May 2010 Archives

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

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At a suburban barbeque a man slaps a child who is not his own...discuss. And yes, that is what this novel does; each chapter tells a different characters perspective on the situation. This is Australian author Tsiolkas' fourth novel, but the first to be published in the U.S. Suggested for fans of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Don DeLillo's Underworld.

Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

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Mary Beth Latham lives in a suburban New England town with her husband and three teenage children (twin boys and daughter). She realistically and beautifully narrates her pretty ordinary life of family, school, work, friends, sports, and cooking. After one of her sons is diagnosed with depression, she immerses herself in concern for him. Meanwhile, her daughter wants to break up with her long-time boyfriend (who is like a member of the family) and so she attempts to balance all the emotional needs of her family. Even though there is heavy foreshadowing, the brutal and savage act that happens half way through the book is still shocking and dreadful. This act changes "every last one" of her family members forever. For me, the second half was emotionally troubling to read yet so very eloquently rendered. Mary Beth's journey through her sadness is both heart-breaking and hopeful. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Rebecca @ MPL Central

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

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This prequel to Sex and the City is about Carrie Bradshaw's senior year of high school and what led her to her beloved New York City. In a small Connecticut town, her friends were inseparable until bad boy Sebastian Kydd came to town and a friend's betrayal changed everything. She's smart, with a talent for math, but she wants to be a writer; she has to learn to think for herself and make her own decisions. She takes this on with wit and some fairly risky adventures. Fans will recognize the Carrie they know from the previous book and tv series, but The Carrie Diaries can stand alone.

Submitted by Jacki @MPL Central

Under the Dome by Stephen King

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Chester's Mill, Maine, a small New England town is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world, trapped by an invisible and completely impenetrable dome. What is the dome? Why is it there? Will the town survive? Iraq war vet Dale Barbara and a group of the town's more sensible citizens must overcome the tyrannical rule of Big Jim Rennie, a politician bent on controlling everything within the Dome.

I was curious about this book because I read that King says he started Under the Dome in 1976 but then "crept away from it with my tail between my legs. . . I was terrified of screwing it up." While not typically a Stephen King reader, I've enjoyed a few over the years and can't help but compare this to The Stand. These titles are of particular interest because they are about ordinary people and the extraordinary evil we can do to each other. You can't help but imagine yourself in the situation and contemplate how you would react. Morals--it will make you examine the morals of the characters and your own. Check catalog for availability.

- Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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The Hunger Games is set in Panem, a future North America. This nation is ruled by The Capitol (which seems to be in the Denver area) and surrounded by 12 districts. An annual competition called The Hunger Games is held, in which one girl and one boy from each District competes in a fight to the death, which is televised night and day during the competition. When 16 year old Katniss Everdeen's little sister is chosen for the games she steps forward to take her place; Katniss does this knowing that she is probably going to die.

When another librarian described this as a cross between The Running Man and The Lord of Flies I finally checked it out. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long...I couldn't put it down. If you want to continue the story, it is a trilogy; the second book is Catching Fire and Mockingjay, book three, comes out August 24th.

Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

James Beard Awards--Try Before You Buy!

The winners of the 2010 James Beard Foundation's best cookbooks published in 2009 were announced last week. Milwaukee Public Library has many of the winners (past and present) for you to try before you buy:

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Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller with David Cruz won the General Cooking award. Keller is a famous restaurateur and chef with many award-winning cookbooks and restaurants.

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Cooking with a Healthy Focus award went to Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the author of The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas.

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Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman and Peter Kaminsky, photographed by Santiago Soto Monllor won the award for Photography. Mallman is South America's most famous chef, plus a food critic and restaurateur. If you like to cook with fire, try this. It is both gorgeous and useful.

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In the Baking and Dessert category James Peterson won for Baking:: 350 recipes and techniques, 1500 photographs, one baking education . This is Peterson's fourth James Beard Award. Peterson was also an instructor at the French Culinary Institute in New York for several years and has authored nine other cookbooks.

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Cookbook of the Year and International award went toThe Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews who has authored many other cookbooks and also co-founded Saveur magazine.

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In the American Cooking category the award went to Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe for Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking From Donald Link's Louisiana . Donald Link has a JBF award for Best Chef (South) in 2007 and was nominated for Best New Restaurant (2007) for Cochon, his restaurant in New Orleans.

For a full list of winners and nominees (past and present), please see the James Beard Foundation's website.

Submitted by Rebecca D.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

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Julie Orringer, best selling author of How to Breathe Underwater: Stories, is back with her first novel. The Invisible Bridge is an astonishing story of war and the dangerous power of art. In 1937 a Hungarian Jewish architecture student arrives in Paris with a puzzling letter that he is to deliver to C. Morgenstern. He becomes involved with the letter's receiver and at the same time his older brother is studying medicine and their younger brother drops out of school for the stage. The advent of the war turns their lives upside down as we watch from Hungarian villages, majestic opera houses in Budapest and Paris to life in forced labor camps and more.

Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

How was Capone Really Caught?

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The author of Opening Day uses newly released sources to map out the criminal investigation of the infamous Al Capone. In Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster by Jonathan Eig, Capone's rise during Prohibition is documented as well as the legal strategy that enabled his prosecution and the possibility that he was innocent of the St. Valentine's Day massacre. Government docs and wiretaps--how was Capone really caught? Suggested for true crime and Prohibition history buffs.

Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

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