Aug 1, 2015

The hotel on Place Vendome - Tilar Mazzeo

The hotel on Place Vendome: life, death, and betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris - Mazzeo, Tilar

Summary: Taking readers behind the doors of Paris's Hotel Ritz during the Nazi occupation of World War II, this extraordinary chronicle reveals a hotbed of illicit affairs, deadly intrigues, courageous acts of defiance and treachery and the people and events that made this opulent cultural landmark legendary. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
The Paris Hôtel Ritz evokes 20th-century glamour, smoke-filled air, and hard-drinking patrons with names like Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, and Chanel. WWII, however, brought Nazis, adding to the odd mix of Allied spies posing as German officers, members of the Resistance, and ambitious American journalists desperate to score the next scoop. Mazzeo (The Secret of Chanel No. 5) enthrallingly depicts a hotbed of both the magnificent and the mundane, the careless carousing and deep-seated tensions that kept the hotel a primary meeting place for both Allied and Axis agents. While the book doesn't deal directly in scenes of intrigue between key figures, its colorful vignettes reveal the hotel's role in the unsuccessful Valkyrie operation and the struggles of Coco Chanel and a one-name French movie star to survive their "horizontal collaborations." The stories of the hotel staff members who publicly served Hitler's trusted officials while privately supporting the Resistance reveal particularly heroic undertakings. Readers will enjoy Mazzeo's fascinating collection of secretive, scheming historical characters, all under one elegant roof. 19 b&w photos. (Mar.)

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The tunnels of Cu Chi - Tom Mangold

The tunnels of Cu Chi - Mangold, Tom

Summary: Explains how the North Vietnamese used underground tunnels in conjunction with other guerrilla warfare tactics against American forces and looks at the specially trained U.S. soldiers who explored and destroyed these underground complexes. - (Baker & Taylor)

“A claustrophobic but fascinating tale.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“Chilling . . . what war really was and how it was fought.”
–The New York Times

“Gripping . . . highly recommended.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

–The Washington Post

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On the move: a life - Oliver Sacks

On the move: a life - Sacks, Oliver

Summary: When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: "Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far." Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life. Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions -- weight lifting and swimming -- also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists -- Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick -- who influenced him.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Sacks characterizes himself primarily as a storyteller, the son of storytellers—mother and father both—rather than as a physician, the other identity he shares with both parents. He's melded those roles in a string of best-selling collections of case histories from his practice as a clinical neurologist. Anyone pleased by any of them will be enthralled with his own story, which he fills out with not just the personal reasons, such as making fascinating friends, but also the scientific ones, such as contributing to new conceptions of brain function, that make what he tells us worth telling. He also, perhaps all unawares, reveals himself as a restless achiever and a bit of a daredevil. If avidly reading historic medical literature from adolescence on seems entirely appropriate to a writing clinician, surely youthful passions for motorcycling and weightlifting (on early-'60s Muscle Beach, yet) are a bit surprising (when injuries quashed those pursuits, Sacks fell back on hard swimming and scuba diving). And if strong late friendships with the stars of brain research seem inevitable, others begun well before he was famous, such as with the poets W. H. Auden and Thom Gunn, attest the estheticism in him that is the mainspring of his 2007 best-seller, Musicophilia. That Sacks is homosexual barely glints among the other lights of his long, eventful life. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: That the author's previous books have been popular in libraries should more than suggest that most public librarians need to have this new one in their collection. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Trial of Old Drum (DVD)

Trial of Old Drum (DVD)

Summary: Charlie's best friend is a good old dog named Old Drum. But Old Drum faces the challenge of his life; being accused of attacking a local farmer's sheep. While his canine pal sits in jail awaiting his trial date, Charlie must gather evidence and witnesses to convince the community of Old Drum's innocence.

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Train to Crystal City- Jan Russell

The train to Crystal City: FDR's secret prisoner exchange program and America's only family internment camp during World War II

Summary: "Focusing on a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet, a dramatic account exposes a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II where hundreds of prisoners were exchanged for other Americans behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany."--Publisher's description.

