Mar 1, 2015

The paying guests - Sarah Waters

The paying guests - Waters, Sarah

Summary: It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

Library Journal Reviews
Frances Wray is a woman of limited opportunities stuck in genteel poverty in an England that has not quite recovered from World War I. When she and her mother begin renting out half of their house to the Barbers, the change is disruptive. The Barbers are lower class, a little noisy, and tacky. Leonard sometimes says off-color things to Frances; Lilian is pretty but unhappy. Something is off about the Barbers' marriage, but a part of Frances relishes the change. As Frances and Lilian grow closer, she finds Lilian more attractive and their lives begin to mesh. But when a crisis comes, will each woman be able to see it through? And what does it mean morally if they do? Can love really conquer everything? Moody and atmospheric, this latest from three-time Booker Prize finalist Waters (The Little Stranger) has a rich historical setting in which you can feel the smallness of middle-class English life. But neither Frances nor Lilian is terribly sympathetic, and it's hard to root for them. But perhaps that is the point. Waters keeps you guessing until the very end. VERDICT For fans of complex historical crime fiction with a strong sense of dread. [See Prepub Alert, 3/10/14.]—Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI

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Is that all there is? the strange life of Peggy Lee - James Gavin

Is that all there is? the strange life of Peggy Lee - Gavin, James

Summary: Draws on hundreds of interviews to reveal the life of the popular and enigmatic recording artist, discussing the contradictions in her life and her extensive and multi-faceted career. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Peggy Lee developed her soft and sultry sound from the influences of black singers and her early days of singing in dinner clubs, where she deliberately softened her voice to force the audience to listen. When she purred, audiences would lean in. That softness and an equally hard-edged sexiness set her apart from others, from her beginning as a singer in the swing era to her voice-over work with Disney to her inspiring of the Muppet character, Miss Piggy. Lee, born Norma Deloris Egstrom, had a hardscrabble childhood in desolate North Dakota but an outsize talent and personality that eventually drove her to a career in Hollywood. Gavin (Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne, 2009) offers a penetrating portrait of a woman embittered by childhood memories and failed marriages, struggling with alcohol and drugs, yet determined to have a career worthy of her voice. Best known for her songs "Fever" and "Is That All There Is?," Lee sang with legendary musicians Benny Goodman, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. Old and new fans will appreciate this revealing portrait of troubled and talented woman. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Blacksad - Juan Diaz Canales

Blacksad - Diaz Canales, Juan

Summary: "Private investigator John Blacksad is up to his feline ears in mystery and intrigue, digging up the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets during the 1950s Red Scare in the United States."--P. [4] of cover.

Library Journal Reviews
A European classic reappears in English, and a rich gift it is. This noir thriller set in 1950s America stars a cast of anthropomorphic animals, with the dirty-handed hero an impeccably trenchcoated black cat. John Blacksad is a sort of private investigator, and these three stories visit territory both familiar and unusual. Our hero's lost love is inexplicably murdered, a misinterpreted killing rocks a white supremacist movement, and a coterie of radical intelligentsia crosses agendas with a version of Commie-hunter Joe McCarthy. The second story, especially, offers complex and subtle plotting that earned an Angoul√™me award. But story aside, Blacksad soars on the art. If anyone could convince you that animal-headed beings could be real, these artists do. The evocative character renditions, draftsmanship, and painted colors simply take the breath away, from the polar bear police chief turned bad to the hog bartender, cockerel "Senator Gallo" (McCarthy), and bad guy reptilians. VERDICT A prime ambassador for the adult comic, Blacksad reinvents funny animals to a whole new purpose: suspenseful, sophisticated, and beautifully visualized drama with violence and sensual sex quite appropriate to plot and readership. Highly recommended for adult collections.—M.C.

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Eat, move, sleep - Tom Rath

Eat, move, sleep - Rath, Tom

Summary: #1 "New York Times" bestselling author Tom Rath delivers a book that will improve your health for years to come in three of interconnected areas: eating, moving, and sleeping.

PW Annex Reviews
Gallup senior scientist and prolific business author Rath (Strengthfinder 2.0) explores how diets, exercise regimens, and sleep choices influence our health. Rath, diagnosed at age 16 with a life-threatening genetic disorder, draws from personal experiences as well as research, asserting that "small decisions about how you eat, move and sleep each day count more than you think." He offers practical tips to make long-lasting behavior changes and, in an encouraging, conversational tone, urges readers to "forget fad diets, forever," "make inactivity your enemy," and "sleep longer to get more done." He also emphasizes the importance of incremental changes, ranging from ideas on "product placement" in the home, getting a device to track steps, and using smaller plates to combat overeating. Snappy titles like "Family style is making us fat," energize the short, punchy chapters and add levity to what could be daunting behavioral changes. While much of Rath's advice is common-sense, his willingness to share his personal struggles makes this an easy, persuasive read for those trying to correct self-sabotaging behavior or adopt a healthy lifestyle. (Oct.)

