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Jodi Picoult is the author of 18 novels, including My Sister's Keeper, The Pact and Nineteen Minutes. When you think about blockbuster best-sellers, genres like mystery, crime and romance typically come to mind. My sister is glassy-eyed, slack-jawed, almost asleep, but she fixes her gaze directly on mine. In the year 241, 12-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day a€” the day schoolchildren are told what their jobs will be a€” to become a Messenger so she can run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, and perhaps even glimpse Unknown Regions. August 5, 2013 • More than 2,000 of you weighed in with your nominations for the best books for young readers. June 13, 2005 • As crisis looms, a city's leaders establish a city illuminated entirely by artificial light.
Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive. The InstructionsWhen the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the Chief Builder and the Assistant Builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future. September 19, 2011 • Many athletes have reputations for being obnoxious, overpaid and rude. December 9, 2006 • Stephen Wilkes photographed a side of Ellis Island that no one sees. Sign up for our newsletter to have the best of Book Riot delivered straight to your inbox every two weeks.
To keep up with Book Riot on a daily basis, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, , and subscribe to the Book Riot podcast in iTunes or via RSS. September 11, 2005 • After a summer of weekly book picks from a variety of notable readers, Weekend Edition Sunday asked for input from the listeners. May 13, 2005 • Robert Siegel talks about the history of beer with Tom Standage, technology editor at The Economist. The History of the World in 6 Glasses Walker & CompanyCopyright © 2005 Tom StandageAll right reserved.
Best known for his wacky appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, Chris Elliott tries out his literary skills with a novel about a demented serial killer. Maria Venegas' memoir Bulletproof Vest opens with the story of her father's near death at the hands of would-be assassins in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. You've got to illuminate each one, and then let the reader decide what's the brightest one and why. In We Can All Do Better, Bradley argues that political change can come about remarkably fast, but only if people get involved.
Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom documents weather-beaten remnants of the immigration hub's abandoned buildings. A History of the World in Six Glasses is Standage's new book that traces the history of civilization through beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea and coca cola. ISBN: 0-8027-1447-1 Chapter One A Stone-Age Brew Fermentation and civilization are inseparable. As a teenager growing up in the Midwest, he considered documentaries to be a bit like broccoli: good for you, but boring.
He's shot while returning home from a bar, collapses near his house, losing blood, dying, until a neighbor happens upon him during a walk. And ultimately, I think that's the same experience the reader has when they pick up one of my books. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium.
Cos we've got enough Podcast material to keep you occupied for roughly 2 years and 147 days. When Maria's sister calls to tell her the news, the young writer doesn't even look up from her lunch menu. But that's how Jodi Picoult, who has 33 million copies of her books currently in circulation, describes her novels. You learn something every time you read one of her books." Picoult doesn't take her fans for granted. His first book was a Father's Day parody of Mommie Dearest called Daddy's Boy, which he wrote with his father, famous straight man Bob Elliott.
He was elected to the school board when he was a senior in high school, became a young supporter of Richard Nixon, and even flirted with the idea of becoming a Catholic priest. Later they find him curled up in the back seat of their car crying, because he didn't get to graduate.
We can't know for sure." "And when the time comes," said the Assistant, "how will they know what to do?" "We'll provide them with instructions, of course," the Chief Builder replied. Roger & Me, about the decline of Moore's hometown, Flint, Mich., was the public's first glimpse of the documentarian's often brash interview style.
By that time, his daughter Maria has come to terms with him, almost a€” and the man whose life was dominated by violence embraces the sensitive, bright daughter whom he abandoned. The howling outburst was all part of a demonstration that showed just how much she learned about wolves while researching her new book, and vividly demonstrated her special talent for connecting with fans. The road to their reunion a€” "reconciliation" seems a bit too pat, a bit too optimistic a€” isn't easy. Who can we trust to keep them safe and secret all that time?" "The mayor of the city will keep the instructions," said the Chief Builder. It's that difficult journey that Venegas chronicles so originally, so beautifully, in Bulletproof Vest. Bestler remembers the time, right before she began working with Picoult, when she saw two young women on the subway reading her books.
I have no affinity for wolves; I know nothing about wolves beyond what most people tend to know.
There are only multiple stories, each with a thousand different layers and perspectives, and trying to weave them into something coherent is as close to impossible as anything else in literature. And I started to do a little research, and I began to think, 'What if I created a guy who had lived with a wild pack?

Who didn't just study them from afar, but actually lived with them?' " Picoult is not the kind of writer who just makes things up for her fiction.
There may be no one left in the city by then or no safe place for them to come back to." So the first mayor of Ember was given the box, told to guard it carefully, and solemnly sworn to secrecy.
She does extensive research for her books, delving into medical, scientific and ethical research, visiting hospitals and even prisons if necessary. When she grew old, and her time as mayor was up, she explained about the box to her successor, who also kept the secret carefully, as did the next mayor. And so I was kind of a different person from that moment on." On why he dislikes being called controversial "I started my own newspaper when I was 22, 23 years old. For background on Lone Wolf, she learned everything she could about wolves and spent time with a researcher who had actually lived with a pack.
