Staff Choices

Posted by bpardue on 09/09/13
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Waiting for the latest from Bryson, I opted for this 2010 delight. Having moved into an old English parsonage, Bryson goes through the house room by room and begins to wonder about just how domestic lives evolved into what they have become. In typical Bryson fashion, there's a lot of dry humor, saucy details and fascinating diversions. For example, a discussion about the dangers of the stairwell shifts into thoughts about many of the other things around the house that can kill us (and how dangerous paint and wallpaper once were). Thinking about the lawn leads to a brief history of gardens and public parks. If you're the kind of reader, like me, who often goes through a book in bits and pieces, rather than in a single multi-hour session, then At Home works well--its structure and parade of facts almost welcome occasional breaks. Available in book, CD audiobook, downloadable eBook, and downloadable audiobook formats.
Posted by Pam I am on 09/06/13
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Who wouldn't want an all-expenses-paid vacation at a luxury villa in Jamaica with old friends? In Sarah Pekkanen's fourth novel, The Best of Us, four college friends reunite in Jamaica to celebrate one of their 35th birthdays. But things are not as blissful as they seem. Each of the friends brings their own "baggage" to the island--a stressed out mother, a faltering marriage, and uncertain health. As a hurricane approaches Jamaica, the friendships turn turbulent as well. As the novel progresses, they each must resolve their own issues.
 
If you are a fan of Jennifer Weiner or Emily Giffin, this is a great book to read and explore women's fiction.
Chick Lit
Posted by crossin on 09/03/13
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If you enjoy spiritually inspirational and uplifting movies, you may enjoy our Spiritual Cinema Circle DVDs. This series includes a mixture of independent dramatic films, documentaries and shorts that explore spirit, morality and compassion. Many of the titles won awards at film festivals, but few were theatrically released. Some films featured include Shuffle, starring T.J. Thyne as a man who begins experiencing his life out of order; Happy, which combines real life stories from people around the world with insight from scientists about what really makes us happy; and Head Over Heels, an Academy Award-nominated animated short, about repairing a failing marriage. The library has a monthly subscription to this film series.
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/26/13
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This is not only the 3rd installment in the "Joona Linna Mystery" series by the married, Swedish, literary couple, Lars Kepler -- it just might be the best.
 
Joona Linna is Sweden's version of Sherlock Holmes. He's fiercely independent, caring, headstrong, "never wrong" and always gets his man (or woman). This was evident in their premier novel, The Hypnotist. These characteristics were further supported in the sequel, The Nightmare. Joona is not only a brilliant investigator, he is a formidable martial artist who's trim, tenacious, and tragic. 
 
Almost 20 years ago, Joona sent his wife and young daughter away to protect them from evil-doers that were seeking revenge.  Joona has had no contact with either and longs for his lost loves. He has a soft spot when children are involved in his investigations. 
 
The Fire Witness is loaded with soft spots. A double-murder is committed at a home for wayward girls. The prime suspect, Vicki, only a child herself, flees the crime scene and while on the run, is suspected of kidnapping another younger child...a boy who is briefly left unattended in a parked car. It is not Joona's case, since he is on suspension for previous traitorous conduct. Joona is able to position himself as an "observer" where he proceeds to get emotionally involved in the hunt for Vicky.
 
Joona also proceeds to get into more trouble with his superiors by not following the conditions of his suspension. He enrolls the aid of a local "medium" who thinks she has seen the true killer. Her visions are discounted immediately by the unimaginative police investigators assigned to the homicide/kidnapping, but not by Joona, who never discounts anything.  
 
There are a load of suspects that are not discounted by Joona. In between his continuing search for his wife and daughter and that of Vicky and the boy hostage, Joona juggles his schedule for his suspension hearing and his ongoing romance with a fellow policewoman.
 
Lars Kepler in reality is Alexander Ahndoril and his wife Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril. They create magic together and have a long, successful career in their future, and one doesn't have to be a seer to know that...just an avid mystery reader. 
 
 
   
Posted by jfreier on 08/22/13
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The latest novel by Chicago author, Marcus Sakey, is a great read and totally unlike his past work such as "Good People" and "Amateurs." The story is set in the present but reads like a futuristic science fiction book, it is about the rise of children who are born gifted, called the abnorms. The rate has risen and the government sets up an agency called DAR, Department of Analysis and Response. Told through the eyes of agent Cooper, who is himself is gifted, the gifts are specific and not of the super power variety like X-Men.
 