Booklist Reviews
The internment of Japanese Americans in camps along the Pacific Coast during WWII is well known. With the benefit of hindsight, the action has been roundly condemned as a racially motivated overreaction and gross violation of constitutional and human rights. Less well-known but equally reprehensible was the roundup of thousands of Germans, Italians, and other so-called enemy aliens. These included entire families composed of both noncitizens and citizens and even some ethnic Germans and Italians deported from Latin American nations to the U.S. Most were sent to a camp in Crystal City, Texas, in a rather desolate area in the south of the state. Few, if any, could be considered as security threats. According to Russell, the Roosevelt administration viewed their internment as useful bargaining chips in efforts to negotiate the release of American citizens stuck in occupied Europe. Much of Russell's account is viewed through the experiences of two young American-born girls. Of course, the camp was nothing like the work camps and death camps of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, the barbed wire, armed guards, and watch towers made clear to the residents that they were held in prison-like conditions. This is an informative, disturbing, and necessary reminder of the dangers produced by wartime hysteria. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The typist - Michael Knight

The typist - Knight, Michael

Summary: Assigned to post-World War II Japan in the first year of the occupation, military typist Van finds his distinctly Western values tested by the culture, his duties as a babysitter for General MacArthur's son, and startling news from his young war bride.

Booklist Reviews
Post-surrender Japan must have been an odd assignment for a soldier. Van is spared from frontline duty due to his remarkable abilities as a typist and ends up in General McArthur's Tokyo headquarters. With a wife back home, Van shies from the romantic escapades so many of his fellow enlistees commit so much of their time to. Van's good-hearted roommate cannot stay away from the pan-pan girls and begins a small black-market operation to satisfy his desires and relieve his boredom. This operation is his downfall and even comes close to ruining Van. Knight cunningly details the confluence of the boredom of American soldiers and the economic plight of the post-bombing Japanese. Two cultures collide and gross exploitation occurs, but Knight is still able to craft heartfelt relationships amid the confusion. Such novels as this one—fiction, yes, but rooted in actual history—help contemporary readers make sense of the mayhem and heroism of WWII. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Elephant Company - Vicki Croke

Elephant Company: the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II - Croke, Vicki

Summary: "J.H. "Billy" Williams always had an affinity for animals. So, when he responded to job offer with the East India Company to work with logging elephants his family wasn't surprised, though worried that he had already come back from World War I in one piece, would he be so lucky with India? Not only did he find his calling with the elephants in India, Billy and his elephants became war heroes. At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own "Hannibal Trek." Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten. Part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure, Croke delivers an utterly charming narrative and an important, little-known piece of the legacy of World War II"-- Provided by publisher.

“This book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . .Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen,The New York Times Book Review

“Splendid . . . Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s story is an often moving account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his unusual bond with the largest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe

“Some of the biggest heroes of World War II were even bigger than you thought. . . . You may never call the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post

“Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author ofLost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time - (Random House, Inc.)

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Austenland - Shannon Hale

Austenland - Hale, Shannon

Summary: Because her obsession with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," is ruining her love life, Jane Hayes is delighted when she gets the chance to take a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women.

Kirkus Reviews
Yet another player in the literary parlor game of re-writing Jane Austen.From the dedication to Colin Firth, Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries, Hale, author of YA novels (River Secrets, 2006, etc.), lets the reader know her tongue is firmly in cheek. Hale's heroine, Jane Hayes, is a single New York professional with a secret passion for Pride and Prejudice—not the novel, but the more over-the-top romantic screen versions, particularly the one starring Firth. Shortly after her Great-Aunt Carolyn discovers Jane's obsession, the old lady conveniently dies, having bequeathed to Jane a three-week stay at Pembrook Park, a fantasy version of a Regency England country estate (modern plumbing, but no cell phones allowed). Temporarily re-christened "Miss Jane Erstwhile," Jane soon finds herself plopped into the center of several Austen novels rolled together. Her fellow guests are the pathetically needy "Miss Charming" and the gentle, genuinely charming "Miss Heartwright." Knowing that the hosts and male guests are clearly actors does not keep Jane from confusing fact with fantasy. As she resists the falseness of the situation, she falls into a contemporary fling with Martin, an actor playing a gardener on the estate, with whom she watches television and makes out. She also finds herself drawn to "Mr. Nobley," a Darcy stand-in. But is it the character being played whom she's attracted to? Or the man playing him? The novel is clever in its depiction of the many ways in which romance can fall away, and Jane is no fool as she attempts to sort out the real from the make-believe. Readers will be as surprised as she is by some of the twists. But ultimately this is a romance novel in which lovers who are meant to be together overcome miscues and misunderstandings before the final clinch.Mindless froth that Austen addicts will love. Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Bee & PuppyCat - Natasha Allegri

Bee & PuppyCat - Allegri, Natasha

Summary: Bee, a not-so-graceful temporary worker, and her partner PuppyCat, the stern curmudgeon who helps her pay rent, take on a variety of jobs from cleaning house to finding plants and saving a planet from an interdimensional terror-beast. - (Baker & Taylor)

Natasha Allegri's smash hit YouTube animated series comes to comic books!