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In some other world maybe - Shari Goldhagen

In some other world maybe - Goldhagen, Shari

Summary: Follows a group of teenagers throughout their lives after a shared 1992 experience at a theater showing the film version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Goldhagen follows up her winning debut novel, Families and Other Accidents (2006), with an equally engaging story of four young people whose lives intersect at pivotal moments. The novel opens on the day in 1992 when all four high-schoolers, living in different parts of the country, attended the premiere of the fictional Star Wars–like sf epic Eons & Empires. Adam, an aspiring actor, will go on to star in the TV series based on that movie. Phoebe and Ollie are madly in love but eventually break up, and a heartbroken Ollie will travel the world, while beautiful Phoebe moves to L.A. with high expectations of becoming an actor, only to end up bar tending and sleeping with a series of has-beens. Meanwhile, nerdy Sharon, obsessed with the comic-book series upon which Eons & Empires is based, ends up becoming a writer in New York City. How the four characters cross paths is one of the high points of this six-degrees-of-separation novel. A highly relatable cast is another hook as the four face down difficulties with humor and a good deal of heart. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz


Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Saenz, Benjamin Alire

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.



Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Aristotle -- Ari for short -- meets Dante at the pool one summer day in 1987, and the two boys quickly strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound. Ari admires Dante's gregarious personality, his intellectual curiosity, and his close bond with his parents, especially his father. In contrast, Ari's own father, a Vietnam vet, remains aloof, damaged by his experience of war, and both parents refuse to discuss his imprisoned older brother. When Ari saves Dante's life but breaks his own legs in the process, it not only strengthens their friendship but cements the bond between the two Mexican American families. When Dante's father leaves El Paso for a one-year position at the University of Chicago, the boys stay in touch through letters. Dante had telegraphed his sexual attraction to Ari, but now comes out to his friend in writing. When Dante returns, the two cautiously resume their friendship, but when Dante gets beat up in an alley for kissing another boy, it's a catalyst for Ari to examine how he really feels about Dante. Ari's first-person narrative -- poetic, philosophical, honest -- skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance, leading to the inevitable conclusion: "How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?" jonathan hunt Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Funny girl - Nick Hornby

Funny girl - Hornby, Nick

Summary: "From the bestselling author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down comes a highly anticipated new novel. Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingenue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process."-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
Barbara Parker is crowned Miss Blackpool in 1964 and promptly returns the tiara. She doesn't want to be a beauty queen; she wants to be Britain's answer to Lucille Ball. In short order, she moves to London and auditions for a BBC television program, where she meets a creative, witty production team. Taken with her good lucks and impeccable comic timing, they fashion the program around her, and Barbara (and Jim) becomes a huge hit, emblematic of the shifting mores of a more modern Britain as the titular couple bicker about politics, class distinctions, and sex. In his seventh novel (and the first in five years), Hornby pens a homage to light entertainment, sending up the stodgier side of the BBC via snobby critic Vernon Whitfield. He also delivers a winning example of the form, crafting fast-paced, witty dialogue and lovable characters set against a time of creative breakthroughs, both in the culture and in the media. And the final chapters, in which the team must deal with the infirmities of age and illness, highlight Hornby's great gift for effortlessly moving from humor to heartbreak. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Wild - Emily Hughes

Wild - Hughes, Emily

Summary: The story of a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth. Bears taught her to eat, birds to speak, foxes to play; she is unabashedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly Wild. That is, until one day she meets a new animal that looks oddly like her...

ForeWord Magazine Reviews
A blooming floral forest; wide-­eyed and playful bears, foxes, and crows; a little girl with green, vine-­infused hair—the colors and creatures that dance across these pages will bring joy to child and child-­at-­heart readers. This feral darling, when taken in by "civilized" strangers who do everything wrong—according to the rules of nature and the animals who raised her—elicits boundless empathy. The beautiful artwork and simple text reveals the happy wildchild of nature who lies dormant in all of us, and we are encouraged to understand and respect those who are different. Ages five and up.

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Cat & Bunny - Mary Lundquist

Cat & Bunny - Lundquist, Mary

Summary: Best friends Bunny and Cat have always enjoyed playing alone together, so when others ask to join their favorite game Cat wants to say no, while Bunny is happy to have everyone play.

