, Judy Greer and Peter Stormare.

The High Cost of Living (Drama, Romance, Not Yet Rated):

Sympathy for Delicious (Drama, R): Directed by Mark Ruffalo and starring Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, Juliette Lewis, Christopher Thornton and John Carroll Lynch.

TrollHunter (Action, Comedy, Fantasy, PG-13): Directed by Andre Ovredal and starring Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Morck and Knut Naerum.

Win Win (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer, Amy Ryan, Burt Young and Bobby Cannavale.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Troll Hunter.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How many of these 'Books That Changed The World' have you read?

On Tuesday of last week, I posted a recommended reading list called the “Easton Press Greatest Adventure Books of All Time,” and today I’m presenting you with a similar list called “Books That Changed The World,” also by Easton Press.

Easton Press is a book publisher based in Norwalk, Conn. that specializes in high-quality, leather-bound books. They offer a number of book collections, ranging from classics to works of modern literature and science fiction. Their longest running and most popular series is “The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written.”

The Easton Press “Books That Changed The World” series includes 47 volumes and features “books that set the world on a different course, for better or for worse. They encompass the classics of philosophy, politics, sociology, science and religion. These books brought about reforms and revolutions; toppled governments; started wars. They changed people’s hearts and minds; altered people’s lives. Even today, these books continue to stir passions and cause controversy.”

Selected by the Editorial Advisory Board of the Easton Press, the list includes the following titles.

1. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
2. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses by Martin Luther
3. Utopia by Thomas More
4. The Ghagavad Gita by Anonymous
5. The Koran by Anonymous
6. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
7. The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein
8. The Principia: Mathematical Principals of Natural Philosophy by Isaac Newton
9. De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium by Nicolaus Copernicus
10. Common Sense by Thomas Paine
11. The State and Revolution by V.I. Lenin
12. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich William Nietzsche
13. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
14. The Social Contract and The Discourses by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
15. Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
16. Magna Carta by J.C. Holt
17. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
18. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
19. The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor
20. Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe
21. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
22. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects by Mary Wollstonecraft
23. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
24. The Journal of Christopher Columbus (during His First Voyage, 1492-93) and Documents Relating to the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real by Christopher Columbus
25. The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian by Marco Polo
26. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
27. Discourse on Method and Related Writings by Rene Decartes
28. An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus
29. The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
30. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
31. Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas: God and the Order of Creation by Saint Thomas Aquinas
32. Psychology of the Unconscious by C.G. Jung
33. The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl
34. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
35. Non-Violent Resistance by Mohandas K. Gandhi
36. Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung by Mao Tse-Tung
37. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Written By Himself by Frederick Douglass
38. The Republic by Plato
39. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
40. The Torah
41. The New Testament
42. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton
43. Euclid’s Elements by Euclid
44. The Art of War by Sun-Tzu
45. Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
46. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
47. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

In the end, how many of these books have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Which is your favorite and why? Which books do you think deserve to be on the list but aren't? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more information about Easton Press and the books mentioned above, visit their Web site at www.eastonpress.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

'Blackout/All Clear' wins 2011 Hugo Award for Best Novel

The winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards were announced on Saturday at the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hugo Awards, they have been given each year since 1953 by the World Science Fiction Society to recognize the best sci-fi and fantasy works from the previous year.

Awards this year were given in a number of major categories, including Best Novel, Best Graphic Story and Best Dramatic Presentations. What follows is a complete list of the winners.

BEST NOVEL - Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

BEST NOVELLA - The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

BEST NOVELETTE - “The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele

BEST SHORT STORY - “For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal

BEST RELATED WORK - Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea

BEST GRAPHIC STORY - Girl Genius, Vol. 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM - Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM - Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM - Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM - Lou Anders

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST - Shaun Tan

BEST SEMIPROZINE - Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace, podcast directed by Kate Baker

BEST FANZINE - The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J. Garcia and James Bacon

BEST FAN WRITER - Claire Brialey

BEST FAN ARTIST - Brad W. Foster

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER - Lev Grossman

The Hugo Award for Best Novel is arguably the most prestigious of these awards, and “Blackout/All Clear” must be especially good. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in May and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in June.

