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MAY 30, 2012
A Book We Love: Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould

Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould by Kevin Bazzana

Famed classical pianist Glenn Gould would have made an interesting subject for a biography even if he wasn’t well-known. World-famous from his teens, Gould was arguably the most sought-after pianist of his generation, when he abruptly decided to retire from performing at the age of 32, choosing instead to devote himself to a life of recording. Notorious for his eccentricities, Gould was a world-class hypochondriac who was fond of singing along with his piano (to the delight or chagrin of his listening audience, depending on whom you asked). A great lover of the Canadian far north, Gould was a prolific writer, interviewer and technology enthusiast. Dead by the age of 50, Gould continues to inspire fascination, and this well-written book gives a sympathetic, but unsentimental overview of the man still called one of the greatest pianists of the last one hundred years.

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posted by Joanna, Standley Lake Library

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MAY 29, 2012
Get Crafty

One of the biggest cultural trends of the past few years has been the resurgence in interest in crafts, DIY, and handmade projects. From knitting and crocheting to polymer clay and scrapbooking, it seems like there are a plethora of new books out there to interest DIY’ers everywhere. If you’re looking for a new hobby or are already knee deep into one, here are some titles that might give you your next inspiration.

Doodle Stitching: Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee Ray 

Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule 

Bead on a Wire by Sherilyn Miller 

Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman 

The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer: Activities & Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist by Emily Winfield Martin 

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl 

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posted by Katie, Arvada Library

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MAY 27, 2012
Gardening in Colorado

We have many books on gardening in the West, some specific to Colorado. Check these out:

The Complete Guide to Western Plains Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Northern Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Southern Manitoba, Southern Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta by Lynn Steiner. 

Organic Gardener's Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West by Jane Shellenberger

The Low-Water Flower Gardener by Eric A. Johnson & Scott Millard 

Xeriscape Colorado: The Complete Guide by Connie Lockhart Ellefson and David Winger 

Find more at Gardening - Colorado

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posted by Jayne, Golden Library

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MAY 26, 2012
Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary

Many people have been celebrating 2012 as the anniversary of the formation of the legendary rock band the Rolling Stones. Rumor has it that plans for a 2012 50th Anniversary World Tour have been put on hold due to a band member’s health concerns. Before you get too disappointed, there is hope, according to Rolling Stone magazine, that a 2013 tour will be launched to celebrate the date the Stones consider to be the real 50th anniversary. Keith Richards commented in a recent Rolling Stone magazine article: "The Stones always really considered '63 to be 50 years, because Charlie [Watts] didn't actually join until January," Richards says. "We look upon 2012 as sort of the year of conception, but the birth is next year.”

Read more: Stones’ 50th Anniversary Tour Pushed Back to 2013

In the meantime, check out some of the Rolling Stones materials we have to offer: 

Life by Keith Richards, with James Fox 

The Lost Rolling Stones Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966 by Larry Marion ; foreword by Charlie Watts ; photographs by Bob Bonis

Rolling Stones in Their Own Words, compiled by David Dalton & Mick Farren.

Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile (DVD), directed by Stephen Kijak 

Ronnie: An Autobiography by Ron Wood

     

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posted by Jill, Arvada Library

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MAY 23, 2012
A Series We Love: The Family that Spies Together, Stays Together

The Spellman series by Lisa Lutz

Meet Izzy Spellman and her hilariously dysfunctional family of private investigators. The only serious thing about the books is their entertainment value. Start withThe Spellman Files, the first in the series.

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posted by Joanna, Standley Lake Library

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MAY 21, 2012
Who Survives?

It seems like a fresh disaster shows up in the news every day. Increasingly sophisticated ways to communicate through photos, videos, eyewitness accounts bring even remote corners of the world to our attention in an immediate and vivid way. We hear about tornadoes, tsunamis, fires, earthquakes, sinking ships, and we wonder: how would we react in those situations? Would we be among the survivors? How can we better our odds? Here are some books that take a look at the psychology of survival.

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood.
A fascinating look at the qualities that help people survive in extreme situations, be it ejected out of a plane, lost in the woods, or stricken by cancer. The role of faith in so many survivors’ lives is explored, as is the will to live, the science of luck, and ways to increase your own chances of survival. Sherwood interviews many survivors, visits ERs, survival schools and research labs in his quest to determine what it takes to survive. The author creates profiles of five different types of survivors, and offers a test that can be used to determine your own “Survivor IQ.”

