Saturday, March 28, 2015

On My Radar:

The Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolutionary Approach to Baseball and its Statistics
by John Thorn & Pete Palmer
Univeristy of Chicago Press
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Long before Moneyball became a sensation or Nate Silver turned the knowledge he’d honed on baseball into electoral gold, John Thorn and Pete Palmer were using statistics to shake the foundations of the game. First published in 1984, The Hidden Game of Baseball ushered in the sabermetric revolution by demonstrating that we were thinking about baseball stats—and thus the game itself—all wrong. Instead of praising sluggers for gaudy RBI totals or pitchers for wins, Thorn and Palmer argued in favor of more subtle measurements that correlated much more closely to the ultimate goal: winning baseball games.

The new gospel promulgated by Thorn and Palmer opened the door for a flood of new questions, such as how a ballpark’s layout helps or hinders offense or whether a strikeout really is worse than another kind of out. Taking questions like these seriously—and backing up the answers with data—launched a new era, showing fans, journalists, scouts, executives, and even players themselves a new, better way to look at the game.


This brand-new edition retains the body of the original, with its rich, accessible analysis rooted in a deep love of baseball, while adding a new introduction by the authors tracing the book’s influence over the years. A foreword by ESPN’s lead baseball analyst, Keith Law, details The Hidden Game’s central role in the transformation of baseball coverage and team management and shows how teams continue to reap the benefits of Thorn and Palmer’s insights today. Thirty years after its original publication, The Hidden Game is still bringing the high heat—a true classic of baseball literature.

Friday, March 27, 2015

On My Radar:

Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth
by Albert Podell
Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a breakdown atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.
After that--although it took him forty-seven more years--Albert Podell set another record by going to every country on Earth. He achieved this by surviving riots, revolutions, civil wars, trigger-happy child soldiers, voodoo priests, robbers, pickpockets, corrupt cops, and Cape buffalo. He went around, under, or through every kind of earthquake, cyclone, tsunami, volcanic eruption, snowstorm, and sandstorm that nature threw at him. He ate everything from old camel meat and rats to dung beetles and the brain of a live monkey. And he overcame attacks by crocodiles, hippos, anacondas, giant leeches, flying crabs--and several beautiful girlfriends who insisted that he stop this nonsense and marry them.??

Albert Podell's Around the World in 50 Years is a remarkable and meaningful tale of quiet courage, dogged persistence, undying determination, and an uncanny ability to extricate himself from one perilous situation after another--and return with some of the most memorable, frightening, and hilarious adventure stories you have ever re

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On My Radar:

Smoke: How a Small-Town Girl Accidentally Wound Up Smuggling 7,000 Pounds of Marijuana with the Pot Princess of Beverly Hills
by Meili Cady
Dey Street Books
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:

Combining the excess of The Bling Ring with the intimacy of Blow and the charm of Catch Me If You Can, an outrageous, entertaining and true story of an aspiring young actress’ ill-fated friendship and unwitting alliance with a drug smuggling “heiress.”

Aspiring actress Meili Cady left small-town Washington State for the glamorous lure of Los Angeles. Young and alone, she was struggling to make her big break. Then she met Lisette Lee. Calling herself the “Korean Paris Hilton,” Lisette claimed she was a model and a Korean pop star, lived in a $1.2 million dollar apartment in West Hollywood, owned a fleet of luxury cars, and flitted from one red-carpet event to the next.

The connection was instant. Meili was enchanted by her friend’s extravagant lifestyle, while Lee claimed Meili was the real thing in a town full of phonies. Soon, the financially strapped Meili became her friend’s personal assistant—and found herself sucked into an audacious criminal enterprise. But when Meili finally realized what she was a part of it was too late—she was in too deep, caught in a terrifying relationship with a manipulative and abrasive con artist smuggling millions of dollars of pot into the Midwest.


Trapped in a precarious criminal world of money, drugs, and dangerous secrets, Meili struggled to understand the line between truth and lie. A once naive girl who fell down the rabbit hole, she could only watch helplessly as it all came crashing down around her. Smoke is her story—an electrifying tale of vice, corruption, hubris, and lost innocence as shocking and entertaining as The Wolf of Wall Street and Bringing Down the House.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Fire and Ice: Soot, Solidarity and Survival on the Roof of the World
by Jonathan Mingle
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

High in the Himalayan valley of Zanskar in northwest India sits a village as isolated as the legendary Shangri-La. Long fed by runoff from glaciers and lofty snowfields, Kumik--a settlement of thirty nine mud brick homes--has survived and thrived in one of the world's most challenging settings for a thousand years. But now its people confront an existential threat: chronic, crippling drought, which leaves the village canal dry and threatens to end their ancient culture of farming and animal husbandry.

