Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Great Week for Popular Fiction

Week of November 1st's Hot Picks
Several of America's finest writers' latest works will be released next week. Looking forward to Tuesday. Hope you are, too.

Rainwater by Sandra Brown
An historical novel from bestselling, award-winning author Brown, "Rainwater" follows an independent woman who runs a boarding house in Texas.

Merry Merry Ghost by Carolyn Hart
Introduced in Agatha-winner Hart's Ghost at Work (2008), the late Bailey Ruth Raeburn returns to earth on a heavenly mission to help a four-year-old orphan. Hart is also the author of the mysteries in the Death on Demand series.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
In her first novel in nine years, bestselling author Kingsolver, who penned perennial favorites The Bean Trees (1988) and The Poisonwood Bible (1998), tells the story of Harrison William Shepherd, a man whose search for identity takes readers to the heart of the 20th century's most tumultuous events.

The Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor
In Keillor's comic novella, a wealthy and depressed man bound for Christmas in Hawaii is abruptly summoned home to North Dakota. He arrives just in time to be trapped there by a blizzard. During his stay, he reaches an epiphany worthy of the season and resolves to simplify his life.

Ford County Stories by John Grisham
In this short story collection, Grisham takes us back Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill. Plenty of advance buzz about this one and the cast of characters Grisham introduces.

No Less Than Victory : a WWII Novel by Jeff Shaara
This is the third and final book in Shaara's WWII trilogy, preceded by The Rising Tide (2006) and The Steel Wave (2008). The third novel covers the last five months of the war, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of concentration camps and is a sure pick for fans of military/historical fiction and non-fiction books by Stephen Ambrose.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

Week of October 25th's Hot Picks
This week's latest fiction, sure to be next week's bestsellers, all by your favorite authors. Enjoy!

Angel Time by Anne Rice
This one kicks off Rice's new Songs of the Seraphim religious romance/suspense series. The main character is hired assassin Toby O'Dare, a one-time aspirant to the priesthood, who's offered a chance at redemption via a trip back to the 13th century.

Christmas Promise by Anne Perry
When a younger fellow orphan is imperiled by her uncle's murder and the disappearance of a family donkey, Gracie, Charlotte Pitt's maid, aids the child's search for both the killer and the donkey. This is Perry's seventh Christmas-themed Victorian historical, after 2008's A Christmas Grace.

Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris
The forth in the Harper Connelly mystery series, after 2007's An Ice Cold Grave. Harris already has two novels on the NYT bestseller list, A Touch of Dead and Dead and Gone, both of which feature telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
Veteran novelist John Irving (The Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp) turns in yet another off-beat tale. The story, spanning five decades, is set in 1954 New Hampshire, where an anxious 12-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear...

True Blue by David Baldacci
Fresh out of prison, disgraced ex-cop Mason "Mace" Perry, along with the help of her police chief sister Beth, aids Roy Kingman, a lawyer trying to track down the killer of one of his law partners, all while a U.S. attorney looks for any reason to put Mace back behind bars. The first book in a proposed series featuring the Perry sisters.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kitchen Delights

Early Fall's Cookbooks
Fall is no doubt a very busy season for all of you. First, we're in the middle of "all sports" season and if you are enjoying local youth athletic events, we bet you're also enjoying more than a few college and national games on TV. Either way, if you're looking for delicious recipes to help you plan menus for your busy family, guests, or potluck events, here's a few among other newbies that may be helpful.

2, 4, 6, 8 : Great Meals for Couple or Crowds by Rachael Ray makes cooking fun and easy here with a batch of 30 minute menus.

Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali presents a taste of Italy and also an education about and culinary tour of Italy's 12 regions. Most of the recipes are reported to be simple enough for novice cooks.

Anne Byrn offers The Cake Mix Doctor Returns, another in her "the doctor is in" series for cake bakers. Here find 160 new recipes guaranteed to tempt, many of them contributed by fans.

75 Smoothies : How to Make Fabulous Fresh Fruit Drinks, Shakes and Floats with 290 Step-by-step Photographs by Suzannah Oliver gives your blender a workout with main concentration on creating nutritious drinks.

Post by Bev Simmons

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be Ready for Dancing Cheek to Cheek!

