Aug 1, 2011

Secret daughter - Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret daughter - Gowda, Shilpi Somaya

Summary: Interweaves the stories of a baby girl in India, the American doctor who adopted her, and the Indian mother who gave her up in favor of a son, as two families--one in India, the other in the United States--are changed by the child that connects them.

Kirkus Reviews
Fiction with a conscience, as two couples worlds apart are linked by an adopted child.Gowda's debut opens in 1984 with poor Indian village-dweller Kavita giving birth to a second daughter. When her first was born, husband Jasu immediately arranged the child's death. Girls are a luxury the couple can't afford; they need boys, who don't require dowries and can help with the labor of surviving. This time around, Kavita stands up to Jasu, names the baby Usha and takes her to an orphanage. Adopted and renamed Asha, she becomes the only child of Krishnan, scion of a wealthy Bombay family, who is now a neurosurgeon in San Francisco, and his American wife Somer. Asha's arrival assuages some of Somer's pain over her infertility but brings its own cultural problems. Asha grows up feeling incomplete, cut off from half her heritage by her mother's fears and neediness. As a college student, her flair for journalism leads to a fellowship, and she chooses to spend the year in Bombay (now Mumbai), giving Gowda further opportunity to describe India, mainly its gender imbalance and the social divide between the wealthy and the grindingly impoverished. Somer and Krishnan's marriage goes through a rocky phase, and Kavita and Jasu have problems too, but Asha's visit inevitably provides the opportunity to connect some, if not all, of the loose ends.A lightweight fable of family division and reconciliation, gaining intensity and depth from the author's sharp social observations. Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The girl in the garden - Kamala Nair

The girl in the garden - Nair, Kamala

Summary: A conflicted young woman seeks clarity about her impending marriage by remembering a childhood summer when she discovered a long-hidden secret while visiting her mother's ancestral home in an Indian village outside a mysterious jungle. 40,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
On the verge of marriage, Rakhee Singh must return to India to rectify childhood notions of marriage and love that were shattered during an adolescent summer spent in India. Just as Rakhee's adolescence was beginning, her Indian immigrant mother, facing deep depression and unhappiness in Minnesota, decided to bring her to India for the summer. There, Rakhee built strong friendships with her cousins, met her dying grandmother, and found her once-rich family struggling to stay afloat. She discovered as the summer unfolded that the financial hardship was deeply involved in her mother's affair with an old friend and with a mysterious garden deep in the forest behind the family home. What Rakhee discovered within the walls of the garden changed her life forever. A daring fairy tale of a story, Nair's first novel audaciously tackles issues ranging from puberty to friendship to abuse, providing plenty of adventure as well. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Save me - Lisa Scottoline

Save me - Scottoline, Lisa

Summary: When an explosion rips through the nearly empty cafeteria of a Reesburgh (Pa.) Elementary School, lunch mother Rose McKenna leads two girls to safety before racing to rescue her own daughter, Melly. But Rose soon learns that she may face both civil and criminal charges for her heroics because one of the girls she saved was seriously injured in the resulting fire that killed three school staff members.

Booklist Reviews
Suburban mom Susan Pressman is forced to make a split-second decision after an explosion goes off in the school cafeteria in which she volunteers. Should she rescue her own daughter, Melly, trapped in the bathroom, or lead the girls standing in front of her, who constantly bully her daughter, to safety? Her choice reverberates throughout the little town of Reesburgh, Pennsylvania, as she is cast as the villain by the local news anchor, parents, and the school. While her attorney and husband construct a defense plan that includes filing a lawsuit against the school, Susan sets out to seek the truth behind this mysterious, accidental fire. With the help of a construction worker who may know the cause of the explosion as well as an incognito visit to a local factory, Susan slowly unravels the truth and along with it some hidden secrets in Reesburgh's dark past, including one horrifying buried memory of her own. At the quick pace of a thriller, Scottoline masterfully fits every detail into a tight plot chock-full of real characters, real issues, and real thrills. A story anchored by the impenetrable power of a mother's love, it begs the question, just how far would you go to save your child? Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Sisterhood everlasting - Ann Brashares

Sisterhood everlasting: a novel - Brashares, Ann

Summary: Having lost touch with each other over the years, Carmen, Lena, and Bridget are surprised when they receive plane tickets to travel to Australia for a reunion with Tibby, but after tragedy strikes their lives are changed forever.

