Staff Choices

Posted by bpardue on 07/02/15
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Progressive rock legends Yes lost their only constant member with the passing of co-founder/bassist Chris Squire on June 27. This is probably as good a time as any to sit back and take a long listen to their music--and there's no better way to binge-listen than this box set that captures their work from their eponymous 1967 release, up to 1987's "Big Generator." There's clearly an evolution to their sound--the baroque intricacies of Fragile and Close to the Edge (not to mention the epic excess of Tales from Topographic Oceans) give way to the more straightforward 80s sounds of 90125 and Big Generator. Through each of their periods and stylistic incarnations, however, the group managed to create its own unique sound, creating plenty of musical gems along the way. Also check out the always-available albums by Yes on hoopla digital.
 
 
Rock
Posted by Uncle Will on 06/29/15
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Join us on Sunday, July 26, 2015 for the second discussion in "What's Better: The Book or the Movie." We will be discussing Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 classic short story "All You Zombies" and its 2015 film adaptation "Predestination."
 
Don't let the title throw you off. The story is not about zombies. It's about the temporal police and their ability to stop crime, before it happens, through time travel. I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel mostly because there are no rules. The plot is simple--a temporal agent who is performing his very last assignment is trying to stop his nemesis through time...The Fizzle Bomber.
 
Posted by jfreier on 06/25/15
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The 9th John Wells novel is a timely novel of Irans' quest for a nuclear bomb and how the United States should respond.
The story starts with the downing of an American airliner leaving Mumbai by hand held missle launchers. The U.S. suspects Iran and after a tip reveals they have the enriched uranium for a bomb the President orders an attack in 12 days of Iran.
John Wells and his former boss Ellis Schafer have found out that Iran is bluffing and a privete  citizen and a team of former special ops are snedong a false flag operation to help start the war.
 
Alex Berenson has created a great character in John Wells, and this book delivers.
 
 
Spy Suspense
Posted by jdunc on 06/25/15
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Gretchen Rubin is back on her quest for self-improvement. In her most recent book she examines how habits can help us make major changes in our lives. By Rubin’s definition a habit is something that requires no decision, thus saving us time and energy. A habit is what we do without thought, like buckling a seat belt or brushing your teeth. As we all know some habits are harder to make and keep than others.  From Rubin’s research people generally seek to change one of seven essential behaviors: eat and drink healthy, exercise, budget wisely, relax, stop procrastinating, organize, and engage more deeply in relationships. Sound familiar?
 
The key to understanding our habits is the four tendencies. Most people fall into one of four categories: upholder, questioner, obliger, or a rebel. Throughout the book she also addresses several strategies which help us keep habits. More than anything it allows us to take a look at ourselves and the strategies we use that prevent us from establishing good habits. I especially liked the “loopholes” chapter which explains the “this doesn’t count loophole”: I’m on vacation, it’s the holidays, it’s the weekend, just this once….
 
As in her other books, Rubin does a nice job of testing the theories and providing real life examples of the outcomes. Better Than Before gave me insight into my habits and strategies that can help to make positive changes. It is quite of bit of information that almost requires a second reading to truly take in all of the tips and make consistent positive changes. 
 
self help
Posted by bpardue on 06/19/15
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Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick, on tour in the US, found an affinity with the upper Midwest--which reminded him of southern Norway (and was once the destination of many Norewgian immigrants). This inspired him to write the songs that make up Midwest, his latest offering on ECM records. The pieces are stately, even reflective, and reside in the area between jazz, folk and classical music. There's a quiet intensity to them, and the melodies are haunting and memorable. Eick's trumpet playing is clean and understated--and blends beautifully with the folk-inflected violin playing of Gjermund Larsen. There's clearly talent in the ensemble, but no one overplays. Standout pieces include "Hem" and "Dakota."  Also check out Eick's previous albums,Skala and The Door, via hoopla.
Jazz
Posted by bweiner on 06/14/15
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Mr. and Mrs. Doctor is the appealing story of two Nigerians immigrants who try to survive the bumpy road to success in America.
 
However, there is one small problem. Job Ogbonnaya has lied to everyone, including his wife Ifi, who has come from Nigeria as part of an arranged marriage to live with her doctor husband. The money his father has sent from home to finance medical school sits in a savings account, while Job works at a nursing home as a nurse’s aide.
 
The difficulties of surviving in America are great enough without the added burden of the massive lie Job has told. His life is complicated further by the reappearance of his first wife Cheryl, the woman he married to obtain citizenship. Then there are Emeka and Gladys, also Nigerian, who seem to navigate their new country with apparent grace and ease.
 
Julie Iromuanya has created a frustrating, funny, sensitive story about race, relationships and survival and how our past shapes and follows us into our future. Check out this captivating story by Iromuanya, a first time author.
 
