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By: David Keeber, Library Director
For: Red Rock News
Date: February 13, 2009

Five New Interesting Books

Writing this column for fifteen years has been great, but occasionally I am facing deadline and struggling for what to write.  That's when I go to the shelves and simply pull interesting books to write about.  This is one of those weeks.  Here are five interesting books from our New Books shelves that caught my eye, and hopefully will catch your interest.

Faced with high gasoline prices and the need to stay healthy, the book The Lost Art of Walking, by Geoff Nicholson seems very timely.  It offers an examination of the history, science, philosophy and literature of pedestrianism.  We have grown so accustomed to our cars and all too often hop into them when we could just as well walk somewhere.  But, according to the book, "how we walk, where we walk, and why we walk tells the world who and what we are."   Walking has a tradition that is rich with stories and has inspired writers such as Charles Dickens and Paul Auster, musicians such as Bob Dylan, filmmakers from Buster Keaton to Werner Herzog.  Nicholson recounts his studies of walking eccentrics (do you remember Sedona's Waver?), competitive walkers, and even gang members who use the hidden language of a scuffling "Crip Walk" to spell out messages.  Would it be incorrect to suggest that you put your feet up and enjoy this one?

Cindy Pierce and Edie Thys Morgan have joined forces to write Finding the Doorbell: Sexual Satisfaction for the Long Haul.  While many of us think about this topic a lot, few of us understand it, especially how this changes for us over the course of a lifetime.  Dismissing many myths and misconceptions, while doing so with a light touch, the book is divided up into three parts, each with lots of information: Obstacles to a Healthy Sex Life, What's the Big O Deal?, and Sex for the Long Haul (In Search of Happily Ever After).  Best of all, it uses honesty and humor to make the reading less daunting.

Ever a world hot spot, the Middle East poses a long history of conflict and efforts to end those conflicts.  Patrick Tyler has written A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East – from the Cold War to the War on Terror, and given the vantage of time, it offers a worthwhile take on events and our efforts to influence those events, the people, and the outcomes, good and bad.  The book's fly states, "The Middle East is the beginning and the end of US foreign policy: events there influence our alliances, make or break presidencies, govern the price of oil, and draw us into war.  In this gripping story of American misadventures in the region, Patrick Tyler shows that the history of American presidents' dealings there is one of mixed motives, skullduggery, deceit, and outfit foolishness, in addition to policy making and diplomacy."  As this story never seems to end, reading this may well provide you with a valuable insight.

National Public Radio had a piece on the recent rash of shoe throwing episodes and the commentator, P.M. Forni offered some intriguing comments.  He also has a book titled, The Civility Solution: What to Do When People are Rude.  It is a small book with lots to offer by way of solutions to all too common occurrences.  As Forni states, rudeness begets rudeness, so having a positive and constructive response helps us to move outside such behavior.  He shows how to break the rudeness cycle by responding to a variety of confrontations, from bullying to rude Internet behavior, or the hurtful words of an insensitive family member.  These are solutions that we have all sought at one time or another.  It is a useful book that prepares you for life's inevitable slings and arrows.

The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre offers some disturbing statistics regarding school aged males. The rate of expulsion from preschool is nearly five times that of girls; elementary aged boys are diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often; reading below basic level by eighth grade boys is epidemic; in high school advanced placement classes they are heavily outnumbered; and less than 43% of those enrolled in college are male!  What to do to ensure that both these boys and our nation have a future?  Tyre offers a history of the problem and numerous insights into why boys struggle, as well as ideas for changing the future.  If you have a son, or your daughter is dating one, read this book to learn about real solutions to a growing problem.

Lastly, I want to mention that the Library's Collection Development Librarian, Amy Gill, is retiring to work with her husband.  At the adult collection level, it is largely due to her that we are able to offer such a wonderfully relevant and up to date collection.  She is to be congratulated and we wish her the best in her new endeavors.  Thanks, Amy, for a job well done!

David Keeber
David Keeber, author of this week's article,
is Director of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.