Hands on Bay Area Book Club

Hands on Bay Area Book Club

Hands on Bay Area leads more than 100 volunteer projects every month, benefiting more than 300 local, nonprofit agencies. The Hands On Bay Area Book Club discusses today's most engaging books on social issues and what role individuals can play to make a difference in their own communities.

The Book Club is open to the public and meets monthly at Books Inc in Mountain View, 301 Castro Street, 650-428-1234. Please register on the Hands On Bay Area website www.handsonbayarea.org or email ambrosia@handsonbayarea.org for more information.


$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780142180303
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume, 8/2013
August 2014 Selection: Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
"A modern voyage of discovery." --Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of "The Lightness of Being "
The Higgs boson is one of our era's most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, "The God Particle," was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening--after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland--into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. "The Particle at the End of the Universe" has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics--all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780345534538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books, 4/2014
July 2014 Selection: When Pulitzer Prize"-"winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. "Empty Mansions" is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?
Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark's cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.
Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else.
The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the "Titanic."

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780316322409
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 10/2013
June 2014 Selection: When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143118749
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 2/2011
May 2014 Selection: "If ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it." -"The Washington Post"
In the dramatic story of one of the greatest acts of corporate espionage ever committed, Sarah Rose recounts the fascinating, unlikely circumstances surrounding a turning point in economic history. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the British East India Company faced the loss of its monopoly on the fantastically lucrative tea trade with China, forcing it to make the drastic decision of sending Scottish botanist Robert Fortune to steal the crop from deep within China and bring it back to British plantations in India. Fortune's danger-filled odyssey, magnificently recounted here, reads like adventure fiction, revealing a long-forgotten chapter of the past and the wondrous origins of a seemingly ordinary beverage.

This Book Is Not Sold Online - In Store Special Order Only
ISBN-13: 9780195311990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA, 11/2006
April 2014 Selection: Hailed as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of Silicon Valley, Robert Noyce was a brilliant inventor, a leading entrepreneur, and a daring risk taker who piloted his own jets and skied mountains accessible only by helicopter. Now, in The Man Behind the Microchip, Leslie Berlin captures not only this colorful individual but also the vibrant interplay of technology, business, money, politics, and culture that defines Silicon Valley.
Here is the life of a high-tech industry giant. The co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, Noyce co-invented the integrated circuit, the electronic heart of every modern computer, automobile, cellular telephone, advanced weapon, and video game. With access to never-before-seen documents, Berlin paints a fascinating portrait of Noyce: an ambitious and intensely competitive multimillionaire who exuded a "just folks" sort of charm, a Midwestern preacher's son who rejected organized religion but would counsel his employees to "go off and do something wonderful," a man who never looked back and sometimes paid a price for it. In addition, this vivid narrative sheds light on Noyce's friends and associates, including some of the best-known managers, venture capitalists, and creative minds in Silicon Valley. Berlin draws upon interviews with dozens of key players in modern American business--including Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, Gordon Moore, and Warren Buffett; their recollections of Noyce give readers a privileged, first-hand look inside the dynamic world of high-tech entrepreneurship.
A modern American success story, The Man Behind the Microchip illuminates the triumphs and setbacks of one of the most important inventors and entrepreneurs of our time.