And it was an alternative newspaper, and I edited and wrote for that paper for almost a decade.
She's an immigrant living in a suburban Chicago neighborhood where Mexican-Americans are discriminated against, misunderstood by the few people who even bother to acknowledge them in the first place. But for all her interest in research and facts, Picoult still believes she can have the greatest impact on readers through fiction. But the seventh mayor of Ember was less honorable than the ones who'd come before him, and more desperate. There was almost certainly no beer before 10,000 BCE, but it was widespread in the Near East by 4000 BCE, when it appears in a pictogram from Mesopotamia, a region that corresponds to modern-day Iraq, depicting two figures drinking beer through reed straws from a large pottery jar.
We're standing there in line, getting ready to go up to the graduation ceremony, and he's coming down the line making sure each of the boys have a tie on underneath their gown.
And that was kind of my early background before Roger & Me, in terms of investigative reporting and writing about what was going on, especially with General Motors. Administrators at her school accuse her of leading a gang, and even as she excels at academics, her school's faculty members seem skeptical of her ability to succeed in college.
He was illa€“he had the coughing sickness that was common in the city thena€“and he thought the box might hold a secret that would save his life. He took it from its hiding place in the basement of the Gathering Hall and brought it home with him, where he attacked it with a hammer.
What is clear, however, is that the rise of beer was closely associated with the domestication of the cereal grains from which it is made and the adoption of farming. It came into existence during a turbulent period in human history that witnessed the switch from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle, followed by a sudden increase in social complexity manifested most strikingly in the emergence of cities. She switches perspectives and timeframes, sometimes suddenly, writing one chapter entirely in the second person. It's a much gentler approach, sometimes, into a controversial subject than nonfiction is." Fact, Fiction And Fans Waiting for Picoult to sign their books, Rachel Minnick, Susan Berkelbach and Carrie Dunn say they have been reading Picoult's books for years. Beer is a liquid relic from human prehistory, and its origins are closely intertwined with the origins of civilization itself. It's a risky move for any writer, and it's something like a miracle that Venegas pulls it off as perfectly as she does.
She has taken on a long list of issues in her novels, including hard topics that many readers would just as soon not think about.
Her narrative shifts aren't just bold; they're necessary a€” with every story, every chapter, she finds the perfect way to relate it. And before he could return the box to its official hiding place or tell his successor about it, he died.
Its discovery was inevitable once the gathering of wild grains became widespread after the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 BCE, in a region known as the Fertile Crescent.
I wasn't an economist, but it just made sense to me that moving these jobs to Mexico and other places was going to totally decimate our economy here.
There it sat, unnoticed, year after year, until its time arrived, and the lock quietly clicked open. This area stretches from modern-day Egypt, up the Mediterranean coast to the southeast corner of Turkey, and then down again to the border between Iraq and Iran. When the ice age ended, the uplands of the region provided an ideal environment for wild sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs-and, in some areas, for dense stands of wild wheat and barley. Reflecting on her father's near death by gunmen, Venegas writes what must be one of the hardest things for a person to admit: "I'm indifferent to whether he lives or dies. She's an incredible storyteller." Berkelbach likes how Picoult weaves different ideas into her stories.
The only light came from great floodlamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. This meant the Fertile Crescent provided unusually rich pickings for roving bands of human hunter-gatherers. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened and then stretched out again. They not only hunted animals and gathered edible plants but collected the abundant cereal grains growing wild in the region. I'm certain that it's only a matter of time before his past catches up to him, before he turns up dead, and I've decided that when that call comes, I will not shed a single tear." And as amazing as that emotional honesty is, it's the brilliantly executed narrative structure a€” the stubborn refusal to give in to established perceptions about the memoir a€” that makes the book truly amazing.
When the lights were off, as they were between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds. It's likely Bulletproof Vest will be taught in college classes for years to come, not just because of its brutal and heartfelt prose, but because of its technical brilliance. There are more than a thousand stories in this book, each one holding the others up and collapsing in on themselves. Although unsuitable for consumption when raw, they can be made edible by roughly pounding or crushing them and then soaking them in water.
What's so controversial about just trying to warn people that this company a€” the way they're being run a€” it's not good? The city of Ember was old, and everything in it, including the power lines, was in need of repair. A variety of ingredients such as fish, nuts, and berries would have been mixed with water in a plastered or bitumen-lined basket.

As they came to a halt in the middle of the street or stood stock still in their houses, afraid to move in the utter blackness, they were reminded of something they preferred not to think about: that some day the lights of the city might go out and never come back on.
Grains contain tiny granules of starch, and when placed in hot water they absorb moisture and then burst, releasing the starch into the soup and thickening it considerably. Grown people did their work, and younger people, until they reached the age of twelve, went to school.
