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The Burglar in the Closet
Lawrence Block
Android Apps with App Inventor: The Fast and Easy Way to Build Android Apps
Jorg H. Kloss
Diana Gabaldon
French in Action: A Beginning Course in Language and Culture
Pierre J. Capretz, Béatrice Abetti, Marie-Odile Germain, Laurence Wylie, Beatrice Abetti, Marie Odile-Germain
Learn Spanish Through Music
SUBlingual Music
These Is My Words
Nancy E. Turner

Spanish for Reading-Raices Hispanas Spanish Roo

Spanish for Reading-Raices Hispanas Spanish Roo - Fabiola Franco,  Karl C. Sandberg,  Karl Sandberg The texts could have been more entertaining, but as the goal of "Spanish for Reading" is to teach students reading different kinds of texts -- fiction, poetry, academic boredom -- the mixture of texts presented in the book suits this goal perfectly. An approach to explaining grammatical foundations of Spanish through increasingly complex Spanish sentences with English translation available for verification was extremely helpful and effective. Perfect as a self teaching text book if your goal is to read in Spanish and to gain a sound understanding of the Spanish grammar.
The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity - Amir D. Aczel A wonderful history of mankind's grappling with the concept of infinity where mathematics, philosophy and religion intersect in amazing ways. This is a relatively short book but it is packed with fascinating stories about ancient Greek philosophers, kabalists, Galileo, Descartes, Georg Cantor, Kurt Gödel and many others. An excellent read. I'll be sure to read all the other books by Amir D. Aczel.
Dimension of Miracles - ROBERT SHECKLEY Absolutely brilliant. Tour de force of masterful absurdity, the treasury of paradoxes, the bliss of irony and humor. I first read Dimension of Miracles some 30 years ago as a teenager and enjoyed it back then, but now I am totally infatuated with it's sheer brilliance. It was written before The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Douglas Adams claimed he read it only after he wrote the Guide, but the similarity of tone and mood is amazing. This may be a dangerous thing to say, but I think that Dimension of Miracles is deeper and richer beneath the same light tone sparkling with paradoxes and irony it shares with the Guide. It's a short book, but it has multiple dimensions(just like it's title) and is packed with thought provoking delights.

It's a shame that with the exception of the recently released audio book Dimension of Miracles seems to be more easily obtainable and better known in many non-English speaking countries of Europe (France, Russia, Italy, Spain) than in US or UK.

The Liar's Bible: A Handbook for Fiction Writers

The Liar's Bible: A Handbook for Fiction Writers - Lawrence Block An invaluable read if you are interested in writing. The book is compiled of monthly columns the author wrote for the Writer's Digest in 80s. At first I was afraid it would be an assemblage of dated and fragmented writing advice. Nothing of the sort -- it's a treasure trove of nuts and bolts of writing, and especially of guts of writing, aka what writing fiction really is about, problems, obstacles and dilemmas writers are faced with ("guts" metaphor belongs to the author himself). Though there are plenty of references to typewriters, printed pages and researching in the library and zero mention of Internet and computers, this only serves to demonstrate how easier technicalities of writing had become, allowing to concentrate on the writing itself. And this book may be a great help and inspiration for this purpose. I suppose Lawrence Block's other books on writing "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit" and "From Plot to Print" are even better, or are at least equally good. I'm definitely going to read them too. I've started from this particular book because I had it as on audio -- and what better opportunity could there be for reading than in a traffic jam.
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel - Jess Walter Beautiful writing, intricate plot with lots of story lines finally converging is a satisfying resolution, the action sweeping in time and place from 60s to today, from Italy to Idaho and LA. My only problem with this book was how Richard Burton's complex personality got used and abused. This probably would pass unnoticed for the readers for whom Richard Burton is only a tabloids' curiosity, a colorful bunch of stereotypes. But if you genuinely appreciate Richard Burton's talent and are aware of a couple of other sides of his multifaceted personality except drinking, hell-raising and womanising you may end up giving this book three stars instead of five, as an homage to the real Richard Burton.:)

Spanish Phase 4, Units 1-30: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive)

Spanish Phase 4, Units 1-30: Learn to Speak and Understand Latin American Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs - Pimsleur Language Programs Pimsleur is the best of parrot type foreign languages learning courses. Actually, it's only about 85% of parrot training and 15% of conscious learning, especially if you take the reading lessons part into account. Still, I'm grateful to Michel Thomas's courses for showing me how the languages works. Pimsleur's course was much more effective and much less bewildering when listened to after Michel Thomas's course.
Villette - A.S. Byatt, Charlotte Brontë, Ignes Sodre My main impression from this book is that Lucy Snowe, the narrator and the main character of Villette, can compete for the title of the greatest bore in English literature (and world literature as well). Nobody is good enough for her except a couple of well bred English angels, and even then she would complain that a person does not have "all from God in him". She despises French, Catholics, not to mention "the natives" (not French speaking residents of Villette). Even though she undergoes a certain change and makes an exception for a certain catholic, her constant preaching and complaining is neither funny, nor historically interesting after the first fifty instances. Unlike Jane Eyre, with whom I could sympathise and whose moral struggles I could understand, the main feeling caused by Lucy Snowe was annoyance and boredom. Jane Eyre is a fighter and a rebel, quiet on the surface but passionate beneath, while as Lucy Snowe is a preaching hypocrite (she takes a special pride in being humble and submissive and at the same time she is constantly judging and despising everything and everybody). Jane Eyre considered herself plain but she never saw herself as mentally deficient. Lucy Snowe, on the contrary, not only declares herself plain but also insists on being slow witted and only moderately intelligent. Even though the plot was interesting enough, I could not overcome my annoyance with Lucy Snowe to truly enjoy it.

