By embarking on a quest to dunk a basketball at the age of 34, journalist Asher Price investigates the limits of human potentialstarting with his own. We all like to think that (with a little practice) we could run faster, learn another language, orwhip upa perfect souffl. But few of us ever put those hopes to the test. In Year of the Dunk, Asher Price does, and he seizes on basketball's slam dunk--a feat richly freighted with distinctly American themes of culture, race, and upward mobility--as a gauge to determine his own hidden potential. The showmanship of the dunk mesmerized Asher as a child, but even with his height (six foot plus) and impressive wingspan, he never pushed himself to try it. Now, approaching middle age, Asher decides to spend a year remaking his body and testing his mind as he wonders, like most adults, what untapped talent he still possesses. In this humorous and often poignant journey into the pleasures and perils of exertion, Asher introduces us to a memorable cast of characters who help him understand the complexity of the human body and the individual drama at the heart of sports. Along the way he dives into the history and science of one of sports' most exuberant acts, examining everything from our genetic predisposition towards jumping to the cultural role of the slam dunk. The year-long effort forces him to ask some fundamental questions about human ability and the degree to which we can actually improve ourselves, even with great determination. From the Hardcover edition.
"Outlaw Pete" is a modern legend of a criminal who starts out in diapers and confronts the roughest edges of adulthood. It's one of the most ambitious and original story songs Springsteen has written. When Bruce Springsteen was a little boy, he learned the story of Brave Cowboy Bill, about a pure-hearted little cowboy. It was the first of Bruce's Western loves, which now range from John Ford movies to Mexican music to Native American art. Each of these inspirations, plus what he's learned as a man and a rock 'n' roller about how to combine whimsy and wisdom, were stations on the way to "Outlaw Pete," a modern legend of a criminal who starts out in diapers and confronts the roughest edges of adulthood. It's one of the most ambitious and original story songs Springsteen has written--rhapsodic and harsh, a meditation on destiny, filled with absurdities but not for one second of its eight minutes exactly a joke. It's an elaborate musical drama, weaving into a single tapestry several styles of rock and an orchestration reminiscent of a Morricone soundtrack. "Outlaw Pete" is an adult book, illustrated by Frank Caruso, who drew and painted its pages. Caruso does more than illustrate the song. His approach, immaculately detailed, simple when it needs to be, parallels Springsteen's blend of absurdity and meditation. The questions about destiny remain unanswered, as they must be, but they're also brought into a different kind of focus. Details that pass by almost unnoticed in the lyrics become central. Reading and listening have rarely so superbly complemented each other. The result becomes the most intense kind of artistic collaboration, a vision shared. But I'm not trying to start anything, so buy it, don't steal it, OK? --Dave Marsh
Get straight to the heart of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night ; students' confidence and understanding develop faster as they explore the plot, themes and Shakespeare's language, which is supported throughout this abridged play text from Globe Education. This title: - Reduces the length of the play by a third, while preserving the intricacies of the plot, enabling students to engage with the whole story in the class time available - Builds understanding of Shakespeare's language by providing a detailed glossary alongside the text for quick and easy reference, plus a range of language-focused activities - Offers a tried-and-tested approach to introducing Shakespeare, based on Globe Education's shortened 'Playing Shakespeare' productions that have been seen and appreciated by over 150,000 students - Helps students form their own personal responses to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night , stimulated by stunning photographs from Globe productions and questions that reflect on context, characters and themes - Lays the foundations for GCSE success by including activities that target the skills needed for the assessment objectives Free teacher support Shorter Shakespeare: Twelfth Night is supported by free online teaching resources for each scene: - Teaching notes with guidance on how to approach the scene - Practical group activities to use in the classroom - Questions on language, context, themes, character and performance - Web links to extra resources including photographs from Globe productions, interviews with actors and contextual information This title is also accompanied by 10 video clips from Globe Education's shortened 'Playing Shakespeare' production of Twelfth Night .
Lyris Radleck's normal school life is turned on its head when she learns that she's only half human. Worse, she has a destiny she never asked for and doesn't want: to save Dandelorn, her father's world, from a desolate fate at the hands of a vengeful goblin. Lyris refuses her assignment until a heart-wrenching event changes her mind. Lyris is challenged to survive in a natural world without stores or cellphone coverage - let alone electricity or running water. Plus, Lyris' older cousin Darla, who's completely human, has dropped into Dandelorn behind her, and Lyris is faced with the task of sending her home. However, Darla has fallen in love with the debonaire goblin and no longer wants to be rescued. Proving that the goblin would not only ruin Dandelorn - and the Earthworld - but her life as well, becomes Lyris' biggest challenge. Only wits and strength of character will make a difference and protect her from her darkest foe: herself.Excerpt...Darla stopped short, her face one big scowl. Dirt smudged her cheeks; water dripped from her hair; her sopping, navy skirt clung to her legs; and her mud-stained blouse had lost even every hint of its former whiteness. "What have you done, Lyris? Where are we?" Her voice wobbled, and I could tell there would be tears any second. "We're in Dandelorn. Where have you been? I've looked for you all day." Should I hug her or something? Not convinced that it would help, I just added, "I'm... so glad you're okay."With trembling fingers, she raked aside a clump of hair matted against her forehead. "If you really want to know, I... I woke up to cats screaming. Hundreds of them. I couldn't see them but they must've been... huge. Since then, I've been walking through a jungle... for hours. And I just fell into a pond of scummy water." She grabbed the edge of her skirt. "Just look at me! I'm covered in mud!""What happened to your blazer?""It... it must've come off inside that tornado.""Portal.""Whatever." She clutched the blue stones around her throat. "I keep seeing these funny bugs flying around... and...and there's a jaguar back there. And something else... like out of a nightmare. A scarlet animal... sort of. Horrible looking. Its fingertip lit up and twirled at me." A monster-in-the-closet type of fear glimmered in her eyes.Could only be Urzik. In which case, he was the one who'd zapped my friend Tam. "W-hat did you do?""Pushed him into the pond. He screamed, and so I ran." She slapped the mud on her blouse. "I thought I was gonna be lost in this awful place forever. When do we leave?"I suppose I couldn't expect her to say, "Gee, Lyris. Sorry I thought you were talking crazy." But it would've been nice. I scratched the itchy mark on my arm. "I tried to tell you that I was go-" "Where's a place to clean up. Where's the restroom?" We'd need to ease into this.