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Wintry Mix

Newsletter, January 20th 2023



Hope you're enjoying this wintry weather. Like they say in the “Bear hunt” book - “… can't go over it, can't go under it, looks like we gotta go through it!” So, find some great reads, sign up for snow yoga (not for me, but you do you) or other less crazy events and let's make our way through January!


UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE SPOT

  • Sunday Jan 22nd 2p - Intro to Generative AI - Every day - even since we published this event - there is something new coming out in this area. The pace of change is exciting yet scary! Let's pause for a bit to review and discover what the hoopla is all about. Whether you're just hearing about it, or know the basics and are curious about how others are using it or you consider yourself an expert, come join us, let's discuss!

  • Saturday Jan 28th 10:30a - Intro to Dr. Fun - America's Fun Science is a group that runs STEM workshops around town for elementary-age kids and we are excited to partner with them to offer those workshops at The Thinking Spot later in the year. This session is a free introductory one to meet the people behind the group and experience some of the “fun” experiments firsthand!

  • Friday Feb 10th 6:30pm - As promised, here it is, the much-anticipated Evening in a Bookstore! Bookstore scavenger hunt, beverages, dessert, prizes and more! Come by yourself, bring a partner, or a book-loving friend! $30/person includes drinks, desserts, and a “blind-date-with-a-book” selection! Plus, prizes and discounts on purchases made that evening! Join us for a fun evening! Limited to 10 participants.

ONGOING EVENTS

  • Thursday Jan 26th 4-8pm - Family Board Game Nights are every Thursday 4-8 pm. NEXT WEEK IS OUR MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT! Trivia starts at 6:30. There will be prizes! As usual, registration closes at 3pm on the day of. Walk-ins are welcome till 6pm. You're also welcome to bring your own dinner or dessert. Coffee/Tea/Water are always free!

BOOK CLUBS

  • Sunday Jan 29th 2p - Yoga for the mind - Nonfiction club is wrapping up “Forgetting”. Our next pick is “Four Lost Cities” by Annalee Newitz. Named a “Best Book of the Year” by NPR, it is a quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history - and figure out why people abandoned them. Come join our growing group of book lovers for fun discussions and digressions on a Sunday afternoon!

  • Sunday February 5th 2p - This is the first meeting for a fiction book club. If interested, please join us as we pick the first book and pick out regular meeting dates/times. If you are an avid fiction reader, we'd love to have you join and guide us in the selection! This is NOT limited to science fiction.

  • Sunday Feb12th 4p - Smart Reads Ages 8-12 meeting for “Once upon a Camel - a novel by Newbery Honoree Kathi Appelt that follows a creaky old camel out to save two baby kestrel chicks during a massive storm in the Texas desert. March pick is “A Rover's Story” - from another Newbery Honor–winning author, the tale of a small machine with a big heart, Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name.

  • Sunday Feb 19th 10am - Business/Tech Book club - * NEW BOOK CLUB ALERT * - This Book club will be run by Arun. The group plans to read “Artificial Intelligence for Dummies” as their first book to level set before they dive into deeper topics around AI. If you were waiting for a business/tech book club, wait no more. Signup/show up to participate and influence the next pick.

OTHER UPDATES

  • Our MAKE ROOM FOR 2023 sale is ongoing. 30-40% off select books from all categories, including kids' books. New books are added daily, come find your next read and help us make room for all the new releases starting to come in 2023!

  • I have 4 tickets left for the Stages Theatre show from the Storytime event last week. Tickets are free with purchase of the “Maybe” book. Just email me to reserve one - first come, first serve. I just found out one of the cast members is a customer of the store. How exciting! We're planning to go see the show - and meet the Author - on the 27th. It'd be great to see some of you there too!

SCIENCE NEWS

Great new releases keep rolling in this January. Find your next great read below or come check out the rest in-store.

Happy reading and see you at The Spot soon!