November : National Healthy Skin Month
As the temperatures get colder, don't let your skin become out of sight, out of mind. Learn about how to maintain healthy skin by consulting skin care books, the web, or by trying out some homemade skin remedies.

Books and Reading
The Beautiful Skin Workout by Michelle Copeland
Total Skin by David Leffell
Naturally Healthy Skin by Stephanie Tourles
The Skin Type Solution by Leslie Baumann
The New Science of Perfect Skin by Daniel Yarosh

Surf's Up
American Academy of Dermatology
Mayo Clinic's Top 5 Habits for Healthy Skin
WebMD: A Guy's Guide to Skin Care

Breakfast for Your Skin (Oatmeal & Sugar Scrub)
Here's our favorite recipe for a natural facial scrub featuring ingredients found in your kitchen cupboards. Sugar has clarifying capabilities as well as gentle exfoliating properties. Oatmeal is hypoallergenic and full of amino acids. Olive oil is natural and won't clog your pores.

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 cup pure honey
3/4 to 1 cup (or to total saturation) Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Essential or Fragrance oil of choice (Optional; we used vanilla)

Mix the sugar & oatmeal together in a large bowl. Now add the honey. Drizzle the oil over the mix. Mix well. When all your mix is saturated and sinks to the bottom of the bowl and you have oil on top you're done. Add your essential oil or fragrance oil. Find a six or eight ounce wide-mouthed jar and spoon mixture in.

Post by Kathleen Sands

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Costs $.28 to Tell a Secret

In 2004, author Frank Warren undertook a community art project, asking people to anonymously send him a secret on a decorated postcard.

Since then, Warren has received well over 400,000 postcards and published four PostSecret books, each of which revealed some aspect of the senders' inner lives. The secrets range from fearful to hopeful; shocking to heart-wrenching; cute to TMI; funny to provocative.

Warren's fifth book in this popular, often challenging confessional series, PostSecret : Confessions on Life, Death, and God, is due to arrive shortly. As always, choose for yourself or for your family.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Attention-Getting Reads

Hot Picks, Sleeper Hits
Here's a few books that have been peppering bestseller and recommended book lists and which have attracted a fair share of local attention, if not more than a few patron purchase requests.

Healing and Preventing Autism : a Complete Guide by Jenny McCarthy
The latest from McCarthy, who also penned Louder Than Words and Mother Warriors.

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong
Armstrong, a former nun, writes widely about religion and religious history. Her latest makes a case for the importance of religion and faith in modern life.

American on Purpose : the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson
This Scottish-born comedian, now late night TV host, describes his journey to American citizenship.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
The author of the still popular Glass Castle recreates the life of her maternal grandmother, Lily Casy Smith, in the first half of the 20th century.

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Acclaimed author of Tuesdays With Morrie, among others, offers another story about the power of friendship and faith.

A Bomb in Every Issue : How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America by Peter Richardson
The story of a magazine that started out as a literary quarterly and moved on to be influential and a ruffler of more than a few political feathers from 1962-1975.

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
The author recounts the details of the eight months he spent with an Army battalion in Iraq.

End the Fed by Ron Paul
The Texas congressman, author of The Revolution : a Manifesto (2008) offers his take on U.S. economic policy and where the Federal Reserve Bank fits in, or doesn't.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Attention on Invention

What Would We Do Without Them?
The following books examine the work of some individuals, well and no so well known, whose inventions changed lives, if not the course of history.

The Spirit of Invention : The Story of the Thinkers, Creators, & Dreamers Who Formed Our Nation by Julie M. Fenster with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Invention offers a fascinating look at the work of notable inventors you've no doubt heard of (Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Robert Goddard) as well as those about whom you may know little: Gertrude Forbes (ironing board cover); John Dove (concepts behind the compact disc) or Luther Burbank (revolutionized plant breeding). This easy format book is a winner for browsers and deep readers alike.

Also Recommended
They Made America : From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine : Two Centuries of Innovators by Harold Evans

Feminine Ingenuity: Women & Invention in America by Anne Macdonald covers some of the inventions women have contributed over the last two hundred years.

Made to Break : Technology & Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade discusses the dangers and implications of planned obsolescence.

