Polk County Architecture: This Is Frank Lloyd Wright Covers Both the Man’s Work and His Life

You’re probably familiar with some of his buildings, but unless you’re an architect or historian, odds are you don’t know too much about his life. This Is Frank Lloyd Wright covers both the man’s work and his life, from his days as a toddler playing with Froebel blocks to his assorted marriages, affairs, and business dealings. The book’s text is accompanied by terrific illustrations from Michael Kirkham that pay homage to Wright’s signature style, while bringing some of the more abstract ideas to life.

Update Your Kindle by Tomorrow or Lose Access to Books and More

If you’re like my family and have an older Kindle, you need to do an update — today. (My son uses a 2011 hand-me-down Kindle, so I know what we’ll be doing.)

Amazon has a Critical Software Update for Kindle E-Readers on its website with an urgent warning: “This update needs to be completed by March 22, 2016.”

If you do not update your device by March 22, 2016, you will receive the following message on your device: Your Kindle is unable to connect at this time. Please make sure you are within wireless range and try again. If the problem persists, please restart your Kindle from the Menu in Settings and try again. If you see this message on your device on or after March 22, you will need to manually install the latest software update for your device.

It will be possible to update an older Kindle after March 22, but it will be much more difficult. Instead of updating the device when it’s connected to the Internet over a wireless or Wi-Fi connection, you’ll have to do it manually with your computer and a USB cable. Instructions for how to update without connectivity can be found on Amazon’s Fire & Kindle Software Update page. Click on the appropriate model for details.

The Kindles that are affected by this critical update are ones released between 2007 and 2012. Newer Kindle models update automatically.

Even if your Kindle is sitting around collecting dust because you’re reading your Kindle books through an app on a different tablet, it’s smart to charge it up and do the update today. At some point you may want to use it again or hand it down to someone, and then you’ll have to go through the hassle of updating it manually.

J.K. Rowling Releases a Series of Stories About the History of Magic in North America

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has written a series of stories about the history of magic in North America and released them on the Pottermore site. The four stories will be released on the site daily beginning on March 8, 2016.

The stories lay the groundwork of magic in North America for the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is set in North America as part of the Harry Potter universe. They will cover the ways magic influenced different notable periods of history and the formation of the Magical Congress of the United States of America.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released on November 18, 2016.

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McDonald’s Swapping Toys with Books in Happy Meals

Would you like a side of children’s literacy with your burger?

Now through Feb. 15, McDonald’s is offering slightly less guilt-inducing Happy Meals that come with books instead of toys. McDonald’s hopes to distribute 17 million books to kids over the course of the program.

The books will vary by date and location, but most stores will give away one of four books with each meal including the Valentine’s Day themed books, “Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool” by Kimberly and James Dean; “Clark the Shark Takes Heart” by Bruce Hale; and “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!” by Laura Numeroff; as well as the classic children’s story “Paddington” by Michael Bond.
The books are conveniently sized to fit inside the Happy Meal box and Spanish language versions will be available at most stores.

In addition to the books McDonald’s is putting in the kids’ meals, the fast food giant announced plans to donate 10,000 books to the children’s literacy group Reading is Fundamental. Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental, expanded on the benefits of the program in an interview with Fox News.

“There’s magic in books, and the simple act of reading with our children has a profound impact on their educational development,” she said. “By giving them choices and increasing access to books, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of those who need us most.”

There has been some fallout on social media from parents complaining that McDonald’s should just let “kids be kids,” and keep the toys in the box. But for the most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with most parents realizing that there is no better way to let a kid be a kid than to offer up a cozy lap, a good book, and a snuggly reading session with mom or dad.

Amazon to Open Hundreds of Physical Bookstores Across the United States

Amazon’s University Village bookstore in Seattle won’t be a one-off after all. After opening the location back in November of last year, Amazon now plans to open hundreds of additional bookstores across the United States. As reported by CNBC, the news comes from a mall CEO who revealed to Dow Jones that the stores will be a “physical extension of Amazon.com” and stocked based on customer ratings and sales from the e-commerce site. Interestingly, Amazon plans to offer the books at the same low prices that can be found online.

There are currently few additional details, but between 300 and 400 Amazon Books stores are expected to open in all.

