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Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:20 AM
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Subject: The AtRandom Nonfiction e-newsletter!


In this newsletter:
Michael Pollan explores THE BOTANY OF DESIRE
Dr. Joanna inverts relationships in THE PARROT WHO OWNS ME
Alexa Albert portrays the community of a BROTHEL
R. Scott Brunner is CARRYIN' ON


In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist
and columnist, reflects on what it takes to "get a life"--to live
deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to
exist through your days. "Knowledge of our own mortality is the
greatest gift God ever gives us," Quindlen writes, "because unless you
know the clock is ticking, it is so easy to waste our days, our
lives." Her mother died when Quindlen was nineteen: "It was the
dividing line between seeing the world in black and white, and in
Technicolor. The lights came on for the darkest possible reason....I
learned something enduring, in a very short period of time, about
life. And that was that it was glorious, and that you had no business
taking it for granted." But how to live from that perspective, to
fully engage in our days? In A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE, Quindlen
guides us with an understanding that comes from knowing how to see the
view, the richness in living.

Just click to read a free excerpt, then, if you like what you read,
pick up a copy:

Buy it now - Microsoft Reader format

Buy it now - Adobe eBook Reader format

Buy it now - RocketBook/Gemstar format

Get bibliographic information


When Joanna Burger, a Distinguished Professor of Biology at Rutgers
University, adopted a Red-lored Amazon parrot named Tiko, she somehow
mistakenly thought that she owned him, but her new book THE PARROT WHO
straight. Orphaned by the deaths of two elderly sisters whose Yiddish
phrases frequently emitted from his mouth, Tiko moved from Florida to
New Jersey fifteen years ago. While initially detached and hostile
upon entering Dr. Burger's home, he gradually began to warm. During
mating season he courted her, building nests for the two of them in
various parts of the house and becoming fiercely jealous of her
husband Mike, who at times found it necessary to flee the room from
Tiko's beak. This is story of the sometimes complicated but always
enriching connection between a woman and an exceptional
green-feathered being. If there are any bird-lovers in your life, this
is clearly the present you've been waiting to give them, but THE
PARROT WHO OWNS ME is also a fascinating and high-spirited read for
anyone interested in animals and their personalities. For an excerpt
from the story that a starred review in Publishers Weekly praised as
"one of the warmest, funniest and weirdest memoirs of the year," click


The AIDS virus was just becoming household knowledge in 1988 when
Alexa Albert, then a twenty-year-old psychology major, came across a
magazine article expressing concern that prostitutes might become part
of this new epidemic. Albert wondered whether a state like Nevada,
where prostitution is legal, might not offer an alternative to this
negative vision, and after years of writing to Mustang Ranch, a
licensed brothel, she was finally permitted to conduct a study of
condom use in 1992. Neither she nor the women she met there could have
anticipated the end result-Albert found not just a business at Mustang
Ranch but a community, and her small study became a six-year
examination of the brothel ecosystem. In BROTHEL: MUSTANG RANCH AND
ITS WOMEN, we meet quite a range of characters, from George Flint, a
brothel lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Association (NBA), to Leo, a
brothel clothing salesman who hawks his wares from a renovated
Greyhound bus; from a man known by the screen name Bashful, who
started an online guidebook containing "field reports" written by men
who visited various Nevada brothels, to Ann-Marie, Mustang Ranch's
exclusive Avon lady. Voices from all sides weigh in on debates over
whether a prostitute should enjoy sex with her customers, whether
legalized prostitution reduces sex crimes like rape, and whether this
legalized industry can ever become legitimized. For an excerpt from
the book that Publishers Weekly said "dispels myths about this
mysterious world and provides a strong defense for the legalization of
prostitution," go to:


NPR commentator and Mississippi native R. Scott Brunner's reflection
on life below the Mason-Dixon line in DUE SOUTH was called "as
engaging, as entertaining, and as charming as the South itself" by
Brunner continues his articulate and touching celebration of this
remarkable region. Unique not only in its inhabitants and cuisine, the
South and its eccentricities are lovingly rendered by one of its own
sons. Brunner describes the beauty of pole beans, a vegetable whose
arrival signifies the beginning of summer. He remembers his anxiety
over being called to preach at church when he was fifteen. He relays
his surprise at his formerly teetotalling parents' sudden embrace of
gin-soaked raisins as a cure for arthritis. He questions whether the
essence of the South can be duplicated in an expensive Epcot-like
resort. And he debates the legitimacy of praying for a good parking
spot at the mall. Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, says that
Brunner "delivers the goods, and delivers them Southern-fried. His
writing is elegant, slowly crafted, and good for the soul." For an
excerpt from CARRYIN' ON, check out:


For this and other great titles that I didn't have room to mention,
click on:


Happy reading!


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