Booklist Reviews
How cute are Cat and Bunny? Born on the same day, they do everything together—ride bikes, play, eat lunch. "Friends forever!" says Bunny. "Just us!" says Cat. Even very young children may guess what comes next. Their favorite made-up game is interrupted by Quail, who wants to play. Bunny says yes, and yes to all the others who want in. A left-out Cat hides and waits for Bunny to find her, but Bunny is busy. When a kitten shows up, pushing a ball of red string, Cat invents a new made-up game and is only too happy to let Giraffe play, too. Eventually, all the other little ones come, and finally, Bunny. Will Cat let her play? Of course! The characters, either children dressed as animals, or animals with the faces of children, are the most pleasing part of the whimsical colored-pencil artwork, which uses the softest of colors and shapes and is just right for the age group. Don't forget to show kids the adorable endpapers on which the cast frolics. The title page, on which each appears as a swaddled baby (already wearing caps with ears), is delish. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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One step too far - Tina Seskis

One step too far - Seskis, Tina

Summary: A woman leaves her happy family and home to reinvent herself as a completely different person, with no trace of her former self, working in a hip London ad agency, until a shocking revelation makes her face what she has done.

Booklist Reviews
Attorney Emily Coleman abruptly leaves her family and home in suburban Manchester for a filthy communal home in North London. She takes a new name and a new job as a receptionist at an ad agency. She befriends a kleptomaniac with a bad coke habit and begins to lead a life far different from her old one, partying into the wee hours. Although the traumatic event that has sent her running is only alluded to, she makes it clear that her marriage was a happy one and a welcome contrast to her own family, which includes a disturbed twin sister and a philandering father. Debut novelist Seskis displays a keen sense of pacing as she gently misguides readers, only to drop a few bombshells in the latter chapters, and her backstories on Emily's family are vivid yet done with great economy. Amping up the fantasy factor of living a completely different life, Seskis hooks readers from the outset while also spelling out the high emotional costs of abandoning loved ones. A skillfully done novel by a writer to watch. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Dog blue - Polly Dunbar

Dog blue - Polly Dunbar

Summary: Bertie, who loves the color blue and really wants a dog, finally gets his wish even though the dog he meets is white with black spots.

Booklist Reviews
PreS-K. Most kid-wants-dog tales involve at least one antipet parent; in this version, adults are left out of the picture entirely. In fact, the author-illustrator of Flyaway Katie [BKL Je 1 & 15 04] leaves most things out of the picture, at least compositionally: there are never more than two or three elements set against the pastel-washed backgrounds. The story line is correspondingly simple. Bertie is a tousled little boy who wishes for a dog in his favorite color (blue). No such luck, so Bertie pretends to be a blue dog instead, cheerfully scampering about on all fours--until a spotted pup arrives on the scene, not blue but perfect all the same. Dunbar makes clever use of page turns, unfolding the story in pithy, alliterative prose: "Blue really loves Bertie. Bertie really loves Blue." In the end, the wish fulfillment is gratifying, but it's Bertie's ingenious self-sufficiency that truly resonates. ((Reviewed July 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Glory O'Brien's history of the future - King, A.S.

Glory O'Brien's history of the future - King, A.S.

Summary: As her high school graduation draws near, Glory O'Brien begins having powerful and terrifying visions of the future as she struggles with her long-buried grief over her mother's suicide.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Glory and her best friend, Ellie, drink a bat. They mix its desiccated remains with some warm beer on an impulsive night, and now they see visions of the past and future for everyone they encounter. But Glory's not sure she has a future. She graduated high school with no plans for college, and she's worried that she's doomed to be just like her mom, a talented photographer who killed herself when Glory was only four. The future she sees for others, however, is plagued by misogynistic violence, and when she doesn't see herself or her descendants in any of the visions, she starts rooting around in her mother's darkroom and journals for clues that will help her free herself from a futureless fate. King performs an impressive balancing act here, juggling the magic realism of Glory's visions with her starkly realistic struggle to face her grief, feel engaged with her own life, and learn anything that she can about her mother. Imbuing Glory's narrative with a graceful, sometimes dissonant combination of anger, ambivalence, and hopefulness that resists tidy resolution, award-winning King presents another powerful, moving, and compellingly complex coming-of-age story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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West of sunset - Stewart O'Nan