For those interested in Connecticut's early innovators, Yankee Dreamers and Doers : the Story of Connecticut Manufacturing by Ellsworth S. Grant provides a great overview.

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thinking Thriller? Think Tuesday!

Week of October 18th's Hot Picks
Several of next Tuesday's additions to our collection have something in common : crime, mystery, suspense and plot-twisting. Enjoy your favorite detectives, forensic specialists, or a little romance for good measure.

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
Kay Scarpetta, now a senior forensic analyst for CNN, becomes embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionairess with whom her niece Lucy seems to have shared a secret past.

Locked In by Marcia Muller
After being shot, PI Sharon McCone, last seen in 2008's Burn Out, suffers from locked-in syndrome, which involves almost total paralysis but an alert conscious mind. As Sharon lies in a hospital bed, she and members of her agency work to figure out 'who dunnit'.

Blood Game by Iris Johansen
This forensics thriller finds Johansen favorite, Eve Duncan, fresh off her investigation in 2008's Quicksand, matching a surprise found in her refrigerator to a U.S. Senator's murdered daughter. Expect paranormal twists and a stronger romance line with Joe Quinn, Eve's FBI guy.

Southern Lights by Danielle Steel
Assistant D.A. Alexa Hamilton, assigned to prosecute accused serial killer Luke Quentin, is confronted with difficult career and personal choices. Set in Manhattan's gritty courts and in the antebellum South, this part family saga/part thriller is reported to be much more than usual Steel fare.

Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle, arguably most famous for his non-fiction works about Provence (France), here delivers a caper mystery featuring Sam Levitt, a jack of all trades lawyer with a love for fine food and wine and a definite flair for investigation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October : National Arts & Humanities Month

Read Big This Month
Why not celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month by checking out one of the following titles from the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read series? The collection features CDs containing excerpts from the original work (all owned by the library) and supported by critical analysis. The goal of this outstanding series is to focus on the importance of reading, emphasizing popular culture.

For patrons who enjoy book discussions, this series offers a wonderful way to experience great books. For commuters, it's ideal.

Visit the NEA's Big Read website for more information about Big Read titles, including radio programs, video profiles, and brief essays about the authors.

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, October 09, 2009

Storage Solutions

Conventional Looks at Storing Your Stuff
More than a few of us are looking for better storage space in our closets, cabinets, or on the shelves within. “Make-overs” are not only practical, they can be fashionable. All in all, matching what you have with what you need can be a lot easier, if you see how others have approached remodeling.

The following titles offer some great suggestions -- especially if you're handy -- for solving your storage problems and giving your home more useful space and a brand new look:

Store It! Where to Put All the Things You Need to Keep by Mervyn Kaufman

Easy to Build Bookcases & Clutter Control Projects: 18 Practical Solutions to Organize Your Home by the Editors of Weekend Woodcrafts Magazine; Rob Joseph & Linda Hendry

Wordworking for the Home: Storage Projects for all Around the House by Paul Anthony, Niall Barrett, & Jeff Miller

Popular Mechanics Garage Makeovers: Adding Space without Adding On by Rick Peters

Also checkout general works, for both kids and adults, about the age-old and not always easy challenge of trying be orderly yourself, while still maintaining a busy household.

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Expecting or Expected?

A View From Outside... and In
What to Expect When You're Expecting, now in its 4th edition, is a perennial self-help bestseller. Arguably a must-read book for pregnant women, especially first-timers, the book's content is defended or debated with equal intensity. We'll leave it up to you, either way.

Alas, every 'standard' text at some point ends up being spoofed and David Javerbaum's What to Expect When You're Expected : a Fetus's Guide to the First Three Trimesters does just that. As the title suggests, the book is written from an in utero point of view...

Javerbaum is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer for Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and a coauthor of America: The Book. This should give you an idea of what kind of humor to expect -- from crude, to mildly entertaining, to hilarious. As always, we invite you to pick and choose according to your interests and tastes.

Hot Pick Fiction : Week of October 11

Mix and Match
Next week's hot picks include mysteries, thrillers, fantasies, literary fiction and the latest in what is likely to be a bumper crop of holiday stories. Mix and match!

