Jan 4, 2011

Just kids - Patti Smith

Just kids - Smith, Patti

Summary: In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Patti Smith devotees know that she writes electrifying songs and spirited and spiritual poems, yet her first narrative book, a portrait of the artist as a young searcher times two, is a revelation. In a spellbinding memoir as notable for its restraint as for its lucidity, its wit as well as its grace, Smith tells the story of how she and Robert Mapplethorpe found each other, a true and abiding love that survived his coming out as gay, and the path to art in New York City during the heady late 1960s and early 1970s. Smith promised the controversial photographer that she would tell their story as he faced death in 1989 and then weathered more tragedies as she lost her husband and brother. Consequently, Smith brings the piercing clarity born of pain and renewal to this at once matter-of-fact and fairy tale–like chronicle of two romantics living hand-to-mouth as disciples to art. As much as she succeeds in revealing little-known aspects of Mapplethorpe's temperament, it is Smith herself who fascinates, from her earliest childhood memories of entering "into the radiance of imagination"; to her stints as a factory worker; to the loneliness of being 19, unmarried, poor, and pregnant; to her fortitude during her penniless and homeless days and nights on the streets of New York in 1967. A lifelong book lover, Smith works in Scribner's bookstore as she and Mapplethorpe seek their true callings while living in the now legendary Chelsea Hotel, a crazy laboratory for experimentation artistic and otherwise. With appearances by Janis Joplin, Allen Ginsberg, Sam Shepard, Johnny Winter, and many other intriguing and influential figures, Smith covers a remarkable swath of cultural and personal history in this beautifully crafted, vivid, and indelible look back. Readers can only hope that Smith will continue to tell her stories and share her visions. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Gunn's golden rules: life's little lessons for making it work - Tim Gunn

Gunn's golden rules: life's little lessons for making it work - Gunn, Tim

Summary: A television personality and fashion consultant offers a simple, accessible guidebook to help readers navigate all aspects of life. Filled with dishy stories of fashion's greatest divas, behind-the-scenes glimpses of "Project Runway's" biggest drama queens, and never-before-revealed insights into his private life, Gunn shares his personal secrets for "making it work"--in your career, relationships, and life.

Staff Review:
Tim Gunn is always a source of sage advice, at least in my opinion. From his amusing anecdotes on the fashion industry, to his charming point of view on proper etiquette for the 21st century, Gunn is the voice of reason in world where pleases and thank yous seem to have become arcane.

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Maisie Dobbs: a novel - Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs: a novel - Winspear, Jacqueline

Summary: In her first case, private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I. A first novel. - (Baker & Taylor)

Library Journal Reviews
From its dedication to the author's paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother, who were both injured during World War I, to its powerful conclusion, this is a poignant and compelling story that explores war's lingering and insidious impact on its survivors. The book opens in spring 1929 as Maisie Dobbs opens an office dedicated to "discreet investigations" and traverses back and forth between her present case and the long shadows cast by World War I. What starts out as a plea by an anxious husband for Maisie to discover why his wife regularly lies about her whereabouts turns into a journey of discovery whose answers and indeed whose very questions lie in a quiet rural cemetery where many war dead are buried. In Maisie, Winspear has created a complex new investigator who, tutored by the wise Maurice Blanche, recognizes that in uncovering the actions of the body, she is accepting responsibility for the soul. British-born but now living in America, first novelist Winspear writes in simple, effective prose, capturing the post-World War I era effectively and handling human drama with compassionate sensitivity while skillfully avoiding cloying sentimentality. At the end, the reader is left yearning for more discreet investigations into the nature of what it means to feel truth. Highly recommended.-Caroline Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Bet me - Jennifer Crusie

Bet me - Crusie, Jennifer

Summary: Agreeing not to pursue a relationship after one date, unlikely lovers Min Dobbs and Cal Morrisey are thrown together again in the wake of such factors as a jealous ex-boyfriend, a determined psychologist, and a bizarrely intelligent cat.

