Dec 17, 2014

My true love gave to me: twelve holiday stories - Stephanie Perkins

My true love gave to me: twelve holiday stories - Perkins, Stephanie

Summary: "If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you're going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Years, there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Holiday canoodling stories by 12 of the top YA authors? It's a Christmas miracle! Not since 2008's Let It Snow (by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle) has a compendium of wintry love stories given readers such reason to celebrate. Using her trademark sparkling dialogue, Rainbow Rowell rings in an amorous New Year's between old pals. Matt de la Peña presents a house sitter hookup with unlikely results. Jenny Han writes tales of woe and lust between Santa's adopted daughter and her coworker elves. Stephanie Perkins pairs a tree-lot employee with a shopper who pines for much more. David Levithan's Jewish St. Nick loves his boyfriend enough to (reluctantly) spread some X-mas magic. Holly Black's hot Christmas Krampus crashes a swinging holiday soiree. Kiersten White whips up a delicious romance in a struggling Yule-themed diner. And several other big-name writers—Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Laini Taylor—craft cozy, clever tales of good tidings. This is the substantive stuff of dream stockings: a rollicking, blush-inducing, memorable holiday collection of breezy, bite-size stories perfect for a snug evening next to the fire. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Dash & Lily's book of dares - Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan

Dash & Lily's book of dares - Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan

Summary:Told in the alternating voices of Dash and Lily, two sixteen-year-olds carry on a wintry scavenger hunt at Christmas-time in New York, neither knowing quite what--or who--they will find.

BookPage Reviews

Heartfelt hilarity from two talented authors

Dash is perusing the 18 miles of books at New York City's legendary Strand bookstore when a flash of red catches his eye. It's a Moleskine notebook with "DO YOU DARE?" scrawled on the cover, and a series of clues encoded inside. Will he take the bait, even if it means approaching the counter to ask for a novel called Fat Hoochie Prom Queen?

Lucky for us, the answer is "Yes." Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is the third collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and the magic they create together is not just holding but getting stronger. Dash and Lily are each spending the winter holidays without their parents, and they begin sending each other on more ridiculous and risky missions, abetted by friends, family, a custom-designed Muppet and the iconic red notebook. Along the way a department-store Santa is inappropriately groped, a baby is catapulted through the air in Washington Square Park, and information is extorted under the threat of a spontaneous recitation from the works of James Patterson. Did I mention the 2 a.m. Christmas/Hanukkah mosh pit?

Somehow all these antics (and more!) combine to create a surprisingly chaste and tender love story. Lily's sweet optimism might soften the "snarly" side of Dash that everyone sees, and he lures her out of a comfort zone that's concealing a fear of life. So here's my list for the next several Christmases: more intelligent, heartfelt hilarity from these two talented authors.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas (CD)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (CD) - Vince Guaraldi

"The original sound track recording of the CBS television special"

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Lucy & Tom's Christmas - Shirley Hughes

Lucy & Tom's Christmas - Hughes, Shirley

Follows a young brother and sister as they wrap presents, hang paper chains, write letters to Santa, and wake up to many surprises on Christmas morning. - (Baker & Taylor)

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Real Santa - William Hazelgrove

Real Santa - Hazelgrove, William

Summary: George Kronenfeldt is an unemployed engineer with one shot to keep his daughter;s belief in Santa intact. When Megan tells him the only way she will believe in Santa is if she can videotape him and then tells her fourth grade class she will prove the existence of Santa Claus by posting her video to YouTube, George realizes he must become the Real Santa. He devises a plan to land nine reindeer on his roof and go down his chimne, , hiring a broken down movie director who eventually has him funding a full scale production that bankrupts him and threatens his marriage. When George goes to find the "Real Santa" to help him, the line between what is real and magic is crossed. Real Santa is a funny heartwarming story of parenthood gone wrong and illuminates what lengths parents will go to keep their children happy.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* If somebody doesn't make a movie out of this book, there's something wrong with the world. George Kronenfeldt is an engineer who is, again, out of a job (he's a good engineer but not a good employee)—and this time it's right around Christmas. Faced with a bleak financial future, George seizes on a new project to keep him occupied: to convince his nine-year-old daughter that Santa is real. That sounds nice enough, until you realize it means Bob intends to dress up in a Santa suit, rent himself some reindeer and a sleigh, build ramps to get them on his roof, hire a movie director to whomp up some special-effects footage of the reindeer and sleigh landing and taking off, and generally tear his house (not to mention his family) apart. This could have been played as an out-and-out slapstick comedy, but instead the author approaches the story like a character study: a portrait of a man with the best intentions in the world watching those intentions collide with reality. It's a steamroller of a story, starting small, with George's idea, and getting bigger and bigger as George tries to put the elements together, as his obsession takes him further and further away from reality. Beautifully done. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Home Alone

Home Alone

Summary: When eight-year-old Kevin McCallister's family left for vacation, they forgot one minor detail: Kevin! Left to his own devices he sets out to have his own private Christmas but two bumbling burglars force Kevin to come up with a bewildering battery of booby traps to thwart them.

