Dec 1, 2011

Apollo's angels - Jennifer Homans

Apollo's angels: a history of ballet - Homans, Jennifer

Summary: "Unique among the arts, ballet has no written texts or standardized notation. It is a storytelling art passed on from teacher to student. A ballerina dancing today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth-century Italy and France: Her graceful movements recall a lost world of courts, kings, and aristocracy, but her steps are also marked by the dramatic changes in dance and culture that followed. From ballet's origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France's Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. Jennifer Homans, a historian and critic who was also a professional dancer, traces the evolution of technique, choreography, and performance in clear prose, drawing readers into the intricacies of the art with vivid descriptions of dances and the artists who made them"--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Homans brings her intimate experience as a dancer and her discerning dance critic's eye to her fascinating and exquisitely detailed history of ballet, an art that combines rigor and idealism. Homans begins with how the Renaissance belief in the transforming power of art engendered the first ballets, which were performed in the sixteenth-century French court of King Henri II and Catherine de Medici, thus launching ballet's long association with state governments. Louis XIV then established ballet's core rules and conventions, including the five "true" or noble positions. Homans thoroughly and conversantly tracks ballet's flourishing in France, robust flowering in Russia, and exuberance in the U.S., emphasizing the progression from elaborate artifice to profound expressiveness. Homans also warmly profiles pivotal ballet masters, choreographers, and dancers, including the pioneering ballerina Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide (1832), "the first modern ballet," and the essential Balanchine. Most arrestingly, Homans assesses ballet's grace under terror during the French and Russian revolutions, the world wars, and the cold war. Homans brings her glorious landmark study of ballet's ideals and enchantment to a somber close as she asks why this strong and supple "art of belief," which triumphed over catastrophe and adversity, is now in danger of extinction. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: the story of success - Gladwell, Malcolm

Summary: The best-selling author of Blink identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers, in a resource that covers such topics as the secrets of software billionaires, why certain cultures are associated with better academic performance, and why the Beatles earned their fame.

Booklist Reviews
Gladwell, author and journalist, sets out to provide an understanding of success using outliers, men and women with skills, talent, and drive who do things out of the ordinary. He contends that we must look beyond the merits of a successful individual to understand his culture, where he comes from, his friends and family, and the community values he inherits and shares. We learn that society s rules play a large role in who makes it and who does not. Success is a gift, and when opportunities are presented, some people have the strength and presence of mind to seize them, exhibiting qualities such as persistence and doggedness. Successful people are the products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy, and success ultimately is not exceptional or unattainable, nor does it depend upon innate ability. It is an attitude of willingness to try without regard for the sacrifice required. This is an excellent book for a wide range of library patrons. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Is everyone hanging out without me? - Mindy Kaling

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) - Kaling, Mindy

Summary: The writer and actress best known as Kelly Kapoor on "The Office" shares observations on topics ranging from favorite male archetypes and her hatred of dieting to her relationship with her mother and the haphazard creative process in the "Office" writers' room.

“She’s like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps… the next Nora Ephron.” —The New York Times

“The fashion opinions of Kelly Kapoor mixed with a Miss Manners-esque advice column.” —

“If you love Kelly and think the three minutes or so allotted her on episodes of The Office are too few, you can take home Mindy.” —The New Yorker

“Is anyone else kind of sold on the genius title alone?” —Nylon

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Goliath - Scott Westerfeld

Goliath - Westerfeld, Scott

Series Title: Leviathan Trilogy

Summary: Alek and Deryn encounter obstacles on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, and reclaim Alek's throne as prince of Austria.

Booklist Reviews
"Gadget-loving Clankers and biology-based Darwinists are still at war, but there is new hope for peace based on the threat of using Goliath, a powerful weapon developed by the famous inventor Nikola Tesla. Prince Alek believes Tesla's intentions are good, but Midshipman Deryn is skeptical. Goliath arrives safely in New York, but an attempted attack by German mechanical walkers ignites a series of events that may mean the end of a European city—and the Leviathan, with all her crew. The alternative-history steampunk extravaganza that began with Leviathan (2009) ends with this third volume, and it does not disappoint. Westerfeld stays true to his characters and the strength of his earlier story as he propels it to a satisfying close, and there are tantalizing bits in that wrapping up that could birth a terrific next series. (Fingers crossed, Mr. Westerfeld.) Secondary characters remain vivid, and the real stars of this entry may be lorises Bovril and Tazza. Once again, Thompson's evocative art enlivens the narrative." Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Almost French - Sarah Turnbull

Almost French: love and a new life in Paris - Turnbull, Sarah

Summary: A Sydney journalist recounts her unexpected move to Paris, through which she fell in love and came to cherish the city's charm, fashion, food, paradoxes, and dinner parties. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Library Journal Reviews
In an unpretentious manner, the strong yet empathetic Turnbull relates the transition from her Australian home to a new life with her French fiance, adding a good twist of dry, self-deprecating humor. A freelance journalist, Turnbull has a knack for describing the salient and entertaining episodes succinctly yet vividly, which prevents the story from descending into monotony. From meeting her husband's extended family to attending haute couture fashion shows, Turnbull candidly assesses her new environment. She also takes the stereotypes of French culture, such as the obsession with aesthetics, acknowledges their basis in reality, and then delves deeper to find an explanation for each. Turnbull's love for her husband tempers the frustration and humiliation she experiences while mastering not only the language but also the idiosyncratic rules and customs of the French. This enjoyable and insightful book is suitable for public library collections.-Rebecca Bollen, North Bergen, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Mister Wonderful - Daniel Clowes

