Free Book – Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge

Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge ($3.99 Kindle), a novella by Mike Resnick, is this month’s free book from Phoenix Pick. Hugo and Nebula Winner – Oct 2012

Book Description
Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge is one of the most celebrated novellas ever written. It not only won both the Hugo and Nebula, but also the HOMer award and the SF Chronicle Poll and was a nominee for the Locus Award and the Sturgeon Award. It was also nominated for a number of international awards, winning the Ignotus and the Universitat Polytechnica Awards in Spain, the Prix Ozone Award in France and the Futura Award in Croatia.

In the far future, eons after the demise of Humanity and its far-flung galactic empire, a group of alien archeologists visits Earth to uncover the secret of the dead race’s initial overwhelming success and its ultimate death.

Digging through layers of archeological strata at Olduvai Gorge, they discover seven unique artifacts, each related to a different era of humanity’s history and each telling a unique story about humankind’s strengths and weaknesses.

But are they prepared for their final discovery, which will change their worlds forever?

Get the free ebook from Phoenix Pick. Put either the free book or the novella bundle into your cart and check out (no payment required for the free book, although you must change the price and click Update in the cart), then use the download links after checking out. You’ll get access to both an EPUB and MOBI for download; they are DRM-free, so you can convert to other formats, if desired.

Note: Any Amazon links go to the post on the blog, rather than directly to Amazon. Just click the link from the blog post itself to go to Amazon from there.


Free Book – The Secret Lives of Teachers

The Secret Lives of Teachers ($18.00 $9.99 Kindle), by Anonymous (aka Horace Dewey), is this month’s free book from The University of Chicago Press.

Book Description
Welcome to “East Hudson,” an elite private school in New York where the students are attentive, the colleagues are supportive, and the tuition would make the average person choke on its string of zeroes. You might think a teacher here would have little in common with most other teachers in America, but as this veteran educator—writing anonymously—shows in this refreshingly honest account, all teachers are bound by a common thread. Stripped of most economic obstacles and freed up by anonymity, he is able to tell a deeper story about the universal conditions, anxieties, foibles, generosities, hopes, and complaints that comprise every teacher’s life. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes scandalous, but always recognizable to anyone who has ever walked into a classroom, closed the door, and started their day.

This is not a how-to manual. Rather, the author explores the dimensions of teaching that no one else has, those private thoughts few would dare put into a book but that form an important part of the day-to-day experience of a teacher. We see him ponder the clothes that people wear, think frankly about money (and the imbalance of its distribution), get wrangled by parents, provide on-the-fly psychotherapy, drape niceties over conversations that are actually all-out warfare, drop an f-bomb or two, and deal with students who are just plain unlikeable. We also see him envy, admire, fear, and hope; we see him in adulation and uncertainty, and in energy and exhaustion. We see him as teachers really are: human beings with a complex, rewarding, and very important job.

There has been no shortage of commentary on the teaching profession over the decades, but none quite like this. Unflinching, wry, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, it’s written for every teacher out there who has ever scrambled, smirked, or sighed—and toughed it out nonetheless.

Sign up for the free book from the University of Chicago. You’ll need to enter your email address, then check your email for the link to download the book. Mine arrived within seconds — you get a .ACSM file, which, when opened, will load the book inside of Adobe ADE. This is a DRM’d file and is not compatible with eInk Kindles, but can be read using Aldiko on a Kindle Fire.

Note: Any Amazon links go to the post on the blog, rather than directly to Amazon. Just click the link from the blog post itself to go to Amazon from there.


New Jersey Residents Concerned About Coyotes Menacing People & Pets

SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Concerns are mounting about an aggressive coyote population in some New Jersey towns.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the hostile animals have been menacing people and pets.

One Saddle River resident captured video in his backyard of a pack of seven coyotes. One is seen chowing down on a smaller animal while others rest. Then suddenly, the pack becomes more aggressive, wanting a taste of the kill.

“The concern is that in a large group they could possibly knock someone down, overpower them,” said animal control expert Carol Tyler.

Officials say the coyotes have been terrorizing the town. One woman was surrounded as the animals tried to snatch her dog.

Tyler said the American Jackal may be more visible this time of year as they hunt and prepare for winter. Three large family groups have been identified.

“We have the perfect environment here. We have large parcels of property with some overgrowth, where they can make their dens. We have abundant food sources for them with the reptiles, rodents, garbage, roadkill,” she said.

An abundance of deer may also contribute to the issue.

“We had a referendum. Majority of people said they wanted to entertain the idea of using nonlethal methods to control the deer population,” Saddle River Mayor Albert Kurpis said.

That would mean sterilization. If approved by the state, the mayor expects the council to unanimously vote ‘yes.’

Saddle River has partnered with neighboring towns to combat the coyotes.

Donna Loggia’s son was driving home around 10 p.m. Thursday in Mahwah.

“He saw two dogs and he was very, very afraid that they were going to get hit by a car,” she said. “So he pulled over and he was trying to lure them into his car, and then he looks at them and says, ‘Oh no, these are coyotes.’”

The two mangy animals were not in the woods but right off Ridge Road and MacArthur Boulevard.

Robert Conly said he’s seen the same two coyotes.

“Biggest thing is people are building. They’re taking away their homes,” he said.

If you have a close encounter with a coyote, wildlife experts say do not run. Stand still and make a loud noise.

Saddle River’s Coyote Management Task Force has developed a strategy to identify coyote dens and trap the animals.

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Idris Elba Auditioned To Play Gaston In Beauty & The Beast!

Wowww. We would have been so here for this.

During a recent interview with People‘s Jess Cagle, Idris Elba revealed he auditioned for the role of Gaston in Disney‘s live-action adaptation of Beauty & The Beast.

Of course, as we all know now, Luke Evans landed the role instead.

Related: Idris Can Sing!

The English actor recalled:

“I honestly love musicals. I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. I really did, for Gaston. I called and said, ‘Listen, I want in!’ So somewhere they have a tape of me singing.”

Unfortunately that footage hasn’t surfaced — but he joked there aren’t any hard feelings toward Evans:

“No, only a little bit. No! I love you Luke, you know that.”


Let’s get Idris in a musical stat, people!

[Image via BBC/Disney.]