A quirky new take on the magical girl genre with Bee, the forever unemployed main character who can’t seem to figure out life, and the mysterious PuppyCat, a stray...whatever it is…that she stumbled across who has a powerful secret. You might already love it if you’re one of the thousands who supported the Kickstarter campaign, but for those of you just joining us, if you like stories that feature magical girls like SAILOR MOON, MADOKA MAGICA, and POWERPUFF GIRLS, you will enjoy BEE AND PUPPYCAT! It’s a slice-of-life story with a twist, and it has so much comedy and enchantment you can’t help but be swept up. Natasha Allegri is simply amazing. She built up a big fan-following on Tumblr while working on the Adventure Time cartoon, then created gender-swapped characters (FIONNA AND CAKE) that became so popular they put them into the show. Then, she created BEE AND PUPPYCAT and it became the most funded web series project in Kickstarter history. How could we NOT publish it? - (Simon and Schuster)

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Big little lies - Liane Moriarty

Big little lies - Moriarty, Liane

Summary: Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* It begins with a murder. It's not clear who was killed, but it was definitely someone at the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night fund-raiser at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia. Back up six months, to when Madeline Mackenzie celebrated her fortieth birthday with kindergarten orientation for her youngest daughter, Chloe. She runs into the gorgeous, if spacey, Celeste White and her twin boys; new kid Ziggy Chapman and his mom, shy, jumpy, Jane; and, unfortunately, her ex-husband and his New Age wife, Bonnie, and their daughter, Skye. When a little girl accuses Ziggy of choking her, the class moms begin to divide. As antibullying fervor escalates, Jane grows closer to Madeline, with whom she shares her terrible secret, and Celeste, who is hiding an insidious secret of her own, not that she will admit it. What starts as a send-up of suburban helicopter parenting turns darker as the pages flip by, building to a tense climax at Trivia Night, where one too many fizzy pink cocktails leads to . . . well, murder. Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband's Secret (2013). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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A bear, a backpack, and eight crates of vodka: a memoir - Lev Golinkin

A bear, a backpack, and eight crates of vodka: a memoir - Golinkin, Lev

Summary: Recounts the author's experiences as a young boy fleeing persecution in the late eighties Soviet Union, and his later return to Austria and Eastern Europe as an American adult to track down those who helped his family escape and thank them.

Booklist Reviews
Golinkin was just a child during the tumultuous years of Soviet premier Gorbachev's introduction of glasnost and perestroika, yet his parents and grandmother remembered the worst of the USSR's restrictive, controlling atmosphere. Worse, the family members were zhid, Jewish. This atmospheric, touching memoir, whose chapters begin with dates and locations to orient the reader, follows the Golinkins as they escape the Soviet Union and land in America. Golinkin's early memories are touchingly true to those of a youngster, and he reports on his family members' fears, troubles, persistence, and patience with a keen eye and a memorable voice. Once in the U.S., ensconced near Purdue University—the former-engineer father a clerk, the former-doctor mother a barista, and hopes for his sister's attending Purdue wavering—Golinkin muses, "Dignity, family, social status, or blood, one way or another, every immigrant pays the admission price to America, and the older they are, the steeper the fare." Years later, Golinkin finds and thanks the many people who helped his family and inspired him to help others as well. Eye-opening for those who come to the U.S. and for those who help them do so. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Single, carefree, mellow: stories - Katherine Heiny

Single, carefree, mellow: stories - Heiny, Katherine

Summary: A collection of ten stories is filled with unwelcome house guests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, betrayal, jealousy, and flirtatious older men, and takes readers on a guided tour of the human heart.

Booklist Reviews
Adultery abounds in Heiny's engaging debut collection, in which various female characters dissect their longings in the midst of everyday reality. In "The Dive Bar," New Yorker Sasha agrees to a sit-down with her boyfriend's wife but becomes increasingly agitated in advance of their meeting. Set in suburbia, "Blue Heron Bridge" follows housewife Nina as her extramarital affair with a personal trainer unravels owing, in part, to her own insecurities. In the astute "Cranberry Relish," the married Josie finds herself passed over by a former lover, whom she met on Facebook, for his newfound Twitter companion. Several stories follow librarian and web designer Maya, who begins to question the boundaries of her long-term relationship with her quirky boyfriend, Rhodes. The standout title tale juxtaposes their relationship against the terminal decline of Maya's beloved dog. In "Dark Matter," the bond between the two is further put to the test when Maya strikes up an affair with her boss. Heiny's 11 stories are heightened by her depictions of her characters' internal struggles as they candidly confront their infidelities and other desires. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The phantom tollbooth - Juster Norton

The phantom tollbooth - Norton, Juster

Summary: A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers and finds a cure for his boredom.

