Staff Choices

Posted by Ultra Violet on 10/05/11
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Josie Henderson is a rarity in that she is a black woman in a field dominated by white men. She is an oceanographer with a specialty in marine mammal research. She is married to a white man, Daniel, and lives in a white neighborhood in Wood's Hole, Massachusetts. As she deals with the pressure of her work and her husband's desire to have a baby that she doesn't want, she is drawn back into the dysfunction of her family. Growing up in Cleveland, Josie's father was an alcoholic who had started out life with aspirations of becoming an author. Josie's mother was a tough but loving nurse, who kicked her husband out of the house once his drinking had gotten beyond control. Josie's brother, Tick, had a promising start. He and Josie had gone to private school and worked hard. While Josie studied science, Tick got work as a trainer for the Cleveland Cavalier's. He jeopardizes his job with his drug problems and relies on Josie to save him.
 
Written in a clear and frank style, The Taste of Salt  is an honest family story of identity and pain. Josie's dissatisfaction with her marriage and ambivalence about motherhood are well-defined and relatable elements. This book was well worth reading for the look into the heart and mind of an African-American woman who is trying to reconcile her heritage and her ambition.
Posted by jfreier on 10/04/11
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Detective Carl Morck  has just returned to duty after being shot and losing his partner in a shootout and is not sure he's ready to work again. Carl is a brilliant but difficult detective and is promoted to Department Q of which he is the only member, he is assigned cold cases and plans to do as little as possible in his so called promotion job.
Carl is doing just that until he comes across the case of Merete Lynggaard a beautiful and powerful politician who vanished 5 years ago. The case calls for Carl to demand an assistant and he is given Syrian born Assad who is a quirky but valuable aide, together they find if Merete jumped off a ferry or was abducted and is still alive. A great suspense story filled with a stellar protagonist and and an aide who also adds some humor and lightness to the book. This book would appeal to fans of "Jo Nesbo", "Henning Mankell", "Karin Fossum".
Posted by on 10/03/11
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Portland OR is experiencing the worst rain in decades there are parallels between the current fictional natural disaster and one which actually did completely wipe out Willamette River City more than 60 years earlier. As the water is quickly rising in the town of Vanport several people have been swept away by the flood waters and the coroner soon discovers puncture wounds and learns the victims were dead before they entered the flood waters. Even more unusual is how they were poisoned by one of the most bizarre methods, deadly toxin from an exotic octopus sting. As the skeletal remains turns up we soon learn there are several more bodies first thought that they were victims of the flood waters. Homicide Detective Archie Sheridan is once again on the trail with his side kick quirky reporter Susan Ward. Unlike the first three books where Gretchen Lowell, the “Beauty Killer” is a main character she is only mentioned in passing.
 
There's a mildly intriguing subplot involving a young boy who may be working with the killer, Sheridan heroically rescues a young boy from the floodwaters, only to have the boy disappear from the hospital. As Sheridan races against time to find the killer, he together Susan Ward believes the child is tied into the case.
 
For those that are new to the series you can read this novel without reading the other three novels:
 
Evil at Heart (Sept 2009) Thriller 3
Sweetheart (Sept 2008) Thriller 2
Heartsick (Sept 2007) Thriller 1
 
 
Fiction, Thriller
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/03/11
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New to our collection, this book is a collection of short fiction stories (some never published in book form) by arguably the greatest mystery write of all time.  It includes Hammett's first ever published work, The Barber and his Wife (1922), Black Mask (1924), and This Little Pig (1934) that includes a recently discovered alternate ending.  It also has the first time published story, Another Perfect Crime.
 
Besides the fact that previously unpublished stories were discovered and printed, what makes this book a little more interesting is the format.  A great deal of reference work was done by the editor, Vince Emery.  Stories are introduced with background notes that set the table with the why, when, and  the where, Hammett's creations were served. 
 