Staff Comments: Great holiday soundtrack



Skipping Christmas - John Grisham

Skipping Christmas - Grisham, John

Summary: Luther and Nora Krank decide to avoid the chaos and frenzy of Christmas by taking a Caribbean cruise during the holidays, but their plans have unexpected consequences. - (Baker & Taylor)


Library Journal Reviews
Accountant Luther Krank is a Scrooge for the new millennium. He calculates that he and his wife, Nora, can take a Caribbean cruise during Christmas for much less money than they spent during the previous year's Christmas season. But Luther doesn't just want to take a vacation during Christmas; he wants to take a vacation from Christmas and skip it altogether. This means that the Kranks will not buy a Christmas tree or calendar, put up any decorations, send any Christmas cards, give any gifts, or attend or host any parties much to the chagrin of their hyperfestive neighbors. However, an unexpected phone call at the last minute leads to a change in plans. Hilarity ensues, but the poignant conclusion is unforgettable. Grisham astutely captures the way many people spend the holiday season, from fighting the crowds to commenting on their neighbors' Christmas trees. A Painted House (LJ 3/1/01) was Grisham's first departure from the legal thriller genre, and this further demonstrates his ability to tell a story with nary a courtroom in sight. Highly recommended for all public libraries. Samantha J. Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - Robert E Barry

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - Barry, Robert E.

Summary: When Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree is so tall that he has to cut the top off, he unwittingly provides trees for various people and animals.

Booklist Reviews
Ages 3-7. First published in 1963 with ink drawings and green washes, Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree now reappears in a slightly larger format with full-color washes. The ink drawings are as jaunty as ever, and even more cheerful with their brilliant tints glowing against the white pages. The unchanged, rhyming text tells the tale of a Christmas tree too tall for Mr. Willowby's parlor. The butler whomps off the top and gives it to the maid, who finds even the treetop too tall for her table. So she chops off the top of her little tree, which is retrieved by the gardener--and so on. In the end, the one tall tree has provided smaller Christmas trees for seven homes, from Mr. Willowby's mansion, where Mr. Willowby dozes contentedly in his parlor, to the cozy mouse hole behind Mr. Willowby's chair, where three little mice dance around their tiny tree. Simple, satisfying, and memorable, this old favorite's colorful reappearance gives readers yet another reason to celebrate the season. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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About a boy - Nick Hornby

About a boy - Nick Hornby

Summary: Will trades his lack of enthusiasm toward children for a date with a truly beautiful woman and single mother in a comic, incisive novel about modern romance by the author of the international best-seller High Fidelity. - (Baker & Taylor)


Kirkus Reviews
The originality and fun spilling over in Hornby's acclaimed debut, High Fidelity (1995), run deep and strong through this second novel, as a playboy pretends he's a single dad so he can date single moms, but finds his fantasies warped by the real needs of an unusual 12-year-old boy. Set for life in London with royalties from a sappy Christmas song his father wrote, Will Lightman does nothing all day except be cool--something he does extremely well. And he chases women, with intermittent success. When chance throws a beautiful mom his way, he makes the most of the opportunity, even though she dumps him because she thinks he's ready for commitment and she isn't. No matter: He joins a single parents' group, inventing a toddler named Ned, and is well on the way to another conquest when frizzy-haired loner Marcus and his depressive hippie mother Fiona intervene. They all meet on the day Fiona tries to kill herself, and while Will's really just a friendly bystander, Marcus, in desperation, seizes on him as the solution to their problems. He follows Will to see where he lives, and, after quickly seeing through the toddler ruse, takes to barging in on his ``friend'' nearly every day after school. While hardly in agreement with this turn of events, Will is still enough of a boy himself to recognize that the lad needs a hand, and finds himself caring enough to buy Marcus cool sneakers, which are promptly stolen by the gang at school who harass Marcus daily. But Will provides the key that gives Marcus a first girlfriend, and then is repaid in kind when he meets another beautiful mom, falls in love, and persuades Marcus to act as his son to keep her from getting away. Far more than just boys will be boys, this has the right mix of hilarity and irrepressible characters to attract a wide audience: an upbeat, unqualified success. (First serial to the New Yorker; Book-of-the-Month Club featured alternate selection; author tour) Copyright 1998 Kirkus Reviews

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Gift of the Magi - O. Henry

Gift of the Magi - Henry, O.

Summary: A brother and sister sell their greatest possessions to buy Christmas gifts for each other.

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Dec 1, 2014

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - Deb Perelman

The smitten kitchen cookbookThe Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - Perelman, Deb

Summary: The award-winning blogger for Smitten Kitchen presents a long-awaited first cookbook of 100 new and favorite recipes, from Mushroom Bourguignon and Pancetta to Buttered Popcorn Cookies and Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake, in a volume that features adapted options for busy home cooks.


Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Wildly popular food blogger and self-proclaimed obsessive self-taught cook and photographer Perelman's exhaustive research in her tiny NYC kitchen yields some—lucky for us!—spectacular results in beautiful full color. The chatty warmth of her voice in the friendly, blog-like entry that accompanies each recipe is matched only by her warming food: hearty veggie main dishes relying on seasonal ingredients (e.g., spaghetti-squash and black-bean tacos), carnivorous delights belying her former vegetarianism (e.g., pistachio masala lamb chops), and, testing one's ability to sit through even the most delicious meals, some impressive desserts (e.g., peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce). Perelman does her part to keep readers from ever resorting to—that dirty word—a mix and even includes an exceedingly approachable brioche in the form of a chocolate-chip pretzel. With an efficient approach to gourmandise and a giddily iconoclastic take on traditional recipes, such as replacing beef with mushrooms in a facile bourguignon and making a classic lemon cake with grapefruit instead, Perelman only includes the fussier versions of ingredients or techniques when she's proven that they will make the end results that much better

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Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale

Book of a thousand daysBook of a Thousand Days - Hale, Shannon

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Dashti, after sacrificing her own freedom to follow her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, into exile, brings Saren safely to the lands of the man they both love where they are forced to hide their true identities as they vie for his attention




Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The author of the Newbery Honor Book Princess Academy (2005) offers another captivating fantasy filled with romance, magic, and strong female characters. The story, based on a little-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, takes place in an imagined ancient Central Asia. Orphaned Dashti is a hardworking, pragmatic girl, who grew up in the open, windswept steppes. She finds work in the city with a young noblewoman, Lady Saren. Then Lady Saren refuses an advantageous marriage, and as punishment, she and Dashti are sentenced to seven years in a sealed tower. A tiny window is the tower's only connection to the outside world, and it's there that Saren's two suitors, the terrifying Khasar and the handsome Tegus, come calling. Written in diary form in Dashti's voice, the gripping tale follows the two young women through their imprisonment and their escape into a grim world of warring societies. Readers will quickly embrace Dashti, an invincible storybook heroine with a healer's touch, who accomplishes battlefield heroics while nurturing a powerful, secret love for a lord. Fans of Gail Carson Levin's Fairest (2006) will embrace this similar mix of exotic, fully realized setting; thrilling, enchanted adventure; and heart-melting romance

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Over the Edge of the World - Laurence Bergreen

Over the edge of the world : Magellan's terrifying circumnavigation of the globeOver the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the World - Bergreen, Laurence

Summary: A chronicle of Ferdinand Magellan's sixteenth-century voyage around the world draws on first-person accounts and describes his crew's experiences with mutiny, navigation, death, and Magellan's ruthless leadership.




Booklist Reviews
Ferdinand Magellan's ship was the first to circumnavigate the globe. While the accomplishment is recognized as a historic milestone, less known are the details of that voyage around the world. Magellan spent years trying to win the favor of the king of Portugal, and failing that he swore loyalty to the Spanish crown. After finally receiving Spain's backing for a trip to the Spice Islands, the king imposed numerous stipulations that would affect Magellan's crew and his authority over them. Once his fleet finally embarked, he had to contend with violent storms, mutinous crew members, and hostile natives. Bergreen tells a well-rounded story of Magellan, not just that of the romanticized hero but also that of the explorer's darker side. He also puts the voyage into its historical context, going into detail about what was known of the world at the time (and what was still uncharted), the rivalry between Portugal and Spain, and the church's attempt to divide up the New World between them. Fascinating reading for history buffs, and a great story that rivals any seagoing adventure.

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The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber - Carter, Angela

Summary: Combining the erotic and the sinister, the lyrical and the grisly, and the comic and the demonic, these twelve stories are startling transformations of such classic children's tales as Bluebeard's Castle and Beauty and the Beast.




Los Angeles Review of Books
What if Little Red Riding Hood seduced the wolf? What if one of Bluebeard’s wives turned the tables on her murderous husband, and lived to tell the tale? What if Beauty’s father lost her to the Beast at cards? The English writer Angela Carter (1940-1992) answered these questions in The Bloody Chamber (1979), a story collection that changed literary fiction for good. Tilting the fairy tale to refract new light from its facets of sex, wonder, and grief has become a welcome strategy for writers in the last decade, from Tin House’s “Fantastic Women” issue to Kate Bernheimer’s anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me to the work of Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, and Kelly Link, and gems like Lorrie Moore’s “The Juniper Tree.” But Angela Carter marked this path for all of us. Rooted in literature, folklore, and history — alive to their enchantments and general bloodiness — she was able to metabolize them into a new kind of fruit, borne on a profuse and fascinating tree.

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I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

I'll give you the sunI'll Give You the Sun - Nelson, Jandy

Summary: A story of first love and family loss follows the estrangement between daredevil Jude and her loner twin brother, Noah, as a result of a mysterious event that is brought to light by a beautiful, broken boy and a new mentor.




Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* When Noah's mom suggests that he and his twin sister, Jude, apply to a prestigious arts high school, he is elated, but Jude starts simmering with jealousy when it becomes clear that their mother favors Noah's work. Noah soaks up the praise, though a little callously, happy to hone his painting skills and focus on the guy across the street, who could be more than a friend. Fast-forward three years, and everything is in pieces. Their mother has died in a car crash, and Noah, who wasn't accepted to art school, has given up painting, while Jude, who was accepted but is no longer the shimmering, confident girl she once was, is struggling in her sculpture class. All her clay forms shatter in the kiln; is her mother's ghost the culprit? Determined to make a piece that her mother can't ruin, Jude seeks out the mentorship of a fiery stone carver (and his alluring model, Oscar). Nelson structures her sophomore novel brilliantly, alternating between Noah's first-person narrative in the years before the accident and Jude's in the years following, slowly revealing the secrets the siblings hide from each other and the ways they each throw their hearts into their artwork. In an electric style evoking the highly visual imaginations of the young narrators, Nelson captures the fraught, antagonistic, yet deeply loving relationship Jude and Noah share

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Patient Zero - Jonathan Maberry

Patient zeroPatient Zero - Maberry, Jonathan

Summary: Recruited by the Department of Military Sciences, detective Joe Ledger finds himself in the battle of his life when he discovers that his mission is to stop a group of terrorist who possess a bio-weapon that can turn people into zombies upon its release.




Kirkus Reviews
A dark, chilling and funny thriller about zombies from Maberry (Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead, 2008, etc.). Joe Ledger, a Baltimore cop on leave after killing a suspected terrorist during a raid on a warehouse, just wanted to spend a day girl-watching at the beach. So when four FBI agents corner him as he's getting into his car and take him on a mandatory ride in their black SUV, he's a little miffed, especially since he's about to leave the department and join their ranks at Quantico. But any negative emotion he feels about being snatched up is soon dwarfed by what goes through his head when Mr. Church, head of the top secret Department of Military Sciences, locks him in a room a short time later and forces him to kill the very same terrorist he shot to death less than a week before. The whole thing is a recruiting test, and after Joe, an Army veteran and martial-arts expert, dispatches the terrorist—again—without hesitation, Church invites him to join the DMS, a government organization created to battle threats that fall outside the purview of other government organizations. Threats from zombie terrorists, for instance. Soon, Joe is leading a tactical team, as he and the rest of the DMS try to stop terrorist El Mujahid, his mad-scientist bride Amirah and Sebastian Gualt, their wealthy Western backer, from unleashing a plague that turns regular people, soldiers and terrorists alike into bloodthirsty, infectious zombies. The book is as fun and funny as it is chilling and thrill-packed. Joe is a fantastic character, full of compassion, real vulnerabilities and a deliciously dark sense of humor. An immensely entertaining package.

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En el clóset - Guadalupe Loaeza

En el clósetEn el clóset - Loaeza, Guadalupe

Summary: Recognizes the lives of gays with influence in society and culture. Includes Leonard Bernstein, André Gide, Oscar Wilde, Gabriela Mistral, Federico García Lorca, Andy Warhol, Rock Hudson, Marlene Dietrich, Sara García, Dirk Bogart, and current figures like Juan Gabriel and Ricky Martin.




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The Shawshank Redemption (DVD)

The Shawshank redemptionThe Shawshank Redemption (DVD)

Summary: Two convicts, one white and one black, never give up the dream of freedom, and together they turn hope and friendship into an uplifting bond no prison can ever take away.





Video Librarian Reviews
Initially released in 1994 to mixed reviews, this lengthy but engrossing adaptation of a Stephen King novella would go on to earn seven Academy Award nominations... Opening in 1947, when bank vice president Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted on circumstantial evidence for the murder of his wife and her lover, and sentenced to life imprisonment in Shawshank Prison, the film charts Dufresne's quiet but tenacious endurance, which wins him the respect of both hardened prisoners--like "Red" (Morgan Freeman)--and the duplicitous warden (Bob Gunton), who puts the new fish to work on his personal financial matters. The Shawshank Redemption's length--nearly two-and-a-half hours--makes the film tough going for some viewers, but the format actually plays into director Frank Darabont's hands since audiences experience (briefly) the same tedium, punctuated by bursts of brutality and horror, that wears down prisoners sentenced to long terms. Made with painstaking exactitude, stylish direction, and memorable performances, this is a rewarding picture that's guaranteed to linger in one's memory...Highly recommended.

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Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

Station eleven : a novelStation Eleven - Mandel, Emily St. John

Summary: The sudden death of a Hollywood actor during a production of "King Lear" marks the beginning of the world's dissolution in a story told at various past and future times from the perspectives of the actor and four of his associates.




Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Mandel's (The Lola Quartet, 2012) ambitious, magnificent fourth novel examines the collapse of civilization after a deadly flu wipes out most of the world's population. Moving gracefully from the first days of the plague to years before it and decades after, Mandel anchors the story to Arthur Leander, a famous actor who dies of a heart attack while playing King Lear on stage. We see glimpses of Arthur's life years before his passing: his doomed relationship with his first wife, the exploitation of an old friendship, his failings as a father. And then we follow characters whose lives Arthur touched in some way: the paramedic who tried to save him, his second ex-wife and their damaged son, the child actress who joins a traveling theater troupe-cum-orchestra. In this postpandemic time, people live in gas stations and motels, curate museums filled with cell phones and car engines, and treasure tabloids and comic books. One comic book gives the novel its title and encapsulates the longing felt by the survivors for the world they have lost.Mandel's vision is not only achingly beautiful but also startlingly plausible, exposing the fragile beauty of the world we inhabit. In the burgeoning postapocalyptic literary genre, Mandel's transcendent, haunting novel deserves a place alongside The Road (2006), The Passage (2010), and The Dog Stars (2012).

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This is Where I Leave You - Jonathan Tropper

This is where I leave youThis is Where I Leave You - Tropper, Jonathan

Summary: Judd Foxman is thrown together with his dysfunctional family when his father dies, while at the same time coping with his wife's infidelity and the end of his marriage.





Booklist Reviews
Judd Foxman is in his late thirties when he finds himself living in a damp, moldy basement apartment, without a job and separated from his wife, who is having an affair with his now ex-boss. To make matters worse, Judd finds out his wife is pregnant with his child and that his father has just died, leaving a dying wish to have all four of his children sit shivah for seven days. What transpires over the course of that week is a Foxman family reunion like no other; filled with fistfights, arguments, sex, and a parade of characters offering their sympathies and copious amounts of food. This is a story that could be told by your best guy friend: laugh-out-loud funny, intimate, honest, raunchy, and thoroughly enjoyable. Tropper is spot-on with his observations of family relationships as each member deals with new grief, old resentments, and life's funny twists of fate. Tropper's characters are real, flawed, and very likable, making for a great summer read.

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Sam and Dave Dig a Hole - Mac Barnett

Sam & Dave dig a holeSam and Dave Dig a Hole - Barnett, Mac

Summary: Hoping to find something spectacular, Sam and Dave begin digging an immense hole and enjoy an unexpectedly spectacular day despite finding nothing. By the author of the Caldecott Honor-winning Extra Yarn.



Booklist Reviews
Sam and Dave, each wearing baseball caps and wielding long-handled shovels, set out to dig a hole. How big a hole? "We won't stop digging until we find something spectacular," says Dave, so off they go, digging ever deeper while their little dog follows their progress. A cross section of their dig reveals that Sam and Dave come awfully close to their prize, but they keep digging and missing treasure until they decide to take a nap, during which they tumble right through the earth. Their landing sets them right back on safe ground though, and that, of course, is pretty spectacular. Klassen's pebbly, earth-toned, colored-pencil and digital illustrations of Sam and Dave's dig are exaggerated to comic effect, especially when coupled with Barnett's dry, simple text. Subtle visual clues (the final absence of dirt on Sam's and Dave's clothes; a closing house that's just slightly different from the opening one) suggest there's more to the story than meets the eye, and canny little ones will likely be delighted by the beguiling ending.

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The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances - Matthew Inman

The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distancesThe Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances - Inman, Matthew

Summary: From #1 New York Times best-selling author, Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal, comes this hilarious, beautiful, poignant collection of comics and stories about running, eating, and one cartoonist's reasons for jogging across mountains until his toenails fall off.



Kirkus Reviews
A short, laugh-out-loud graphic book about the promises and perils of exercise.The hilarious and the profound are often only inches apart, and Inman (Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants, 2013, etc.) consistently nails the space between them. Better known as The Oatmeal, the author's irreverent and peculiar webcomics resonate with millions of cult followers who identify with his self-deprecating musings on life. Part confessional, part commentary, the book has enough humor and satire to qualify as comedy but also just enough honesty to strike resonance and possibly even provide inspiration. Why does Inman run? He likes to eat junk food. Running helps with his depression. It helps him keep ahead of both his personal demons and The Blerch, a pudgy little cherub who follows him around and "represents all forms of gluttony, apathy and indifference" that continually vex him. Inman's caricatures of his own inner battles will be vaguely familiar to most. While running, for examp le, the Blerch floats behind him, offering nonstop suggestions: "Slow down, Captain SpeedyPants! Let's go home! We've got gravy to eat and naps to conquer. Also, the Robocop trilogy on Netflix isn't gonna watch itself." Inman's witty parodies and droll cartoon illustrations deftly penetrate defenses, proving to be oddly reassuring. When an ultramarathon runner portrays himself chugging Skittles and consuming Nutella through a straw, it raises the possibility that progress—whatever the endeavor may be—is possible. Make no mistake, however: Inman is in, but not of, a fitness culture fixated on physical and nutritional perfection. He pokes fun at hypervain gym culture and scoffs at culinary purity and restraint. Exercise is simply a means to an end for him. Running temporarily dials down the volume of his fears and insecurities and keeps him from becoming a fat kid again. That appears to be reason enough to keep him pounding the pavement. Sure to delight Inman's fan s and probably win him some new ones.

