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DECEMBER 31, 2011
I Can’t Believe it’s Non-Fiction!

It seems that all too often nonfiction gets overlooked in the reading world.  There are plenty of great nonfiction titles out there that will entertain even the pickiest fiction reader.  Here are a few to get you started:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken is the story of WWII Japanese POW Louis Zamperini .  The POW story alone would be compelling enough, but add in the rest of this man’s life (juvenile delinquent, Olympic runner, recovering alcoholic, PTSD survivor) and you have a biography that is nearly impossible to put down.  A story of extreme resilience and courage shown time and time again; one you have to read to believe. 

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
When a young Hmong girl living in California is diagnosed with epilepsy, her tradition-minded immigrant parents come face to face with the American health care system and a mindset that is completely new to them.  A beautifully written, yet heartbreaking tale of culture clash and the immigrant experience.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
This National Book Award finalist gives a firsthand look into the mysterious society that is North Korea.  The “ordinary” lives that the six defectors featured here lead - deprived of food, shelter, and basic human rights, will leave you intellectually and emotionally challenged.  

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The author’s first-hand account of a 1996 Mt. Everest expedition that went terribly wrong, documenting what happened and how he survived.  A riveting account of life in one of the most hostile environments on Earth, and the lengths that humans will go to in order to conquer it. 



 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 30, 2011
A Book We Love: The Cat's Table

Cozy Up with this Book

The Cat’s Table by Michael OndaatjeThe Cat's Table
New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

The Cat’s Table is a wonderful story for a cold winter’s day.   The year is 1953.  Eleven year-old Michael is summoned from his home in sunny Sri Lanka to London, where his mother resides.  He travels by ship for three weeks, alone although accompanied by two older, somewhat disinterested female relatives.   Michael has his run of the ship.  He joins up with two other boys of similar age and together they discover the secrets of the ship, the beauty of the sea and the exotic ports along the route.  They are like a pack of cats, scurrying about, largely ignored by the grown-ups.  The adults that do take notice would be to us, simply ordinary folks.  But when seen through the eyes of a young boy, the ship becomes a magical place, filled with eccentric, fascinating people.  When you have turned the last page, you will feel as though you have slipped back in time, and have just disembarked from the most remarkable voyage. 
 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 29, 2011
A Book We Love: You Know When the Men Are Gone

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

This book is a set of loosely connected stories about the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood Texas.
Each story is beautifully crafted with a different view of military life from inside this tight knit community.   In the title story, a wife waits for her husband’s return living in base housing, trying not to intrude on her neighbor’s lives, but the quiet around her with the absence of the soldiers makes it all the more difficult.  In another story, the horrors of war, which cannot be shared, create a chasm between those in the war and those who wait.  This is a powerful work that will leave the reader thinking about all who serve including those left behind.

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posted by Carol, Arvada Library

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DECEMBER 28, 2011
Celebrity Chefs

In the last few years many chefs have achieved the kind of celebrity usually reserved for movie stars or royalty.  Shows like Top Chef and the Food Network have greatly increased the average person’s exposure to innovative cooking techniques, as well as the antics of the now famous (and maybe rich) of the cooking world.  So, if all this has whetted your whistle, here are some titles to give you a sneak peek into the lives of chefdom’s elite.

Blood, Bones & Butter:  The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton’s journey from her rural beginnings in Pennsylvania to her James Beard Foundation Best Chef in NYC Award in 2011 and her restaurant, Prune, was a long and winding one.  What she always knew was that food was an integral part of her life and she discovered the way to make that life work for her.

Chef’s Story:  27 Chefs Talk About What Got Them Into the Kitchen edited by Dorothy Hamilton and Patrick Kuh
Hear from 27 stars in the restaurant world what inspires and motivates them in the kitchen.

Kitchen Confidential:  Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
The cooking world’s original bad boy chef, Anthony Bourdain, shocks and entertains in this candid look at his 25 years in the business. 

My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme
The original cooking star delights with the story of her years living in France with her husband, Paul.  The background on the struggle to get “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” published forms part of the book and is an interesting counterpoint to the more personal details of their lives.

Paula Deen:  It Ain’t All About the Cookin’ by Paula Deen, with Sherry Suib Cohen
Spend some time with America’s favorite Southern cook in this charming memoir.  Paula Deen’s gracious, humorous voice shines even when she relates stories of the tough times in her life.

