Aug 1, 2014

Hildafolk Series - Luke Pearson

Hildafolk Series - Pearson, Luke

Summary: Hilda is sat in her tent, dwarfed by volumes of the Greater Fjords Wildlife Chronicles with a flashlight and her restless companion Twig, but Hilda's not in the fjords and it isn't raining. Hilda's pitched a tent in her room and it's been days since she's been out.

In Hilda's new adventure, she meets the Nisse: a mischievous but charismatic bunch of misfits who occupy a world beside?but also somehow within?our own, and where the rules of physics don't quite match up. Meanwhile, on the streets of Trolberg, a dark specter looms . . .

Prize-winning author whose previous graphic novel was in Publishers Weekly's Top 25 Children's Picture Books of 2012
Hilda and the Black Hound is the fourth installment in the award-winning Hildafolk series
Other titles in the series are consistently popular in both children's and comic book categories

Luke Pearson is one of the leading talents of the international comics scene. He was the winner of the Young People's Comic category at the British Comic Award (2012) and was shortlisted in the Eisner Award's Best Publication for Kids and Best Writer/Artist categories (2013).

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Pearson's British-import series starring a plucky, blue-haired heroine continues from the equally charming Hildafolk (2010) and Hilda and the Midnight Giant (2012). Hilda and her mom have moved from the countryside, where the little girl loved to explore all day long, to a small European city filled with winding streets, ancient statuary, and strange creatures inspired by Scandinavian legend. Despite her mother's worries, Hilda loses track of her dubious companions and befriends a wounded bird, who proves a much grander figure than he initially appears. Hilda has a huge heart, a huge sense of curiosity, and an admirable sense of courage. Her encounters with a Salt Lion and an obscurely glimpsed Rat King lack overly frightening menace and are done with artful panache, making this a fantastic choice both for kids and for adults looking for a bit less punching and a bit more quiet wonder in their comic books. Environment being so crucial to the tale, Pearson's expressive architecture and city design are nothing short of remarkable, giving a personality to neighborhoods and even individuals doorways. His large-headed, stick-legged cartooning employs both humor and empathy and gracefully reflects the book's tone, a perfect pitch between childlike adventure, subtle mystery, and gentle lyricism. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Codex 632 - Jose Santos

Codex 632 - Santos, Jose

Summary: Thomas Noronha, a history professor and cryptologist, follows a trail of historical enigmas and hidden documents to uncover the true identity of Christopher Columbus.

Kirkus Reviews
A scholar doggedly pursues the true story behind one of the world's most famous explorers.A television journalist based in Portugal, dos Santos pours his storytelling experience into an intriguing if Byzantine exploration of codes, cultures and Christopher Columbus. Less a Brownian thriller than a speculative one, this debut novel focuses on its flawed protagonist and his dizzying search for the truth. Our sensible leading man, Thomas Noronha, is a professor of history and, naturally, an expert code-breaker, fluent in a handful of modern and ancient languages and possessing an innate ability to unlock complex ciphers. A basically decent guy, he struggles to balance his academic responsibilities with the considerable resources required by a distant wife and a daughter with Down syndrome. It proves a tempting distraction when the evasive Americas History Foundation offers a healthy sum to continue the work of a dead academic investigating the Age of Discovery's most famous personage. The good professor is quickly off to Rio de Janeiro, where he finds an odd note from his predecessor, scribbled in a dead language, that warns of the perils of identity. Noronha makes for a beguiling hero, burdened by his family's needs and tempted into an unwise affair with Lena, a student whose interests prove less than virtuous. Dos Santos layers in all the usual suspects, including the Knights Templar, Jewish mysticism and the Holy Grail, in speculating on the true identity, nationality and motives of Columbus. Readers more intrigued by academic detection than global conspiracies should eat this one up.A fresh-thinking historical thriller buoyed by its hero, a man with a spinning moral compass trying to find his truth North. Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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The Incrementalists - Steven Brust

The Incrementalists - Brust, Steven

Summary: "The Incrementalists--a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories. Phil, whose personality has stayed stable throughmore incarnations than anyone else's, has loved Celeste--and argued with her--for most of the last four hundred years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules--not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A secret society has existed for millennia, operating under the surface of society. The Incrementalists are improving the world by making slight adjustments that make human existence a bit better than it might have been. During the Civil War, they influenced one of General Grant's right-hand men so that he would keep Grant from succumbing to his affection for alcohol. They had a hand in the invention of the MP3 format, and they practically invented Robin Hood. But now they have a major problem on their hands. One of their own, who recently died, might have been murdered, and the woman who was given her memories paradoxically doesn't seem to be able to remember her. Even worse, it looks like the dead woman has somehow manipulated the Incrementalists (or, to be more precise, Phil, who has loved her for centuries) into putting her memories into a very specific young woman for a very specific and quite troubling, possibly catastrophic, reason. It's difficult to categorize this imaginative new novel from established sf/fantasy novelist Brust and newcomer White. It's not quite a comedy, but bits of it are quite funny. It's a fantasy, to be sure, but it's grounded in today's world and references real historical events. It's cleverly constructed, populated with characters readers will enjoy hanging out with, and packed with twists and nifty surprises. If you have to call it something, call it genius at work. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Noggin - John Corey Whaley

