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APRIL 30, 2012
After the Apocalypse

The Hunger Games

 

Has The Hunger Games turned you on to dystopias?  Everyone is reading and talking about this teen series with the first movie currently out in theaters.  If you’ve already read The Hunger Games, or you’re on the waiting list, give these a try!

The Children of Men by P.D. James
The human race is wondering what is left to live for in the near future when it is clear that people are no longer able to procreate and the population is aging towards extinction.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Atwood’s classic tale of the future in which a woman’s every move is controlled by the leaders of the theocratic Republic of Gilead (formerly the United States).

One Second After by William R. Forstchen
What would happen if the power grid for the United States was wiped out by an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse)?  Totally wiped out…This novel is Forstchen’s unsettling answer to that question.

Pure by Julianna Baggott
In the wake of the “Detonations”, Pressia, is left to survive as best she can.  Like other “wretches” Pressia was not left unmarked and the differences between wretches and “pures” (people who safely avoided the Detonations inside the Dome) are all too clear.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A nameless man and his son are struggling to survive in a cold, dead world where the aftermath of a nuclear event has left the landscape withered.  Survivors scavenge for what they need and bands of cannibals roam the countryside as the father and son make their way towards the southern coast.


 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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APRIL 29, 2012
Icy Hot Spy Stories

Washington D.C. in the summer of 1942: hot, muggy and filled with war workers, soldiers, spies and suspicion. OSS employee Louise Pearlie soon discovers there is nowhere in the crowded, dangerous city for her to hide from spies and their treachery. Louise's War author Sarah R. Shaber recreates the tense, humid summer so faithfully the reader will wish for air conditioning and a cold drink at the ready.
 

Fast-forward to 21st century: CIA analyst Caroline Carmichael is sent into the cold to serve her country as a sacrificial lamb in the agency’s war against terrorism. Frigid Eastern Europe is warm compared to the icy decisions Caroline’s bosses are prepared to make to win this war, and soon Caroline is faced with her own cold calculations to make if she wants to survive. Author and former CIA employee Francine Mathews’ book, The Cutout,  first in a series, is a chilling glimpse into covert operations.

Two Women, two wars, and too many ways to die for one spy agency.

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posted by Jo, Golden Library

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APRIL 27, 2012
Beyond Moneyball – Books for the Sports Fan

So maybe you saw the movie, read the book, or both?  Moneyball is a great example of highly readable sports writing that bridges the gap between the intricacies of the game and the personalities and story lines behind it.  If you’re in the market for non-fiction sports reads, give one of these titles a try.

King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the rise of an American hero by David Remnick
The larger than life career of Ali, both inside and outside the ring, is chronicled in detail in this biography.   Hailed as the “Best Nonfiction Book of the Year” by Time magazine the year it was released.

Glory Road by Don Haskins
The 1966 NCAA men's basketball championship between Texas Miner’s College (with 5 black starters) and the University of Kentucky (with 5 white starters) is widely considered one  of the most legendary games ever played in college sports.  Released as a movie with the same name in 2005, this autobiography is a story of sports, society, and one coach’s unshakable character.

The Boys of Winter: The UntoldSstory of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey
Even if you have seen the movie Miracle, this book is bound to show you a side of the Miracle on Ice you didn’t know before.  An intriguing look at the human side of the U.S. and Soviet teams, the rigorous training that they went through, and the political and social climate of the time.

I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to the Blind Side, and Beyond by Michael Oher
The true story of The Blind Side star Michael Oher’s rise from poverty, homelessness and desperation in inner-city Memphis to college football and eventually breaking into the NFL.  The author’s candidness and determination shine through as he encourages other young people facing difficultly to find and pursue their passion.

