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Claiming Ground
The Fiddler in the Subway The Story of the World-Class Violinist Who Played for Handouts. . .
Fire Season
The First Family Detail Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents
Fooling Houdini Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind
Good mourning
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
The Last Pirate A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Mortuary Confidential Undertakers Spill the Dirt
Paper Lion Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
The Reluctant Psychic
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes And Other Lessons from the Crematory
A Thousand Naked Strangers A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back
Winged Obsession The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler
Working Stiff Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
Claiming Ground / Laura Bell

In 1977, Laura Bell, at loose ends after graduating from college, leaves her family home in Kentucky for a wild and unexpected adventure: herding sheep in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. Inexorably drawn to this life of solitude and physical toil, a young woman in a man's world, she is perhaps the strangest member of this beguiling community of drunks and eccentrics. So begins her unabating search for a place to belong and for the raw materials with which to create a home and family of her own. Yet only through time and distance does she acquire the wisdom that allows her to see the love she lived through and sometimes left behind.By turns cattle rancher, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife and mother, Bell vividly recounts her struggle to find solid earth in which to put down roots.

The Fiddler in the Subway: The Story of the World-Class Violinist Who Played for Handouts. . . / Gene Weingarten

Simply the best storyteller around, Weingarten describes the world as you think it is before revealing how it actually is - in narratives that are by turns hilarious, heartwarming, and provocative, but always memorable.

Millions of people know the title piece about violinist Joshua Bell, which originally began as a stunt: What would happen if you put a world-class musician outside a Washington, D.C., subway station to play for spare change? Would anyone even notice? The answer was no. Weingarten's story went viral, becoming a widely referenced lesson about life lived too quickly. Other classic stories - the one about "The Great Zucchini," a wildly popular but personally flawed children's entertainer; the search for the official "Armpit of America"; a profile of the typical American nonvoter - all of them reveal as much about their readers as they do their subjects.

Fire Season / Philip Connors

Fire Season is Connors's remarkable reflection on work, our place in the wild, and the charms of solitude. The landscape over which he keeps watch is rugged and roadless ?? it was the first region in the world to be officially placed off limits to industrial machines??and it typically gets hit by lightning more than 30,000 times per year. Connors recounts his days and nights in this forbidding land, untethered from the comforts of modern life: the eerie pleasure of being alone in his glass-walled perch with only his dog Alice for company; occasional visits from smokejumpers and long-distance hikers; the strange dance of communion and wariness with bears, elk, and other wild creatures; trips to visit the hidden graves of buffalo soldiers slain during the Apache wars of the nineteenth century; and always the majesty and might of lightning storms and untamed fire.?

The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents / Ronald Kessler

As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation's leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children. Crammed with new, headline-making revelations,?The?First?Family?Detail?by Ronald Kessler tells that eye-opening, uncensored story. Since publication of his New York Times bestselling book In the President's Secret Service, award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler has continued to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, breaking the story that Secret Service agents who were to protect President Obama and instead hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind / Alex Stone

From the back rooms of New York City?s age-old magic societies to cutting-edge psychology labs, three-card monte games on Canal Street to glossy Las Vegas casinos, Fooling Houdini recounts Alex Stone?s quest to join the ranks of master magicians. As he navigates this quirky and occasionally hilarious subculture populated by brilliant eccentrics, Stone pulls back the curtain on a community shrouded in secrecy, fueled by obsession and brilliance, and organized around one overriding need: to prove one?s worth by deceiving others.

But his journey is more than a tale of tricks, gigs, and geeks. By investing some of the lesser-known corners of psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery and illusion, Fooling Houdini arrives at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works--and?why, sometimes, it doesn?t.

Good mourning / Elizabeth Meyer

Good Mourning offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most famous funeral homes in the country--where not even big money can protect you from the universal experience of grieving. It's "Gossip Girls" meets "Six Feet Under", told from the unique perspective of a fashionista turned funeral planner.

Elizabeth Meyer stumbled upon a career in the midst of planning her own father's funeral, which she turned into an upbeat party with Rolling Stones music, thousands of dollars worth of her mother's favorite flowers, and a personalized eulogy. Starting out as a receptionist, Meyer quickly found she had a knack for helping people cope with their grief, as well as creating fitting send-offs for some of the city's most high-powered residents.

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming / Mike Brown

The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth 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. The debate culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of "dwarf" planet. Suddenly Brown was receiving hate mail from schoolchildren and being bombarded by TV reporters - all because of the discovery he had spent years searching for and a lifetime dreaming about.