Booklist Reviews
Brashares' bestselling YA series, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, follows four fiercely devoted best friends who shared a pair of near-magical jeans ("According to our mythology, they had the power to keep us together when we were apart"). In the new installment, the pants have been lost for 10 years, and the sisters, now in their late twenties and separated by time zones, struggle to maintain their close bonds. A reunion in Greece creates an opportunity to reconnect, but three of the friends arrive to find that their beloved fourth has drowned in a possible suicide. Most of the novel focuses on the central characters as they try to return to life in the wake of the tragedy, and the transitions between viewpoints are occasionally disjointed. But, like Francesca Lia Block, who has followed the lead heroine of her watershed YA novel, Weetzie Bat (1989), into her forties, Brashares nimbly ages her characters, nicely capturing late-twentysomething concerns about marriage, motherhood, and careers as well as love's enduring power to mend the ruptures of grief. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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The devotion of suspect X - Keigo Higashino

The devotion of suspect X - Higashino, Keigo

Summary: Yasuko Hanaoka thought she had escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day, the situation quickly escalates and Togashi ends up dead. Yasuko's next-door-neighbor Ishigami offers his help, not only disposing of the body, but plotting the cover-up as well.

Booklist Reviews
One of Japan's best-selling crime novelists makes his American debut in an atmospheric thriller about a desperate woman, Yasuko, who, craving a peacefull life with her daughter, Misato, kills her abusive lout of an ex-husband. The next-door neighbor, Ishigami, helps hide the body and improvises a cover-up. When the body is eventually found, however, determined investigator Kusanagi, with the help of Dr. Yukawa, a physicist who knew Ishigami in college, senses that something is amiss with Yasuko's story. A cat-and-mouse, Dostoevsky-like investigation ensues. Higashino explores just how far a relationship built on a terrible event can last. Suggest to readers familiar with Natsuo Kirino (Real World, 2008), another Japanese master of psychological crime fiction, and Karin Fossum, whose Norway-set thrillers are also drenched in psychological terror. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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The ridge - Michael Koryta

The ridge - Koryta, Michael

Summary: For years, a lighthouse at the top of a hill called Blade Ridge has lit up the surrounding woods. But when the lighthouse keeper is found dead, strange things begin happening to the people and animals in the area.

Staff Review:
Really scary thriller. Another completely unique read from Mr. Koryta

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Ariel: the restored edition - Sylvia Plath

Ariel: the restored edition - Plath, Sylvia

Summary: Seeking to restore the selection and arrangement originally intended by Plath at the time of her death, this edition of her final works features a facsimile of her complete working drafts of the title poem provided to offer insight into her creative process.

Booklist Reviews
Plath and her indelible writings have been subjected to a veritable hurricane of commentary. The storm seems to be subsiding, and although it does leave devastation in its wake--the unfair vilification of poet Ted Hughes, Plath's husband, the father of their two children and the holder of the copyright to Plath's writing--it has also kept Plath's work in the public eye, and it has inspired the publication of this treasure: the original manuscript for Plath's masterpiece, Ariel. As Frieda Hughes, a poet and an artist, explains in her set-the-record-straight foreword, her mother left behind a manuscript of 40 poems ordered by a table of contents as well as around 30 more poems written in what Frieda calls the "Ariel voice." When Ted Hughes published Ariel, he replaced and rearranged poems, editorial decisions that have been harshly criticized. Now, finally, readers can see Plath's actual manuscript in this handsome facsimile, which provides a missing piece in the Plath annals and proves that there's nothing like going to the source. ((Reviewed October 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Memories of my melancholy whores - Garcia Marquez, Gabriel