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posted by Katie, Arvada Library

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APRIL 25, 2012
A Book We Love: Nemesis

At 79 years of age, Philip Roth has been called our greatest living American novelist. Still going strong (in fact, he has published 8 novels in the last 10 years!), Roth’s most recently published book is Nemesis. It’s a short novel that packs within its pages a vivid character and an almost forgotten slice of American history. It’s about a time toward the end of World War II when a health scare hits the country in the form of polio. Inexplicably, children get ill and many die. At the time, polio’s contagious nature isn’t understood and there is no medicine for it, let alone a vaccine. The hero of the story is Bucky Cantor, a physical education teacher and playground director who hopes to keep the young boys and girls who are spending their summer with him safe from harm. Ultimately, Bucky finds himself questioning his responsibilities to himself and his community as he ponders an offer of escape to a job at an upstate summer camp. The consequence of his decision is unexpectedly momentous and changes the course of the rest of his life.

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posted by Bonnie, Lakewood Library

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APRIL 23, 2012
Monthly Picks: Feeling Darn Successful

After watching my beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats win the NCAA basketball championship on April 2nd, I’ve been in a really successful frame of mind, like nothing is beyond my abilities. I have no idea why, because reality shows I’m pretty incompetent. Certainly neither my cheering nor any of the lucky game day rituals I go through as a dedicated fan (many of them frighteningly pagan) powered my team to victory. Still, despite being an absolute bystander, I couldn’t help feeling like I was a part of UK’s success.  Call me delusional if you want to, but also make sure to call me happy.

I think being associated with success can color your outlook on life and turn up the wattage on the morning sun. Success breeds success, as the old saying goes. It doesn’t have to take much either. In my case, for example, all it required was clapping when my team scored.

In the early 20th century, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich attempted to create quantifiable formulas for success and essentially sparked a sub-genre of self-help publishing that remains very popular. There are now over one thousand books written on the topic of success, though often it seems like 975 of them were written by Wayne Dyer.

Let’s take a look at some noteworthy, non-Wayne Dyer books on success available through the library:

18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, by Peter Bregman. Are 18 minutes a day standing between you and a more successful life? This is a great book when it comes to organizing personal priorities.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. Easily one of the most popular works on success ever published, this book identifies seven habits found in most successful people in all eras, and shows you how to embrace them.

Mindset:  the new psychology of success, by Carol S. Dweck. Stressing the power of a positive attitude is not new in books on success, but Dweck’s work takes it further using new psychological breakthroughs. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, pick up the book to find out!

Outliers:  the story of success, by Malcom Gladwell. This unusual and recent look at the factors that make people successful including genetics, geography, and economy.

The Success Principles: how to get from where you are to where you want to be, by Jack Canfield. This is an energetic and inspiring read very much in the vein of old school books on success. Some readers may find there’s a bit too much emphasis on wealth as being the standard for success. As standards go, however, money’s not bad.

The Greatness Guide, by Robin S. Sharma. This book offers 101 insights into making yourself more successful, whether it’s in your personal life or business. The advice is easy to digest and Sharma’s enthusiasm is catchy.

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posted by Sean, Standley Lake Library

Category: Monthly Picks

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APRIL 22, 2012
A Book We Love: The Invisible Wall

The Invisible Wall: a love story that broke barriers by Harry Bernstein

If you loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Angela’s Ashes, I recommend The Invisible Wall: a love story that broke barriers by Harry Bernstein.  It’s the story of a young boy making his way in a poor, hard neighborhood at the dawn of and during World War I.  The intriguing thing about the street he grew up on was one side of the street is Jewish and the other Christian.  Mr. Bernstein centers his story on how the neighbors have prejudices against each other but also come together at some of the best and worst times of their lives.  A really interesting fact about this tale, Mr. Bernstein wrote this book at the age of 92. 

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posted by PJ, Wheat Ridge Library

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APRIL 20, 2012
A Book We Love: 40 Love
Madeleine Wickham (better known by her pseudonym Sophie Kinsella of the popular “Shopaholic” series) has re-released her first novel, The Tennis Party, under the title 40 Love. This engaging chick lit novel offers biting social commentary in addition to a fast moving and entertaining plot that demonstrates that a tennis weekend can be anything but fun and games. Mixing an assortment of rich and not-so-rich longtime friends who also have romantic histories and questionable motives adds to the substance of this novel. For Sophie Kinsella fans, this novel will offer an interesting glimpse of the author’s work before her “Shopaholic” days, while delivering a humorous observation of British social structure and a timely look at how money can corrupt relationships even among the best of friends.