Fire and Ice weaves together the story of Kumik's inspiring response to this calamity with the story of black carbon. Black carbon from inefficient fires - the particulate residue that makes soot dark - is the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. It's also a key ingredient of the air pollution that public health experts regard as humanity's greatest environmental health risk worldwide: soot-laden smoke from household hearth fires and outdoor sources combine to kill over seven million people around the world every year.

Jonathan Mingle describes the joys and struggles of daily life in the Zanskar Valley, where villagers are buffeted by powerful environmental and economic forces, while also tracing black carbon's dark fingerprints outward from Kumik and around the world. Mingle investigates its impacts on snow, ice, and water from Mt. Everest to California, and the silent health epidemic it fuels from New York to New Delhi. Combining cultural history, detailed reportage, climate and energy science and dramatic storytelling, Fire and Ice is a profound examination of the global challenges of averting climate chaos and lifting billions out of energy poverty and water scarcity.

Can Kumik's people come together to reinvent fire, harness what remains of their life-sustaining ice, and reinvigorate their traditions of solidarity, in time to save themselves? Can the rest of us rise to the same challenge? Fire and Ice connects these questions with the work of enterprising scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and activists around the world, in a narrative that combines mythology, reason, humor, persistence, and hope in a race against a global clock.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

What Comes Next and How to Like It
by Abigail Thomas
Scribner
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

From the bestselling author of A Three Dog Life, which “shines with honest intelligence” (Elizabeth Gilbert): a fresh, exhilarating, superbly written memoir about aging, family, creativity, tragedy, friendship, and the richness of life.

What comes next? What comes after the devastating loss of Abigail's husband, a process both sudden and slow? What form does her lifelong platonic friendship take after a certain line is crossed? How to cope with her daughter’s diagnosed illness? Or the death of her beloved dog? Is life worth living without three cocktails before dinner? How do you paint the ocean on a sheet of glass?

And how to like it? How to accept, appreciate, enjoy? Who are our most trusted, valuable companions and what will we do for them? Instead of painting an ocean, paint a forest, turn it over, scrape the surface, and presto: there is the ocean. When you’ve given up, when you least expect it, there it is.


What Comes Next and How to Like It is an extraordinarily moving memoir about many things, but at the center is a steadfast friendship between Abigail Thomas and a man she met thirty-five years ago. Through marriages, child-raising, the vicissitudes and tragedies of life, it is this deep, rich bond that has sustained her. Readers who loved “the perfectly honed observations of a clear-eyed and witty writer” (Newsweek) in Thomas’s “spare, astonishing” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir, A Three Dog Life, will relish this beautiful examination of her life today—often solitary, but rich and engaging, with children, grandchildren, dogs, a few suitors, and her longtime best friend.

Monday, March 23, 2015

On My Radar:

Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted
by Ian Millhiser
Nation Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Few American institutions have inflicted greater suffering on ordinary people than the Supreme Court of the United States. Since its inception, the justices of the Supreme Court have shaped a nation where children toiled in coal mines, where Americans could be forced into camps because of their race, and where a woman could be sterilized against her will by state law. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, and the dead hand of the Confederacy. Nor is the modern Court a vast improvement, with its incursions on voting rights and its willingness to place elections for sale. 

In this powerful indictment of a venerated institution, Ian Millhiser tells the history of the Supreme Court through the eyes of the everyday people who have suffered the most from it. America ratified three constitutional amendments to provide equal rights to freed slaves, but the justices spent thirty years largely dismantling these amendments. Then they spent the next forty years rewriting them into a shield for the wealthy and the powerful. In the Warren era and the few years following it, progressive justices restored the Constitution’s promises of equality, free speech, and fair justice for the accused. But, Millhiser contends, that was an historic accident. Indeed, if it weren’t for several unpredictable events, Brown v. Board of Education could have gone the other way. 


n Injustices, Millhiser argues that the Supreme Court has seized power for itself that rightfully belongs to the people’s elected representatives, and has bent the arc of American history away from justice.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Grace Revealed: A Memoir
by Greg Archer
NorLights Press
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:


Seventy-five years after Joseph Stalin's reign of terror across Eastern Europe, author Greg Archer takes a step back from Hollywood reporting and examines his Polish family's mind-bending odyssey of the 1940s.  In the process, he exposes one of the most under-reported events of the 20th Century: Joseph Stalin's mass deportation of nearly 2 million Polish citizens to the Siberian Gulags and the life-and-death events that followed -- from Siberia to the Middle East and ultimately, Eastern Africa.  But the author's quest takes a dramatic turn.  As he walks an emotional tightrope between the past and the present, can a serendipitous overseas adventure become a saving grace, heal the ancestral soul, and bring justice to his family and their forgotten Polish comrades?