May 2008 Archives

Fletch by Gregory McDonald

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Fletch by Gregory McDonald

The first of nine novels in the Fletch series and a winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award for the best mystery novel of 1974, Fletch is as fun as a detective novel can be! Though the story is pure grit and gravel, McDonald writes with a lighthearted pen and sense of witty irony that moves the story along at a brisk pace. I.M. Fletcher is an investigative reporter looking into widespread drug dealing at a local beach. While posing as a beach bum, he is approached by a wealthy businessman who asks Fletch to murder him for $50,000. As Fletch looks into this bizarre request, webs are woven, shadows get long and deceit abounds. This novel was also made into a popular movie starring Chevy Chase in 1985.
Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

Our Feathered Friends

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Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman, 2006
True to its subtitle, an entertaining book on all things pigeons. Blechman immerses himself in the varied worlds of today’s pigeons (everyday street pigeons, racing pigeons, show pigeons, illegally-captured target pigeons, etc.) and also explores their place in history. Both humorous and informative, this title should appeal to birders and non-birders alike.
Check catalog for availability.


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The Grail Bird: The Rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker by Tim Gallagher, 2005
Tim Gallagher’s firsthand account of the 2004 rediscovery of Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers (thought to be extinct for 60 years) in Arkansas. Since its publication, the key piece of Arkansas evidence – a few seconds of digital video footage of what looks to be an ivorybill - has been the source of much debate in the birding community. Despite said debate, this book is a great read, written in a compelling fashion with Tim and his likable search partner Bobby Harrison as the central figures.
Check catalog for availability.


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Ivorybill Hunters: The Search for Proof in a Flooded Wilderness by Geoff Hill, 2007
Geoff Hill’s firsthand account of his research team’s seemingly successful 2005/2006 search for Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in the swamp forests of Florida’s panhandle. The Florida findings have kind of flown under the radar – but the overall evidence accumulated there is perhaps stronger than that of the Arkansas findings and the book is just as good too.
Check catalog for availability.


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The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, 2000
An extremely thorough field guide to all of North America’s birds. Sibley’s multiple, superbly-detailed watercolor paintings for each species are nothing short of stellar. Highly recommended to anyone with even a slight interest in birding.
Check catalog for availability.


- Submitted by Tom @ MPL Central

The Barbarous Coast by Ross Macdonald

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The Barbarous Coast by Ross Macdonald

Originally published in 1956, this deliciously hard-boiled detective yarn features private eye Lew Archer slapping and kicking his way to a smashing climax. Hester Campbell has disappeared from the exclusive Hollywood club where she was a swimming instructor and, besides her husband, it seems not everyone is concerned about her vanishing act. Follow the bruising exploits of gumshoe Archer in this journey to a not so nice conclusion of murder and deceit. Fans of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler will delight in this salute to Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade and other famous flatfoots of the literary past. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

Celebutantes by Amanda Goldberg & Ruthanna Hopper

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Hollywood during the glitter, glamour, and hype of Oscar week forms the backdrop for a name-dropping, scandal-ridden, gossipy romp chronicling the adventures of Lola Santisi, the twenty-six-year-old daughter of Hollywood royalty, and her friends, Kate, a Hollywood talent agent, and Cricket, a struggling model and actress. A first novel co-authored by the daughter of producer Leonard Goldberg and the daughter of actor Dennis Hopper. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ Central

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Walter Mosley says Coates is “the James Joyce of the hip hop generation”. This lyrical writer fills a void in the African American literary pantheon with a gorgeously written, poetry-laced exploration of the father-son connection. His description of the daisy age of hip-hop (1988) when black children begged for Technic turntables, an MPC sampler, and some Chuck D will connect with many readers.

Dad was a Vietnam vet who often rolled with the Black Panthers. An old-school disciplinarian (he was willing to dispense beatings to keep his kids on the right path), Paul Coates provided a bulwark against the 80’s crack wars looming near his bookish, dreamy kid in a disintegrating section of Baltimore. He also manages to navigate his sons from urban blight toward and through Howard University - as a single father. Ta-Nehisi grows up to become a staff writer for the Village Voice and Time, conjuring the struggle of the streets and a compelling familial love story into this beautiful debut that crackles with eloquence and lingers in the ear. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jane @ Martin Luther King Library

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Vegetables, herbs & fruit : an illustrated encyclopedia by Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar and Bob Flowerdew (2006)

This is an excellent reference source for growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. Each entry contains most of the following information: history, varieties, cultivation, companion planting, recipes, medicinal uses, pest and diseases, warnings, and other uses. This encyclopedia is well organized and illustrated, and thorough. Check catalog for availability


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Reader's Digest organic gardening for the 21st century : A complete guide to growing vetables, fruits, herbs and flowers by John Fedor ; consultant, Bob Sherman of HDRA ; photography by Steven Wooster (2001)

This book defines organic gardening and its importance. It follows with a discussion about soils and compost, and what they are. Next the book explains the importance of planning your garden and what you will plant when. Lastly, the reader will find instructions on tending their gardens and a directory of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Check catalog for availability


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Midwest top 10 garden guide by Blodgett and the editors of Sunset Books (2004)

