November 2010 Archives


In 13th century England France Alais embarks on a dangerous journey to collect secret documents for her stepmother Queen Eleanor of England the Duchess of Aquitaine. Immediately in the prologue we read about Alais's frightening capture. The chapters following reveal how she arrived to that awful situation. Author Judith Koll Healey weaves a thrilling story rich with medieval details that kept me racing toward the conclusion to discover Alais's ultimate fate. Check the catalog for availability.

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Raise your seat to its upright position and travel through your home with your guide, Bill Bryson, who has penned another readable book. He and his family live in a Victorian parson's house. He explores every room, and tracks down how and why they evolved through the ages to what we're familiar with today. He ponders why forks have four tines, how the noontime supper evolved into the evening dinner, and where the phrase "room and board" came from. Lord Beresford mistakenly entered a guest room looking for his mistress, crowed "Cock-a-doodle-doo" and jumped into a bed that was being used by his wife and the Bishop of Chester is one of the many fun anecdotes Bryson's fans come to expect to read. Check catalog for availability. To listen to an interview on Travel with Rick Steves, Bill Bryson at Home; Antiquities and Archeology; Open Phones: Budget Travel Tricks click here. Bill Bryson found the ultimate bargain travel destination, by staying home to get acquainted with the 19th century English parsonage he lives in. This interview is a glimpse into just how much the comforts of home have changed in only a few generations' time. The interview also makes sense out of the rubble of antiquity with the help of guides from Greece and Egypt. And, listeners offer their tips for saving money on a place to call home on your next vacation to Europe.

Submitted by Van Lingle Mungo

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It's time to take out your slow cookers!

Fall is over and the harvest has been gathered. Now it is time to simmer that delicious bounty in your slow cooker, make a loaf of your favorite bread, and settle in with a hot bowl full of rich goodness. Listed here are a few slow cooker recipes books for you to use to jazz up your favorites or try something new.

The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.

Fix-it And Forget-it Big Cookbook : 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes! by Phyllis Pellman Good.

The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book : [More Than 400 Recipes From Appetizers To Desserts] by Better homes and gardens.

The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker : Simple And Sophisticated Meals From Around The World by Lynn Alley and photography by Leo Gong.

If these books have not satisfied your slow cooker desires check the catalog here for more fantastic recipe books.

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The Artist in the Office by Summer Pierre


A quick read - I breezed through it in a couple hours. Mainly intended for an audience of frustrated artists, authors, and musicians - it is a pep talk with a funky, home-made, sketch-book quality that might appeal to fans of Eat Mangos Naked by Sark, and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants by Roger Von Oech. The drawings are loaded with youthful energy. Ms. Pierre's observations, and exercises are meant to encourage the creative type to appreciate the day job that one needs to survive, by integrating art into the attitude, the break, the lunch hour, and the commute. The portraits, short bios and quotes from various celebrated artists just might inspire the Artist in the Office in you. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Deb H. @ Bay View

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Ronald Kessler (a former reporter for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal) arranged interviews, on and off the record, with Secret Service officials ranging from former agents up to the deputy director. This is a fascinating look inside the Secret Service "with fly-on-the-wall perspective, he captures the drama and tension that characterize agents' lives". Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Marlene @ Villard Ave

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After watching the twin towers fall on 9/11, high school student Ryan Smithson decides to join the army after he graduates from high school because "If I don't do something, who will?" His mind made up he joins the reserves at 17 and is sent to Iraq at the age of nineteen. He leaves his parents and high school sweetheart and heads off to war. "When people write nonfiction books about Iraq, I will not be in them. They will not make movies about me. There won't be any video games... I am just a GI. Nothing special. A kid doing his job. I am GI Joe Schmo." And so begins Ryan's journey as he takes the reader on a step by step account of his one year tour in Iraq that ultimately changed his life.

Military jargon is used but is clearly defined and a nice touch is the glossary which can easily be referenced for the military terms that are forgotten. An added bonus is the glossy pictures of him and his platoon in Iraq.

