Jan 1, 2013

Paris I love you but you're bringing me down - Rosecrans Baldwin

Paris I love you but you're bringing me down - Baldwin, Rosecrans

Summary: An account of a Francophile's haphazard relocation to Paris in spite of his lack of French fluency describes how the region considerably differed from his expectations and the ways in which he overcame cultural challenges.

Kirkus Reviews
A charming, hilarious account of la vie Parisienne as experienced by an observant young American. Working for an advertising agency while he wrote his first novel (You Lost Me There, 2010), Baldwin discovered some very French things about office life in Paris: You have to eat lunch, because the company docks a portion of your pay and returns it to you as meal coupons. Aggressively sexual comments and jokes about Jews or blacks are fine, and anyone offended by them is being "pay-say" (PC, the dreaded politically correct). It's virtually impossible to get fired, even if you rarely show up, do no work and are thoroughly obnoxious. The author also discovered that French banks seem never to have heard of credit cards, and although he and wife qualified as legal residents for health-insurance coverage, the cards permitting them to actually use the insurance didn't arrive until a month before they left. Nonetheless, despite tight finances and loud construction work around their apartment, Baldwin fell in love just like everyone else. "Dude, Paris," said a friend after the author explained that it took him 15 minutes to buy a bottle of water in a café because the woman in front of him in line wanted to know what made the salad taste so good, which required the input of two employees and a phone call to the manager. "Honestly, nothing comes close." As the dude suggests, the author and his friends were not so long out of college--he turned 31 while he was there in the spring of 2008--and still settling into adult life. There were lots of parties, and work at the ad agency apparently consisted mostly of jetting around meeting celebrities for the Louis Vuitton account. Baldwin, a witty and polished writer, never pretends to be doing more than taking snapshots, but his vivid impressions of Paris and its people (expats included) are most engaging. Great fun and surprisingly touching. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Why does the world exist - Jim Holt

Why does the world exist?: an existential detective story - Holt, Jim

Summary: Expands the search for the origins of the universe beyond God and the Big Bang theory, exploring more possibilities inspired by physicists, theologians, mathematicians, and even novelists.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Aesthetically, wrote Wittgenstein, the miracle is that the world exists. In his lifelong quest to penetrate this miracle and, so, to explain why there is something rather than nothing, Holt has entertained deep thoughts. Here he invites readers to join him in the intellectual explorations that sustain such thoughts. Readers share in Holt's reflections on how the universe originated, pondering the cosmogonies found in Greek philosophy and Norse mythology and interrogating the theology of creation expounded by Anselm and Aquinas. Though Enlightenment thinkers such as Hume and Kant dismissed the entire question of cosmic origins as an irrelevance, Holt realizes that the modern theory of the big bang has pushed that question inescapably back into view. To cope with the difficulties inherent in modern explanations of cosmic beginnings, Holt seeks out living authorities, such as historian Adolf Grünbaum and physicist Steven Weinberg, probing their views with relentless curiosity. But Holt embeds these animated interviews in a profoundly personal narrative punctuated by insistent life events, such as the abrupt death of his mother. Winding its way to no reassuringly tidy conclusion, this narrative ultimately humanizes the huge metaphysical questions Holt confronts, endowing them with real-life significance. A potent synthesis of philosophy and autobiography. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Charles Faudree's country French living - Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree's country French living - Faudree, Charles

A leading designer celebrates the artistic principles of French Country design in a richly illustrated overview of a variety of outstanding rooms and outdoor spaces, explaining how to transform one's bedroom into a soothing sanctuary, employ books to create an inviting warmth in a room, use the walls to display favorite collections, and create a sense of balance and order. - (Baker & Taylor)

Kirkus Reports Reviews

Want the savoir-faire to decorate your home ? la the classic French country style?

A top designer with an international clientele and 35 years of experience, Faudree presents his second book on the Country French style. Illustrated with large, full-color photographs throughout, this charming volume outlines the principles of the Provencal aesthetic for the uninitiated: unexpected fabric combinations, eclectic adornments, soothing symmetry and a special emphasis on the details. He also shares his philosophy of decorating—each feature of the home has a personality waiting to be brought out by the right accoutrements: A bedroom is a sanctuary, walls are a stage and window treatments best express a room's character. Faudree is a master at creative combinations—like plaids with florals and new items with antiques—that pull together to form a cohesive and balanced picture. From the overall theme of the room down to the last throw pillow, Faudree keeps the reader engaged in this exquisitely photographed volume.

