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Hugh

The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man's Fight for Justice and Freedom in China by Chen Guangcheng (2015)

barefootlawyerAlthough blind from a very young age and without any formal legal training, Chen Guangcheng became known as the “barefoot lawyer” from his persistent assertion of legal rights for ordinary Chinese citizens. Chen was a thorn in the side of local authorities when first he insisted on free public transportation and tax exemptions for the disabled, obtained a grant for a deep water well from British funding, and then opposed what he believed to be excessive enforcement of China’s one child policy.

Local Chinese authorities seem to ignore published law when subjected to party pressure, but Chen persisted in favor of those he wants to help. When a rally against the one child policy disrupts traffic and property is damaged, Chen is arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. After his release, he and his family are kept under house arrest from 2010 to 2012 when he makes a daring escape and with the help of friends seeks refuge in the U. S. embassy in Beijing. After some stressful negotiations and a stay in a Beijing hospital, Chen is accepted as a visiting scholar in the U.S where he remains and has written this memoir The Barefoot Lawyer. With the U.S. presidential election on the horizon, will political bloggers take interest in the actions of the U.S. State Department towards Chen?
Jez

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (2015)

neverweirdProclaimed the Queen of the Geeks, Felicia Day is a well-known internet personality, who has appeared in many television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is perhaps best known for her role as Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog. In this memoir, Day shares her strange childhood in which she was “home schooled” by way of taking any type of lessons available, reading anything she could get her hands on, and then skipping over a high school diploma in favor of starting college at 16 to pursue dual degrees in math and violin. After moving to L.A. and balancing her acting career with her online gaming addiction, Day eventually combined the two to create The Guild, one of the internet’s first web series. She now runs Geek and Sundry, one of the biggest online networks for gaming culture and independent web series.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) provides an interesting look at the life and rise to fame of nerd culture icon Felicia Day which provides no shortage of geeky references and funny anecdotes. Day herself reads the audiobook in a casual style that feels both friendly and familiar.
Jez

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (2015)

whynotmeMindy Kaling is back with the follow-up to her first memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the second book may be even better than the first. The creator and star of The Mindy Project provides a hilarious look at her life in television, being a woman of color in Hollywood, her attempts at finding love, relationship with BJ Novak, and what it takes to be beautiful. Kaling’s humor is always on point, especially as she reads the audiobook herself, but it does not overshadow the weight of her words or the clever observations made. Why Not Me? is a fun read that will make you laugh out loud and hope for nothing more than for Kaling to become your best friend.
Joan

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman (2015)

curiousmindThe great title and eye catching cover do not disappoint. Brian Grazer describes the concept of his curiosity conversations and how they have shaped his life. For almost 40 years, Grazer has sought out important people from all walks of life to learn about what makes them tick. He lists all interviewees and details many engaging encounters with well-known figures. The work confirms curiosity as a virtue in a hectic world. It became a tool to overcome his dyslexia and research his award-winning films, as well as satisfy his curious mind. Hollywood memoir and promotion of creativity rolled into an enjoyable journey in A Curious Mind.
IPPL Staff

The English Garden by Cecily Brown and Jim Lewis (2015)

englishgardenI chose The English Garden for the art (by Cecily Brown) but really enjoyed it for the story (by Jim Lewis). Both the artwork and the story were good and could stand on their own. I was expecting more like Monet and Brown's work is more modern. The story is a great short story that takes you on a journey with the main character, Trevor. You’ll keep turning each page for more; the story ends perfectly, leaving the reader wanting more.
Joan

Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist by Stephen Kurkjian (2015)

masterthievesA work of fiction, B.A. Shapiro's The Art Forger, actually enticed me to read Master Thieves, a nonfiction account of the Gardener Museum's unsolved 1990 art heist. Stephen Kurkjian's primary sources and journalist's style leads readers on a journey through the underworld of Boston to uncover possibilities to solve this twenty-five-year-old crime. His personal involvement in the story and contacts in the FBI and the mob make each scenario credible. Art historian, true crime aficionado, and mystery lover alike will be captivated to learn more about the clues and the suspects. Some may even want to get involved. After all, there is a $5,000,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the thirteen stolen art pieces.
IPPL Staff

Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs: Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes by Edie Eckman (2012)

connectshapesHave you ever wanted to create a crocheted afghan but never knew where to start? Grab Connect the Shapes! Edie Eckman’s book has 101 crochet motif ideas for projects to work on. Not only does the book teach you how to do individual motifs, but how to join them once you’ve made a few as well. Say sayonara to unfinished blankets!