As you would imagine, Willis is no stranger to the Hugos. She also won a Best Novel Hugo in 1993 for her novel, “Doomsday Book” and again in 1999 for her novel, “To Say Nothing of the Dog.” She was nominated for a Best Novel Hugo in 1996 for “Remake” and again in 2002 for her novel, “Passage.”

The other nominees for this year’s Best Novel Award include the following books:

- “Cryoburn” by Lois McMaster Bujold

- “The Dervish House” by Ian McDonald

- “Feed” by Mira Grant

- “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by N.K. Jemisin

For a complete list of the all time winners, see my post from April 1: http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-many-of-these-hugo-award-winning.html. For a complete list of novels by Connie Willis, see my post from May 23: http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2011/05/blackoutall-clear-wins-nebula-award-for.html.

In the end, what do you think of this year’s slate of Hugo winners? Which do you like or dislike and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'Dark Watch' appears on this week's paperback best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly review of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, we’ve got one new book at the top of the four major best-seller lists this week.

"A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin replaced "Cold Vengeance" by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard kept its No. 1 spot on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list.

"The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham retained the top spot on the mass market paperback best-sellers list.

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett retained the top spot on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

There are five books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "The Ideal Man" by Julie Garwood (3), "Victory and Honor" by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (6), "Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension" by Christie Golden (7), "The Magician King: A Novel" by Lev Grossman (9) and "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (10).

There are four books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit--Making the Most of All of Your Life" by Jane Fonda (5), "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles C. Mann (6), "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon" by Mark Steyn (8) and "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" by Timothy Ferriss (14).

There is only one book on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that wasn’t on that list last week - "Dark Watch" by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, which was No. 14 on that list.

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Original Argument: The Federalists' Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century" by Glenn Beck (11), "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America" by Erik Larson (13) and "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann (15).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin
2. "Full Black" by Brad Thor
3. "The Ideal Man" by Julie Garwood
4. "Cold Vengeance" by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston
5. "Ghost Story" by Jim Butcher
6. "Victory and Honor" by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
7. "Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension" by Christie Golden
8. "Portrait of a Spy" by Daniel Silva
9. "The Magician King: A Novel" by Lev Grossman
10. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
11. "Retribution" by Sherrilyn Kenyon
12. "Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich
13. "Now You See Her" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
14. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett
15. "Happy Birthday: A Novel" by Danielle Steel

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard
2. "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand
3. "The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Design for Rapid Results" by Dr. Mike Moreno
4. "Go the F--k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach and Illustrations by Ricardo Cortes
5. "Prime Time" by Jane Fonda
6. "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles C. Mann
7. "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson
8. "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon" by Mark Steyn
9. "The Dukan Diet" by Pierre Dukan
10. "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough
11. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey
12. "SEAL Team Six" by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin
13. "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker
14. "The 4-Hour Body" by Timothy Ferriss
15. "Of Thee I Zing" by Laura Ingraham with Raymond Arroyo

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "The Confession: A Novel" by John Grisham
2. "Private" by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
3. "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin
4. "Born to Die" by Lisa Jackson
5. "A Clash of Kings" by George R.R. Martin
6. "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
7. "Midnight Sins" by Lora Leigh
8. "The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel" by James Lee Burke
9. "Secrets of Bella Terra: A Scarlet Deception Novel" by Christina Dodd
10. "Out of the Rain" by Debbie Macomber
11. "Treachery in Death" by J.D. Robb
12. "A Feast for Crows" by George R.R. Martin
13. "Hell's Corner" by David Baldacci
14. "Dark Watch" by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul
15. "The Templar Salvation" by Raymond Khoury

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
2. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
3. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
4. "One Day" by David Nicholls
5. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
6. "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay
7. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
8. "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese
9. "The Glass Castle: A Memoir" by Jeannette Walls
10. "Room" by Emma Donoghue
11. "The Original Argument" by Glenn Beck
12. "Water for Elephants: A Novel" by Sara Gruen
13. "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson
14. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
15. "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy 121st Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!

H.P. Lovecraft is my hands down, all-time favorite writer, and today, Aug. 20, is his birthday. He was born in 1890 and died of stomach cancer at the age of 47 in 1937.

I’ve been a Lovecraft fan since age 10, when I happened to read a comic book version of Lovecraft’s 1921 story, “The Outsider,” that my fifth-grade teacher had in her classroom. I’ve been hooked on Lovecraft ever since and now own numerous volumes of his works.