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780307452061
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books, 6/2013
March 2014 Selection: The French, "sans doute," " "love their "fromages." And there's much to love: hundreds of gloriously pungent varieties--crumbly, creamy, buttery, even shot through with bottle-green mold. So many varieties, in fact, that the aspiring gourmand may wonder: How does one make sense of it all?
In "The Whole Fromage," Kathe Lison sets out to learn what makes French cheese so remarkable--why France is the "Cheese Mother Ship," in the words of one American expert. Her journey takes her to cheese caves tucked within the craggy volcanic rock of Auvergne, to a centuries-old monastery in the French Alps, and to the farmlands that keep cheesemaking traditions alive." "She meets the dairy scientists, shepherds, and "affineurs" who make up the world of modern French cheese, and whose lifestyles and philosophies are as varied and flavorful as the delicacies they produce. Most delicious of all, she meets the cheeses themselves--from spruce-wrapped Mont d'Or, so gooey it's best eaten with a spoon; to luminous Beaufort, redolent of Alpine grasses and wildflowers, a single round of which can weigh as much as a Saint Bernard; to Camembert, invented in Normandy but beloved and imitated across the world.
With writing as piquant and rich as a well-aged Roquefort, as charming as a tender springtime "chevre," and yet as unsentimental as a stinky Maroilles, "The Whole Fromage" is a tasty exploration of one of the great culinary treasures of France.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780307352156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books, 1/2013
February 2014 Selection: The book that started the Quiet Revolution
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts--Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak--that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In "Quiet, "Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, "Quiet "has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780307887832
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Crown, 8/2012
January 2014 Selection: "Law Man" is an improbable-but-true memoir of redemption -- the story of a young bank robber who became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in American history, and who changed not just his own life, but the lives of everyone around him.
Shon Hopwood was a good kid from a good Nebraskan family, a small-town basketball star whose parents had started a local church. Few who knew him as a friendly teen would have imagined that, shortly after returning home from the Navy, he'd be adrift with few prospects and plotting to rob a bank. But rob he did, committing five heists before being apprehended.
Only twenty three and potentially facing twelve years in Illinois' Pekin Federal Prison, Shon feared his life was already over. He'd shamed himself and his loving family and friends, and a part of him wanted to die. He wasn't sure at first if he'd survive the prison gangs, but slowly glimmers of hope appeared. He earned some respect on the prison basketball court, received a steady flow of letters from hometown well wishers, including a note from a special girl whom he'd thought too beautiful to ever pay him notice - and, most crucially, he secured a job in the prison law library.
It was an assignment that would prove his salvation.
Poring over the library's thick legal volumes, Shon discovered that he had a knack for the law, and he soon became the go-to guy for inmates seeking help. Then came a request to write a complex petition to the Supreme Court - a high-wire act of jailhouse lawyering that had never before met with success.
By the time Shon walked out of Pekin Prison he'd pulled off a series of legal miracles, earned the undying gratitude of numerous inmates, won the woman of his dreams, and built a new life for himself far greater than anything he could have imagined.
A story that mixes moments of high-adrenaline with others of deep poignancy, "Law Man" is a powerful reminder that even the worst mistakes can be redeemed through faith, hard work and the love and support of others.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780547247786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books, 12/2009
October 2013 Selection:

An award-winning biologist takes us on the dramatic expeditions that unearthed the history of life on our planet.

Just 150 years ago, most of our world was an unexplored wilderness. Our sense of its age was vague and vastly off the mark, and much of the knowledge of our own species' history was a set of fantastic myths and fairy tales. In the tradition of "The Microbe Hunters "and" Gods," "Graves," "and""Scholars," Sean Carroll leads a rousing voyage that recounts the most important discoveries in two centuries of natural history: from Darwin's trip around the world to Charles Walcott's discovery of pre-Cambrian life in the Grand Canyon; from Louis and Mary Leakey's investigation of our deepest past in East Africa to the trailblazers in modern laboratories who have located a time clock in our DNA.

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780767916035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor, 9/2006
August 2013 Selection: David Rakoff takes us on a bitingly funny grand tour of our culture of excess. Whether he is contrasting the elegance of one of the last flights of the supersonic Concorde with the good-times-and-chicken-wings populism of Hooters Air; working as a cabana boy at a South Beach hotel; or traveling to a private island off the coast of Belize to watch a soft-core video shoot--where he is provided with his very own personal manservant--rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly skewered. Somewhere along the line, our healthy self-regard has exploded into obliterating narcissism; our manic getting and spending have now become celebrated as moral virtues. Simultaneously a Wildean satire and a plea for a little human decency, " Don't Get Too Comfortable" shows that far from being bobos in paradise, we're in a special circle of gilded-age hell.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780307476074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 4/2013
July 2013 Selection: A Best Nonfiction Book of 2012: "The Boston Globe," "Entertainment Weekly
"A Best Book of the Year: NPR, "St. Louis Dispatch, Vogue"
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, "Wild" powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780452297982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume, 4/2012
June 2013 Selection:

What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?
In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and "discovered" Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer's perilous path in search of the truth--except he'd written about adventure far more than he'd actually lived it. In fact, he'd never even slept in a tent.

