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Happy Holidays!

Newsletter, Dec 16th 2022

It's here! The Holiday season! Schools are closing soon, offices are emptying. This is my favorite time of year when things start to wind down, pressures ease and we start to look forward to a fresh new start, but after a much deserved down time. Hope all of you get to take some time off these last two weeks to spend with family and friends but also with yourself, 'cause solitude, my friend, is an underrated but highly recommended activity for everyone's mental health!

The Thinking Spot is gearing up for one last week of busy-ness and extending our hours. Next week we will be open 10-6:30 Monday (yes Monday) through Friday and 10-4 on Friday the 24th. I know I do all my shopping that last week, so if you're like me, The Thinking Spot is open for you!

  • New seasonal gift cards have arrived just in time for those hard to gift people. Starting today through Friday the 23rd, we have a gift card sale going on. Buy $100 in giftcards and get $20 giftcard for yourself, on us!

  • We have mini-kits to help you start your own tradition. Bookish mugs ($15.95), a snowflake orna-coaster($15) and a bookish bookmark($3.95) at $28 for the set. Pick your own mug/coaster/bookmark! Call or stop in if you'd like one.

  • New Arrivals! Bookish mugs have arrived! Individually packed, lots of options, makes for a great literary gift for book lovers. They even have one with our Book club name - “Yoga for the mind”!


Events are done for the year. However, plans for January are already afoot, watch for updates as they finalize. Sneak peek at the first one - a collaboration with Stages Theater around their upcoming show based on the book “Maybe” by Kobi Yamada - January 8th.

Book clubs

  • Yoga for the Mind - is reading “Forgetting”. Meeting to discuss first ½ of the book will be on Jan 8th 2p.

  • Middle graders are reading “Always, Clementine” and will be meeting Jan 15th at 4p. February pick is "Once upon a camel".

Science News

  • Unless you've been living under a rock, or too busy planning your vacation, you probably heard of the fusion breakthrough news. There's a long road ahead before the promises of fusion energy will come to fruition, if ever. But I agree with this Washington Post writer on the hopes it represents -

"Yes, the results from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are far from a working fusion reactor. And this team's approach, one of several, may not be the one that finally leads to a fusion-powered grid - if indeed we do ever get there. But this is how innovation works. When Thomas Edison emerged from his laboratory with a working light bulb, it had been hundreds of years since the first scientific experiments with electricity, and it would be many more years before cities would blaze with electric light. Human progress is the story of serial failures and halting, partial successes that add up, over centuries, to miracles. If Livermore's results hold up, humanity will have taken a major step toward harnessing the power of the stars. No matter how much longer the journey takes, we can marvel at its audacity and at how far we've already come."

  • In other ground breaking news, a 13-yr old was cured of leukemia using revolutionary new therapy called base-editing.

  • Not strictly news, but since its the season, this episode on gift-giving by one of my favorite podcasts - The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam - can be a fun listen as you are out and about shopping for gifts.

New book releases are going to wind down for the year as well, I didn't see too many books coming out in the last couple weeks of December, so this may be the last of the lot.

New Releases this week

By Anna Harris

December 13th 2022; Medical / History

A surprising investigation of a scientific instrument long at the pulse of medicine. This book explores the colorful past, present, and future of an instrument that is, quite literally, close to our hearts. The stethoscope has become the symbol of medicine itself—how did this come to be? What makes the stethoscope such a familiar yet charismatic object? Drawing from a range of fields including history, anthropology, science, technology, and sound studies, the book illustrates the variety of roles the stethoscope has played over time. It shows that the stethoscope is not, and has never been, a single entity. It is used to a variety of ends, serves several purposes, and is open to many interpretations. This variability is the key to the stethoscope’s enduring presence in the medical and popular imagination.

Anna Harris is associate professor of the social study of medicine in the Department of Society Studies at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her previous books include A Sensory Education.

Tom Rice is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Exeter, specializing in sound and auditory culture. He is the author of Hearing and the Hospital: Sound, Listening, Knowledge and Experience.

