Books of interest currently cheap; fermenting, writing, history, atheism

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These are all $1.99 in Kindle form, presumably for a limited time only, so act now!

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century is a book by Stephen Pinker in which he explains to everyone else why they are such bad writers.

Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing—and why should we care? From the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and the forthcoming Enlightenment Now

In this entertaining and eminently practical book, the cognitive scientist, dictionary consultant, and New York Times–bestselling author Steven Pinker rethinks the usage guide for the twenty-first century. Using examples of great and gruesome modern prose while avoiding the scolding tone and Spartan tastes of the classic manuals, he shows how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. The Sense of Style is for writers of all kinds, and for readers who are interested in letters and literature and are curious about the ways in which the sciences of mind can illuminate how language works at its best.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods (Idiot’s Guides) by Wardeh Harmon is science applied to making stuff you can eat.

The art of fermenting foods is an ages-old craft that is enjoying a resurgence as people are discovering not only the benefits of live-culture foods, but the true pleasure of creating their own fermentations at home. Research is proving that live-culture foods can help reduce high cholesterol, strengthen and support digestive and immune systems, and help fight and prevent chronic diseases. The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Fermenting Foods will cover the amazing health benefits of fermented or “living” foods and the techniques for safely fermenting food at home. It will contain over 100 unique and delicious recipes for ferments of all types, from beer to tempeh to yogurt, with detailed recipes to guide the way.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott is one of those rare books that exposes the engagement in the ultimate form of men’s work — warfare and such — but here focusing on female spies during the American Civil War. I’m reminded of this book, which is a novel based somewhat on reality of a woman who becomes a foot soldier during the same war.

Karen Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and “pioneer of sizzle history” (USA Today), tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War.

Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women—a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow—who were spies.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.

Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill and Lisa Pulitzer is an autobiographical account of leaving, or should I say, escaping …. oh what the heck the title says it all.

Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org—the church’s highest ministry, speaks of her “disconnection” from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

In this tell-all memoir, complete with family photographs from her time in the Church, Jenna Miscavige Hill, a prominent critic of Scientology who now helps others leave the organization, offers an insider’s profile of the beliefs, rituals, and secrets of the religion that has captured the fascination of millions, including some of Hollywood’s brightest stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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