Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Relax......Start 2009 With a Good Book...

You May Only Have
a Few Minutes Left

Loretta LaRoche

That is the title of LaRoche's book and I love it. I also can't think of any better suggestion to give to everyone as we head into 2009.

Checking out what the "best books" for 2008 it's interesting how many of the same books were on every list. In no particular order, here are some from 2008 that I say....give a try:

Power Makers
Maury Klein
Klein is a business historian and in his book he covers how America became a technological superpower-the "power revolution" and the geniuses who brought it about.

The Night of the Gun
David Carr
Carr's memoir shares his transition from crack addict to columnist for the New York Times; Carr researches his life as an addict by revisiting people he knew and going back to the places he lived. He tells us the effect on himself what it did to his family children and friends., and how he overcame that life. Both funny and heartbreaking.

The Likeness
Tara French
French hit the big time with her debut In the Woods. This is her follow-up and it too is terrific. The interweaving of psychological thriller with Gothic romance is done by one of the best.

What Was Lost
Catherine O'Flynn
Ten year old Kate Meaney is an orphan who hangs out at the Green Oaks mall and observes the shoppers. She carries a little notebook and solves imaginary mysteries and tries to guess the secrets of the shoppers. Kate disappears from the mall in 1984 and never seen again. This is O'Flynn's debut and it combines mystery, suspense and a bit of a ghost story all rolled into one good book.

Ron Rash
Set in the mountains of North Carolina in 1929, George and Serena Pemberton strive to build a timber empire. Full of violence, greed, love, hate and murder...what more could you ask for?

Malcolm Gladwell
I always enjoy Gladwell's books, Blink and The Tipping Point are great and so in this one. This one is all about success, people who become successful-and why-and he will, as always, get you thinking.

The Lost spy
Andrew Meier
Biography of little known American Cy Oggins who became enthralled with communism, became a Soviet spy, and what happened to him. It was an interesting time, the 1920's, and reminds us of the events going on in America and how the young people of that time viewed things.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Steig Larsson
Set in Sweden, another debut that hit big time. Mystery that has corporate corruption, legal thriller, a locked room puzzle and a dysfunctional family! What more could you want?

I asked my co-workers what book they read in 2008 was their favorite and here are some responses I received:

Ian McEwen
Eloquent writing about the time between the two world wars in England. Just when you think you have the ending figured out, you get a surprise.

A Tale of Despereanx
Kate DiCamillo
Based on the movie, a charming tale about a mouse in love with music, books and a princess. Also shows love, trust, forgiveness, bravery and friendship.

Sudden Sea: the Great Hurricane of 1938
R.A. Scott
Suspenseful, well-written account about the hurricane of 1938 and the affect it had on people.

The Outermost House
Henry Beston
Beston chronicles the passing of winter in the Great Nauset Marsh on Cape Cod in 1928. Wonderfully written, deep appreciation for the small wonders in his environment, breathtaking, simple observations that feed the soul. (I know this one is on my 2009 list already!)
What was YOUR favorite book you read in 2008?

Hopefully you will find a book here to grab your interest.
Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Tis the Season!

Blessed is the season which engages
the whole world in a conspiracy of love--

Hamilton Wright Mabie

I know, I's here! It's hectic! We all know it's coming every year, it's not a surprise...but it has the power to make us crazy; the Holidays are here. My advice to one and all is to remember it is important that you take time for yourself, and if we can make it easier for you with our selection of cookbooks, magazines, holiday movies and of course our fabulous collections of music, let us help you entertain.

Some of my favorites this time of year? Love The Bishop's Wife; Loretta Young, Gary Grant, David Niven, an oldie but oh... such a goodie; Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, I remember watching this with my daughter when she was two-she is now 30-we danced and had fun; Meet Me in St. Louis is one my girls and I loved and still do, does it get any better then Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?" I still me tear up hearing her sing that one. Charlie Brown reminding all of us what Christmas is all about? Music, there is always the usual carols, for me, one of my all time favorites is the Beach Boys Christmas CD; it doesn't get any better then Karen Carpenter voice on the Carpenters Christmas CD. I can mix it up with Christmas Cd's like Glenn Miller, Motown Christmas, Celtic Women, I could go on and on but you come and get your favorites.
Take time for yourself, relax and enjoy! Remember the reason we celebrate this time of year.
I wish you joy, peace, and a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cookin' By the Book!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Let us help you entertain!