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posted by Sean, Standley Lake Library

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APRIL 18, 2012
Upcoming Program: Evading the Boogyman

On May 12th at 1:00 pm, the Evergreen Library is proud to present a program from a “real live” federal investigator. Gary Mitchell will share information on personal cyber security as well as tips on how to protect your family members from the “bad guys” out there.

His topics are: 
  •          Keeping our kids safe from cyber threats
  •          Learning how to discern lies in others
  •          Keeping the family safe from dangerous situations
  •          Learning threatening body language
  •          Learning to watch for patterns in financial theft
  •          Learning lessons from criminal cases in the news today
Besides being informative, Gary Mitchell is a great storyteller. So please join us at the Evergreen library on Saturday, May 12th at 1:00pm for his program, "Evading the Boogyman and other Antics of Dangerous Situations, & Locations."

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posted by Kathy, Evergreen Library

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APRIL 16, 2012
Backstage Past
Barry Fey’s Backstage Past is the story of Denver’s premier concert promoter and owner of Feyline Productions. This semi-autobiographical work contains lots of anecdotes about some of the world’s biggest rock stars. Yes, there is sex, drugs and rock n roll! I was awash with envy when I read about ticket prices in the 60’s and 70’s for acts like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and The Who for under $10! This was before corporate greed took over the rock concert business. Fey’s concern at each concert was for the audiences to have a great, safe time.

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posted by Marie, Columbine Library

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APRIL 14, 2012
A Book We Love: The Night Circus

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, is the story of a contest to the death staged because of a long standing feud between rival magicians. One magician uses his daughter as a player and the other magician uses a boy he rescued from an orphanage.

They are supposed to be enemies, but become lovers instead.  Although the story has a dark undercurrent, the circus itself which was created as the stage for this contest is full of such marvels that the reader is as delighted as the circus patrons.  
The images presented in The Night Circus are enchanting.  Although the story and the characters are compelling, the writing and the circus itself are the real draw of the book. It has elements of myths, fairy tales and childhood delights.   
 
Excerpt: 
 
“The circus looks abandoned and empty. But you think perhaps you can smell caramel wafting through the evening breeze, beneath the crisp scent of the autumn leaves. A subtle sweetness at the edges of the cold.
 
The sun disappears completely beyond the horizon, and the remaining luminosity shifts from dusk to twilight. The people around you are growing restless from waiting, a sea of shuffling feet, murmuring about abandoning the endeavor in search of someplace warmer to pass the evening. You yourself are debating departing when it happens.
 
First, there is a popping sound. It is barely audible over the wind and conversation. A soft noise like a kettle about to boil for tea. Then comes the light.
 
All over the tents, small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. The waiting crowd quiets as it watches this display of illumination. Someone near you gasps. A small child claps his hands with glee at the sight.
 
When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.”
 
Let this book transport you to The Night Circus.

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posted by Jayne, Golden Library

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APRIL 9, 2012
What’s Your Status?: 420 Characters, by Lou Beach

I’ll begin with an admission: when I heard that graphical artist Lou Beach had come out with a book of short stories that were originally status updates on his Facebook page, I thought to myself, There is no source so idiotic that writers won’t try to mine it for material. As you could guess, my expectations were modest, but as I read, I noticed that the stories were sharp, observant and funny enough to cause internal bleeding (known as “busting a gut” in polite society). Each story is diminutive, none exceeding the 420-character limit imposed by the status function on Facebook. Beach’s stories have an artist’s sensibility, each observation sharp and economical, like this little beauty:

THE HOTEL WAS ON FIRE, the guests marooning out front in evening clothes, pajamas, wrapped intowels. The building was saved from major damage by an efficient and powerful overhead extinguisher system that also managed to ruin furniture and clothes and TVs and books and laptops. A sprinkler intervention took place in room 807 as I spread an ounce of coke on the table.
 
