Staff Choices

Posted by roseh on 06/22/12
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Ah-Kim Chang moves with her mother from China to New York City in the 1990's. Her journey removes her from the life she enjoyed and takes her farther away from the memories of her father who died in China. Ah-Kim becomes Kimberly. A new name marks the beginning of her journey filled with translation, transition, and transformation.
Kimberly and her mother are sponsored by her mother's sister. Aunt Paula tells them they are very lucky to be getting the apartment waiting for them. Promises of a good job and home, however, are soon replaced by the reality of sweatshops and slums.

Kim is a very bright eleven year-old but the language barrier is enormous and she fails miserably at first. In addition to school, she takes on the burden of helping her mother finish her sewing job since they get paid per completed garment. Although this work was illegal, Kim's mother felt nothing could be done except to pay off their debt and move on since her sister, Aunt Paula, was the owner of the sweatshop.

The story continues through the years as Kim navigates through the tween and teen years, and into adulthood.
Girl In Translation is a story of determination, family, relationships, and survival.

This novel is a work of fiction, however, Jean Kwok, the author, shares similarities with Kim. Jean also immigrated to the United States and worked in a sweatshop as a child. See an interview with Jean Kwok:
Posted by kensey on 06/20/12
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In Dan Ariely's new book,  The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty : How We Lie To Everyone - Especially Ourselves, he explores cheating, lies, and human nature by looking at psychology experiments. If you liked the more famous Freakonomics books or those by Malcolm Gladwell, you'll enjoy Dan Ariely, who makes you rethink your "morality" when it comes to cheating and lying - but in a totally entertaining way!
For those of you who shy away from non-fiction, this book (and previous books by the author) is incredibly readable and fun - Ariely is charmingly self-deprecating - and reading him is like hearing stories from an old friend who just happens to be a behavioral economist. If you don't want to commit to reading the entire book, I highly recommened you at least check out Dan Ariely's blog or twitter, where you can get fascinating snippets from the social psychology world in pop form.
Posted by roseh on 06/13/12
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Blending facts and fiction with some chapters devoted to literary dissertation rather than biographical information, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines A Life is a hybrid of a biography and a narrative.
Drawing from a variety of sources which are noted in the back of the book, Beattie recounts snapshots of Pat Nixon’s life and at the same time interjects her own suppositions, imagining what Pat Nixon might have done or said in a given situation. Beattie notes that her book “is based on research,” but also states, “I imagine dialogue… in some cases, factual events are used only as points of departure.” A brief chronology is included at the end of the book highlighting some of the events in Pat Nixon’s life as well as those of her husband, Richard Nixon.
Beattie is a university professor and has received awards for her short stories. The chapters in Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines A Life are not individual short stories; however, they do stand alone in variety and scope.  For example, chapter one is a list of nicknames; other chapters include examples of literary terms and the author’s opinion about writers.
Reading this book is like looking through a box of photographs and notes rather than reading a chronicled scrapbook or detailed diary. If you are looking for a complete biography about Pat Nixon, this book is not it, but if you would like to read snippets of Pat Nixon’s life intermingled with ‘what-ifs’ read on.
Posted by Pam S on 06/07/12
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Critically acclaimed author Ray Bradbury passed away June 5 at the age of 91.  He authored more than 27 novels and 600 short stories and brought fantasy and science fiction to the mainstream. Nearly everyone has been touched by his writing in some way because of his influence on the science fiction genre.
To explore material by and about Ray Bradbury you can find books and movies in our catalog.  A temporary display of his books and movies can also be found by the checkout line.
Posted by Uncle Will on 06/04/12
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Camilla Lackberg is the best selling mystery author of Sweden.  She has 7 best sellers; to date, only 3 have been translated into English.  This is her latest in her Fjallbacka series.  What is it about Swedish authors that seem to mandate that all their mysteries have at least 20 characters?
True to form, this latest story has several plots with interconnecting characters.  The story begins in the present with Patrik and Erica, the proud parents of newly born Maja.  Erica has all the signs of postpartum depression.  Patrik hasn't a clue since he is immersed in investigating the shocking death of his wife's best friends' 8-year old daughter Sara...found tangled in a fishing net off the coast of Fjallbacka.   
Chapter 2 backs up to 1928 and has Lackberg tangling-in the title character, Anders Anderson, who is an artist with hammer and chisel in hand.  His canvas is Stromstad's quarry's granite.  He is commissioned by the town's most prominent businessman to create a great granite statue.  Agnes, the rich man's spoiled and only daughter has commission plans for Anders of her own.  The story continues to flip-flop back and forth between storylines, building to a dramatic conclusion.
All of Patrik's police cronies are back; each with their own set of hang-ups and emotional baggage.  Anna, the abused wife and younger sister of Erica, continues to plot her (and her children's) escape from her ogre husband Lucas. 
Make no mistake about it, this 500-page book is not an easy read and readers are advised to begin with Lackberg's first two mysteries in the series: The Ice Princess and The Preacher.    The series' central characters continue to develop from book to book.  The last chapter is always the "teaser" foreshadowing what is to come. 
If one enjoys mysteries that are thought-provoking and not formulaic, heroes that are flawed, and romance that endures, this Swedish series is carved in stone. 
Posted by jonf on 06/04/12
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Ben, Chon and their girlfriend Ophelia are living the Dream, spending their days in a mansion in Laguna Beach, together a happy dysfunctional family of sorts.
Ben the Botanist grows the best pot in SoCal and Chon the ex Navy Seal helps distribute and sell it, all along guided by their Muse Ophelia, all is well until they get an offer they can't refuse.
The Baja Cartel wants a cut of the business and make it clear that no is not an option, after some thought they say no and the fun begins.
Chon leads the way with his expertise to turn the tables on the cartel and a scary, violent and sometimes funny high octane ride begins.
Don Winslow-- is one of my favorite writers and he has a winner here.