WHERE TO EAT PIZZA Book Gives Tips and Recipes to the Best Pizza

It’s the year 2016 and people are still on the relentless pursuit of the perfect slice of pizza. Acclaimed London-based food critic Daniel Young is coming out with a new book for the pizza lovers that will be comprised of insider tips and advice for finding and making the perfect slice of pizza. Titled WHERE TO EAT PIZZA: The Last Word on the Slice, the hardback novel will provide inside scoop to the popular food including recipes to special sauces and perfect crusts with secret ingredients from over 1,000 food experts from around the world. Guides also include reviews and information to pizzas on global city maps with over 1,700 pizzerias, pizza joints and parlours.

WHERE TO EAT PIZZA: The Last Word on the Slice is now available for pre-order over at PHAIDON for about ($25 USD), with shipping beginning April 25.

Don’t Worry Polk County Meth Heads, New Book Shows Nazis Were Fueled by Crystal Meth Too

The abominable actions of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi soldiers were fueled by meth, records show. A new book, Der Totale Rausch (The Total Rush), by German writer Norman Ohler, will profile the rampant drug use after years of researching both German and U.S. records. Ohler, whose research shocked him mostly because of Hitler’s drug use, said the drugs are what helped, “maintain his delusion until the end.”

Nazis took to Pervitin: a pill-like crystal meth. At first it was an over-the-counter drug sold in European pharmacies guaranteeing alertness. According to Ohler, one pill was enough to keep the Nazis awake for hours—and allowed them to hike almost 36 miles in a day—making Nazis think of it like coffee. Once the effects wore off Nazis were became short-tempered and angry.

A 2005 Der Spiegel report explained how Pervitin made its way into the hands of German soldiers citing a military doctor’s experiment of it on 90 college students where the doctor said the pill would “help win the war.” Not even six months later and millions of the drug were flown to the Nazis where they were handed out before invasions. Ohler said Pervitin was specifically used for Blitzkriegs like the invasion of Sudetenland, Poland, and France.

Hitler, who famously used heroin, doping agents, and other hard drugs, according to his physician Dr. Theodor Morrell’s notes, may or may have not used Pervitin. If he did, it would’ve made for a dangerous combination since long-term meth use can have neurological effects causing aggressive behavior and psychosis, while long-term heroin use effects decision-making and causes irrational behavior when stressed.

And before any derogatory comments to us stating that we’re supporting drugs or the Nazi party, please Google ‘sarcasm’.

How Over a Million American Families Live on $2 Per Day

In early 2011, 1.5 million American households, including 3 million children, were living on less than $2 in cash per person per day. Half of those households didn’t have access to in-kind benefits like food stamps, either. Worst of all, the numbers had increased dramatically since 1996.

Those are the astonishing findings Johns Hopkins’ Kathryn Edin and the University of Michigan’s Luke Shaefer discovered after analyzing Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data in 2012. In the intervening years, Edin and Shaefer sought out Americans living in this situation, with basically no cash income, relying on food stamps, private charity, and plasma sales for survival.

The result is $2.00 a Day, a harrowing book that describes in devastating detail what life is like for the poorest of America’s poor.

How do families making $2 per person per day get by? How do they get housing and food? $2.00 a Day reveals the experiences and hidden truths of homelessness and resourcefulness that most of us don’t see.

A New J.R.R. Tolkien Novel, ‘The Tale Of Kullervo’, Is On The Way

You’d think that the Tolkien estate had enough money; between the movies, the books, and the merch, he’s been one of the most successful dead authors for quite a while. But, apparently, there’s a manuscript yet to be published, and gold yet to be mined from nerds.

The manuscript in question is The Story of Kullervo, which actually has been published in some academic journals, but is getting a standalone release later this month in the UK and next April in the U.S. It’s based on Finland’s national saga, The Kalevala, and follows an orphan getting revenge on the dark mage that killed his father. Peskily for his heirs, Tolkien never finished the book, which is probably what kept them from putting it out until now.

There is at least a little justification for putting this out; the book will be edited by and have commentary by Professor Verlyn Flieger, best known to nerds for her work on Tolkien, but who is also is an expert in medieval literature and comparative mythology. Still, let’s not pretend that the goal here isn’t ultimately to sell the rights to Hollywood and see if they can’t get another franchise going.

This isn’t the first manuscript from the vaults the estate has rolled out, but hopefully it’s the last. We really don’t need to see some poor academic trying to justify the necessity of The Compleat Treasury of the Dongs J.R.R. Tolkien Doodled in His Book Margins.


For a select group of people, building a Lego model is far more than just following the colorful Ikea-like instructions. The Art of Lego Scale Modeling celebrates the original creations of builders who have interpreted real world vehicles — everything from ships and planes to firetrucks and Formula 1 cars — into intricately detailed models. High-quality original photography shows the artistry and skill that went in to building each one.