With almost 4 million copies sold over 50 years after its original publication, generations of readers have now journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic that Philip Pullman says “comes up bright and new every time I read it . . . it will continue to charm and delight for a very long time yet. And teach us some wisdom, too.” Enriched by Jules Feiffer’s splendid illustrations, the wit, wisdom, and wordplay of Norton Juster’s offbeat fantasy are as beguiling as ever.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams! - (Random House, Inc.)

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Jul 6, 2015

Better than before - Gretchen Rubin

Better than before - Rubin, Gretchen

Summary: "Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives. Rubin provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits--as well as change them for good. Infused with her compelling voice and funny stories, she illustrates the core principles of habit formation with dozens of strategies that she uses herself and tests out on others. Rubin provides tools to help readers better understand themselves, and presents a clear, practical menu of strategies so readers can take an individualized approach. She tackles each strategy herself and in doing so shows us the importance of knowing ourselves and our own habit tendencies. Armed with self-knowledge, we can pursue habits in ways that will truly work for us, not against us. Going to the gym can be as easy, effortless, and automatic as putting on a seatbelt. We can file expense reports, take time for fun, or pass up that piece of carrot cake without having to decide. With a foundation of good habits, we can build a life that reflects our values and goals"-- Provided by publisher.

Library Journal Reviews
Author Rubin (The Happiness Project) believes that through altering habits people change their lives and that there is no one-size-fits-all method to making desired alterations. Habit change is more successful, says Rubin, if individuals choose strategies that coincide with their tendencies to respond negatively or positively to outer and inner expectations. The author then explains approaches for the upholder, the rebel, the questioner, and the obliger, by which each type can best tackle foundation habits (e.g., sleeping, moving, uncluttering, and eating/drinking healthfully). VERDICT This is a fascinating study of the human mind and the process of change, interspersed with psychological facts and real-life examples. One of the best books available on the subject.

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Only in Spain - Nellie Bennett

Only in Spain - Bennett, Nellie

Summary: Shares the author's experiences after leaving her retail job in Australia to travel to Spain and learn flamenco dance, detailing her lessons in Seville, and her eventual move to Madrid.

Kirkus Reviews
A peripatetic Australian's account of how a flamenco dancing hobby led to high adventures in music, food and love in Spain.Bennett was a bored shop girl who worked at a high-end department store in Sydney. Tired of two years of mind-numbing, dead-end routine, she shook up her world with flamenco dance lessons, and she immediately fell in love with the glamour, fire and romance of the dance. Soon, she realized she wanted more than to simply take lessons; she wanted to "dream [her] life and live life like it was a dream" by making flamenco the center of her world. She decided to continue her dance studies in the ancient city of Seville in southern Spain. For six weeks, Bennett danced by day and immersed herself in flamenco bar culture by night. She learned to relish the pleasures of flirting on the dance floor with handsome, dark-eyed Spanish men, who made her feel as though she was "the star of her very own Broadway musical." The vegan Bennett even learned to enjoy savory tapas dishes made from meat. By the end of her stay, she knew she would return. Brimming with intentions to live in Spain indefinitely and aspirations to become a professional flamenco dancer, she flew to Madrid several months later. She attended the famous Amor de Dios flamenco academy and then danced with dangerously seductive neighborhood residents when she could no longer afford to go to the academy. After being kidnapped by a gypsy boyfriend who wanted to "marry" her by taking Bennett home with him, she fell in love with a Basque man with whom she lived for three years. Only after her lover asked her what she wanted did the author recognize her one truest passion: to travel forever into the beautiful unknown.Lightweight, footloose good fun. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

The storied life of A.J. Fikry : a novelThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry - Zevin, Gabrielle

Summary: When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

Booklist Reviews
In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books. A. J. Fikry, the cantankerous owner of Island Books, is despondent after losing his beloved wife and witnessing the ever-declining number of sales at his small, quirky bookstore. In short order, he loses all patience with the new Knightly Press sales rep, his prized rare edition of Tamerlane is stolen, and someone leaves a baby at his store. That baby immediately steals A. J.'s heart and unleashes a dramatic transformation. Suddenly, the picture-book section is overflowing with new titles, and the bookstore becomes home to a burgeoning number of book clubs. With business on the uptick and love in his heart, A. J. finds himself becoming an essential new part of his longtime community, going so far as to woo the aforementioned sales rep (who loves drinking Queequeg cocktails at the Pequod Restaurant). Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere.

