In My Hands Today…

What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Randall Munroe

The millions of people around the world who read and loved What If? still have questions, and those questions are getting stranger. Thank goodness xkcd creator Randall Munroe is here to help. Planning to ride a fire pole from the moon back to Earth? The hardest part is sticking the landing. Hoping to cool the atmosphere by opening everyone’s freezer door at the same time? Maybe it’s time for a brief introduction to thermodynamics. Want to know what would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-story building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? Okay, if you insist.

Before you go on a cosmic road trip, feed the residents of New York City to a T. rex, or fill every church with bananas, be sure to consult this practical guide for impractical ideas. Unfazed by absurdity, Randall consults the latest research on everything from swing-set physics to airplane-catapult design to clearly and concisely answer his readers’ questions. As he consistently demonstrates, you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances.

Filled with bonkers science, boundless curiosity, and Randall’s signature stick-figure comics, What If? 2 is sure to be another instant classic adored by inquisitive readers of all ages.

In My Hands Today…

Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember – Lauren Graham

With her signature sense of humor and down-to-earth storytelling, Lauren Graham opens up about her years working in the entertainment business—from the sublime to the ridiculous—and shares personal stories about everything from family and friendship to the challenges of aging gracefully in Hollywood. In “RIP Barneys New York,” she writes about an early job as a salesperson at the legendary department store — and the time she inadvertently shoplifted; in “Ne Oublie” she warns us about the perils of coming from an extremely forgetful family; and in “Actor-y Factory” she recounts what a day in the life of an actor looks like (unless you’re Brad Pitt).

Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, Graham’s latest collection of all-new, original essays showcases the winning charm and wit that she’s known for.

In My Hands Today…

How to Be Idle – Tom Hodgkinson

Yearning for a life of leisure? In 24 chapters representing each hour of a typical working day, this book will coax out the loafer in even the most diligent and schedule-obsessed worker.

From the founding editor of the celebrated magazine about the freedom and fine art of doing nothing, The Idler, comes not simply a book, but an antidote to our work-obsessed culture. In How to Be Idle, Hodgkinson presents his learned yet whimsical argument for a new, universal standard of living: being happy doing nothing. He covers a whole spectrum of issues affecting the modern idler—sleep, work, pleasure, relationships—bemoaning the cultural skepticism of idleness while reflecting on the writing of such famous apologists for it as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Johnson, and Nietzsche—all of whom have admitted to doing their very best work in bed.

It’s a well-known fact that Europeans spend fewer hours at work a week than Americans. So it’s only befitting that one of them—the very clever, extremely engaging, and quite hilarious Tom Hodgkinson—should have the wittiest and most useful insights into the fun and nature of being idle. Following on the quirky, call-to-arms heels of the bestselling Eat, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss, How to Be Idle rallies us to an equally just and no less worthy cause: reclaiming our right to be idle.