The Unthinkable : Who Survives When Disaster Strikes by Amanda Ripley.
A compelling look at instinct and disaster response, Unthinkable explores the psychology of fear and how it can save or destroy us. Using interviews with survivors of hotel fires, hostage situations, plane crashes and, 9/11, Ripley takes readers through the three stages of reaction to calamity: disbelief, deliberation and action. Situations that went well are dissected to come up with useful tactics for individuals and groups.

102 Minutes : The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn. 
102 Minutes offers a case study to one of the biggest US disasters in modern history. The focus here is not on the events leading to the collapse of the World Trade Buildings, but on the immediate after effects. It reconstructs what happened in the span of time between when the first plane hit and when the last tower fell, looking at how many people survived through their efforts and others. 102 Minutes also examines the reasons—communications breakdowns, building code exemptions, etc.—that caused the deaths of hundreds that might have survived the disaster.

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posted by Ros, Evergreen Library

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MAY 20, 2012
Oh, Canada!

Canada has many well-known exports (think Pamela Anderson, Neil Young or the BlackBerry), but did you know that many current popular authors also hail from our neighbor to the north?

Margaret Atwood may well be the most recognizable name on the list of Canadian authors. Her works include The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake among others, but she is most recognized for her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

Here are a few more with some of their most popular works.

Yann Martel Life of Pi; Beatrice and Virgil

Farley Mowat Never Cry Wolf; No Man’s River

Louise Penny A Trick of the Light; The Brutal Telling

Alice Munro The Love of a Good Woman; Away from Her

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posted by Katie, Arvada Library

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MAY 18, 2012
Visioneers

 

What if your feelings and dreams were so suppressed they could literally make you explode? The movie Visioneers, a darkly satirical and provocative comedy, depicts such a world. Zach Galifianakis plays George Washington Winsterhammerman. George is a midlevel manager in the Jeffers Corporation, the largest corporation in United States history. Jeffers is founded on the idea that productivity equals happiness, yet its employees are on the verge of exploding. The Jeffers Corp. uses mind control in an attempt to keep its employees calm and productive. Meanwhile, George Washington Winsterhammerman becomes more dispirited as people across the country continue to explode. What will he do? Watch Visioneers and find out.

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posted by Sunshine, Columbine Library

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MAY 16, 2012
Three stories of Zimbabwe

It is the truest cliché of readers that we travel the world through our books. Until recently, I knew next-to-nothing about the former Rhodesia, or the lives of white Africans. These three memoirs taught me a little bit about both.

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller 
This new classic chronicles the author’s formative years during and after the Rhodesian civil war. Fuller’s family routinely set up house in desolate places, where land mines, leopards, and spitting cobras were the stuff of childhood. Fuller skillfully portrays her parents – two hardworking, hard-drinking people haunted by loss and their own prejudice – and captures “the incongruous, lawless, joyful, violent, upside-down, illogical certainty of Africa.”

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by Douglas Rogers 
Rogers was born and raised in Zimbabwe but left for Europe and the U.S. as soon as he could. When President Robert Mugabe launched a program to reclaim white-owned lands, Rogers’ parents, who own a famous game farm and backpacking lodge, refused to budge. The author reluctantly returns home to help them and learns surprising things about his homeland and his family. This wise and witty memoir will appeal to fans of The Tender Bar.

When A Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter Godwin
In this deeply personal memoir, journalist Godwin recounts his father’s decline and death against the backdrop of Zimbabwe’s collapse. Mugabe’s ill-conceived land reforms plunge the economy into chaos, devastate the food supply, and foster violence throughout the country. Godwin examines his own soul and mourns not only for his father, but for the people of Zimbabwe – black and white alike – in this beautifully written memoir.

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posted by Joanna, Standley Lake Library

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MAY 14, 2012
Take a trip to India’s sunny clime?

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry  
This is a tale of contemporary India that chronicles the sufferings of outcasts and innocents trying to survive in the "State of Internal Emergency" of the 1970s and grapples with the great question of how to live in the face of death and despair. Two are tailors, one is a student who arrives in the city to study and the fourth is a widowed seamstress. For a few months, this unlikely quartet share a tranquil happiness in a nameless city--a city of squalid streets teeming with beggars, where politicians, in the name of progress, abuse the poor and the powerless.

