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Buy This Book Molvania: A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry
(Jetlag Travel Guide)

by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch

Saturday May 1, 2004
The Guardian

As the EU flings its arms wide to embrace the new members of the family, legions of travellers will be pondering a suddenly richer, broader, and stranger holiday horizon. I cannot commend too highly this superb guide to a terra which, I am prepared to wager a fistful of Molvanian struvls, has been the most incognita of all.

Many elements of the country's culture and topography will be instantly recognisable to seasoned wanderers: the bald mountains and the bare plains - a remarkable landscape now under consideration by Unesco as a world heritage site, cited as "a site of significant monotony" - the ancient towns and the sometimes startling impact on them of Soviet-era concrete brutalism, the friendly but notably unobsequious welcome for strangers, and the heavy emphasis in the native diet on the pig, the cabbage and the beet.

Its history, at a crossroads of Europe tramped by every invader from east or west, north or south, is tragic and tragically often overlooked. The brutal pragmatism of the country's first king and patron saint, Fyodor I - who "set about unifying his country by killing off as many of its citizens as he could. Those not murdered or imprisoned were forced into teaching" - should be more familiar to every European schoolchild.

I am certain that I stayed in the former Carmelite convent in Bardjov - a town famous for its bitter prevailing wind and its massive cement works, said to have inspired Shakespeare's spiteful lines "Curs'd dominion foul poxen layer". The beautifully converted convent is justly listed in the "luxury accommodation" category, which notes the "real eye for period detail" of the designer. "For example each room features a large wooden crucifix that opens to reveal a fully stocked mini-bar."

I believe I actually crossed the path of one of the contributors, Philippe Miseree ("a professional traveller since his youth, there is not a city or town Philippe has not recently been disappointed by", as the guide describes him). We bumped into one another, alas, at the Boots travel sickness remedies counter in Heathrow Terminal 3, not in Molvania's Katflaap nightclub where we might have swapped travellers' tales over a garlic vodka. Miseree contributes many of the shrewdest observations: "Why pay for a bland westernised meal in an overpriced tourist café when, for half the cost, a street vendor will sell you a piece of salted cod and a bag of lemon rind?" he remarks of the tourist traps on the outer fringes of the Postenwalj national park. More timid travellers may find themselves in the Gostinka Lec, washing down a bowl of zucchini fritters with a glass of the garden-loving host's speciality, sparkling zucchini beer.

Despite the superficial familiarity of much of the material - who has not shared the experience, reported to the guide by recent visitors, of being physically attacked by their hotel owners when they came down a few minutes late to breakfast? - it takes this book to tease out the country's uniquely Molvanian qualities: the national fascination with dentistry as a spectactor sport; the beautiful national park, now largely restored after the chemical spill incident; the surprising range of desserts based on parsnips; and ancient Gyorik, home of bubonic plague. You could describe this guide as an unforgettable experience that perhaps goes on for slightly too long. Nevertheless it is inescapably the moment for Molvania, before Ryanair discovers Lutenblag.

I hope the authors will accept that it is with affectionate admiration of their extraordinary achievement that I am forced to point out a howler in the text: the plant in the Lutenblag Botanical Gardens which produces no flowers or leaves, only thorns (illustrated on page 61), is not the Molvanian rose but the country's famous fruitless gooseberry, internationally known as the emblem of the respected Institute of Obstetricians. The Molvanian rose has lush green flowers. The two plants are indeed very close neighbours in the gardens, so this may be an innocent mistake - but it is just possible that somebody was pulling the authors' legs.

Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students
by Anders Henriksson

Be prepared to weep as you read Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students, a horrifically hilarious compendium of actual North American college student essays. Learn about the victims of the Black Death (who "grew boobs on their necks"), the Automaton Empire, Martin Luther King's famous "If I Had a Hammer" speech, the Iran Hostess Crisis, Zorroastrologism (the "duelist" religion "founded by Zorro"), and Joan of Ark, Noah's wife, at rest on Mt. Arafat. Meet Dim El Sum of Korea, the Vestigal Virgins, "dedicated to burning the internal flame," and Hitler, who "shot himself in the bonker." Did you know a position as "lady-in-mating helped a young girl's chances for a marriage," and "the assignation of Archduke Ferdman gave sweet relief to mounting tensions," or that "the major cause of the Civil War is when slavery spread its ugly testicles across the West"?
Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer
by Tom Lehrer, Ronald Searle (Illustrator)

