A crime book recommendation: Urban Guerrilla: The Wild, Strange Saga of Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army by Jeffrey Toobin

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2soARCf.
Overall, Jeffrey Toobin’s American Heiress is an informative, compelling, and insightful summer read. A thrill ride that will mesmerize anyone who is fascinated with the social and political complexities of the 1970s, legal history, American crime, or anything related to Patty Hearst.
Book description from Google Books:
From New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author of The Nine and The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson, the definitive account of the kidnapping and trial that defined an insane era in American history On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.” The weird turns of the tale are truly astonishing–the Hearst family trying to secure Patty’s release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the bank security cameras capturing “Tania” wielding a machine gun during a robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Bill Walton to the Black Panthers to Ronald Reagan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on television stations across the country; Patty’s year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term “Stockholm syndrome” entered the lexicon. The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s). Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. American Heiress examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Or did she?
The book is rated 3.88/5 at goodreads.com, from 5054 ratings. See 846 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2d8rzms.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2soNTzy.

A technology book recommendation: The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet by Justin Peters

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cPVAcV.
…in the final pages, as Peters dons the sports coat of the history lecturer and draws a lame comparison between Aaron Swartz and Noah Webster, he disappoints once again. It’s the whole book in microcosm: superb when it focuses on its subject, unnecessary when it veers away.
Book description from Google Books:
A smart, lively history of the Internet free culture movement and its larger effects on society—and the life and shocking suicide of Aaron Swartz, a founding developer of Reddit and Creative Commons—from Slate correspondent Justin Peters.Aaron Swartz was a zealous young advocate for the free exchange of information and creative content online. He committed suicide in 2013 after being indicted by the government for illegally downloading millions of academic articles from a nonprofit online database. From the age of fifteen, when Swartz, a computer prodigy, worked with Lawrence Lessig to launch Creative Commons, to his years as a fighter for copyright reform and open information, to his work leading the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), to his posthumous status as a cultural icon, Swartz’s life was inextricably connected to the free culture movement. Now Justin Peters examines Swartz’s life in the context of 200 years of struggle over the control of information. In vivid, accessible prose, The Idealist situates Swartz in the context of other “data moralists” past and present, from lexicographer Noah Webster to ebook pioneer Michael Hart to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the process, the book explores the history of copyright statutes and the public domain; examines archivists’ ongoing quest to build the “library of the future”; and charts the rise of open access, copyleft, and other ideologies that have come to challenge protectionist IP policies. Peters also breaks down the government’s case against Swartz and explains how we reached the point where federally funded academic research came to be considered private property, and downloading that material in bulk came to be considered a federal crime. The Idealist is an important investigation of the fate of the digital commons in an increasingly corporatized Internet, and an essential look at the impact of the free culture movement on our daily lives and on generations to come.
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 238 ratings. See 35 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1QzI5d0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tVz2AL.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A law book recommendation: The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life by Natalie Goldberg

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2ewziuy.
When she returns to the city where it all began, her talks are sure to enliven and enlighten, and I feel confident that at both events she’ll hear the sound of two hands clapping.
Book description from Google Books:
What does it take to have a long writing life? Drawing her years of writing, teaching, and practicing Zen, Natalie Goldberg shares the experiences that have opened her to new ways of being alive–experiences that point the way forward in our lives and our writing. The “great spring” of this book title refers to the great rush of energy that arrives when you think no life will ever come again–the early yellow flowering forsythia, for example. It also refers to enlightenment: obstructions shatter, pain cracks open, previously resisted truth releases, an acceptance of transiency flows through. Natalie Goldberg shares the moments that have sprung from her own life of writing, teaching, and Zen practice–moments of searching, wandering, zigzagging, losing, and leaping where she has found herself and her voice. In these pages, we watch as Natalie “makes positive effort for the good”–one of the guiding rules of her writing life–and we see that if we can stay attentive in our lives, even in the middle of the ruins, “we can hear the sound of a songbird in a Paris chestnut tree.” Whether we know if the song comes from inside us or out doesn’t matter. Thirteen of the twenty-two essays in the book have been previously published (often in a different form). Those publications include Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Five Points, and Creative Nonfiction.
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 174 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ewBHph.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s9JgJq.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Untitled Memoir by Phil Collins

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2li0W5f.
While not a terribly inventive lyricist, Collins turns out to be a gifted storyteller and a likable narrator…
Book description from Google Books:
Phil Collins pulls no punches–about himself, his life, or the ecstasy and heartbreak that’s inspired his music. In his much-awaited memoir, Not Dead Yet, he tells the story of his epic career, with an auspicious debut at age 11 in a crowd shot from the Beatles’ legendary film A Hard Day’s Night. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on the job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Soon, he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel and begin to stockpile the songs that would rocket him to international fame with the release of Face Value and “In the Air Tonight.” Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, or writing the music for Disney’s smash-hit animated Tarzan, Collins’s storytelling chops never waver. And of course he answers the pressing question on everyone’s mind: just what does “Sussudio” mean?   Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’s candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but has never lost his touch at crafting songs from the heart that touch listeners around the globe. That same touch is on magnificent display here, especially as he unfolds his harrowing descent into darkness after his “official” retirement in 2007, and the profound, enduring love that helped save him. This is Phil Collins as you’ve always known him, but also as you’ve never heard him before.
The book is rated 4.01/5 at goodreads.com, from 1886 ratings. See 313 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2kvBKnJ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2saX5HJ.