A beautiful book that will be appreciated by any home decorator with a discerning eye for detail and a taste for comfortable elegance, French-style. Copyright 2005, VNU Business Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The twelve tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis

The twelve tribes of Hattie - Mathis, Ayana

Summary: In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* This was not the life smart and lovely Hattie expected to live after fleeing Jim Crow Georgia in 1923 and settling in Philadelphia. Two years later, married (at 16) to an irresponsible man, she is poor, cold, hungry, and desperate as her twin babies sicken with pneumonia. Writing with stunning authority, clarity, and courage, debut novelist Mathis pivots forward in time, spotlighting intensely dramatic episodes in the lives of Hattie's nine subsequent children (and one grandchild to make the "twelve tribes"), galvanizing crises that expose the crushed dreams and anguished legacy of the Great Migration. While Hattie grows more stoic with each birth and each betrayal, her children struggle with her survival strategies, which they perceive as her coldness and anger. Hattie's daughters are epically depressed. Two sons end up in the South, shocked by its "backward country ways": Floyd, a jazz musician painfully conflicted over his attraction to men, and badly scarred Six, who discovers a gift for preaching. Late in life, Hattie thinks, "Here we are sixty years out of Georgia, . . . and there's still the same wounding and the same pain." Mathis writes with blazing insight into the complexities of sexuality, marriage, family relationships, backbone, fraudulence, and racism in a molten novel of lives racked with suffering yet suffused with beauty. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance - Elna Baker

New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance - Baker, Elna

Summary: In this hilarious, tongue-in-cheek memoir, writer, actress, and gorgeous stand up comedian Elna Baker tells what it's like to be the Mormon "Tina Fey"--the girl who distresses her family when she chooses NYU over BYU; the girl who's cultivating an oxymoronic identity as a bold, educated, modern, funny, proper, abstinent, religious stand-up comic, equal parts wholesome and hot.

Kirkus Reviews
Debut memoir from a 20-something Mormon stand-up comedian.Baker was once just a funny fat girl weighing in at nearly 250 pounds. Then she rapidly shed the pounds ("In five and a half months I lost eighty pounds, which is the equivalent of pooping out a fourth grader") and emerged as a slim beauty, still funny and ready for romance—up to a point. The author writes that she was ready for some kind of amorous encounter, but as a practicing LDS believer, sex before marriage is prohibited—as is drinking. "Mormons are known for saying no," she writes. "No sex, no drugs, no alcohol and no caffeine. NO." So she relates, in unrelenting cuteness, her romantic adventures—not having sex with lots of dreamy guys, but kissing and telling all. For New York Mormon singles events, Baker concocted some truly unfortunate costumes, including a fortune cookie that got crushed and looked like a certain part of the female anatomy. She discusses her situation with The Almighty (a largely one-way discussion) and her struggles to suppress her sexuality while defending her spirituality: "I thought, he only wants to see me naked because I lost weight and I look more attractive now. And this only happened because I prayed and asked God for a miracle. Misusing my new body would be like taking a gift from God and defiling it…Is it right to suppress my sexuality? Or do religious choices just make me happy because I was trained to feel this way?" For the most part, Baker spins a witty girly-girl story, a romantic caper for ladies about trying to find a job, a boyfriend and, ultimately, herself.A sexy, lubricious outing by a formerly zaftig comic. Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Wildwood - Colin Meloy

Wildwood - Colin Meloy

Summary: When her baby brother is kidnapped by crows, seventh-grader Prue McKeel ventures into the forbidden Impassable Wilderness--a dangerous and magical forest at the edge of Portland, Oregon--and soon finds herself involved in a war among the various inhabitants.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* If you like stories in which spunky kids emerge from secret tunnels only to be greeted by smartly outfitted badgers operating rickshaws, this is your book. Meloy's debut is the kind of delicate, elaborate fantasy that is so well versed in classic Narnian tropes that it is destined to be enthusiastically embraced. After her baby brother is abducted by crows, 12-year-old Prue is compelled to enter the Impassable Wilderness—an ominous forest just outside of Portland, Oregon. Although Prue is initially joined by her classmate Curtis, the kids are soon split up as they become embroiled in a war between stuffy bureaucrats, bandit separatists, militant birds, and the evil Dowager Governess. The two leads are fairly boilerplate, and some readers may find the constant panoply of helpful, uniformed animals (most likely speaking in English accents) too precious. These elements, though, are more than balanced by flashes of darkness—blood sacrifices, death in battle, and more—that would make the Brothers Grimm proud. Meloy, best known as the literate lead singer of the Decemberists, clearly knows that weird vocabulary is part of the genre's fun and has no qualms dropping 10-dollar words like retinue and totemic. Frequent, droll illustrations further solidify Wildwood as a uniquely alive place—right down to the stubborn blackberries and vengeful ivy. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Proteus a nineteenth century vision (DVD)

