Aug 1, 2015

The hotel on Place Vendome - Tilar Mazzeo

The hotel on Place Vendome: life, death, and betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris - Mazzeo, Tilar

Summary: Taking readers behind the doors of Paris's Hotel Ritz during the Nazi occupation of World War II, this extraordinary chronicle reveals a hotbed of illicit affairs, deadly intrigues, courageous acts of defiance and treachery and the people and events that made this opulent cultural landmark legendary. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Publishers Weekly Reviews
The Paris Hôtel Ritz evokes 20th-century glamour, smoke-filled air, and hard-drinking patrons with names like Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, and Chanel. WWII, however, brought Nazis, adding to the odd mix of Allied spies posing as German officers, members of the Resistance, and ambitious American journalists desperate to score the next scoop. Mazzeo (The Secret of Chanel No. 5) enthrallingly depicts a hotbed of both the magnificent and the mundane, the careless carousing and deep-seated tensions that kept the hotel a primary meeting place for both Allied and Axis agents. While the book doesn't deal directly in scenes of intrigue between key figures, its colorful vignettes reveal the hotel's role in the unsuccessful Valkyrie operation and the struggles of Coco Chanel and a one-name French movie star to survive their "horizontal collaborations." The stories of the hotel staff members who publicly served Hitler's trusted officials while privately supporting the Resistance reveal particularly heroic undertakings. Readers will enjoy Mazzeo's fascinating collection of secretive, scheming historical characters, all under one elegant roof. 19 b&w photos. (Mar.)

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The tunnels of Cu Chi - Tom Mangold

The tunnels of Cu Chi - Mangold, Tom

Summary: Explains how the North Vietnamese used underground tunnels in conjunction with other guerrilla warfare tactics against American forces and looks at the specially trained U.S. soldiers who explored and destroyed these underground complexes. - (Baker & Taylor)

“A claustrophobic but fascinating tale.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“Chilling . . . what war really was and how it was fought.”
–The New York Times

“Gripping . . . highly recommended.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

–The Washington Post

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On the move: a life - Oliver Sacks

On the move: a life - Sacks, Oliver

Summary: When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: "Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far." Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life. Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions -- weight lifting and swimming -- also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists -- Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick -- who influenced him.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Sacks characterizes himself primarily as a storyteller, the son of storytellers—mother and father both—rather than as a physician, the other identity he shares with both parents. He's melded those roles in a string of best-selling collections of case histories from his practice as a clinical neurologist. Anyone pleased by any of them will be enthralled with his own story, which he fills out with not just the personal reasons, such as making fascinating friends, but also the scientific ones, such as contributing to new conceptions of brain function, that make what he tells us worth telling. He also, perhaps all unawares, reveals himself as a restless achiever and a bit of a daredevil. If avidly reading historic medical literature from adolescence on seems entirely appropriate to a writing clinician, surely youthful passions for motorcycling and weightlifting (on early-'60s Muscle Beach, yet) are a bit surprising (when injuries quashed those pursuits, Sacks fell back on hard swimming and scuba diving). And if strong late friendships with the stars of brain research seem inevitable, others begun well before he was famous, such as with the poets W. H. Auden and Thom Gunn, attest the estheticism in him that is the mainspring of his 2007 best-seller, Musicophilia. That Sacks is homosexual barely glints among the other lights of his long, eventful life. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: That the author's previous books have been popular in libraries should more than suggest that most public librarians need to have this new one in their collection. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Trial of Old Drum (DVD)

Trial of Old Drum (DVD)

Summary: Charlie's best friend is a good old dog named Old Drum. But Old Drum faces the challenge of his life; being accused of attacking a local farmer's sheep. While his canine pal sits in jail awaiting his trial date, Charlie must gather evidence and witnesses to convince the community of Old Drum's innocence.

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Train to Crystal City- Jan Russell

The train to Crystal City: FDR's secret prisoner exchange program and America's only family internment camp during World War II

Summary: "Focusing on a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet, a dramatic account exposes a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II where hundreds of prisoners were exchanged for other Americans behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany."--Publisher's description.

