Staff Choices

Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/26/12
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Mary Weber shares her gardening expertise and stories of the grandmother who sparked her love of making beautiful things grow. Mary recommends The Gardener's Color Palette by Thomas Fischer as an excellent resource for planning the overall look of your space.

Posted by Uncle Will on 07/25/12
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Stockholm's detective extraordinaire, Joona Linna, is back in this sequel to the best-selling first novel The Hypnotist. Joona is invited to join Sweden's elite-of-elite crime-solving team called "The Commission" as its sixth member. This small group of investigators are "...responsible for combating serious crime at both the national and international level...."  Joona declines the prestigious offer since they mandate a regimented procedure for investigating crimes. Variations to the theme are not welcomed.

Joona is the modern-day combination of a Swedish Sherlock Holmes and action star Chuck Norris. He basically has free reign over what cases he gets involved in and what means he uses to solve them. The nice part is that he is not pretentious or self-centered. He is just uncannily always right. 

The Nightmare has Joona investigating several murders whose connection is apparent, at first, only to him. A renowned pacifist and her lover are on the run from a robotic-like professional killer. The assassin is searching for a photo that would compromise a major arms deal if released to the public. The person who has ordered the killings has an unusual way of conducting business. Contracts are never signed. What he requires, in order to complete all business transactions with his future partners, is their willingness to share their worst nightmare.       

Alexander Ahndoril and his wife Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril write under the pseudonym Lars Kepler. These Swedish authors had a breakaway best-seller last year with The Hypnotist. The film version's release date is set for September in Sweden. The movie is about "a detective who pairs himself with a famous psychologist on a case involving a traumatized young witness to a crime." 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/21/12
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Summer Kosuge and Tom Spicer discuss One Week Job in this podcast about documentaries. It's a funny, inspiring and fascinating film for teens and adults. Take a listen, then check it out or put it on hold.

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 07/20/12
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Wow! This is one very powerful book! Set in Appalachia, it is the story of two brothers, Jess and Stump Hall.  Stump, the older brother, is autistic and has never spoken a word in his life. His younger brother, Jess is precocious, adventurous, curious, and very protective of his older brother. But it is Stump, who in spite of their mother's stern warnings, can't resist spying on someone. The consequences are horrific when he gets caught in the act. Stump's mistake unleashes unspeakable evil, and Jess is powerless to help him.

The story is told by three characters - Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral compass; and Clem Barfield, the town's sheriff, who has his own set of demons to exorcize. Their voices resonate like a ballad of Appalachia, the lyrics of which sing with love, forgiveness, tragedy and evil-doers.  Check out the interview below to watch author Wiley Cash tell of his own childhood growing up in North Carolina, the inspiration for his killer debut novel. One reviewer calls Cash "a new, strong, Southern voice in American fiction."  After you read A Land More Kind Than Home, you will anxiously await his next killer novel.

Posted by roseh on 07/18/12
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I was intrigued by the title, The House at Sea’s End, and hooked immediately upon reading the first pages. My interest never wavered; in fact, it prompted me to read the previous books in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series: The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone.

The main character, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archaeologist. She is a professor at the local university and is the Head of the Forensic Archaeology department.  Often called upon to assist the police department, Ruth uses her expertise with carbon dating and ancient civilizations to solve crimes, some new, and some very old.

Although Broughton Sea’s End is a fictional place, the author, Elly Griffiths, creates a fascinating tale enhanced with vivid imagery highlighting the unique setting of the Norfolk coast. The characters are independent and sometimes quirky. They use just enough distinctly British terms and phrases to make the story interesting without making it cumbersome.

In The House at Sea’s End, a bit of World War II, that is, the threat of enemy invasion and how the local watch brigade dealt with it, comes into play. Six skeletal remains have been found in the eroding cliff side. Further investigation reveals a possible connection to a local war-era organization whose surviving members are being murdered as the mystery unfolds.

I recommend this book and the entire series; but I think The House at Sea’s End has been the best. A new addition to the series, A Room Full of Bones, has just been released this month and I cannot wait to read it.

Posted by kto on 07/16/12
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Girl meets boy via an online dating site. In a weird coincidence, on the same day she meets boy’s best friend. Both boys want her but only one will win her heart.

Did I mention that both “boys” are highly trained CIA operatives?

For me, this movie falls into that weird place where it’s so bad that it’s actually good. A guilty pleasure--if you will--for those who tend to like Reese Witherspoon movies. The best thing about this movie, and likely the intention of those who created it, is that it has something for every type of typical moviegoer. For those who like action and comedy you have Chris Pine and Tom Hardy running around fighting one another for the girl. For those who like romance you have the overall story of Witherspoon’s character falling in love with one of the guys.