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Breed - Chase Novak

BreedBreed - Novak, Chase

Summary: A couple obsessed with their infertility travels to Slovenia to have an unusual and painful procedure that results in horrible consequences they manage to hide until their twins, Adam and Alice, turn ten years old and start asking questions.




Library Journal Reviews
The Twisden twins are a product of biochemistry, spawned by an experimental Slovenian fertility clinic (recounted in Breed). After the treatment turned their parents into cannibals, ten-year-old Adam and Alice disappeared into the foster care system. Two years later, they're back in their Upper East Side home with their aunt, who's determined to give them the love they never had. But the twins are at the threshold of puberty, a time when the clinic's offspring begin to change into something predatory and savage. A group of clinic alumni runs wild in Central Park, feral children selling vials of their supercharged blood, a veritable fountain of libidinous youth, to aging one percenters. But when a pharmaceutical giant catches on, the twins become the hunted ones. VERDICT Novak (the not-so-secret pseudonym of Scott Spencer, best known for 1979's lyrical Endless Love) has done a marvelous thing for the horror genre by turning his literary pen to monstrous matters. This hair-raising exercise in gothic horror, which reads like a crossbreed of Peter Straub and Whitley Streiber, is beastly, creepy, and altogether freaky. Delivered with a healthy dollop of sardonic humor, the thriller is sure to whet the appetites of Novak's many fans, leaving them ravenous for the next installment.

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The First World War in the Middle East - Kristian Ulrichsen

The first world war in the Middle EastThe First World War in the Middle East - Ulrichsen, Kristian

Summary: A comprehensive history of the First World War in the Middle East.





Library Journal Reviews
Most studies of World War I focus on Europe, but Ulrichsen's (history, London Sch. of Economics) detailed and concise chronicle reminds readers of the broad impact of the war in the Middle East, deftly balancing military campaigns and social and political consequences. The author presents a precise exposition of the interests and engagement of the five imperial powers in the region and describes the costly military campaigns from the Caucasus to North East Africa and Palestine to Mesopotamia. In addition to heavy losses in men and resources for the warring powers, the local populations suffered immensely from battles, famine, disease, and destruction of property. This thorough study begins with historic background and concludes with an analysis of the postwar settlements as incipient national movements struggled with revived French and British colonial ambitions and the newly formed states in the region strained to create viable governments and economies. VERDICT Ulrichsen draws on a wide range of archival and monographic sources to present a comprehensive summary of this major theater of World War I and suggests how the war continues to influence developments in the region.

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Worn Stories - Emily Spivack

Worn storiesWorn Stories - Spivack, Emily

Summary: Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers.



Publishers Weekly Reviews
Spivak, creator of the Smithsonian's fashion blog, Threaded, assembles a charming collection of one- or two-page essays about favorite items of clothing, each one accompanied on the facing page by a photo of the particular item. Contributors as disparate as mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig, attorney Ross Intelisano, music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, chef April Bloomfield, and performance artist Marina Abramovic, among others, are invited to opine here. Highlights include a tribute to a practical dress and to a garment manufacturer grandfather, "the man who dressed New York" from Jill Meisner (of Refinery 29). Also notable is Spivak's own loquacious ode to a pair of flip-flops worn "precisely, perhaps, because they are so ordinary." Author Heidi Julavits, meanwhile, closely studies her privileged neighbors' insouciant style of dress: "threadbare flannels with paint stains, patched jeans, faded and torn polo shirts." The simple photos of each beloved item—a T-shirt here, a pair of work boots there—are intimate and sweet. Spivak has created a fashion book for everyone who feels that so far they have been left out of the fun.

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Is There a Dog in This Book? - Viviane Schwarz

Is there a dog in this book?Is There a Dog in This Book? - Schwarz, Viviane

Summary: Cats Tiny, Moonpie and André begin to suspect that a dog is in their midst and embark on a furry game of hide-and-seek



Booklist Reviews
With the uncertainty of There Are Cats in This Book (2008) and There Are No Cats in This Book (2010) behind us, our trio of flighty felines have a new problem: someone drank their milk, chewed their toy, and left behind a peculiar odor. Horrors! It must be a "snappy and yappy, smelly and noisy, hair and scary" dog. By directly asking the reader for help lifting flaps, the cats go into hiding, first behind a sofa, then a piano, in a closet.Seeing the cats squashed into ever more uncomfortable spaces is a hoot, especially when contrasted with the innocent-looking purple dog. But as soon as they befriend the pup—with nifty flaps that make each cat lean over to pet it—there comes a new difficulty: the reader scares the dog away, necessitating a flap-fest of searching for it. With sturdy construction nearly worthy of a board book, this ought to withstand plenty of repeat abuse, which it will get, thanks to Schwarz's gregarious dialogue-only text and her adorably simple pen-and-inks. Let the fur fly.

