November 2008 Archives

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

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Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

Minnesota detective Virgil Flowers solves a series of small town murders with the clue "I saw the man in the moon" that was uttered by a deranged resident. Though not part of the "Prey" series from Sandford, this novel will leave you howling!

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- Submitted by Dan @ Central

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

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Silk by Alessandro Baricco, 1997

Baricco writes in a simple straightforward manner that I found sometimes humorous and other times deeply moving. The main character Herve Joncour's personality and actions perfectly mirror Baricco's writing style. This novel follows Herve's travels back and forth from France to the end of the world, Japan, to trade for silkworm eggs. Central to the story are the relationships Herve has with his wife, the Japanese man he trades with for silkworm eggs and a mysterious woman he meets in Japan.

The movie adaptation for this book perfectly captures the mood of Baricco's novel as well as the dialogue almost to the word. I thought the actors chosen for the characters of this book were also well matched. I recommend this serene book and movie to all.

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Submitted by Paula N. @ MPL Central

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Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement by Carl Oglesby

Carl Oglesby went from working for a Defense contractor to president of the left-of-center Students for a Democratic Society. But while his politics changed very little during the late 1960’s, SDS became a more radical left-wing organization and self-destructed over the issue of a violent response to the Vietnam War, perhaps with a lot of help from the Nixon administration. Oglesby sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act to get his personal files released.
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- Submitted by Richard @ Central

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What a great book. I recently finished and I’m still thinking about the characters. The epistolary style (written in the form of a series of letters exchanged among the characters of the story) conveys a warmness so great you feel like you’re a friend of theirs too.

The story follows Juliet around London and later Guernsey where she befriends Islanders just after the end of the German Occupation. Through letters, Juliet learns about life on the island and its deprivations while occupied. She becomes so fond of the people there that she moves to the island temporarily and decides to write a book based on their experiences. Check catalog for availability.

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Dancing Naked At The Edge Of Dawn (2005) by Kris Radish

My cousin recommended this book to me and I'm glad I read it. The life-altering events that occur in Meg's past, present and ultimately her future are simultaneously extraordinary and ordinary. With the guidance of friends both old and new, and a magical trail of clues left behind by her dead aunt, Meg discovers the life she was meant to live and the person she was meant to be. Meg's discoveries are inspiring to readers. Radish enters the psyche of the female mind and reveals it in a realistic humorous fashion.
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This book was fun to read as well as thought provoking.

Submitted by Paula N. @ MPL Central

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

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Reading Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite guilty pleasures and this book was no exception. If you haven’t read him yet, it would be a good one to start with.

In The Lucky One, Logan Thibault, a Marine serving in Iraq, finds what he believes to be a ‘lucky picture’ of a woman he doesn’t know. He holds the picture responsible for keeping him alive while seeing so many friends die. After completing his tour of duty, he walks from Colorado to North Carolina to find the woman in the picture. He has just enough clues to find Elizabeth, the woman in the picture, and gets to know her, as well as her Nana and son, Ben. Check catalog for availability.

Competive birding is the sport version of bird watching - to track how many bird species can be sighted within in a specified geography in a specified timeframe. And it's an obsession for a select few - especially when it comes to capturing the "Big Year" record for North America. Here are two highly engaging books on the subject -


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The Big Year: A tale of man, nature and fowl obsession (2004) by Mark Obmascik
Thanks in part to El Nino, 1998 was a banner year for birding, with many rare species being blown off their normal migration routes and into North America. Obmascik chronicles the efforts of three men (each quite a "character" in his own right) criss-crossing their way across the continent in a chase for the new record. A well-written, fast-paced and humorous read. Check catalog for availability.


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Kingbird Highway: The biggest year in the life of an extreme birder (2006) by Kenn Kaufman
Noted ornithologist Kenn Kaufmann recounts his 1973 attempt at a "Big Year", humbly hitchhiking his way across the continent on a minuscule budget. Along the way, he comes-of-age, both as a birder and a man. An inspiring read on multiple levels.
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The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

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Characters from prior Connelly novels, Detective Harry Bosch and Defense Attorney (Lincoln Lawyer) Mickey Haller, colloborate for the first time in this jarring and suspenseful best seller. After the murder of an attorney representing a Hollywood film mogul, defense attorney Mickey Haller gets assigned the case. The impending consequences of this assignment leave Haller fighting for his very life! Well written, shocking and with more twists and turns than a refrigerator coil, this engaging courtroom drama will satify the most demanding fans of the genre. The surprise ending is a doozy and well worth the wait! Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

Testimony by Anita Shreve

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Testimony is told after-the-fact through the eyes of multiple people. A parent confiscates a videotape of several older male students engaging in sex acts with a 14 year old girl and gives it to the headmaster of Avery Academy. Avery is a prestigious boarding school located in Vermont. In an attempt to keep the scandal from the public, Mike Bordwin, headmaster, takes the situation into his own hands. He asks the boys for written confessions, but without the presence of either parents or legal counsel.

The aspect of this book that frustrated me the most is that the girl, who, in my opinion, was aware of what she was doing, is not held accountable. Yes, the boys were older and made some bad choices, but the young lady did too. The adults also made several bad choices, but you’ll need to read the book to find out what they are.

In any case, this is a serious subject and I’m glad that Ms. Shreve has addressed it. It certainly could open discussions for parents and children about the consequences that one must face for one’s actions. Book clubs also, will find this a story with many issues to talk about. Check catalog for availability.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Originally titled The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when first published in 1886, this short novella continues to "transform" readers today. Dr Jekyll, after drinking a potion designed in his laboratory to free his mind from all morality and conscience, turns into the morally corrupt and heinous Mr. Hyde. As time passes, Jekyll starts becoming Hyde without the use of the potion. The transformation from a good man to an evil one is consumated when Hyde murders a man on the street in a fit of anger.

Stevenson's study of the duality in people is as potent today as it was over 100 years ago. The Jekyll and Hyde story has been performed in dozens of major theatrical productions over the years and his also been filmed over 20 times. Popular culture often refers to a person whose personality and demeanor change back and forth rapidly as a "Jekyll and Hyde." The version of the story linked here includes an interesting essay from famed author Vladimir Nabokov introducing the book. Check catalog for availability.

Other classic adventure stories from Robert Louis Stevenson include:

Treasure Island
A swashbuckling adventure on the high seas with pirate Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins and buried treasure.

Kidnapped
Orphan David, while searching for his birthrite, finds adventure and intrigue after waking up in the hold of a ship destined for colonial America. An action packed story for both young and old!

- Submitted by Dan @ Central

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