Jul 1, 2013

Indiana (CD) - David Mead

Indiana (CD) - David Mead

Following a pair of terrific records filled with pop songwriting of the highest order, David Mead and RCA parted ways, leaving him without a label to release the completed Wherever You Are (produced by Stephen Hague). The layoff that ensued (three years between albums) led to a return to his childhood home of Nashville, a marriage, and the recording and release of Indiana, placing Wherever You Are on hold. Co-produced by Mead and cellist David Henry, Indiana, with its quiet, gentle tone and sense of transition, seems to be his most personal work to date. The acoustic guitars and strings that are at the center of the record's sound are the perfect backdrop for songs such as the weary and reflective "Nashville," the distant solitude of the title track, and the frayed hope of "Queensboro Bridge." And while the material here can have the feel of adult contemporary singer/songwriter fare, the depth of Mead's writing, both lyrically and melodically, steers it clear of any of the banalities that can creep into the genre. He never goes for cheap emotion or the obvious melodic turn, which is why some of the best moments here are the ones that seep in only after a few spins. Indiana may lack the immediate hookiness that made The Luxury of Time and Mine and Yours so irresistible, but it's every bit as strong and should prove to be just as enduring. (

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The last picture show - Larry McMurtry

The last picture show - McMurtry, Larry

Summary: The youth of a small town in mid-twentieth-century Texas search for ways to escape boredom and experience life and love.

Kirkus Review
Thalia, Texas is the sort of God foresaken small town where, " can't sneeze without somebody offerin' you a handkerchief." As one of the inhabitants remarks, "Kids nowadays fornicate like frogs," and in patches the reading becomes that slippery. The kids are Sonny and his sidekick, Duane, and they have their senior year in high school to get through. It's made uneasy for them by Jacy, Duane's girl and the image for Sonny's masturbation. She specializes in paroxysmal public kisses with Duane and all her sexual efforts, from a dull nude swimming orgy in Witchita to her eventual elopement with Sonny, are made with audience satisfaction in mind. Their marriage was annulled, but Sonny slept with her mother that night. (He wasn't quite up to Mother's expertise although he'd put in daily practice with the coach's wife.) Sonny is the sympathetic character shown on the verge of manhood, or humanity, depending on your point of view. Hear him thinking after bowing out of the gang rape of a blind heifer: "Before, it had always seemed like fun, whether it was getting drunk or screwing heifers..." Sex is the groin level blind eye that directs all the characters and the basis for any philosophic comment and the end result, normal or subhuman, of all their encounters. It's a commercial book guaranteed to the talented author's audience won with Horsemen Pass By (filmed as Hud) but chockablock with all the devices for teaching fictional heroes the facts of life one meets in print, with monotonous regularity. (Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1966)

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Intouchables (DVD)

Intouchables (DVD)

Summary: An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust, and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicapped millionaire and his street-smart ex-con caretaker, The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.

Video Librarian Reviews
This charming odd-couple comedy begins with a black motorist careening through Paris in an expensive sports car with a white passenger as Kool & the Gang booms on the stereo. When he's stopped by the police, the driver claims that he is rushing a quadriplegic who is suffering a seizure to the hospital. After being sent on their way, the two men convulse in laugher and share a cigarette. Several months earlier, wealthy, worldly widower Philippe (François Cluzet) was paralyzed in a paragliding accident, and needed a caregiver. Just out of prison, troubled, pot-smoking Driss (Omar Sy) applies for the job, mainly so he can qualify for welfare benefits. Despite the misgivings of his staff, open-minded Philippe hires him—attracted to Driss's crass cockiness and unwavering candor. While Driss's caregiving skills may be lacking and the pair are worlds apart on the socioeconomic scale, Philippe senses that Driss's friendship is real. And both share an addiction to the adrenaline rush of risk-taking and an appreciation for women. Inspired by real events, directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's The Intouchables benefits from an irresistibly subversive performance by Sy, who became the first black performer to win France's prestigious César award for Best Actor (beating The Artist's Jean Dujardin). Recommended. (S. Granger)Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2011.