Booklist Reviews
Minerva Dobbs thought David Fisk might be the one she's been waiting for, until he dumps her three weeks before her sister Diana's wedding. Min soon realizes just how lucky she is to be rid of David when she overhears him at her favorite bar betting a handsome stranger, Calvin Morrisey, that Cal couldn't bed Min in a month. At first Min debates the idea of giving them both a piece of her mind, but then she remembers she still needs a date for the wedding. Why not use the all-too charming Cal just like he was going to use her, and then dump him? Of course, Min never expected that Cal might turn out to be the "one." A sturdy statistician who thinks Elvis Presley is the only man worth waiting for discovers that fairy tales can come true if you are only willing to believe. New York Times best-selling Crusie maintains her winning streak in another wickedly witty, deliciously sexy contemporary romance. Finding exactly the right balance between cynicism and optimism, Crusie deftly blends snappy dialogue; quirky, irrepressible secondary characters; and two beautifully matched protagonists struggling against their romantic fate. ((Reviewed December 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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The mysterious flame of Queen Loana: an illustrated novel - Umberto Eco

The mysterious flame of Queen Loana: an illustrated novel - Eco, Umberto

Summary: Having suffered a complete loss of memory regarding every aspect of his identity, Yambo withdraws to a family home outside of Milan, where he sorts through boxes of old records and experiences memories in the form of a graphic novel. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ Eco, best known for the popular medieval murder-mystery tale The Name of the Rose (1983), continually tests himself and his devoted readers by composing, one after another, deeply cerebral novels teeming with erudition and offering plotlines into which he weaves (almost pours) learned discussions of history, religion, and philosophy. What saves his fiction from aridity and pretension, however, is his compelling storytelling and greatly sympathetic characters. His new novel, demonstrating this combination of traits to the fullest, is about a middle-aged man, an Italian rare-book dealer, who falls into a state of amnesia and must attempt to recover his memory. In other words, he seeks to relearn who "I" is. Yambo--the man's nickname--spends several weeks in his old family home in a rural village, sorting through the accumulated artifacts of recent family history and his own childhood. Surely these comic books and illustrated children's weeklies will prove to be a successful therapy; he desperately hopes they will prompt his memory. The novel's literal level almost sports the pacing of a thriller as Yambo pieces his past together, and on a more metaphysical level, it addresses provocative and never outdated or irrelevant questions about the integrity of one's identity and the irresistible attempt to estimate, while still a part of the community of the living, one's lasting imprint on the global slate. ((Reviewed March 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Little Bee - Chris Cleave

Little Bee - Cleave, Chris

Summary: A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers--one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London.

Booklist Reviews
"*Starred Review* Little Bee, smart and stoic, knows two people in England, Andrew and Sarah, journalists she chanced upon on a Nigerian beach after fleeing a massacre in her village, one grisly outbreak in an off-the-radar oil war. After sneaking into England and escaping a rural "immigration removal" center, she arrives at Andrew and Sarah s London suburb home only to find that the violence that haunts her has also poisoned them. In an unnerving blend of dread, wit, and beauty, Cleave slowly and arrestingly excavates the full extent of the horror that binds Little Bee and Sarah together. A columnist for the Guardian, Cleave earned fame and notoriety when his first book, Incendiary, a tale about a terrorist attack on London, was published on the very day London was bombed in July 2005. His second ensnaring, eviscerating novel charms the reader with ravishing descriptions, sly humor, and the poignant improvisations of Sarah s Batman-costumed young son, then launches devastating attacks in the form of Little Bee s elegantly phrased insights into the massive failure of compassion in the world of refugees. Cleave is a nerves-of-steel storyteller of stealthy power, and this is a novel as resplendent and menacing as life itself." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Talking to girls about Duran Duran - Rob Sheffield

Talking to girls about Duran Duran: one young man's quest for true love and a cooler haircut - Sheffield, Rob