"Turn Right at Machu Picchu" is Adams' fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world's most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: Just what "was" Machu Picchu?

$14.00
ISBN-13: 9780802779144
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walker & Company, 9/2011
May 2013 Selection: Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its people, and its culture's conundrums. As her skill with Mandarin increased, bits of the language - a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar - became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol, relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China.Fallows learned, for example, that the abrupt, blunt way of speaking which Chinese people sometimes use isn't rudeness, but is, in fact a way to acknowledge and honor the closeness between two friends. She learned that English speakers' trouble with hearing or saying tones-the variations in inflection that can change a word's meaning-is matched by Chinese speakers' inability "not" to hear tones, or to even take a guess at understanding what might have been meant when foreigners misuse them."Dreaming in Chinese" is the story of what Deborah Fallows discovered about the Chinese language, and how that helped her make sense of what had at first seemed like the chaos and contradiction of everyday life in China.

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780807044780
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Beacon Press, 2/2013
April 2013 Selection: How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become "white trash"? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.
" "
"White Bread" teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet "pain au levain, " he shows how efforts to champion "good food" reflect dreams of a better society--even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.
In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, "dirty" bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original "superfood" and even marketed as patriotic--while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America.
The history of America's one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation's decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for "unhealthy" eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, "White Bread" is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food. "From the Hardcover edition."

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781451652093
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Touchstone, 3/2013
February 2013 Selection: Tania Head's astonishing account of her experience on September 11, 2001, was a tale of loss and recovery, of courage and sorrow, of horror and inspiration. It transformed her into one of the great victims and heroes of that tragic day. But there was something very wrong with Tania's story--a terrible secret that would break the hearts and challenge the faith of all those she claimed to champion.

Told with the unique insider perspective of Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., a filmmaker shooting a documentary on the efforts of the Survivors' Network, and previously one of Tania's closest friends, "The Woman Who Wasn't There "is the story of one of the most audacious and bewildering quests for acclaim in recent memory--one that poses fascinating questions about the essence of morality and the human need for connection at any cost.


$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780316051637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books, 6/2011
January 2013 Selection:The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781416540199
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Atria Books, 6/2007
October 2012 Selection: A memoir of war-torn Iraq like no other, this poignant book takes readers through an odyssey stranger than fiction--the true story of an Iraqi-born American forced to fight for Saddam and then for his freedom from American forces as a POW.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780679752929
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 1/1994
September 2012 Selection: Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an "urban problem" had arrived in the town to stay.
Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
Out of his experience comes a startling but ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland as it confronts--and surmounts--its deepest prejudices and fears.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780307279187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 4/2010
August 2012 Pick: An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America's best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall's incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

$18.00
ISBN-13: 9781592406975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gotham, 3/2012
July 2012 Pick: Grant Achatz, shares how his drive to cook immaculate food fueled his miraculous triumph over tongue cancer.

By 2007 chef Grant Achatz had been named one of the best new chefs in America by Food & Wine, he had received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, and he and Nick Kokonas had opened the conceptually radical restaurant Alinea, which was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine. Then, positioned firmly in the world's culinary spotlight, Achatz was diagnosed with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma-tongue cancer.

The prognosis grim, Grant undertook an alternative treatment of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation that ravaged his body and left him without a sense of taste. Tapping into his profound discipline and passion, he trained his chefs to mimic his palate and learned how to cook with his other senses. As Kokonas was able to attest, the food was never better. Five months later, Grant was declared cancer-free and went on to achieve some of the highest honors in the culinary world. "Life, on the Line" is not only a chef's memoir, it is also a book about survival, about nurturing creativity, and about profound friendship.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143119463
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 5/2011
June 2012 Pick: Publisher Marketing: "A necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why." -Sam Sifton, "The New York Times Book Review." Writer and life-long fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. "Four Fish" offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780385531108
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 1/2012
May 2012 Pick: In 2005, astronomer Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a 10th planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown's find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye.

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780767919371
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books, 9/2007
April 2012 Pick: From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language comes a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143118824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 1/2011
February 2012 Pick: A beguiling concoction--equal parts true crime, 20th-century history, and science thriller--"The Poisoner's Handbook" is a fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison, and murder, and the birth of forensic medicine.