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Odetta sings Dylan (CD) - Odetta

Odetta sings Dylan (CD) - Odetta

From 1965, Odetta Sings Dylan was one of the first albums entirely devoted to Bob Dylan interpretations, and one of the best. In part that's because the concept was still actually fresh then; in fact, other than an obscure 1964 album by Linda Mason, it was the very first album of Dylan covers. And in part it was because, unlike most of the artists who would take a swing at the concept, Odetta was actually a major folk musician, one who had done much to inspire Dylan himself. But most of all, it was because the arrangements were excellent, featuring the guitar of Bruce Langhorne (who, of course, played on Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home and numerous 1960s folk and folk-rock recordings) and, one presumes, the bass of frequent accompanist Bill Lee (though the CD doesn't list session credits). Langhorne, the character who inspired "Mr. Tambourine Man," also plays some tambourine, particularly on "Baby, I'm in the Mood for You." Although this is not a folk-rock album, as a result the arrangements have far more rhythm, swing, and imagination than most folk records of the era did. The song choices are good, too, not only including familiar tunes like "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Mr. Tambourine Man," but also some songs that hardly anyone has recorded. Indeed, Dylan never did put "Long Ago, Far Away" or "Long Time Gone" on any of his official releases, and didn't release three of the other songs ("Baby, I'm in the Mood for You," "Walkin' Down the Line," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time") in the 1960s. All of this is not to overlook Odetta's well-nuanced, bluesy vocal interpretations of the material, particularly on an extraordinary ten-minute version of "Mr. Tambourine Man." The 2000 CD reissue on Camden adds "Blowin' in the Wind" (from a 1963 album) and "Paths of Victory" (from a 1964 LP) as bonus tracks, nice additions that are stylistically consistent with the rest of the recording. (

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A grown-up kind of pretty - Joshilyn Jackson

A grown-up kind of pretty - Jackson, Joshilyn

Summary: A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY is a powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb-spirited, sassy, and on the cusp of womanhood-is shaken when a small grave is unearthed in the backyard, and determined to figure out why it's there. Liza, her stroke-ravaged mother, is haunted by choices she made as a teenager. But it is Jenny, Mosey's strong and big-hearted grandmother, whose maternal love braids together the strands of the women's shared past--and who will stop at nothing to defend their future. - (Hachette Book Group)

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The author of Gods in Alabama (2005) offers up a mesmerizing tale of a family coping with the revelation of a secret that will change their lives. Just 15 years separates each generation of Slocumb women: at 45, Ginny has to take care of her headstrong 30-year-old daughter, Liza, a former drug addict who suffered a debilitating stroke, and Liza's 15-year-old daughter, Mosey, whom Ginny worries will end up pregnant, just as she and Liza did at that age. But Mosey couldn't be more different from Liza: she is gangly and awkward and terrified of getting pregnant, so much so that she constantly takes pregnancy tests despite the fact that she has never had sex. When Ginny has a local boy cut down Liza's favorite willow tree in the backyard to put in a pool for Liza's physical therapy, he discovers a small silver box hidden beneath it. The contents of this box rock the three Slocumb women to the core and threaten to undo the family Ginny has worked so hard to nurture. This is Jackson's most absorbing book yet, a lush, rich read with three very different but equally compelling characters at its core. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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100 ways happy chic your life - Jonathan Adler

100 ways happy chic your life - Adler, Jonathan

Summary: Live happily, live stylishly! Celebrity designer Jonathan Adler's newest book is a vibrant, hilarious mash-up of style bible, decorating tome, and self-help guide. In gorgeous, full-color spreads, 100 bold ideas for Happy Chic dwelling, decorating, and entertaining are revealed. As a bonus, five projects, on gatefolded pages, invite readers to create their own Happy Chic handicrafts, including a macramé owl and custom LOVE note cards.

Booklist Reviews
In a recent interview with the Miami culture blog Cultist, Adler said, "A happy chic life is about starting with a chic foundation and then layering in playful punctuation." Combining high and low kitsch, always bold and forever whimsical, in a focused effort to bring "a general feeling of grooviness to your home," Adler's aesthetic may not be for everyone. Yet there are enough ideas here—some quite inventive in their simplicity—that can be cherry-picked to add pizzazz to any room (or life). Humor and joy infuse the book's typography, design, and text, which illustrate easy-to-implement ideas such as "No. 03: Have Breakfast in a Happy Place" and "No. 37: Embrace Humble Materials." Unfortunately, "No. 12: Build an Outdoor Shower" may not be logistically possible for those who don't own beach houses. Several of the book's spectacular photographs were taken at the Shelter Island, New York, dream home Adler built with his longtime partner, Simon Doonan (whom he lovingly calls "my bloke"). 100 Ways is the tart, delicious cherry on top of Adler's candy-colored lifestyle empire. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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El Iluminado - Ilan Stavans

El Iluminado - Stavans, Ilan

Summary: Features literary critic Ilan Stavans in the role of academic-become-investigator as he tries to seek the truth about Rolando and the secret documents that reveal the mysterious sect of crypto-Jews - whose lineage is traced back to the Inquisition, and who still live today, partially concealed, in the American Southwest.

