Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

The living embodiment of The Beatles, a musical juggernaut without parallel, Paul McCartney is undoubtedly the senior figure in pop music today. In this authoritative biography, journalist and acclaimed author Howard Sounes leaves no stone unturned in building the most accurate and extensive profile yet of music's greatest living legend.

He is one of the biggest stars that has ever existed, the only key member left from the unquestioned 'biggest band of all time'. But despite the almost unprecedented press coverage he has received throughout his lifetime, the private personality of Paul McCartney remains a source of intrigue and relative mystery to the public.

Spanning the entirety of McCartney's life from early childhood right up to the present day, FAB delves deep into the life of this remarkable and often surprising man, revealing the often dark reality behind his consistently positive, relaxed public image. For the first time, Sounes will examine in detail the lifestyle of one of the richest men on the planet, the truth behind his much publicized divorce from Heather Mills, as well as his tempestuous relationship with the other Beatles, with startling revelations.

Drawing on countless interviews, legal records and public documents, Howard Sounes' meticulous approach and brilliant powers of research reveal the real Paul McCartney, like you've never known him before.

Jimi Hendrix: The Man, The Magic, The Truth

Former UPI reporter and Hendrix confidante Lawrence (So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star) recalls the guitar player's brilliance in this sympathetic biography. She skims over his early years - his abandonment by his mother, his high school rock bands, his brief time as a paratrooper - but slows down once Hendrix gets to playing his guitar in earnest. After knocking around as a session player and winding up in New York, Hendrix signed with former Animals bassist Chas Chandler and went to England in 1965, where he blew away the likes of the Beatles, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. He triumphantly returned to the U.S. for 1967's famous Monterey Pop festival, where he became an overnight superstar. But bound by bad deals he signed without counsel, under an intense media glare, exhausted by the road, busted for possession and trapped in a downward spiral of drugs, lawsuits and paranoia, Hendrix burned out. The year before his death, Lawrence writes, she watched Hendrix become a "Shakespearean protagonist... while a growing brood of greedy villains circled like vultures." On September 18, 1970, Hendrix overdosed on pills, which Lawrence believes was a deliberate act to "confront fate." While much has been written about Hendrix's meteoric career over the years, Lawrence's close ties to the musician and her well-written narrative make this book a welcome addition to the Hendrix canon. 

Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to Their Knees

He played in casinos around the world with a plan to make himself richer than anyone could possibly imagine -- but it would nearly cost him his life.

Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age twenty-one, this cocky hotshot was the biggest high roller to appear in Sin City in decades, a mathematical genius with a system the casinos had never seen before and couldn't stop -- a system that has never been revealed until now; that has nothing to do with card counting, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.

Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown -- Monte Carlo.

Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. Although they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables only to be harassed, banned from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas's notorious back rooms.

The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, consequences be damned. There was Semyon Dukach himself, bored with school and broke; Victor Cassius, the slick, brilliant MIT grad student who galvanized the team; Owen Keller, with stunning ability but a dark past that would catch up to him; and Allie Simpson, bright, clever, and a feast for the eyes.

In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable.


The Purpose Driven Life

Another Landmark Book by Rick Warren. You are not an accident. Even before the universe was created, God had you in mind, and he planned you for his purposes. These purposes will extend far beyond the few years you will spend on earth. You were made to last forever! Self-help books often suggest that you try to discover the meaning and purpose of your life by looking within yourself, but Rick Warren says that is the wrong place to start. You must begin with God, your Creator, and his reasons for creating you. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. This book will help you understand why you are alive and God's amazing plan for you---both here and now, and for eternity. Rick Warren will guide you through a personal 40-day spiritual journey that will transform your answer to life's most important question: What on earth am I here for? Knowing God's purpose for creating you will reduce your stress, focus your energy, simplify your decisions, give meaning to your life, and, most importantly, prepare you for eternity. The Purpose Driven Life is a blueprint for Christian living in the 21st century---a lifestyle based on God's eternal purposes, not cultural values. Using over 1,200 scriptural quotes and references, it challenges the conventional definitions of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. In the tradition of Oswald Chambers, Rick Warren offers distilled wisdom on the essence of what life is all about. This is a book of hope and challenge that you will read and re-read, and it will be a classic treasured by generations to come.