Summary: "The author of Love is a Mix Tape returns to share the soundtrack to his eighties adolescence. When he turned 13 in 1980, Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music and himself, and here he offers a glimpse into his transformation from pasty, geeky 'hermit boy' into a young man with his first girlfriend, his first apartment, and a sense of the world. It's all here: Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Members Only jackets. Girls, every last one of whom seems to be madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran. Sheffield's coming-of-age story has a playlist that any child of the eighties or anyone who just loves music will sing along with. These songs--and Sheffield's writing--will remind readers of that first kiss, that first car, and the moments that shaped their lives."--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
Music journalist Sheffield is best known for Love Is a Mix Tape (2007), which dealt with the sudden death of his young wife. Here he revisits the decade everyone loves to hate, the 1980s. Sheffield makes a convincing argument that the eighties were ruled by inauthenticity in everything except pop culture, which accounts for why its music and films (especially those of John Hughes) continue to exert such influence. Here Sheffield takes the decade year by year, naming each chapter for the seminal pop song that defined his experiences during that time. The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" leads off the chapter about his older, more knowledgeable sisters, who taught him how to dance and what to wear, while Madonna's "Crazy for You" introduces the summer he visited Lourdes, which leads into a discussion of the way his Catholic faith was the perfect preparation for being a pop fan—"lots of ritual, lots of ceremony, lots of private obations as we genuflect before our sacred spaces." Heartfelt and funny, this collection is most likely to appeal to fellow Gen Xers. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Priceless - Robert K. Wittman

Priceless: how I went undercover to rescue the world's stolen treasures - Wittman, Robert

Summary: "Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI's Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career, offering a real-life international thriller. The son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career going undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid. Wittman tells the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: the golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king; the Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement; the rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation's first African-American regiments. The art thieves and scammers he caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. Wittman has saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities, but he considers them all equally priceless."--From publisher description.

Library Journal Reviews
The theft and retrieval of priceless works of art, historic documents, or artifacts can be a Herculean law enforcement challenge. With the creation of the FBI's Art Crime Team—led by 20-year veteran special agent Wittman—the reader enters a clandestine world of criminal activities of epic proportion. Writing with investigative reporter Shiffman, Wittman unfurls a web of intrigue and danger in this rare glimpse into high-level detective work that has resulted in the retrieval of more than $225 million worth of stolen artwork and documents in the past two decades. One of the recent cases solved by the Art Crime Team was the return of one of 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights taken by Union soldiers at the end of the American Civil War (this is depicted in full in David Howard's Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic). Wittman's successes as an undercover agent, extensive training in the world of art, and skill as a lead detective and investigator are well documented in this autobiography. VERDICT An essential read for those interested in art history and law enforcement.—Claire Franek, MSLS, Brockport, NY

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Hollywood Hills: a novel - Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Hills: a novel - Wambaugh, Joseph

Series Title: Hollwood Station Series

Summary: After a pair of drug-addled criminals aims to make a planned art heist their own, LAPD veteran "Hollywood Nate" Weiss, surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, and the rest of the team at Hollywood Station have a deadly situation on their hands.

Staff Review:
The 4th installment in the Hollywood Station series does not fail to entertain and amuse.

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Dark water - Laura McNeal

Dark water - McNeal, Laura

Summary: Living in a cottage on her uncle's southern California avocado ranch since her parent's messy divorce, fifteen-year-old Pearl Dewitt meets and falls in love with an illegal migrant worker, and is trapped with him when wildfires approach his makeshift forest home.

Kirkus Reviews
This debut solo effort after several collaborations with husband Tom McNeal (The Decoding of Lana Morris, 2007, etc.) stands out in the crowded coming-of-age field. The affecting narrative springs believably from the first-person thoughts of Pearl DeWitt as she recalls her 15th summer, when, entranced by a nearly mute, illegal Mexican migrant worker, the beautiful and gifted teenage Amiel, Pearl makes choices that lead to tragedy. Evocative language electrifies the scenes between the pair, as they develop a relationship both complicated and deepened by their limited verbal communication. Her warnings to readers of impending disaster amplify rather than diminish the impact of the misguided, wrenching decisions she makes when a raging wildfire sweeps through their rural California community. Besides her poignant relationship with Amiel, Pearl navigates her father's recent abandonment of her and her mother and her complicated relationship with her cousin Robby as he blunderingly deals with his father's apparent infidelity. Notable for well-drawn characters, an engaging plot and, especially, hauntingly beautiful language, this is an outstanding book. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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War without end - Anton La Guardia