Lovecraft is best known for his horror, fantasy and science fiction short stories, most of which were published in pulp magazines like “Weird Tales.” Lovecraft lived most of his life in poverty and was relatively unknown during his lifetime, but he had a huge impact on later writers like Stephen King, Clive Barker, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Mike Mignola.

Lovecraft wrote a lot of stories, but the most famous is arguably “The Call of Cthulhu.” Other well known Lovecraft tales include “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (my personal favorite) and “At the Mountains of Madness.” What follows is a complete list of his stories (along with any known co-authors and publication years):

• The Alchemist (1908)
• Ashes (with C. M. Eddy Jr., 1923)
• At the Mountains of Madness (1931)
• Azathoth (1922)
• The Battle that Ended the Century (with R. H. Barlow, 1934)
• The Beast in the Cave (1905)
• Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1919)
• The Book (1933?)
• The Call of Cthulhu (1926)
• The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1927)
• The Cats of Ulthar (1920)
• Celepha├»s (1920)
• The Challenge from Beyond (with C. L. Moore; A. Merritt; Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long, 1935)
• The Colour Out of Space (1927)
• Collapsing Cosmoses (with R. H. Barlow, 1935)
• Cool Air (1926)
• The Crawling Chaos (with Winifred V. Jackson, 1920/21)
• The Curse of Yig (with Zealia Bishop, 1928)
• Dagon (1917)
• Deaf, Dumb, and Blind (with C. M. Eddy Jr., 1924?)
• The Descendant (1926?)
• The Diary of Alonzo Typer (with William Lumley, 1935)
• The Disinterment (with Duane W. Rimel, 1935)
• The Doom That Came to Sarnath (1919)
• The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926/27)
• The Dreams in the Witch House (1932)
• The Dunwich Horror (1928)
• The Electric Executioner (with Adolphe de Castro, 1929?)
• The Evil Clergyman (1933)
• Ex Oblivione (1920/21)
• Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (1920)
• The Festival (1923)
• From Beyond (1920)
• The Ghost-Eater (with C. M. Eddy Jr., 1923)
• The Green Meadow (with Winifred V. Jackson, 1918/19)
• The Haunter of the Dark (1935)
• He (1925)
• Herbert West – Reanimator (1921/22)
• History of the Necronomicon (1927)
• The Horror at Martin’s Beach (with Sonia H. Greene, 1922)
• The Horror at Red Hook (1925)
• The Horror in the Burying-Ground (with Hazel Heald, 1933/35)
• The Horror in the Museum (with Hazel Heald, 1932)
• The Hound (1922)
• Hypnos (1922)
• Ibid (1928?)
• In the Vault (1925)
• In the Walls of Eryx (with Kenneth Sterling, 1936)
• The Last Test (with Adolphe de Castro, 1927)
• The Little Glass Bottle (1897)
• The Loved Dead (with C. M. Eddy Jr., 1923)
• The Lurking Fear (1922)
• The Man of Stone (with Hazel Heald, 1932)
• Medusa’s Coil (with Zealia Bishop, 1930)
• Memory (1919)
• The Moon-Bog (1921)
• The Mound (with Zealia Bishop, 1929/30)
• The Music of Erich Zann (1921)
• The Mysterious Ship (1902)
• The Mystery of the Grave-Yard (1898)
• The Nameless City (1921)
• The Night Ocean (with R. H. Barlow, 1936)
• Nyarlathotep (1920)
• Old Bugs (1919)
• The Other Gods (1921)
• Out of the Aeons (with Hazel Heald, 1933)
• The Outsider (1921)
• Pickman’s Model (1926)
• The Picture in the House (1920)
• Poetry and the Gods (with Anna Helen Crofts, 1920)
• Polaris (1918)
• The Quest of Iranon (1921)
• The Rats in the Walls (1923)
• A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1917)
• The Secret Cave or John Lees Adventure (1898)
• The Shadow Out of Time (1934/35)
• The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931)
• The Shunned House (1924)
• The Silver Key (1926)
• The Statement of Randolph Carter (1919)
• The Strange High House in the Mist (1926)
• The Street (1920?)
• Sweet Ermengarde (1917) The Temple (1920)
• The Terrible Old Man (1920)
• The Thing in the Moonlight (spurious)
• The Thing on the Doorstep (1933)
• Through the Gates of the Silver Key (with E. Hoffmann Price, 1932/33)
• “Till A’ the Seas” (with R. H. Barlow, 1935)
• The Tomb (1917)
• The Transition of Juan Romero (1919)
• The Trap (with Henry S. Whitehead, 1931)
• The Tree (1920)
• The Tree on the Hill (with Duane W. Rimel, 1934)
• Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman, 1926)
• Under the Pyramids (with Harry Houdini, 1924)
• The Unnamable (1923)
• The Very Old Folk (1927)
• What the Moon Brings (1922)
• The Whisperer in Darkness (1930)
• The White Ship (1919)
• Winged Death (with Hazel Heald, 1933)