God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
In 1969, in Kerala, India, Rahel and her twin brother, Estha, struggle to forge a childhood for themselves amid the destruction of their family life. They discover that the entire world can be transformed in a single moment.

 

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 
This collection of stories blends together elements of Indian traditions and American culture. The complexities created challenge the characters to make their ways in both cultures. Bengali immigrants and their American children are observed and observe themselves as they travel the path of assimilation.



One Amazing Thing
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
After an earthquake, nine people of diverse backgrounds are trapped together in the basement of the Indian consulate in an unidentified American city. Snapshots are presented that speak about the characters, so unexpectedly drawn together.

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posted by Christina, Lakewood Library

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MAY 13, 2012
The (Fictional) Country Life for Me

Many of us living here in Colorado are transplants from across the U.S. Within this group, there are more than a few who originate from the small towns, cities, and farms that dot the map across the country. If you’re a rural transplant (or even if you’re not) and find yourself pining for a taste of small town life now and then, give one of these novels a try.

North of Hope by Jon Hassler
North of Hope tells the story of a Catholic priest working on an Ojibway reservation in the woods of northern Minnesota. After being away twenty years, Father Healy requests assignment to his home parish where he comes face to face with his past, including a woman he once loved and now must find a way to protect.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
Set in rural North Carolina, Nightwoods is the story of Luce, a young woman who takes over the care of her sister’s troubled twins after her murder. The impact that the two children have on her life, combined with the vibrant and descriptive setting of the Appalachian woods, make this a suspenseful but poetic story.

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood
Madeline is a young woman who leaves her busy life in Chicago in order to relocate to the U.P. of Michigan to care for an aging relative and ends up being forever changed by the events and personalities in her new hometown. South of Superior is a touching story of friendship and community.

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
This novel, set in small-town Kansas, revolves around three families and a mysterious murder that turns into local legend. This story provides page-turning suspense combined with the complicated ties and relationships inherent to rural life.

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posted by Katie, Arvada Library

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MAY 11, 2012
A Book We Love: Blue Straggler

Colorado author, Kathy Lynn Harris just had her first novel published in paperback.  Blue Straggler’s heroine is Bailey and she is about 30 years old and just doesn’t feel like she fits in around San Antonio, Texas anymore.  So, when she is demoted at work, Bailey quits her job and drives to Colorado to search for information about a great-grandmother she knew nothing about. Will Bailey find her roots or herself in a small, Colorado mountain town?

Originally, Blue Straggler was an ebook she self-published on Amazon’s self-publishing section of their website.  Kathy will also be doing a program at the Columbine Library in June to explain how she published her book on Amazon.

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posted by Marie, Columbine Library

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MAY 9, 2012
What skeletons are hiding in their closets?

Novels with family secrets intrigue me.  Here are some to consider if you also find this aspect appealing:

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
After a chance encounter with a tarot card reader who predicts that Rose's violent husband will kill her, Rose grabs a gun, her dog named Fat Gretel and sets out on a cross-country escape.  She follows messages that her missing mother has left for her and is determined to unravel family secrets.

 

 

Blue Straggler: a Novelby Kathy Lynn Harris
Bailey Miller has never quite fit in with her rural Texas family. Now in her early thirties and fired from her job, Bailey decides this is the time to seek answers to secrets in her great-grandmother’s past.  Her path takes her to the mountains of Colorado and along the way she may even find love.

 

 

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
Rakhee Singh recalls being taken to her mother's ancestral home in India as a ten-year-old.  She disobeyed the warning not to go into the jungle behind the house and what she discovered there has haunted her ever since.  Now a young woman on the eve of her marriage, she finds that she must confront the past web of deceit before she can move forward.

 

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
One summer morning, two families from Iowa awaken to discover that their little girls have gone missing.  Calli’s mother of describes herself as a bad mother.  Petra’s father, desperate to find his daughter, is forced to confront a side of himself he didn’t know existed beneath his professional demeanor.  Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children and the answer may be trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

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posted by Judy, Belmar Library

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MAY 7, 2012
Unreliable Narrators

Who do you trust?  Certainly you trust the narrator in the book you are reading to tell you exactly what is happening.  But what if she/he is one of the many unreliable narrators in literature?  What if the narrator's unreliability is never fully revealed but only hinted at, leaving you to wonder how much the narrator should be trusted and how the story should be interpreted?  If you want to be left wondering what the real truth is, try these classics of the genre.

