What a Difference a Year Makes

If you had a year (more or less) to do anything - what would you do?

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World

By Eric Weiner

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"Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, this book takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of 'un-unhappiness.' The book uses a mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.--From publisher description."

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The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

By Tahir Shah

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"Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true when he and his family move from London to Casablanca where they buy Dar Khalifa, a crumbling ruin of a mansion that once belonged to the city's caliph or spiritual leader."

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Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore

By Suzanne Strempek Shea

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"Two years ago, while recovering from radiation therapy, Shea heard from a friend who was looking for help at her bookstore. Shea volunteered, seeing it as nothing more than a way to get out of her pajamas and back into the world. But over next twelve months, from St. Patrick’s Day through Poetry Month, graduation/Father’s Day/summer reading/Christmas and back again to those shamrock displays, Shea lived and breathed books in a place she says sells 'ideas, stories, encouragement, answers, solace, validation, the basic ammunition for daily life.' Her work was briefly interrupted by an author tour that took her to other great bookstores. Descriptions of these and her memories of book-lined rooms reaching all the way back to childhood visits to the Bookmobile are scattered throughout this charming, humorous, and engrossing account of reading and rejuvenation."

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Seasons on Harris: A Year in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides

By David Yeadon

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"The Outer Hebrides of Scotland epitomize the evocative beauty and remoteness of island life. The most dramatic of all the Hebrides is Harris, a tiny island formed from the oldest rocks on earth, a breathtaking landscape of soaring mountains, wild lunarlike moors, and vast Caribbean-hued beaches. This is where local crofters weave the legendary Harris Tweed-a hardy cloth reflecting the strength, durability, and integrity of the life there.

"In Seasons on Harris, David Yeadon, 'one of our best travel writers' (The Bloomsbury Review), captures, through elegant words and line drawings, life on Harris--the people, their folkways and humor, and their centuries-old Norse and Celtic traditions of crofting and fishing. Here Gaelic is still spoken in its purest form, music and poetry ceilidh evenings flourish in the local pubs, and Sabbath Sundays are observed with Calvinistic strictness. Yeadon's book makes us care deeply about these proud islanders, their folklore, their history, their challenges, and the imperiled future of their traditional island life and beloved tweed."

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One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind For a Round-the-World Journey With Our Children

By David Elliot Cohen

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"With three children under the age of nine, the youngest still in diapers, the Cohens decide to do something many dream of, but few actually undertake: sell the house, the cars, and the belongings and take off for a year-long journey around the world. Demonstrating great creativity and tremendous tenacity, David, Devi, and their children create the adventure of a lifetime -- an inspiration to anyone who dreams of leaving it all behind."

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Not Buying it: My Year Without Shopping

By Judith Levine

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"...a close look at our society's obsession with shopping and the cold turkey confession of a woman we can all identify with -- someone who can't live without French roast coffee andexpensive wool socks, but who has had enough of spending money for the sake of it. Without consumer goods and experiences, Levine and her partner Paul pursue their careers, nurture family relationships and try to keep their sanity and humour intact. Tracking their progress and lapses, she contemplates the meanings of need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship."

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My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

By Rebekah Nathan

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After more than fifteen years of teaching, Rebekah Nathan, a professor of anthropology at a large state university, realized that she no longer understood the behavior and attitudes of her students.... Nathan decided to put her wealth of experience in overseas ethnographic fieldwork to use closer to home and apply to her own university. Accepted on the strength of her high school transcript, she took a sabbatical and enrolled as a freshman for the academic year.

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Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets

By Simon David

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"...the classic book about homicide investigation that became the basis for the hit television show The scene is Baltimore. Twice every three days another citizen is shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. At the center of this hurricane of crime is the city's homicide unit, a small brotherhood of hard men who fight for whatever justice is possible in a deadly world. David Simon was the first reporter ever to gain unlimited access to a homicide unit, and this electrifying book tells the true story of a year on the violent streets of an American city. The narrative follows Donald Worden, a veteran investigator; Harry Edgerton, a black detective in a mostly white unit; and Tom Pellegrini, an earnest rookie who takes on the year's most difficult case, the brutal rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl."

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Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches From the Unfinished Civil War

By Tony Horwitz

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"Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance... . Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War."

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Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police

By Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein

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An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the men who protect us from the most frightening prospect of life in the age of terrorism.

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