Books in my stack

I get lots of books sent to me to review. I can't read them all, even though many of them look promising. Here are a few I plan to read, eventually. I hope.

Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know Instructions for Life From the Everyday to the Exotic

My 5-year-old daughter and I quickly paged through this book filled with cartoon-like project ideas and made a lost of things to do: grow an avocado tree from a seed, invent clay oddities, assemble a super slingshot, tell time with a poato clock, blow a humongous bubble, make a delicious s'more, and about 20 other things.

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The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp through Civilization's Best Bits

From the publishers of mental_floss, this book contains entertaining snippets and stories in the vein of one of my favorite books, The People's Almanac. Here's an excerpt, about the Amazon:

When it's not making people crazy, the Amazon seems to inspire bizarre, larger-than-life schemes. In 1967, American shipping magnate and billionaire Daniel Ludwig bought a larger-than-Connecticut sized chunk of the Amazon to create a gigantic industrial and agricultural complex called the Jari Project. It didn't work out. All the construction led to massive soil erosion, screwing up the "agricultural" part of his plan. After sinking $(removed) billion into the project (back when $(removed) billion really meant something) Ludwig called it quits in 1982. It was eventually put up for sale for $(removed)–a great deal, if you're willing to assume $(removed) million in debt.
The bright side: For anyone with a dollar and a dream, it's your lucky day: the Jari Project is still for sale!

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Falling off the Edge: Travels Through the Dark Heart of Globalization
Time correspondent Alex Perry traveled around the world to see the effects of globalization "on the ground, instead of the executive suite."

Perry takes readers to Shenzen, China's boom city where sweatshops pay under-age workers less than $(removed) a day; and to Bombay, where the gap between rich and poor means million-dollar apartments overlook million-people slums. He shares a beer with Southeast Asian pirates who prey on the world's busiest shipping artery. And he puts us in the middle of a firefight between American Special Forces and the Taliban.

He shows that for every winner in our brave new world, there are tens of thousands of losers. And be they Chinese army veterans, Indian Maoist rebels or the Somali branch of al Qaeda, they are very, very angry.

Picture 4-1 Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail From Istanbul to India
Travel writer Rory MacLean revisits the old South Asian "hippie trail."

In the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of thousands of young westerners in search of enlightenment blazed the "hippie trail" that ran through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. Forty years later, Rory MacLean revisits the trail, where he encounters the tie-dyed veterans who never made it home, meets locals reaping the rewards and regrets of westernization, and crashes up against Taliban fighters and Islamic extremism, which has turned the hippie trail into a path of dust and danger.

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The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today's Game

An idiosyncratic, highly personal take on professional basketball. The illustrations and overall design are stunning. I don't even like pro sports, but I am planning to read this. Check out these sample pages (click for big).

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Wham-O Super-Book: Celebrating 60 Years Inside the Fun Factory

When Carla, David, Gareth, and I edited The Happy Mutant Handbook in 1995, Carla wrote a chapter about the world's greatest toy company, Wham-O! Besides the Hula Hoop, Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, the Super Ball, Slip-n-Slide, and the Air Blaster, Wham-O made a bunch of charmingly weird but less-well-known toys, such as Cute Scoot, Sun Vu, Fun Farm, Instant Fish, Fun-Gun, and many more. This book, by Tim Walsh, presents the history of Wham-O along with lots of color illustrations from the Wham-O archives. It's already one of my treasured keepsakes.

Wham-O's irresistible toys practically define childhood for an entire generation. The Frisbee Hula Hoop SuperBall Slip 'N Slide Silly String and Hacky Sack are all cherished companions that brought kids together and still enjoy an enduring popularity today. Super-Book ("the most fantastic book ever created by science") showcases these amazing toys and a wide array of entertaining and downright odd playthings dreamed up by a company started by two childhood friends. Released in time for the 60th anniversary of Wham-O and featuring an engaging history of each plaything colorful vintage packaging and ads as well as photographs of the toys this boisterous book is sure to inspire nostalgia and a trip to the nearest park Frisbee in hand.

That's just a small sample from my book stack. I'll post more soon!