Come check out our collection of books and magazines for baking,roasting...whatever you need we have.

The days are dwindling down and the countdown has begun. The holidays are about to begin and we are here to make things a little easier for you. Stop by, get some decorating ideas, find a recipe, see if the tips on setting your table strick your fancy. Don't stress, let us make things go a little smoother for you, and hopefully give you some time to relax, and read a good book.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Different Views

The Expected One

Kathleen McGowan

"No matter how busy you may think you are,
you must find time for reading, or surrender
yourself to self-chosen ignorance."

Atwood H. Townsend.

I have always had a fascination with Mary Magdalene, her relationship with the twelve apostles, and Jesus. With that in mind I looked forward to the Da Vinci Code and I read it way back when it was THE book to read. I thought it was okay, little over the top, and the ending left me feeling like it was a rush job. Seemed that Dan Brown felt like he was done writing and plop, here is the end. I read shortly after that Daniel Silva's The Confessor and will say I enjoyed it much much better. While with The Confessor it had more originality to it, was more realistic and had an ending that brought it to a close, not just stop and leave you wondering what the heck....

I was looking for a book to read (yes, sometimes I even have to think of one) when I remembered a recent book about Mary Magdalene that had come out. This book is fiction, but the author tells us she is a decedent of Mary Magdalen and her book is an account of her life experiences, how she came to this realization, and she has chosen to share it with us via fiction.

Maureen Pascal (really McGowan) has written a book about women who have been treated unfairly by history. Mary Magdalene is one of her women, and also one who she feels strongly about. While in Jerusalem she is given a ring with an usually insignia and then she starts having visions. Strange things continue to occur, people ask her questions about "who" she is, "who" she resembles, that they have been waiting for her. Hence, the title, the Expected One. McGowan has quite a different take on Da Vinci then Brown and Silva have, but it is interesting non the less.

I want to point out that even though you know it is suppose to be about the author, it isn't done in an hokey way. (Hokey is the only word that came to mind)

I liked the book. What comes to light is the finding of the Mary Magdalene Gospels. I wish the book had been all about the Mary Magdalene Gospels and how they came to be. When the author writes from Mary Magdalene viewpoint of what transpired all those centuries ago compared to what we have come to know, I loved it. McGowan makes you feel that you are there observing what is going on, when she writes as present day the writing didn't flow as well for me.

What is great when you read a book is when it grabs your interest and leaves you wanting to read more about the subject, this is what The Expected One did for me. It left me fascinated to learn more about Mary Magdalene and her views of what occurred during her time.

I liked the book and would recommend it, especially to those of you who liked Da Vinci Code and The Confessor.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Michael Crichton

"In the information society, nobody thinks.
We expect to banish paper, but we acturally
banish thought."
Michael Crichton 1942-2008

I was saddened when I heard that another writer had died. That makes three in the last few works and I hope the last one for a while.

Michael Crichton was a thriller writer best known for Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Andromeda Strain and Disclosure. Many of his books were made into movies,. Jurassic Park gave him high profile attention when it was made into a movie directed by his friend, Steven Spielberg, who he also created the TV show ER with. Crichton also directed many of his books into movies as well as directing others.

Michael Crichton believed that we all should challenge our preconceived notions of the world around us and with his books, he did just that. Thanks.
"They are focused on whether they can do something. They never think whether they should do something."
I really liked this quote from Michael Crichton; gives you something to think about.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Studs Terkel

"If solace is any sort of succor to someone,
that is sufficient. I believe in the faith of people,
whatever faith they may have." Studs Terkel 1912-2008

Once again we have to say good-bye to a wonderful writer, Studs Terkel. He moved from NYC to Chicago when he was very young and what a fit Terkel and Chicago made. He was a writer for the common man and woman and believed that American became the country it was because of them. Hard Times: AN Oral History of the Great Depression, made you visualize the 1930's; his book on Race :How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession is as relevant to day and it was in 1992. Terkel won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Good War:An Oral History of World War II. He was on the blacklist during the 1950's, which didn't stop him from what he believed, which was America and her people.