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The heir apparent - Jane Ridley

The heir apparent - Ridley, Jane

Summary: A profile of the early-twentieth-century British king discusses how he disappointed his mother, Queen Victoria, with his notorious gambling, gluttony, and womanizing before his nine-year reign, during which he became an effective leader and diplomat.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Long-lived Queen Victoria had an era named after her, as did her long-waiting heir when he eventually succeeded to the British throne. Edward VII was an absolute style icon and knew how to enjoy a good party and a robust liaison with a pretty—and willing—woman. The term "Edwardian" thus became associated with high fashion and high living. The title of Ridley's biography of King Edward is appropriate to the popular sense of the monarch, that his life was defined by his many years as the indulged and indulgent Prince of Wales. But significant research stands behind the author's more judicious understanding of the man, that the "dissipated prince evolved into a model king." Barred by his mother from any participation in royal duties out of her obsessive conviction that her son was not of sufficiently solid material to follow her on the throne, Bertie turned, in compensation, to hot pursuit of pleasure, garnering a reputation for playing not only hard but even scandalously. Nevertheless, upon the old queen's demise in 1901 and his own accession, Edward rose to the occasion to be Britain's first constitutional monarch as we define that role today, modernizing the monarchy and making it stronger. A top-notch royal biography for all active British-history collections. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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The Turner House - Angela Flournoy

The Turner House - Flournoy, Angela

Summary: "A powerful, timely debut, The Turner House marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family. The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone--and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit's East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts--and shapes--their family's future. Already praised by Ayana Mathis as "utterly moving" and "un-putdownable," The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It's a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street on Detroit's East Side for more than 50 years. The neighborhood has fallen into disrepair, and the mortgage on the family home is under water. The patriarch has long been dead, and Viola, the matriarch, is ill and has moved in with her oldest son, Cha-Cha, who feels the full burden of being both father and brother to his 12 rambunctious, demanding siblings. And the siblings are having yet another vehement argument, this time about whether to sell their family home or pay off the mortgage. Meanwhile, Lelah, the youngest, is evicted from her apartment due to gambling debts and has surreptitiously moved into the old homestead, now surrounded by abandoned lots. In this wonderfully lively debut novel, Flournoy tells the story of a complicated family, stepping back in time to show the parents' early married days in the 1940s, their move north to Detroit from the rural South, and how their children each experienced a different version of the neighborhood, which comes to symbolize both the hopes and dashed dreams of Detroit's lower-middle-class blacks. Encompassing a multitude of themes, including aging and parenthood, this is a compelling read that is funny and moving in equal measure. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Cinder - Meyer, Marissa

Summary: As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

Booklist Reviews
There's a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on "Cinderella," the first in a four-book series. First, we've moved from a fairy-tale kingdom to a post–World War IV future in New Beijing. Plagued by her stepmother and shunned by society for being a cyborg, Cinder keeps her head down as the city's best mechanic until she catches the eye of the dashing Prince Kai. He's got matters of state to worry about, though, including an incurable plague and the ever-present threat of war from the moon-people, known as Lunars. The over-the-top, spiteful cruelty that dogs the heroine from all sides is a little too cartoonish to take seriously when retrofitted from fairy tale to science fiction, and it's best not to ponder things like why such a technologically advanced civilization would get into such a tizzy about a fancy-dress ball. Still, readers will enjoy lining up the touchstones from the old favorite, and Meyer brings a good deal of charm and cleverness to this entertaining, swiftly paced read. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Jul 2, 2015

Midnight riot - Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight riot - Aaronovitch, Ben

Summary: When his ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates paranormal crimes, Probationary Constable Peter Grant is drawn into a world where an ancient evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of murder and dark magic. Original. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
In this fast-paced paranormal police procedural, Aaronovitch introduces Peter Grant, a rookie cop who can see ghosts. This unusual talent saves him from a potential life of office work when Chief Insp. Thomas Nightingale sends him for wizard training. Britain's police force has long known of the supernatural, and Grant is to assist Nightingale in solving many of London's magical problems—most notably, the mysterious string of violent attacks that tend to end with the perpetrator's face falling off. As the brutal epidemic spreads, Grant must race to finish his magic lessons and solve an ages-long dispute between the rivers of Britain. Though the novel sometimes feels just a little too jam-packed with plot points and adventures, it's witty, fun, and full of vivid characters, and the plot twists will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing. (Feb.)