The Business of Writing: Professional Advice on Proposals, Publishers, Contracts, and More for the Aspiring Writer

The Business of Writing: Professional Advice on Proposals, Publishers, Contracts, and More for the Aspiring Writer - Jennifer Lyons This is a book of interviews with (or essays by) lots of people involved in the business of writing: literary agents, publishers, editors, writers, writing teachers. This is what makes this book so valuable -- the variety of subjects (agenting, editing, contracts and taxing, publishing with big houses, small press publishing, self publishing, fiction, non-fiction, young adults books, picture books, graphic novels, poetry -- you name it, it's covered here) and the stress on nuts and bolts of writing business and its practical issues(though along the way you can gain lots of motivation as well). I was a bit disappointed at the beginning of the book because the first couple of sample queries and proposals were from already established writers with previously published books. This did not seem much of a challenge -- it seemed pretty obvious that a proposal or a query coming from a writer with such pedigree was bound to be successful. But interviews with writers about making a breakthrough and publishing their first books followed in due course, as well as interviews with agents, editors and publishers that had more too say about publishing your first novel. It is a very useful book full of valuable information and advice -- the book to read and reread if you are interested in the subject.
The Book of Other People - Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, George Saunders, Colm Tóibín, Aleksandar Hemon, Nick Hornby, Hari Kunzru, Toby Litt, Chris Ware The stories collected in this book are supposed to demonstrate the role of character in fiction. Some of the stories indeed masterfully bring to life vivid, vibrant, unforgettable characters. And then other stories are mildly irritating or seriously boring and pretentious. The quality of the stories is very uneven, but still it was a worthwhile read for the sake of some remarkable stories ( Judith Castle by David Mitchell, Gideon by ZZ Packer, Lele by Edwidge Danticat, Magda Mandella by Hari Kunzru, Puppy by George Saunders, Rhoda by Jonathan Safran Foer, Soleil by Vindella Vida).

Michel Thomas Advanced Course Spanish

Michel Thomas Advanced Course Spanish - Michel Thomas An excellent follow-up to Michel Thomas Foundation Course.

Michel Thomas Foundation Course

Michel Thomas Foundation Course Spanish - Michel Thomas Michel Thomas Foundation Course are the best introduction into any language, and this one is no exception. Just in 8 hours you, as a third student in a group taught by Michel Thomas, will gain a sound understanding of Spanish equivalents to present tense, imperative, present progressive tense, past tense, past progressive tense, subjunctive mood and lots of other useful language constructions. And the most important thing is that, as Michel Thomas promises, "what you learned, you will not forget". Because this is not a parrot training course based on monotonous memorizing, this is a course that shows you how the language works and stays with you.

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals - Hannah B. Harvey Mostly irrelevant and useless unless you want to pursue a career of a professional storyteller.
Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos - Michio Kaku An excellent read especially if you are interested in cosmology and modern physics. Very well written, the language is precise and not overwhelmed with technicalities and pseudo-clever demagogy, but at the same time advanced scientific topics and the latest scientific developments are presented by an insider in an interesting, concise and thought provoking way. Lots of food for thought and fascinating topics here from creation of the universe and the place of intelligent life in it to the distant fate of humankind and the meaning of life itself. To read and reread. And I'm definitely going to read other books by Michio Kaku.
Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software - Scott Rosenberg I don't recommend this book if you are a software engineer or manager, or any other kind of insider in the software development. You'll find little useful or interesting information here and lots of annoying demagogy. The only informative places were those that quoted books and articles on the matter written by professionals. However, the author did have one true epiphany: at the middle of the book he wrote that if the reader were a software engineer, he probably had thrown his book at the other corner of the room by then. I would have done the same if it wasn't an audio book. By the way, the reader of an audio book suited the overall annoying and dilettante tone very well by over-dramatizing every single sentence.

I can't see how outsiders can be interested in this book either: the detailed agony over databases, widgets' libraries and GUI design that is so familiar to software developers must be pretty boring to anybody else.

The only audience I can recommend this book to are journalists that don't know much about the matter but nevertheless want to come up with an "insightful" book about software development.
Short Stories in Italian: New Penguin Parallel Text (New Penguin Parallel Texts) (Italian Edition) - Various Not all the stories were equally interesting, in my opinion, but they presented a curious variety of Italian short story. The books was worth reading if only for Italo Clavino's, Primo Levi's and Antonio Tabuchhi's stories. But the other stories were not a waste of time either. Parallel translation, even though not always perfect, was a helpful tool in studying Italian and improving the reading fluency.
Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story - Vanessa Gebbie This is collection of articles written by different UK authors covering myriad of aspects related to the world of short stories. Filled with down to earth advice and extremely useful.