1. The Magician’s Apprentice

by Kate Banks

Baz has always dreamed about following his two older brothers out of his dusty little town, so when a stranger comes to his family’s home and asks him to be a weaver’s apprentice, Baz is eager to start his journey. But when he reaches the village of Kallah and starts his apprenticeship, Baz learns that his master is very cruel. And when the master trades Baz to a magician for a sword, Baz expects no better from his new owner. But as Baz travels with this kind-hearted and wise magician, their journey takes him across the desert, up a mountain, and into the depths of life’s meaning. He learns to re-examine his beliefs about people, the world, and himself, discovering that the whole world is connected and no person can ever be owned.

    The Magician’s Apprentice

    by Kate Banks

    Baz has always dreamed about following his two older brothers out of his dusty little town, so when a stranger comes to his family’s home and asks him to be a weaver’s apprentice, Baz is eager to start his journey. But when he reaches the village of Kallah and starts his apprenticeship, Baz learns that his master is very cruel. And when the master trades Baz to a magician for a sword, Baz expects no better from his new owner. But as Baz travels with this kind-hearted and wise magician, their journey takes him across the desert, up a mountain, and into the depths of life’s meaning. He learns to re-examine his beliefs about people, the world, and himself, discovering that the whole world is connected and no person can ever be owned.

  2. The Humans: A Novel

by Matt Haig

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys *is back with his funniest, most devastating dark comedy yet, a “silly, sad, suspenseful, and soulful” (Philadelphia Inquirer) novel that’s “full of heart” (Entertainment Weekly*).

When an extra-terrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry home to his own utopian planet, where everyone is omniscient and immortal.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this strange species than he had thought. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music, and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family. He begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfection, and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

Praised by *The New York Times *as a “novelist of great seriousness and talent,” author Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on Earth. *The Humans *is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject—ourselves.

    The Humans: A Novel

    by Matt Haig

    The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys *is back with his funniest, most devastating dark comedy yet, a “silly, sad, suspenseful, and soulful” (Philadelphia Inquirer) novel that’s “full of heart” (Entertainment Weekly*).

    When an extra-terrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry home to his own utopian planet, where everyone is omniscient and immortal.

    He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this strange species than he had thought. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music, and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family. He begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfection, and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

    Praised by *The New York Times *as a “novelist of great seriousness and talent,” author Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the messiness of life on Earth. *The Humans *is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject—ourselves.

  3. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? and Other Questions from the Astronomer’s In-box at the Vatican Observatory

by Guy Consolmagno SJ

Witty and thoughtprovoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.

“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?” – Pope Francis, May, 2014

Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it’s not the first time that question has been asked.

Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?

With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.

    Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? and Other Questions from the Astronomer’s In-box at the Vatican Observatory

    by Guy Consolmagno SJ

    Witty and thoughtprovoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.

    “Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?” – Pope Francis, May, 2014

    Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it’s not the first time that question has been asked.

    Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?

    With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.

  4. William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return

by Ian Doescher

Hot on the heels of the New York Times *best seller *William Shakespeare’s Star Wars *comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: *William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back *and *William Shakespeare’s The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!

    William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return

    by Ian Doescher

    Hot on the heels of the New York Times *best seller *William Shakespeare’s Star Wars *comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: *William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back *and *William Shakespeare’s The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!

  5. William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy)

by Ian Doescher

The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas’s enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.

Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master—and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian—can our heroes escape the Empire’s wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun’s tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

What light through Yoda’s window breaks? Methinks you’ll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!

    William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy)

    by Ian Doescher

    The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas’s enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.

    Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master—and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian—can our heroes escape the Empire’s wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun’s tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

    What light through Yoda’s window breaks? Methinks you’ll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!

  6. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

by Ian Doescher

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations—William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

    William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

    by Ian Doescher

    Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

    Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations—William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

  7. Geek Wisdom

by N. K. Jemisin

THE GEEKS HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH.

Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book superheroes are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town. Clearly, geeks know something about life in the 21st century that other folks don’t—something we all can learn from. Geek Wisdom takes as gospel some 200 of the most powerful and oft-cited quotes from movies (“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”), television (“Now we know—and knowing is half the battle”), literature (“All that is gold does not glitter”), games, science, the Internet, and more. Now these beloved pearls of modern-day culture have been painstakingly interpreted by a diverse team of hardcore nerds with their imaginations turned up to 11. Yes, this collection of mini-essays is by, for, and about geeks—but it’s just so surprisingly profound, the rest of us would have to be dorks not to read it. So say we all.

    Geek Wisdom

    by N. K. Jemisin

    THE GEEKS HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH.

    Computer nerds are our titans of industry; comic-book superheroes are our Hollywood idols; the Internet is our night on the town. Clearly, geeks know something about life in the 21st century that other folks don’t—something we all can learn from. Geek Wisdom takes as gospel some 200 of the most powerful and oft-cited quotes from movies (“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”), television (“Now we know—and knowing is half the battle”), literature (“All that is gold does not glitter”), games, science, the Internet, and more. Now these beloved pearls of modern-day culture have been painstakingly interpreted by a diverse team of hardcore nerds with their imaginations turned up to 11. Yes, this collection of mini-essays is by, for, and about geeks—but it’s just so surprisingly profound, the rest of us would have to be dorks not to read it. So say we all.

  8. American Nerd: The Story of My People

by Benjamin Nugent

Most people know a nerd when they see one but can’t define just what a nerd is. American Nerd: The Story of My People gives us the history of the concept of nerdiness and of the subcultures we consider nerdy. What makes Dr. Frankenstein the archetypal nerd? Where did the modern jock come from? When and how did being a self-described nerd become trendy? As the nerd emerged, vaguely formed, in the nineteenth century, and popped up again and again in college humor journals and sketch comedy, our culture obsessed over the designation.
Mixing research and reportage with autobiography, critically acclaimed writer Benjamin Nugent embarks on a fact-finding mission of the most entertaining variety. He seeks the best definition of nerd and illuminates the common ground between nerd subcultures that might seem unrelated: high-school debate team kids and ham radio enthusiasts, medieval reenactors and pro-circuit Halo players. Why do the same people who like to work with computers also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons? How are those activities similar? This clever, enlightening book will appeal to the nerd (and antinerd) that lives inside all of us.

    American Nerd: The Story of My People

    by Benjamin Nugent

    Most people know a nerd when they see one but can’t define just what a nerd is. American Nerd: The Story of My People gives us the history of the concept of nerdiness and of the subcultures we consider nerdy. What makes Dr. Frankenstein the archetypal nerd? Where did the modern jock come from? When and how did being a self-described nerd become trendy? As the nerd emerged, vaguely formed, in the nineteenth century, and popped up again and again in college humor journals and sketch comedy, our culture obsessed over the designation. Mixing research and reportage with autobiography, critically acclaimed writer Benjamin Nugent embarks on a fact-finding mission of the most entertaining variety. He seeks the best definition of nerd and illuminates the common ground between nerd subcultures that might seem unrelated: high-school debate team kids and ham radio enthusiasts, medieval reenactors and pro-circuit Halo players. Why do the same people who like to work with computers also enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons? How are those activities similar? This clever, enlightening book will appeal to the nerd (and antinerd) that lives inside all of us.

  9. Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies, and Trekkies Can Save America and Why They Might Be Our Last Hope

by David Anderegg

Thick glasses, socially awkward, a math whiz with a pocket protector- everyone knows what a nerd is. But where did this stereotype come from? Children aren’t born knowing what a “nerd” or “geek” is, so why do they know by the age of five or six that they don’t want to be one? In this revised and updated paperback edition of his thought-provoking book, family psychotherapist and psychology professor David Anderegg reveals how the systematic disparagement of “nerds” in our culture is bad for our children and even worse for America. In Nerds, Anderegg examines why science and engineering have become socially poisonous disciplines, why adults wink at the derision of “nerdy” kids, and what the cost of this rising tide of anti- intellectualism is to both our children and our nation. Drawing upon education research, psychological theory, and his own interviews with nerdy and non-nerdy kids alike, Anderegg argues that in order to prepare rising generations to compete in the global marketplace, we need to revisit how we think about “nerds.”

    Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies, and Trekkies Can Save America and Why They Might Be Our Last Hope

    by David Anderegg

    Thick glasses, socially awkward, a math whiz with a pocket protector- everyone knows what a nerd is. But where did this stereotype come from? Children aren’t born knowing what a “nerd” or “geek” is, so why do they know by the age of five or six that they don’t want to be one? In this revised and updated paperback edition of his thought-provoking book, family psychotherapist and psychology professor David Anderegg reveals how the systematic disparagement of “nerds” in our culture is bad for our children and even worse for America. In Nerds, Anderegg examines why science and engineering have become socially poisonous disciplines, why adults wink at the derision of “nerdy” kids, and what the cost of this rising tide of anti- intellectualism is to both our children and our nation. Drawing upon education research, psychological theory, and his own interviews with nerdy and non-nerdy kids alike, Anderegg argues that in order to prepare rising generations to compete in the global marketplace, we need to revisit how we think about “nerds.”

  10. The Death of Media: And the Fight to Save Democracy (Melville Manifestos)

by Danny Schechter

Is the mainstream media dying, and what does that mean for democracy?

Emmy Award-winning journalist Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” takes a close look at today’s big media news outlets, the new media striving to replace them, and the impact it is all having on the health of our democracy.

A self-proclaimed “refugee” from mainstream media-Schechter was a producer at ABC’s 20/20 and at CNN-he examines the evidence: plummeting newspaper circulation, the dive in network ratings, relentless media scandals and the loss of credibility, unprecedented media concentration, the rise of aggressive partisan “news,” and more. It’s no wonder, he says, that polls have put media dissatisfaction-even among media people themselves-at up to 70 percent.

Yet a healthy, active media is crucial to the functioning of a democracy. So how do we revitalize the fourth estate?

In a book that is half manifesto and half piercing investigation, Schechter searches for an answer, first by exploring the promise of new media-the Internet, webcasts, satellite TV and radio, podcasts, and other new forms rapidly being born. This, in turn, leads him to consider how these new outlets are fueling the movement for democracy in media and the rise of citizen journalism-efforts by average citizens to reclaim the public airwaves.

It is, in the end, an inspiring guide to what can be done now, and thanks to Schechter’s passion and his vast experience, it is also something more: a brilliant and thrilling look at a turning point in our history.

Danny Schechter is the executive editor of Mediachannel.org, where he also maintains a daily media blog. While a Neiman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, he was also news director of the legendary Boston rock station WBCN-FM. Schechter subsequently became one of the first producers at CNN and later won two Emmys as a producer for ABC’s 20/20. His independent film, WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, analyzes media coverage of the Iraq war.

    The Death of Media: And the Fight to Save Democracy (Melville Manifestos)

    by Danny Schechter

    Is the mainstream media dying, and what does that mean for democracy?

    Emmy Award-winning journalist Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” takes a close look at today’s big media news outlets, the new media striving to replace them, and the impact it is all having on the health of our democracy.

    A self-proclaimed “refugee” from mainstream media-Schechter was a producer at ABC’s 20/20 and at CNN-he examines the evidence: plummeting newspaper circulation, the dive in network ratings, relentless media scandals and the loss of credibility, unprecedented media concentration, the rise of aggressive partisan “news,” and more. It’s no wonder, he says, that polls have put media dissatisfaction-even among media people themselves-at up to 70 percent.

    Yet a healthy, active media is crucial to the functioning of a democracy. So how do we revitalize the fourth estate?

    In a book that is half manifesto and half piercing investigation, Schechter searches for an answer, first by exploring the promise of new media-the Internet, webcasts, satellite TV and radio, podcasts, and other new forms rapidly being born. This, in turn, leads him to consider how these new outlets are fueling the movement for democracy in media and the rise of citizen journalism-efforts by average citizens to reclaim the public airwaves.

    It is, in the end, an inspiring guide to what can be done now, and thanks to Schechter’s passion and his vast experience, it is also something more: a brilliant and thrilling look at a turning point in our history.

    Danny Schechter is the executive editor of Mediachannel.org, where he also maintains a daily media blog. While a Neiman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, he was also news director of the legendary Boston rock station WBCN-FM. Schechter subsequently became one of the first producers at CNN and later won two Emmys as a producer for ABC’s 20/20. His independent film, WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, analyzes media coverage of the Iraq war.

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