Noggin - Whaley, John Corey

Summary: After dying at age sixteen, Travis Coates' head was removed and frozen for five years before being attached to another body, and now the old Travis and the new must find a way to coexist while figuring out changes in his relationships.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Travis Coates has lost his head—literally. As he dies from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his head is surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. Five years pass, and, thanks to advances in medical science, it becomes possible to reanimate his head and attach it to a donor body. Travis Coates is alive again, but while his family and friends are all 5 years older, Travis hasn't aged—he is still 16 and a sophomore in high school. Awkward? Difficult? Puzzling? You bet. In the past, the two people he could have talked to about this were his best friend, Kyle, and his girlfriend, Cate. But now they're part of the problem. Kyle, who came out to Travis on his deathbed, has gone back into the closet, and Cate is engaged to be married. Stubbornly, Travis vows to reverse these developments by coaxing Kyle out of the closet and persuading Cate to fall in love with him again. How this plays out is the substance of this wonderfully original, character-driven second novel. Whaley has written a tour de force of imagination and empathy, creating a boy for whom past, present, and future come together in an implied invitation to readers to wonder about the very nature of being. A sui generis novel of ideas, Noggin demands much of its readers, but it offers them equally rich rewards. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Whaley's sleeper debut, Where Things Come Back (2011), won both the Michael L. Printz Award and the William C. Morris Award, so readers will be eagerly awaiting this second effort. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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All souls trilogy - Deborah Harkness

All souls trilogy - Harkness, Deborah

Summary: Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Diana Bishop is the last of the Bishops, a powerful family of witches, but she has refused her magic ever since her parents died and, instead, has turned to academia. When a new project takes her to Oxford, she is looking forward to several months in the Bodleian, investigating alchemical manuscripts. Her peace is soon interrupted when one of the books she finds in the library turns out to have been lost for 150 years and is wanted desperately by the witch, daemon, and vampire communities—so desperately that many are willing to kill for it. But the very first creature to approach her after her discovery is Matthew, a very old vampire and fellow scholar, who seems only to want to protect her. Harkness creates a compelling and sweeping tale that moves from Oxford to Paris to upstate New York and into both Diana's and Matthew's complex families and histories. All her characters are fully fleshed and unique, which, when combined with the complex and engaging plot, results in one of the better fantasy debuts in recent months. The contemporary setting should help draw a large crossover audience. Try suggesting the novel to readers of literary mysteries like Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, as well as to those who enjoy epic and fantastic romances including Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel novels. Essential reading across all these genres. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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The granny alphabet - Tim Walker

The granny alphabet - Walker, Tim

Summary: "Artist-photographer Tim Walker has won a cult following for his flamboyant, lavishly staged, and surrealist fashion photography. Now he brings his unique brand of very British fantasia to a subject close to all our hearts: grandmothers. The first volume of this very special twinset offers a collection of characterful photographs of grannies and the things nearest to each of them, arranged alphabetically and accompanied by short, gently humorous verses by Kit Hesketh-Harvey. The second volume is delightfully populated with Lawrence Mynott's drawings of lively old ladies. Spirited, stylish, sweet - here are granny archetypes of every stripe."--from W.W. Norton.

Library Journal Reviews
A delightful "twin set" of two complementary alphabet books, this title consists of one volume of photographs of actual grannies, or "little old ladies who live down the lane," as Walker phrases it, and a second volume of illustrations. Short verses (by Hesketh-Harvey) accompany each photograph, and together they offer an implicit exhortation to appreciate independence and mobility while one has them. Each photograph clearly broadcasts the dignity of its subject, a counterpoint to the frequent indignities of growing old in modern society. Mynott's illustrated volume is a more traditional alphabet book but one not written with children in mind. The illustrations and text won't necessarily resonate with very young readers (but surely will trigger chuckles with adult ones), though the young crowd might giggle at the antics of the cats and tiny dogs in the illustrations. Mynott signs off with an illustration of "the revenge of Granny Smith," which tidily sums up both the sass, sweetness, and humor of this offering. VERDICT A playful look at female aging and frailty, if these topics can be said to be lighthearted.—Rachael Dreyer, American Heritage Ctr., Laramie, WY

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The silver star - Jeannette Walls

The silver star - Jeannette Walls

Summary: Two motherless sisters--Bean and Liz--are shuttled to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that's been in their family for generations. When school starts in the fall, Bean easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz becomes increasingly withdrawn. Then something happens to Liz and Bean is left to challenge the injustice of the adult world.

Kirkus Reviews
Memoirist Walls, who has written about her own nomadic upbringing (The Glass Castle, 2006) and her remarkable grandmother (the novelized biography Half Broke Horses, 2009), turns to out-and-out fiction in this story about two young sisters who leave behind their life on the road for the small Virginia town their mother escaped years before. By 1970, 12-year-old Bean and 15-year-old Liz are used to moving from town to town with their would-be actress/singer mother, Charlotte. When Charlotte takes off to find herself in San Diego, the Holladay sisters know how to fend for themselves, living on potpies and getting themselves to school for several weeks. But then the authorities start sniffing around. Scared they'll be carted off to foster care, Liz decides they should head cross-country to Byler, Va., the hometown Charlotte left for good when Bean was still a baby. Clearly, Walls borrows from her own experience in describing the girls' peripatetic life, but she doesn't waste undue time on the road trip before getting the girls to Byler, where the real drama begins. The Holladays used to own the town's cotton mill, but all that's left is the decaying mansion where Charlotte's widowed brother still lives. Less cutesy eccentric than he first seems, Tinsley gives the girls the security they have missed. Tinsley also reflects Byler itself, a conservative Southern town struggling to adjust to shifting realities of racial integration and the Vietnam War. Bean joins the newly integrated school's pep squad and thrives by assimilating; creative, sensitive Liz chafes under pressure to conform. Then, Charlotte shows up wanting to take the girls to New York City. Walls throws in an unnecessary melodrama concerning an evil bully of a man who threatens Liz with violence and worse, but the novel's strength lies in capturing the complexity of Bean's and Liz's shifting loyalties. Walls turns what could have been another sentimental girl-on-the-run-finds-home cliché into a fresh consideration of both adolescence and the South on the cusp of major social change. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Collapse - Jared Diamond

Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed - Diamond, Jared

Summary: A study of the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations discusses the Anasazi, the Maya, and the Viking colony on Greenland, tracing patterns of environmental damage, poor political choices, and other factors in their demise.

Booklist Reviews
Defining collapse as "extreme decline," the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), which posed questions about Western civilization's domination of much of the world, now examines the reverse side of that coin. Diamond ponders reasons why certain civilizations have collapsed. With an eye on the implications for the present and future, he bases his analysis on his newly phrased version of an old maxim about what history teaches: "The past offers us a rich database from which we can learn." Drawing examples from this database, from Polynesian culture on Easter Island to the Viking outposts in Greenland to the Mayan civilization in Central America, the author finds "the fundamental pattern of catastrophe" that is apparent in these populations that once flourished and then collapsed. The template he holds up is a construct based on five factors, including environmental damage, climate change, and hostile neighbors. In addition, Diamond casts his critical but acute and inclusive gaze on the issue of why civilizations fail to see collapse coming. A thought-provoking book containing not a single page of dense prose. Expect demand from civic- and history-minded readers. ((Reviewed November 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Ball of fire (DVD)

Ball of fire (DVD)

Video Librarian Reviews
Billy Wilder wrote this delicious takeoff on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which features Barbara Stanwyck as a somewhat tainted Snow White (she's a nightclub singer-stripper and a gangster's moll) who aids eight professors working on a massive encyclopedia. Having been submerged in the project for nine years, the bookish profs are a bit out of touch with current slang, so English professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper) enlists the aid of Sugarpuss O'Shea (Stanwyck) in updating the relevant article with new changes in the language…and then, of course, he falls in love with her. Director Howard Hawks coaxes good performances out of the loveable professors, and Oscar-nominated Stanwyck is great as the streetwise New York girl who knows how to handle the boys (be they geniuses or gunmen). Presented with a fine transfer on an extra-less disc, this is recommended. (R. Pitman) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2007.

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The map that changed the world - Winchester

The map that changed the world - Winchester, Simon

Summary: A glimpse into the life of William Smith, a nineteenth-century engineer who became the founding father of modern geology, explores his creation of a lavish map detailing his discovery that rocks consist of many different layers. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
In the much admired and widely read Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (1998), Winchester told the true and fascinating story of a man who played a key role in the creation of the OED. Now he brings his writerly talents to bear on the tale of another relatively unknown individual who also made a considerable contribution to intellectual history. In the early years of the nineteenth century, William Smith created the first geological map of Great Britain, a time-consuming, solitary project that helped establish geology as one of the "fundamental fields of study." Smith was born of humble origins, the son of a village blacksmith in Oxfordshire, England. While working as a surveyor, Smith was struck by an epiphany as he pondered the striations of rock in a coal mine. The order and regularity of those striations led him to formulate some of geology's key principles. Winchester tells Smith's story, including the dramatic ups and downs of his personal life, in vivid detail. Like the work of Dava Sobel (Longitude, 1995) and Mark Kurlansky (Cod, 1997), this is just the kind of creative nonfiction that elevates a seemingly arcane topic into popular fare. A natural for public libraries. ((Reviewed May 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

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The sugar king of Havana - John Paul Rathbone

The sugar king of Havana - Rathbone, John Paul

Summary: In this dual history of a man and a nation, Financial Times journalist John Paul Rathbone uses the stranger-than-fiction story of Julio Lobo, a Cuban sugar magnate who controlled the world sugar market throughout much of the first half of the 20th century, to reveal the luxuries enjoyed by the elite class in pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Booklist Reviews
Like Tom Gjelten in Bacardi and the Fight for Cuba (2008), journalist Rathbone evokes pre-Castro Cuba through one of the country's most successful enterprises, in this case, a sugar empire built by Julio Lobo (1898–1983). Beginning as a trader in his father's firm, Lobo became, by the 1930s, a force in the global sugar market. Rathbone recounts Lobo's speculative coups en route to direct ownership of cane fields and mills. A visitor to Lobo's office, homes, and mills in Cuba, Rathbone contrasts the dilapidation of contemporary Cuba with the look of the prerevolutionary country that he recovers from both Lobo's biography and that of his own Cuban-born mother, whose social life tangentially intersected with Lobo's world. The present/past technique effectively dilutes the polarizing imperatives of pro- and anti-Castro presumptions and restores a realistic sense of what 1950s Cuba was like, including the guarded optimism with which many upper-crust Cubans such as Lobo initially viewed Castro's seizing of power. Rathbone's care with social atmosphere lifts his portrayal of Lobo above the usual life-of-a-tycoon and enriches the historical understanding of readers contemplating post-Castro Cuba. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Absolutely almost - Lisa Graff

Absolutely almost - Graff, Lisa

Summary: Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.


Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Albie almost understands why he is starting fifth grade at a new school. It's got something to do with the things he can't quite do, like subtract numbers inside his head or figure out the words in books. Fortunately, Albie also gets a kindhearted new sitter named Calista, who can turn Albie's sadness into happiness simply through the magic of donuts. But even Calista can't stop the mean kid at school from calling Albie names, or make Albie's parents see how hard he tries in school. As every kid knows, some problems take more than donuts to solve. Graff (A Tangle of Knots, 2013) creates a heartfelt portrait of a child searching for nothing more than a safe place to thrive. The story is parsed into short chapters that can stand alone as mini-stories, perfect for young readers who aren't ready to tackle full pages of text. This format is also well suited to presenting the incremental steps of Albie's evolution from bewildered victim to hero of his own story. Beautifully written, Albie's story is accessible and dignified, with a gentle message that will touch any reader's heart. Middle-grade readers will love the references to Dav Pilkey's inexhaustibly popular Captain Underpants series, which has introduced so many children to the fun side of reading. A perfect book to share with struggling readers. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Euphoria - Lily King

Euphoria - Lily King

Summary: "English anthropologist Andrew Banson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband, Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control" -- from publisher's web site.

Kirkus Reviews
King (Father of the Rain, 2010, etc.) changes the names (and the outcome) in this atmospheric romantic fiction set in New Guinea and clearly based on anthropologist Margaret Mead's relationship with her second and third husbands, R.F. Fortune and Gregory Bateson—neither a slouch in his own right. In the early 1930s, Nell and Fen are married anthropologists in New Guinea. American Nell has already published a controversial best-seller about Samoan child-rearing while Australian Fen has published only a monograph on Dobu island sorcery. Their marriage is in trouble: She holds Fen responsible for her recent miscarriage; he resents her fame and financial success. Shortly after leaving the Mumbanyo tribe they have been studying (and which Nell has grown to abhor), they run into British anthropologist Bankson, who is researching another tribal village, the Nengai, along the Sepik River. Deeply depressed—he has recently attempted suicide—Bankson is haunted by the deaths of his older brothers and his scientist father's disappointment in him for practicing what is considered a soft science. Also deeply lonely, Bankson offers to find Nell and Fen an interesting tribe to study to keep them nearby. Soon the couple is happily ensconced with the Tam, whose women surprise Nell with their assertiveness. While the attraction, both physical and intellectual, between Bankson and Nell is obvious, Fen also offers Bankson tender care, which threatens to go beyond friendship, when Bankson falls ill. At first, the three-way connection is uniting and stimulating. But as Nell's and Bankson's feelings for each other develop, sexual tensions grow. So do the differences between Fen's and Nell's views on the anthropologist's role. While Bankson increasingly shares Nell's empathetic approach, Fen plots to retrieve an artifact from the Mumbanyo to cement his career. King does not shy from showing the uncomfortable relationship among all three anthropologists and those they study. Particularly upsetting is the portrait of a Tam who returns "civilized" after working in a copper mine. A small gem, disturbing and haunting. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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All the light we cannot see - Anthony Doerr

All the light we cannot see - Anthony Doerr

Summary: "From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr's magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. It rests, historically, during the occupation of France during WWII, but brief chapters told in alternating voices give the overall—and long—­narrative a swift movement through time and events. We have two main characters, each one on opposite sides in the conflagration that is destroying Europe. Marie-Louise is a sightless girl who lived with her father in Paris before the occupation; he was a master locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. When German forces necessitate abandonment of the city, Marie-Louise's father, taking with him the museum's greatest treasure, removes himself and his daughter and eventually arrives at his uncle's house in the coastal city of Saint-Malo. Young German soldier Werner is sent to Saint-Malo to track Resistance activity there, and eventually, and inevitably, Marie-Louise's and Werner's paths cross. It is through their individual and intertwined tales that Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably re-creates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.High-Demand Backstory: A multipronged marketing campaign will make the author's many fans aware of his newest book, and extensive review coverage is bound to enlist many new fans. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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My struggle - Karl Ove Knausgaard

My struggle. Book three, Boyhood - Knausgaard, Karl Ove

Summary: "A family of four--mother, father and two boys--move to the South Coast of Norway to a new house on a newly developed site. It is the early 1970s and the family's trajectory, upwardly mobile: the future seems limitless. In painstaking, sometimes self-lacerating detail, Knausgaard paints a world familiar to anyone who can recall the intensity and novelty of childhood experience, one in which children and adults lead parallel lives that never meet. Perhaps the most Proustian in the series, Book Three gives us Knausgaard's vivid, technicolor recollections of childhood, his emerging self-understanding, and the multilayered nature of time's passing, memory, and existence."--Amazon.com

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Between 2009 and 2011, Norwegian novelist Knausgaard published a six-volume series entitled Min Kamp ("My Struggle"), a chronicle of the narrator's life, from boyhood to fatherhood. Called a "confessional novel," the series garnered critical acclaim, numerous awards, record sales, and a great deal of controversy due to its intensely autobiographical nature (friends and family publicly denounced the books). Clocking in at nearly 500 pages apiece, the first two installments focus on Karl Ove's strained relationship with his dying father, an overbearing schoolteacher, and Karl's fledgling romance with Linda, who would become his second wife. In Book Three, Karl Ove recounts his boyhood years on Tromøy, an island in southern Norway, during the 1970s and 1980s. Young Ove's adventures are extraordinarily humdrum. He and his brother, Yngve, play sports, chase girls, and discover rock music, but the ever-present tension between the boys and their taskmaster father begins to illuminate the dysfunctional family depicted in Book One. Notable for his meticulous attention to the quotidian details of everyday life, Knausgaard's pared-down style and plainspoken narrator manage to propel these long books, concerned less with sustaining plot than with the accumulation of tiny intensities and candid disclosures, which makes for strangely engaging, compulsively page-turning prose. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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How about never --is never good for your? - Robert Mankoff