This list, as well as a ton of other information about Lovecraft, can be found online at The H.P. Lovecraft Archive at www.hplovecraft.com.

In the end, which of Lovecraft’s stories have you read? Which did you like or dislike? Which is your all time favorite and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Boeing's 'Aviation Reading List' is just the thing for 'National Aviation Day'

Yesterday (Thursday) was National Aviation Day, a special day set aside to celebrate all things related to aviation and airplanes. First celebrated in 1939, the day also marks the birthday of aviation pioneer Orville Wright, who was born on Aug. 19, 1871.

In the days leading up to this holiday, a friend put me on to a cool “Aviation Reading List” but together by The Boeing Co. Boeing is a Seattle-based, aerospace and defense corporation founded in 1916 and is now among the world’s largest global aircraft manufacturers.

Several years ago, officials at Boeing put together an “Aviation Reading List” that includes books about airplanes manufactured by Boeing and McDonnel Douglas as well as flying and general aviation. The recommended books about flying and general aviation are divided into categories for readers in preschool through sixth grade, middle school and high school students and beyond. Without further ado, here’s the list.

Flying and General Aviation:

High School Students And Beyond (Ages 16 Through Adult):

- A Field Guide to Airplanes of North America by M.R. Montgomery
- Becoming an Airline Pilot by Jeff Griffin
- Epic of Flight (Time-Life Books)
- Flight in America, 1900 – 1983 by Roger E. Bilstein
- Flying Book: Everything You've Ever Wondered About Flying on Airplanes by David Blatner
- Jane's Aerospace Dictionary by Bill Gunston
- Jane's All the World's Aircraft (Published annually in book form)
- Knights of the Air by Ezra Bowen, et al.
- Legends of the Air by Sean Rossiter
- Night Flight by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
- Skystars: The History of Women In Aviation by Ann Hodgman and Rudy Djabbaroff
- The Fullness of Wings: The Making of a New Daedalus by Gary Dorsey
- The Leading Edge by Walter J. Boyne
- The Smithsonian Book of Flight by Walter J. Boyne
- West with the Night by Beryl Markham
- World Aviation Directory: A Comprehensive Catalog of All Aerospace Companies.

Middle School Students (Ages 12 Through 15):

- Amelia Earhart: The Final Story by Vincent V. Loomis
- At the Controls: Women in Aviation by Carole S. Briggs
- Flying the Frontiers of Space by Don Dwiggins
- The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur & Orville Wright by Tom Crouch
- Text The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall
- The National Air & Space Museum by C.D.B. Bryan
- The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh
- The Visual Dictionary of Flight
- Women of the Air by Judy Lomax
- World Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft, edited by Enzo Angelucci

Preschool Through Grade Six (Through Age 11)

- Aircraft Technology by Mark Lambert
- Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircraft and Spacecraft by Lee J. Ames
- Experimenting with Air and Flight by Ormiston H. Walker
- Facts About: Planes by Donna Bailey
- Flight: A Panorama of Aviation by Melvin B. Zisfein
- Going on an Airplane by Fred Rogers
- Helicopters by Phyllis Emert
- The Big Book of Real Airplanes by Gina Ingoglia
- The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman

Books About Boeing And Its Airplanes:

