Staff Choices

Posted by jonf on 12/16/12
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 The autobiography of an NBA legend is both sad and inspiring. West starts with his growing up in a  small West Virginia mining town dealing with an abusive father and depression. Jerry uses his natural athletic gift of playing basketball to escape from his abused childhood.
 
West becomes a local high school star and then a star at U of West Virginia, where he came within one point of a national championship. West then was drafted by the Lakers and became an NBA all star from 1960-1974, and winning the title in 1972 after losing numerous finals to the his nemesis the Boston Celtics.
 
The book is filled with his struggle to overcome his depression and low self esteem despite all of his success as a player and General Manager with 3 NBA title to his credit. The anecdotes and inside stories relating to NBA greats like Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor and others are wonderful, a must read for sports fans.
memoir
Posted by Pam S on 12/06/12
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What a cool young adult novel that is a great read for adults too.  I read this after my 15 year old daughter devoured it in one sitting over Thanksgiving break.  I figured if it engaged her so much, I wanted to read it too.  The premise is two teenagers in 1996 who just got their first computer  . . . complete with dial up AOL.  But, somehow when they logon they see this new weird thing called FACEBOOK!  They are able to see their future Facebook pages--are they happy or unhappy? Married, single, successful, etc.    Soon, the two teens figure out that what they do in the present day 1996 affects them in the future.  They can see how their actions affect the future postings on  Facebook.  What a cool premise.  This is a fun read and would be great for parents of teens to read and discuss together.
Teen
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
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The book jacket reads:  "...Based on a screenplay by Mario Puzo, award-winning author Ed Falco's thrilling,all-new prequel to The Godfather continues the saga of the Corleone family..."
 
For those of us that have not gotten enough of the family Corleone in either literature nor film, this prequel will be a satisfying read.  The story's set between the years of 1933-1935.  Don Corleone's eldest son, Sonny, is a seventeen-year-old stud.  He is the ringleader of a mixture of Irish and Italian cronies who augment their meager weekly paychecks by ripping-off the most powerful gangster in New York City...Giuseppe Mariposa.  Sonny is not the sharpest blade in the silverware drawer, but he is savy enough to know that his identity as "boss' must never be discovered by Mariposa or more importantly, his father.   So Sonny's gang steals from one mobster and sells these goods to another...Luca Brasi.    
 
We learn that Luca is the most feared "hitter" in all of NYC.  He is not a soldier in any of the families because he's his own boss and swears he'll never answer to anyone.  He takes pleasure knowing that he can do almost anything he wants at anytime.  He also knows that somewhere down the road he will be held accountable, but Luca does not fear God, the reaper, or any mortal man.
 
Readers get the back-stories of Sonny's siblings:   Orphan-college-boy Tom Hagen, slight and sickly Fredo, bookworm Michael, and the little princess, Connie.  The Don is a successful olive oil importer, but the favorite target of Mariposa's mistrust. There is the subplot that details the hate amongst the Irish and Italians and mobsters and how this festers into tragedy and extreme sadness.  
 
Ed Falco has written four previous, independent novels.  Hopefully he will find enough success in this prequel to continue the Corleone saga.    
 
  
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
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Charles Todd is the American mother-and-son writing team (Caroline and Charles Todd) that has produced fifteen Ian Rutledge and four Bess Crawford mysteries.  
 
I'll be honest.  This was a novel that I had to read since I'll be leading AHML book discussions on it in January and February 2013.  I was pleasantly surprised how well-written and engrossing it was.  
 
Elizabeth Crawford is a British nurse during World War I.  She is the only daughter of a stalwart Colonel and supportive mother.  She is attractive, intelligent, compassionate, and fiercely independent.  She is the "son" that Col. Crawford always longed for.  
 
Bess is aboard the hospital ship, Britannic, when it hits a mine and sinks.  She severely breaks her arm in the process and is fortunate to survive.  Before the ship went down, Bess, was falling in love with a wounded officer in her care...Arthur Graham.
 
On his deathbed, Graham made Bess promise to deliver this message to one of his remaining brothers:  "...Tell Jonathan that I lied.  I did it for Mother's sake.  But it has to be set right..."  Thus Convalescing Bess visits the dysfunctional home of the Grahams to fulfill her promise. What unfolds is a sorted tale of jealousy and betrayal.
 
All the characters were believable and the pacing of this book was marvelous.  The 3-sentence mystery was perfectly composed and will challenge any reader who professes to be able to solve the most challenging of "whodunits."    
 
 
 
 
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 11/24/12
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Laurel Nicholson was sixteen when she witnessed a shocking event during a family birthday party.  Until that time, her world had been the comfortable life of an impressionable, naive teenager living in the English countryside. This event understandably rocked her world and also her belief in what is right and wrong, particularly where her vivacious and loving mother, Dorothy, was concerned.  

Fast forward to 2011. Laurel, now a successful actress, and her sisters are gathered at Greenacres Farm, their childhood home, to celebrate their mother's 90th birthday. Dorothy's health is failing so this may be Laurel's last opportunity to get answers from her mother about that horrible incident that has plagued her memories from fifty years ago - answers that can only be found in Dorothy's past.