War without end: Israelis, Palestinians, and the struggle for a promised land - La Guardia, Anton

Summary: A former Middle East correspondent traces the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, examining its causes and discussing possible solutions that would allow both sides to exist together peacefully. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
The ongoing slaughter in the holy "land between the river and the sea" has at least crystallized the core conflict; it is no longer a dispute between Israel and the surrounding Arab states. It is now a struggle between Israelis and Palestinians for the same cherished but blood-soaked real estate. Although La Guardia, currently the diplomatic editor for the Daily Telegraph and Middle East correspondent from 1990 to 1998, does delve into the history of the conflicting national aspirations, this is fundamentally an examination of two wounded peoples, neither of whom seems capable of surmounting national myths and past hatreds to forge a new future. La Guardia is even-handed in his criticism of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but he does not spare ordinary people, attacking them for their inability to give up unrealistic and destructive goals. As for solutions, he seems to feel that some form of international coercion applied to both sides offers the best hope, but he recognizes that even that road has major pitfalls. This is an absorbing but heartbreaking examination of a seemingly endless tragedy that continues to unfold before our eyes. ((Reviewed May 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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The lust lizard of Melancholy Cove - Christopher Moore

The lust lizard of Melancholy Cove - Moore, Christopher

Summary: Autumn in the sleepy California town of Pine Cove is turned upside down by the arrival of a Mississippi Delta blues musician, a huge sea serpent drawn to the sound of the steel guitar, the explosion of a tanker truck at a gas station, and a mysterious trailer that shows up in the local trailer park - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Suppose that depression serves an evolutionary purpose, such as assuring that some prey will be too down to run from predators. Suppose an amphibious beast lurks in the Pacific and, recalling the tangy radioactive dressing in that submarine full of Russian sailors it found, follows a nuclear leak to a little California coastal town. Suppose that, because of a new patient's apparent suicide, the town shrink switches all her depressive patients from Zoloft to placebos. Suppose, too, that the sea beast attracts prey with pheromones. Now, remember that patients taken off antidepressants experience a libidinal surge, and what do you have? A lot of horny people about to be lunch for a big lizard, that's what. Such is the complex of premises animating Moore's clownish take on Godzilla that, before it gets a little saggy during the last hundred pages, is thoroughly, delightfully silly, like nothing so much as the old (1950s) Mad magazine parodies of popular movies and TV shows, but with a lot more sex jokes. ((Reviewed March 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Collected stories - William Trevor

Collected stories - Trevor, William

Summary: An anthology of 48 stories by the O. Henry Prize and Whitbread Prize-winning author of Love and Summer includes selections from such works as After Rain, A Bit on the Side and Cheating at Canasta. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Trevor's four most recent short story collections—After Rain (1996), The Hill Bachelors (2000), A Bit on the Side (2004), and Cheating at Canasta (2007)—merge all their pages into this deep reservoir into which avid fiction readers will dip repeatedly. Whether a story found in this magnificent accumulation is new to the reader or familiar, Trevor's technical skills—for instance, abrupt time shifts that are seamless and add rich layering to both plot and characterization, and pinpoint-perfect word choice resonant as a subtle but effective spice—can be readily recognized by readers with an eye to fiction construction; but on the other hand, these skills will be unconsciously gathered by readers unconcerned with technical analysis. In this master storyteller's hands, rural Ireland becomes the cosmos in which every one of us feels at home. The unfortunate ending of a friendship, the pain of a wife's discovery of her husband's affair, a husband's sacrifice of his affair so his mistress won't be regarded as just someone's "bit on the side"—these specific situations assemble under the book's umbrella theme of ordinary life as undulating waves of pleasures and crises. High-Demand Backstory: Irishman Trevor probably won't be making any author tours in this country, but it is very likely his new book will be a cover review of the New York Times Book Review and will certainly be reviewed—and positively if not enthusiastically—everyplace else as well. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Such men as these - David Sears