Proteus a nineteenth century vision (DVD)

Summary: Through the works of biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel, the role of the sea as the "outer space" of his time is explored. Based almost entirely on 19th-century scientific illustrations, paintings, and photographs brought to life through innovative animation, Proteus explores the undersea world through a complex tapestry of biology, oceanography, scientific history, poetry and myth.


A ONE-OF-A-KIND VISUAL TREAT! May cause audiences to look at (and think about) the world around them in dramatically different terms. --Variety

MAGNIFICENT...WONDERFUL! Like strolling through a cabinet of wonders. --TV Guide

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Advanced style - Ari Seth Cohen

Advanced style - Cohen, Ari Seth

Summary: Advanced Style is Ari Seth Cohen's blog-based ode to the confidence, beauty, and fashion that can only be achieved through the experience of a life lived glamorously. It is a collection of street fashion unlike any seen before - focused on the over-60 set in the world's most stylish locales. The (mostly) ladies of Advanced Style are enjoying their later years with grace and panache, marching to the beat of their own drummer. These timeless images and words of wisdom provide fashion inspiration for all ages and prove that age is nothing but a state of mind.

"In print and on film, Mr. Cohen’s arrestingly bedizened models embrace fashion with a sense of play."
Ruth LaFerla, The New York Times

"For all those who are sick and tired of seeing style and fashion presented solely as a young woman’s game, behold 'Advanced Style.'"
Los Angeles Times

"a beautiful catalog of women who aren't over the hill, but rather ahead of the curve."
New York Post

“These gorgeous ladies take away the fear of aging and give us all something to look forward to.” Huffington Post

“These women are proof that personal style advances with age”

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The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - William Joyce and Joe Bluhm

The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - Joyce, William

Summary: Morris Lessmore loves words, stories and books, and after a tornado carries him to another land, dreary and colorless, he finds a single book in color that leads him to an amazing library where, he learns, the books need him as much as he needs them.

Kirkus Reviews
Ironically, this book in praise of books first appeared as a much-praised iPad app and Academy Award–winning animated short film. The story, in a nutshell, concerns the titular book-loving Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose personal library is blown away in a terrible wind but who finds meaning caring for the books he finds in a marvelous library. Filled with both literary (Shakespeare, Humpty-Dumpty) and film references (The Wizard of Oz, The Red Balloon and Buster Keaton), the picture book version of Joyce's story has a quiet contemplative charm that demonstrates the continuing allure of the printed page. Paradoxically, the animated books of the film and app are captured as though in a series of frozen frames. The motif of the bound, printed book is everywhere. Even the furnishings and architectural details of the old-fashioned library in which the books "nest" like flying birds recall the codex. The unifying metaphor of life as story is a powerful one, as is the theme of the transformative power of books. The emphasis on connecting readers and books and the care of books pays homage to librarianship. Rich in allusions ("Less is More") and brilliant in depicting the passage of time (images conflate times of day, seasons and years), Joyce's work will inspire contemplation of the power of the book in its many forms. As triumphant in book form as in animated and interactive ones. (Picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Going bovine - Libba Bray