Kirkus Reviews
What do you get when you cross a Mexican-born Jewish intellectual with the creator of the Rabbi Harvey comics? Surprise--it's a most unusual conspiracy thriller. Stavans (Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College; Return to Centro Historico: A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots, 2012, etc.) manages to shoehorn in a host of influences in his latest graphic novel, with spare, nearly amateurish illustrations by textbook author and illustrator Sheinkin (Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, 2012, etc.). This murder-mystery digs into the history of the crypto-Jews of New Mexico, who went into hiding after their expulsion by King Ferdinand of Spain in 1492. The story opens with the death of disgraced seminary student Rolando Pérez outside Santa Fe, N.M. Professor Stavans plays himself in this shadowy plot, having just arrived in the city to give a brief lecture, followed by a joyful evening at the famous Santa Fe Opera House. He's lured into the story by Irina Rodriguez, the cousin of deceased Rolando, and she's sure her cousin's death was no accident. There's a great deal of intellectual theory here--early on, Stavans muses, "The real history of crypto-Jews isn't in what we know, but in what we don't. They were members of a club whose existence they would swear didn't exist," and so on. But somehow it carries on, from Sheinkin's almost rudimentary depictions of Santa Fe's desert austerity, to Stavans' winking ridicule of his advocacy for Spanglish and self-mocking references to what is a fairly rich and impenetrable religious mystery. "I suppose you'll turn the whole murky mystery into some preposterous page-turner. The Da Vinci Code, with matzo and salsa picante," says one rival. Not nearly that blunt, nor as vivid as some readers may wish. Another bold, if gratuitous, experiment from an academic with impeccable credentials and a keen sense of the secrets we hold most dear. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The healthy green drink diet - Jason Manheim

The healthy green drink diet - Manheim, Jason

Summary: One juice or smoothie a daymade from green vegetables such as kale, cucumber, celery, and spinachworks wonders for organ health, immune system strength, and weight loss. Now the founder of offers a persuasive argument for adding a green drink to your day, as well as recipes for dozens of different variations.

Why drink green?
•Green leafy vegetables are extremely alkaline and great for lowering your blood pH and remedying many common ailments and diseases.
•By juicing or blending the vegetables into a delicious smoothie, you can enjoy the goodness of many more cups of greens that you could possibly eat in one sitting.
•The juicing process also breaks down or removes the fibers of the plants so their nutrients are able to get into your system quicker.
•The “green drink” approach offers dieters the chance to add something rather than take it away, without guilt.

A cleansing detox drink is a fantastic, tasty way to consume all your necessary vitamins and minerals without having to resort to a processed multivitamin. Plus, green-drinkers quickly start to crave more fruits and vegetables, leading them to a healthier diet over all. The Healthy Green Drink Diet gives health enthusiasts all the tools they need to add green drinks to their daily routine and feel the wonderful, energizing results through and through.
- (Norton Pub)

Celebrities, models, and nutritionists to the stars are all about the "green" drink—here's how to enjoy them at home. - (Norton Pub)

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If it's not one thing, it's your mother - Julia Sweeney

If it's not one thing, it's your mother - Sweeney, Julia

Summary: "While Julia Sweeney is known as a talented comedienne and writer/performer of her one-woman shows, she is also a talented essayist--and the past few years have provided her with some rich material. Julia adopted a Chinese girl named Mulan and then, a few years later, married and moved from Los Angeles to Chicago. She writes about deciding to adopt her child, strollers, nannies, knitting, being adopted by a dog, The Food Network, and meeting Mr. Right through an email from a complete stranger. Some of the essays reveal Julia's ability to find that essential thread of human connection, whether it's with her mother-in-law or with an anonymous customer service rep during a late-night phone call. But no matter what the topic, Julia always writes with elegant precision, pinning her jokes with razor-sharp observations while articulating feelings that we all share."--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
An author, playwright, actress, and comic perhaps best known as the androgynous Pat on Saturday Night Live, Sweeney's most challenging role came as a late-in-life single mother when she adopted her 18-month-old daughter from China. With a failed marriage behind her and recovering from the cervical cancer that left her unable to have children, Sweeney embraced new motherhood with an exhilarating combination of zeal and doubt. Chronicling her adventures in international adoption, novice parenting, and disastrous dating in a series of riotously candid essays, Sweeney demonstrates how her trademark sense of humor and hard-won optimism enabled her not only to raise a bright, well-adjusted, and accomplished child but also helped her find a husband who would face these challenges with her. From the typical awkward discussions with her 8-year-old daughter about the birds and bees to reluctantly opening her heart and home to a straggly stray dog to adjusting her career goals to accommodate her new family, Sweeney takes life's quotidian rituals to hilarious heights. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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The cats of Tanglewood Forest - Charles De Lint