The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon / Eldest / Brisingr)

The Inheritance Cycle is a young adult tetralogy of epic fantasy novels written by American author Christopher Paolini. Set in the fictional world of Alagaësia, the novels focus on the adventures of a teenage boy named Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, as they struggle to overthrow an evil king named Galbatorix. The series was originally intended to be a trilogy (named the "Inheritance Trilogy") until Paolini announced, on October 30, 2007, while working on the third novel, that he believed the story was too complex to conclude in just three.
The first book in the series, Eragon, was self-published by Paolini's family in 2002 and re-published in 2003 by Knopf; it was followed by Eldest in 2005. Both were New York Times bestsellers. The third book in the series, Brisingr, was published on September 20, 2008, and the fourth and final book, Inheritance, was released on November 8, 2011. The series has sold 33.5 million copies worldwide.

Morgoth's Ring: The History of Middle-Earth Volume 10

The first of two companion volumes which documents the later writing of The Silmarillion, Tolkien's epic tale of war. After the The Lord of the Rings was at last achieved, J R R Tolkien turned his attention once again to 'the Matter of the Elder Days'. The text of the Annals of Aman, the 'Blessed Land' in the far West, is given in full; while in writings hitherto unknown is seen the nature of the problems that Tolkien explored in his later years, as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the old narratives, emerged at the heart of the mythology, and as the destinies of Men and Elves, mortals and immortals, ecame of central significance, together with a vastly enlarged perception of the evil of Melkor, the Shadow upon Arda. The second part of this history of the later Silmarillion is concerned with developments in the legends of Beleriand after the completion of The Lord of the Rings.

Winnetou, The Apache Knight

When he had heard all there was to learn of me he bowed his head, saying: "You are at the beginning of the conflict which I am ending, but you need not fear. You have the good God with you who will never forsake you. It was otherwise with me. I had lost my God when I left home, or rather was driven from it, and instead of the staff of strong faith I took with me the worst companion a man can have--a bad conscience."

The Wine of Wisdom: the life, poetry and philospohy of Omar Khayyam

This is the most nuanced and balanced study of the elusive Omar Khayyam that I have yet encountered. Aminrazavi acknowledges the problems we face in reconciling the personas of the respected mathematician and natural scientist, the questing philosopher and metaphysician, and the skeptical, antinomian poet, and shows himself to be fully conversant with the scholarly arguments involved. He rejects those treatises and couplets which are obviously spurious, but concludes nevertheless that Khayyam the scientist and philosopher was indeed the author of the famous quatrains - more Buddhist or Epicurean at heart than Sufi - which resonated so strongly with like minds in medieval Persia, the later world of Islam, and the modern West. Khayyam is clearly a man for all ages, and Mehdi Aminrazavi does a fine job of introducing him anew to our insecure post-modern world. John Perry, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago The English speaking public have now access to Dr. Aminrazavi's extensive account of Omar Khayyam's scientific and philosophical work, and will become acqauainted with the thinking of this unique Persian intellectual figure. Hossein Ziai, Professor of islamic and Iranian Studies, UCLA "It is the most important book published on Omar Khayyam during the past few decades. For the first time, it deals not only with Khayyam's poetry, but also with his philosophical and scientific works that have not received the treatment that they deserve in the West. It also debunks the myths about Omar Khayyam of having been either an Epicurean drunkard or a mystic. It provides one of the best and most comprehensive analyses of his philosophy and introduces Khayyam as a deep thinker with a rationalist philosophy that is as fresh today as when it was first enunciated. The discussion of the influence of the Ruba'iyyat on leading Western poets and writers such as Mark Twain, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and others is also very impressive. Farhang Jahanpour, University of Oxford