Immigrants
Posted by lsears on 06/12/15
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Girl at war, girl caught in a war, girl scarred by war.
 
Ana Juric is just 10 years old when the winds of civil war blow into her poor but carefree life in Zagreb, Croatia in 1991. She, her best friend Luka, and their classmates play war games until it becomes too real. Ana says, “We had the peculiar privilege of watching the destruction of our county on television.” When tensions escalate and essential services grow scarcer, Ana’s parents decide to send her much younger sister to America for medical care through a charitable organization. On their way home, a roadblock of soldiers stops the family. In a few brief minutes, terrifying and almost unfathomable to contemplate, the course of Ana’s life is forever changed. Years elapse and Ana is a college student in America but her painful memories cannot be suppressed; they shadow her and her relationships. She wonders if tragedy will always follow her as she watches the Twin Towers Fall in New York City.
 
Sara Novic tells a fictional story of a young girl’s life upended by war, displaced by war, of loss and survival set in the very real conflicts of the Balkan/Bosnian civil war in the 1990's. She creates a strong sense of place, of home, of family, of hope, and of life forces that can’t be quelled. An interesting note when reading a brief bio by this debut novelist is that she is hearing impaired. Her voice in this book is loud and clear.
 
Fiction, war
Posted by Kelley M on 06/03/15
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I think Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet, stated it best.  This book “is like Crocodile Dundee produced by Monty Python and directed by Woody Allen.”  Albert Podell, the author, recently became the first U.S. citizen known to have visited every single existing country in the world, plus some that are no longer countries (over 190, but who's counting...).  This also brings up the argument of what actually constitutes a country?  Does it need to be recognized by the United Nations?
 
The book is definitely not politically correct.  It is a travel essay book with attitude.  If you are easily offended, this might not be the book for you.  Travelling can be a messy business.  The author gets into the gritty details (disturbing meals, not washing for days on end, bathroom accommodations, etc.).  But, the author is also extremely educated about the countries he visits.  You will learn a lot as you read.
 
When travelling, instead of utilizing the safety, crime and poverty country indexes of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, Podell has developed his own scale that indicates safety, crime and poverty, which utilizes the grade of toilet paper and bathroom accommodations in a given country.  It actually does prove to be a good indicator of safety, crime and poverty, and what to expect when travelling. 
 
The book also offers many unique tips for travelling to unique places (here are a few):
·        Taking heaps of cheap T-shirts with you to use to barter for services and other items in certain countries.
·        How to determine how much gas you will need to purchase to cross a desert.
·        What to do and what not to do in front of visa officers/staff.
 
Summary:   Extremely educational, fun to read, and I think I’ll become a better traveler having read this book.
 
Other similar travel authors/books: Works of Bill Bryson, Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, Michael Palin's travel documentaries, and Tony Hawk’s Round Ireland with a Fridge.
 
Posted by jfreier on 05/30/15
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Serial killer Marcus Flynn had been caught and shot in the head but lived and was called the Hangman. Detective Abbie Kearney wasn't working during his reign of terror but now after a daring escape from prison he is back and ready to strike again.
Abbie is leading a desperate manhunt in Buffalo to stop the madman as the body count mounts. The killer and Abbie match wits and the predator is as brilliant as he is elusive. Stephan Talty tells a thrilling and intense tale of the power of a masterful killer and what Abbie must become to catch him. The authors first book Black Irish is also a good read.
Mystery
Posted by jdunc on 05/22/15
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Debut author Shanna Mahin offers a fascinating a peek behind the silver screen of Hollywood’s rich and famous or at least their B list stars in Oh! You Pretty Things. Jess is in her late twenties, divorced, and working in a coffee shop. As a former childhood actress herself, she is fascinated with Hollywood, but hides behind her sarcasm. She lives in an apartment in Santa Monica with her best friend Megan, a C list actress who is pretty down to earth. While trying to get her life on track, she is also dealing with her unreliable mother and the history of their tumultuous relationship.
 
Jess stumbles into a personal assistant job for a recluse composer which eventually leads to a job with Eva, one of Hollywood’s up and coming TV stars. Jess must cater to Eva’s every whim and mood swing. One moment she wants to be best friends and the next she ices her out. Mahin provides excellent descriptions of the crazy lives of the famous. I particularly loved the description of the show that Eva puts on when eating in public; onion rings, ice cream, etc. She takes one elaborate bite while people are watching and but will not eat for the rest of the day. Jess thinks being a part of Eva’s life will only help her, but she realizes that it is hard to have a real relationship with a professional actress.
 
Fans of the Devil Wears Prada, will appreciate a similar tale set in Hollywood.
 
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email advisory@ahml.info and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
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Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
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