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Nov 1, 2014

The Last of the Doughboys - Richard Rubin

The last of the doughboys : the forgotten generation and their forgotten World WarThe Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War - Rubin, Richard

Summary: Collected over ten years, presents interviews with the last remaining World War I veterans, aged 101 to 113, to paint a picture of a time and a generation that, despite memorials and history lessons, is quickly fading away.




Booklist Reviews
There may be as many as a million surviving veterans of WWII, and their stream of memoirs continues, contributing to their place as part of the "Greatest Generation." But the last known American veteran of the Great War died in 2011. Determined to obtain and document the remembrances of the surviving "doughboys," journalist Rubin began an effort to locate and interview many of them a decade ago. The result is this fascinating and deeply moving collection of individual stories. These veterans, between the ages of 101 and 113, tell their stories in sometimes halting ways; but aided by the patience and prompting of Rubin, they provide a vivid picture of their wartime experiences as well as the vastly different American society from which they sprang. Most of these men came from rural backgrounds, and they used horsepower rather than tractors to plow fields. Some describe their shock at their first exposure to industrial-scale warfare, while others stepped easily into the beginnings of aerial combat. Some recall the comradeship, while others emphasize the terror of trench warfare. This is an important and masterful tribute to those who participated in a conflict that continues to shape the world today.

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To Sail a Darkling Sea - John Ringo

To sail a darkling seaTo Sail a Darkling Sea - Ringo, John

Summary: With human civilization annihilated by a biological zombie plague, a rag tag fleet of yachts and freighters known as Wolf Squadron scours the Atlantic, searching for survivors. Within every abandoned liner and carrier lurks a potential horde of zombies but also holds the flickering hope of survivors. Now Wolf Squadron must clear the assault carrier USS Iwo Jima of infected before the trapped Marines and sailors succumb to starvation.


Booklist Reviews
In Under a Graveyard Sky (2013), Ringo introduced Steve Smith, an Australian ex-paratrooper; his wife, Stacey; and their teenage daughters, Sophia and Faith. After the zombie apocalypse, the family fled New York in a boat loaded with supplies and weaponry. Their initial plan was to find a place to hole up until the man-made plague died out, but soon they sought other vessels and set about rescuing their survivors (after first "clearing" the boats of the infected). Now the makeshift flotilla, operating with the cooperation of what remains of the U.S. government, has become a sort of oceangoing city. And the mission has grown in scope: along with clearing any vessels the flotilla encounters, Smith and his fellow sailors will attempt to clear small towns, making their way to Guantanamo Bay, where they will use the medical facilities to begin manufacturing a vaccine. Not only has Ringo found a mostly unexplored corner of the zombie landscape, he's using the zombie frame to tackle a broader theme: the collapse and rebirth of civilization. The zombie scenes are exciting, sure, but it's the human story that keeps us involved. A fine series.

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Pomegranates & Pine Nuts - Bethany Kehdy

Pomegranates & pine nuts : a stunning collection of Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian recipesPomegranates & Pine Nuts: A Stunning Collection of Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian Recipes - Kehdy, Bethany

Summary: Provides 100+ new recipes that will introduce you to the wonders of the Middle East and change any thought you might have had that this hearty cuisine is complicated or laborious.



Publishers Weekly Reviews
In her first cookbook, Kehdy tackles the cuisine of both her personal and her ethnic past. Having written her own food blog, she currently works as a recipe developer and food writer; the next step was obviously a book paying homage to the recipes of her history. With sections covering the entire meal, from mezze to dessert, for both carnivores and vegetarians, the book covers a great deal of ground. From simple Middle Eastern takes on classic dishes like Corn-on-the-Kabab and Ma'amoul Shortbread Cookies to the more complex, traditional Tamarind & Herb Mackerel Stew and Chicken Basteeya (although this is a little experimental, as classic basteeya is made with pigeon). Additional sections cover basics such as what should be kept in a "Middle Eastern and North African pantry" and "basic recipes and methods," in which many of the classical sauces, dipping sauces, ingredients, and techniques for creating the delicacies are covered. Kehdy's book presents an entire culinary world and tradition, ready to excite and challenge the Middle Eastern and North African eater.

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Breakfast for Dinner - Lyndsay Landis

Breakfast for dinner : recipes for frittata florentine, huevos rancheros, sunny-side-up burgers, and more!Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side Up Burgers, and More! - Landis, Lyndsay

Summary: Offers recipes for typical breakfast dishes with an added twist to make them appropriate for dinner, including bacon fried rice, breakfast ravioli, egg and chorizo burritos, and cornmeal pancakes with beer-braised short ribs.