These editor notes put into perspective the drive Hammett had to be a writer and the turmoil he had to overcome to feed himself and his family.  He was paid a penny a word for his first published story.   The sum was a whopping $1.13.  Emery goes one step further and lets his readers know what a penny could purchase back in the day.
 
One of the ways to measure an artist's success is if his work is still in demand long after he passes.  Hammett died in 1961.   Loyal fans still crave his craft.  Just seeing this book on a shelf in AHML brought back memories of nights tucked under the covers, escaping to fantasy worlds made up of hard-bitten private-eyes, leggy molls moaning in distress, and rich, power-hungry elitist forcing their will upon the meek.    
Posted by mingh on 09/28/11
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A long time ago, two magicians have a falling out over which is stronger, chaos or control. At the turn of the 20th century, they decide to have a contest to see which one of them might get the better of the other. The contestants will be students of theirs taught only by the methods preferred by that magician. The students know that at some point in their lives the contest will begin. But they may not know when it begins and who their opponent is. That will all eventually be revealed.
 
And as the two great magicians watch, their students Celia and Marco grow fonder of each other. Should the older magicians step in? After all, love has no part in the contest.
 
The Night Circus is a great work of fantasy and illusion. Many people make up the characters that run the Circus of Dreams as it calls itself. There are twins who never grow old. A fantastic clockmaker who can almost control time and a contortionist who can contort her body into beautiful creations. We meet them through their interactions with Celia and Marco. Celia joins the circus as an illusionist. Marco becomes the assistant to the proprietor. But they are both inexorably drawn to each other.
 
The language of the story flows in colorful streams of invention and imagination. The characters are vividly described as are their relationships. This is a book to get lost in just as the circus goers must be directed to leave lest they lose themselves in the Circus of Dreams. A wonderful debut.
Fiction, magic
Posted by Uncle Will on 09/26/11
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Dr. Martin Harris is a leading scientist in his field.  A ground-breaker.  He is at the threshold of a major scientific breakthrough.  Plants talk to him.  He has a beautiful wife and promising life.  Or does he?  

Martin wakes one day in a Paris hospital where he finds he has been in a coma for several
days.  He learns that while traveling in a taxi he was involved in an accident resulting in
his hospitalization.  Thankfully his injuries are minor.

His minor injuries soon become a major problem.  It seems that while he was out cold, Martin's
identity was stolen, on a grand scale.  Even Martin's wife denies knowing him; along with the
man she's sharing her bed with who claims to be the real Dr. Harris.  With no passport or
wallet, Martin turns to the cabbie that was driving the taxi during their accident and the
physician who is treating him for some support.

Martin's support circle grows thin, while evidence keeps mounting that Martin might not be
who he claims. Even Martin starts to wonder if he is the brunt of some elaborate hoax or
slowing going insane.  What follows is a tightly constructed suspense story that leads to an surprising ending.

This book is new to our collection; however, it was previously published under the title: Out
of My Head
.  It also was adapted to film with Liam Neeson in the starring role.  It is less than 200 pages and adapted well to the big screen.  Like in most adaptations, reading the book first before viewing the film is the best course.   

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/25/11
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Quentin, Julia, Eliot and Janet are established as the kings and queens of the magical land of Fillory after their harrowing adventures in the first book in this trilogy, The Magicians. It is well worth reading or re-reading the first book because there are many references to specific occurrences from it. The first book set up the story of our anti-hero, Quentin, and how he goes from a depressed introvert in Brooklyn to being a student at an exclusive school for magic. (Yes, it's a bit like Harry Potter, but it is decidedly darker). In this second book, Quentin finds the life of a magician king to be a bit boring. He longs for the days of danger and adventure. When trouble shows up, the others are content to leave it be, but Quentin jumps head-long into the depths of peril, while being forced to face his past and his inner self.
 
