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Science & Nature
It’s said England and America are two nations separated by a common language. Aye or yeah, it may be more pronounced on the other side of the pond, but Americans certainly have their regional dialects, too. In 2013, Josh Katz was curious about which words and phrases were used where and how the same words might be pronounced differently in different places. So, he did a survey.
This project could have been really dry, but Mr. Katz has a gift for language, and some of his results spread on the Internet like wildfire or bushfire or a forest fire…. Well, you get the idea. The results are laid out attractively with maps and commentary in his Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk.
Disease has been eliminated. Crime and poverty have been eliminated. Natural disasters have been eliminated.
Overall, death has been eliminated.
This is all thanks to a self-aware digital cloud called The Thunderhead, whose totalitarian rule has turned the future Earth into a Utopia.
Everyone can turn back their ages, to any age above 21. So, a 32-year-old you meet, might be a 105-year-old human. Everyone is now guaranteed immortality. Well, almost everyone.
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Looking for some chills and thrills this holiday season? Check out these holiday mystery titles.
Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen
It's Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl huddled in a doorway, singing "Away in a Manger." Bridie is touched by the girl's ragged clothes and wants to help her out if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But Molly discovers the boy is the girl's older brother. They've come from England and their mother has disappeared, and they're living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly. Molly quickly realizes that these children are not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and clearly used to better things. So who are they? And what's happened to their mother? As Molly looks for a way to help the children and for the answers to these questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society. (catalog summary)
The Body in the Sleigh by Katherine Hall Page
The Fairchild family is spending the Christmas holidays on idyllic Sanpere Island in Maine while the Reverend Thomas Fairchild recuperates from surgery. His wife, Faith, is rejoicing in the rare, holiday family-time together—but Faith's high spirits are dampened when she discovers the body of a young woman on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas morning, she learns of an abandoned, newborn baby boy who was left in a nearby dairy barn along with a note and $50,000 cash! (catalog summary)
Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop: 'tis the Season to Be Deadly : Stories of Mistletoe and Mayhem From 17 Masters of Suspense
Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present. Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume—Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying. This charming one-of-a-kind collection is a perfect Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and tastes.Contributors include: Mary Higgins Clark, Ed McBain, Anne Perry, S. J. Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Donald E. Westlake and more. (catalog summary)
April Pulley Sayre’s Best in Snow can be enjoyed by both younger and older children. The crisp, composed, and glowing photographs envelop readers and listeners very much as a nature walk in the snow would do. With only a word or a few to a page, listeners can be caught up in the Zen of a perfect wintry moment.