March 2010 Archives


Animals and Objects In and Out of Water: Posters by Jay Ryan 2005-2008 (c2009)

animals_objects.jpg Chicago-based artist Jay Ryan began screen printing in earnest back in 1995 and what started as a fledgling basement operation has since blossomed into an internationally acclaimed career via his print shop, The Bird Machine. His bread and butter are gig posters for musical acts (such as Andrew Bird, who wrote the foreword for this book), but he has also served clients as varied as The BBC, Patagonia and Michael Chabon. Animals and Objects... captures 120 of Jay's favorite prints from 2005 through 2008 and as far as books go, this is about as visually pleasing as they come. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Tom @ MPL Central

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller

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Fifty-something Pippa Lee has kept many secrets and experimented with different and sometimes dangerous lifestyles before finding herself in a quiet upstate community with her considerably older husband, a celebrated book publisher. Rebecca Miller's novel chronologically reveals glimpses of the past and hints at why Pippa is becoming unsettled, if not unhinged by her role as perfect wife and mother of two young adults. Strange happenings in the dead of night intermingle with episodes from Pippa's earlier years. She survived her mother's addiction to 'diet aids', became immersed in a very edgy underground art scene in New York and had casual affairs with lots of people, including a man disastrously married to a very jealous woman. Miller adapted her own book and directed the sadly overlooked 2009 film The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Pippa is convincingly portrayed by three actresses - Robin Wright [Penn], Blake Lively and Madeline McNulty - with some terrific supporting work by Winona Ryder and Alan Arkin.

Check catalog availability.

Submitted by Christine@Central

Jaws by Peter Benchley


Read the granddaddy of giant shark stories! When swimmers start disappearing off the coast of Amity, a Long Island resort community, Police Chief Brody realizes something BIG may be amuck! The book doesn't have the same feel as the shocking (in the 70's!!) film, especially with a middle section that focuses on lost tourism dollars and a marital affair, but it's a worthwhile read on its own merits. I thought it was pretty cool how, in some instances, the author takes the voice of the shark to add to the terror. The climax is a perfect example of a Man Vs. Nature story, especially since it's not real apparent who will triumph till the very end. This well paced story will be "eaten up" by any fans of good psychological drama.

Check catalog availability.

Submitted by Dan@Central


When I Was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Buten

Howard Buten immediately sets the tone of this story in the first chapter when the narrator, a boy named Burton Rembrandt, tells the readers, "So I layed down on the floor: I stuck out my pointer finger and pointed it at my head. And I pushed down my thumb. And killed myself." In the next chapter we find Burton in the Children's Trust Residence Center. During the remainder of the book Burton tells us about his time in the CTRC and his life before that. Burton's life and understanding of what goes on around him are both hilarious and heartbreaking. On the funny side, Burt uses words like -- to be candid, conniption fit, very good citizenship, and pungent -- sometimes correctly sometimes not. Then on the sad side, adults often misinterpret Burt's behavior resulting in painful repercussions. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Paula N. @ MPL Central

The Hole We're In by Gabrielle Zevin


In general, it's bad form to discuss money with acquaintances, but what about family? The Pomeroy's have mounting credit card debt, a daughter demanding a sumptuous wedding, a father who quits working to go back to college and a mother who is tempted to open yet another account in her oldest son's good record.

Fast forward ten years to the life of Patsy, the youngest daughter who enlisted in the armed forces to pay for college and returns from Iraq to find her husband has squandered away everything she's earned. And, because of how she was discharged, she isn't even eligible for the GI Bill. This is a relevant tale about class and culture in America and how people struggle to get out of the holes they're in...and, although it's not typically polite to discuss money issues, this novel is rich with book group possibilities. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

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Meredith and Nina are two sisters, one a mom and business woman, the other a famous photographer, but both are scarred from the perceived disapproval of their mother. When, on his deathbed, their father makes Nina promise that she will get their mother to tell them once again a Russian fairy tale that she often told them when they were children, only now she is to tell them the story completely, to the end, the girls get an entirely different picture of their mother. What unfolds is a story within a story, and how through the story the two daughters are finally able to understand their mother and she is able to receive the vindication and healing caused by her experiences.