Studs Terkel died just before his last book came out in November, P.S. Further Thoughts From A Lifetime of Listening. This is about his favorite things---writings, travels and people. What a sendoff, thanks Mr. Terkel for sharing so much with us.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tony Hillerman

"You write for two people,
yourself and your audience,
who are usually better educated
and at least as smart."

Tony Hillerman 1925-2008

Mystery writer Tony Hillerman, 83, died Sunday, October 26, 2008. For those of us who read his mysteries we know what a loss it is; for those who haven't been introduced to Hillerman, take a chance. Hillerman wrote over 29 books, most of them mysteries, set in the Southwest and featured Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Hillerman wanted to help the Anglo culture understand Navajo traditions while sharing his admiration of the Navajo culture. His love of the Southwest shone through in all of his books, fiction and non-fiction.

If you enjoy mysteries, the Southwest, and learning about the culture of Indians, you are in for a treat. Hillerman introduces us to his favorite passion, the Navajo and their culture, how they think, how the Anglo had changed their way of life, and how both cultures learn to except each other and live along side each other. His mysteries would take you deeper in the history of the Navajo and you will be amazed what you learn from reading about them in fiction style. The Navajo honored him with the Special Friend of the Dineh award to thank him for letting his readers know that were more then primitive people. On that, he succeeded.

Hillerman never forgot who he was writing for, his audience, and to entertain them. He was also a writer that you could read them faster then he could write them....which is important to me as a reader. Writers who push three, four or more books a year I feel are not considerate to their readers. (That's for another blog)
If you are looking for a new mystery writer, something different, I highly recommend Tony Hillerman. You will be glad you did.
Thanks Mr. Hillerman for some wonderful mysteries, books, and enabling us, as readers, to learn about the Navajo people. You will be missed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Check Out What's New!

A good book is the best of friends.
English Proverb

Hear hear! With that in mind...come check out what's new on our shelves!

Grab a book and...Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some of my Favorite far!

"Oh, the places you'll go!"
Dr. Seuss

A good book can take you anywhere, a good book will make you want to come back and read it again. I enjoy what I do, reading books, and I get asked frequently...."What's your favorite book?"

There are so many! Here are just a few my favorites (so far) in no particular

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
I have read this book several times over the years and each time I get something different from it. This is one of my "comfort" books because it puts me in a good place when I read it.

Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane
One of the best ending to a book I have read.Two Boston private eyes go insearch of a little girl who has disappeared from her apartment. I still ask, what was the right thing to do?

ip Down by Richard Adams
Yes, I know it is a book about rabbits, but it may be one of the first books that describes the impact of man on the environment. Since man has intruded so much where the rabbits live, they decide to go in search of a promised land where they attempt to form the perfect society. This may be about rabbits, but it will give you pause to stop and think.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A great book. Read my review to find out why. (Yes, I will
add this to my read again list)

The Unlikely Spy
by Daniel Silva
His first book and he had me hooked. Silva has never disappointed me since. This suspense novel is set in WWII England, Churchill, Hitler, the Nazi's, spies; if you like espionage, this is a book to read. His series that has Gabriel Allen in them are one of my all time favorites. (his book, the Confessor, is much better then the Di Vinci Code)

Fried Green Tom
atoes (at the Whistle Stop Cafe) by Fannie Flagg
Folksy charm, you can almost hear the Southern drawl and taste the fried green tomatoes. Full of humor, love, you are in a more gentler time where people where much more accepted as they are.
Loved it, never wanted it to end, every time I read it I find myself tearing up. The first time I cried.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamude Pilcher
The life of Penelope Keeling as her life in London is told in flashbacks from WWII to 1997. Another wonderful story that will bring tears.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
Sheer poetry in
writing, Llewellyn tells the story of a coal mining family and their young son who comes of age in South Wales in the early 1900's. I cried (sobbed) as I read this book, the lives, the hardships, and the love. Wonderful.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Kept me riveted when I read it when it came out. Gothic horror at its very best. If you haven;t read it and love supernatural thrillers, here you go. The best one I have read so far. Read it with the lights on.

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
McCullough is the best at what he does, non-fiction. Here he gives us a great biography by one of the most fascinating men of our history, Theodore Roosevelt. McCullough covers the years 1869, when Teddy was ten, to 1886, when Teddy finally recovers from horrible personal tragedy which made him the man he was to become. Teddy Roosevelt is one of my favorite people in history and reading this book, McCullough has done him justice.