Summary: Having decided to celebrate his ninetieth birthday by spending the night with a young virgin, an old man falls deeply in love for the first time in his life when he spots the girl at a local brothel. 250,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
/*Starred Review*/ The Colombian master storyteller's latest novel is grounded in the steamy atmosphere and gamey politics of his native country; at the same time, in the universality of its theme, it transcends the peculiar traits of his bougainvillea-filled homeland. Composed with the metaphorical lyricism of a parable but without that narrative form's usual moralizing intent, Garcia Marquez's novel briefly but piquantly captures a single year toward the end of a long string of years in the life of a nonagenarian who, ironically, given the length of his tenure on the planet, proves himself still capable of undergoing a significant life alteration. The unnamed protagonist, an unmarried man, is a columnist for the local newspaper, but until this point in time, he has never written anything of lasting value. This memoir, this recollection of the past year, is to be his literary legacy. "The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin," he boldly--and, perhaps, in a delusion of potency--declares. It is soon revealed--sadly--that he has never loved, that his sexual gratification has always been bought and paid for. What his brazen plan to celebrate this milestone birthday comes to entail is a confrontation with a heretofore unrealized aspect of his "inner self"--namely, that sex without love is an empty house in which to dwell. Garcia Marquez's beautiful, poignant story both avoids sentimentality and escapes salaciousness. ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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The best advice I ever got - Katie Couric

The best advice I ever got: lessons from extraordinary lives - Couric, Katie

Summary: In this collection, CBS News anchor Couric calls upon leaders and visionaries in the fields of politics, entertainment, sports, philanthropy, the arts, and business, all of whom share heartfelt insights about success and fulfillment. Includes contributions by Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Handler, Malcolm Gladwell, Steve Martin, Helen Mirren, and dozens of others.

Kirkus Reviews
Award-winning anchor of the CBS Evening News compiles insights and advice from influential public figures for any stage of life.

What do Beyonce and General David Petraeus have in common? They're among the more than 100 entertainers, entrepreneurs, political figures and journalists doling out words of wisdom in Couric's collection. In an easy-to-read format, the author assembles an array of advice from successful people, and her tone is casual and upbeat. Divided into different themes, such as courage, hard work and contribution, the book veers between the humorous and the poignant. Finance expert Suze Orman describes her struggles as a waitress, and late war hero Edmund N. Carpenter II shares his approach to life in a candid essay he wrote in 1938 at the tender age of 17. Couric seamlessly weaves in the lessons she has learned along the way, sharing anecdotes from her own life, which has not been without hardship. She opens up about her husband's early death from cancer and the sexist attitudes she faced as the first woman to solo-anchor a major newscast. Most of the advice found here isn't earth-shattering—Bill Cosby says he was his own worst enemy, Larry King suggests readers "learn how to listen"—but it comes from people who have excelled with talent, luck and lots of hard work. The author's profits will be donated to Scholarship America, an organization that helps students go to college.

Readers looking to browse for a little inspiration can also help a worthy cause.

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Everyone loves you when you're dead - Neil Strauss

Everyone loves you when you're dead: journeys into fame and madness - Strauss, Neil

Summary: The author collects the most revealing moments from his celebrity interviews, including Tom Cruise's thoughts on Scientology, Snoop Dogg on record companies and baby diapers, and Eric Clapton's thoughts on the death of Kurt Cobain.

Kirkus Reviews
Veteran pop-culture journalist Strauss (Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, 2009, etc.) offers an eclectic collection of interviews with the "artists, celebrities, and crazy people of the world."