A literature book recommendation: The Lost Order: A Novel (Cotton Malone) by Steve Berry

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2s0Nbvr.
Berry’s fans will love his latest endeavor as he brings more detail into Malone’s past and how he came to be known as Cotton. The villains are a bit over the top, and their ultimate goal is somewhat confusing, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Book description from Google Books:
The Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the United States. Since 1865 treasure hunters have searched, but little of that immense wealth has ever been found.Now, one hundred and sixty years later, two factions of what remains of the Knights of the Golden Circle want that lost treasure—one to spend it for their own ends, the other to preserve it. Thrust into this battle is former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone, whose connection to the knights is far deeper than he ever imagined. At the center is the Smithsonian Institution—linked to the knights, its treasure, and Malone himself through an ancestor, a Confederate spy named Angus “Cotton” Adams, whose story holds the key to everything. Complicating matters are the political ambitions of a reckless Speaker of the House and the bitter widow of a United States Senator, who together are planning radical changes to the country. And while Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt face the past, ex-president Danny Daniels and Stephanie Nelle confront a new and unexpected challenge, a threat that may cost one of them their life. From the backrooms of the Smithsonian to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas, and finally up into the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, The Lost Order by Steve Berry is a perilous adventure into our country’s dark past, and a potentially even darker future.
The book is rated 4.15/5 at goodreads.com, from 2476 ratings. See 308 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s0PHSv.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s0RW86.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: The Good, the Bad, and the Furry: Life with the World’s Most Melancholy Cat by Tom Cox

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1Hah4FZ.
His acute understanding of cats is entertaining and poignant, but those cute pet stories stand on the foundation of a talented and deeply thoughtful writer.
Book description from Google Books:
Meet The Bear—a cat who carries the weight of the world on his furry shoulders, and whose wise, owl-like eyes seem to ask, Can you tell me why I am a cat please? Like many intellectuals, The Bear would prefer a life of quiet solitude with plenty of time to gaze forlornly into space and contemplate society’s ills. Unfortunately, he is destined to spend his days surrounded by felines of a significantly lower IQ. There is Janet, a large man cat who often accidentally sets fire to his tail by walking too close to lighted candles; Ralph, a preening tabby who enjoys meowing his own name at 5AM; and Shipley, Ralph’s brother, who steals soup but is generally relaxed once you pick him up and turn him upside down. And then there’s Tom Cox, writing with wit and charm about the unexpected adventures that go hand-in-hand with a life at the beck and call of four cats. This heartwarming Sunday Times bestselling  memoir about a man at the mercy of his unpredictable, demanding and endlessly lovable cats is sure to become an instant hit with American readers and petlovers.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1232 ratings. See 178 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Hah6O3.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sIwRwl.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong by Caroline Casey

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1QhSAnt.
Cats have a hold on us—even those of us who do not consider ourselves a “cat person.” And now cat videos do too. All it takes is a click of a mouse, or, in the case of Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, the turn of a page, to find out why.
Book description from Google Books:
“Coffee House Press, a major nonprofit publisher, recently launched a Kickstarter for a book examining the Internet’s cat video fetish. The book, if the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $25,000 goal, will be titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, and examine themes like what makes something art, whether art is good or bad, and how taste develops. In other words, cat videos can actually be . . . pretty serious.”—The Washington Post “Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos.”—The Millions “Coffee House Press’s upcoming book, titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, takes the opportunity to examine a seemingly irrelevant subject from new perspectives—from ‘the line is between reality/self on the internet’ to ‘how cat videos demonstrate either that nothing matters, or that any art matters if anyone thinks it does.’ Thus, it’s an earnest attempt to uncover more about human nature—especially in today’s internet-driven world.”—Cool Hunting Fifteen writers, all addressing not just our fascination with cat videos, but also how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all; how taste develops, how that can change, and why we love or hate something. It’s about people and technology and just what it is about cats that makes them the internet’s cutest despots. Contributors include: Sasha Archibald, Will Braden, Stephen Burt, Maria Bustillos, David Carr, Matthea Harvey, Alexis Madrigal, Joanne McNeil, Ander Monson, Kevin Nguyen, Elena Passarello, Jillian Steinhauer, Sarah Schultz, and Carl Wilson.
The book is rated 3.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 60 ratings. See 13 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1QhSCvz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tGuvSn.