Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Library Loot ~ January 9-15

The Missing Family of Jesus: An Inconvenient Truth How the Church Erased Jesus's Brothers and Sisters from History ~ by Tobias Churton, 2010, religion
Offering up equal parts controversy and thrills, theological scholar Tobias Churton rips apart the mythology surrounding the family of Jesus to reveal a stunning truth.  Using a broad range of sources such as the early Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Churton lays out his case that St. James the Just was in fact Jesus's brother.  Not just a dry reading of the Biblical texts, this journey stretches across continents and reads like a pure thriller as it challenges many assertions made by the Catholic Church.
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature ~ by David George Haskell,  2012, science (Tennessee)
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest.  In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world.  Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.  Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation:  a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers.  From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands — sometimes millions — of years.  Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.
From Eternity to Here : The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time ~ by Sean M. Carroll, 2012, science
Time moves forward, not backward — everyone knows you can't unscramble an egg.  That simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too.  Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself.  Carroll's scenario is not only elegant, it's laid out in easy-to-understand language.  He uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of space-time before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives.  He suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness ~ by Susannah Cahalan, 2012, memoir
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak.  A wristband marked her as a "flight risk," and her medical records — chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at all — showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability.  Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life:  a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper.  Who was the stranger who had taken over her body?  What was happening to her mind?  Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the brilliant, lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen.  A team of doctors would spend a month — and more than a million dollars — trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong.  Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death.  Then, at the last minute, celebrated neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with the help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life.  He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history.  Building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her "lost month" to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love.
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library.  To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week.  And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.


Jan said...

Interesting books!

Kay said...

You got some very interesting reads in you library loot this week. I think Brain on Fire sounds really good.
Enjoy your loot!

Cat said...

What fascinating titles you have in your loot. I love the sound of The Forest Unseen and Madness should be interesting.
Enjoy your loot!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Brain on Fire looks SO interesting!

Alyce said...

From eternity to Here looks so good! The first one looks good too.

Linda said...

Enjoy your loot!