- A Cold War Legacy: A Tribute to the Strategic Air Command by Alwyn T. Lloyd
- Boeing 757 and 767 by Thomas Becher (Crowood Aviation Series)
- Boeing Airplanes Since 1916 by Peter M. Bowers
- Boeing in Peace and War by Eugene E. Bauer
- Boeing by Donald Hannah
- Boeing by M.J. Hardy
- Boeing: An Aircraft Album No. 4 by Kenneth Munson & Gordon Swanborough
- Boeing: Planemaker to the World by Robert Redding and Bill Yenne
- Boeing: The World's Greatest Planemakers by Christopher Chant
- Flying High : The Story of Boeing and the Rise of the Jetliner Industry by Eugene Rodgers
- Hubbard-The Forgotten Boeing Aviator by James A. Brown
- Last of the Flying Clippers: The Boeing 314 Story by M.D. Klaas
- Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People by Robert Serling
- Nuts: Southwest Airlines Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Frieberg
- Planemakers No. 1: Boeing by Michael J. Taylor
- Tex Johnston, Jet Age Test Pilot by A.M. “Tex” Johnston
- The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner by F. Robert Van Der Linden
- The Eleven Days of Christmas: America's Last Vietnam Battle by Marshall Michel III
- The Road to the 707 by William H. Cook
- Twenty-First-Century Jet: The Making and Marketing of the Boeing 777 by Karl Sabbagh
- Vision: A Saga of the Sky by Harold Mansfield
- Vision: The Story of Boeing by Harold Mansfield
- Vision by Harold Mansfield
- Wide-Body: The Triumph of the 747 by Clive Irving

Books About Boeing North American And Its Airplanes:

- North American Aircraft, 1934-1998, Vol. 1 by Norm Avery
- Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System by Dennis R. Jenkins

Books About McDonnell Douglas And Its Airplanes:

- Appointment in the Sky: The Story of Project Gemini by Sol Levine
- Barons of the Sky From Early Flight to Strategic Warfare by Wayne Biddle
- The Big Eight: The DC-8 Story by Richard G. Hubler
- Climb to Greatness: The American Aircraft Industry, 1920-1960 by John B. Rae
- Conquest of the Skies: A History of Commercial Aviation in America by Carl Solberg
- The Dakota by Arthur Percy Jr.
- DC-3: The Story of a Fabulous Airplane by Glines and Moseley
- Donald W. Douglas: A Heart with Wings by Wilbur H. Morrison
- The Douglas Skyraider by B.R. Jackson
- Douglas Twinjets: DC-9, MD-80, MD-90 and 717 by Thomas Becher
- Ed Heinemann: Combat Aircraft Designer by Heinemann and Rausa
- Engineering the F-4 Phantom II: Parts into Systems by Glenn E. Bugos
- F-4 Phantom by Bill Gunston
- F-4 Phantom II by Robert F. Dorr
- F-4 Phantom II by G.G. O'Rourke
- F-4 Phantom II in Detail and Scale by Bert Kinzey
- F-15 Eagle by Jeff Ethell
- Fifty Glorious Years: A Pictorial Tribute to the Douglas DC-3 by Arthur Pearcy
- Flight Plan for Tomorrow: The Douglas Story, A Condensed History by Crosby Maynard
- Grand Old Lady by Glines and Moseley
- Harrier by Francis K. Mason
- Hornet: The Inside Story of the F/A-18 by Orr Kelly
- McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920 by R.J. Francillo
- McDonnell Douglas: A Story of Two Giants by Bill Yenne
- The McDonnell Douglas Story by Douglas J. Ingells
- The Mighty THOR by Julian Hartt
- Phantom by Francis K. Mason
- Phantom in Combat by Walter J. Boyne
- The Plane that Changed the World by Douglas J. Ingells
- The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
- St. Louis: City of Flight by James J. Horgan
- We Seven: The Mercury Astronauts by the Astronauts Themselves

In the end, how many of these books have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Evergreen's Jeff Daniels approaches Maine on Appalachian Trail

Jeff Daniels of Evergreen continued to approach the New Hampshire-Maine border earlier this week as he continued his effort to become what is believed to be the first Conecuh County resident to “thru-hike” the world famous Appalachian Trail.

On Monday, Daniels, 53, reported to The Courant from Pinkham Notch, a mountain pass in the White Mountains of north-central New Hampshire. He covered 79 miles of the trail since Monday of last week and has hiked 1,862 miles of the trail, which begins in Springer Mountain, Ga. and ends 2,181 miles away in Katahdin, Maine. As of Monday, he had 319 miles to go before finishing the hike, and he was about 30 miles from the New Hampshire-Maine border.

