Category Archives: Other

Many Old UVA Yearbooks Are On Line

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… going back to the 19th century. Here. Enjoy.

Why is the yearbook called “Corks and Curls?”

Also, found this, from the Faulkner Library:

Page from the “Features” section of Corks & Curls, the UVA yearbook. The left page features highlights from this year’s Beaux Arts ball. The theme for this year – “Back to the Jungle” – allowed at least several of the students to wear blackface. On the right, other scenes from student life throughout the year (1958 edition, vol. 70).

And, here’s another doctor in blackface from the same school.

And the UVA “Glee Club”


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Super Cheap Super Science eBooks

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For some reason there is a sudden avalanche of of inexpensive (most $2 or less) of kindle science books that are good, and a couple of other not so science books that also happen to be good and on sale. Without further ado:

The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth’s Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Anil Ananthaswamy. Sais to be “A thrilling ride around the globe and around the cosmos.” —Sean Carroll.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 (The Best American Series ®) edited by Sam Kean. An amazing diversity of topics, including politics of and in science.

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel. Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that “the longitude problem” was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day-and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on a resolution. One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solution-a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.

Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (For the Cosmically Curious) by Michael Wall. In the vein of Randall Munroe’s What If? meets Brian Green’s Elegant Universe, a writer from Space.com leads readers on a wild ride of exploration into the final frontier, investigating what’s really “out there.”

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern. Called “spellbinding” (Scientific American) and “thrilling…a future classic of popular science” (PW), the up close, inside story of the greatest space exploration project of our time, New Horizons’ mission to Pluto, as shared with David Grinspoon by mission leader Alan Stern and other key players.

And, not science but still cheap right now:

The classic Texas: A Novel.

Eleanor: The Years Alone

He, She and It: A Novel by Marge Piercy.


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Some cheap books: Vonnegut, science, history

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In kindle form, generally three bucks or less.

John Steinbeck’s classic East of Eden, what might be Kurt Vonnegut’s best novel, The Sirens of Titan: A Novel.

The Fire Outside My Window: A Survivor Tells The True Story Of California’s Epic Cedar Fire by Sandra Millers Younger is about the worst wildfire in California up until the more recent worst wildfires in California, but these recent ones don’t have a book about them yet.

This might only be cheap for a few hours: Night: A Memoir by Elie Wiesel.


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The Universe, Native American History, Brother Cadfael: Cheap Books

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A true diversity of cheap Kindle books right now available:

Wonders of the Universe (Wonders Series) by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. I’m not sure if this is the ideal Kindle book because the original print version is full of illustrations that may or may not translate well, but that might depend on what you want to do with it. I like having print copies, if I get them cheap, that go along with excellent documentaries (and this is a book that goes along with an excellent documentary), and a kindle version might be fantastic for that since it is searchable, and the whole idea is to have a memory jogger or a reference.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown is a classic. It was one of the key early books (ca 1970) to revise, as in making more accurate, the American conception of the history of Native Americans. The Kindle version contains additional information not found in the original.

If you read the Chroncles of Brother Cadfael and are not up to book 14, you may want to grab The Hermit of Eyton Forest , by Ellis Peters, which is book 14 in that series!


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Start the year off with these cheap excellent books

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Now a major motion picture, The Giver, was one of a quartet of original books, required reading (in many schools, anyway) and nice pieces of literature. They are on Kindle cheap: The Giver Quartet Omnibus

This first-ever Lois Lowry single-volume collection includes unabridged editions of the Newbery Medal–winning The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. Lois Lowry’s groundbreaking dystopian series comes alive in a single volume. An affordable addition to the shelves of teen fans and collectors alike.

I’ve never read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel, but it has been recommended time and again, and I have a copy of it on my eShelf!

Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone’s heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who’ve lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father’s grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother’s apartment. They are there to dig up his father’s empty coffin.

A classic, you’ve probably read it, but if not, here is your chance for two bucks: The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (Hainish Cycle Book 5) by Ursula Le Guin.

If you you are going to read one historical novel set in the context of World War II, read Mare Piercey’s Gone to Soldiers. Multiple parallel stories connected to various degrees (or not) about the mundane intersecting with the extraordinary during one of the most trying times our society has ever encountered, written by a feminist author. Ten narrators, ten voices, ten stories, and it may be the only historical war book that is a total take-down of the Bechdel Test. This books should be part of the 20th century literary cannon for modern Americans.


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Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books

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Aaron Sorkin’s first shot at directing was for the movie Molly’s Game, starring Jessica Chastain as athlete and card game runner Molly Bloom. It is an interesting true story line, with many hidden gems. Like, Graham Greene playing the judge, and the fact that the actual real life prosecutor was Preet Bharara. Importantly, Sorkin wrote the screen play (Oscar nominated). The opening sequence in the movie, which addresses the question of what to say when someone claims that coming in fourth in the Olympics is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete. Also, as you probably already understand, Sorkin has a strong interest in sports and poker, so it all makes so much sense…. Continue reading Molly’s Game (like the Sorkin movie) and Forensic Geology: Cheap books


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Carl Hiaasen Book Cheap

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A group of miscreants, led by a former reporter turned private eye, is fed up with the ongoing destruction of the Everglades and other natural wonders in Florida. So, they conspire to engage in anti-tourism terrorism. Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season is the first in a series of books, the first several of which are must-read. The common theme is the aforementioned missing governor, and his former body guard. The protagonist and antagonist change from book to book, but the former is usually a former journalist or a former cop or something along those lines, and the antagonist is an evil real estate developer, theme park owner, organized crime leader, Russian mobster, or something along those lines. It is possible I’ve got some of these details wrong since it has been years since I read them. But, I assure you, once you’ve read Tourist Season, Double Whammy , Native Tongue , you’ll probably do what I did. Grab used copies of any of those books you come across, to give to other people to read. Easier to do that than to explain the books.


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Great deal on a must read book: Children of God

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For reasons I can not fathom, Mary Doria Russell’s books, The Sparrow and Children of God are seen as important novels in the discussion of religion and belief. Maybe it is the mention of “children of god” in the title of the second book. Maybe it is the fact that one of the main characters is a priest, and a good part of the novel takes place in a monkery. It is even the case that the publishers have for some editions included some extra back matter on how to use these books as a focal point in your church reading groups. Continue reading Great deal on a must read book: Children of God


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