West of sunset - O'Nan, Stewart

Summary: A tale inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's last years in Hollywood finds him reflecting on past events at the height of the Jazz Age while falling in love, struggling to hold his family together and penning The Last Tycoon. By the best-selling author of Last Night at the Lobster. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* It would appear to be a daunting task to write a biographical novel of one of our most iconic writers, yet O'Nan avoids every pitfall. Focusing on the last years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, when he was depleted both mentally and physically from overwork and too much drink, O'Nan, in understated prose, renders a heartbreaking portrait of an artist soldiering on in the face of personal and professional ruin. Ensconced at the Garden of Allah complex in Hollywood, surrounded by a group of lively, hard-partying actors and writers, including Dorothy Parker and Humphrey Bogart, Fitzgerald is relegated to rewriting B-movie scripts. He is in desperate need of the money to pay for Zelda's stay in a sanitarium. Their family "vacations," in which he reports back to her doctor on her behavior, only underscore how far they have fallen from their once-glamorous life. He finds comfort, instead, in his relationship with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, a self-made woman who took care of her alcoholic mother for years and casts a wary eye on Scott's endless promises to give up drinking. O'Nan's convincing characterization of a man burdened by guilt and struggling to hold onto his dignity is, at once, a moving testament to grace under pressure and an intimate look at a legend.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An eight-city tour, national review coverage, and an avalanche of prepub buzz will back up this luminous novel from the prolific O'Nan. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The life-changing magic of tidying up - Marie Kondo

The life-changing magic of tidying up - Kondo, Marie

Summary: This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire. - (Random House, Inc.)

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In the kingdom of ice - Sides Hampton

In the kingdom of ice - Hampton, Sides

Summary: In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores. James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of The New York Herald, had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom, and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice -- a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* With its western frontiers explored and the idea of Manifest Destiny still beckoning, the U.S. in the Gilded Age looked to the North Pole for adventure and conquest. U.S. naval officer George DeLong approached James Gordon Bennett, the wealthy and eccentric publisher of the New York Herald, to finance an expedition. After all, Bennett had sponsored the expedition for Stanley to find Livingstone in Africa and was forever on the hunt for the next sensational story. In July 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail with a crew of 32 men for uncharted waters. It was an extraordinary expedition, cheered on by scientists and adventurers around the world, hoping to verify the theory that beyond the polar ice girdle were warm currents and a habitable climate. Instead, the ill-fated ship found impassable ice pack that trapped it for two years until the hull was finally breached, and the men were forced to find their way across ice floes, 1,000 miles from Siberia. Facing snow blindness, frigid storms, polar bears, scarcity of food and water, and creeping madness, the men fought desperately to survive. Sides (Hellhound on His Trail, 2010) tapped amazing archival material, including diaries, letters, and the ship logs, to render a completely thrilling saga of survival in unbelievably harsh conditions. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Feb 5, 2015

The secret place - Tana French

The secret place - French, Tana

Summary: "The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls' boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin's Murder Squad--and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. "The Secret Place," a board where the girls at St. Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they discover leads them back to Holly's close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique--and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen's links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda's will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly's father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined."-- from publisher's web site.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A year after the brutal murder of a young man on the grounds of posh St. Kilda's school for girls, the case remains unsolved. Then Holly Mackey, a 16-year-old Kilda's student and the daughter of Dublin Murder Squad's Machiavellian Frank Mackey, approaches Detective Stephen Moran with a tantalizing clue: a card with a photo of the victim and the words, "I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM," which she says she plucked from a school bulletin board. Moran, who met Holly when she was a nine-year-old witness to a crime, knows instantly that this could be his ticket into the elite Murder Squad—if the famously combative Antoinette Conway, the lead investigator on the case, will have him. As the detectives learn more about the connections of the victim to two rival Kilda's cliques, they begin to understand that the girls are more devious, and possibly more dangerous, than they had imagined. Complex characters and a vivid sense of place are at the heart of French's literary success (Broken Harbor, 2012), and although Conway and Moran are fine protagonists, it is the members of the two rival cliques, and St. Kilda's itself, that make The Secret Place much more than just a solid whodunit. French brilliantly and plausibly channels the rebellion, conformity, inchoate longings, rages, and shared bonds, as well as Kilda's role in fostering them. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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American chronicles World War I

American chronicles World War I

Summary: NPR marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War with firsthand accounts from veterans themselves, as well as insightful commentary from leading historians.

Library Journal Reviews
NPR compiled this wonderful assortment of World War I stories to mark the 100th anniversary of "The War To End All Wars." Included are firsthand accounts from veterans, author talks with noted war historians, poetry, broadcasts from that era, and stories of many often overlooked events and battles. Covering from the last of the doughboys to the Christmas Truce of 1914, this compilation is a must for fans of military history. Not only does it shed light on the first World War, but it sets the stage for the factors and scenarios that triggered World War II as well. Fans of American and cultural history will also enjoy the commentary and stories on a wide variety of topics from the "Bonus Army" to Armistice Day and the Great Depression. VERDICT Hosted by Rachel Martin, this NPR collection is essential for both military buffs and novices, with something for everyone.—Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN

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Rape of Europa (DVD)

Rape of Europa (DVD)

Summary: Imagine the world without our masterpieces. Interviews with eyewitnesses and historians and newsreel footage show how during World War II the Nazis systematically took or destroyed the art of Europe. It follows the the heroic Europeans who first hid, and then set out to find and return what had been taken, with the help of the Allied forces "Monuments Men". It is work that continues to this day.