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Everything I never told you - Celeste Ng

Everything I never told you - Ng, Celeste

Summary: "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet. So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue-in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family-Hannah-who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* A teenage girl goes missing and is later found to have drowned in a nearby lake, and suddenly a once tight-knit family unravels in unexpected ways. As the daughter of a college professor and his stay-at-home wife in a small Ohio town in the 1970s, Lydia Lee is already unwittingly part of the greater societal changes going on all around her. But Lydia suffers from pressure that has nothing to do with tuning out and turning on. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting. Her mother is white, and their interracial marriage raises eyebrows and some intrusive charges of miscegenation. More troubling, however, is her mother's frustration at having given up medical school for motherhood, and how she blindly and selfishly insists that Lydia follow her road not taken. The cracks in Lydia's perfect-daughter foundation grow slowly but erupt suddenly and tragically, and her death threatens to destroy her parents and deeply scar her siblings. Tantalizingly thrilling, Ng's emotionally complex debut novel captures the tension between cultures and generations with the deft touch of a seasoned writer. Ng will be one to watch. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Ruby Sparks (DVD)

Ruby Sparks (DVD)

Summary: Struggling with writer's block and a lackluster love life, once-famous novelist Calvin creates a beautiful fictitious character named Ruby who inspires him. But not only does this bring his work to life, it also brings Ruby to life, literally. Face-to-face with an actual relationship with his once virtual girlfriend, Calvin must now decide whether to pen this love story or let it write itself.

Video Librarian Reviews
In classical mythology, the sculptor Pygmalion fell in love with a beautiful statue he created that later came to life by the grace of the gods—a theme that inspired George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, as well as the classic film My Fair Lady. Actress/writer Zoe Kazan (granddaughter of director Elia Kazan) indulges in that same vein of magical realism with this quirky, witty, romantic fable—delightfully directed by husband-and-wife team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris—about a contemporary Los Angeles novelist, played by Kazan's real-life boyfriend Paul Dano. Having achieved early acclaim, neurotic literary prodigy Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) is recovering from the rupture of a long-term relationship and suffering from acute writer's block. After he envisions saucy, red-headed Ruby Sparks (Kazan) while walking in the park with his dog Scotty (named after F. Scott Fitzgerald), Calvin follows a suggestion from his psychiatrist (Elliott Gould) and develops a full-fledged story about this idealized young woman. In the midst of Calvin's creative frenzy, however, his concerned older brother Harry (Chris Messina) discovers female lingerie scattered about Calvin's stark, minimalist Hollywood Hills bachelor pad. A bewildered Calvin claims ignorance—but one morning he finds effervescent yet ethereal Ruby cooking breakfast in his kitchen. Confused and convinced that he's hallucinating, Calvin is stunned when the pair go out and others can see Ruby too. After a visit with his free-spirited, widowed mother (Annette Bening) and her lover (Antonio Banderas) in Big Sur—where Ruby begins to assert her independence—Calvin realizes that he can change and control Ruby by simply rewriting her. But does he want to? Recommended. (S. Granger)Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2011.

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Smoke get in your eyes - Caitlin Doughty

Smoke get in your eyes - Doughty, Caitlin

Summary: The blogger behind the popular Web series Ask a Mortician describes her experiences working at a crematory, including how she sometimes got ashes on her clothes and how she cared for bodies of all shapes and sizes.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In life, death is the only guarantee, yet many of us live in fear of the great equalizer. Doughty, a licensed L.A. mortician, is here to reinstate death to what she feels is its rightful place—at the heart of life. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes recounts Doughty's fascination (nay obsession) with death, which began, as a child, when she witnessed a toddler's fatal two-story fall, and has continued through her work monitoring a cremation retort and her studies at mortuary school. Doughty pairs her personal narrative with an engrossing examination of various cultures' relationships with death (1800s Parisian morgues displaying corpses for public view, complete with food and toy vendors; Brazilian Wari' roasting and consuming their dead tribesmen; North America's current billion-dollar funeral industry). Not shying away from candid descriptions of corpses, cremation, and putrefaction, Doughty—professional both in the field and on the page—details postmortem proceedings not to repulse but to reveal our modern society's "death denial" (as Carl Jung put it, "It won't help to hear what I think about death"). Doughty begs to differ. Her sincere, hilarious, and perhaps life-altering memoir is a must-read for anyone who plans on dying. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The god of small things - Roy Arundhati