Booklist Reviews
The internment of Japanese Americans in camps along the Pacific Coast during WWII is well known. With the benefit of hindsight, the action has been roundly condemned as a racially motivated overreaction and gross violation of constitutional and human rights. Less well-known but equally reprehensible was the roundup of thousands of Germans, Italians, and other so-called enemy aliens. These included entire families composed of both noncitizens and citizens and even some ethnic Germans and Italians deported from Latin American nations to the U.S. Most were sent to a camp in Crystal City, Texas, in a rather desolate area in the south of the state. Few, if any, could be considered as security threats. According to Russell, the Roosevelt administration viewed their internment as useful bargaining chips in efforts to negotiate the release of American citizens stuck in occupied Europe. Much of Russell's account is viewed through the experiences of two young American-born girls. Of course, the camp was nothing like the work camps and death camps of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, the barbed wire, armed guards, and watch towers made clear to the residents that they were held in prison-like conditions. This is an informative, disturbing, and necessary reminder of the dangers produced by wartime hysteria. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The typist - Michael Knight

The typist - Knight, Michael

Summary: Assigned to post-World War II Japan in the first year of the occupation, military typist Van finds his distinctly Western values tested by the culture, his duties as a babysitter for General MacArthur's son, and startling news from his young war bride.

Booklist Reviews
Post-surrender Japan must have been an odd assignment for a soldier. Van is spared from frontline duty due to his remarkable abilities as a typist and ends up in General McArthur's Tokyo headquarters. With a wife back home, Van shies from the romantic escapades so many of his fellow enlistees commit so much of their time to. Van's good-hearted roommate cannot stay away from the pan-pan girls and begins a small black-market operation to satisfy his desires and relieve his boredom. This operation is his downfall and even comes close to ruining Van. Knight cunningly details the confluence of the boredom of American soldiers and the economic plight of the post-bombing Japanese. Two cultures collide and gross exploitation occurs, but Knight is still able to craft heartfelt relationships amid the confusion. Such novels as this one—fiction, yes, but rooted in actual history—help contemporary readers make sense of the mayhem and heroism of WWII. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Elephant Company - Vicki Croke

Elephant Company: the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II - Croke, Vicki

Summary: "J.H. "Billy" Williams always had an affinity for animals. So, when he responded to job offer with the East India Company to work with logging elephants his family wasn't surprised, though worried that he had already come back from World War I in one piece, would he be so lucky with India? Not only did he find his calling with the elephants in India, Billy and his elephants became war heroes. At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own "Hannibal Trek." Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten. Part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure, Croke delivers an utterly charming narrative and an important, little-known piece of the legacy of World War II"-- Provided by publisher.

“This book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . .Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen,The New York Times Book Review

“Splendid . . . Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s story is an often moving account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his unusual bond with the largest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe

“Some of the biggest heroes of World War II were even bigger than you thought. . . . You may never call the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post

“Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author ofLost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time - (Random House, Inc.)

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Austenland - Shannon Hale

Austenland - Hale, Shannon

Summary: Because her obsession with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," is ruining her love life, Jane Hayes is delighted when she gets the chance to take a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women.

Kirkus Reviews
Yet another player in the literary parlor game of re-writing Jane Austen.From the dedication to Colin Firth, Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries, Hale, author of YA novels (River Secrets, 2006, etc.), lets the reader know her tongue is firmly in cheek. Hale's heroine, Jane Hayes, is a single New York professional with a secret passion for Pride and Prejudice—not the novel, but the more over-the-top romantic screen versions, particularly the one starring Firth. Shortly after her Great-Aunt Carolyn discovers Jane's obsession, the old lady conveniently dies, having bequeathed to Jane a three-week stay at Pembrook Park, a fantasy version of a Regency England country estate (modern plumbing, but no cell phones allowed). Temporarily re-christened "Miss Jane Erstwhile," Jane soon finds herself plopped into the center of several Austen novels rolled together. Her fellow guests are the pathetically needy "Miss Charming" and the gentle, genuinely charming "Miss Heartwright." Knowing that the hosts and male guests are clearly actors does not keep Jane from confusing fact with fantasy. As she resists the falseness of the situation, she falls into a contemporary fling with Martin, an actor playing a gardener on the estate, with whom she watches television and makes out. She also finds herself drawn to "Mr. Nobley," a Darcy stand-in. But is it the character being played whom she's attracted to? Or the man playing him? The novel is clever in its depiction of the many ways in which romance can fall away, and Jane is no fool as she attempts to sort out the real from the make-believe. Readers will be as surprised as she is by some of the twists. But ultimately this is a romance novel in which lovers who are meant to be together overcome miscues and misunderstandings before the final clinch.Mindless froth that Austen addicts will love. Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Bee & PuppyCat - Natasha Allegri

Bee & PuppyCat - Allegri, Natasha

Summary: Bee, a not-so-graceful temporary worker, and her partner PuppyCat, the stern curmudgeon who helps her pay rent, take on a variety of jobs from cleaning house to finding plants and saving a planet from an interdimensional terror-beast. - (Baker & Taylor)

Natasha Allegri's smash hit YouTube animated series comes to comic books!