Video Librarian Reviews
An engrossing documentary, The Rape of Europa tells the interrelated stories of the Nazi plunder of priceless objets d'art from conquered territories during World War II, the simultaneous efforts by Allied forces to preserve as much of Europe's artistic patrimony as possible while working towards the defeat of Germany, and the subsequent attempts to restore stolen and/or damaged items to their proper owners and original form. Based on the bestselling book by Lynn H. Nicholas (who appears as one of several talking-head commentators), the film draws on a wealth of archival footage to document Hitler's own artistic ambitions and his attempts, along with underlings such as Luftwaffe head Hermann Goering, to steal some artistic masterworks for personal collections while systematically destroying others—such as Polish and Russian national treasures—officially considered degenerate because they represented the work of "inferior" races. Attention is also paid here to the heroic efforts by Polish, Russian, Italian, and French patriots who strove to save endangered artwork, as well as a unit of experts attached to the American army who advised the military about minimizing damage while also aiding in the recovery of pieces that had been carted off to secret locations. The documentary follows its subject into the postwar period, detailing the extensive repair and reconstruction work, as well as the international effort to return items to their rightful owners. Narrated with quiet authority by Oscar-nominee Joan Allen, this is a fascinating film that sheds light on a lesser-known but culturally significant aspect of World War II history. Highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (F. Swietek) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2009.

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When books went to war - Molly Manning

When books went to war: the stories that helped us win World War II - Manning, Molly

Summary: "When America entered World War II in 1941, [it] faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war"--Amazon.com.
Chronicles the joint effort of the U.S. government, the publishing industry, and the nation's librarians to boost troop morale during World War II by shipping more than one hundred million books to the front lines for soldiers to read during what little downtime they had.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Books mattered. As war machines rolled across Europe after 1939, Nazis shuttered libraries and burned books they deemed objectionable because of authorship or content. Then the U.S. began its own mobilization, early conscripts training with broomsticks for rifles. America's industry eventually supplied requisite war matériel, but soldiers and sailors needed weapons capable of fighting combat's psychological and spiritual stresses. Under the leadership of redoubtable librarian Althea Warren, the Victory Book Campaign rallied the nation's libraries, publishers, booksellers, and ordinary citizens, marshaling millions of volumes to send to front lines. Magazine publishers ran off issues on lightweight newsprint that could similarly be carried into foxholes. Manning has scoured archives to retrieve soldiers' touching accounts of the therapeutic, life-saving influence of stories that took their minds away from daily horrors. Servicemen loved these flimsy paperbacks, which they could slip into pockets and trade with one another. She also reports a less-savory tale of American politicians conniving to censor some titles. Includes bibliography of books published as Armed Services Editions and a partial list of authors the Nazis tried to suppress. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Hummingbirds - Ronald Orenstein

Hummingbirds - Orenstein, Ronald

Summary: "A visual feast of beautiful images and a comprehensive natural history of a unique and remarkable bird family."--P. [4] of cover.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
This perfect coffee table book captures the dazzling and fascinating world of the remarkable hovering bird unique to the Americas. Author Ronald Orenstein, a zoologist, lawyer and wild life conservationist, explains in layman's terms many characteristics of hummingbirds, from ?ight and feeding techniques to migrations and mating patterns. There are more than 340 species of hummingbirds divided into seven groupings with illustrative names like Mangoes, Coquettes, Brilliants, Mountain Gems, Bees, Emerald and Giant. Readers will learn about their diverse habitat, unique metabolisms, courtship prowess and near mythical attraction in pre-Columbian lore of the Americas, and may be surprised to discover that hummingbirds while resting enter a state of hibernation-like torpor to conserve body heat. The spectacular photography of Michael and Patricia Fogden reveals the diversity, beautiful colors and movement of these unique birds. They successfully captured images of the speedy birds in ?ight, perched, nesting, feeding and, in an exceptional set of photographs, even escaping the fangs of a viper. Although extremely resilient and adaptive, the hummingbird environment is often threatened by development and deforestation and the final chapter focuses on these issues. (Sept.)

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Museum masterpieces The Louvre (DVD)

Museum masterpieces The Louvre (DVD)

Summary: "In Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre, expert art critic and historian Richard Brettell takes you on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's greatest museums. This 12-lecture series begins with an overview of the Louvre's colorful history as royal palace, art academy, and national showcase. Then you'll explore some of the most beautiful and renowned examples from the museum's remarkable collection of European paintings from the late medieval period through the early 19th century, including masterworks by Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Watteau, Rubens and Vermeer..."--Publisher description.