Daniels began his trip on March 13 and hopes to finish his trip in mid-September. The trail, commonly referred to as the “AT,” is arguably the most famous hiking trail in the world. The trail passes through 14 states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

During the past week, Daniels has experienced a number of rainy days as well as temperatures that dipped down into the thirties.

“I’m definitely glad that I went ahead and got my winter gear,” he said. “I’ve definitely needed it. We went to bed one night near 4,500 feet and we were expecting the temperatures to get down into the forties. When I got up, I could see my breath, and it was down into the thirties. It was the first time that I’ve had to zip up my down jacket since starting the trip in Geogria.”

During the past week, Daniels traversed the Presidential Mountain Range, which includes Mount Washington, the second highest mountain on the AT.

On Monday, Daniels was preparing to tackled what’s generally considered to be the “Toughest Mile of the AT.” Called Mahoosuc Notch and Mahoosuc Arm, these portions of the trail, which actually measure about three miles in length, this portion is also called the “killer mile” by many AT veterans.

“This part of the trail is pretty tough because you’ve got all these boulders that have fallen into a steep ravine,” Daniels said. “In a lot of places, you’ve got to remove your pack and go under, around and over them just about the best way you can. It’s very challenging. It’s a lot of hand over fist climbing.”

Also this coming week, Daniels expects to enter the Wildcat Mountains, which contain four or five sizeable peaks.

“And I’m still on track to finish on time,” he said. “I actually gained some time this week, so if I needed to take a longer break for whatever reason, I could do so and still make my Sept. 16 flight home out of Bangor, Maine.”

(Daniels is keeping an online journal of his trip, and it can be read at www.trailjournals.com/moondoggie. Also, look for continuing updates about Daniels’ trip in future editions of The Courant.”)

Local high school varsity football season kicks off tomorrow night

For all intents and purposes, our local high school football season will officially begin tomorrow (Friday) night when Sparta Academy plays Escambia Academy and Hillcrest High School travels to Jackson High School.

Sparta’s game will serve as its regular season opener and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Hillcrest and Jackson are meeting for a preseason game that will serve as a warm up for their regular season openers next Friday night.

This is an exciting time for our local players and coaches. They’ve been working hard since the end of spring football practice and will finally get the chance to square off against an opponent from another school.

The prospects for the entire season lie ahead of them and they set off on their effort to keep unbeaten records. I look for both of our local teams to be better than they were last year, but only time will tell.

Whatever happens, I hope that our local players have a safe, injury-free season and put forth 100 percent effort from start to finish.

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Those of you in the audience who enjoy a good sports-related book will be interested to hear that the winners of two major, national sports writing awards were announced last week.

As part of the 2011 PEN Awards, it was announced that the winner of the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing was “Play Their Hearts Out” by George Dohrmann. This award is given each year to a “nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2010.” This year’s slate of judges for that award were Madeleine Blais, Buzz Bissinger and Phillip Lopate. The winner receives $5,000.

This year’s PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing went to Roger Angell. This award is given each year to “a writer whose body of work represents exceptional contribution to the field.” The winner receives $5,000 and the judges were Roy Blount Jr., Terry McDonell and David Remnick.

Many of you will be familiar with Angell, who will turn 91 next month. Known mostly for his essays, stories and books about baseball, Angell’s books include “The Summer Game” (1972), “Five Seasons” (1977), “Late Innings” (1982), “Season Ticket” (1988), “Once More Around the Park” (1991), “A Pitcher’s Story” (2001), “Game Time” (2003) and “Let Me Finish” (2006).

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For those of you still interested in joining our local group in ESPN’s College Football Pick ‘Em Contest, you’ve still got time to sign up at http://games.espn.go.com/college-pickem/en/frontpage.

To participate, all you have to do is sign up for the contest and join our local group. The group name is “Conecuh-Monroe FB Pickers,” and the password to join is “football.”

As of Monday, 17 local sports fans had signed up to compete against one another during the upcoming football season.