Check the trailer for the new movie out in July. 
Action, Suspense
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 05/30/12
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Betty and Joseph Weissmann had been happily married for nearly 50 years, or so Betty thought, when Joseph announced that he wanted a divorce to be with his girlfriend, Felicity.  Thus dumped and turned out of her luxurious Manhattan apartment she called home, Betty crash lands in a rundown Westport, Ct. beach cottage, relying on the smothering kindness of Uncle Lou.  To make matters worse, both Betty's daughters run into their own streak of bad luck, and move in with Betty.   Literary agent Miranda must file bankruptcy after it's leaked that some of her authors' steamy memoirs were in fact fiction. And Betty's other daughter, Annie, is so deeply in debt she can no longer afford her apartment. Once they move in with Mom, both girls promptly fall in love—Annie rather awkwardly with the brother of Joseph's lover, and Miranda with a lothario actor quite a bit younger than her. In true Jane Austen style, mischief and mayhem runs regretably over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to turn their lives around.

The Three Weissmann's of Westport has been labeled a modern-day homage to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  It's a very well done read-alike, I might add.  Her characters are engaging, humorous and sad all at the same time.  This book is full of wit and wisdom that will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.

Posted by Uncle Will on 05/25/12
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"Vengeance is mine...sayeth the short story lover."
Lee Child has edited a collection of short stories from noted mystery authors Dennis  LeHane, Alafair Burke, Michael Connelly, Twist Phelan, Zoe Sharp, Jim Fusilli, Rick  McMahan, Anne Swardson, Steve Liskow, Brendan DuBois, Michael Niemann, Karin Slaughter,  Michelle Gagnon, Orest Stelmach, Adam Meyer, Dreda Say Mitchell, Darrell James, C.E.  Lawrence, Janice Law, and Mike Cooper.
Short stories are always a challenge to create for mystery writers.  Stephen King has in the past said that he thinks the successful ones are more difficult to write than the typical novel. There isn't an unsuccessful one in the bunch collected here. 
There is fine supply of twisted plots and complex characters.
"The Unremarkable Heart" I found to be the most controversial; the cleverest one has to be "Even a Blind Man." Lee Child fans will enjoy his dark entry "The Hollywood I Remember."  Make certain to read Child's introduction on how he chose the authors and their works.  It, too, is most enjoyable.

The lengths of all the stories are perfect for that bedtime nightcap to end the day.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 05/25/12
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This game is totally addictive!
Great for all ages, Mercury Meltdown: Revolution lets you control a shiny blob of mercury that moves along mazes and platforms by you tilting the Wii controller. It's fun and easy to learn, but it can get really challenging as well. It's an older game, so it is often available for checkout unlike some of the hotter new games that you have to be on hold for for a month or more. I originally checked it out for my ten-year-old, who loved it, but I ended up playing it for hours on end myself.
There is also a version of this game called, Mercury Meltdown: Remix for the PS2 that we have for checkout in Kids' World.
Give it a try and post a comment if you liked it too.
Posted by rkong on 05/24/12
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Parents have to make a lot of important choices throughout the course of a child's life, but very few carry the weight of deciding which Star Wars movie to allow your children to watch first. I just went through this decision-making process myself, so I thought I'd share what I did with the hopes of helping other parents.
The main question for me was whether to start with the original trilogy beginning with Episode IV: A New Hope or the prequel trilogy beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Do I want my child to get to know Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader first? Or would it be better to start with what some might call the more kid-friendly movie and introduce her to young Anakin, Queen Amidala, and Jar Jar Binks? Is it more important to watch them in real-world chronological order (by release date) or fake-universe chronological order?
In the end, I decided I was somewhat of a Star Wars purist and would start off with the original trilogy. It just felt wrong to do it any other way and I'm happy to say that Episode IV was a big hit with my daughter. She was really into the story and the entire Star Wars universe. She asked lots of questions (big surprise there!) and even got Obi Wan Kenobi's name right towards the end. 
So, what do we watch next? Well, a friend of mine suggested that I try what's known as Machete Order. Having read about it, I have to say that it really appeals to me and I think I'll try it. But ultimately it'll be up to my daughter to watch the rest of the movies when she's ready. Who knows, maybe she'll want to take a break from the real-life action and watch some of the animated Clone Wars first! 
I'm curious what others think. Leave a comment below telling me what you think the right approach is to introduce kids to Star Wars? What's your favorite Star Wars movie?
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