How about never --is never good for your?: my life in cartoons - Mankoff, Robert

Summary: "Memoir in cartoons by the longtime cartoon editor of The New YorkerPeople tell Bob Mankoff that as the cartoon editor of The New Yorker he has the best job in the world. Never one to beat around the bush, he explains to us, in the opening of this singular, delightfully eccentric book, that because he is also a cartoonist at the magazine he actually has two of the best jobs in the world. With the help of myriad images and his funniest, most beloved cartoons, he traces his love of the craft all the way back to his childhood, when he started doing funny drawings at the age of eight. After meeting his mother, we follow his unlikely stints as a high-school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student. Though Mankoff abandoned the study of psychology in the seventies to become a cartoonist, he recently realized that the field he abandoned could help him better understand the field he was in, and here he takes up the psychology of cartooning, analyzing why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't. He allows us into the hallowed halls of The New Yorker to show us the soup-to-nuts process of cartoon creation, giving us a detailed look not only at his own work, but that of the other talented cartoonists who keep us laughing week after week. For desert, he reveals the secrets to winning the magazine's caption contest. Throughout, we see his commitment to the motto "Anything worth saying is worth saying funny." "-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
Mankoff was close to earning a PhD in psychology when he finally admitted that cartooning was his true calling. He developed his distinctive "dot" style as a vehicle for his heady sense of humor, had his first cartoon published in the New Yorker in 1977, and has been serving as the magazine's cartoon editor since 1997. In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother's complicated influence ("Humor thrives on conflict"), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine's cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker's devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 "after 107 tries." A cartoon lover's feast. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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One summer: America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

One summer: America, 1927 - Bill Bryson

Summary: Recounts the story of a pivotal cultural year in the United States when mainstream pursuits and historical events were marked by contributions by such figures as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and Al Capone.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* On May 21, 1927, when Charles Lindbergh set off to be the first man to cross the Atlantic alone in an airplane, he profoundly changed the culture and commerce of America and its image abroad. Add to that Babe Ruth's efforts to break the home-run record he set, Henry Ford's retooling of the Model T into the Model A, the execution of accused anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, and Al Jolson appearing in the first talkie, and 1927 became the pivot point when the U.S. began to dominate the world in virtually everything—military, culture, commerce, and technology. Bryson's inimitable wit and exuberance are on full display in this wide-ranging look at the major events in an exciting summer in America. Bryson makes fascinating interconnections: a quirky Chicago judge and Prohibition defender leaves the bench to become baseball commissioner following the White Sox scandal, likely leaving Chicago open for gangster Al Capone; the thrill-hungry tabloids and a growing cult of celebrity watchers dog Lindbergh's every move and chronicle Ruth's every peccadillo. Among the other events in a frenzied summer: record flooding of the Mississippi River and the ominous beginnings of the Great Depression. Bryson offers delicious detail and breathtaking suspense about events whose outcomes are already known. A glorious look at one summer in America. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Bryson is the author of such best-selling books as A Walk in the Woods (1998) and A Short History of Nearly Everything (2008) and is sure to make a repeat appearance on the best-seller lists with his newest work. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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The Martian - Andy Weir

The Martian - Weir, Andy

Summary: "Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old 'human error' are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"-- from publisher's web site.

Booklist Reviews
Remember Man Plus, Frederik Pohl's award-winning 1976 novel about a cyborg astronaut who's sent, alone, to Mars? Imagine, instead, that the astronaut was just a regular guy, part of a team sent to the red planet, and that, through a series of tragic events, he's left behind, stranded and facing certain death. That's the premise of this gripping and (given its subject matter) startlingly plausible novel. The story is told mostly through the log entries of astronaut Mark Watney, chronicling his efforts to survive: making the prefab habitat livable and finding a way to grow food, make water, and get himself off the planet. Interspersed among the log entries are sections told from the point of view of the NASA specialists, back on Earth, who discover that Watney is not dead (as everyone assumed) and scramble together a rescue plan. There are some inevitable similarities between the book and the 1964 movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars, but where the movie was a broad sci-fi adventure, the novel is a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Riveting. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Jul 1, 2014

The Bedtime Frog - Axel Scheffler

The bedtime frogThe Bedtime Frog - Scheffler, Alex

Summary: When Posy stays over at Pip's house for the night, she is upset when she realizes that she has left her froggy at home.


Staff Review - "All of the Pip and Posy stories are perfect for toddlers!"