The god of small things - Arundhati, Roy

Summary: In 1969 in Kerala, India, Rahel and her twin brother, Estha, struggle to forge a childhood for themselves amid the destrucion of their family life, as they discover that the entire world can be transformed in a single moment - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ It's easier to talk about small things because the big things in life are far too complex and painful. But even small things can loom large, and everything can change, radically, in a day, a moment. These are the sort of big things first-time novelist Roy ponders in this highly original and exquisitely crafted tale set in the tiny river town of Ayemenem in Kerala, India. The story revolves around a pair of twins, brother and sister, whose mother has left her violent husband to live with her blind mother and kind, if ineffectual, brother, Chacko. Chacko's ex-wife, an Englishwoman, has returned to Ayemenem after a long absence, bringing along her and Chacko's lovely young daughter. Their arrival not only unsettles the already tenuous balance of the divisive household, it also coincides with political unrest. The twins and their cousin--each brimming with vernal intelligence, innocent love and longing, curiosity and fear--barely have time to get acquainted before tragedy strikes, first in the form of an accident (caused by carelessness in love), then murder (the result of ancient prejudice). Roy's intricate, enchanting, and often wry tale is positively mythical in its cosmic inevitability, evocative circularity, and paradoxical wisdom. ((Reviewed May 1, 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Infamy - Richard Reeves

Infamy: the shocking story of Japanese American internment in World War II - Reeves, Richard

Summary: Former Frontline journalist Reeves (Portrait of Camelot ) examines the key causes and dire consequences of the Japanese-American internment in relocation camps during WWII, concentrating on a shortsighted military strategy and anti-Japanese sentiment following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* During WWII, newspapers, films, and the U.S. government regularly reminded citizens that they were fighting totalitarian governments whose populations were in constant fear of a "knock on the door," followed by rapid transport to a concentration camp. It is a sad and cruel irony that Japanese Americans, citizens and noncitizens, lived under a similar fear. The forced relocation and internment of people was a racially based insult to our purported ideals. Reeves, an award-winning journalist, recounts the unfolding of this outrage with a justifiable sense of moral indignation. He reminds us that this was a national failure as he indicts political leaders, the courts, and ordinary citizens, many of whom were resentful of the success and prosperity of their Japanese neighbors. Although there was virtually no violent resistance, the Japanese did fight against their internment in the halls of Congress and the court system, which helped ameliorate conditions within the camps. Reeves lays out the broad outlines of the "roundup" and the structure of the camps, but he is at his best when he chronicles the experiences of particular families whose lives were ripped apart by what they went through, even as some of their young men chose to honorably serve in the military of the country that continued to detain their relatives. This is a painful but necessary and timely reminder of how overblown fears about national security can have shameful consequences.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Reeves' books always prove popular in public libraries and this one will be no exception. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Where you go is not who you'll be - Frank Bruni

Where you go is not who you'll be - Bruni, Frank

Summary: "Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. That belief is wrong. It's cruel. And in WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE, Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. Bruni, a bestselling author and a columnist for the New York Times, shows that the Ivy League has no monopoly on corner offices, governors' mansions, or the most prestigious academic and scientific grants. Through statistics, surveys, and the stories of hugely successful people who didn't attend the most exclusive schools, he demonstrates that many kinds of colleges-large public universities, tiny hideaways in the hinterlands-serve as ideal springboards. And he illuminates how to make the most of them. What matters in the end are a student's efforts in and out of the classroom, not the gleam of his or her diploma. Where you go isn't who you'll be. Americans need to hear that-and this indispensable manifesto says it with eloquence and respect for the real promise of higher education"-- Provided by publisher.

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Marry, kiss, kill - Anne Flett-Giordano

Mary, kiss, kill - Flett-Giordano, Anne

Summary: In this debut mystery set in Santa Barbara, movie stars are in town for the film festival, powerful business interests are at stake, and detective Nola MacIntire and her partner, Tony Angelotti, must solve the complicated puzzle behind three seemingly unrelated deaths in this idyllic beach town. This mystery has got it all: snappy dialogue, memorable characters, and a captivating web of intrigue to untangle. Det. Nola MacIntire and her partner, Det. Lt. Anthony Angellotti, are called to investigate a dead body in front of the courthouse in sunny Santa Barbara, CA.

Kirkus Reviews
Smart cop Nola needs a Skinnygirl™ Margarita to get through a series of seemingly unrelated murders. The fact that she's the deputy chief detective for Santa Barbara's finest isn't going to stop the sass of Nola MacIntire's mouth as she deals with suspects in her superficial town. Luckily, her partner, Detective Lt. Tony Angellotti, is one of the few men able to match her fast talk, even though their efforts spent trying to take their relationship to the next level have completely fizzled. Their His Girl Friday, blink-and-you'll-miss-it banter serves as the background for their attempt to solve the murder of a music man, a sweet street busker found with two slugs in him without apparent reason. Before they can find anyone who might offer information—apart from the garden-variety meth fiend perseverating on the same meaningless version of events—Nola and Tony have another case on their hands: the death of a formerly wealthy businessman wiped out in the market crash. His distraught trophy wife has Tony wrapped around her finger even if, as Nola's intuition insists, she's set up her husband's murder as a suicide. Clearly, whoever's behind the fatalities isn't afraid to get dirty to make sure his or her reputation stays clean. But how are the two cases connected? Pulling that string tangles Nola and Tony in a ball of yarn they may not be able to untangle. The dialogue is the high point of TV writer Flett-Giordano's debut, though the fast-paced banter does make characters blend together and make you wonder if everyone in Santa Barbara is the same brand of smartass. Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The life-changing magic of tidying up - Marie Kondo

