Nov 1, 2010

Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void - Mary Roach

Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void - Roach, Mary

Summary: Describes the weirdness of space travel, answers questions about the long-term effects of living in zero gravity on the human body, and explains how space simulations on Earth can provide a preview to life in space.

Staff Review:
This book is really fun if you like to really dive into the subject of space travel from a very human point of view. Mary researches her subjects with tremendous thoroughness and glee!

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Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan - Westerfeld, Scott
Series Title: Leviathan Series
Summary: In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

Booklist Reviews
Instead of the Victorian era most often found in the steampunk genre, Westerfeld sets his new series in a Europe hovering on the edge of World War I. The ingenious premise is that Europe is divided not only into traditional historical camps, but also into Darwinists, who genetically manipulate animal "life-strands" into beasts and even whole self-contained ecosystems with wondrous capabilities, and Clankers, whose imposing constructions of metal and gears are a marvel of technological wizardry. Deryn Sharp, from Darwinist England, disguises herself as a boy to enlist on the Leviathan, a flying whale-ship, while Prince Alek, recently orphaned son of Archduke Ferdinand, finds himself on the run in a sort of walking Clanker tank. The plot is boosted almost entirely by exciting and sometimes violent fight sequences, but reading about (and seeing, thanks to Thompson's ample, lavish, and essential illustrations) the wildly imaginative creatures and machines provides nearly as much drive. Fans of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (2003) or Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (2004) will be right at home in Westerfeld's alternate reality. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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The art of racing in the rain: a novel - Garth Stein

The art of racing in the rain: a novel - Stein, Garth

Summary: Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher's soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe's maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.

Booklist Reviews
Enzo the dog feels sure that his next life will be spent in a man's body. In preparation, he closely studies human behavior, and it's from Enzo's observant point of view that Stein writes his moving third novel. Enzo is deeply jealous when his owner, Denny, falls in love with Eve, but after baby Zoe is born, Enzo assumes his role as the family's unconditional protector, particularly after Eve is diagnosed with brain cancer. After Eve's death, her parents drag Denny into a bitter custody battle for Zoe, and Enzo, despite his canine limitations, passionately defends Denny and even alters the course of events. Denny is a race-car driver, and Enzo, who has watched countless televised races, folds thrilling track scenes and driving lessons into the terse family drama. The metaphors may feel purposeful, but readers will nonetheless delight in Enzo's wild, original voice; his aching insights into the limitations and joys of the canine and human worlds; and his infinite capacity for love. A natural choice for book clubs, this should inspire steady demand. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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The reluctant fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

The reluctant fundamentalist - Hamid, Mohsin

Summary: A young Muslim American, Changez is living the American dream, with a Princeton education and high-paying job, until the events of September 11th force him to confront his personal allegiances. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ Presented in the form of a monologue, which is a difficult technique to manage in a novel because the author has to ensure plausibility while guarding against monotony, Hamid's second novel succeeds so well it begs the question--what other narrative format than a sustained monologue could have been as appropriate? Generally, this is a 9/11 novel or, rather, a post-9/11 one. But to see it on its own terms, which, because of its distinctive scenario, is impossible not to do, it eludes categorization. A young Pakistani man, educated at Princeton and employed in a highly prestigious financial-analysis firm in New York, was about to start a brilliant career and had fallen for a young woman whose commitment to him, it must be admitted, was partial and elusive when the terrorist attacks occurred. Answering to his own conscience, he could not remain in the U.S. By the pull of his true personal identity, he must return to Pakistan, despite his reluctance to leave the enigmatic but beguiling young woman behind. From the perspective of a few years later, the young man relates his American experiences to an American man he meets in a cafe, whose visit to Lahore may or may not have to do with the young man's recent anti-American activities. This novel's firm, steady, even beautiful voice proclaims the completeness of the soul when personal and global issues are conjoined. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Marriage and other acts of charity - Kate Braestrup