 


 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 27, 2011
Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater will be at the Colorado Teen Literature Conference March 31, 2012.  Among other titles, she is the author of the trilogy about the werewolves of Mercy Falls.  This trilogy has plenty of adventure along with a love story that just won’t quit! In the first book, Shiver, a teenage girl, Grace, is intrigued with a wolf with yellow eyes. As she and Sam meet and fall in love, the reader is hoping they will be able to have some sort of time together. In Linger, the second book, will Sam be cured? Will the reader be rewarded with the idea that Sam and Grace will be able to have a life together as humans?  Grace was bitten by a werewolf as a child. Though she has survived until her teenage years as a human, will that change? In the third book, Forever, Grace and Sam still struggle to have time together but a more important question looms. Will the pack survive? Can Grace and Sam find a workable solution?

Besides enjoying the story about the werewolves of Mercy Falls, I also really enjoy the design of these books. The covers and use of color are aesthetically appealing to me. I like that the color of the print inside each book corresponds to the color of the cover as well.

If you want to read something entirely different and new by Maggie Stiefvater, try her book The Scorpio Races that came out recently.

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posted by Rene, Evergreen Library

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DECEMBER 22, 2011
Shakespeare movies that don’t suck

Reading the Bard’s plays isn’t for most guys. Thankfully Hollywood has taken care of the culture gap by making some truly arse-kicking (remember, Shakespeare’s British), testosterone-fueled adaptations especially for the Die Hard crowd. They are, as TBS might call them, “Shakespeare movies for guys who like Shakespeare movies.”

Here’s the lowdown:

Henry V
Forget that Laurence Olivier crap. Kenneth Branaugh’s version is gritty and violent, and the epic final battle in the mud has everything except girls and a volleyball. Dudes willing to forgive this oversight will enjoy a really intense war movie.

Hamlet
Kenneth Branaugh’s adaptation goes for the artsy and is sure to disappoint the bros. You want Mel Gibson’s version. To be or not to be Rambo is the question. The body count at the end will tell you the answer.

Romeo + Juliet
"But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" It’s not light breaking through that window, chump: it’s a spray of bullets. This update uses all the play’s original language but remakes the story into a tale of gangster warfare in Verona. Shakespeare liked his violence. You’ll like it too.

Titus
This movie’s so intense and bloody it really needs to star Wolverine. Instead we get Anthony Hopkins playing a character so bloody it makes Hannibal Lecter look like a vegan. Want to play a game? Take a drink every time someone loses a body part!

Richard III
Ian Mckellen (that’s Gandalf, yo) turned this play into a story about England in the 1930s taken over by a fascist government that looks just like the Nazis.  A little bit V for Vendetta, a little bit Valkyrie, there’s plenty here to like.

Much Ado About Nothing
Even hardcore guys have to mellow out sometimes. This retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy has Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale. No blood in this one, but hang out for some laughs because this is a real Shakespeare movie for guys who like Shakespeare movies.



 

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posted by Sean, Standley Lake Library

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DECEMBER 21, 2011
Music for Alternative Country Fans

Alternative Country, also known as Alt-Country, is a loosely defined sub-genre of country which can combine any of the following: country, rock, rockabilly, bluegrass, folk rock, and punk.  If you want to learn more about Alternative Country listen to these CD's:

Easy Tiger by Ryan Adams

Big Iron World by Old Crow Medicine Show

Too Far to Care by Old 97s

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive by Steve Earle

Brighter than Creation’s Dark by Drive-by Truckers

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams

 

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posted by Sunshine, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 20, 2011
The Confusing Library

You may be confused by all the different sections and call numbers at your local library, but after you see this video, you may be thankful that we are so organized!  And remember, your friendly library staff members at JCPL are always ready to help!

 

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posted by Joanna, Standley Lake Library

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DECEMBER 18, 2011
For the love of Edith Wharton

If you enjoy reading classic novels and have never tried the author Edith Wharton give one of her novels a try!  Edith Wharton (1862-1937) is a Pulitzer-prize winning American author of novels and short stories often depicting New York Society.  Wharton is perhaps best known as a novelist of manners those themes include the corrupting power of wealth, the struggle between the individual and society and propriety and decorum, particularly for women.

My favorites:

Ethan FromEthan Frome- (1911)-Young and beautiful Mattie Silver arrives in the mountain village of Starkfield to help her ailing cousin Zeena, but finds herself attracted to Zeena’s husband, Ethan Frome.  This title is also a major motion picture available on DVD at the Jeffco libraries.