More than a few of us locally have participated in this contest for nearly a decade now, and it always seems to add a lot to the football season. Maybe the best thing about it is that the game is free and easy to play.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Aug. 18, 2011


EIGHT YEARS AGO
AUG. 21, 2003

“Evergreen Aggies Parents Meeting: There will be an Evergreen Aggies parents meeting on Thurs., Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Zack’s Restaurant. Parents are urged to attend this meeting.”

“Case Brundage, 5-year-old son of Jeff and Cassie Brundage of Evergreen, shows off his catch of the day. Case reeled in five of the 10 catfish caught, which totaled 16 pounds.”

“Keith Pugh was in charge of the program for last week’s meeting of the Evergreen Kiwanis Club and he talked to the club about his vacation. Keith has been going to St. Johns, Fla. every year for the past 10 years to fish, and he gave the club a very interesting program about his many adventures over the years.”

“2003-2004 Alabama waterfowl seasons set: Seasons and bag limits for the 2003-2004 waterfowl season are announced by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, following receipt of the federal guidelines which govern the way states can set their season.
“The Special Canada Goose Season beings Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 15 with limits of five per day and 10 in possession. The Special Teal Season is Sept. 6-21 with limits of four per day and eight in possession.
“The season for ducks (except canvasback and pintail), coot and merganser is Nov. 27-Jan. 25. The canvasback and pintail season is limited to Dec. 27-Jan. 25.”

23 YEARS AGO
AUG. 18, 1988

“This is the wrecked car in which Mrs. Lillian M. Sutton, 59, of Molino, Fla. was killed in a tragic accident Friday afternoon on I-65, about three miles north of the Repton-Brewton exit. The care, driven by Mrs. Sutton’s husband, Charlie H. Sutton, 62, went out of control, skidded about 45 feet before striking a guard rail, then overturned several times before flipping over the bridge and into a ravine approximately 30 feet below the highway. The vehicle landed upside down. Mrs. Sutton, mother of major league pitcher Don Sutton, the winningest active pitcher in major league baseball and 12th on the all time list with 324 wins, was pronounced dead at the scene by Conecuh County Coroner Danny Garnett.”

“Sparta plays EA Friday nite there: Sparta Academy will play a pre-season football game with Escambia Academy Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be played in Canoe.”

“Sparta Academy plans pep rally and bonfire: Sparta Academy will have a bon fire pep rally Thursday night, Aug. 25. They will serve hamburgers starting at 6:00, with the pep rally to follow shortly thereafter. It will be held at Sparta.”

“SPARTA ACADEMY: 1988 Football Schedule: Aug. 26, v. Escambia; Sept. 2, at Springwood; Sept. 9, v. South Montgomery; Sept. 16, at Lee-Scott; Sept. 23, v. Ashford; Sept. 30, at Crenshaw; Oct. 7, at Stokes; Oct. 14, v. Lakeside; Oct. 21, v. Abbeville; Oct. 28, at Greenville.”

38 YEARS AGO
AUG. 16, 1973

“Jeff Kimbro holds the trophy he won as Most Valuable Player in the American League of the Evergreen Jr. Baseball League. Jeff, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kimbro, was elected by the players for this honor.”

“Ronald Williams receives degree: Ronald E. Williams of Brewton is a summer graduate of the University of West Florida, Pensacola with a BS degree and a major in physical education.
“Williams is a graduate of Conecuh County High School where he earned several honors in basketball. He has been employed by the Conecuh County Board of Education as assistant football coach and varsity basketball coach at Lyeffion High School.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Baggett and Angie have moved to Tallassee, Ala. where he has accepted a position as coach of Tallassee High School.”

“These players were chosen from the Chicks and Pelicans to form an All-Star Team which played the champion Orioles in the American League All-Star Game Friday night. The game concluded the season.”

“These Orioles were champions of the American League of the Evergreen Jr. Baseball League this summer. They played an All-Star Team in a game Friday night to conclude the season.”