Marriage and other acts of charity - Braestrup, Kate

Summary: As a minister, Kate Braestrup regularly performs weddings. She has also, at 44, been married twice and widowed once, and accordingly has much to say about life after "the ceremony." From helping a newlywed couple make amends after their first fight to preparing herself for her second marriage, Braestrup offers her insights and experiences on what it truly means to share your life with someone, from the first kiss to the last straw, for better or for worse.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
In this breezy, soft-pedaling exercise in spiritual empowerment, Braestrup (Here If You Need Me) shares some of her hard-won marital wisdom. As an ordained minister, Braestrup counsels couples to love and cherish one another, even in the face of a 50% divorce rate, and asserts that of the three kinds of love known in ancient biblical Greek—eros, philos, and agape—the greatest is the last. Translated into Latin as charitas, agape is the generous, selfless love given unconditionally and best mimics the nature of God's love. Braestrup traces her own call to the ministry to the aftermath of the shocking sudden death of her policeman husband, Drew, killed in a car accident in 1996, when her family and friends rallied around her and the couple's four children with abundant love and care. She reveals that not long before his death, the couple had suffered a marital crisis and sought counseling for what the author considered clearly Drew's "incurable character disorder"; however, she was jolted from the brink by the thought of their losing each other. Employing examples of the couples she knows, such as game warden Jeremy Judd and his betrothed, town dispatcher Melanie, who sought the author's advice as they embarked on their marriage, as well as a soon-to-be-divorced couple, Jesse and Georgiana, Braestrup offers grains of folksy, charitable wisdom. She is comfortable discussing death ("One hundred percent of marriages end"), declaring that the only recourse is Jesus' message: "Love more." (Jan.)
[Page 44]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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The corpse walker: real life stories, China from the bottom up - Yiwu Liao

The corpse walker: real life stories, China from the bottom up - Liao, Yiwu

Summary: "A compilation of twenty-seven extraordinary oral histories that opens a window, unlike any other, onto the lives of ordinary, often outcast, Chinese men and women. Liao Yiwu (one of the best-known writers in China because he is also one of the most censored) chose his subjects from the bottom of Chinese society: people for whom the 'new' China--the China of economic growth and globalization--is no more beneficial than the old. Here are a professional mourner, a trafficker in humans, a leper, an abbot, a retired government official, a former landowner, a mortician, a feng shui master, a former Red Guard, a political prisoner, a village teacher, a blind street musician, a Falun Gong practitioner, and many others--people who have been battered by life but who have managed to retain their dignity, their humor, and their essential, complex humanity. Liao's interviews were given from 1990 to 2003."--From

Publishers Weekly Reviews
In this rich, often harrowing oral history, Chinese writer (and notorious target of censors) Liao travels to the margins of Chinese society, interviewing 27 outsiders from China's forgotten classes. The book contains an incredible cast of characters: a grave robber, a composer, a leper, a professional mourner paid to wail at funerals, a human trafficker and a delusional peasant who has anointed himself emperor. These conversations, largely recorded from memory, showcase Liao's empathy for his subjects and a particular talent for getting into tight situations; on one occasion, the author is forced to leap out of a three-story building when he fears the Communist government is targeting him for talking to a Falun Gong supporter. Liao's research took 11 years, and his final product is a stunning series of portraits of a generation and class of individuals ignored in history books and unacknowledged in the accounts of the "new" China. (Apr.)
[Page 147]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Great house: a novel - Nicole Krauss

Great house: a novel - Krauss, Nicole

Summary: The lives of four strangers are thrown into chaos over an enormous, stolen desk, including an antique dealer in Jerusalem, a man in London, and an American novelist who inherited it from a poet and victim of Pinochet's secret police.

Booklist Reviews
"*Starred Review* Krauss, in her follow-up to the best-selling History of Love (2005), tells her story entirely through the voices of her characters. All of the elements of literary fiction are conveyed through the monologues of five people: a writer from New York, an angry Jewish father from Jerusalem, an American woman studying in Oxford, the baffled husband of a Holocaust refugee, and an éminence grise who wraps things up—but not too tightly. Readers follow the trail, set forth in straightforward narrative and flashbacks, of an immense desk, which casts its shadow (sometimes literally) over the lives of all five characters. The plot is intricate and rewards careful reading. Krauss' masterful rendition of character is breathtaking, compelling, and reminiscent of ZZ Packer at her very best. In addition, the points of view of the various narrators, taken as a whole, present a broad picture of plot and motivation. Thematically strong, Great House examines the daily survival of Jews and demonstrates the destructiveness of lies and secrets within families. This tour de force of fiction writing will deeply satisfy fans of the author's first two books and bring her legions more." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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For colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf: a choreopoem - Ntozake Shange

For colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf: a choreopoem - Shange, Ntozake

Summary: A theatrical celebration, in verse and prose, of being female and black incorporates the triumphs, joys, griefs, and losses of black women in America - (Baker & Taylor)

These poems and prose selections with the author's special voice: by turns bitter, funny, ironic, and savage; fiercely honest and personal. -- Martin Gottfried New York Post Review

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Captain Alatriste - Arturo Perez-Reverte

Captain Alatriste - Perez-Reverte, Arturo

Summary: In a first installment of a new series of historical novels by the author of The Queen of the South, wounded seventeenth-century Spanish soldier Alatriste works as a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid, but when his latest job takes an unexpectedly deadly turn, he realizes he is in the employ of one of the Spanish Inquisition's most dangerous figures. Simultaneous. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly
International bestseller Pérez-Reverte (The Club Dumas) offers a winning swashbuckler set in 17th-century Spain. Hooded figures, apparently acting on the behalf of Fray Emilio Bocanegra, "president of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition," hire famed soldier Capt. Diego Alatriste to murder two Englishmen who have come to Madrid. One of the hooded figures, however, begs Alatriste (out of earshot of the others) only to wound the pair. When Alatriste and his fellow assassin, an ill-humored Italian, surprise the British, the captain is impressed by the fighting spirit they show, and he prevents the assassination from taking place. (The Italian, infuriated, swears eternal revenge.) When the Englishmen turn out to be on an important mission, Alatriste suddenly finds himself caught between a number of warring factions, Spanish and otherwise. Splendidly paced and filled with a breathtaking but not overwhelming sense of the history and spirit of the age, this is popular entertainment at its best: the characters have weight and depth, the dialogue illuminates the action as it furthers the story and the film-worthy plot is believable throughout. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (May 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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The empowered patient - Elizabeth Cohen

The empowered patient: how to get the right diagnosis, buy the cheapest drugs, beat your insurance company, and get the best medical care every time - Cohen, Elizabeth

Summary: A CNN medical correspondent offers simple rules for becoming your own advocate and making sure that you and your family get excellent medical care and insurance coverage, in a book that combines powerful anecdotes with shocking statistics and includes checklists and sample letters and dialogues. Original. - (Baker & Taylor)

Staff Review:
I thought when I took this title out that I was already an empowered patient, but I learned so much. She will give you hints on everything from from talking to your doctor to saving money on prescriptions. Don't miss this one.

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The Flashman Papers Series - George MacDonald Fraser

The Flashman Papers Series - Fraser, George MacDonald
Series Title: The Flashman Papers

Summary: Roving British Army colonel Sir Harry Flashman, roisterous scoundrel and witty cynic, is a reluctant hero in exploits ranging from the Crimean War (Flashman at the Charge) to China's Taiping Rebellion (Flashman and the Dragon).

Booklist Reviews
(This review refers to Flashman and the tiger and other extracts from The Flashman papers)
Very few historical fiction writers possess the charm and authenticity that Fraser has exhibited in his series of novels featuring Sir Harry Flashman, "the celebrated Victorian soldier, scoundrel, amorist, and self-confessed poltroon." The conceit of this marvelously entertaining series, as his many fans know, has been that Fraser is simply editing for publication the personal papers/memoirs of Flashman; the conceit is carried even further in this latest novel, which purports to present three "packets" of Flashman's remembrances partnered in one volume. Fraser insists that these are "minor episodes in the career of an eminent if disreputable Victorian," but the reader will find them just as hilarious and endearing as any of the previous Flashman novels. The first (and longest) "packet" deals with Flashman's friend, the newspaperman Henri Blowitz, Paris correspondent for the Times of London. In two interrelated story lines, we see Blowitz scoop the terms reached at the 1878 Congress of Berlin before the official publication of the treaty's text, and we watch Flashman's intervention in a plot to assassinate Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. The second "packet" deals with the "Great Baccarat Scandal of Tranby Croft," in which the Prince of Wales actually had to testify at a cheating-at-gambling trial. And the third "packet" in the triptych concerns Flashman meeting the infamous Colonel John Sebastian ("Tiger Jack") Moran in South Africa. You gotta love Flashman. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2000)) Copyright 2000

