Sunday, September 30, 2012

Not For The Faint of Heart

 In years past, I often referred library patrons to the 364.1523 section of the Dewey Decimal system - the classification number for True Crime. This was territory ruled by Ann (Rule) and shared by Joe McGinniss, Jack Olsen and the late Thomas Thompson.     

Lately, I've barely thought about the 364s until a friend recommended Midnight In Peking, which should garner author Paul French a well-deserved corner of that bloody terrain.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fire in the Ashes

Jonathan Kozol has spent most of his life working with and writing about urban-dwelling children stricken by poverty and funneled through dismally inadequate schools. Each time I read one of his books, I marvel at his compassionate storytelling that invites me to share the triumphs and struggles faced by the children he profiles, and to understand the factors that contributed to their situations. He has just published a brand new book, Fire in the Ashes, and I snatched it up and devoured it in just a few days.

In this book, Kozol shares what has happened to some of the children he met years ago. Some stories are incredibly sad, but others are full of hope and triumph: for every young adult that succumbs to drugs and crime, Kozol introduces us to others who claw their way out. And while I mourned for the children who didn't succeed, reading about the ones who have risen above their difficult circumstances to find peace and joy gave me the happy tingles. Fire in the Ashes can easily be read as a stand-alone title, but I also highly recommend his earlier titles--particularly Ordinary Resurrections, which will introduce you to the adorably spunky, outspoken child, Pineapple, who's featured as a young adult in Fire in the Ashes, too.

~Queen of Books

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ender's Game

Have you ever gone back and read something you loved as a younger person, only to find that your memory of it was much better than the real thing? Well, I recently reread one of my all-time favorite books out of sheer curiosity, and I thought it was just as great as the first time I read it, back in the mid-80s. I actually might like it more now!

That book is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It is a science fiction novel that appeals to both teens and adults and it is awesome. The book is about a very young boy named Andrew Wiggin ("Ender") who is taken from his family and sent off to a school out in space.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Ahoy Mateys.  Wednesday, September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day.  This has inspired us to share some of our favorite booty ahem... I mean books about pirates.

For the little raider we recommend Small Saul by Ashley Spires.  Can Small Saul prove his worth to his pirate crew or will he be forced to walk the plank?

For the bigger swashbuckler we recommend Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton.  A Spanish galleon full of gold is always a perfect pirate target.

On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.  No this one is not part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies but it is about pirates, Blackbeard to be specific.  If that isn't enough there is the search for the fountain of youth (apparently this is a popular pirate quest) and also Zombies.

We have plenty more titles to recommend, but if you are feeling a little lost at sea may we recommend brushing up on your pirate speak.  Our Mango languages database includes a complete course in Pirate.  You will learn everything from how to give sailing commands, to greeting your boss, or calling someone names.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The House of Silk

Sherlock Holmes is dead. Dr. Watson is near the end of his life, but he has one last tale to tell. The adventure of The House of Silk must be told. Sherlock Holmes is in prison, charged with murder. Watson is left to solve the case, relying on his wits.  The story is so sensational that according to Watson's instructions his manuscript is to be sealed in a vault. The vault is to remain sealed for one hundred years following his death. The story, if told, will cause such scandal that the entire fabric of British society will be torn apart. However, it is a tale worth telling.

Anthony Horowitz now shares this tale with us in The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel.  The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Anatomy of a Good Read

"Every reader his or her book, and every book its reader." -S. R. Ranganathan

Did you know that you can ask for your very own personalized list of good reads? Today, I'm going to give you the behind-the-scenes tour of our recommendation process, share some of our most-recommended read-alikes like Downtown Owl, and offer up some of our arcane, mystical secrets (okay, yeah, publicly-accessible databases and websites).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Married You for Happiness

Casting about for reading inspiration, I consulted the Publisher's Weekly  "Top Ten Books of 2011" and opted for Lily Tuck's I Married You for Happiness -- what serendipity!

Tuck's short (193-page), poignant novel takes place over the course of a single night, during the vigil that Nina keeps at the side of her husband who has died, quite unexpectedly. It sounds like a tragic scenario, but in the expert hands of this award-winning novelist it is a lyrical and absorbing portrait of a 42-year marriage.

When Nina discovers that Philip has suffered cardiac arrest during a pre-dinner nap, she settles in by his side for a last night with him. Weaving a dreamlike tapestry of their years together she randomly revisits the events of a closely-shared lifetime, holding at bay the need for arrangements, phone calls and the inevitable onslaught of grief that will arrive with the dawn.

Flash back to the sidewalk cafe where young Philip, a gifted mathematician and academic, meets artistic Nina, whose job in a Parisian art gallery pays just enough to keep her in painting supplies.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Love in Writing

Can you fall in love with a person without ever seeing them? Dash and Lily are starting to think so, with the help of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Dash and Lily are two New York City teenagers, who've never met and aren't likely to. Both are on their own and at loose ends for Christmas. Then Dash finds Lily's notebook in the Strand bookshop, and what follows is a whirlwind romance on paper, as they dare each other to take on new and frightening experiences.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cool Off with White Heat

Are you getting tired of the summer heat? Do you feel like a little cool weather would be refreshing? For those of us unable to take a trip to cooler climes, maybe we can be satisfied just reading about snow, ice and blizzards...

In her debut novel White Heat, M.J. McGrath takes us deep into the Arctic tundra. Edie Kiglatuk, half Inuit and half Caucasian, lives on Ellesmere Island and works as a hunting guide. Edie is always at odds with the patriarchal establishment and things get worse when a tourist is murdered on her watch.