School Library Journal Reviews
PreS—Posy, a mouse, visits her friend Pip, a rabbit, for a sleepover in the seventh adventure of the picture-book series. The two spend the day playing, as good friends do, but when it comes time to sleep, Posy has a problem: she has forgotten her bedtime froggy at home. Pip tries to give Posy various animals to replace her beloved toy. After much trial and error, he gives up his own toy pig to make Posy stop crying. The next day when she returns home, she is happily reunited with her frog. As in the previous "Pip and Posy" tales, these two continue to delight and teach readers about friendship. In this installment, the dilemma is realistic but resolved a bit too easily, and the ending is somewhat flat. The intensely colorful gouache illustrations are this book's strength. Children will enjoy "picture walking" through the images that clearly depict feelings and events. Kids who are familiar with the characters will enjoy this new adventure.—Sandra Welzenbach, Villarreal Elementary School, San Antonio, TX

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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North

The first fifteen lives of Harry AugustThe First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - North, Claire

Summary: Forced to relive his life over and over again, Harry August receives a message on his eleventh death bed from a little girl who tells him that the world is about to end, and it is up to him to stop it.




Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Harry August isn't human. Well, that's not quite accurate. He is human but a different sort of human from the rest of us: he was born (in the ladies' washroom of a train station in England in 1919), he lives a certain number of years, and he dies—and then he's born again, right back where he started, and a handful of years later his memories of his first life return. Harry is, like a few others, a kalachakra, an immortal who is constantly reborn, each time with all the memories of his previous lives. This wonderful novel, narrated by Harry, ranges back and forth in time as he recounts episodes from his various lives, but it's all held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself (a thousand years in the future). Beautifully written and structured, the book should be a big hit with SF fans. The pseudonymous author's name is being kept secret, but fans of SF and fantasy authors China Mieville, Christopher Priest, and Adam Roberts might note a stylistic similarity, especially in the novel's elegant prose. Whoever Claire North turns out to be, he or she has written a remarkable book.

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The Public Library - Robert Dawson

The public library : a photographic essayThe Public Library: A Photographic Essay - Dawson, Robert

Summary: There are more than 17,000 public libraries in America. Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has traveled the nation, documenting hundreds of these institutions--from Alaska to Florida, New England to the West Coast. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson's photographs, revealing a vibrant, essential, yet seriously threatened system.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
This beautifully crafted book celebrates public libraries across the U.S. in both color and black and white images captured by photographer Dawson over an 18-year period. Artfully arranged in such chapters as "Civic Memory and Identity" and "Literature and Learning," the book includes a foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett. Writers, including Anne Lamott, Barbara Kingsolver, and Amy Tan, share childhood experiences at their local libraries and the significance this sanctuary had on their literary development. Throughout, Dawson contrasts libraries of different sizes and locales: from those in poor, rural towns to those in bustling cities; from what used to be libraries but are now abandoned structures to architectural marvels. These buildings speak to the breadth, scope, and makeup of America, and how libraries provide culture, computers, and sometimes shelter. In addition, Dawson touches on the fragile nature of these institutions, which he feels are vital to our well-being as a nation. He challenges the notion of what a library looks like—some are scarcely bigger than a one-room house or share space with the local post office. Dawson goes beyond the physical structures and touches on how viscerally and nostalgically Americans feel about public libraries, and suggests that, as a culture, we depend on them more than we know.

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Stubby the War Dog - Ann Bausum

Stubby the war dog : the true story of world war I 's bravest dogStubby the War Dog - Bausum, Ann

Summary: American soldier J. Robert Conroy befriended a stray dog with a stumpy tail while training to fight overseas in WWI. They bonded so closely that Conroy smuggled him to Europe, where Stubby accompanied Conroy's regiment on the Western Front, lending both his superior olfactory senses and amiable temperament to the war effort.


Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The popularity of tales about dogs in war stems from the inherent poignancy—sweet, loyal, sad-eyed canines entered into the mad chaos of man-made destruction. But enter they occasionally do, and none more famously than Stubby. The homeless Boston terrier mix began frequenting a National Guard training ground in 1917, and along with copious food scraps, he found fellowship. With the help of his adopted master, 25-year-old Bob Conroy, Stubby learned to march and salute superiors. Conroy smuggled the clever mutt aboard a ship to France, and from there, Stubby became not only the good-luck charm of the 102nd Infantry but also a valued member, warning troops of gas attacks, barking before artillery shellings, and in his coup de grâce, capturing a German soldier by the seat of his pants. Bausum uses Stubby as a conduit to talk about WWI warfare in general, and indeed the dog does suffer injury, live through horror and fear, and return home a decorated hero (who meets no fewer than two presidents). The speedy story is surrounded by evocative period photos, including plenty of the goofy-faced Stubby, and leads up to his later careers as a vaudeville star and a football mascot, and his eventual taxidermied inclusion in the Smithsonian. A triumph on three fronts: educational, emotional, and inspirational. For older teens, suggest Bausman's adult title, Sergeant Stubby.

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I Will Have Vengeance - Maurizio De Giovanni

I will have vengeance : the winter of Commissario RicciardiI Will Have Vengeance: The Winter of Commissario Ricciardi - De Giovanni, Maurizio

Summary: In 1930s fascist Naples, the enigmatic Commissario Ricciardi investigates the brutal murder of an infamous tenor, a case that is marked by the assistance of a loyal colleague and Ricciardi's own secrets.