Breaking the Rules by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Bradford delivers her 25th romantic suspense story just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her first, now classic romance novel, A Woman of Substance.

Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn
Ace counterintelligence (and invincible) agent, Mitch Rapp, takes on al Qaeda in this 10th book in a stellar series.

The Humbling by Philip Roth
A once famous and aging actor confronts his waning confidence and reputation in this sorrowful novella reported to be similar to Everyman and Exit Ghost.

Golden Shrine by Harry Turtledove
Alternate history writer Turtledove sets this novel in a parallel Bronze Age; picking up where he left off in 2008's The Breath of God.

Home for Christmas by Andrew M. Greeley
Father Greeley offers his second Christmas tale, following 2004's Star Bright! Sure to be schmaltzy but that's what holiday stories are for.

Stained Glass by Ralph McInerny
Father Dowling is up against the possible closing of St. Hillary's, a murderer, and a powerful family of church patrons. The 28th in the Father Dowling mystery series.

The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell
British police detective, Inspector Wexford, confronts a man from his past, who he suspects is responsible for multiple murders. This is Rendell's 22nd mystery in the Wexford series; next after 2007's Not in the Flesh.

House of Reckoning by John Saul
A haunted house horror/suspense tale featuring unloved foster child, Sarah Crane, and classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient plagued by visions. Saul's a good horror fiction choice if you need a respite from the vampire genre.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Where the Wild Things Will Be Soon

Books to Film
Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are is coming to the big screen on October 16th. This famous children's book is about a boy who, after getting in trouble, is sent to his room and begins imagining a forest in which he becomes king of all of the animals.

First published back in 1963, the book has remained a hit so if you're new to being a kid, don't forget to read the book before you go see the movie! The library also has a number of other great titles written, illustrated, or inspired by the always inventive Mr. Sendak.

More Children's Books to Film
For those interested in pairing other great books with media, enjoy anew or again:
Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince due on DVD Dec. 7)
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Tale of Despereaux
City of Ember

(Kit Kittredge of the American Girl Series)
Nancy Drew
Chronicles of Narnia

Surf's Up
For a more complete listing of children's books to film, visit Kidsreads.

Upcoming Film : Watch the Trailer

Post by Kathleen Sands

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Amelia Earhart

Coming to a Theater Near You
While we're waiting for the release of Amelia, a biopic starring two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank, now may be the time to bone up on the facts of Earhart's life.

Two books, used as a basis for the film, are The Sound of Wings : the Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell and Amelia Earhart : the Mystery Solved by Elgen M. Long. Also try American Heroes : Amelia Earhart : the Sky's No Limit by Lori Van Pelt. Several other biographies are also available.

For kids, try Sky Pioneer : a Photobiography of Amelia Earhart by Corinne Szabo or A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart by David A. Adler.

Surf's Up
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum
George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers (Purdue University)
National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Amazing Americans, Library of Congress

Upcoming Film : Watch the Trailer

Business Matters

News from the Front

Sunday, October 04, 2009

To Boo or Not to Boo?

Halloween Fan? Here's Some Have Fun Tips
If you are planning a Halloween party, get your food ideas from Ghoulish Goodies by Sharon Bowers or Halloween Parties : How to Throw Spook-tacular Soirees and Frighteningly Festive Entertainments by Lori Hellander. The treats are inventive and most don't look hard to make; even if you're not a wizz in the kitchen. For more conventional and silly (not scary) treats, try Kraft Halloween.

If you enjoy the creepy side of Halloween decorating, try Extreme Halloween : the Ultimate Guide to Making Halloween Scary Again by Tom Nardone. Also consider sharing a little quality time at the library on Halloween; join us for our annual pre-school party!

Poet of the Month

October's Featured Poet
Marge Piercy (1936-) as the Boston Globe put it, is “a cultural touchstone. Few writers in modern memory have sustained her passion, and skill, for creating stories of consequence.” She has authored 15 volumes of poetry, though she’s best known for her novels: Gone To Soldiers, Braided Lives, and The Longings of Women — plus 13 others. She is a passionate feminist and anti-war spokes-person. She has taught, spoken, or performed her work at well over 400 college and university campuses around the world.