There is not quite the happy ending in The Magician King that there was in the first book, but if there is meant to be a third, that makes sense. It is a bit of a cliff-hanger. I have read reviews on both sides of the fence about this one. No one seems to be neutral about this book. You either love it or hate it. I couldn't stop reading it and I closed it thinking, "I can't wait for the next one!"
fantasy
Posted by mingh on 09/20/11
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Hermes Diaktoros is distressed to find his good friend Gabrilis suffering and dying by the side of a road, the apparent victim of a hit and run. Gabrilis dies before help can be gotten and the police accuse Diaktoros of killing him. While the police vaguely investigate, Diaktoros feels he must be the one to find out who killed his friend.
 
In the small island town, the two police officers assigned to the case are ready to give it up when one becomes the victim of blackmail for information about the possible hit and run. Many events, seemingly unrelated, start to converge into one story for the police officers and for Diaktoros. Why did the son of the richest man in town visit Gabrilis the morning he was killed? How does the media truck for the local television and radio station always know where to be when something happens? Why does the city planning officer disappear so suddenly?
 
Zouroudi has crafted a great investigator in Diaktoros. He knows people and how they think. He knows the land and its history. Although the island of Arcadia is imaginary, the author has wonderfully captured the feel of a small Greek island. The reader will smell the sea, feel the sun, and taste the many delights of food in the book. This is the second book in the Seven Deadly Sins series but it is not necessary to have read them in order. You will enjoy your time following Diaktoros around the island, meeting the people, seeing the sites, and hearing their stories.
Greece, Mystery
Posted by cclapper on 09/15/11
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Arctic Regions Above the Circle -- today: Edie Kiglatuk has lived all her life in this largely native community, but her father was an outsider. And some, particularly the Council of Elders won't forget that, even though she is one of the best local guides.  And good guides mean life or death.  "Qalunaat"  (people up from "the south")  think this is like home, just a bit colder.  The truth is that death is everywhere here... and may be unavoidable with just one or two missteps. As Edie guides two men on desolate Craig Island, a shot explodes and one client is down.  With no one else around.  Edie's life gets complicated.
 
M. J. McGrath has been recognized as "one of the best British writers under thirty-five."  This is her first novel- in what is hoped to be a new series.   Have you read the Nathan Active mysteries by Stan Jones?  .  Nathan is a native Alaskan Inupiak Alaska State Trooper, and White Heat reminds me of Jones' tales.  Experience the lives of modern Inuit/Inupiak- eye-opening.
Arctic, Inuit, murder
Posted by Uncle Will on 09/14/11
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James Patterson has the uncanny ability to create characters that his readers can care about.

In his latest non-series book, his main character, Matt Bannon, is a struggling artist living meagerly in New York City.  He comes from a generational family of Marines on his paternal side.  Maternally he's inherited the traits of a talented, creative, caring person. In order to not disappoint his parents, he enlists in the Marine Corps and becomes a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.  Upon his discharge he begins a life as a struggling artist.

Matt, next chapter in his artistic life, begins to brighten when he meets a beautiful art instructor, falls in love, and gets the opportunity to enroll in her prestigious school. His world is rocked when he accidently stumbles upon the assassination of a dirty diamond dealer by a smoke and mirrors professional hit-man called The Ghost.

The plot gets convoluted when the Russian mobster who hired the hit wants the bag of diamonds returned to him that Matt stole from the murder scene. Nathaniel Prince and his incestuous daughter, Natalia, are forces to be reckoned with.  Prince orders the services of The Ghost to find the diamonds at any cost.  

Like any successful mob kingpin, Prince's power structure is well insulated.  His orders are channeled through his long-time childhood friend and mob-captain, Chukov; a despicable derelict who will stop at nothing to save his own hide. Chukov in turn, has a pair of New York's finest who he orders to find the bag of gems and the thief. This thickening plot takes on the appearance of a guppy swimming in a sea of sharks.

Matt is no guppy nor minnow.  Unknowns to all the villains involved, the past and present events will be more like sharks swimming with several other sharks in a blood-frenzy.

This is one of Patterson's more suspenseful novels.  It is Hitchcockian in style and storyline.  Anyone fortunate to have this book be their first cast into the James Patterson pool of popular prose will undoubtedly be hooked.

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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