LJ Express Reviews
Commissario Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi sees dead people. Not only in his job as a homicide detective on the Naples police force but in visions of their final moments. "Not all of them, and not for long: only those who died violently and only for a period of time that revealed extreme emotion, the sudden energy of their final thoughts." This unusual gift is both a blessing and curse, enabling the green-eyed 31-year-old Ricciardi to solve crimes successfully but also condemning him to a life of isolation and loneliness, except for the young woman he loves from afar but cannot bring himself to meet. His latest case involves the brutal slaying of tenor Arnaldo Vezzi in his dressing room at the San Carlo Theater. Because the famous opera singer had ties to Mussolini (this is 1931 fascist Italy), Ricciardi's sycophantic boss pressures him to solve the case quickly. But the meticulous commissario will not be rushed, especially when the tenor's ghost sings a final aria to him, a clue he must interpret. Verdict A well-deserved 2012 finalist for the Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award and elegantly translated by Appel, this melancholy debut entry in a quartet introduces a most unforgettable sleuth who might remind some readers of Charles Todd's ghost-haunted Insp. Ian Rutledge. De Giovanni's backstage depictions will appeal to Donna Leon fans, and the historical backdrop of Mussolini's Italy offers a fresh take on a tumultuous period that will attract readers who enjoy Philip Kerr's atmospheric Bernie Gunther novels. —Wilda Williams, Library Journal

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The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Ovid

The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Ovid

Summary: First published in 8 A.D. when he was 52, Ovid's epic poem contains profoundly entertaining tales of Adonis, Midas, Apollo, Icarus, and many others. -Amazon




Library Journal Reviews
Slavitt's new translation of Ovid's masterpiece is a joy to read, taking a place beside the recent translation of Allen Mandelbaum (LJ 11/1/93) as well as those of May M. Innes (Penguin, 1955) and Rolfe Humphries (Indiana Univ. Pr., 1955). While Mandelbaum and Slavitt are good poets who work to preserve the poetry in their translations, the former is more accurate and the latter smoother and more fluent. Slavitt renders Ovid's witty verse narrative into modern idiomatic English, making it contemporary without relying on informality or losing the elegance of the original. If his diction and reworking of passages are not always faithful to the original, they are true to the original's tone and spirit. As such, while Mandelbaum is perhaps better for the serious student of classical literature (with or without Latin), Slavitt is a better introduction to the pleasures of Ovid for the general reader.

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Danger Goes Berserk - Mac Barnett

Danger goes berserkDanger Goes Berserk - Barnett, Mac

Summary: As soon as twelve-year-old Steve Brixton opens a detective office in his backyard, he and his best friend Dana are caught up in a tangle of cases, from breaking up a ring of piratical smugglers, to recovering a stolen surfboard, to tracking down a fifth-grader's missing gym shorts.



Booklist Reviews
After converting an abandoned doghouse into his office, 12-year-old detective Steve Brixton accepts a new case: finding a stolen surfboard. Steve and his chum Dana rent boards, don wetsuits, and (with no relevant experience) try to infiltrate the local surfer scene. Disaster ensues, but the intrepid sleuth perseveres. Like the three earlier volumes of the Brixton Brothers series, this chapter book takes the adventure and plotting of an old-school (think Hardy Boys) series mystery and overlays it with deadpan, offbeat humor. The occasional full-page drawings help define the characters, settings, and tone of the story. Wildly improbable and reliably entertaining.

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Diary of a Sea Captain's Wife - Margaret Holden Eaton

Diary of a Sea Captain's Wife: Tales of Santa Cruz Island - Eaton, Margaret Holden

Summary & Review: Margaret Eaton and her husband Ira were well known to Santa Barbarans in the early part of this century as operators of the Pelican Bay Camp on Santa Cruz Island. Beginning humbly with small-scale commercial fishing, seal hunting and passenger charters, the Eatons gradually developed a unique resort that came to be popular among writers, film companies and people from all over the country. Working from her diary and her memories, Mrs. Eaton wrote this extraordinary story of her life over a period of many years, until her death in 1947. She is remembered by her daughter, Vera Eaton Amey, as a fearless and compassionate women. Mrs. Amey has done admirably well in sorting through mountains of letters, clippings and photographs to organize her mother's manuscript. She has also painstakingly consulted other sources to confirm, as much as possible, the accuracy of these recollections. With the passage of time- half a century and more- corroboration becomes increasingly difficult, and inconsistencies have inevitably crept in. The reader who would use "Diary of a Sea Captains Wife" as a historical reference is asked to bear this in mind. The true significance of Margaret Eaton's story lies in its appeal as the personal account of a woman living in a man's world, in a time and place remote from today's urban society. Jan Timbrook Associate Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History -Amazon

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Inside the Human Body

Inside the human bodyInside the Human Body

Summary: Survive! Inside the Human Body, Volume 1 begins an epic journey through the human body with a look at the digestive system. This lively, full-color science comic explores Phoebe's insides after she accidentally swallows a microscopic ship. The only problem? Dr. Brain (the ship's eccentric inventor) and Phoebe's friend Geo are on board!


Publishers Weekly Reviews
What better way to understand the human digestive system than to take a trip through it? Eager and curious Geo and scientist Dr. Brain shrink down to microscopic size and inadvertently venture through the digestive tract of Geo's tomboyish friend Phoebe, while Dr. Brain's harried assistant, Kay, desperately tries to alleviate the situation. The madcap plot and near-constant gags (no pun intended) deliver educational content in an entertaining fashion reminiscent of the Magic School Bus series, while the manhwa (Korean comics) form is sure to appeal to many readers. The creators aren't afraid to get technical (occasional "Survival Science" spreads discuss sphincter muscles, parasites, and more) or to indulge in bathroom humor ("Why are you looking for Geo in my poop?" a befuddled Phoebe asks Kay). Like the human body, where, as Dr. Brain emphatically proclaims, "even the smallest cell plays an important role," the book succeeds on the collective efforts of all those involved in its production, including translators and medical experts who reviewed its accuracy. Geo and Dr. Brain explore the circulatory and nervous systems in two subsequent titles, available simultaneously. Ages 7–up.