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Horatio's drive: America's first road trip - Duncan Dayton

Horatio's drive: America's first road trip - Duncan, Dayton

Summary: Chronicles the nation's first road trip by Horatio Jackson, a thirty-one-year-old Vermont doctor who drove his car from San Francisco to New York on mainly unpaved roads in 1903. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Technological revolution makes the unthinkable routine-and what could be more quotidian than an automobile trip across America? Yet at one time such a notion seemed about as likely to succeed as jumping Niagara in a barrel. Burns and Dayton are responsible for the upcoming PBS film about the adventurous first-ever car trip from coast to coast; this is the picture-packed print companion. Impetuously responding to a dare in May 1903, Dr. Horatio Jackson rashly wagered $50 that he could traverse the continent in 90 days. Bankrolled by his wealthy wife and accompanied by mechanic friend Sewall Crocker, Jackson set out for New York from San Francisco. Crossing a landscape devoid of paved roads, roadmaps and streetlights in a vehicle without multiple gears, roof or windshield and capable of a mere 30 mph, the two men ran into considerable problems in Northern California, Oregon and Idaho. (Meanwhile, other, corporate-backed aspirants to the distinction of being first across the country were hot on their heels.) Hardly anybody they encountered had ever seen an automobile before, so the men repeatedly became local heroes before becoming celebrities on a national scale. Few can match nationally famous PBS documentarian Burns's skill at evoking the past visually, and this book does nothing to undo that reputation. (Any picture featuring Bud, the goggled bulldog they adopted on the way, is a winner.) Meanwhile, Duncan, responsible for the research and the text, delivers a graceful, concise, engrossing account. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Tammy Pierce is unlovable - Esther Watson

Tammy Pierce is unlovable - Watson, Esther

Summary: Presents the diary of Tammy Pierce during her sophomore year of high school in 1988 with graphic illustrations, and describes her hopes, dreams, boredom, and agonizing experiences, which includes prank calls, school dances, boys, and more

Booklist Reviews
Watson says this panel-per-page graphic novel draws directly on a diary found in a gas-station washroom. If that's disingenuous, the protagonist s voice and candid but awkward self-perception are impressively authentic. Texas high-school sophomore Tammy is overweight, boy crazy, and underdeveloped in social skills when it comes to dealing with her younger brother, her "best" friend (a skanky jerk), and anyone else in her small, nasty circle. Watson s scratchy, turquoise-and-white art, reminiscent but not imitative of Lynda Barry's style, amplifies Tammy's physical and character flaws as well as her pathetic emotional life. Unlike the four Notebook Girls (2006), who are her age-mates, Tammy appears all alone in dealing with social and cultural nemeses she doesn t recognize. Her insider perspective is just as shocking as those of the notebook girls. Unlovable is a fine example of how art and narrative can be combined to make a potentially trivial book compelling and insight-provoking. In particular, Gen Xers ready for an unvarnished backward glance at the concerns and the cruelties of their high-school years will recognize Tammy with stark clarity. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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How to be alone: essays - Jonathan Franzen

How to be alone: essays - Franzen, Jonathan

Summary: The author of The Corrections reprints his 1996, "The Harper's Essay," offering additional writings that consider a central theme of the erosion of civic life and private dignity and the increasing persistence of loneliness in postmodern America. 30,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Franzen won the National Book Award (and, prior to that, Booklist's Top of the List award) for his sharply comedic and deeply compassionate novel The Corrections [BKL Jl 01], but he also drew fire for his fumbled response to being chosen as an Oprah author. Here, in his first essay collection, the qualities of mind that make him a relentlessly questioning thinker, and piercing and candid writer, one willing to ponder the finer points regarding reading, publishing, and the packaging of authors raised by Oprah's Book Club, are revealed, and Franzen's standing as a significant, indeed, essential literary voice is resoundingly reaffirmed. Here is the now infamous Harper's essay about the state of the novel, conscionable skepticism regarding popular culture and the addictive technologies that disseminate it, concern with our obsession with privacy and concomitant degradation of the public sphere, inquiries into the prison system and urban life, insights into depression, and, underlying all, love for and faith in literature. Franzen also quietly illuminates the intense emotions and personal experiences, most movingly his father's succumbing to Alzheimer's, that went into the writing of The Corrections and his inability to transform himself from artist into commodity. ((Reviewed September 1, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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The consolations of philosophy - Alain De Botton