53 YEARS AGO
AUG. 21, 1958

“Aggies Open Drills Play Atmore Sept. 12: The Evergreen Aggies started fall football practice this morning at five o’clock. Twenty-five boys reported for the first session under Coaches Wendell Hart and Jeff Moorer.
“Eight lettermen are back from last year’s team and will form the nucleus for this year’s eleven. Lettermen are Robert Ellington, Robbie Boykin, Jimmy Bell, Elvin Higgins, Ken Tucker, Wayne Peacock, George Bolton, Byron Warren and Paul Pace.
“Other Aggies reporting for duty were Billy Melton, Leon McKenzie, Leon Stinson, Ceylon Strong, Bobby Smith, Shannon Griggers, H.W. Ward, Connie Rigsby, Wayne Stinson, Cleveland Brown, Paul Hardin, Bonner Ridgeway, Brown Boykin, Robert Brooks, David Hyde, Duncan Roberts and Billy Hammonds.
“Fans will have the opportunity of seeing the Aggies in action Sept. 12 when they tackle the Atmore Blue Devils at Brooks Stadium.”

“Swimming Contest Closes Summer Swim Classes: The swimming classes at The Evergreen Swimming Pool ended their summer instruction with a swimming and diving contest Tuesday.
“Phillip Camp and Knud Nielsen tied for first place in the diving contest. The Short Distance Swimming race was won by Larry Yeargan and Larry tied with Sally Anderson for first place in the long distance swimming match.
“The final event was a relay affair and the team headed by Sally Anderson won the first place honor. The other members of the team were Phillip Camp, Elinor Stallworth, Larry Griffin and Bobbie Helen Herlong.”

68 YEARS AGO
AUG. 19, 1943

“New Conservation Chief: Alabama’s new Director of Conservation, Ben C. Morgan, is shown at the state game farm near Prattville with a pair of feathered friends dear to the hearts of all Alabamians - Colinus virginianus to the scientific chaps, quail to the average sportsman, partridge to the unreconstructed. Quail are bred at the state farm for restocking purposes, as part of a constructive conservation program.”

Compiled by Sports Reporter Lee Peacock from past issues of The Evergreen Courant. To read The Courant’s weekly Sports Flashback feature online, visit leepeacock2010.blogspot.com.

UFO reports from Alabama between July 1 and July 31

It’s the third week of the month, so this week I’m giving you an update on UFO reports in Alabama from the past month, courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network.

A search for UFO reports in Alabama between July 1 and July 31 on MUFON’s website, www.mufon.com, resulted in eight reports from within our state. Here are two of the most unusual.

One person reported that on July 18 around 10:30 a.m., while driving on Route 287 near Woodbridge, they approached an accident that had traffic stopped on the highway. The weather was clear and when the motorist looked ahead, he saw what he thought was a helicopter over the accident scene.

“It appeared dark and hovering at first, but as I came closer, I saw it start to tumble in place which really got my attention. As I came closer I could see the object was many oval shaped things close together, reflective, orange, bronze, metallic-looking.”

The witness said that it looked like “those reflective party balloons all strung together, but they stayed equally separated and would rotate and tumble in place for about 30 seconds at a clip. This was about 500 feet over the highway at the Route 1 south exit.”

The object was about 10-feet wide, he said.

This person eventually used a video camera to track the object as it floated toward Woodbridge. As such things go, the witness realized later that he “never hit the record button on cam.”

In another report, a man reported that on July 25, his wife and son were in their backyard pool when the boy looked up and said, “What’s that?” His mother looked up and saw a “white capsule-shaped (cigar-shaped) object in the southeastern sky.”

The object had no wings and flew at a “steady pace until it passed beyond our house and out of view. There was no noise as it flew. A few minutes later she heard jets flying but could not determine where they were.

“Fifteen minutes later, I came out to the pool and my wife told me about what she saw, so I kept a steady eye out in the section of sky that she had found it. Ten minutes later, I spied another white object without wings in the same section of sky and watched it until it was completely out of view to the south. I noted what appeared to be an exhaust trail before it disappeared, but my eyes could have been playing tricks on me, having been staring into the sky for so long.

“Fifteen minutes later, we got out of the pool and were on our deck when I saw the white capsule object again but, directly below it, there appeared to be a separate black boomerang shaped craft, almost reminiscent of a flying wing in shape. We lost track of the white object as we focused all of our attention on the black wing.

“It headed north and was making a quick turn to the left and then almost made a figure eight-type movement until it was beyond our view. It appeared to be traveling at high speeds much faster than the white capsule. A moment later we saw what appeared to be a plane or jet coming out of the eastern sky heading toward the west. We were unsure if it was a jet that was scrambled to intercept or if it was just a coincidence.”

The report did not include any information about the exact location of this reported incident other than to say that it occurred somewhere in Alabama.