Deceptively satisfying, this is a book for all occasions: light and brief enough to be read on the bus or in bed, but smart enough to make you retract all of your half-cocked comments about authors mining idiotic sources. But don’t take my word for it: let Beach be the one to convince you.

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posted by Chris, Belmar Library

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APRIL 9, 2012
A Book We Love: The Wave
Readers should check out:
 
 
Colossal waves wreak havoc around the world every year and the consequences of their destruction reverberate around the globe. Scientists studying the nuclear power plant disaster in Japan have determined that not one, but two tsunami waves hit the Fukushimi Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011. 
 
However, some people like big wave surfer Laird Hamilton seek out these 70 to 80 ft. water giants. Susan Casey, editor for O Magazine, traveled the world with big wave surfers to watch them risk their lives to ride monster waves. She takes us into the past for historic reconstructions of rogue wave destruction. Her interviews with scientists studying the effects of global warming point out that it will likely spawn more big waves in the future. 
 
Casey seamlessly weaves the science with evocative descriptions of the beauty, power and pull of the ocean. Anyone with even a slight interest in the ocean is sure to enjoy this fascinating book.
 
And for a thrilling look at big wave surfing, check out the 2010 documentary film

 

 

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posted by Judy, Belmar Library

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APRIL 6, 2012
Short Story Collections
If you enjoy short story collections from single authors, you might try some of these:
 
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
 
This collection of stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, blends together elements of Indian traditions and American culture. The complexities created challenge the characters to make their ways in both cultures. Lahiri’s subjects, Bengali immigrants and their American children, are observed and observe themselves as they travel the path of assimilation.
 
 
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Butler's 15 stories, set in the Vietnamese enclaves of suburban New Orleans, capture the voices of people who have lost their homeland and who are trying to adapt to an alien culture. They are told from the points of view of various Vietnamese expatriates at different stages in the process of becoming assimilated into American culture.
 
Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff
 
This rousing collection of philosophical and thought-provoking short stories spans a wide variety of genres and time periods. Bucking the modernist tide, Wolff writes shapely short stories with structural integrity about ordinary people with desperation haunting their souls. No meditative drift or open-ended conclusions for this writer; he’s an old-fashioned storyteller in the best sense of that word.
 
Safety of Objects by A. M. Holmes
 
This collection of short stories takes place largely in the outskirts of New York City and features characters who are so well drawn that the reader begins to wonder if Homes meant for the stories to seem interconnected -- as though the action of each is happening in a single neighborhood, a neighborhood defined by dysfunction, isolation and despair.
 
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
 
O’Connor’s short stories grab you with the first sentence and never let you go. They are deceptively simple at first but as you read you will see how the characters meld and interact with one another. These stories, by one of the most unique and important writers of the Southern tradition, evoke the south of the early 1950’s.

             

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posted by Christina, Lakewood Library

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APRIL 6, 2012
April is National Poetry Month
Celebrate National Poetry Month with poetry books from the library. Here are some of my favorites:
 
Mary Oliver is a powerful poet. Oliver regularly writes about nature and animals with a frequent focus on the preciousness and fleeting nature of life. The following poems in this collection are particularly worth the read: "When Death Comes," "The Sun," "Singapore," "Wild Geese," and "The Ponds."
 
Interesting Tidbit: Mary Oliver won the National Book Award in 1992 for New and Selected Poems. She also won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1984 for American Primitive, which is included in New and Selected Poems.    
 
101 Famous Poems,complied by Roy J. Cook
101 Famous Poems brings together well-known and well-loved poems in addition to historic speeches and documents. Roy J. Cook includes poems like "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Builders," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Mending Wall," by Robert Frost and "Renascence," by Edna St. Vincent Millay. He also includes The Gettysburg Address, The Declaration of Independence, and The War Inevitable by Patrick Henry. 101 Famous Poems is an impressive collection for anyone who likes poetry or thinks they might like it.      
 