New Titles Recommended For You


Jellyfish Age Backwards

By Nicklas Brendborg

January 17th 2023; Medical / Biochemistry


A Sunday Times (UK) Best Book of the Year • This eye-opening book offers a "clear and captivating" (Dr. Kris Verburgh​) scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality–and the lessons they hold for us all.

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.

Nicklas Brendborg is a PhD student of molecular biology at the University of Copenhagen and is one of the most promising research talents in the field. He was featured young scientist at the Novo Nordisk International Talent Program and was awarded the Novo Scholarship. In 2015, Brendborg published his first book, Top Student. He also co-authored Lars Tvede's bestseller Supertrends.


Remnants of Ancient Life

By Dale E. Greenwalt

January 17th 2023; Nature / Fossils


The revolution in science that is transforming our understanding of extinct life We used to think of fossils as being composed of nothing but rock and minerals, all molecular traces of life having vanished long ago. We were wrong. Remnants of Ancient Life reveals how the new science of ancient biomolecules—pigments, proteins, and DNA that once functioned in living organisms tens of millions of years ago—is opening a new window onto the evolution of life on Earth. Paleobiologists are now uncovering these ancient remnants in the fossil record with increasing frequency, shedding vital new light on long-extinct creatures and the lost world they inhabited. Dale Greenwalt is your guide to these astonishing breakthroughs. He explains how ancient biomolecules hold the secrets to how mammoths dealt with the bitter cold, what colors dinosaurs exhibited in mating displays, how ancient viruses evolved to become more dangerous, and much more. Each chapter discusses different types of biomolecules and the insights they provide about the physiology, behavior, and evolution of extinct organisms, many of which existed long before the age of dinosaurs. A marvelous adventure of discovery, Remnants of Ancient Life offers an unparalleled look at an emerging science that is transforming our picture of the remote past. You will never think of fossils in the same way again.

Dale E. Greenwalt is Resident Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, where he curates the Kishenehn Formation fossil insect collection.


Firmament

By Simon Clark

January 17th 2023; Science / Earth Sciences / Meteorology & Climatology


'Compelling . . . Clark's enthusiasm shines through on every page' Sunday Times 'An engaging and lively history' Financial Times __________ A thin, invisible layer of air surrounds the Earth, sustaining all known life on the planet and creating the unique climates and weather patterns that make each part of the world different. In Firmament, atmospheric scientist and science communicator Simon Clark offers a rare and accessible tour of the ins and outs of the atmosphere and how we know what we know about it. From the workings of its different layers to why carbon dioxide is special, from pioneers like Pascal to the unsung heroes working in the field to help us understand climate change, Firmament introduces us to an oft-overlooked area of science and not only lays the groundwork for us to better understand the debates surrounding the climate today but also provides a glimpse of the future that is possible with this knowledge in hand. __________

Simon Clark is a scientist, video producer, and online educator. Simon read Physics at St. Peter's College, Oxford before researching a PhD in atmospheric physics at the University of Exeter. During his studies he began creating YouTube videos about student life and his research, and has since accrued nearly 20 million views. Firmament is his first book.


Life on Delay

By John Hendrickson

January 17th, 2023; Biography & Autobiography / Medical (incl. Patients)