By Ranulph Fiennes

December 13th 2022; Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers

“When Ranulph Fiennes produces a book about Ernest Shackleton, it should get our attention. I found that the best way to read this book is to imagine that you are in a pub sharing a beer with Sir Ranulph while he regales you with his tale about Ernest Shackleton. Fiennes moves the narrative along at a good pace and his storytelling becomes particularly animated when he is describing the actual grind of slogging through the snow and ice.”—Lloyd Spencer Davis, The New York Times Book Review (front page review) An enthralling new biography of Ernest Shackleton by the world's greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. To write about Hell, it helps if you have been there. In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. The disaster left Shackleton and his men alone at the frozen South Pole, fighting for their lives. Their survival and escape is the most famous adventure in history. Shackleton is a captivating new account of the adventurer, his life, and his incredible leadership under the most extreme of circumstances. Written by polar adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who followed in Shackleton's footsteps, he brings his own unique insights to bear on these infamous expeditions. Shackleton is both re-appraisal and a valediction, separating Shackleton from the myth he has become.

How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon
By Iwan Rhys Morus

December 6th 2022; Science / History

The rich and fascinating history of the scientific revolution of the Victorian Era, leading to transformative advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Victorians invented the idea of the future. They saw it as an undiscovered country, one ripe for exploration and colonization. And to get us there, they created a new way of ordering and transforming nature, built on grand designs and the mass-mobilization of the resources of the British Empire. With their expert culture of accuracy and precision, they created telegraphs and telephones, electric trams and railways, built machines that could think, and devised engines that could reach for the skies. When Cyrus Field’s audacious plan to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic finally succeeded in 1866, it showed how science, properly disciplined, could make new worlds. As crowds flocked to the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the exhibitions its success inaugurated, they came to see the future made fact—to see the future being built before their eyes. In this rich and absorbing book, a distinguished historian of science tells the story of how this future was made. From Charles Babbage’s dream of mechanizing mathematics to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s tunnel beneath the Thames to George’s Cayley’s fantasies of powered flight and Nikola Tesla’s visions of an electrical world, it is a story of towering personalities, clashing ambitions, furious rivalries and conflicting cultures—a rich tapestry of remarkable lives that transformed the world beyond recognition and ultimately took mankind to the Moon.

Iwan Rhys Morus holds PhDs in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. He has spent much of his career working on the history of science during the nineteenth century, including the development of new electrical technologies, the popular culture of science, and the history of ideas about the relationship of electricity and the human body. Iran has authored or edited ten books published in Britain, and he is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s "In our Time” and "Great Lives.” He lives in Wales.

On Time and Water
By Andri Snær Magnason

December 13th 2022; Science / Global Warming & Climate Change

The book that will make you understand what our future holds for us, if we don't act immediately.

A few years ago, Andri Snaer Magnason, one of Iceland’s most beloved writers and public intellectuals, was asked by a leading climate scientist why he wasn’t writing about the greatest crisis mankind has faced. Magnason demurred: he wasn’t a specialist, he said; it wasn’t his field. But the scientist persisted: “If you cannot understand our scientific findings and present them in an emotional, psychological, poetic or mythological context,” he told him, “then no one will really understand the issue, and the world will end.” Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, Magnason’s response is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change—and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. Moving from reflections on how one writes an obituary for an iceberg to exhortation for a heightened understanding of human time and our obligations to one another, throughout history and across the globe, On Time and Water is both deeply personal and globally-minded: a travel story, a world history, and a desperate plea to live in harmony with future generations. Already a massive bestseller in Iceland, and selling in two dozen territories around the world, this is a book unlike anything that has yet been published on the current climate emergency.

Andri Snær Magnason is one of Iceland's most celebrated writers. He has won the Icelandic Literary Prize for fiction, children's fiction, and non-fiction. In 2009, Magnason co-directed the documentary Dreamland, which was based on his book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation (Open Letter, 2022). In 2010, Magnason was awarded the Kairos Prize, presented to outstanding individuals in the field of intercultural understanding. Magnason ran for president of Iceland in 2016 and came third out of nine candidates.