The story is expertly told in three time frames.  The author hooks you immediately with the shocking event that takes place in the 60s, then goes back to World War II England during the blitz, and forward to the present.  The gradual layering of the narrative seamlessly assembles all the missing pieces of the mystery, enhanced with a passionate love affair, betrayal, and exploitation amidst the ravages of war.  Just when you think you have it all neatly figured out you're hit with a zinger of an ending! 

The Secret Keeper was the first of Kate Morton's books that I've read. Her characters are very well developed as is the story rich with vivid detail.  I will definitely watch for future novels from her.
 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/15/12
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Thanksgiving is next week, but that doesn't have to mean turkey. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options for filling up your gang. Check out this podcast of Violet from Digital Services extolling the virtues of our library's extensive special diet cookbook selection. Her personal favorite is New Vegetarian.
 
Whether it is meatless, gluten-free or dairy-free, we have the book for you. Don't let tradition rule your eating! Let the library help you take control of your holidays.
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/09/12
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This book weighs in at about 15 ounces.  It has about 150 pages.  It takes about 15 minutes to read.  It is the product of a brilliant marketing strategy:  Why not offer, to the millions of fans of fictional character Jack Reacher, a road map of his moral code? 
 
AHML's very own Jon Freier and I have had discussions as to who is the "badest" of fictional characters.  Our short-list usually comes down to Robert Crais' Joe Pike and Lee Child's Jack Reacher.  
 
This book adds new meaning to the words machismo and hubris.   
 
Until Crais copycats Child's brainchild-publishing-ploy and releases a tell-all book like this, my vote goes to Major Jack...hands-down and knuckles-up.
 
Please note:  On December 21, 2012 the film Jack Reacher will open at theaters around the country.  It is based on the 2005 novel One Shot:  A Jack Reacher Novel. This will be the first film adaptation for Lee Child's brainchild.  The 6'5" 250 lbs. part of Jack Reacher will be played by the 5'7" 165 lbs. actor Tom Cruise.  Oh, the magic of Hollywood!     
 
 
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 11/02/12
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"Spies, poison, and curses surround her . . . Is there anyone she can trust?"

The Kingmaker's Daughter is the fourth installment, and possibly the best so far, in Philippa Gregory's popular Cousins' War series.  Set in 15th century England, it is the compelling story of the daughters of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick - particularly Anne, his youngest. Warwick was an English nobleman, administrator, and military commander who was the wealthiest and most powerful aristocrat of his age, with political connections that went far beyond the country's borders. He was one of the main powerbrokers in the War of the Roses, and was instrumental in the deposition of two kings, which  earned him his nickname of "Kingmaker".  Since Warwick had no sons and heirs, he of course used his daughters as pawns in his political games of kingmaking.

One of Warwick's grand schemes was to win over the York King Edward's brother George, Duke of Clarence, possibly with the prospect of installing him on the throne.  George was secretly married to Warwick's oldest daughter, Isabel, and joined Warwick in a rebellion against his brother, the king. Eventually he defected back to the York side and realigned with his brother, King Edward.  So at the age of fourteen, Anne Neville's father married her off to Edward of Westminster, the son of deposed king Henry VI, in an effort to align himself with the Lancaster cause.  Long story short, Warwick and Edward of Westminster were killed in battle against King Edward, thus leaving Anne Neville a widow and without the protection of the wealth and power of her father, the aftermath of which was the struggle of King Edward and George of Clarence to gain control of Warwick's enormous wealth.  Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest brother of King Edward.  Very conveniently madly in love with Anne, they were married, thus taking care of half that fortune.  Richard had ever been loyal to his brother the King.  But George was put on trial for treason against his brother, and executed in 1478.  Five years later, Edward IV died, and his youngest brother became King Richard III, making Anne Queen of England.

There are several fascinating aspects of this story, one of which is to see her grow from a weak and powerless teenager to a strong and intelligent woman, in spite of her constant vulnerability.  Her rise to the pinnacle that her father had envisioned for her was marked by the tragic loss of everyone she loved, including her precious only son, Prince Edward.  It seemed as though her father's political ambition had rubbed off on her, however, which enabled her to stand up to the overwhelming power of the royal family and become a player in her own right in the kingmaking game.  As always, Philippa Gregory is spot-on with the historical details, creating a vivid picture of these important and turbulent events in British history. 

  
Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/01/12
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Mary from the Circulation Department shares her passion for baking with Violet from Digital Services. The two are both avid bakers and between them have enough cookbook recommendations to stuff your Thanksgiving guests to the brim with sweet goodness.
 
Click below to listen to the podcast.
Baking, Desserts, Food
Posted by jonf on 10/27/12
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Kate Moore is a housewife who along with her husband Dexter and their two sons are living the American dream,until Dexter is offered a job in Luxembourg. Kate has to quit her job at the State department but the lucrative job and Kate's willingness to relocate set the tone for an interesting story.
 
Kate settles in to life in the only Grand Duchy left in Europe and the bond with fellow Expats from America, until she meets Julia and her husband Bill. The couple set alarm bells in Kate and we see that Kate's former life is not what we thought and maybe neither is Dexter's.
 
This book is an interesting thriller with a lot of twists and turns, some of which strain credulity but it is a change of pace from most of this genre, it also may appeal to woman who may not read thrillers, it may also appeal to readers of Olin Steinhauer.
spy thriller
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
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