 

 

 

The Age of Innocence- (1920)- Wharton’s Pulitzer-prize winning The Age of Innocence
novel of upper-class New York society in the late 19th century.  Newland Archer is engaged to the lovely May Welland, a proper member of the elite society, when he falls for the married and disgraced Countess Olenska.  This title is also a major motion picture available on DVD at the Jeffco libraries.

 

 

 

The House of MirthThe House of Mirth- (1905)- This novel examines the status of women at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century and features the beautiful heroine Lily Bart who has been brought up with one goal in life: marry a wealth man from a good family.  But what if Lily wants to marry for love not money? 

 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 17, 2011
Try Nextreads Email Reading Lists

Are you always looking for something good to read?

You’re looking in the right place – this blog will give you plenty of great ideas.

But if you would like even more suggestions, try subscribing to Nextreads Email Reading Lists and never be without suggestions of what to read next.  Choose from over 20 lists such as general fiction, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, romance, teen reads, armchair travel, history and current events or biography/memoirs.

Each month you will receive an annotated list of 8 or more new or recently released books. Some lists include older books related to a theme like “If you like Lee Child” (thrillers), “Royal Confidants “ (historical fiction) or  “America’s Beginnings” (biography).  Also, check the archives for previous lists and find even more exciting suggestions.
 

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posted by Judy, Belmar Library

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DECEMBER 16, 2011
A Book We Love: When She Woke

When She WokeWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.

In the not too distant future of the United States, criminals are no longer incarcerated, but their skin pigment is genetically altered (chromed) to fit the crime committed and set free to survive the best they can. Hannah Payne's skin is turned red to indicate the murder of her unborn child. In this society your prison term for your crime may be short, but your chroming (changing your skin to red, yellow, orange or green) may last 20 years or more.  Imagine how your life will be changed as “normal” people mock you, gawk at you, beat you or even try to kill you because of your skin color.  I think that Jordan has not only updated Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, but gives us food for thought about racism and our views on religion and government.  I could only put it down long enough to write this blog posting.

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posted by Marie, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 15, 2011
River Stories

Perhaps it’s because I have been listening to my favorite pseudo-Christmas song – in which Joni Mitchell wishes for a river she “could skate away on,” – a lot lately, but I’ve noticed a wealth of popular titles with the word “river” in the title. Why so many river-themed tales?

The lovely last lines of Norman McLean’s A River Runs Through It may help explain the appeal of a river theme. This story of two brothers in early 20th-century Montana taught me everything I know about fly fishing.

Then there’s The River Wife by James Agee, a chronicle of French fur trapper Jacques Ducharme and river pirate, and the five women whose lives he touches. Ursula Hegi’s Stones from the River is another historical tale, focused on the lives of people in the small German town of Bergdorf before and during World War II.

Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River is a mystery centered on three childhood friends whose lives collide as adults when the teenage daughter of one of them is murdered. River of Darkness by Rennie Airth introduces John Madden, a Scotland Yard inspector haunted by his experiences in World War I, who is called upon to solve the grisly murders of an entire family.

There are at least two coming-of-age stories with river titles: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and, more recently, Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. In Enger’s book, a 1960s Minnesota family is uprooted when the eldest son disappears after killing two men. Once Upon a River is the story of Margo Crane, a 16-year-old sharpshooter who boats down Michigan’s Stark River, Huck Finn-style, after a series of family tragedies.

Last but not least are the nonfiction titles, including River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (a chronicle of Teddy’s 1914 expedition in the Amazon basin) and River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler (which recounts the author’s experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small Chinese city).  But perhaps the most river-related book on the list is River-horse by William Least Heat Moon. In it, the author describes traveling by river from New York to Oregon in a small boat.

What books am I missing? Which river title would you recommend most?

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posted by Briana, Evergreen Library

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DECEMBER 14, 2011
True, With Embellishments

Who hasn’t wondered what [insert famous person’s name here]’s life was really like?  Authors are no different; there are wonderful fictionalized biographies out there that richly imagine the lives, loves, and tragedies of many fascinating historical figures.  Try one of these titles and enjoy the fun of experiencing someone else’s life for a while.
 

The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth HickeyThe Painted Kiss
Take a peak at Fin de Siecle Vienna through the eyes of Emilie Floge, mistress and sometime model to Gustav Klimt.  Their complicated, passionate relationship plays out amidst Vienna’s dramatic shift from cosmopolitan city at the turn of the century to the harsh realities of the war years.