More Than Enough

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

Further Reading:
Try Piercy's novels or her early poetry volumes:
Early Grrrl : The Early Poems of Marge Piercy
What Are Big Girls Made Of? : Poems

Coming in November: Maya Angelou

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
21st Century Bread (2007)
In Vitro : New Short Rhyming Poems Post-9/11 (2009)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hope, Wisdom, Fear

Inspirational Reads
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981) was the first in a string of popular theology books designed to help people deal with life's common problems : guilt, forgiveness, growing old, suffering, injustice, conscience. His latest, Conquering Fear : Living Boldly in an Uncertain World is due out next week.

Further Reading
Click here for a short list of other books by Rabbi Kushner.

Surf's Up
Catch a (not commercial-free) broadcast of Kushner discussing his book Overcoming Life's Disappointments.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Join at Your Own Risk...
If you are looking for a good fantasy-adventure series to share with your kids, try Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society series. The books feature four gifted orphans/runaways (Reynie Muldoon, George “Sticky” Washington, Kate Wetherall, Constance Contraire) and a mysterious narcoleptic, Mr. Benedict. In short form, they band together to stop an eccentric inventor, Mr. Curtain, from taking over the world.

The books are Lemony Snicket-clever (though the second not as much as the first) and include enough action-adventure and character growth to satisfy Potter fans. Read 'em in order :

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Wonders of Antarctica

Life on "The Ice"
Antarctica is not only a place of frigid temperatures; it is home to numerous unique flora and fauna. The following outstanding coffee table books offer a fascinating view of life in the world’s most southern continent. These books are a visual treat to any armchair traveler and of special interest to devotees of ecology, geography, wildlife, and historical expeditions.

David McGonigal, along with Dr. Lynn Woodworth, gave us a breathtaking look in Antarctica : The Blue Continent The Last Great Wilderness on Earth. Now McGonigal is back with Antarctica : Secrets of the Southern Continent.

If you did read the first title, the second is even more delightful and the subject is well worth a second look. Anything a reader would want to know about Antarctica is covered here with a wealth of gorgeous photographs, detailed maps and charts, and features on unusual and familiar birds and animals. “Classic” is a good one-word description for the book's coverage.

For readers whose interest in Antarctica has not yet peaked, Jim Mastro’s Antarctica : A Year at the Bottom of the World is another good read. From the aurora australis to Bird Island, the author, a photojournalist, shares his journey to this harsh, desolate, yet beautiful place. The book is divided by each of four seasons Mastro spent on "The Ice".

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Latest Books by Your Favorite Authors

Hot Fiction Picks
With the holiday reading (and gift-giving) season fast approaching, expect to see a landslide of novels penned by popular authors. Here are but a few you can expect to see next week.

13 1/2 by Nevada Barr
Not an Anna Pigeon mystery but a standalone thriller set in New Orleans.

Evidence by Jonathan Kellerman
Veteran homicide cop Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware expose the shadowy side of glittering Los Angeles as they investigate a gruesome death.

Once in a Blue Moon by Eileen Goudge
A touching story about sisters Lindsay and Kerri Ann who as children, were moved into the foster care system after their mother was arrested for selling drugs.

Tragic Magic by Laura Childs
Another in the scrapbooking mystery series featuring Carmela Bertrand and her French Quarter sidekick, Ava Gruiex.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
The wizards of Unseen University in the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. The latest in the author's Discworld series.

The Professional by Robert B. Parker
More snappy dialouge and contemporary detective work from Parker fan favorite, Boston-based P.I. Spencer, whose first name remains a mystery, too.

The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans
The author's latest inspirational and well-timed holiday story about a life-changing event and the redemption that follows.

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
Both historical fiction and a family saga, Byatt's latest spans the last decade of the Victorian age, the Edwardian period, and moves up to World War I. Oodles of characters so grab a pencil to keep track...

The Ghost King by R.A. Salvatore
The conclusion to Salvatore's bestselling Transitions trilogy finds Drizzt and his companions caught in the chaos of the Spellplague.

Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey
Gwenhwyfar bows to circumstances to become Arthur's queen--only to find herself facing temptation and treachery, intrigue and betrayal, but also love and redemption.