Author: Terri Schlichenmeyer

“Wicked Bugs” by Amy Stewart

“Wicked Bugs” by Amy Stewart c.2011, Algonquin $18.95 / $22.95 Canada 288 pages   You had some little visitors this morning at breakfast, and they weren’t exactly welcome. To begin with, they had terrible manners. They weren’t polite enough to ring the doorbell before they barged in and they didn’t even wait for you to sit down before they started eating. So, because you never invited them to breakfast in the first place, you either gently ushered them out the door or you killed them. What’s bugging you?  Find out – if you dare – by reading the new book “Wicked Bugs” by Amy Stewart. Want to feel superior?  Then think about this: you are much smarter than the ants, spiders, and beetles that live and lurk near your house. You outweigh them by a lot and you’re way bigger than they are. And bigger means stronger, right? “If only that were true,” says Stewart. “In fact, insects have changed the course of history. They have halted soldiers in their tracks. They have driven farmers off their land. They have devoured cities and forests, and inflicted pain, suffering, and death upon hundreds of millions.” In this book, she writes about them. Take, for instance, bees, hornets and wasps. Getting stung is an annoyance (at best) and a life-or-death matter (at worst), so imagine dealing with an entire nest of...

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“River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade

“River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade c.2011, DaCapo $26.00 / $30.00 Canada 273 pages By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER You really need to get to the bank this week. You have a deposit to make and if it’s a good day, you’ll also make a withdrawl. You would, in fact, go to the bank every day for the rest of your life if you could. Then again, fishing from a boat rather than the river bank might be fun, too. If you’ve ever drowned a worm, you’ve undoubtedly got plenty of One That Got Away stories. But how will they compare to the fish you’ll read about in “River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade? At somewhere around age eight, Jeremy Wade threw his first worm in the water and thought fishing was pretty okay. Later, though he had an interest in fish and a degree in zoology, he “wandered lost for several years”, working as a teacher and performing minimum-wage jobs. And then he found a magazine article about fishing in India. He suddenly realized that his fascination with fish could pay the bills. He wrote a few articles, was discovered by a London television producer, became a TV star and eventually got his own show on Animal Planet. In this book, Wade writes about some of the more memorable fishing expeditions he’s ever made – but these aren’t your father’s little jaunts...

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“It Gets Better”, edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller

“It Gets Better”, edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller c.2011, Dutton $21.95 / $27.50 Canada 339 pages By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER High school, it seems, was built for drama. Maybe it’s because of hormones or because everybody’s searching for who they are or the person they’ll become, but one thing’s certain: Mean Girls, jocks and cheerleaders, nerdy kids, geeks, and bullies generally cannot co-exist in peace. And therein lies a problem, particularly if you’re on the receiving end of brutality, teasing, or ostracism. Not only does that stuff hurt, but it makes life so unpleasant that you can sometimes see only one way to stop it… Columnist Dan Savage, with his husband Terry Miller and a friend, decided to do something about that. In “It Gets Better”, they explain what happened and how their un-splashy video became a tidal wave of support. Just a hundred videos. That’s the response that Dan Savage and Terry Miller hoped they’d get from a YouTube post they made in the aftermath of several suicides by LGBT teens. In an AHA! moment, Savage had realized that those kids had no vision of a future and no idea that things get better – hence, the video. But one video begat two, then a hundred, then a computer crash, a presidential message, and a movement. In this book, they gather notable messages to LGBTQ teens; some poignant,...

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“Concierge Confidential” by Michael Fazio with Michael Malice

“Concierge Confidential” by Michael Fazio with Michael Malice c.2011, St. Martin’s Press $24.99 / $28.99 Canada 271 pages By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Some people, well, you’d do anything for them. The sweet older lady next door calls for a favor and you go running.  Your nephew bats those baby blues and you’d buy out the toy store for him. If she asked, you’d dig ditches for a beloved former boss, and all your mom has to do is crook her finger for you to be at her service. Is serving what you do best? Could you do it for a living? Read the new book “Concierge Confidential” by Michael Fazio (with Michael Malice) and you’ll think twice before answering. When Charlie Sheen called and asked if the boss was in, Michael Fazio was barely fazed. Fazio figured it would be a small step from agency assistant to “the next big Hollywood movie mogul” and a good mogul isn’t impressed with fame. But Fazio’s job at The Liberty Agency didn’t so much include hob-nobbing with the stars as it did taking care of his boss, Glennis. He soon learned that keeping her happy meant plugging in her curlers and making coffee before she got to work. Caring for her was, oddly, something Fazio enjoyed doing. After another brief assistant’s job and a gig playing piano on a cruise ship, Fazio and...

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“Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer

“Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer c.2011, The Penguin Press $26.95 / $33.50 Canada 320 pages By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER Maybe your mother was right. When she said you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached, she might’ve been onto something. You completely missed an important meeting yesterday. You’ve left vital documents at home on the counter (lotta good they’ll do there), you filed something yesterday but can’t find it now, and every morning is a mad scramble for hide-and-go-keys. And you forgot your lunch twice this week. Embarrassing? Can’t remember a thing these days? Maybe you need to step up your game. In the new book “Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer, you’ll see how it’s done, times ten. Imagine life minus your smart phone, calendar, chime-reminders, online nudges, and sticky notes. What did we ever do without them? Author Joshua Foer says that, before the invention of inexpensive printing, memory wasn’t just everything – it was the only thing. People with prodigious memories were the Rock Stars of their time. So why can’t you – with all your gadgets and reminders – remember where you put that document? Why can’t you remember to grab your lunch on the way out the door? As it turns out, there’s a good excuse for your lapse. Psychologists say there’s a “curve of forgetting” that starts the second you learn something, and...

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