Diana Gabaldon
If you love Scotland like I do, history, time-travel, romance, love, war, and a great story, this is the book for you. Claire Randall is married to two men: One lives in 1945 and one lives in 1743. Now there's a problem. Great entertainment.

A Walk in
the Woods by Bill Bryson
Laugh out loud funny memoir of Bryson's and his friend walking the Appalachian Trail. You will howl at some of the things that happen to them as they take this walk no matter how many times you read it. Another one of my "comfort" book. Laughter is a wonderful thing.

A book I am sad when I am getting to the last page, a book that feels like I am losing friends, a book that I go back to read again because of the joy it gave me, or the feelings it stirred up, a book that I remember fondly, a book that I learned something from, and a book that feels like an old friend...that's why these books are on my list. This list changes, but some are stalwart and will always remain on it. What's on your list? I would love to know.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Read, Then Read Some More

"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere"
Mary Schmich

I don't know who Mary Schmich is but I do love her quote! Where else can you take yourself away from everyday without leaving your favorite reading spot? Where else can you go places you think about, hope to go to or dream about except in a book? Fiction, fantasy, science fiction, romance or non-fiction, whatever your feelings you can find them in a book.

I have been enjoying a classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I love the way the author makes me feel a part of Brooklyn in the early 1900's; you find yourself lost in the Nolan family and how they live their lives. The poverty they endure without complaining. Being so poor that they go to bed hungry. They weren't any different then their neighbors, all of them lived the same way. Making it to the end of grade school is a big deal, but when the children turn fourteen they must go out to work. Imagine being happy to bring home a quarter a week.

Funny, reading this book and listening to the news about what is happening with our economy makes me realize how much some of us take for granted. The bright spot in Francie Nolan's week is going to the library and getting a book to read. She vowed to read a book a day, she realized that reading was knowledge and she wants to know it all. The way Francie loses herself in the books she reads and the joy it brings her is a wonder. Sometimes it is forgotten how much you can take from a book, the joy it can bring and the wonder. What I have gotten from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is that there is always hope; hope that things will get better; hope that the future will be what you wish for; and that there is joy is every day when you look for it.

I have just finished this book and I am so glad I read it. I can't believe I waited so long! I found myself, as I realized that I was right there, observing the life of hte Nolans and feeling what Francie was feeling. That is what a terrific book can do...take you into it and make you feel part of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Heard It On NPR!

Open the door and fall into a good book!
author unknown

Couldn't have said it better myself! How else to welcome the
cooler weather?

I enjoy listening to NPR, the music, the news, the chat, and especially the books. What I enjoy even more is when the book(s) they are talking about can be found right here in our library. Love that.

Here's some books I heard about on NPR:

Thomas Friedman's 'Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.'

It's (way past) time for a green revolution and Friedman wants Americans to lead the way. The title says it all-the world is hot, flat and crowded and unless we address these issues where will the world be, what will the quality of life be, in the twenty-first century? Friedman wants America to get its groove back and shares with us how he thinks we can do it.

Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife

Fictional account of a Republican first lady who finds she doesn't always agree with his political decisions, sees him for what he is, stands by his side because what else can she do? Yeah, you will find yourself wondering is this really about Laura Bush?

Annie Proulx's Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3

Proulx shares her love of Wyoming in her third volume of stories. Her description of this state are beautiful and as always, her writing style is gritty and her stories will take you are a trip to the west, past and present.

Bob Woodward's The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008

The title says it all....and if it weren't for the fact this is non-fiction you might think you were reading a political suspense novel. As usual, Woodward has given us information-while feeling it is all true we wish it wasn't.

Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals

The events of September 11, 2001 left our country's most powerful leaders shaken. Decisions made from that date show a government whose legacy will be remembered as one of the most disturbing chapters in our history. Mayer also gives us a hard look at the media and how it has presented the news the last six years.

Oliver Sack's Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Fascinating stories by a famed neurologist who found out how the power of music affected patients' lives. He explains the power how music can have a peculiar power over us and shares his studies with music on some of his patients, and the results, both successful and unsuccessful, are amazing.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper & Sally Swift's Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award Winning Food Show

This is one of my favorite types of book: food, stories and sharing. What could be better? I dare you to take this book out and not be tempted to make the fried hard-boiled eggs! Oh yea, you read right.