The subversive songs of Tom Lehrer, the sardonic piano-wielding fugitive from Harvard, have corrupted generations of Americans since he first began recording and performing in the 1950s. His uniquely depraved wit has been forced again on an unsuspecting public' via Tomfoolery, the stage revue based on his ever-trenchant observation of the American scene. This new songbook, with old favorites unavailable for years as well as never-published songs, is the most comprehensive ever assembled. It contains the words, tunes, piano accompaniments, and guitar chords for these thirty-four classics.
The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus : All the Words
by Graham Chapman, Monty Python

Almost from its first broadcast in 1970, Monty Python's Flying Circus has been hailed as a classic of British comedy. Of course, for some the phrase itself is an oxymoron--and these books are obviously not their cup of tea. But for the legions of folks for whom Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, and the rest can do no wrong, All the Words are the equivalent of holy writ: the complete scripts for the BBC series created from 1970-74, before Python mania went worldwide.
The Klingon Dictionary : English/Klingon Klingon/English (Star Trek)
by William Shakespeare, Marc Okrand, the Klingon Language Institute

From the man who designed the Klingon language and culture for the Star Trek feature films and Star Trek: The Next Generation, here is a comprehensive sourcebook for Klingon language and syntax--the only one of its kind.


Klingon for the Galactic Traveler (Star Trek)
by Marc Okrand

An ultimate Star Trek fan's guide to the Klingon language promises user-friendly help for those who were unable to study the Klingon dictionary before their vacation to Qo'noS.

Star Trek Cookbook
by Ethan Phillips, William J. Birnes

Is there one food that humans, Klingons, Bajorans, and Vulcans would like? If so, what would it taste like? How would you prepare it? Could you find all the ingredients locally?

"Neelix" from "Star Trek: Voyager" joins forces with "New York Times" bestselling author William J. Birnes to throw open the vaults of interstellar haute cuisine, revealing for the first time the secret preparation techniques behind a variety of exotic dishes and drinks.
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex
by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicth, Jennifer Worick, David Borgenicht

The authors of the best-selling The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook are back--and they've brought a date. Whatever your own dating nightmares are, take it from the professionals, things can get worse. Just in time for Valentine's Day, here are dozens of scenarios covering every phase of the romantic--or not so romantic--turn of events. Learn how to remove stubborn articles of clothing, slip away from a blind date, and get rid of unsightly stains. Discover the secrets of dealing with a bad kisser and of surviving a meeting with your date's parents. Hands-on, step-by-step illustrated instructions help guide you through these and many more perils d'amor. Tasteful and useful, and with an appendix of great pickup lines, breakup lines, and all-purpose excuses, this is the book you need when you wake up next to someone whose name you can't remember.
Stupid Sex : The Most Idiotic and Embarrassing Intimate Encounters of All Time
by Kathryn Petras, Ross Petras

This alphabetical compendium of carnal catastrophes is enough to make anyone consider celibacy. Kathryn and Ross Petras, the authors of The 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said, prove that all kinds of things can and will go wrong when people start to think with their reproductive organs.
Generation K: The Kvechies: God's Revenge on the '60s Generation
by Janet Couch, Myra McGee (Illustrator)

Generation K: the Kvechies proves there IS a frothy side to the coffee grounds of life! Narrative, vignettes and lively illustrations characterize today's youthful, unemployed, politically/academically overwhelmed underachievers who have serious complaints about things which impact their existence, including the rising costs of hanging out. They may transcend their apathy through outrageous infantile diversions such as frisbee or the ouija board or dropping out of grad school to hike the entire Appalachian trail, but this is their way of coping with the legacy passed down from the generation who begat them in VW vans. Generation K: the Kvechies provides the comic relief necessary for survival, as well as insight for parents and all over-40ers into what makes these body-pierced, perpetually in-a-funk Kvechies tick.
Comedy College How-To-Handbook
by Gavin Jerome

Gavin Jerome's Comedy College How-to-Handbook is the definitive guide to using humor effectively. This fully illustrated comedy book is fun, funny and filled with tips and tricks designed to make you funnier! With over 100 pages, this book will improve your sense of humor,teach you comedy writing and delivery techniques and share with you tricks of the trade that standup comedians have know for decades.
How to Get Free Food in College: The Starving Student's Survival Guide
by Ron Ben-Meir