 

 

The Paris Wife by Paula McLainThe Paris Wife
Learn about a young writer named Ernest Hemingway through the recollections and experiences of his first wife, Hadley.  Paris in the ‘20s comes to vivid life, with all the glitter and hardships a struggling writer and his family experience.

 

 

Wolf Hall by Hilary MantelWolf Hall
The story of Henry VIII and his wives is well known and well told in many books, both fiction and nonfiction.  However, not many authors focus on the part that Thomas Cromwell played in the events surrounding Henry and Anne Boleyn’s marriage and its aftermath.  Mantel won the Booker Prize for this engrossing tale of royalty and political intrigue.

 

The Women by T.C. BoyleThe Women
The life and loves of Frank Lloyd Wright played out on a grand scale, often on the sheets of tabloid newspapers.  Told from the point of view of Wright’s four great loves, the reader is drawn into the wild ride that was the influential architect’s life. 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 13, 2011
A Book We Love: Ashes

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

Ilsa Bick creates a dark, suspenseful, and at times, grisly thriller in Ashes, the story of 17 year old Alex’s survival when an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying electronic devices, killing billions and changing, either for better or for worse, the people that remain.

Alex is on a solo wilderness trek to say goodbye to her parents and confront her own mortality from a brain tumor when  ZAP, an EMP, is detonated. She joins forces with Ellie, an 8 year old girl whose grandfather died instantly during the ZAP, and later Tom, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan.  Together the three of them navigate the wilderness discovering that the only people left - with very few exceptions -  are the very old, the very young, and teenagers.

The author uses her military background and scientific knowledge to create a highly believable apocalyptic scenario.  It is a fun, fast-paced, character-driven read that teens and adults alike will enjoy. The first book ends with a cliffhanger and the second book, Shadows, will be out next fall.

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posted by Pam, Golden Library

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DECEMBER 12, 2011
What the Dickens are they Reading in London these Days?

Some current top sellers in Merry Old England

11/22/63  - Stephen King
On November 22, 1963, three shots changed the world. What if it never happened? Jake Epping is a 35-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane, and insanely impossible, mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Snuff  - A Discworld Novel – Terry Pratchett
Lady Sybil, wife of Sam Vimes, convinces him to travel to the countryside for a vacation. Out of his element, Sam soon finds various crimes to investigate but must rely on his instincts to bring the culprits to justice.

Death Comes to Pemberley –  P. D. James
The characters of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice are drawn into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem when Elizabeth's disgraced sister Lydia arrives at Pemberley hysterically shrieking that her husband Wickham has been murdered.

The Litigators – John Grisham
Law firm partners Oscar Finley and Wally Figg see a chance for huge financial gain when they learn of a pending class action lawsuit against the makers of Krayoxx, a popular cholesterol-reducing drug suspected of causing heart attacks.

House of Silk –  Anthony Horowitz
It is 1890. A year after Holmes's death, Watson--now in a retirement home--narrates a tale of Sherlockian detection that could tear apart the very fabric of society. The story opens with a train robbery in Boston, and moves to the innocuous setting of Wimbledon.

Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
Follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present.

Kill Me if You Can – James Patterson
A poor art student in New York City discovers a duffel bag full of diamonds in the chaos during an attack at Grand Central Station and is pursued by the Ghost, an assassin who had murdered the bag's owner.

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posted by Jayne, Golden Library

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DECEMBER 10, 2011
Books Galore!

The Columbine Library and Standley Lake Library will be holding Holiday Book Sales today, Saturday, December 10th.  If you're thinking of giving books as gifts this year, or just want to treat yourself to something good to read this is the place to start!  Both sales will run from 10 am to 4 pm.  All sales benefit children's literacy programs.

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 9, 2011
Libraries: The Musical

Imagine if Little Orphan Annie got adopted by a librarian instead of multi-millionaire “Daddy” Warbucks. The red-haired tyke might have broken into the following song:

I need a book
to borrow
Do you have a book
that I can borrow,
For today?

I agree, it probably wouldn’t be as good a musical as the 1982 film.

Seeing a recent production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on the CU Boulder campus reminded me how much I like musicals. The world would be a better place if people just suddenly broke into song at random times. Admittedly libraries aren’t necessarily the best place for this to happen, but at least with all the cell phone ring tunes constantly going off there’d be no paucity of accompanying background music.