The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana / Tony Dokoupil

The Last Pirate is a vivid, haunting and often hilarious memoir recounting the life of Big Tony, a family man who joined the biggest pot ring of the Reagan era and exploded his life in the process. Three decades later, his son came back to put together the pieces. As he relates his father's rise from hey-man hippie dealer to multi-ton smuggler extraordinaire, Tony Dokoupil tells the larger history of marijuana and untangles the controversies still stirring furious debate today. He blends superb reportage with searing personal memories, presenting a probing chronicle of pot-smoking, drug-taking America from the perspective of the generation that grew up in the aftermath of the Great Stoned Age.

The Men Who Stare at Goats / Jon Ronson

From the bestselling author of Them: Adventures with Extremists, comes the true story about what happened when a small group of men - highly placed within the US military, government, and intelligence services - began believing ?very strange things.

In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and indeed, the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror.

Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt / Todd Harra

When the casket reached the front of the sanctuary, there was a loud cracking sound as the bottom fell out. And with a thump, down came Father Iggy. From shoot-outs at funerals to dead men screaming and runaway corpses, undertakers have plenty of unusual stories to tell--and a special way of telling them. In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the country share their most embarrassing, jaw-dropping, irreverent, and deeply poignant stories about life at death's door. Discover what scares them and what moves them to tears. Learn about rookie mistakes and why death sometimes calls for duct tape.

Enjoy tales of the dearly departed spending eternity naked from the waist down and getting bottled and corked--in a wine bottle. And then meet their families--the weepers, the punchers, the stolidly dignified, and the ones who deliver their dead mother in a pickup truck.

Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback / George Plimpton

George Plimpton was perhaps best known for Paper?Lion, the book that set the bar for participatory sports journalism. With his characteristic wit, Plimpton recounts his experiences in talking his way into training camp with the Detroit Lions, practicing with the team, and taking snaps behind center. His breezy style captures the pressures and tensions rookies confront, the hijinks that pervade when sixty high-strung guys live together in close quarters, and a host of football rites and rituals. One of the funniest and most insightful books ever written on football, Paper Lion is a classic look at the gridiron game and a book The Wall Street Journal calls "a continuous feast."

The Reluctant Psychic / Suzan Saxman

We all, as children, saw imaginary friends and heard monsters in the closet. But for Suzan Saxman, those friends and monsters didn't go away-and they weren't imaginary. They were the dead who came to her from the time she was a little girl with urgent messages for the living. Raised in a house filled with secrets, she saw and spoke the truth as soon as she could talk, alarming the nuns in her convent school with her revelations and terrifying her own mother with her strange visions. Each night she woke to see a man with no eyes watching her, and each day she kept watch by the window while her father was at work and Steve, her real father, a swarthy drifter, rendezvoused with her mother. It was the 1960s in suburban Staten Island and she tried to hide it all, and be a daughter her mother could love.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory / Caitlin Doughty

A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty -- a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre -- took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life's work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead) , Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead.

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back / Kevin Hazzard

A former paramedic's visceral, poignant, and mordantly funny account of a decade spent on Atlanta's mean streets saving lives and connecting with the drama and occasional beauty that lies inside catastrophe.

In the aftermath of 9/11 Kevin Hazzard felt that something was missing from his life - his days were too safe, too routine. A failed salesman turned local reporter, he wanted to test himself, see how he might respond to pressure and danger. He signed up for emergency medical training and became, at age twenty-six, a newly minted EMT running calls in the worst sections of Atlanta. His life entered a different realm - one of blood, violence, and amazing grace.

Combining indelible scenes that remind us of life's fragile beauty with laugh-out-loud moments that keep us smiling through the worst, A Thousand Naked Strangers is an absorbing read about one man's journey of self-discovery - a trip that also teaches us about ourselves.

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler / Jessica Speart

In the tradition of The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean comes Winged Obsession - a gripping, real-life thriller that exposes the seedy underbelly of illegal butterfly trading. An acclaimed mystery writer and respected journalist specializing in wildlife issues, author Jessica Speart tells an extraordinary but true tale of greed, obsession, and sexual temptation, masterfully chronicling the downfall of the "Indiana Jones of insects" through the determined efforts of a rookie Fish and Wildlife agent who put his life on the line to stop him.

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner / Judy Melinek MD

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation?performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple. Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions.?

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