Agent Cooper's attitude about the gifted changes when he goes undercover to catch the dangerous abnorm, John Smith, whom the DAR has named the most dangerous terrorist in the country. It's a fast, thrilling story and, as I said, a complete departure from his other works.
Posted by joecollier_resigned on 08/21/13
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If you love science fiction and/or fantasy, and also the Victorian era, then it’s a bit surprising that you haven’t already discovered the wonderful world of steampunk. But perhaps you’ve heard of it? Steampunk—getting more popular every day—is a genre that, while established almost 30 years ago, has in the past several years grown almost exponentially in popularity. Movies like Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, or books like The Golden Compass are good examples of this retro-techno mashed-up genre where Victorian technology meets space travel.
 
For those readers already familiar or those new to the genre and just curious, Steampunk : An Illustrated History Of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film And Other Victorian Visions by Brian J. Robb is an excellent place to either brush up or get a start in exploring this wonderfully inventive style. A grand, illustrated history of the counterculture movement in a book fittingly designed to reflect the genre aesthetic in package and artwork. This comprehensive work covers the genre’s history from the fastest dirigible and steam-powered ray guns to fashionistas Lady Gaga and Alexander McQueen, with loads of amazing and informative pictures and illustrations. Fire up the gaslight and read well past your bedtime!
 
Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/21/13
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A Fatal Likeness is the second mystery with detective, Charles Maddox. It is a follow-up, though not sequel to, The Solitary House. In A Fatal Likeness, Maddox is called in to investigate a blackmail plot targeting the son of Percy Bysshe Shelley. 
 
Taking very liberal creative license with the lives of the poet and Mary Shelley, Shepherd weaves a convincing mystery while maintaining the linguistic feel of the time period. This is a fun mystery, but one may want to read The Solitary House first for some background on the character of Maddox. And avid fans of Shelley may want to read this novel with a hearty grain of salt. Still, an enjoyable read for historical mystery readers, like me.
Posted by bweiner on 08/20/13
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We all need something to laugh about, and actress/author Lauren Graham gives us countless humorous moments in Someday, Someday, Maybe, a heartfelt story of self realization about Franny Banks, an actress looking for her big break in show business. Lauren Graham, of Gilmore Girls fame, uses her insiders knowledge of the performing arts to craft a warm, entertaining and inspiring story.
 
Franny Banks is someone we can relate to, a down to earth girl trying to make it in a world of sharks and piranhas. Franny moves to New York City and gives herself three years to succeed in "the business". With only six months left, she must pull out all the stops to get her big break.
 
Lauren graham narrates this audio book with her trademark crisp, snappy style of delivery that she used on the Gilmore Girls. Funny, poignant and smart, we follow Franny on her journey of discovery and share a lot of fun and laughter along the way.
Posted by dnapravn on 08/20/13
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If you are a fan of the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you may want to check out Susan Crandall's Whistling Past the Graveyard.
 
Set in 1963 Mississippi, nine-year-old Starla has not seen her mother, who abandoned her to become a famous singer, since she was three. Her father works on an offshore oil rig and is not around much, so Starla lives with her cantankerous grandmother who never misses an opportunity to let Starla know what a trial she is. When Starla is grounded yet again, she runs away headed to Nashville and her mother. She is eventually picked up by a black woman named Eula who is traveling alone with a white baby.
 
What follows is a life-changing road trip during which Starla is exposed to the prejudice of the 1960s South. During their sometimes dangerous adventure together Eula, Starla, and Baby James face the harsh realities of life as well as learn the true meaning of love and family.
Posted by rkong on 08/16/13
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Every parent knows how difficult it can be to look after and raise another human being, but imagine if you had to figure out parenthood while serving as one of the head honchos of the Galactic Empire! In Vader's Little Princess, artist and author Jeffrey Brown paints a hilarious and touching picture of what domestic life would be like for daddy Skywalker, including stresses stemming from Leia's choices in clothing and boyfriends. 
 
Adults and kids who are Star Wars fans will enjoy this book! Read it together and be sure to check out Brown's Darth Vader and Son, which depicts Vader's life raising young Luke. 
 
Need more convincing? Watch this book trailer for Vader's Little Princess!
 
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