Okay, singing in the library is out. But by all means come in to borrow some great musicals. We have some of my favorites:

1776: It doesn’t need to be the 4th of July to watch this fantastic comedy about our Founding Fathers struggling to write the Declaration of Independence. All the humor just makes the incredibly poignant ending even more enjoyable.

Cabaret: Based on the memoirs of Christopher Isherwood, this story about hedonists adrift in the waning days of the Weimar Republic is shocking and dark. Wait until you get to the beer garden scene!

Chicago: Who knew Richard Gere could sing? Wait, can he? Decide for yourself in this stylish adaptation of murder and court room antics set in the Roaring 20s.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: I think I’ll just let you learn about this one on your own.

Sunday in Manhattan: Baseball and the bible! Billy Sunday is a famous baseball player turned evangelist who comes to New York to preach the word of God. Sunday was a real person, and this musical is an intriguing interpretation of his life.

Sweeney Todd: in Concert: This is vastly better than the Johnny Depp movie. It’s a live performance starring George Hearn, Patti Lupone, and Neil Patrick Harris. The use of the participatory chorus is incredibly cool.

There are also several great books about the history of Broadway musicals you might check out, too. I particularly enjoyed Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959 to 2009.

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posted by Sean, Standley Lake Library

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DECEMBER 8, 2011
Magical Stories for Adults

Do you believe in magic?

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu
Edinburgh, 1874: Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation — the implantation of a cuckoo-clock in his chest. From then on his days all begin with a wind-up, in this darkly magical and tender fairy tale spiced with devilish humor.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who loves the comforts of home, reluctantly joins a company of dwarves on a journey to recover plundered gold from a fierce dragon. It's a tale of high adventure and astonishing courage—and a magical prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Earthy and magical, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico is a winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
In the middle of the night, Alexandra discovers a magical bookmobile that holds the library of a lifetime. She yearns to live her true calling, but at a price she never expected.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill
In the year 1947, Michael Devlin, eleven years old and 100 percent American-Irish, is about to forge an extraordinary bond with a refugee of war named Rabbi Judah Hirsch. Standing united against a common enemy, they will summon from ancient sources a power in desperately short supply in modern Brooklyn-a force that's forgotten by most of the world but is known to believers as magic.

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posted by Christina, Lakewood Library

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DECEMBER 7, 2011
What drives you nuts?

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

AnnoyingJoe Palca & Flora Lichtman, contributors to NPR’s Science Friday radio show, explore “the science of what bugs us” in their book, Annoying. The authors delve into common annoyances such the cell phone yell and fingernails on the chalkboard, along with annoying odors (think skunks!), sounds (think sirens), and more. What is it about a skunk smell that annoys us? What is it about sirens that catch our attention? There are metropolitan areas where people no longer hear an approaching siren: cars are more soundproofed, pedestrians are using headphones. This unsafe situation has led to the development of even more annoying – and harder to ignore – sirens. What makes certain sounds more annoying than others? What makes certain odors more annoying? The authors explore this fascinating area that crosses multiple disciplines, including physics, biology, psychology, and art. A captivating read!

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posted by Polly, Columbine Library

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DECEMBER 6, 2011
Robots

Robots and humans: friends, enemies, or frenemies? Humans create robots to serve them, but all too often, at least in fiction, robots have agendas of their own.

For thrills, chills and  laughs, try these books and DVD:

RobopocalypseRobopocalypse, a 2011 novel by Daniel H. Wilson, delivers the thrills and the chills as robots turn on their human masters. This haunting book, slated for release as a movie in 2013, will make you say, “Maybe I’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator!”







The Automatic DetectiveAh, but what happens if a robot Sam Spade walks the mean streets in search of truth, justice and citizenship?  The Automatic Detective, by A. Lee Martinez finds danger and deception at every turn, as humans and ‘bots alike try to stop detective Mack Megatron’s search…permanently. This entertaining comedic send-up of noir fiction is by the author of Gil's All Fright Diner.





EagerEager, the naïve, clueless and very smart robot in the eponymous teen book Eager, written by Helen Fox, has his hands full staying out of trouble as he tries to cope with humanity’s foibles while staying on the right side of the rigid rules for robot conduct. This is the first book of a trilogy.






Wall-EThe family film WALL-E, a Walt Disney/ Pixar Animation product, presents the funny and poignant picture of a lonely robot, the last of his kind, as he cleans up the earth in readiness for mankind’s homecoming.  Wall-E’s adventures, as he finds love and reintroduces humanity to its home, is a story for all ages to enjoy.

