Labor Day Weekend in the Hamptons is upon us, offering one final chance to make a big grasp at summer. And what a summer it’s been for book lovers! Every week throughout the season, our friends at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach have shared their picks for the very best reads to put into your beach bags, and now as we look ahead to autumn and back-to-school, their recommendations range from scientific explorations to classic kids fare—all best-sellers at their bookstore during the summer of 2012.
Subliminal: How Your Uncounscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events. Employing his trademark wit and lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a tour of this research, unraveling the complexities of the subliminal self and increasing our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with friends, strangers, spouses, and coworkers. In the process he changes our view of ourselves and the world around us.
In this astonishing and profound work, an irreverent sleuth traces the riddle of existence from the ancient world to modern times. Whether framed philosophically as “Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?” or more colloquially as “But, Mommy, who made God?” the metaphysical mystery about how we came into existence remains the most fractious and fascinating question of all time. Following in the footsteps of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose, and even Stephen Hawking, Jim Holt emerges with an engrossing narrative that traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. As he takes on the role of cosmological detective, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God vs. the Big Bang. Whether interviewing a cranky Oxford philosopher, a Physics Nobel Laureate, or a French Buddhist monk, Holt pursues unexplored and often bizarre angles to this cosmic puzzle. The result is a brilliant synthesis of cosmology, mathematics, and physics—one that propels his own work to the level of philosophy itself.
Phi: A Boyage from the Brain to the Soul by Giulio Tononi
From one of the most original and influential neuroscientists at work today, here is an exploration of consciousness unlike any other—as told by Galileo, who opened the way for the objectivity of science and is now intent on making subjective experience a part of science as well. Galileo’s journey has three parts, each with a different guide. In the first, he learns why certain parts of the brain are important and not others, and why consciousness fades with sleep. In the second part, when his companion seems to be named Alturi (Galileo is hard of hearing; his companion’s name is actually Alan Turing), he sees how the facts assembled in the first part can be unified and understood through a scientific theory—a theory that links consciousness to the notion of integrated information (also known as phi). In the third part, accompanied by a bearded man who can only be Charles Darwin, he meditates on how consciousness is an evolving, developing, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves in history and culture—that it is everything we have and everything we are. Not since Gödel, Escher, Bach has there been a book that interweaves science, art, and the imagination with such originality. This beautiful and arresting narrative will transform the way we think of ourselves and the world.
Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! by James Patterson and Chirs Tebbetts
James Patterson’s winning follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life is another riotous and heartwarming story about living large. After sixth grade, the very worst year of his life, Rafe Khatchadorian thinks he has it made in seventh grade. He’s been accepted to art school in the big city and imagines a math-and-history-free fun zone. Wrong! It’s more competitive than Rafe ever expected, and to score big in class, he needs to find a way to turn his boring life into the inspiration for a work of art. His method? Operation: Get a Life! Anything he’s never done before, he’s going to do it, from learning to play poker to going to a modern art museum. But when his newest mission uncovers secrets about the family Rafe’s never known, he has to decide if he’s ready to have his world turned upside down. The latest in this series includes more than 100 illustrations by Laura Park.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
Pete the Cat is back—and this time he’s rocking in his school shoes. Pete discovers the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and lots of other cool places at school. And no matter where he goes, Pete never stops moving and grooving and singing his song . . . because it’s all good. Kids ages 3 and up will be thrilled to hear about all the cool things they have to look forward to this school year!
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly the mouse worries about everything: big things, like whether her parents might disappear in the middle of the night; little things, like whether she’ll spill grape juice on her toy rabbit, Petal; and things in between, like whether she might shrink in the bathtub. What she is more worried about than anything else, however, is her first day at the New Morning Nursery School. Kevin Henkes, well-loved creator of the award-winning Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, gets to the heart of a child’s feelings like no one else can. Young worrywarts (and their parents) will see themselves in Wemberly, and be relieved that she, too, worries. This beloved favorite is perfect for ages 4 and up.
Check out these books and more great summer reading picks at Books & Books, 130 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Call 631-998-3260 or visit online at booksandbookswhb.com.