The cats of Tanglewood Forest - De Lint, Charles

Summary: Twelve-year-old Lillian, an orphan who loves roaming the woods looking for fairies when her chores are done, is bitten by a deadly snake and saved through the magical forest creatures in this expansion on the author's and illustrator's previous work, A circle of cats.

Library Media Connection
The cats had just begun to gather the day that Lillian, an orphan girl, was bitten by a poisonous snake. To keep her from dying, they changed her into a kitten. Lillian was devastated to see her beloved aunt frantically searching for her missing niece, not realizing the kitten rubbing against her legs was Lillian. Lillian then knew she had to find someone who could turn her back into a girl. She befriends several magical creatures, including Old Mother Possum, who used her magic to turn Lillian back into a girl. But when Lillian returned home she found her aunt dead. She again traveled into the wilderness to find a way to reverse what happened, and was sent to find the Bear People. With the help of a surprising friend she was able to return to the farm to make her life right again. This story of bravery, friendship, and self-discovery is a tale filled with enchantment and adventure. Susan Black, Librarian, Arlee (Montana) Elementary School. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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The things they carried - Tim O'Brien

The things they carried - Tim O'Brien

Summary: An anniversary edition of a collection of interconnected fictional stories follows the members of an American platoon fighting in the Vietnam War, in a book that mirrors the author's own wartime experiences. This finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award has been banned for profanity and other strong language. - (Baker & Taylor)

BookList Review
"In the end. . .a true war story is never about war. It's about sunlight. It's about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to. It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It's about sisters who never write back and people who never listen." In Tim O'Brien's world, of course, a war story is all that--and more. The author of the National Book Award-winning Going After Cacciato offers us fiction in a unique form: a kind of "faction" presented as a collection of related stories that have the cumulative effect of a unified novel. The "things they carry"--literally--are prosaic things: amphetamines, M-16s, grenades, good-luck charms, Sterno cans, toilet paper, photographs, C-rations. But the men in O'Brien's platoon--Curt Lemon, Rat Kiley, Henry Dobbins, Kiowa, and the rest--also carry less tangible but more palpable things such as disease, confusion, hatred, love, regret, fear, what passes for courage; in short, the prototypical psychological profile of the youthful Vietnam vet. There are 22 pieces here in all, some of which were previously published in such diverse literary arenas as Playboy, Granta, GQ, and Esquire. The prose ranges from staccato soldierly thoughts to raw depictions of violent death to intense personal ruminations by the author that don't appear to be fictional at all. ("On the Rainy River," O'Brien's account of the time he almost fled to Canada after receiving his draft notice, is particularly moving.) Just when you thought there was nothing left to say about the Vietnam experience. . .there's plenty. ((Reviewed March 15, 1990)) -- Martin Brady

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Adventure Time: The complete second season (DVD)

Adventure Time: The complete second season (DVD)

Summary: That Ice King sure is cold, but as cold as Marceline's fries? He's pretty evil too, but as evil as the lich? And Ice King does have powers, but as powerful as Susan Strong?!? Season Two in OOO introduces a world of new characters and adventures. Some chiller than Ice King, others as warm and fuzzy as Finn & Jake, but no one as handsome as Ice King without his beard! Ooh-La-La!!

"It’s one crazy adventure after another for human boy, Finn, and his best friend, Jake, a 28-year old dog with magical powers. They’re out to have the most fun possible and they sure do find it exploring the Land of Ooo! Whether it’s saving Princess Bubblegum, battling zombie candy, taunting the Ice King or rocking out with Marceline the Vampire Queen, with Finn & Jake it’s always ADVENTURE TIME!" - (Alert)

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How to lead a life of crime - Kirsten Miller

How to lead a life of crime - Miller, Kirsten

Summary: A Meth Dealer. A Prostitute. A Serial Killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called
prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young
criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to
graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel
recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame.
They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will
they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
- (Penguin Putnam)