This beautiful book helps readers choose from a wide variety of plants, shrubs, trees and more that are suitable for Midwest gardens and landscapes. Readers will easily find favorites listed, when and where to plant, and how to care for their new green friends. Check catalog for availability


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The plant finder : the right plants for every garden by senior consultants, Tony Rodd and Geoff Bryant ; [editors, Loretta Barnard ... [et al.]] (2007)

This book isn't kidding when it states that it contains "the right plants for every garden." Gardeners will find approximately 1,000 pages of illustrations and information for almost anything that can be planted into the ground. It would be difficult to locate a resource that is more comprehensive than this one. Check catalog for availability


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You grow girl : the groundbreaking guide to gardening by by Gayla Trail ; illustrations by Leela Corman (2005)

From the author's website, "You Grow Girlâ„¢...speaks to a new kind of gardener, seeking to redefine the modern world relationship to plants. This contemporary, laid-back approach to gardening places equal importance on environmentalism, style, affordability, art, and humour." Gayla's book is written in the same fun, humorous style and full of useful information for any gardening girl... or boy. Check catalog for availability

Author's website and blog

- Submitted by Paula @ MPL Central

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

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After the suicide of a friend, sixteen year old Adam has quit his beloved hockey team and withdrawn to his room where his only interest is his computer. Concerned about their son's behavior, Mike and Tia Baye decide to install software on Adam's computer that allows them to monitor his activities. But do they really want to know? As the Baye family descends into a world of deceit, drugs and murder, the ethics of spying are questioned. How much should a parent know about their teenager? This and other moral questions are examined in this tense thriller. Parents beware! This book may scare the socks off you! So turn off the TV, unplug the phone and enjoy this well written psychological shocker. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

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Three chapters connect three stories with different characters and places with most recent events first, then shifting back in time. I, "The Heron's Wife," 1999; II, "Lion Park," 1966 and III, "The Rules of Love," 1952. It is essentially about how love can go wrong. Willful Madeleine Heller is drawn to her sister’s fiancé. Frieda Lewis, a doctor’s daughter, becomes the muse of a rock star. And gorgeous Bryn Evans plans to marry an Englishman while secretly infatuated with her ex-husband. Tying things together is Lucy Green, who blames herself for an accident she witnessed at the age of twelve, and who spends four decades searching for the Third Angel – the angel on earth who will renew her faith. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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The Queen's Man : A Medieval Mystery by Sharon Kay Penman, 1996

In 1193 Justin de Quincy becomes Eleanor of Aquitaine’s’ confidant. He diligently pursues secret traitors and murderers. Exciting action, adventure and friends lead Justin to uncover and solve dangerous plots against the queen and save the day… until next time. This book is the first in a series. Check catalog for availability.

I'd rate this one fun, light and entertaining.

- Submitted by Paula @ MPL Central

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

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The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

The Vietnam War experiences of the author are told in this outstanding work of fiction. This novel was a finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and the acclaim is well deserved. The book is not a novel in the traditional sense, or a collection of short stories and not quite a memoir. The narrative is more a melding of all three formats into an inter-related work consisting of twenty-two stories that combine the war experiences of the narrator who also happens to be named Tim O'Brien but is not the author! The narrator having the same name as the author further blurs what is to be considered "truth" with fiction. The thread that holds all twenty-two stories together are the things that the soldiers carried in their packs, their consciences and their hearts while serving in the same platoon. Less an examination of the politics of war than a kaleidoscope of the memories and feelings created by it, this book is literary art at its best. Check catalog for availability.

Please join us at the Central Library on Tuesday, May 13th at 7pm for a discussion of this exceptional work. However, prior reading of this book is not necessary to join in the discussion. Tell the group about your experiences in the military or discuss the impact of military service on your family. Any and all contributions are welcome!

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

Get to Know Diablo Cody

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Even if you haven't seen Juno yet, chances are you've heard of it: Juno MacGuff is a cool, confident teenager who takes a nine-month detour into adulthood when she's faced with an unplanned pregnancy and sets out to find the perfect parents for her baby. Chances are you've also heard of Diablo Cody, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for this debut script.

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Diablo also penned a memoir, Candy Girl, in which she recounts her decision to work as a stripper despite her profile as an intelligent woman with a supportive boyfriend and positive family life, describing the lessons she learned in gentlemen's clubs and elsewhere. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ Central


Author: Trevor Corson

I recently read a couple of excellent non-fiction titles by Trevor Corson. In each he explores a modern day activity and deftly blends in extremely well-researched historical and scientific context. The results make for both entertaining and informative reading.


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The Zen of Fish (2007)
Corson follows a class as they progress through an intensive twelve week course at the California Sushi Academy. He puts special focus on student Kate, who gets off to a shaky start but determinedly finds her way. Throughout, Corson gives one plenty to think about, especially in terms of sushi etiquette and fish species conservation. Highly recommended for sushi aficionados. Check catalog for availability.


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The Secret Life of Lobsters (2005)
In this earlier work, Corson documents not only the lives of lobsters but also a lobster fishing community in Maine and several lobster-studying scientists. Lobsters definitely have odd social customs and especially unique sex lives. And the men and women who spend their lives harvesting and researching lobsters are an interesting bunch as well. All in all, a gripping read. Check catalog for availability.


- Submitted by Tom @ MPL Central

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