By his own count, the author has conducted some 3,000 interviews with the famous, not-so-famous, used-to-be-famous and ought-to-be-famous denizens of popular culture. Here he brings together the best of these interviews in loosely and at times bizarrely connected chapters. All the well-knowns are here, including Madonna, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, The Who, Kenny G, Led Zeppelin, Puffy Combs and Bo Diddley. The author also includes many lesser-known artists, such as the master mandolin player Johnny Staats, who still drives a UPS truck, and the pioneering electronic-music artist Patrick Miller, who was taken early by drugs—as are too many of the subjects here. Known or unknown, they all have something to say. The subject is not always clear, as Strauss often introduces an interview, drops it and returns to it many pages later, but that is part of the fun of his anarchic presentation. Bruce Springsteen is typically modest, noting that one of the main motivations of his music is "to try to be useful." Chuck Berry is open, funny and scatological. Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn are achingly poignant as they speak of death and courage. Motley Crue gets arrested. And so it goes with hundreds of other interviews. In a concluding tribute to the late critic Paul Nelson, Strauss wonders if such obsession with pop culture is worth it. He concludes that it is, if only to allow us to reflect on our own faults and follies and on what we have and think we want.

Gonzo interviewing at its best.
Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The last days of Ptolemy Grey - Walter Mosley

The last days of Ptolemy Grey - Mosley, Walter

Summary: Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man, suffering from dementia and living as a recluse in his Los Angeles apartment. Then Robyn Small, a 17-year-old family friend, appears and helps clean up his apartment and straighten out his life. A reinvigorated Ptolemy volunteers for an experimental medical program that restores his mind, and he uses his last days--shortened now by the medical experiment--to delve into the mystery of the recent drive-by shooting death of his great-nephew, Reggie.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old African American living alone in violent South Central L.A. Frail and suffering from dementia, largely forgotten by his extended family, he can't remember to eat, his mind "scattered over nearly a hundred years." He relives events marked by racism, lynching, poverty, and longing for his long-dead wife. His great-grand nephew, Reggie, takes him to the grocery store and prompts him to eat. When Reggie is killed in a drive-by shooting, Ptolemy's days appear to be numbered. But Robyn, a beautiful, resourceful 17-year-old, steps in. As she sees to Ptolemy's needs, she awakens his desire for the lucidity he once had, and he meets a doctor who offers him a chance for several months of mental clarity before almost certain death. Mosley's dramatic departure from his Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill crime novels appears to be a very personal one, a deeply thoughtful, provocative, and often beautiful meditation on aging, memory, family, loss, and love. Ptolemy and Robynare truly indelible characters. Mosley's story is ultimately life affirming, and his writing is by turns gritty and sublime. Baby boomers caring for aged parents, or thinking about their own mortality, will line up for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Mosley's fans of any age will also embrace it, and every library will be better for adding it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A return to top form for Mosley, who has slumped a bit since ending his Easy Rawlins series. An aggressive marketing campaign and a poignant autobiographical connection (Mosley helped care for a relative with dementia) will draw deserved attention to a very fine novel.

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Adrift on the Nile - Najib Mahfuz

Adrift on the Nile - Mahfuz, Najib

Summary: For the thousands of devoted readers of Naguib Mahfouz's The Cairo Trilogy, Adrift on the Nile--first published in Arabic in 1966--will be an exciting and dramatic change of pace. In elegant and economic prose, Mahfouz creates--out of the simplest of plots--a telling commentary on human nature. It is the late sixties, and for the group of friends who meet night after night on a houseboat moored along the banks of the Nile, life is not what it used to be. Nasser has ushered in an age of enormous social change; responsibility is the watchword, and there is no time for the frivolous or the absurd. In this serious world, the theory of "art for art's sake" has been usurped by the concepts of committed theater, social realism, and art with a message for the people. These middle-aged and middle-class sons and daughters of the old bourgeoisie are left high and dry, to gather beneath the moonlight, smoking and chatting, hoping to re-create the cozy and enchanted world they so dearly miss. Their witty sallies are as inconsequential as the midges that weave around the lamp. They wistfully hark back to the High Middle Ages of the Mamluk sultans. Their constant companion is the pipe, filled with kif or hashish, whose heady smoke provides oblivion from their existential terror and despair. But one night, art and reality collide--with unforeseen consequences. At once thrilling and deeply serious, Adrift on the Nile is a tale that exposes the crisis of man--and artist--in modern times.