Lectures: 1. Palace to Museum, the story of the Louvre -- 2. Leonardo and the origins of the collections -- 3. Italian Renaissance and the Baroque painting -- 4. Spanish school of painting -- 5. Rubens and Flemish painting, Early German -- 6. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Dutch painting -- 7. De La Tour, Le Nain, and 17th century painting -- 8. Claude and Poussin, French painter in Rome -- 9. Watteau and Chardin -- 10. Boucher, Fragonard, and the Rococo in France -- 11. Jacques-Louis David and his school -- 12. Delacrois and Ingres, the great dialectic.

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Hidden girl - Shyima Hall

Hidden girl: the true story of a modern-day child slave - Hall, Shyima

Summary: The author relates how she was sold by poor parents into slavery and forced to endure brutal servitude in California until a neighbor's anonymous call to the police began her journey to freedom and her subsequent efforts to fight for child slaves.

Booklist Reviews
Hall was eight years old when her impoverished Egyptian parents sold her to a wealthy couple. The life of domestic slavery that followed was one of endless labor and physical and verbal abuse. Her experiences don't improve when her captors immigrate to the U.S., smuggling her in with them. Almost two years pass before her plight is discovered, and she is freed. But her difficulties don't end there. As a result of never having been educated, she is illiterate, can't speak English, and can't even tell time. Accordingly, school is an ordeal and the foster homes in which she lives are often problematic. The balance of this affecting and enlightening memoir tells the story of how she survived and, ultimately, thrived. Unfortunately, her story is not unique. She points out that there are almost 43,000 slaves in the U.S. at any given time. By giving a face to one hidden girl, Hall has given a face to many. This is an excellent book for both individual reading and classroom use. Also suggest Rosanne Hawke's Spirit of a Mountain Wolf, reviewed in this issue, for a fictionalized view of child slavery. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Mind of chef (DVD)

Mind of chef (DVD)

Summary: Season 1 of The Mind of a Chef examined the food-centric world of Chef David Chang. From ramen to rotting bananas, Copenhagen to Kansas City, and pork buns to golf clubs, Season 1 combined travel, cooking, history, science, and humor into an unforgettable journey.

Season 2 of The Mind of a Chef features Sean Brock (Episodes 1-8), Executive Chef and Partner of McCrady's and Husk Restaurant in Charleston, SC and the newly-opened outpost of Husk in Nashville, TN. The second half features April Bloomfield (Episodes 9-16), Executive Chef and Co- Owner of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar and Salvation Taco, all in New York City.

Season 3 of The Mind of a Chef joins chefs Magnus Nilsson and Ed Lee as they show viewers what it truly means to cook, think, create and live in the food-obsessed world that is The Mind of A Chef. Narrated by Executive Producer and renowned chef Anthony Bourdain

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Redeployment - Phil Klay

Redeployment - Klay, Phil

Summary: A collection of short stories by a former Marine captain and Iraq veteran focuses on the complexities of life for soldiers on the front lines and after, exploring themes ranging from brutality and faith to guilt and survival in such stories as "After Action Report" and "Money as Weapons System." - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Klay's stories are sensational, with vivid characters, biting dialogue, and life within and beyond the Afghan and Iraq wars conveyed with an addictive combination of the mundane and the horrifying. A soldier reenters civilian life after the surreal wartime task of shooting dogs that eat corpses. A rookie takes part in a raid on insurgents and then eats cobbler. Two soldiers agree to swap responsibility for a killing. A foreign service officer navigates bureaucracy with results that are no less sad for being comic. Soldiers return to barracks after patrol and wordlessly pick up their video games, which they choose over sleep. Redeployment is most remarkable, though, for the questions it asks about the aims and effects of war stories themselves, and Klay displays a thoughtful awareness of this literary tradition. That perspective holds these diverse tales together, as his narrators ask why and how war stories are told. What details does a soldier share with civilians? Does one tell it funny or tell it serious? Is the storytelling a further return to war, a redeployment in itself? Those questions, and Klay's exciting new voice, may stay with the reader long after this book is back on the shelf. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The rainbow - D.H. Lawrence

The rainbow - D.H. Lawrence

Summary: Set in the rural Midlands of England, The Rainbow (1915) revolves around three generations of the Brangwens, a strong, vigorous family, deeply involved with the land. When Tom Brangwen marries a Polish widow, Lydia Lensky, and adopts her daughter Anna as his own, he is unprepared for the passion that erupts between them. All are seeking individual fulfillment, but it is Ursula, Anna's spirited daughter, who, in her search for self-knowledge, rejects the traditional role of womanhood.
In his introduction, James Wood discusses Lawrence's writing style and the tensions and themes of The Rainbow. This Penguin edition reproduces the Cambridge text, which provides a text as close as possible to Lawrence's original. It also includes suggested further reading, a fragment of 'The Sisters II' from his first draft, and chronologies of Lawrence's life and of The Rainbow's Brangwen family. - (Blackwell North Amer)