The consolations of philosophy - De Botton, Alain

Summary: The author attempts to make philosophy useful by using the great philosophers to heal a variety of pyschic ailments - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Three years ago, de Botton offered a delightful encounter with a writer many find unapproachable, in his bestselling How Proust Can Change Your Life. Now he attempts a similar undertaking not wholly successful with the great philosophers. In clear, witty prose, de Botton (who directs the graduate philosophy program at London University) sets some of their ideas to the mundane task of helping readers with their personal problems. Consolation for those feeling unpopular is found in the trial and death of Socrates; for those lacking money, in Epicurus' vision of what is essential for happiness. Senecan stoicism assists us in enduring frustration; Schopenhauer, of all people, mends broken hearts (by showing that "happiness was never part of the plan"); and Nietzsche encourages us to embrace difficulties. Black-and-white illustrations cleverly (sometimes too cleverly) accent the text: a "Bacardi and friends" ad, for example, illustrates the Epicurean doctrine of confused needs. Self-deprecating confessions pepper the book, a succinct account of an episode of impotence being the most daring. The quietly ironic style and eclectic approach will gratify many postmodern readers. But since the philosophers' opinions often cancel each other out (Montaigne undermines Seneca's trust in rational self-mastery, and Nietzsche repudiates "virtually all" that Schopenhauer taught), readers will need to pick and choose whose cogitations to take to heart. At his best (e.g., on Socrates), de Botton offers lucid popularization an enjoyable read with "a few consoling and practical things" to say. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Major Pettigrew's last stand: a novel - Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's last stand: a novel - Simonson, Helen

Summary: Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?

Booklist Reviews
Change is threatening the little world of Edgecombe St. Mary. Lord Dagenham is about to sell off part of his ancestral estate to developers, and Pakistanis have taken over the village shop. Major Ernest Pettigrew is definitely old school, but he has been lonely since his wife died, and though he is is prey to various unattached ladies it is with shopkeeper Mrs. Ali that he forms a bond, nourished by their mutual interest in literature. Meanwhile, his ambitious son Roger comes to town with a sleek American girlfriend and starts renovating a nearby cottage. And the village ladies are busy hatching plans for the annual Golf Club dance, for which this year's theme is "An Evening at the Mughal Court." There is a great deal going on in these pages—sharply observed domestic comedy, late-life romance, culture clash, a dash of P. G. Wodehouse, and a pinch of religious fundamentalism. First novelist Simonson handles it all with great aplomb, and her Major, with his keen sense of both honor and absurdity, is the perfect lens through which to view contemporary England. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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The kitchen god's wife - Amy Tan

The kitchen god's wife - Tan, Amy

Summary: A Chinese immigrant who is convinced she is dying threatens to celebrate the Chinese New Year by unburdening herself of everybody's hidden truths, thus prompting a series of comic misunderstandings - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Tan can relax. If The Joy Luck Club was an astonishing literary debut, The Kitchen God's Wife is a triumph, a solid indication of a mature talent for magically involving storytelling, beguiling use of language and deeply textured and nuanced character development. And while this second novel is again a story that a Chinese mother tells her daughter, it surpasses its predecessor as a fully integrated and developed narrative, immensely readable, perceptive, humorous, poignant and wise. Pearl Louie Brandt deplores her mother Winnie's captious criticism and cranky bossiness, her myriad superstitious rituals to ward off bad luck, and her fearful, negative outlook, which has created an emotional abyss between them. Dreading her mother's reaction, Pearl has kept secret the fact that she is suffering from MS. But as she learns during the course of the narrative, Winnie herself has concealed some astonishing facts about her early life in China, abetted by her friend and fellow emigree Helen Kwong. The story Winnie unfolds to Pearl is a series of secrets, each in turn giving way to yet another surprising revelation. Winnie's understated account--during which she goes from a young woman ``full of innocence and hope and dreams'' through marriage to a sadistic bully, the loss of three babies, and the horror and privations of the Japanese war on China--is compelling and heartrending. As Winnie gains insights into the motivations for other peoples' actions, she herself grows strong enough to conceal her past while building a new life in America, never admitting her deadly hidden fears. Integrated into this mesmerizing story is a view of prewar and wartime China--both the living conditions and the mind-set. Tan draws a vivid picture of the male-dominated culture, the chasm between different classes of society, and the profusion of rules for maintaining respect and dignity. But the novel's immediacy resides in its depiction of human nature, exposing foibles and frailties, dreams and hopes, universal to us all. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; first serial to Grand Street, Lear's, McCalls and San Francisco Focus; paperback sale to Fawcett/Ivy; author tour. (June) Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information.