Library Journal Reviews
In Nobel Prize winner Mahfouz's newly translated work, a houseboat on the Nile is a nightly diversion for a small circle of friends. Careers in the arts, business, law, and civil service are forgotten as the waterpipe makes its rounds, the intoxicating kif erasing all sense of responsibility. Anis, the ``master of ceremonies,'' tends the pipe and drifts in his narcotic dreams while the others extol the absurdity of addiction. Their tranquility ends, however, when Samara, a young journalist, comes to study the group. She is the grain of seriousness that irritates them in their escapist shell, and around her swirls a nightly dispute over purpose, duty, love, and morality. A car accident crystallizes the argument, shattering the group as each confronts inescapable responsibility. The houseboat is a consistent metaphor in Mahfouz's writing, the vessel of escape in a complex and changing society. Adrift on the Nile skillfully dissects this metaphor but sacrifices the rich narrative and vibrant life that mark his other works.-- Paul E. Hutchison, Bellefonte, Pa. Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information.

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Arabian sands - Wilfred Thesiger

Arabian sands - Thesiger, Wilfred

Summary: Arabian Sands is Wilfred Thesiger's record of his extraordinary journey through the parched Empty Quarter of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life--the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets. In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels. His now-classic account is invaluable to understanding the modern Middle East. - (Penguin Putnam)

"Following worthily in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence, Philby and Thomas, [Arabian Sands] is, very likely, the book about Arabia to end all books about Arabia."
-The Daily Telegraph, London

"The narrative is vividly written, with a thousand little anecdotes and touches which bring back to any who have seen these countries every scene with the colour of real life."
-The Sunday Times, London

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All Souls - Michael Patrick MacDonald

All Souls: a family story from Southie - MacDonald, Michael Patrick

Summary: The author recounts growing up in a poor Irish neighborhood, and remembers the four brothers he lost to violence - (Baker & Taylor)

Kirkus Reviews
An incendiary, moving book that startles on nearly every page. The notorious anti-busing riots of 1974 forever altered the insular working-class Irish community of South Boston, branding it indelibly as a dangerous, racist enclave. Anti-violence activist MacDonald grew up there and lost four out of eight siblings to violence in those dark times; his debut assesses both his family history, and related secret tales of class strife, bigotry, corruption, and vanished lives. MacDonald utilizes the classically Irish viewpoint of the stoic child to re-create a harsh arena of a 1970s ghetto and urban poverty. His single Ma felt blessed when a local politician secured her entrance to the majority-Irish Old Colony project, the best place in the world''; once there, the MacDonalds had to prove their mettle against delinquents with shotguns, thus acquiring the patina of craziness necessary for survival. At first, the nuances of color seemed minor against a vividly rendered backdrop of economic difficulty and the depraved mainstreaming of hard drugs and street crime. Then came the riots; MacDonald s surefooted (neither hardened nor sentimental) narrative takes us through the years of malaise and violence that followed, as politically connected gangsters, such as the notorious Whitey Bulger, expanded the area s drug trade while violently enforcing a macho myth of silent Southie unity, itself built on the long-burnished notion that the white community was somehow different from such similarly working-class, embattled black areas as Roxbury. This explication of how such phenomena of white class-consciousness encouraged the wholesale deterioration of his neighborhood and contributed to the demise of some 250 young people is a devastating cultural indictment. MacDonald s nimble prose and detailed recall of grim times long past make for luminous reading; his hard-won conception of how ghettoized poverty spawns localized violence, and the dignity he brings to lives snuffed out in chaos, gives All Souls a moral urgency usually lacking in current memoir or crime prose. A remarkable work. (Author tour) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's book of Greek myths - Ingri D'Aulaire

Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's book of Greek myths - D'Aulaire, Ingri

Summary: An introduction to the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. - (Baker & Taylor)

"For any child fortunate enough to have this generous book...the kings and heroes of ancient legend will remain forever matter-of-fact; the pictures interpret the text literally and are full of detail and witty observation."--Horn Book.

"The drawings...are excellent and excitingly evocative."--The New York Times.

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