Kirkus Reviews
A teen pickpocket attends a school for the criminally minded. Tough, 17-year-old loner Flick lives on the streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side and makes ends meet by relieving the upper class of their wallets. His only ally is a teen girl named Joi, who operates an underground rescue camp for homeless teens and wields surgical tools like a pro. Enter well-dressed, smooth-talking Lucian Mandel, the headmaster of the infamous Mandel Academy, who makes him an offer he can't refuse: If Flick agrees to enroll in Mandel Academy, Lucian will hand over the evidence that connects Flick's wealthy father to the murder of his brother. Flick agrees, and he soon finds himself immersed in a student body of teen sociopathic murderers, liars, thieves and embezzlers--all embroiled in a violent race to the top of the class. Miller pens an enjoyable, fast-paced action novel that's full of danger, mystery, humor and violence, with lots of gross-out scenes and plenty of hairpin-turn plot twists that will keep readers guessing. Her only misstep in this exciting read is an overdose of references to Barrie's Peter Pan, but readers will still make the right connections to the characters and probably devour the novel in one setting. An enigmatic page turner full of intrigue. (Adventure. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The lost city of Z - David Grann

Lost city of Z - Grann, David

Summary: "After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve 'the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century': what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization--which he dubbed 'Z'--existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate--and the clues he left behind--became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett's mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the 'green hell.' "--From publisher description.

Booklist Reviews
Percy Fawcett, a celebrated member of the Royal Geographical Society, explored the Amazon the hard way: on foot, hacking his way through the jungle. Single-minded and exceptionally tough, he captured the imagination of a public hungry for tales of far-off adventure. His exploits were widely reported, especially when he told of his belief in a lost city—enigmatically, he called it "Z"—that would offer proof an advanced civilization had once thrived despite the region s hostile environment. In 1925, having vowed to find Z, he disappeared into the jungle and was never seen again. Grann, of the New Yorker, was no outdoorsman. But captivated by the story, he joined the ranks of the "Fawcett Freaks," determined to discover the explorer s fate. (It is estimated that more than 100 people have lost their lives trying to find out how Fawcett lost his.) He interweaves Fawcett s story with rich period detail and an account of his own trip to the receding jungle. The historical passages, peerlessly researched, are the best; the first-person parts could have been a useful way of illustrating the tale s irresistible lure—but compared to Fawcett s relentless monomania and astonishing travels, Grann s own journey pales. The device pays off in the final scene, however, when, through Grann s own eyes, we experience the thrill of discovery—and learn that Percy Fawcett just may have been right all along. Copyright Booklist Reviews 2008.

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Double jeopardy - Jean Echenoz

Double jeopardy - Echenoz, Jean

Library Journal
In this fast-moving tale, reminiscent of a detective novel, Echenoz crosses the boundaries of time and space as he introduces us to Charles and Jeff, who were in love with Nicole 30 years ago; Paul, Jeff's nephew, who falls for Justine, Nicole's daughter by a dead pilot; and Bob, Paul's friend. Bob and Paul unwittingly duplicate Charles and Jeff's past pursuit of Nicole, as they both try to win the love of her daughter. In the background, and setting the pace for the story, is the subplot of an arms-smuggling campaign to Malaysia, where Jeff manages a rubber plantation. The off-beat characters are delightful and well drawn, and their curious relationships will keep the reader entertained until the last page. The author is the winner of the Medici Prize for Cherokee (Godine, 1987) and the European Literature Prize for his best-selling Lac. -- Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll., N.H.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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The receptionist - Janet Groth

The receptionist: an education at the New Yorker - Groth, Janet

Summary: Describes the author's career as a receptionist at the prestigious New Yorker magazine, recounting her relationships with famous poets, essayists, and playwrights, and chronicling the behind-the-scenes affairs of the magazine and its staff.

