Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson. (an exploration of the conflicts between Westerners and the Maori of New Zealand.)
Big, Bad and Barbaric by Jaid Black (a paperback romance)
Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (humorous novel with instructions for the mother-of-the-groom!)
Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed by Doug Crandell. (2 southern brothers: one balding; one mildly brain-damaged. Think Augusten Burroughs.)
Succubus in the City, and its sequel, Succubus Takes Manhattan by Nina Harper. (Doing Satan's bidding in NYC!)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows (actually a very popular title here but I can never remember it exactly!)
Why We Suck by Denis Leary (also very popular but I truly detest the word "suck" and think it should never be used in a title!)
Please feel free to post you own nominees too!
You will find yourself rooting for John Severson, a noble man trying to make the best of a life blighted by a disease which automatically makes one an outcast. The story is suspenseful and full of interesting historical details. If you enjoyed Molokai by Alan Brennert, you will love The Leper by Steve Thayer.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
When he was 12, Herman Rosenblat and his family were taken from their home in Poland and sent to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Young Herman was forced to work shoveling bodies into a crematorium. All the while he did not know if he, too, would soon be killed.One day two years later, Herman walked up to the barbed wire fence and saw a girl on the other side. "She says, 'What are you doing in there?'" Herman says. "I said to her, 'Can you give me something to eat?' And she took an apple out of her jacket."The girl fed Herman an apple every day for seven months. Then one day he told her not to come back—he was being moved to another camp. "A tear came down her eyes," Herman says. "And as I turned around and went back I started to cry, too. I started to cry knowing that I might not see her again."Herman was shipped to Czechoslovakia. Just two hours before he was scheduled to die in the gas chambers there, Russian troops liberated the camp and Herman was set free.
What I don't understand is why people want to write memoirs when they don't feel their lives are exciting enough to merit one? If they have the urge to write why not try fiction.
Monday, December 29, 2008
People often ask me for reading suggestions, and I'm always happy to share because books are exciting things to me. My latest excitement is this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it. I've been recommending it to total strangers in Target. And now to everyone who reads my website. The Hunger Games is amazing.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Big Necessity: the Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters by Rose George
Beyond the Zonules of Zinn: A Fantastic Journey through Your Brain by David Bainbridge
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food by Gene Baur
Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen
Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others by Marco Iacoboni
The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog by Nancy Ellis-Bell
The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret by Seth Shulman
Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg
The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It by Robert Zimmerman
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and The New York Times.
I just can't limit myself to one author above all others. How about you; is there one author you prefer above all others? Who is it?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Merry Christmas, Ollie by Olivier Dunrea
Baby Elf’s Christmas by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
The Night before Christmas: tenth anniversary by Clement C. Moore/Jan Brett
The Christmas Bears by Chris Conover
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Christmas at Stony Creek by Stephanie Greene
A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kinkaid
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Friday, December 12, 2008
Here is one scene that Sheinkin recounts involving Samuel Adams and John Hancock as they high tail it out of Lexington after Paul Revere’s warning:
idea of what just happened.
“Oh, what a glorious morning is this,” he said.
John Hancock thought Adams was talking about the weather, which was not bad, but not
glorious. Adams clarified: “I mean, what a glorious morning for America.”
What was so glorious about it? Adams must have been thinking that those early-morning
shots would be the start of a long, hard fight for American independence.
Hancock must have been thinking about lunch. He sent a messenger back to Lexington,
instructing Dorothy and Aunt Lydia to meet him in Woburn (where Adams and Hancock were
now headed). He told them to “bring the fine salmon” that they had planned to eat that day.
Wait a minute. The American Revolution just started, and we’re talking about salmon.
What just happened back there on Lexington Common?”
I, for one, had to find out! And, when Steve Sheinkin’s second volume, Two Miserable Presidents: Everything your schoolbooks didn’t tell you about the Civil War, was added to our collection, I found the time to read that, too!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
- Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker.
- Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavors from Simple Ingredients by Ina Garten.
- Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh by Barbara Fairchild--for those weeknight meals fast and easy are important concepts.
- How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman--this is a great reference tool.
- Jamie At Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver--this book also includes vegetable gardening tips and advice.
- Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook by Martha Stewart.
- Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book by Rachael Ray--for the busy family this includes lots of 30-minutes meals.
- Spain: A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow--this is a fun book because it is also good for the armchair traveler..
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
What do an 1890 first edition of the "Tragic Muse" by Henry James, a 1919 first edition of "The Book of Halloween", and a 1911 first edition of the "Biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe" have in common? They are all for sale in our mini-antiquarian corner near the main circulation desk. More than 40 items have been sold from the 100 we pulled from our basement collection for the sale. Among the remaining items are: three volumes of an 1898 first edition of the "Life and Works of Susan B. Anthony", five volumes from the 1800's of "Pomes" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, three volumes of an 1883 edition of the "Life of Andrew Jackson", an 1853 edition of the "Life of Roger Williams". Other titles include "History of Our Lord in Works of Art", "Cathedrals of New England", "Weir of Hermiston", "Life and Letters of General Thomas Jackson", and "Paul Jones Founder of the American Navy". All are priced right for gift giving: $5 - $100, and proceeds go to the Friends of the Dover Library.
Monday, December 08, 2008
'Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers--as well as Aesop's wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm--each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling's new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle's collection "take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe," and "that magic causes as much trouble as it cures."
But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard's-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered "among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives," the venerable wizard's ruminations on the Tales allow today's readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that "Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles" during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters.
Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led "a certain Beatrix Bloxam" to cleanse the Tales of "much of the darker themes that she found distasteful," forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through "Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" that "many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead."'
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Thames: the Biography by Peter Ackroyd.
This 215-mile river flowing through London is exquisitely explored in all its misery and majesty. As a Dickens lover and a huge fan of Clare Clark's novel The Great Stink, I know I would enjoy this biography of a river which has been a playground, an attack route, an artistic inspiration, a power source, a royal stream, and even a sewer.
The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic by Stan Ulanski.
This fascinating blend of science and history delves into the marine life, the transport properties, and the notables who've studied this "ocean conveyor belt" which can even been seen from space. Ponce de Leon discovered it, and Columbus used it, as did the real pirates of the Caribbean and later slave traders. Benjamin Franklin experiemented with its temperature differences in order to chart the stream's boundaries and perhaps speed up delivery of the mail.
Discover its major role in the development of East coast America.
Weather Matters: an American Cultural History Since 1900 by Bernard Mergen.
Hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and other stormy conditioons are examined for their enormous social and cultural impact. Weather, after all, is always a topic of conversation in America. Our inability to control nature, its unpredictability, its politics (Katrina), and even weather lore and humor and the marketing of weather are delightfully explained here.
Bridges: 3000 Years of Defying Nature by David J. Brown
Not on the subject of water, per se, but over the subject of water is this grand coffee table volume. With over 300 photos and illustrations, the author relates the origins, engineering, structure, materials, and design principles of over 100 of the world's greatest bridges. Arranged chronologically, this is a delightful (and fairly non-technical) book for an architecture or civil engineering buff. I adore going over the Zakim bridge in Boston so I loved this book!