Train Wreck: My Life as an Idoit
By Jeff Nichols
Jeff Nichols is a walking, raving lunatic. A former drug and alcohol abusing stand-up comic, he suppresses his raging inner-demons, the byproduct of these former addictions, through excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar, compounding his diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome and God only knows what else into an eternal state of manic rambunctiousness. His admitted madness, laziness and warped sense of values have not equated with the traditional societal benchmarks for success. Living a step away from homelessness and in relative obscurity for much of his adult life, Nichols alerts his readers that his memoir is not about overcoming disabilities to achieve greatness. This type of honesty permeates throughout all of Train Wreck, with the one exception being the title, where Nichols refers to himself as an “idiot,” misspelled intentionally. His witticism, knack for storytelling, and exploration of the human psyche and social interaction are surprisingly profound, hilariously capturing a perspective of the human experience that is rarely available for public consumption.
By Theresa Sauer
Mark Batty Publisher
Drawing on musical scores from over 100 composers from around the globe, Notations 21 is a highly visual menagerie of annotated works that can be described as nothing short of confounding to flip through. Playing with our perception of what written music is supposed to look like, this behemoth of a book is filled with perplexing abstractions of the medium that is sheet music. This collection of kaleidoscopic and geometrically driven compositions should not just be considered a piece of artwork for the pure aesthetic beauty of its contents, but also for the fact that it allows the reader to conceptualize music in a way previously unimaginable. A close read of Notations of 21 offers a method to many of the composer’s perceived madness—the detailed notations throughout serve to illuminate the artist’s intended vision. There is but one caveat in picking this book up: Trying to play these compositions on the family keyboard may prove next to impossible.
Spirits and Oxygen
By Yolanda Coulaz
Purple Sage Press
When we think of summer reading or a beach read, the type of book that comes to mind is some kind of page turner that doesn’t require too much heavy mental lifting – maybe a Danielle Steele or Maeve Binchy novel for women and something of the James Patterson or Dan Brown ilk for men. Essentially the “summer book” is easy to dive into, doesn’t involve a ton of energy to comprehend and can provide hours of escapism from whatever stress life may bring your way. Spirits and Oxygen by Farmingdale poet Yolanda Coulaz is an alternative choice for the summer reader looking to challenge themselves from the comfort of their beach chair. An award winning collection of works that is part of the curriculum for advanced poetry courses at Stony Brook University, Spirits and Oxygen is an honest, passionate, introspective compilation of verses that explores a wide array of aspects of the human experience. Whether you’re just looking to supplement your reading with a poem or two before bed or are ambitious enough to attack the collection as a whole, consider Coulaz’s volume an intervention from another summer of literary relapses.
The Legend of Mickey Tussler
By Frank Nappi
St. Martin’s Press
It’s 2009 and even with autism now being accepted terminology in the national lexicon, those who can give you an intelligible explanation as to what the disorder actually entails are still few and far between. Turn back the clock to the 1940s and autism doesn’t even have an official name. Any semblance of understanding or empathy for the condition is virtually nonexistent. Long Island author Frank Nappi’s second novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, is the tale of a prodigiously gifted teenage pitching prospect, recruited to the Boston Braves farm system and called upon in 1948, despite being autistic, to save the minor league Brewers squad from a historically bad season. Thrown into the circumstances he was previously sheltered from, seventeen-year-old Mickey Tussler must now find his way in a world that may not be ready for him.
Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer
By Richard Wiese
If you and your family are looking to tap into the natural human inclination to explore but aren’t quite ready, for obvious reasons, to commit to an African Safari or Himalayan expedition, then Born to Explore is your tour guide to endless outdoor adventure without the need for a passport or plane ticket. Stony Brook native Richard Wiese, an adventure enthusiast who’s résumé includes the ascent of previously unclimbed Alaskan summits and a cross-country ski campaign to the North Pole had not only a plethora of practical outdoor knowledge to impart on readers but a desire to bring the thrill of the wilderness to anybody that seeks its wonder. With sections ranging from navigating with the stars to building an igloo to how to harvest coffee beans, don’t confuse Born to Explore with the your cookie-cutter outdoor survival guide. Consider it an outline to maximizing enjoyment with the natural world.
Historic Photos of Long Island
By Joe Czachowski
Turner Publishing Company
Doubling as a coffee table showpiece and a richly detailed visual history of the largest island in the continental United States, Historic Photos of Long Island is a captivating volume with an educational backbone. Covering a century of images (1865-1960s), and beginning with pillars of the island’s development, Hard Work and Railroads, this photographic history spans the Automotive and Aeronautic advancement periods and concludes with images of LI during World War II and the Post-war boom. Particularly poignant is this book’s ability to capture a sense of idyllic suburban simplicity while also providing a backdrop as to how the island forged its identity.
HIDE & SEEK: How I Laughed at Depression, Conquered My Fears and Found Happiness
By Wendy Aron
What do you do if you’re a 40 year old neurotic author with suicidal thoughts and your doctor, who serves as the gatekeeper to admittance for your comforting psychiatric hospital of yesteryear, chokes to death on a chicken bone as you’re on the brink of a mental breakdown? Answer: Write a humorous memoir of your yearlong quest throughout the self-help industry in search of happiness. Author Wendy Aron, who dedicates her book to “everyone that needs help,” takes a unique approach to writing about depression, using her quirky wit, self-deprecating humor and newly found perspective to speak candidly on a mental condition debilitating to millions, exposing trendy alternative remedies as the farces they are while providing plenty of hope for recovery.
You and Your Big Ideas
By Brian Fried
So you have a great idea for a new product, business or invention but have no idea what the next step is towards making your conception a reality. That’s to be expected; there’s a ton that goes into being a successful inventor other than having the best idea. To start, how are you going to protect your invention, improve upon it, get it known, licensed, manufactured, and marketed? What’s the inventor to do when he or she faces hardships like mental blocks, barriers to access, or a shortage of capital? Melville native and inventor extraordinaire Brian Fried’s invention manifesto, You and Your Big Ideas, cogently elucidates these very questions as well as other potential landmines the would-be inventor must navigate through in order to successfully launch a concept into the public domain. Beginning with the fundamentals of becoming an inventor – timing, attitude and open-mindedness – and gently guiding the reader through the entire invention process, You and Your Big Ideas makes it clear that you need not be the next Da Vinci or Edison, and you certainly do not need to reinvent the wheel to get your idea on the map.
101 Glimpses of the North Shore
101 Glimpses of the South Fork
By Richard Panchyk
The History Press Inc.
There has been no lack of tabloid ink spilled documenting and glamorizing the opulent Hamptons summer homes that celebrities, like clockwork, flock to annually. Likewise, who hasn’t read The Great Gatsby and envisioned the stately elegance of the North Shore or East and West “Eggs,” as F. Scott Fitzgerald so memorably referred to them. When we discuss the Island in terms of these two distinctive shores, north and south, it’s not merely a vast geographical difference we Long Islanders speak of but a disparity that exists between the respective locations in character and culture. Accomplished Long Island historian Richard Panchyk, in his dual edition 101 Glimpses, thoroughly chronicles the particular uniqueness of the North Shore and South Fork, drawing upon history and a bevy of archival photography to capture each location’s essence, thereby showing why and how these two dissimilar regions became the “playgrounds” of choice for the wealthy.