Booklist Reviews
Fresh out of college in 1957, Groth managed to get an interview at the New Yorker with a painfully shy E. B. White. She dreamed of being a famous writer but was offered the job of receptionist on the writers' floor of the magazine. Seeing that as a starting point, she began the job of tending to the work details of writers like John Berryman, Joe Mitchell, Calvin Trillin, Charles Addams, and Muriel Spark, to name a few. She never did become one of the writers there but never felt trapped. She had many experiences, good and bad, including Christmas in Tuscany with Muriel Spark. During her time there, she worked on her PhD; and, after 21 years, she left to take a professorship at the University of Cincinnati. She candidly relates her sexual awakening and foolish love choices as well as giving the reader a glimpse into the private lives of some of the writers who passed by her desk. She is witty, honest, and self-deprecating, without whining, and quite a good role model. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Let's explore diabetes with owls - David Sedaris

Let's explore diabetes with owls - Sedaris, David

Summary: From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
Sedaris's latest essay collection possesses all of the wit, charm, and poignancy his readers have come to expect. His usual cast of delightful characters returns; including a flashback of his father in his underpants berating a schoolboy or, more recently, hounding David into getting a colonoscopy. Many pieces involve travel, animals, or both: his sister Gretchen totes around an insect "kill jar"; in a Denver airport, David engages with a judgmental fellow passenger; and visiting the Australian bush, he has encounters with a kookaburra and a dead wallaby. Seeking a stuffed owl for a Valentine's Day gift leads him to a taxidermist shop where he is shown gruesome oddities and confronts difficult questions about his curiosity. Another essay explores the evolution of David's 35 years-and-counting of keeping a diary and provides some great insight into his writing process. In addition to the personal essays, there are six satirical monologues in which he assumes the role of a character with a ridiculous message. One in particular involves a man's ludicrous response to the legalization of gay marriage in New York, believing his own marriage is now "meaningless". This is a must-read for fans of smart, well-crafted writing with a sense of humor. Agent: Steven Barclay Agency. (May)

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A corner of white - Jaclyn Moriarty

A corner of white - Moriarty, Jaclyn

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Madeleine of Cambridge, England, struggling to cope with poverty and her mother's illness, and fifteen-year-old Elliot of the Kingdom of Cello in a parallel world where colors are villainous and his father is missing, begin exchanging notes through a crack between their worlds and find they can be of great help to each other.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, after she and her mother flee from high-society life with her father. Elliot Baranski, fifteen, lives in the Kingdom of Cello, where his own father has mysteriously disappeared after a "Color Attack" that also killed his uncle. After accidentally discovering a crack between their worlds that allows letters through, the two begin corresponding about their problems: Madeleine's poverty, her mother's illness, her friends Jack and Belle, her research of Isaac Newton; and Elliot's discovery of the Butterfly Child (a fairy creature said to improve crops), the effects of Colors in Cello, and the antics of his loyal friends Moriarty's fans will recognize her flair for epistolary storytelling and quirky characters. Humorous asides and large doses of whimsy create a breezy tone that makes moments of romance and violence unexpectedly powerful. Madeleine's insistence that Cello is Elliot's fabrication ("I have issues with your world-building") provides a particularly funny, metafiction twist to the parallel-universe storyline. As the first book in a new series, The Colors of Madeleine, this book sets up a lot of backstory, and the slow beginning may deter some readers. Those who persevere, however, will be rewarded with a clever, layered story in which every seemingly innocuous detail plays a part, and the ending satisfies while opening brand-new doors for the sequel. School and public libraries will want to purchase this one.—Rebecca O'Neil 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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Animal wise - Virginia Morell

Animal wise: the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures - Morell, Virginia

Summary: Explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising examination into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.

Kirkus Reviews
Animals not only have minds, but personalities and emotions. They make plans, calculate, cheat and even teach, writes veteran science writer Morell (Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings, 1997) in this delightful exploration of how animals think. Until 50 years ago, most scientists--but not Darwin--believed that blind instinct governed animal behavior; thinking was unnecessary and therefore absent. Morell documents her interviews with scientists across the world whose studies have reduced this to a minority opinion. Readers anticipating the traditional high-IQ dog/monkey/elephant examples will receive a jolt in the first chapter, which reveals that ants are no slouches in the brain department. Members of a complex society, they solve problems with a flexibility that would be impossible if ant neurons were simple and hard-wired. No less impressive are fish, birds and rats, which the author examines in subsequent chapters. Fish feel pain. Birds sing because their parents teach them. Parrots not only imitate human sounds, they know what they are saying and can identify numbers, shapes, colors and even differences between them. Rats engaged in play make sounds that reveal that they are enjoying themselves. Entering familiar territory, Morell also looks at elephants and dolphins, which have long memories and sophisticated personal relationships that include genuine affection. While chimps perform their impressive feats, dogs occupy the final chapter since many experts believe that a dog's obsession with reading and responding to our cues make it the best model for understanding the human mind. Although human cognition remains uniquely profound, evolution guarantees that it has a long history, and Morell makes a fascinating, convincing case that even primitive animals give some thought to their actions. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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