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

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

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

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

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

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Eat, move, sleep - Tom Rath

Eat, move, sleep - Rath, Tom

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

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

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Kid President's guide to being awesome - Brad Montague

Kid President's guide to being awesome - Montague, Brad

Summary: Kid President offers advice on how to make life and the world more awesome, including more high fives, solving conflicts using ice cream, and remembering that things don't have to be the way they are.

Booklist Reviews
Ten-year-old Novak became a YouTube sensation with his Kid President series, coproduced by actor Rainn Wilson, which encourages positivity and cooperation with funny pep talks and celebrity interviews. He brings the same brand of irrepressible optimism to his first book. Through lists, diatribes, quotes from great thinkers, inspiring profiles, and cartoons, the Kid President team offers 100 suggestions for kids and adults alike to make the world more awesome. Kid President fans will not be disappointed, as corn dogs and dance parties are featured frequently, but even readers with no familiarity with his online persona will find his winsome personality impossible to resist. Plenty of interviews with inspiring young people who are agents of positive change serve as the backbone of the book's message. A dynamic mixed-media layout of photographs, illustrations, and fan submissions punctuate Novak's platform. Even the most ardent cynics will find themselves laughing along with the Kid President's silly but hugely insightful musings. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Greenglass House - Kate Milford

Greenglass House - Milford, Kate

Summary: At Greenglass House, a smuggler's inn, twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his winter holidays relaxing but soon guests are arriving with strange stories about the house sending Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, on an adventure.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* It's Christmas break and adopted Milo and his parents are looking forward to a vacation all to themselves at Greenglass House, the inn where they live and routinely host benevolent passing smugglers. When five unusual guests unexpectedly arrive, and their belongings—which all have something to do with the house—start disappearing, Milo finds himself at the heart of a real mystery. With the help of Meddy, the oddball girl who arrives with the cook, and a role-playing game that gives him the courage to poke around where he knows he is not supposed to, Milo uses his knowledge of the house and his skills of observation to find the missing objects, piece together the mystery of the house, and discover a secret about the legendary folk hero who used to live there. The puzzling mystery is perfectly matched by the offbeat world of Nagspeake, a fictional harbor town enhanced by folklore and history rich enough to sound convincingly real, and the dreamy Greenglass House, with its enviable attic, snug corners, and thrilling past. Milford (The Boneshaker, 2010) weaves together compelling clues, crackerjack detective work from Milo and Meddy, and well-rounded characters to reveal heartwarming truths about Greenglass House and its residents. An enchanting, empowering, and cozy read. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The secrets of midwives - Sally Hepworth

The secrets of midwives - Hepworth, Sally

Summary: "Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy--including the identity of the baby's father--hidden from her family and coworkers for as long as possible. Her mother Grace finds it impossible to let this secret rest. The more Grace prods, the tighter Neva holds to her story, and the more the lifelong differences between private, quiet Neva and open, gregarious Grace strain their relationship. For Floss, Neva's grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva's situation thrusts her back sixty years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter's--one which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all"--Dust jacket flap.

Booklist Reviews
Hepworth's promising debut is a chorus in three voices not so much about the consequences of keeping secrets as it is about the cathartic effect of finally airing them. British ex-pat and retired midwife Floss has literally been carrying a dark secret in the front pocket of her purse for 60 years. Granddaughter Neva has been keeping one that's likely to burst upon the scene any time, but she is still playing her cards close to her vest as far as other critical information is concerned. Finally there is Grace, Neva's mother and Floss' daughter, who has her own secret. Tensions build as the future of both the family and Neva's baby depend upon surviving a horrific New England storm. Ah, families, their conflicts made all the more poignant here by the shared profession of the three midwives. One might expect values that include natural childbirth, motherhood, and mother/child bonding would mean something to these women. But Hepworth credibly paints them no less complexly human and contradictory than anybody else in a not altogether estrogen-drenched tale of redemption via truth. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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