The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The narrator of this tale, Dr. Faraday, first visited Hundreds Hall, a decaying mansion in postwar England, as a child, when his mother, a servant at the great manor, brought him there for a party.  He now returns on a professional call to treat the son of the widowed Mrs. Ayers and unknowingly enters a wickedly haunted house.  His life soon becomes entwined with a family plagued by a terrifying past.  Faraday, one of literature's more unreliable narrators, carries the reader swiftly along to the devastating conclusion.

LiarLiar by Justine Larbalestier
Liar is a YA suspense novel that elevates the unreliable narrator to a new level.  Micah -- the narrator of this tale -- is a compulsive liar from a fraught background.  Poor, biracial and from a less than stable family, she is a liar who fools everyone around her, including herself, over and over again.  The reader is left questioning the truth.  It is like a puzzle.

 

We Need to Talk About KevinWe Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
This novel is a perfect example of unreliability.  It is told in a series of letters by Kevin's mother, Eva, to her estranged husband, Franklin, and the reader is never quite sure of whether it is Eva or Kevin who exhibits the most disturbing behavior.  The principal theme of nature versus nurture trickles down through the slow revelations of exactly what Kevin has done.  We are left wondering if maybe this isn't all (or mostly) Eva's fault to begin with.

A Gesture LifeA Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee
The unreliable narrator in A Gesture Life is Doc Hata.  This narrator is unreliable in his descriptions of family, past events, who he is and more. The reader must do a certain amount of detective work to figure out the truth and keep up with the story. This tension engages the reader and advances the plot. 

 

The Lace ReaderThe Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
My name is Towner Whitney. No, that's not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time... Towner Whitney is the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader and hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace.  They have guarded a history of secrets going back generations.  Here is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. You, as the reader will quickly and happily find that it is nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction.

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posted by Christina, Lakewood Library

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MAY 6, 2012
A Book We Love: Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River by Jo Bonnie CampbellOnce Upon a River

This is a story about a teenage girl coming of age and so much more.  This is not a book for the faint of heart, as Margo’s life is not an easy one.  Margo’s way of life is intertwined with the Stark River at first and later with the Kalamazoo.  Margo learns about grieving, family, and, above all, survival.  Follow Margo through her daily life on the river and the interesting people she meets.  In the end, it is up to the reader to decide if Margo’s life is in a good place.

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posted by Rene, Evergreen Library

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MAY 4, 2012
A Book We Love: Better, a Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Better, A Surgeon's Notes on PerformanceBetter, a Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

Dr. Gawande shares stories from his practice in a compelling style that draws us into the situation and lets us feel the complex emotions that the doctors themselves experience.   He explores the efforts of physicians to close the gap between their intentions and their performance in the face of huge obstacles.  Ethical considerations of lethal injections, malpractice, and surgical errors are all investigated.

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posted by Veronica, Columbine Library

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MAY 2, 2012
Travel in the Slow Lane

Travelogues are one of the most popular genres of non-fiction, and within this group there are many stories of people who have used walking as their primary means of transport to reach their destination.  These titles all feature authors who made their own adventure on foot and relay the journey of discovery they ultimately found as a result.

A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
In 1973, Peter Jenkins had recently graduated college and, disillusioned with American society, was contemplating leaving the U.S. permanently.  Instead, he and his dog embarked on a journey by foot across the country and learned some valuable lessons about his country and himself in the process.  

Walking Home : a traveler in the Alaskan wilderness, a journey into the human heart  by Lynn Schooler
Facing a crossroads in his life and seeking an escape in nature, this title relays the tale of the author’s journey around the Gulf of Alaska by foot and small boat.  Walking Home is a story of adventure, history, and finding one’s true self in the wild. 

A Walk in the Woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail  by Bill Bryson
The 2100 mile Appalachian Trail brings thousands of people in along its route every year.  This humorous and critically acclaimed title is Bryson’s account of the journey he and a friend made through some of the most beautiful and impoverished back-woods areas in America.

3 mph : the adventures of one woman's walk around the world by Polly Letofsky
Colorado author Letofsky tells her tale of a 5-year trek to raise breast cancer awareness, and in doing so becoming the first American woman to walk around the globe.   

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posted by Katie, Arvada Library

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