Library Journal Reviews
With such recipes as Nova Lox Bruschetta, Bacon Fried Rice, and Doughnut Fudge Sundaes, Landis and her husband/co-blogger Hackbarth bring elegance, ethnic variety, and whimsy to breakfast favorites served as dinner. If you'd like to entertain guests with creative cocktails and appetizers, or settle down to a comforting dinner, this cookbook will give you plenty of choices, from Bacon Old-Fashioneds and Parmesan Beignets to Habanero-Cheddar Bread Pudding. VERDICT Bringing depth to what could have been a trite concept, this is a fun, versatile, and beautifully photographed collection.

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A Cook's Journey to Japan - Sarah Marx Feldner

A cook's journey to Japan : fish tales and rice paddies : 100 homestyle recipes from Japanese kitchensA Cook's Journey to Japan - Feldner, Sarah Marx

Summary: The author recounts her adventures travelling throughout Japan and presents one hundred recipes she collected from home cooks she met along the way, with a discussion on tools, utensils, cooking techniques, and unique Japanese ingredients.

LJ Express Reviews
In this excellent compilation of traditional and contemporary Japanese cooking, Feldner focuses on certain regional specialties like Oyaki (vegetable-stuffed rolls) to reveal the diversity within Japanese cuisine. As Feldner points out, Japan is a small country with extremely different terrains, leading to distinct regional cooking styles. Her extensive travels throughout the lesser-known areas of Japan shine through in her distinctive recipes. Murata's fine photography is both beautiful and useful-many recipes feature a step-by-step photo guide of the preparation. The beginning of the book is an outstanding primer on ingredients and cooking tools that are distinctly Japanese. Verdict This gorgeous, original, and easy-to-use cookbook is recommended for all levels of experience and for palates that are open to new and varied flavors.

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A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan

A natural history of dragons : a memoir by Lady TrentA Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir of Lady Trent - Brennan, Marie

Summary: A first entry in a new fantasy series by the author of the Onyx Court stories follows the tale of a bookish young woman whose passion for learning leads to revolutionary new understandings about dragons and defies the stifling conventions of her world.



Publishers Weekly Reviews
Isabella, Lady Trent, is a naturalist and adventurer in a country that more or less resembles 19th-century England, yet fantastical creatures roam, Judaism appears to be the dominant religion, and Europe once had an ancient Egypt-like civilization. Isabella has been obsessed with studying dragons since childhood, but a formal scientific career is off limits to a woman. Instead she marries a man who shares her passion for natural history and convinces him to let her join his expedition to see the wild dragons of Vystrana. Along the way, Isabella solves a mystery and proves her worth as a naturalist. Brennan's stand-alone novel (unrelated to her Onyx Court series), written as Isabella's memoir of her youthful adventures, and beautifully illustrated by Todd Lockwood, is saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity. Isabella's life is genuinely complicated by her scientific leanings, yet she perseveres with perfectly period-accurate spirit and awareness of the risks and costs. Brennan's world-building is wonderfully subtle, rendering a familiar land alien with casual details. Fans of fantasy, science, and history will adore this rich and absorbing tale of discovery.

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Modern Nature-Inspired Quilts - Bernadette Mayr

Modern nature-inspired quilts : make 25 beautiful projects--no rulers or templates requiredModern Nature-Inspired Quilts - Mayr, Bernadette

Summary: A full-color guide employs free-cutting techniques to teach readers how to make more than two dozen imaginative projects, including not just quilts, but also wall-hangings, cushions and a child's backpack.



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Waistcoats & Weaponry - Gail Carriger

Waistcoats & weaponryWaistcoats & Weaponry - Carriger, Gail

Summary: In her alternate England of 1851, while taking her friend Sidheag by train to her werewolf pack in Scotland, sixteen-year-old Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to dissolve all of London into chaos and must decide where her loyalties lie once and for all.



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Start Something That Matters - Blake Mycoskie

Start something that mattersStart Something That Matters - Mycoskie, Blake

Summary: Describes the TOMS Shoes founder's transformation from a businessperson to an advocate, in an account that outlines his philosophy about working in ways that both fulfill material desires and have philanthropic and social benefits.




PW Annex Reviews
Best known as the founder of TOMS Shoes and as a contestant on The Amazing Race, Mycoskie uses his experience with TOMS, as well as interviews with leaders of non-profits and corporations, to convey valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, transparency of leadership, and living by one's values. The brilliant, simple mission of TOMS (for every pair of shoes purchased, they will give another pair away to children in need around the world) has inadvertently turned its customers into brand ambassadors, making this for-profit company with defined charitable goals wildly successful. Mycoskie deftly balances personal tales about starting a business with generally applicable lessons. While his story sometimes becomes repetitive and he treads familiar ground with start-up tales (motivate your overworked interns by feeding them, never be afraid to get your hands dirty), he offers excellent advice about the importance of honesty and principles in business. This book will appeal to the Millennial generation, who are known for seeking socially relevant jobs, as well as older workers looking to get back in touch with their values.

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