Lytton Smith is a poet, professor, and translator from the Icelandic. His most recent translations include works by Kristin Ómarsdóttir, Jón Gnarr, Ófeigur Sigurðsson, and Guðbergur Bergsson. His most recent poetry collection, The All-Purpose Magical Tent, was published by Nightboat. Having earned his MFA and PhD from Columbia University, he currently teaches at SUNY Geneseo.

Expect Me Tomorrow
By Christopher Priest

December 13th 2022; Fiction / Science Fiction

A petty thief known as John Smith was arrested for fraudulent behavior in 1877. He tricked women into thinking he was rich, then stole their belongings and vanished. His guilt was obvious. In 1852, Adler and Adolf Beck's father died on an expedition to a glacier, and their lives separated. One became a respected climate scientist, one a successful opera singer touring the world. Or so he claimed. But both remained in touch, if only to share the mysterious voices only they could hear. Charles Ramsey also has a twin. It is 2050, and Greg is a journalist reporting on the climate-change inspired conflicts around the world. When Charles is made redundant from his job as a profiler for the police and sent home with a new experimental chip in his head, he is urged by his brother to explore a little-known aspect of their family history. ​All of these people are connected. All of their lives will intersect. And the climate of their world will keep on changing.

Christopher Priest's novels have built him an inimitable dual reputation as a contemporary literary novelist and a leading figure in modern SF and fantasy. His novel THE PRESTIGE is unique in winning both a major literary prize (THE JAMES TAIT BLACK AWARD and a major genre prize THE WORLD FANTASY AWARD); THE SEPARATION won both the ARTHUR C. CLARKE and the BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION AWARDS. THE ISLANDERS won both the BSFA and John W. Campbell awards. He was selected for the original BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS in 1983.

The Universe in You
By Jason Chin

December 13th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Science & Nature / Weights & Measures; Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7

Jason Chin, winner of the Caldecott Medal for Watercress, dives into the microscopic building blocks of life in this companion to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe. In Your Place in the Universe, Jason Chin zoomed outward, from our planet, solar system, and galaxy to the outer reaches of the observable universe. Now, Chin reverses course, zooming in past our skin to our cells, molecules, and atoms, all the way down to particles so small we can’t yet even measure them. Like its companion, The Universe in You is a mind-boggling adventure that makes complex science accessible and enjoyable to readers of any age. Impeccably researched, wholly engrossing, and with extensive backmatter for additional learning, The Universe in You is another knockout from the award-winning creator of Redwoods, Grand Canyon, and other distinguished works of nonfiction for young readers. A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Jason Chin is a celebrated author and illustrator of children’s books. He received the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Andrea Wang's Watercress, a Newbery Honor book and APALA award winner. His book Grand Canyon was awarded a Caldecott Honor, a Sibert Honor, and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award. His other acclaimed nonfiction titles—Coral Reefs, Redwoods, Gravity, and Island: A Story of the Galapagos—have received numerous starred reviews and other accolades. He is also the illustrator of Stephanie Parsley Ledyard’s debut title Pie Is for Sharing and Miranda Paul’s Water is Water and Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born, the latter a Boston Horn Globe Honor Book. He lives in Vermont with his wife and children.

Eyewitness The Amazon

December 13th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Science & Nature / Earth Sciences / Geography; Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7

Visit one of the most incredible natural environments, meeting the Amazon’s plants and wildlife, and its people A unique, beautifully illustrated guide to the beauty and diversity of the Amazon – the rainforest and the river, its flora and fauna, and the people who live in the region. Applying the award-winning Eyewitness formula to the subject of the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, and the vast river that winds its way through it, this book profiles everything from the birds, animals, and insects that live there to the nine South American countries it extends across. Part of DK’s best-selling Eyewitness series, which is now getting an exciting makeover, this popular title has been reinvigorated for the next generation of information-seekers and stay-at-home explorers, with a fresh new look, new photographs, updated information, and a new “eyewitness feature – fascinating first-hand accounts from experts in the field.