It also has basic instructions in color theory and how to crochet and in the front of the book for beginners! The patterns range in difficulty to the most basic to ones challenging for even veteran crocheters.

The colors used in the samples are vibrant and so eye-catching that you’ll want to get started on a new project right away. Check it out today to get started. Remember, winter is coming!
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Joe

Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale (1980)

catchmeThis true life adventure is almost too over the top to be believed. The movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio pales in comparison to the book. At a very young age, Frank Abagnale set out on a life of crime that took him all over the world as he impersonated a Pan Am pilot, masqueraded as a supervising resident of a hospital, and practiced law without a license. He cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks and was known by the police of 26 foreign countries and all fifty states as "The Skywayman." His descriptions of narrowly escaping capture will make your jaw drop. When he is ultimately captured, he pays a heavy price. Catch Me If You Can is an exciting real story which will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Jez

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (2015)

modernromanceParks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari is a standup comic who made jokes and observations about the state of dating in the digital era during his Modern Love tour last year. Building on those observations, Ansari teamed up with New York University sociology professor Eric Kleinberg to write a book on romance, texting, dating, and more with lots of facts, charts, and jokes. Modern Romance is a fascinating and entertaining look at not only the dating culture in America, but in Brazil, Japan, France, and Qatar.

I listened to the audiobook, read by Ansari himself, and I have never had so much fun learning!
Mimi

Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour by Shane Ryan (2015)

slayingthetigerReporter Shane Ryan spends one year on the PGA tour and reports on the new breed of up-and-coming golfers. Slaying the Tiger is eye opening to anyone interested in the game of golf. What you see on TV is now what the players are really like. Many players have public relations staff who control the player’s image.

More importantly—what does it take to be a winner? What games do players play and does the rich junior player have the advantage? A must read for anyone who likes the game of golf and wants to know who the next Tiger will be.
Jez

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (2014)

asyouwishRob Reiner’s The Princess Bride is a beloved classic of many, and it’s no surprise why. The movie has something for everyone, being packed with pirates, sword fights, castles, giants, princesses, true love, and about a hundred famous lines to quote.

But the road to becoming a classic isn’t easy and at times, it seemed like the movie may not get made at all. It’s that struggle that Cary Elwes, the actor in the lead role of Westley, covers in his memoir. He writes of the fight to get the script’s rights and get a director and actors to sign on, then covers the months of filming and swashbuckling practice, and even covers the years in which the film grew in popularity since its debut over 25 years ago. The book includes pieces of interviews with other members of the cast and crew, including Robin Wright (Buttercup), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Billy Crystal (Miracle Max), and Rob Reiner (director), many of whom add their voices to Elwes’s in the audiobook adaptation.

As You Wish is a fantastic read full of fun anecdotes and movie magic which is sure to please any Princess Bride fan.
Mary

March. Book Two by John Lewis (2015)

march_book_two_72dpi_lgWritten in a graphic novel format, book two of U.S. Representative John Lewis’ autobiography, March, begins with President Obama’s first inauguration, and then quickly flashes back to the Nashville, 1960 diner and movie sit-in campaign. When he was 23 years old, Lewis became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He also participated in the dangerous and deadly Freedom Rides into the Deep South, and spoke at the historic March on Washington. Lewis recounts the internal struggles of the civil rights movements, such as the pressure he received to change his March on Washington speech as well the challenge to nonviolence approach that groups such as the Black Power movement posed.
Mary

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer (2014)

artofstillnessAmidst the hustle and excitement of his world travels, Pico Iyer discovered that “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still." You can read this slim book in an afternoon—provided you can sit down and stay put. Find a copy of The Art of Stillness today.
Mary S.

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano (2012)

icouldpeeonthisDelight in to this amusing short book of poems from a cat’s point of view. The poems in I Could Pee on This really capture a cat’s quirky personality and behavior. Cute photos enhance enjoyment of Francesco Marciuliano’s book.

One poem I particularly liked:

“Busy, Busy”

It’s 8 a.m. and time to rest
It’s 10 a.m. and time to relax
It’s noon and time for repose
It’s 3 p.m. and time for shut-eye
It’s 6 p.m. and time for siesta
It’s 9 p.m. and time to slumber
It’s midnight and time to snooze
It’s 4 a.m. and time to hang upside down from your bedroom ceiling, screaming
IPPL Staff

This is a Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (2013)

storyofahappymarriageThis is a beautiful collection of essays by one my favorite authors, Ann Patchett. The essays range from a humorous recounting of driving a Winnebago through the Badlands to her sage advice for writers. Patchett's insights into her own life and the world around her are moving. This is a Story of a Happy Marriage is a truly enjoyable read.