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Coco Chanel: The legend and the life - Justine Picardie

Coco Chanel: The legend and the life - Picardie, Justine

Summary: Peels away the layers of romance and myth to reveal the woman who shaped modern fashion, drawing from research in the Chanel archives and an exclusive interview with Chanel's successor, Karl Lagerfeld.

No Review Available

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Salt: a world history - Mark Kurlansky

Salt: a world history - Kurlansky, Mark

Summary: "Until about 100 years ago, when modern geology revealed its prevalence, salt was one of the world's most sought-after commodities. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires and inspired revolutions. [This book] blends [these] economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records"--P. [4] of cover.

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ Kurlansky thinks big. First, there was Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1997), then The Basque History of the World (1999), and now, the world history of a subject bigger than one of the most important food commodities in the West, bigger than the oldest extant European culture--that culinary sine qua non, salt. Of course, salt is necessary for life itself; living bodies eliminate it, and without replenishment by ingestion, humans and other animals soon die, which is why animal trails lead to salt licks, and the first human paths did, too. Moreover, salt is a dandy preservative of meat, vegetables, and, as the ancient Egyptians knew, corpses. Homo faber figured out how to get salt out of brine, a discovery that increased the number of places people could prosper. Still, though salt is a very common substance, it is not always easily accessible, and weather and climate can make extraction from brine impractical. Hence, salt became the basis of wealth for communities, principalities, and empires, even after the invention of refrigeration and the diagnosis of hypertension. This is the big story Kurlansky unfolds in chapters that proceed from time immemorial to the present and cover such specific topics as "Salt's Salad Days" in ancient Rome; the "Nordic Dream" of enough salt for all Scandinavia's herring, not to mention lakrits (salted licorice); how, just as oil won the Big One, salt largely won the War between the States; and why, when Gandhi really got down to persuading the British out of India, he started with a "salt march." Tasty, very tasty! ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Despair: a novel - Vladimir Nabokov

Despair: a novel - Nabokov, Vladimir

Summary: Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime--his own murder.

No Review Available

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It - Stephen King

It - King, Stephen

Summary: They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror within their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name... - (Penguin Putnam)


Library Journal Reviews
The amazingly prolific King returns to pure horror, pitting good against evil as in The Stand and The Shining. Moving back and forth between 1958 and 1985, the story tells of seven children in a small Maine town who discover the source of a series of horrifying murders. Having conquered the evil force once, they are summoned together 27 years later when the cycle begins again. As usual, the requisite thrills are in abundance, and King's depiction of youngsters is extraordinarily accurate and sympathetic. But there is enough material in this epic for several novels and stories, and the excessive length and numerous interrelated flashbacks eventually become wearying and annoying. Nevertheless, King is a born storyteller, and It will undoubtedly be in high demand among his fans. BOMC main selection. Eric W. Johnson, Univ. of Bridgeport Lib., Ct. Copyright 1986 Cahners Business Information.

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Dracula - Bram Stoker

Dracula - Stoker, Bram

Summary: Summary: Having discovered the double identity of the wealthy Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula, a small group of people vow to rid the world of the evil vampire.

Editorial Review:
Count Dracula has inspired countless movies, books, and plays. But few, if any, have been fully faithful to Bram Stoker's original, best-selling novel of mystery and horror, love and death, sin and redemption. Dracula chronicles the vampire's journey from Transylvania to the nighttime streets of London. There, he searches for the blood of strong men and beautiful women while his enemies plot to rid the world of his frightful power.

Today's critics see Dracula as a virtual textbook on Victorian repression of the erotic and fear of female sexuality. In it, Stoker created a new word for terror, a new myth to feed our nightmares, and a character who will outlive us all.

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