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The Humble Hero

I met Neil Armstrong in the summer of 1983. I was twenty-two years old and working as a cook at a Rocky Mountain dude ranch. Mr. Armstrong spent a week there with a group of men most of whom were big shots in the aeronautics and aerospace industry. This was a crowd populated by characters with outsized personalities, and that's putting it mildly. Mr. Armstrong was the most famous person in the bunch but you would never have known it. (Before the arrival of this group, the housekeeping staff was reminded please to refrain from stealing Mr. Armstrong's underwear for souvenirs.) My brief encounter with Mr. Armstrong was utterly consistent with what I have read about him since his death last weekend. He was dignified and modest. On his last morning there, I had to work a brutal pre-dawn breakfast shift to feed the guests who had especially early departure times. I was not at my best that morning, and it wasn't just because of the time of day. Truly, I was not at my best. Upon dragging myself into the kitchen, Mr. Armstrong offered me the seat next to him and said, "You look about as sharp as a meatball." That was a pretty funny and generous thing to say to an irresponsible young man who should have known better.

To have one small personal anecdote about Neil Armstrong has always given me a thrill. Sometimes we talk about brushes with greatness when we recount having met this or that famous person. Neil Armstrong was on an entirely different level. Of course, he clearly rejected any notion of his role as an object of hero worship. I don't know whether local author Andy Chaikin regards Neil Armstrong as a hero but I do know he considered him a friend. In Man on the Moon, his acclaimed book on the Apollo program, Chaikin writes eloquently about the man and his many colleagues whom he came to know so well. For those still awestruck by what Neil Armstrong did on July 20, 1969, this book is essential reading. (READ MORE)

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A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts Cover Image
By Andrew Chaikin, Tom Hanks (Foreword by)
$22.00
ISBN: 9780143112358
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 28th, 2007

Human Anatomy

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Human Anatomy: A Visual History from the Renaissance to the Digital Age Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780810997981
Availability: Backordered
Published: Abrams - February 1st, 2011

Deliciously morbid and darkly fascinating. The artful and often outlandish depictions of human anatomy since the age of modern medicine, along with a brief history of the artists and techniques that produced them. Appeals to the voyeur in all of us. ~ Reviewed by Krysta Piccoli


The Violinist's Thumb

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The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316182331
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Back Bay Books - July 16th, 2013

Brought to you by the man who gave us The Disappearing Spoon, this history/explanation of DNA and the science of genetics is meant to whet the curiosity of the non-scientist with a clear and amusing style. Educational and a bit unnerving, the path of our past and future is unrolled for us to marvel at! ~ Reviewed by Karen Frank


Transit of Venus

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Transit of Venus: 1631 to the Present Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781615190553
Availability: Special Order
Published: The Experiment - April 3rd, 2012

Venus will pass directly between earth and the sun on June 5, 2012. It won’t happen again until December 2117, but read this fascinating, well-illustrated book about the history, science and importance of the phenomenon. ~ Reviewed by Louise Jones


John Carter Has Mad Hops

After two hours-plus of the uncomplicated but still head-scratching Martian space opera, John Carter, I had to ask my 13 year old son, "Did you get all that?" Yes. Of course, he did. The Therns are such and such. The Tharks act this way because. And I'm still thinking about the Ninth Ray but not very hard. For me, and I suspect many others, this film was about an Earth guy who can jump extremely high on Mars. The reason is never explained but only wondered about aloud. Something about bone density in combination with, I could only assume, the different atmosphere which had no other effect on John Carter other than the jumping. If one were really curious about this screwy but entertaining tale, one should go to the source--Edgar Rice Burroughs', A Princess of Mars.  (READ MORE)

A Princess of Mars: A Barsoom Novel Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780345331380
Availability: Special Order
Published: Del Rey - December 12th, 1985

Poison

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Poison: An Illustrated History Cover Image
$16.95
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ISBN: 9780762770564
Published: Lyons Press - April 1st, 2011

Poisons surround us and any substance can be lethal with the correct dosage. In this lovely book you will meet poisoners, their preferred methods and their victims. "Poison File" pages highlight specific poisons with symptoms, overviews and antidotes, if any. A joy! ~ Reviewed by Sarah Donner


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