When no other foodstuffs were available to make soup, they could be used on their own to make either a thick porridge or a thin broth or gruel. On the last day of their final year, which was called Assignment Day, they were given jobs to do.
This discovery led to the development of tools and techniques to collect, process, and store grain.
It involved quite a lot of effort but provided a way to guard against the possibility of future food shortages. Throughout the Fertile Crescent there is archaeological evidence from around 10,000 BCE of flint-bladed sickles for harvesting cereal grains, woven baskets for carrying them, stone hearths for drying them, underground pits for storing them, and grindstones for processing them. On Assignment Day of the year 241, this classroom, usually noisy first thing in the morning, was completely silent. An archaeologist used a flint-bladed sickle to see how efficiently a prehistoric family could have harvested wild grains, which still grow in some parts of Turkey. In one hour he gathered more than two pounds of grain, which suggested that a family that worked eight-hour days for three weeks would have been able to gather enough to provide each family member with a pound of grain a day for a year. But this would have meant staying near the stands of wild cereals to ensure the family did not miss the most suitable time to harvest them.
And having gathered a large quantity of grain, they would be reluctant to leave it unguarded. It was difficult to make storage pits perfectly watertight, so this property would have become apparent as soon as humans first began to store grain. The cause of this sweetness is now understood: Moistened grain produces diastase enzymes, which convert starch within the grain into maltose sugar, or malt. Gruel that was left sitting around for a couple of days underwent a mysterious transformation, particularly if it had been made with malted grain: It became slightly fizzy and pleasantly intoxicating, as the action of wild yeasts from the air fermented the sugar in the gruel into alcohol.
The more malted grain there is in the original gruel, for example, and the longer it is left to ferment, the stronger the beer. More malt means more sugar, and a longer fermentation means more of the sugar is turned into alcohol. The malting process converts only around 15 percent of the starch found in barley grains into sugar, but when malted barley is mixed with water and brought to the boil, other starch-converting enzymes, which become active at higher temperatures, turn more of the starch into sugar, so there is more sugar for the yeast to transform into alcohol. Later historical records from Egypt and Mesopotamia show that brewers always carried their own "mash tubs" around with them, and one Mesopotamian myth refers to "containers which make the beer good." Repeated use of the same mash tub promoted successful fermentation because yeast cultures took up residence in the container's cracks and crevices, so that there was no need to rely on the more capricious wild yeast.
Finally, adding berries, honey, spices, herbs, and other flavorings to the gruel altered the taste of the resulting beer in various ways.
Over the next few thousand years, people discovered how to make a variety of beers of different strengths and flavors for different occasions.
Similarly, early written references to beer from Mesopotamia, in the third millennium BCE, list over twenty different kinds, including fresh beer, dark beer, fresh-dark beer, strong beer, red-brown beer, light beer, and pressed beer. Red-brown beer was a dark beer made using extra malt, while pressed beer was a weaker, more watery brew that contained less grain. Mesopotamian brewers could also control the taste and color of their beer by adding different amounts of bappir, or beer-bread.
To make bappir, sprouted barley was shaped into lumps, like small loaves, which were baked twice to produce a dark-brown, crunchy, unleavened bread that could be stored for years before being crumbled into the brewer's vat. Records indicate that bappir was kept in government storehouses and was only eaten during food shortages; it was not so much a foodstuff as a convenient way to store the raw material for making beer. A thick gruel could be baked in the sun or on a hot stone to make flatbread; a thin gruel could be left to ferment into beer. The two were different sides of the same coin: Bread was solid beer, and beer was liquid bread. But much can be inferred from later records of the way beer was used by the first literate civilizations, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the ancient Egyptians.
Indeed, so enduring are the cultural traditions associated with beer that some of them survive to this day.
Sumerian depictions of beer from the third millennium BCE generally show two people drinking through straws from a shared vessel.
By the Sumerian period, however, it was possible to filter the grains, chaff, and other debris from beer, and the advent of pottery meant it could just as easily have been served in individual cups.
That beer drinkers are, nonetheless, so widely depicted using straws suggests that it was a ritual that persisted even when straws were no longer necessary. When several people drink beer from the same vessel, they are all consuming the same liquid; when cutting up a piece of meat, in contrast, some parts are usually deemed to be more desirable than others. As a result, sharing a drink with someone is a universal symbol of hospitality and friendship.
It signals that the person offering the drink can be trusted, by demonstrating that it is not poisoned or otherwise unsuitable for consumption.
The earliest beer, brewed in a primitive vessel in an era that predated the use of individual cups, would have to have been shared.
Although it is no longer customary to offer visitors a straw through which to drink from a communal vat of beer, today tea or coffee may be offered from a shared pot, or a glass of wine or spirits from a shared bottle. And when drinking alcohol in a social setting, the clinking of glasses symbolically reunites the glasses into a single vessel of shared liquid.

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