Going bovine - Bray, Libba

Summary: After being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease, disaffected teenager Cameron Smith sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure. - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In a giant departure from her Gemma Doyle historical fiction trilogy, Bray's latest offering is an unforgettable, nearly indefinable fantasy adventure, as immense and sprawling as Cervantes' Don Quixote, on which it's based. Here the hero is Cameron, a 16-year-old C-plus-average slacker who likens himself to "driftwood," but he suddenly becomes the center of attention after he is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of mad cow disease. In the hospital, he meets Dulcie, an alluring angel clad in fishnet stockings and combat boots, who presents him with a heroic quest to rescue the planet from an otherworldly, evil force. Guided by random signs and accompanied by a teen dwarf named Gonzo, Cameron sets off on a wild road trip across the U.S. to save the world, and perhaps his own life. Talking yard gnomes, quantum physics, cults of happiness, mythology, religion, time travel, the blues, Disney World, the vacuous machine behind reality TV shows, and spring break's beer-and-bikini culture all figure prominently in the plot, and readers may not feel equally engaged in each of the novel's lengthy episodes. But Bray's wildly imagined novel, narrated in Cameron's sardonic, believable voice, is wholly unique, ambitious, tender, thought-provoking, and often fall-off-the-chair funny, even as she writes with powerful lyricism about the nature of existence, love, and death. Familiarity with Don Quixote certainly isn't necessary, but those who know the basic plot will want to start over from the beginning and pick up on each sly allusion to the classic story. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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All the pretty horses - Cormac McCarthy

All the pretty horses - McCarthy, Cormac

Summary: Cut off from the life of ranching he has come to love by his grandfather's death, John Grady Cole flees to Mexico, where he and his two companions embark on a rugged and cruelly idyllic adventure - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
This is a novel so exuberant in its prose, so offbeat in its setting and so mordant and profound in its deliberations that one searches in vain for comparisons in American literature. None of McCarthy's previous works, not even the award-winning The Orchard Keeper (1965) or the much-admired Blood Meridian (1985), quite prepares the reader for the singular achievement of this first installment in the projected Border Trilogy. John Grady Cole is a 16-year-old boy who leaves his Texas home when his grandfather dies. With his parents already split up and his mother working in theater out of town, there is no longer reason for him to stay. He and his friend Lacey Rawlins ride their horses south into Mexico; they are joined by another boy, the mysterious Jimmy Blevins, a 14-year-old sharpshooter. Although the year is 1948, the landscape--at some moments parched and unforgiving, at others verdant and gentled by rain--seems out of time, somewhere before history or after it. These likable boys affect the cowboy's taciturnity--they roll cigarettes and say what they mean--and yet amongst themselves are given to terse, comic exchanges about life and death. In McCarthy's unblinking imagination the boys suffer truly harrowing encounters with corrupt Mexican officials, enigmatic bandits and a desert weather that roils like an angry god. Though some readers may grow impatient with the wild prairie rhythms of McCarthy's language, others will find his voice completely transporting. In what is perhaps the book's most spectacular feat, horses and men are joined in a philosophical union made manifest in the muscular pulse of the prose and the brute dignity of the characters. ``What he loved in horses was what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them,'' the narrator says of John Grady. As a bonus, Grady endures a tragic love affair with the daughter of a rich Spanish Hacendado , a romance, one hopes, to be resumed later in the trilogy. (May) Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information.

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Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote - Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de

Summary: Presents the classic early-seventeenth-century Spanish novel of chivalry and abiding optimism, depicting the exploits of a knight who attempts to bring justice and truth to the world.

Choice Reviews
Literary and critical interest in Cervantes and his masterpiece continues to thrive. Translations of the Quixote, now reaching the age of 400, appear with some regularity, including such recent ones as Burton Raffel's The History of That Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quijote de la Mancha (CH, Mar'96) and the "Penguin Classics" edition by John Rutherford, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (2000). Grossman has previously translated works by such major contemporary Latin American authors as Gabriel Garcia Marquez (e.g., Love in the Time of Cholera, CH, Sep'88; The General in His Labyrinth, CH, Feb'91) and Mario Vargas Llosa; she also wrote The Anitpoetry of Nicanor Parra (CH, Sep'76). Turning to Cervantes and 17th-century Spain, she has now produced an excellent translation in crisp, clear English evoking the vital essence of the original Spanish in language, characters, time, and place. The great novel becomes more accessible in a version capturing nuances of style and phrase. Including helpful explanatory notes and an introduction by Harold Bloom, this translation joins such recent works as Maria Antonia Garces' Cervantes in Algiers (CH, Feb'03); The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes, ed. by Anthony Cascardi's (CH, Apr'03); and Barbara Fuchs' Passing for Spain: Cervantes and the Fictions of Identity (CH, Sep'03). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. Copyright 2004 American Library Association.