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Feb 4, 2015

Leaving time - Jodi Picoult

Leaving time - Picoult, Jodi

Summary: "Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife, and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it's been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment . . . or worse. Still Jenna--now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief--steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother's desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother's disappearance and the death of one of her mother's co-workers. Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives. Deeply moving and suspenseful, Leaving Time is a radiant exploration of the enduring love between mothers and daughters"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
On the night one of the caretakers at a New Hampshire elephant sanctuary was killed, Jenna's mother, Alice, was found unconscious nearby. Hours later, Alice checked herself out of the hospital and disappeared, leaving her 3-year-old daughter behind. Now, 10 years later, the precocious 13-year-old wants answers to the mysteries of her mother's whereabouts. Is she dead? Was she also the victim of an unknown assailant? Or was she an abused wife and heartless mother who did not care about her child's welfare? With her father, Thomas, incarcerated in a mental hospital since the tragedy that destroyed his family, Jenna has few people to turn to for help. Aided only by Virgil, the disgraced detective who bungled the initial investigation, and Serenity, a once-famous but now infamous TV psychic, Jenna seeks answers to the questions that have always plagued her. Best-selling, reliably entertaining, and thought-provoking Picoult's newest multifaceted novel is redolent with elephant lore that explores the animals' behavior when faced with death and grief, and combines a poignant tale of human loss with a perplexing crime story that delivers a powerhouse ending.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Popular Picoult's latest hot-topic novel will be heavily promoted on all fronts as she appears in 20 cities and conducts a TV satellite tour. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Feb 3, 2015

So we read on - Maureen Corrigan

So we read on: how the Great Gatsby came to be and why it endures - Maureen Corrigan

Summary: "The "Fresh Air" book critic investigates the enduring power of The Great Gatsby -- "The Great American Novel we all think we've read, but really haven't." Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power. Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual-So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic," and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender. With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (a take on the novel's last line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"), Maureen Corrigan—book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University, and author of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading (2005)—attempts to fathom the perpetual fascination of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "inexhaustible" 1925 masterpiece. A slim yet saturated and gorgeously written book in which every element resonates, it is "our Greatest American Novel" and a book Corrigan unabashedly loves. Corrigan's immersion in Fitzgerald's novel inspires a dazzling literary appraisal of his assiduously polished, innovatively "modern and urban" language with its "hard-boiled" tone. And the word immersion is apt, given all the water imagery Corrigan highlights. She also quotes a letter from Fitzgerald to his daughter with the line: "All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath." Like Nafisi, Corrigan pinpoints restlessness as a quintessential American quality, one she perceives in Fitzgerald's knowing depiction of New York City, the great mecca for dreamers with its promise of freedom, new identities, success, and "unsentimental sex." She explains why she considers The Great Gatsby to be "America's greatest novel about class" as well as the vanquishing of God and the worship of idols in the aftermath of WWI, the fantasy that one can truly reinvent one's self, the grandeur of longing, and the spell of illusion. Fitzgerald, Corrigan writes, appreciated the "doomed beauty of trying" and roamed his own "inner geography of yearning." Biographical currents run strongly throughout Corrigan's many-branched, stimulating, and beautifully crafted inquiry. Corrigan marvels over the almost eerie "predictive quality" of The Great Gatsby and makes sure we appreciate its overlooked humor, intricate patterns, and density of symbols, at every turn replenishing our amazement over its flow, sparkle, and shadow. She glides gracefully from the glimmering depths of the novel to the harsh light on land, where it was forgotten soon after it was published until it was gradually reclaimed, resurrected, and acclaimed, the subject for ongoing discussions both private and in classrooms and book groups, cinematic variations, and even merchandising. Corrigan's research was as intrepid as her analysis is ardent and expert, and she brings fact, thought, feelings, and personal experiences together in a buoyant, illuminating, and affecting narrative about one depthless novel, the transforming art of reading, and the endless tides that tumble together life and literature. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Stardust - Gaiman, Neil

Summary: The story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. He has fallen in love with beautiful Victoria Forester and in order to win her hand, he must retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to her.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Tristran Thorn falls in love with the prettiest girl in town and makes her a foolish promise: he says that he'll go find the falling star they both watched streak across the night sky. She says she'll marry him if he finds it, so he sets off, leaving his home of Wall, and heads out into the perilous land of faerie, where not everything is what it appears. Gaiman is known for his fanciful wit, sterling prose and wildly imaginative plots, and Stardust is no exception. Gaiman's silver-tongued narration vividly brings this production to life. Like the bards of old, Gaiman is equally proficient at telling tales as he is at writing them, and his pleasant British accent feels like a perfect match to the material. Gaiman's performance is an extraordinary achievement-if only all authors could read their own work so well. The audiobook also includes a brief, informative and enjoyable interview with Gaiman about the writing of the novel and his work in the audiobook studio. Available as Harper Perennial (Reviews, Nov. 23, 1998). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Feb 2, 2015