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The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan

The lover's dictionaryThe Lover's Dictionary - Levithan, David

Summary: A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.




Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Levithan, a popular YA author and an editorial director at Scholastic, has had the inspired idea of writing the story of a love relationship in the form of a dictionary. Each word, from aberrant to zenith, defines the language of love, while adding to the reader's knowledge and understanding of the male lovers' partnership. Interestingly, each definition is told from the point of view and in the first-person voice of only one of the partners. The other partner's voice remains silent throughout except as quoted by the narrator. Nevertheless, both come wonderfully alive, emerging as complex, multidimensional human beings, happy and unhappy, ebullient and angry, sweet and sour, and so—delightfully—forth. Happily, the order of the alphabet does not dictate the order of the story, which moves backward and forward in time. Thus, the dramatic necessity of conflict arises from one partner's infidelity, the impact of which is then explored at various points in the history of the partnership. Nothing is cut-and-dried, however, for as Levithan demonstrates, intimacy is sometimes enigmatic and, as he notes under ineffable, "No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough." So you must clearly pick and choose which to use, an act that Levithan has accomplished artfully and satisfyingly.

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Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor

Dreams of gods & monstersDreams of Gods & Monsters - Taylor, Laini

Summary: When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat -- and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon in this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.



Booklist Reviews
In Taylor's third and final installment in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Karou and Akiva's dream of peace and a life together comes tantalizingly close, only to be repeatedly thwarted by their peoples' separate and conflicting histories, both mystical and real. Joined by angels and chimaera, Karou and Akiva lead their armies and fight side by side to prevent the apocalypse by banishing Jael, captain of the Dominion of Seraphim, from the earth he is determined to destroy. New revelations, characters, multiple love stories, and constant plot twists and suspense will not disappoint Taylor's many fans, who will also appreciate the novel's subtle philosophical undercurrents about racial harmony and the profound difficulty of making choices that reconcile duty, the greater good, and personal happiness.

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The Case of the Deadly Desperados - Caroline Lawrence

The case of the deadly desperadosThe Case of the Deadly Desperados - Lawrence, Caroline

Summary: In 1862 Nevada Territory, after finding his foster parents murdered and scalped, twelve-year-old Pinky Pinkerton, son of a railroad detective and a Sioux Indian, inherits a valuable deed and must hide from dangerous Whittlin Walt and his gang of desperados.



Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The year is 1862, and P. K. Pinkerton, on his twelfth birthday, finds his stepparents brutally scalped. He realizes that vicious outlaw Whittlin' Walt and his two henchmen now have their sights set on him. Seems P. K. has something they want: a mysterious deed, which is a legacy from his railroad-detective birth father. So P. K. takes off running, with the terrible trio in relentless pursuit, from tiny Temperance to the lawless silver-mining town of Virginia City. As things intensify, P. K. must use his wits (and occasional disguises) to survive. A winning blend of Wild West and classic detective lore, this first book in the Western Mysteries series is a fast-paced, engrossing read, from beginning to end. P. K. is a wonderfully drawn, engaging protagonist—half Sioux, half white, and a self-proclaimed misfit—who has difficulty reading others and expressing emotion. But he also has gifts, like exceptional memory, keen observational powers, and resourcefulness. His vernacular, colloquial first-person account vividly brings characters to life, from cunning Belle Donne to slick, unexpectedly kind gambler Jace. Both settings and events—including exciting, occasionally gory, confrontations—are filled with droll touches, period details, and poignant moments. Though literary allusions (including Charles Dickens and Mark Twain) sprinkled throughout may elude some readers, it doesn't matter; they'll cheer P. K. on and anticipate his next adventure. An appended glossary includes referenced real-life people and details.

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The Other End of The Leash - Patricia B. McConnell

The other end of the leash : why we do what we do around dogsThe Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs - McConnell, Patricia B.

Summary: Explores humans' relationships with their canine companions and the mysteries of human-canine communication, provides insights into human and dog interaction, and explains how dog owners can avoid sending conflicting messages to their pets.



Publishers Weekly Reviews
It matters greatly that people who love dogs understand enough about them to provide a good environment, writes McConnell (Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage Your Multi-dog Household) in her thoughtful exposition on improving human-canine communication. An animal behaviorist and adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, McConnell offers sound advice for dog owners: Pay attention to your own behavior. Believe me, your dog is. Drawing on anecdotes from her professional practice (she specializes in canine behavior problems), research into the work of other dog trainers and personal experiences with her beloved Border collies, the author explains how a dog might be misinterpreting signals from its owner. For example, although humans express affection through hugs, a dog may feel threatened by them. McConnell also provides tips on how to play safely with dogs (she recommends games of fetch rather than rough-and-tumble wrestling) and how to get them to do what you want (the best way to get a dog to stop demanding attention is simply to break off visual contact). She has harsh words for trainers who tell owners to establish dominance over dogs by behaving aggressively to them when they are young, and also for owners of puppy mills. These dog factories, she says, create damaged animals and unsuitable pets. This is a helpful guide for pet owners by a specialist who clearly loves her work.

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