3.5 / 5 stars!

Posted by kensey on 07/15/12
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"Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness" is written by Scott Jurek, who first came to widespread public attention in Christopher McDougall's hugely popular "Born to Run."  You may remember him as the ultramarathoner who lets out a loud howl before the start of every race. I had the pleasure of hearing McDougall and Jurek speak (and howl) a few months ago at Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, where the duo was promoting Jurek's book. Because the authors were together, I was primed to think that these books were related. Excited for a narrower but deeper continuation of "Born to Run," I eagerly picked up "Eat & Run," only to find out that they were nothing alike.
"Eat & Run" is best described as a memoir with recipes. Jurek grew up a traditional Minnesota boy and through endurance running and changing life philosophies, became a vegan. He credits both his vegan diet and his mental toughness for his ability to regularly run 50 to to 100-mile races. For the memoir portion, he recounts his struggles with his mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis; and his father, with whom Jurek has a tough relationship. And of course he tells stories of the difficulties he's faced on various ultra trails and overcoming them to achieve personal bests. The poignant memories of his parents are the most moving part of the book. A time or two, he gets philosophical to the point of being unrelatable. Regardless, it's still fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of someone who can run nine-minute miles for a hundred miles straight.
The main difference between Jurek and McDougall is that McDougall is a writer and Jurek is not. McDougall often made compelling points whereas Jurek is simply an interesting person. Despite feeling mislead about how similar these books would be (am I the only one who thinks even the covers look similar?), I'd still say Jurek's book is worth reading. "Born to Run" made me want to get out and run a marathon despite not having run an entire mile since high-school gym class. And while Jurek's book did not inspire such a feat, it did at least make me feel I could give lentil burgers a chance.
Posted by iTones on 07/14/12
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This is a grown-up coming of age travel story with plenty of spice and dark humor. The narrator dream walks through a playground of a world, where nothing seems like it can kill him. He's an anti-hero who, I suspect, a lot of adult readers won’t really get. It revolves around the powerlessness of a young idealist in a crushingly capitalistic world.  I, for one, can get behind this book because of the narrator's sense of humor about life and death.

He travels aimless, looking for meaning while still trying to remain his own free agent. If you’ve ever seen the movie I <3 Huckabees, this is a similar philosophical journey. In the plot: he steals from a non-profit which he helped co-found and uses the money to buy tickets to Japan. Once there, he promptly starts making a mess of his friend’s life by having too good of a time.

If you enjoy travel tales or stories with tomfoolery and unsavory vices you’ll find a lot to like about Lights Out. It may also give you some perspective on the downtrodden experience of youth in today’s uncertain world.
Posted by Uncle Will on 07/13/12
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This sophisticated horror story was not written for an uneducated audience.  It is hip 'n' happenin' and yet old-fashioned.  It is tragic, yet uplifting.  It has humor, yet is remorseful.  It is simply...well written.
Duncan is a British born author who studied philosophy and literature.  In this, his 7th novel, the protagonist is Jake, the last werewolf.  Werewolves have survived for over 1000 years.  Jake's dilemma is whether to surrender himself to two factions that are trying to capture him alive, flee from his human tormentors, or possibly commit suicide.  All of which are not pleasant thoughts.
Adding to Jake's displeasure is the fact that his only trusted human companion of fifty-plus years, Harley, has been kidnapped, tortured, and killed.  This action forces Jake to take a stand and confront some of his hidden fears and suppressed memories.  While mourning this loss and weighing feelings of self-destruction, Jake Marlowe stumbles upon the only thing left in life worth living for...Love!
Duncan's 3rd novel I, Lucifer is currently being developed for film. 
The sequel to The Last Werewolf is Talulla Rising.
Posted by kto on 07/12/12
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This show will make you laugh. I mean it. No. I really mean it.
Imagine if you will that the shows Friends and The Big Bang Theory had a baby… That’s Coupling. Specifically, Coupling is the risqué tale of six British 30somethingers and the painfully silly situations that arise when exes become best friends and love is never quite where you expect it to be.
I first discovered the edited version on, of all places, WTTW late one boring night. Since then it has been a struggle for me to find laugh out loud comedy of the sort that only people like the brilliant Steven Moffat writes (e.g. Doctor Who, Sherlock, etc.). 
Reliable sources say that the main characters are actually based on Moffat and his wife. Oh, and the unedited versions like the ones on the DVDs are much, much funnier. Enjoy.
4.5 / 5 stars!
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