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general non-fiction

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Adventures Among Ants by Mark W. Moffett

Science writing at its best, myrmecologist Moffat shares his passion for a species adept at exploiting the most bizarre niches of the environment. Exquisitely illustrated with the author's color photographs we join a gigantic sortee of marauder ants in India, observe weaver ants spinning silk in order to bind leaves together to make a nest, and watch dumbfounded as a species in Brunei dives into pitcher plants to "fish" for drowned insects.

The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches From the Faultline Between Christianity and Islam by Eliza Griswold

Griswold takes the reader on a journey along the tenth parallel--the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator--where we find a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. Religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and that local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas. A deeply personal account, Griswold also places the intersection in its historical and social context. A must read.

The View from Lazy Point by Carl Safina

Four season's worth of observations on a slim peninsula of land in New York's Long Island Sound provide the skeleton of a lyrical, intelligent exploration of the state of the planet. It's a grim picture but, unlike many of those who write on this topic, Safina does not leave us without hope. The author travels far from Lazy point (Southeast Alaska, Palau, Antarctica, Bonaire) to support his main point: the interconnectedness of life. Best savored slowly the book argues for a new social contract with the planet, one focused on an ethics of compassion. A beautifully written book.

Decoded by Jay-Z

A combination memoir, hip-hop homage and lyrical explication, Jay-Z's Decoded is a provocative read. The book itself feels like a coffee-table book—lots of images and a funkier layout—and is as fun to flip through as it is to read.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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