Night sky dragons - Mal Peet

Night sky dragons - Peet, Mal

Summary: Yazul loves making kites with his grandfather, but all he truly desires is the approval of his father. Yazul's father, lord of a han along the Silk Road, is a man made stern by loneliness, and Yazul's love of kite-making only seems to elicit disappointment. "Travel and trade are what matters," his father says. But when the han is attacked by bandits, Yazul has an idea. With the help of his grandfather, he might just be able to use his kite-making skills to scare the bandits away and save the han. Will Yazul's courage and cleverness make his father proud?

Booklist Reviews
Yazul lives in a han, a walled settlement that shelters travelers on the Silk Road. Though his widowed father, the lord of the han, is rather distant, the boy enjoys making and flying kites with his grandfather. After a prank goes wrong and causes his grandmother to drop a precious bowl, Yazul's father accuses him of idleness and orders him to work as a kitchen drudge. Then bandits besiege the settlement, which nearly runs out of food and water. Fortunately, Yazul comes up with an ingenious plan to drive their enemies away. Though the setting's time and place aren't precisely determined, this nicely designed and illustrated volume offers a story with broad appeal. Yazul and his grandfather are sympathetic characters, but so is his strict father, given the weight of his experiences and responsibilities. Yazul's pleasure in gaining his approval is clear. Created with pen and watercolor, Benson's detailed illustrations help readers envision Yazul's world. A well-knit story that reads aloud beautifully. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Practicing: a musician's return to music - Glenn Kurtz

Practicing: a musician's return to music - Kurtz, Glenn

Summary: Describes how the author grew up as a young classical guitar prodigy, abandoned his instrument and his dreams of becoming a leading artist at the age of twenty-five, and rediscovered his passion for the guitar years later.

Booklist Reviews
Guitar was the young Kurtz's passion. From lessons as a child, through summers at a guitar camp where he learned aspects of performance, on to the New England Conservatory of Music in preparation for a solo career, and actually pursuing that career in Vienna, he describes the journey that led to the recognition that he wasn't cut out to be a performer. Practice is putting love into the music, he sees, and performance is sending that love to the listener. Including discussion of the history of the guitar and of the composers of music for it, he traces an odyssey that turns full circle 10 years later when he resumes playing for his own enjoyment. He bares his soul, relating his feelings during practice, audition, and performance, as well as his experiences with teachers, mentors, and other artists. Although Kurtz writes in stream-of-consciousness style, virtually everyone who is dedicated to getting the most out of music by playing it will appreciate his insights into the art of practice for the love of music.

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Bacardi and the long fight for Cuba - Tom Gjelten

Bacardi and the long fight for Cuba - Gjelten, Tom

Summary: "The Bacardis of Cuba, builders of a rum distillery and a worldwide brand, came of age with their nation and helped define what it meant to be Cuban. Across five generations, the Bacardi family has held fast to its Cuban identity, even in exile from the country for whose freedom they once fought. The Bacardi clan--patriots and bon vivants, entrepreneurs and intellectuals--provided an example of business and civic leadership in its homeland for nearly a century. From the fight for Cuban independence from Spain in the 1860s to the rise of Fidel Castro and beyond, there is no chapter in Cuban history in which the Bacardis have not played a role. Here journalist Tom Gjelten tells the 150-year epic tale of this family, its business, and its nation, describing the intersection of business and power, family and politics, community and exile."--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
Reflecting Cuban history in that of the Bacardi rum company, NPR reporter Gjelten covers the business and political activities of the firm's leaders. Starting with its 1862 founding by Facundo Bacardi, Gjelten describes how this family-owned enterprise operated through Cuba's volatile sequence of wars with Spain, U.S. occupation, unstable governments, and, finally, expropriation by the Castro regime. Run by a succession of savvy autocrats, the Bacardi company met with initial success with its formula for rum and, over time, capitalized on a successful identification of its product including its black-bat trademark with Cuban patriotism. Recounting the involvement of Bacardi descendants and their in-laws with Cuban politics, Gjelten paints a picture of their fondness for their country but wariness of its governments. In retrospect, expanding Bacardi operations to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. proved to be the company's salvation. The book concludes with the Communist confiscation of Bacardi's Cuban assets and the claim on them that the company has not relinquished. Anyone interested in post-Castro Cuba will be better informed by Gjelten's rich history of the Bacardi family. Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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