Agatha May and the Anglerfish
By Nora Morrison

December 13th 2022; Juvenile Fiction / School & Education; Ages 5 to 8, Grades K to 3

A funny, fish-filled story about the joys of learning, and the rewards that come with staying true to who you are Agatha May just can’t understand why her classmates aren’t as crazy as she is about the hideous humpback anglerfish. But when a school assignment gives Agatha the chance to show everybody what they’re missing, she single-handedly schools them all--and, in the process, discovers a passion for research and an exciting new dream for her future. This book is perfect for dreamers, outside-the-box thinkers, and anyone who has ever felt like their special interest wasn't appreciated.

Jessie Ann Foley is the Printz Honor-winning author of the young adult novels The Carnival at Bray, Neighborhood Girls, and Sorry for Your Loss. Her work has been named to best-of lists by Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, New York Public Library, YALSA, Entertainment Weekly, and many other outlets. She lives with her family in Chicago, where she was born and raised. Nora Morrison is a SCUBA divemaster and works in the curation department of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium as a diver. She loves swimming with ten-foot-long sand tiger sharks and finding teeth in the shark exhibit there. She is also a former travel guidebook writer, and her favorite spots to dive are the islands of Utila, Honduras; Coiba, Panamá; and Maui, Hawaii. “Morrison” means “sea choice” in the Irish language. Mika Song is a children's author and illustrator who makes stories about sweetly funny outsiders. In 2015, she received the Portfolio Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She's illustrated six books for other authors, including A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey which received the Schneider Family Honor from the American Library Association.

On the Corner of Chocolate Avenue
By Tziporah Cohen

December 13th 2022; Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Historical; Ages 4 to 7, Grades P to 3

The story of sweet success behind the Hershey’s Kiss! The invention of America’s quintessential milk chocolate bar is brought to vivid, delicious life in this STEAM picture book biography perfect for fans of Mr. Ferris and His Wheel and Snowflake Bentley.

Hershey’s milk chocolate is the quintessential American chocolate bar. But in Milton Hershey’s time, chocolate was mostly a special treat for the very wealthy. Milton grew up poor and was no stranger to going hungry. When he got a job washing dishes in an ice cream parlor, he realized how happy sweets made people—and how much he liked making people happy.

Over the course of his career, Hershey failed to make many businesses profitable, yet ultimately cracked the formula on milk chocolate. Here was a chocolate that was delicious, didn’t spoil, and could be sold at an affordable price in communities across America and the world. And here was a business that could provide good lives in a welcoming town and an education for those who couldn’t afford it.

Perfect for the chocolate lover, inventor, and science-experiment-obsessed childhood reader, this biography shows that perseverance and persistence can lead to sweet success.

Tziporah Cohen has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, No Vacancy, was a JLG Selection and a Sydney Taylor Honor winner. She lives in Toronto with her husband and children.

Steven Salerno has illustrated many books for children, including The Crayon Man. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Steven lives and works in New York City.

Hats Are Not for Cats! Board Book
By Jacqueline K. Rayner

December 13th 2022; Juvenile Fiction / Animals / Cats; Ages 0 to 3

Are hats for cats? Find out in this funny rhyming board book romp that leads readers to the perfect conclusion: hats are for everyone!

A big, plaid-hat-wearing dog insists that the small black cat in the red fez shouldn't be wearing a hat—any kind of hat—because hats are for dogs. The cat is not convinced! Instead, she wears an assortment of hats, described in the gleeful rhyming text, and brings in other cats to join the protest. The silliness of both text and pictures offers a cheerful take on bossiness and managing conflict, with a win-win resolution.

This board book is the perfect baby shower gift for dog and cat lovers alike and a fantastic addition to every little one's read-aloud library!

Jacqueline K. Rayner was born in Australia. She has a BA in fine art and worked for many years as a graphic designer before turning to books and receiving a master's degree in children's book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art (UK). Currently she lives and works in London.

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