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posted by Jo, Golden Library

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DECEMBER 4, 2011
Do you know Mary Roach?

I first became acquainted with Mary Roach through her humor column in Reader’s Digest. I don’t read Reader’s Digest very often, but I remember laughing out loud at a couple of her columns. I think that column led me to read her first book, Stiff, which I really enjoyed. I love her talent for making science writing so funny and entertaining. I’ve been meaning to read the rest of her books because they all sound so interesting, but as usual:  too many books, too little time! Why don’t you give them a try in the meantime?

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
StiffFor 2,000 years, cadavers---some willingly, some unwittingly--- have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800.



Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Draws on the achievements of scientists, engineers, and mediums to consider the feasibility of life after death, from a reincarnation researcher's experimentation with out-of-body experiences to laboratory investigations into ghosts.



Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

BonkRoach explores how and why sexual arousal and orgasm is difficult, and presents what scientific efforts are being made to make the bedroom experience more satisfying.





Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Packing for Mars
Describes the weirdness of space travel, answers questions about the long-term effects of living in zero gravity on the human body, and explains how space simulations on Earth can provide a preview to life in space.

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posted by Joanna, Standley Lake Library

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DECEMBER 3, 2011
A Book We Love: Stormy Weather

Stormy WeatherYou can’t judge a book by its cover, but it was the cover of Stormy Weather, by Paulette Jiles, that attracted me to the book in the first place. It caught my attention but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read a story about, what I thought would be, another dysfunctional family. I decided to apply the Rule of 50 and try it and I was hooked before long.

Set in the 1930’s, an itinerant family moves from oil field to oil field. The father throws away his earnings gambling and drinking, leaving the family in distress. His middle daughter, Jeanine, accompanies him on his nightly sojourns and provides yet another source of conflict within the family. The father’s lifestyle, misfortune, and ultimate demise plagues them but once he’s gone, Jeanine’s experiences out in the world help them survive. The three sisters and mother return to their old abandoned homestead. Jeanine is determined to transform their lives, even when it means parting with her beloved race horse, a legacy from her father. The horse and his buyer remain in her life, though, but that’s only part of the story.

Each of the women brings their own strengths and abilities to the family and by pulling together, they all to contribute to their collective and individual success. I enjoyed the characters, the author’s writing style, and the storyline. Paulette Jiles is also an award-winning poet, a memoirist, and the author of other novels of historical fiction. Look for this title at the library in print, book on disc, and as an ebook for Kindles and other E-readers.

 

 

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posted by Kay, Golden Library

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DECEMBER 2, 2011
Sally’s light reading suggestions for the busy holiday months

Here are a few books that are easy to pick up when you have only a few moments to read.

My Nest Isn't EmptyMy Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of An Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline
814.54 SCOTTOLINE
Although Lisa Scottoline is best known for her mystery novels, she also co-authors with her daughter, Francesca, a humorous weekly column for The Philadalphia InquirerMy Nest Isn’t Empty is a delightful collection of these short columns which offer Scottoline’s observations on her zany family, her four dogs, the holidays, being a writer, and the hazards of modern life.


The Best American Travel Writing 2011
/ edited and with an The Best American Travel Writing 2011
by Sloan Crosley ; Jason Wilson, series editor
910.4 BEST:AMERI 2011
Get away from it all with a brief armchair trip or two with this collection of some of the best travel writing of the year by such authors as Christopher Buckley, Annie Proulx and Maureen Dowd.



The Invention of Hugo CabretBecome a kid again by reading a book written for children:  The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick.
J FICTION SELZNICK
Although it’s over 500 pages long, this children’s suspense tale is a fast and very engaging read.  Hugo’s story is told through such stunningly beautiful pencil drawings interspersed with text that you’ll see why The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott Medal, a prize awarded annually for the most distinguished American picture book for children.  And you may even be inspired to go see the movie based on the book, Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, in theaters now.
 

 

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posted by Sally, Standley Lake Library

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DECEMBER 1, 2011
Author Visit - Project Linus

Attention Crafters!

Join us at the Standley Lake Library on Thursday, December 15th at 7:00 pm for our guest speaker Karen Loucks Rinedollar.   Karen is the founder of the charity Project Linus and author of the book Working for Peanuts:   The Truly Heartwarming Story of Project Linus.   She’ll be discussing her book and sharing secrets of turning your passion into purpose.  Learn how this Coloradoan started the Project Linus charity dedicated to bringing handmade blankets to seriously ill children around the world. 

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posted by Emily, Columbine Library

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