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The assassination of Jesse James by the coward, Robert Ford - Ron Hansen

The assassination of Jesse James by the coward, Robert Ford - Hansen, Ron

Summary: A fictionalized portrait of the legendary outlaw Jesse James, his violent career, and his murderer, Robert Ford, in an epic tale of the Old West - (Baker & Taylor)

"Hansen has turned low history into high art. This is a terrific book." -- Newsday

"Here is THE James book . . . Put Hansen on your bedside table." -- Richmond News-Leader

"One of our finest stylists of American historical fiction." -- Christian Science Monitor

"This book is a wonderful achievement." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Vivid and sustained." -- --New York Times Book Review

"Vivid and sustained." -- New York Times Book Review

. . . vivid and sustained . . . -- The New York Times Book Review, David Freeman

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The introvert's way - Sophia Dembling

The introvert's way: living a quiet life in a noisy world - Dembling, Sophia

Summary: This clever and pithy book challenges introverts to take ownership of their personalities...with quiet strength. Sophia Dembling asserts that the introvert's lifestyle is not 'wrong' or lacking, as a society of extroverts would have us believe. Through a combination of personal insights and psychology, The Introvert's Way helps and encourages introverts to embrace their nature, to respect traits they may have been ashamed of and reframe them as assets. The introvert is not shy; rather, they appreciate the joys of quiet. An introvert not antisocial; instead, they enjoy recharging through time alone. By honoring what makes them unique, this astute and inspiring book challenges introverts to 'own' their introversion, igniting a quiet revolution that will change how they see themselves and how they engage with the

Library Journal Reviews
This book is a perfect example of a writer taking a "problem" that's been around for a long time, well before Carl Jung coined the term introvert. Qualities of introverts, according to Dembling, include mulling ideas over before speaking, hating the telephone, and having a wealth of creative energy under the surface. Because of her blog, The Introvert's Corner, which she writes for Psychology Today, Dembling has had an enormous outpouring of gratitude from introverts around the world. In this book she affirms the quality of introversion, and sets out to define, delineate, and understand it. The best part of the book is Dembling's turning the extrovert advantage upside down and creating a respect for this way of being in the world. It's about time!

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Joy for beginners - Erica Bauermeister

Joy for beginners - Bauermeister, Erica

Summary: Six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer, where she strikes a bargain with them: to celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her, but if she does, each of them will also do one thing that they'd find difficult.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
In Bauermeister's sensual second novel, a party for a woman who has beaten breast cancer results in six friends reconnecting, not just to each other but also to parts of themselves they had long neglected. Admittedly an "incongruous group," with each woman at a different point in her life, Kate's friends agree that each "will do one thing in the next year that is scary or difficult." Kate selects tasks for each of her friends; undertaking the tasks will bring heartbreak, joy, and adventure to everyone. Bauermeister's (The School of Essential Ingredients) evocative prose creates a magical world where gray goo becomes "forgiving dough" in an oven and a woman protects herself from loneliness by hiding in an unruly garden. Kate's well-meaning tasks, be they as grand as a trip to Venice or as banal as baking bread, push the friends toward much-needed awakenings. A book designed to both fill you up and make you hungry for life. (June)

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Fenway fever - John H. Ritter

Fenway fever - Ritter, John H.

Summary: Twelve-year-old Alfredo "Stats" Pagano and Boston Red Sox pitcher Billee Orbitt work together to break a potential curse at Fenway Park.

Booklist Reviews
Twelve-year-old Alfredo "Stats" Pagano's family owns a hot dog stand outside of Fenway Park. Stats is sickly, and his father grieves for his dead wife. In fact, everything seems to be going wrong as the Red Sox are in a slump and the atmosphere at Fenway is growing poisonous. A quirky, philosophical Red Sox pitcher decides that the balance of the earth has been upset by the forced removal of hawks from the rafters of the stadium. Things grow worse when Stats discovers that the hot dog business is deeply in debt, and it appears as if his athletic brother won't get a chance to play in a game at Fenway. Events are set right, though, when the hawks are returned, and Stats gives an inspirational speech to fans at the stadium. Many young readers will identify with Stats' passion for baseball and the wonderful descriptions of the sights and sounds of the old ballpark on game day. The sometimes long-winded New Age sidetracks, however, may have less appeal. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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