An intimate, candid memoir about a lifelong struggle to speak. • “Soulful...Hendrickson provides a raw, intimate look at his life with a stutter. It’s a profoundly moving book that will reshape the way you think about people living with this condition.”—Esquire “Brims with empathy and honesty. It moved me in ways that I haven’t experienced before. It’s fantastic.”—Clint Smith, #1 New York Times best-selling author of How the Word Is Passed “I can’t remember the last time I read a book that made me want to both cry and cheer so much, often at the same time.”—Robert Kolker, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Hidden Valley Road In the fall of 2019, John Hendrickson wrote a groundbreaking story for The Atlantic about Joe Biden’s decades-long journey with stuttering, as well as his own. The article went viral, reaching readers around the world and altering the course of Hendrickson’s life. Overnight, he was forced to publicly confront an element of himself that still caused him great pain. He soon learned he wasn’t alone with his feelings: strangers who stutter began sending him their own personal stories, something that continues to this day. Now, in this reported memoir, Hendrickson takes us deep inside the mind and heart of a stutterer as he sets out to answer lingering questions about himself and his condition that he was often too afraid to ask. In Life on Delay, Hendrickson writes candidly about bullying, substance abuse, depression, isolation, and other issues stutterers like him face daily. He explores the intricate family dynamics surrounding his own stutter and revisits key people from his past in unguarded interviews. Readers get an over-the-shoulder view of his childhood; his career as a journalist, which once seemed impossible; and his search for a romantic partner. Along the way, Hendrickson guides us through the evolution of speech therapy, the controversial quest for a “magic pill” to end stuttering, and the burgeoning self-help movement within the stuttering community. Beyond his own experiences, he shares portraits of fellow stutterers who have changed his life, and he writes about a pioneering doctor who is upending the field of speech therapy. Life on Delay is an indelible account of perseverance, a soulful narrative about not giving up, and a glimpse into the process of making peace with our past and present selves.

JOHN HENDRICKSON is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He previously wrote and edited for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The Denver Post. His Atlantic feature “What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say” was named one of the best stories of 2019 by Longform. He lives in New York City with his wife.


The Children's Book of Birdwatching

By Dan Rouse

January 17th 2023; Juvenile Nonfiction / Animals / Birds; Ages 5 to 9, Grades K to 4


A book, packed with inexpensive upcycling projects, that provides kids with tips on how to attract a range of birds to their outdoor space. Transform your backyard into a sanctuary for a variety of birds. Make a difference to the local wildlife with this informative, hands-on book. Bird numbers are in decline and you can help them by creating a place for them thrive. Make a bird feeder that you can fill with seeds or a mini pond for them to drink from, and watch as a range of birdlife gather in your garden. Discover how to optimize your outdoor space for birds, from the best plants to grow to how to keep predators away, and learn about the importance of these little creatures to the environment. With engaging activities and plenty of advice from bird-expert Dan Rouse, this fun yet educational book makes the perfect introduction to animal conservation and protection for children. The Children’s Book of Birdwatching celebrates local wildlife and teaches children about the challenges birds face and what we can do to help. Whether you love gardening, enjoy arts and crafts, or simply want to do your part to help endangered animals, this delightful book is full of lots of easy and fun projects. Soon your backyard will be filled with all kinds of birds. How many can you spot?

Dan Rouse is a passionate wildlife conservationist and ornithologist from Swansea, Wales. Growing up on the South Wales coastline, she developed an interest in coastal birds and wildlife. Dan is widely respected in the birding and Welsh community for her ornithological and conservational work. She currently writes for Bay Magazine Swansea, features frequently on BBC Radio Wales/Radio Cymru, and presents for S4C Hansh, fronting videos on wildlife and wildlife science.

Armadillos

By Kate Riggs

January 17th 2023; Juvenile Nonfiction / Animals; Ages 6 to 8, Grades 1 to 3


I kept getting stumped by kids looking for a specific animal book. So, I got all of the below in this series:

  • Armadillo

  • Jellyfish

  • Frogs

  • Iguana

  • Llama

  • Octopus

  • Peacock

  • Seahorse

  • Sloth

Guess what, someone comes in and asks for a Penguin book 🤣. I can't win!

Elementary-aged readers will discover armadillos of all shapes and sizes.

Full color images and clear explanations highlight the habitat, diet, and lifestyle of these fascinating creatures.

Meet the armadillo! Learn about how this unique mammal uses its boney shell for protection. Elementary-aged readers will discover armadillos of all shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny pups to the adult giant armadillo.

A South American folktale explains how the armadillo's shell became a musical instrument.

Part of Creative Education's Amazing Animals series, this title will delight animal lovers and serve both report writers and browsers. Includes table of contents, an index, on-page definitions, and further resources for interested readers.