Turn on NPR, listen to some cool jazz, grab your favorite beverage, put your feet up and fall into a good book. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Little Magic for a Summer Night

Anyone who says they have only
one life to live must not know how
to read a book.
Author Unknown

Garden Spells
Sarah Addison Allen

Here is one of the best way to spend one of those last summer nights; a little whimsy, a little magic, a little enchantment and a lot of love. The Waverley sisters of Bascom NC, have always been as different as night and day. Sidney, the younger sister, left home right after she graduated without a goodbye: she despised everything about Bascom, the house, the magical garden and her sister, while Claire, the older sister, loved everything about it. Claire started a catering business-which quickly became the busiest one around. The main reason for that is the magical garden behind the family home where it is believed that Claire puts a little something magical in her foods that have quite an effect on people. There is also an apple tree that seems to have a mind of its own, tossing apples at people which, when eaten, can cause them to have the most fabulous dream or a horrible nightmare.

Claire has the surprise of her life when one day her sister Sidney shows up with her five-year old daughter,Bay-who Claire didn't even know existed. It's been ten years since the sisters have seen or talked to each other and Claire knows that something happened for Sidney to return home and waits for her sister to tell her. For Bay this is heaven! She falls in love with everything just like her Aunt Claire.

Find out how the Waverley sisters learn to come together, heal the wounds from their past, respect each other and realize that what they give to each other is love. I wanted to spend more time in Bascom with Claire, Sidney and their delightful cast of characters who will make you smile when you're done and leave you feeling good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Take it Easy......

Every night, I have to read a book,
so that my mind will stop thinking
about things that I stress about.
Britney Spears

'Tis the middle of August, it gets darker a little bit earlier each evening, and it is time to kick back and enjoy the last days and nights of the summer to the fullest. Guess what my suggestion to you is? Settle in with a little light reading that leaves you with a smile when you finish. Here are some that I enjoyed and hope you do too:

Standoff by Sandra Brown

Brown is know for her romance novels but a best kept secret is that she can write a good suspense story. This is one of my favorites. You can read it in one night and you might find you want to-I had to read the entire book because I had to know what happened. You never know when life will toss you a curve ball and how it will change your view of what's important. I plug her suspense novels quite a bit so this secret will be short lived. ( won't smile, but you will be glad you read it!)

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Quirky, strange funny little tale of a serial killer who only kills those that deserve it. He should know who deserves it since he works for the police department in Miami, Fl. If you like off-beat, this is a character for you. Enjoy the humor and remember that Dexter is....odd. What can I say? I liked him......

The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott

Meet three wonderful widows who show that life can be better after sixty. Amelia, Grace and Hannah are living in a boarding house in Pennsylvania and are miserable. They take a chance and show that no matter what your age, every day can be a delight and joy. Proof that life is what you make it. I loved the feeling I had when I was done reading it, a smiler.

Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray
Laugh out loud hilarious tale of two people, over sixty, Julie and Romeo, who find romance, love, and sex regardless of what obstacles are in the way, which are numerous. Seems there is a long standing family feud, a eighty year old mother, and adult children who have their own idea at how a sixty year old should act. Above all there is love. I laughed so hard reading this book-just wonderful. One of my all time favorites.

Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman

How is it, you're thirty-six, you have come to terms with the fact you were adopted, you are settled and comfortable with your life, and surprise! Turns out your real mother has decided to become part of your life, is a flamboyant TV talk show host and is determined to change your life. Meet April Epner, see how her life gets turned upside down. Relationships will be what you let them as April discover. Funny, sad and enjoyable. I was happy to pay a visit to the characters in this books and you will be to.....will make you smile.

Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie

Quinn McKenzie is living the life, teaching at the local school, friends and family who love and support her, and is dating the nicest guy in the world., and bored. How could adopting a dog change things? Quinn isn't bored for much longer-seems there are other people who want that dog and Quinn finds more excitement then she ever expected. Some life changes are just crazy, are a pleasant surprise and work out for the best. Crusie is one of the best at chick lit.

Okay, just a few suggestions to help take it easy the rest of the summer. I hope you enjoy them and have some fun reading some of them, I did---happy reading!