Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien worked as both a scholar of languages and on the Oxford English Dictionary before writing his bestselling novels.He researched and explained the etymology of words starting with W. Known words of his include “waggle” and “walrus.” For a man of such erudition, it’s somewhat odd that he consistently told reporters “cellar door” was the most beautiful phrase in the English language. Who knows; perhaps it takes a PhD in Old Norse to understand.
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📚 Staff Pick of the Week
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas—entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists—struggle to make them “stick.”
In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.
Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice.
Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
🎥 Reading Talk's
📈 Rising Quickly - Week of January 2, 2022
Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond
In his book, sociologist Matthew Desmond examines the issue of poverty in the United States and argues that it is a result of the actions and decisions of affluent Americans. He argues that the wealthy exploit the poor, driving down their wages and overcharging them for housing and financial services. The welfare state is designed to primarily benefit the rich, and opportunities are concentrated in exclusive communities, leaving poor communities with little access to resources. He believes that the problem of poverty is a moral one and calls for a collective effort to end poverty and create a society with shared prosperity for all. He urges for poverty abolitionists to take political action to bring about true freedom for all citizens.
🪄 Most Talked About Fiction - Week of January 9, 2022
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
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📚 Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of January 9, 2022
Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking was a renowned physicist and cosmologist who made groundbreaking contributions to the field. He was known for his work on black holes and the origins of the universe, as well as his sense of humor. Despite being diagnosed with ALS, which initially gave him only two years to live, he defied the odds and continued to work and inspire others. He communicated primarily through facial muscles in his later life and was also an advocate for addressing social and humanitarian issues. His final book, "Brief Answers to the Big Questions," addresses important questions such as the survival of humanity, space colonization, and the existence of God. It includes a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword by his daughter, Lucy.
🆕 New and Noteworthy
Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature's Secrets to Longevity by Nicklas Brendborg
Recent advances in medicine and technology have expanded our understanding of aging across the animal kingdom, and our own timeless quest for the fountain of youth. Yet, despite modern humans living longer today than ever before, the public’s understanding of what is possible is limited to our species—until now. In this spunky, effervescent debut, the key to immortality is revealed to be a superpower within reach. With mind-bending stories from the natural world and our own, Jellyfish Age Backwards reveals lifespans we cannot imagine and physiological gifts that feel closer to magic than reality:
- There is a Greenland shark that was 286 years old when the Titanic sank, and is currently 390, making it older than the United States. Scientists predict it will live for another 100 years.
- Trees and lobsters don’t “age” in the way we know it. They simply get bigger and bigger.
- There are forms of radiation that have been known to actually increase the lifespans of certain species, from tortoises to naked mole-rats.
- There's a species of jellyfish, the size of a fingernail, that can age forwards, then, when threatened, age backwards and begin the process all over again.
Mixing cutting-edge research and stories from habitats all around the world, molecular biologist Nicklas Brendborg explores extended life cycles in all its varieties. Along the way, we meet a man who fasted for over a year; a woman who edited her own DNA; redwoods that survive thousands of years; and in the soil of Easter Island, the key to eternal youth. Jellyfish Age Backwards is a love letter to the immense power of nature, and what the immortal lives of many of earth's animals and plants can teach us about the secrets to longevity.
👀 In Case You Missed It
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