I thought the author did a very good job of melding the two stories. I never felt confused as to what story she was telling and neither story dragged. It was a very enjoyable read. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Mary S. @ MPL Central

Heresy by S. J. Parris


S. J. Parris, a pseudonym for Stephanie Merritt, shares an historical thriller set in the 16th century. An Italian monk is excommunicated for believing that the earth revolves around the sun. He escapes to Oxford where he is enlisted as a spy for Elizabeth I and tries to unravel some horrific murders. Heresy is believed to be the first of a trilogy, so there is more to look forward to. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

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Chickenhawk by Robert Mason (c1983)

Chickenhawk is Robert Mason's firsthand account of his time spent as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, serving in the Vietnam War from August of 1965 to August of 1966. During that time, Mason flew over 1000 combat missions and found himself "in the thick of it" on many occasions. He depicts the day-to-day life of a soldier, riveting edge-of-your-seat helicopter action and the grim horrors of war all with an even keel and an easygoing sense of humor. Mason's writing style is simple, straightforward and entirely engaging. And while I'm certainly not a war buff, I found this to be one of the best books I've ever read. Highly recommended. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Tom @ MPL Central


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Please feel welcome to join the Milwaukee Public Library in celebrating The Big Read in 2010 by reading the Klondike classic Call of the Wild by author/adventurer Jack London.
The Call of the Wild, published in 1903, was based on London's personal experiences as a gold prospector during the winter of 1897 on the frozen expanses of the Yukon. Though the novel is often considered to be a children's story, it contains depictions of brutality that may be more suitable for older readers.
The story follows Buck, a kidnapped domesticated dog, as he lives and learns while a sled dog in the harsh Yukon wilderness. While Buck survives many hardships from multiple owners, some crueler than others, he slowly loses his domesticated sensibilities and begins to regress to the way of his ancestors, the wolves, after a beloved master is killed and he unleashes brutal retribution upon the attackers.
Join other readers in discussing this important work of American fiction at numerous discussions at Milwaukee Public Libraries throughout the City of Milwaukee.
For more information regarding the Big Read please click here: Milwaukee Public Museum.

Check Catalog Availability

Submitted by Dan@Central


A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

I enjoy reading Beagle's calm and comforting manner of writing. In this story he entwines earthly lives with "ghostly" lives in a timeless story that will forever entertain readers. Check the catalog for availability.

Although written for children, a similar plot can be found in the recently published book by Neil Gaiman, another favorite author of mine, The Graveyard Book.

Submitted by Paula N. @ MPL Central

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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David Martín writes crime stories for the local newspaper. He is a good writer and his talents are well lost in the writings he does for the paper. His talents have not gone unnoticed however. One day a stranger comes into his life and offers him a large sum of money to write the book of a lifetime. Hard up for the money and at the same time cavalier of his talents, he takes the money and sets forth to write this book that the stranger has requested of him. His acceptance sets into motion a chain of events that careen wildly out of control and forever changes his life.

The Angel's Game is a translation of the original novel. It is part fantasy, part mystery, part crime noir. Being the bibliophile that I am, I was head over heels enamored with this book within a few pages. As I got further into the book, I felt that I too was being held captive by its spell. It is the most beautiful, haunting, and terrifying book I have ever read. David Martín will live within me for some time to come. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Mary S. @ MPL Central

The Information Officer by Mark Mills


Mark Mills new novel is a thriller set on Malta during World War II. Its summer, 1942 and the Maltese are being constantly bombed by Axis air raids. Malta is the last thing standing in the Germans way between Europe and North Africa. (During the war, Malta was the property of the British Empire.)

Max Chadwick is a British officer in charge of distributing "approved" war information on the island's citizens. He faces quite the predicament when it comes out that a British soldier is murdering the local women and Max sets out to pursue the killer himself. This is suggested for readers who like WWII thrillers or historical fiction like that of Ken Follett. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central




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