A quirky new take on the magical girl genre with Bee, the forever unemployed main character who can’t seem to figure out life, and the mysterious PuppyCat, a stray...whatever it is…that she stumbled across who has a powerful secret. You might already love it if you’re one of the thousands who supported the Kickstarter campaign, but for those of you just joining us, if you like stories that feature magical girls like SAILOR MOON, MADOKA MAGICA, and POWERPUFF GIRLS, you will enjoy BEE AND PUPPYCAT! It’s a slice-of-life story with a twist, and it has so much comedy and enchantment you can’t help but be swept up. Natasha Allegri is simply amazing. She built up a big fan-following on Tumblr while working on the Adventure Time cartoon, then created gender-swapped characters (FIONNA AND CAKE) that became so popular they put them into the show. Then, she created BEE AND PUPPYCAT and it became the most funded web series project in Kickstarter history. How could we NOT publish it? - (Simon and Schuster)

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Big little lies - Liane Moriarty

Big little lies - Moriarty, Liane

Summary: Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* It begins with a murder. It's not clear who was killed, but it was definitely someone at the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night fund-raiser at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia. Back up six months, to when Madeline Mackenzie celebrated her fortieth birthday with kindergarten orientation for her youngest daughter, Chloe. She runs into the gorgeous, if spacey, Celeste White and her twin boys; new kid Ziggy Chapman and his mom, shy, jumpy, Jane; and, unfortunately, her ex-husband and his New Age wife, Bonnie, and their daughter, Skye. When a little girl accuses Ziggy of choking her, the class moms begin to divide. As antibullying fervor escalates, Jane grows closer to Madeline, with whom she shares her terrible secret, and Celeste, who is hiding an insidious secret of her own, not that she will admit it. What starts as a send-up of suburban helicopter parenting turns darker as the pages flip by, building to a tense climax at Trivia Night, where one too many fizzy pink cocktails leads to . . . well, murder. Funny and thrilling, page-turning but with emotional depth, Big Little Lies is a terrific follow-up to The Husband's Secret (2013). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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A bear, a backpack, and eight crates of vodka: a memoir - Lev Golinkin

A bear, a backpack, and eight crates of vodka: a memoir - Golinkin, Lev

Summary: Recounts the author's experiences as a young boy fleeing persecution in the late eighties Soviet Union, and his later return to Austria and Eastern Europe as an American adult to track down those who helped his family escape and thank them.

Booklist Reviews
Golinkin was just a child during the tumultuous years of Soviet premier Gorbachev's introduction of glasnost and perestroika, yet his parents and grandmother remembered the worst of the USSR's restrictive, controlling atmosphere. Worse, the family members were zhid, Jewish. This atmospheric, touching memoir, whose chapters begin with dates and locations to orient the reader, follows the Golinkins as they escape the Soviet Union and land in America. Golinkin's early memories are touchingly true to those of a youngster, and he reports on his family members' fears, troubles, persistence, and patience with a keen eye and a memorable voice. Once in the U.S., ensconced near Purdue University—the former-engineer father a clerk, the former-doctor mother a barista, and hopes for his sister's attending Purdue wavering—Golinkin muses, "Dignity, family, social status, or blood, one way or another, every immigrant pays the admission price to America, and the older they are, the steeper the fare." Years later, Golinkin finds and thanks the many people who helped his family and inspired him to help others as well. Eye-opening for those who come to the U.S. and for those who help them do so. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The phantom tollbooth - Juster Norton

The phantom tollbooth - Norton, Juster

Summary: A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers and finds a cure for his boredom.

With almost 4 million copies sold over 50 years after its original publication, generations of readers have now journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic that Philip Pullman says “comes up bright and new every time I read it . . . it will continue to charm and delight for a very long time yet. And teach us some wisdom, too.” Enriched by Jules Feiffer’s splendid illustrations, the wit, wisdom, and wordplay of Norton Juster’s offbeat fantasy are as beguiling as ever.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams! - (Random House, Inc.)

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