Ice Cream Man

By Glenda Armand

January 17th 2023; Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Historical; Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3


Discover the inspiring story of Augustus Jackson, an African American entrepreneur who is known as "the father of ice cream," in this beautifully illustrated picture-book biography. Augustus Jackson was born in 1808 in Philadelphia. While most African Americans were enslaved at that time, in Pennsylvania, slavery was against the law. But while Augustus and his family were free, they were poor, and they depended on their garden and their chickens for food. Augustus enjoyed helping his mom prepare meals for their family. He dreamed of becoming a professional cook, and when his mom suggested he may be able to make meals for the president one day, Augustus didn’t waste any time in making that dream a reality. In 1820, when he was only twelve years old, he set off for Washington, DC. He applied to work in the White House, where the head cook offered him a job as a kitchen helper. After five years of working hard, Augustus, or Gus, was promoted to cook. He went on to serve presidents James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson. During his time at the White House, Augustus became an expert at making a popular egg-based dessert. He soon made an eggless version—known to us today as ice cream—and left the White House determined to make and sell the frozen treat to everyone, not just the wealthy. Gus headed back home to Philadelphia, and in 1830, he opened his very own ice cream parlor. He devised a way to keep the ice cream frozen so that it could be shipped and sold to other businesses. Gus also began adding rock salt to the ice that he used to make his ice cream, which made the mixture freeze more quickly. This allowed him to speed up his production process. He created more ice cream with new flavors, and soon he was shipping product via train to places like New York City, which was 100 miles away. Gus’s dream had come true, and better yet, he had brought smiles to many faces. Shining a light on a little-known visionary, this inspiring picture-book biography includes an afterword, a list of sources, and an easy-to-follow recipe so readers can make their own delicious ice cream!

Glenda Armand lives in Los Angeles and has had a long career as a teacher and school librarian. She now devotes her time to writing picture-book biographies of people who overcame big obstacles to do great things. Glenda is the author of the award-winning Love Twelve Miles Long, Ira’s Shakespeare Dream and Song in a Rainstorm: The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, as well as Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese. When she is not writing, Glenda can be found in her garden tending her roses and succulents. Her favorite ice cream flavor is butter pecan. You can learn more about her at glenda-armand.com. Kim Freeman is a children’s book writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana. She enjoys writing books that inspire children to follow their dreams. Ice Cream Man is her debut picture book. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University. She likes to relax by visiting museums and zoos with her family and loves discovering new ice cream shops. She is a triple-scoop fan of chocolate peanut butter. You can visit her online at kimfreeman.us. Keith Mallett has been drawing and painting for as long as he can remember. The NAACP Image Award–nominated artist and designer has created posters and fine art prints for more than forty years. In 2017, he created the Google Doodle commemorating Martin Luther King Day. He has illustrated a number of picture books, including Curve & Flow (written by Andrea J. Loney), When Langston Dances (written by Kaija Langley), Sing a Song (written by Kelly Starling Lyons), and Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! (written by Andrea J. Loney). Keith Lives in San Diego with his wife and German Shepherd.


Don't Mix Up My Puppy!

By Rosamund Lloyd

Jan 17th 2023; Juvenile Fiction / Animals / Dogs; Ages 2 to 5, Grades K And Under


There's also a dinosaur one in this series!

In this fun, engaging board book, which features five touch-and-feel textures, children can spin the wheel to change the look of each puppy. Developing hand-eye coordination is a key skill for young children, and this sturdy board book makes that process fun! Children will love to spin the wheel to mix and match their very own puppies. The wheel contains five different touch-and-feel textures for little hands to explore as they add a different tail to each puppy. Young readers will also learn words that are used to describe the touch-and-feel textures, such as silky, furry, fluffy, and more. Series Overview: Children can manipulate the wheel to change the look of each friendly character while exploring a different touch-and-feel texture on each page!

Rosamund Lloyd lives in London with her two boys (one son, one husband). She loves visiting museums in the big city and baking cakes in her tiny house. Spencer Wilson is an illustrator who loves to create bold, colorful, character-based images, and finding inspiration from his kids, cats, friends, and the things around him.


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