Americans’ Favorite Poems edited by Robert Pinsky
Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the US in 1997, put out a call to poetry lovers: send me your favorite poem and a letter explaining why it is your favorite. The result is Americans’ Favorite Poems. Pinsky includes an excerpt of each letter before the poem it praises. I like this book because you can read the poem and then read the letter, which allows you to see the poems in a new way.   Pinsky also gives the reader a diverse array of poems to read.  Here are some examples: "One Art," by Elizabeth Bishop; "Everything the Power of the World does in done in a circle," by Black Elk; "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll; "Mother to Son," by Langston Hughes; and "Equal to the gods," by Sappho. 
 

B. H. Fairchild grew up working-class in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas and the men and women from his childhood are often present in his poems. Fairchild’s poetry is stark, beautiful, and pure. Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest is his fourth book and it won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2002. I find the following poems particularly beautiful, "The Blue Buick," "Rave On," and "Blood Rain."

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posted by Sunshine, Columbine Library

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APRIL 4, 2012
If You Liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . .

. . . Then you might like The Informationist: a Thriller, by Taylor Stevens.

Vanessa Monroe is the strong, gutsy female protagonist in this novel. Like Lizbeth Salander, Vanessa’s youth was marked by violence and abuse, propelling her to become adept at physical combat and the use of weapons. Her unique skills are not with the computer but with her mastery of languages and a chameleon-like ability to slide in and out of a culture. Dealing information to wealthy clients throughout the world, Vanessa hopes to leave her unconventional past behind her. However, a mission to find the missing daughter of a Texas oil billionaire forces her to return to the central African region of her youth. 
 

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posted by Judy, Belmar Library

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APRIL 4, 2012
The Berlin Wall of the Future
Check out China Mieville’s The City & The City:
 
Beszel and Ul Qoma are sister cities, set cheek-by-jowl, but forever separated by a thin membrane that residents are forbidden to cross. This ethereal border is policed by a mysterious and powerful force called Breach that punishes anyone who crosses illegally. Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Beszel Extreme Crime Squad, is called to the scene of a murder whose victim turns out to be a graduate student researching an ominous and mythical city named Orciny, which is said to exist within the membrane itself. Inspector Borlú must risk a dangerous foray into Ul Qoma to investigate the murder, and much to his astonishment, the possible existence of Orciny.

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posted by Chris, Belmar Library

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APRIL 2, 2012
The Narrator Makes the Audiobook Experience

Probably anyone who enjoys listening to audiobooks, whether it’s an occasional thing, or a continual loop on the car CD player, has run across an audiobook that they thought they would really like, but just couldn’t seem to get into. It’s possible that the narrator just wasn’t working in that particular version. To carry that idea a little further, it’s quite likely that if you enjoyed listening to a book read by a certain narrator that you may enjoy others read by that narrator, too. Jefferson County Public Library allows you to search the catalog for audiobooks read by a particular person using the narrator’s name in place of the author. Locate the narrator’s name from the description or packaging and then create an author search in the library catalog. Remember to put the last name first, followed by the first name—i.e. “Porter, Davina.” Happy listening!

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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APRIL 2, 2012
The Rope by Nevada Barr
The Rope by Nevada Barr is a prequel to her Anna Pigeon mysteries set in various U.S. National Parks. As I read the sixteen previous novels in the series, I often wondered how a Broadway stage manager from New York City ended up as a park ranger. Now, I know. Anna is a greenhorn in this story, but she has pluck and a will to survive. As usual, Barr does not disappoint. She keeps the action going and the puzzle unraveling as the story unfolds. Set nearly in our backyard, The Rope is the Dangling Rope Marina located in Glen Canyon National Recreation area, as well foreshadowing of other ropes involved in the plot.
 

 

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posted by Marie, Columbine Library

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