Such men as these: the story of the Navy pilots who flew the deadly skies over Korea - Sears, David

Summary: The gripping exploits of United States Navy combat pilots during the Korean War-- heroes who inspired James Michener’s classic, The Bridges at Toko-Ri
- (Perseus Publishing)

Booklist Reviews
Few aspects of the ostensibly forgotten Korean War are more so than the role naval aviation played in it. About all most who have heard of it comes from James Michener's The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1953). Sears covers the writing of that novel, also the rest of the navy's air war over and around Korea, which included the first use of carrier-based jets (for which of the era weren't ideal), the last hurrah of the F4U Corsair, and the Golden Age of the AD Skyraider. Naval aviation deployment stretched from almost the first days of the war to battles with Russian MiGs off Vladivostok toward its end. Close support was invaluable, but interdiction involved fighting lots of low-tech, well-defended transportation links with high-tech, vulnerable aircraft, which proved to be a foretaste of Vietnam. Eminently readable, this volume breaks new ground on the Korean War and naval aviation. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Let the Northern Lights erase your name: a novel - Vendela Vida

Let the Northern Lights erase your name: a novel - Vida, Vendela

Summary: Raised by her father after the disappearance of her mother, twenty-eight-year-old Clarissa discovers upon her father's death that he was not her father at all, a finding that drives her to leave her fiancâe and travel to the Arctic to discover the truth about her heritage. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Vida, coeditor of Believer magazine, follows her canny debut, And Now You Can Go (2003), with a taut, darkly witty, and galvanizing tale of one woman's search for the truth about her parentage. Clarissa's enigmatic mother left her family, including her retarded son, when Clarissa was 14, and vanished without a trace. A dozen years later, Clarissa is languishing in a stale relationship and going nowhere with her work editing movie subtitles when her father abruptly dies, and a gaping hole opens in her past. Now it's Clarissa's turn to disappear as she journeys to Lapland and the world of the Sami, an indigenous people who still herd reindeer. With skilled distillation, Vida evokes a culture on the brink of extinction and a legacy of loss as her anxious yet adventurous protagonist throws herself on the mercy of strangers in an otherworldly realm of deep cold, hard drinking, a hotel constructed of snow and ice, the northern lights, and long memories. Brilliantly distilled, blade-sharp, and as dangerously exhilarating as skating in the dark. ((Reviewed December 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Breaking night - Liz Murray

Breaking night: a memoir of forgiveness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard - Murray, Liz

Summary: The author offers an account of her journey from a fifteen-year-old living on the streets and eating garbage to her acceptance into Harvard, a feat that prompted a Lifetime movie and a successful motivational-speaking career.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
From runaway to Harvard student, Murray tells an engaging, powerfully motivational story about turning her life around after growing up the neglected child of drug addicts. When Murray was born in 1980, her former beatnik father was in jail for illegally trafficking in prescription painkillers, and her mother, a cokehead since age 13, had just barely missed losing custody of their year-old daughter, Lisa. Murray and her sister grew up in a Bronx apartment that gradually went to seed, living off government programs and whatever was left after the parents indulged their drug binges; Murray writes that drugs were the "wrecking ball" that destroyed her family-- prompting her mother's frequent institutionalization for drug-induced mental illness and leading to her parents inviting in sexual molesters. By age 15, with the help of her best friend Sam and an elusive hustler, Carlos, she took permanently to the streets, relying on friends, sadly, for shelter. With the death of her mother, her runaway world came to an end, and she began her step-by-step plan to attend an alternative high school, which eventually led to a New York Times scholarship and acceptance to Harvard. In this incredible story of true grit, Murray went from feeling like "the world was filled with people who were repulsed by me" to learning to receive the bountiful generosity of strangers who truly cared. (Oct.)

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