Mister Wonderful - Clowes, Daniel

Summary: A single-volume compilation of an Eisner Award-winning story includes 40 pages of new material and follows the experiences of Marshall, who throughout the course of a life-changing blind date finds himself emotionally challenged in bizarre ways. - (Baker & Taylor)

LJ Express Reviews
The latest installment from independent comics master Clowes (Ghost World; Wilson) is a charmingly cynical look at love, dating, and starting over at midlife. Marshall, a broke, middle-aged divorcé who simply wants someone with whom he can share the newspaper, has been set up on a date with the beautiful but damaged Natalie. After they share a meal during which he learns almost everything about her (specifically, her recent difficult relationship and even harder breakup) and she learns almost nothing about him (he cleverly omits his life-altering experience with a sociopathic prostitute), Marshall and Natalie continue further down the relationship rabbit hole into an evening that would test anyone's dating limits. Clowes's art is clean and clever as always, at times shifting to a childlike style when the narration goes inside Marshall's head. Verdict By turns snarky and sweet, Marshall becomes increasingly less of a misfit and more of a hero as the story goes on, and all we wish, for both him and Natalie, is the very best. Dryly funny but buoyed by hopefulness, Clowes's latest is a lovely afternoon read. Highly recommended.-Beth Nerbonne, Rochester P.L., NH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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London under - Peter Ackroyd

London under: the secret history beneath the streets - Ackroyd, Peter

Summary: Presents a chronicle of London's underground network of rivers, labyrinths, and chambers and how they have been used in various time periods, from sewers and amphitheaters to crypts and tube stations. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
"What enormous hosts of dead belong to one old great city!" Dickens marveled in 1861. Ackroyd here invades the ghostly realm under Britain's greatest old city. Visits to crypts, catacombs, and cemeteries draw the reader deep into the hidden world where prehistoric mastodons, Roman soldiers, medieval monks, and Victorian burghers mingle in sepulchral gloom. But that gloom also pulses with the energy of life: the crowded underground railroads still running on routes carved out by intrepid nineteenth-century tunnelers, the black filth flowing through a thousand miles of sewer lines still performing the inglorious function of medieval cesspools, and the intricate modern matrix of conduits and pipes carrying electricity, natural gas, and drinking water. Nonhuman life also scurries through the shadows: cockroaches, rats, and even mysterious white crabs. But Ackroyd fuses dead and living, human and animal, technological and natural in the final chapter, where underground geography becomes imaginative metaphor in the Eloi-Morlock fantasy of Wells' Time Machine. As a sequel to London: The Biography, this is an enthralling step down! Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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The scrapbook of Frankie Pratt - Caroline Preston

The scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a novel in pictures - Preston, Caroline

Summary: "For her graduation from high school in 1920, Frankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father's old Corona typewriter. Despite Frankie's dreams of becoming a writer, she must forgo a college scholarship to help her widowed mother. But when a mysterious Captain James sweeps her off her feet, her mother finds a way to protect Frankie from the less-than-noble intentions of her unsuitable beau. Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love."--from cover, p. [2]

Kirkus Reviews
Selecting from her own collection of period mementos, Preston (Gatsby's Girl, 2006, etc.) creates a literal scrapbook for a young New Hampshire woman coming of age in the 1920s. Frankie receives a blank scrapbook and her deceased father's typewriter as high-school graduation gifts and begins to record her adventures with the keepsakes she collects. Although Vassar offers Frankie a scholarship, Frankie still can't afford to attend college. Instead she takes a job caring for elderly Mrs. Pingree (see old debutante picture). The dowager's visiting nephew Jamie, a dashing, emotionally damaged World War I vet in his 30s, emotionally seduces 17-year-old Frankie (see his scribbled notes). When the not-yet-sexual affair is discovered, Mrs. Pingree gives Frankie a $1,000 check (see society-pages article about Jamie's wife). Soon Frankie heads off to Vassar, a haven of socialites and bluestockings (see bridge score card, pack of bobbed hair pins). Her rich, intellectual but neurotic Jewish roommate Allegra is a supportive friend until Frankie wins the literary prize (read snippet of Frankie's story about Jamie romance). After graduation, Frankie moves to Greenwich Village and finds a job at True Story. Allegra's brother Oliver, working at a new magazine called the New Yorker, becomes her constant companion. Though smart, kind and attentive (see admission tickets to movies, dancehalls, ballgames), he doesn't propose. When Frankie realizes why, she goes to Paris (see Cunard baggage sticker), where the past catches up with her and a whole new chapter of life starts. Lighter than lightweight but undeniably fun, largely because Preston is having so much fun herself. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Dear Carey - Dyan Cannon

Dear Carey: my life with Carey Grant - Cannon, Dyan

Summary: The actress/filmmaker tells the story of her turbulent marriage to Hollywood legend Cary Grant, capturing the glamour of Hollywood's greatest period of stardom and revealing the stories of love and betrayal hidden from public view.

“A revealing look at Cannon’s relationship with her first husband, who happened to be a Hollywood legend. (USA Today )

“Candid.” (Los Angeles Times )

“Dyan Cannon has written a complex and captivating memoir…an unqualified success.” (New York Journal of Books )

“Cannon writes of her time with one of Hollywood’s most glamorous and charming men and of her own life, pre- and post-Grant...with refreshing humor.. For those who enjoy memoirs of gutsy survivors.” (Library Journal )

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