A powerful read as seen through the eyes of a 19 year old man who risks everything for something he believes in because "If I don't do something, who will?"

submitted by Sue @ Tippecanoe

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Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O'Hara


Yes, Mad Men fans, this is the book of poems that Don Draper is reading from at the end of the season 2 episode of the same name. In part because of his untimely death at the age of 40 in 1966, O'Hara may not be as well known outside of academic circles as some of his contemporaries, such as Allen Ginsberg (the subject of the recent film Howl), Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, and other Beats, but his poetry drew the praise of critics for a spontaneity that is at once artless and profound. O'Hara, an art critic and assistant curator at the Museum of Modern Art, believed that the best poems came about when, as he put it, "you just go on your nerve," and don't depend on form or convention. Poetry for O'Hara was something that you toss off in the heat and energy of the moment, not something that you sit down and compose, edit, and work into shape with painstaking care. Hence the title of this collection--his poems have a Zen-like calm and an unforced naturalness, despite arising from the hurry and uncertainty of everyday life. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Chris G. @ Bay View & Tippecanoe

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Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

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As the weather gets colder, I love to curl up in my cozy little knitting nook with some heavy wool and a stack of winter-wear patterns. I'm always amazed as striped hats and fair-isle mittens take shape on my needles, seemingly all by themselves. It really does feel like magic! Maybe that's why I love Barbara Bretton's Sugar Maple series so much. In this idyllic small town in Vermont, "your yarn never tangles, your sleeves always come out the same length, and you always, always get gauge." If you think that sounds like magic - well, you'd be right. Chloe Hobbs is the owner of Sticks & Strings, New England's highest-rated knitting shop. She's also half-sorceress. When an all-human cop, Luke MacKenzie, appears in the town to investigate a terrible accident, Chloe must protect Sugar Maple's supernatural denizens from prying eyes. But it may be hard for her to keep secrets from the only man who has ever understood her human side ...

Even if you don't consider yourself a romance reader, this series truly does weave a magical spell. Casting Spells is the first installment, followed by Laced with Magic and Spun by Sorcery.

Submitted by Audrey @ Central

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2010 National Book Awards

On March 16, 1950, publishers, editors, writers, and critics gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City to celebrate the first annual National Book Awards, an award given to writers by writers. Now, over a half-century since its inception, the National Book Awards continues to recognize the best of American literature, raising the cultural appreciation of great writing in the country while advancing the careers of both established and emerging writers.

The nonfiction winner is Just Kids by Patti Smith. In this memoir, singer-songwriter Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius.


The poetry winner is Lighthead by Terrance Hayes. In this fourth collection the author portrays the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time. It sets what it means to be "light longing for lightness" against what it means to "burn with all the humanity fire strips away."


The winner of the young people's literature category is Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.


The fiction winner is Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon. Thoroughbred horse trainer Tommy Hansel has a scheme to rescue his failing operation by shipping four ringers to Indian Mound Downs, run them in cheap claimers at long odds, and then get out fast before anyone notices. This title will be published on November 30, 2010; additional copies are coming.
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"You cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely," which is bad news for an economy and lifestyle that depends on meeting an artificially created consumer demand, continuously, with an accelerating use of natural resources and nonrenewable sources of energy. Americans, with 5% of the world's population, consume 30% of its resources, manufacturing everything from bottled water to new cars. Eventually, a lot of the stuff we manufacture and consume winds up as waste, which brings us to the point of Leonard's The Story of Stuff. Leonard follows the "life cycle" of some of our most popular consumer goods, including, yes, bottled water. Unfortunately, even when we think we're being green by using recyclable containers (such as aluminum cans), the amount of energy needed and the economic factors involved in choosing between recycled and new materials undermines our good intentions. First we consume, and then we dispose of billions of pounds of material every year.

Leonard's book is a spin-off from internet videos on consumerism (which can be found at She felt that there was more to cover on the topic than she could do justice to on a website and blog, and that the issues needed as comprehensive a treatment as possible. Along the way, she shows how positive change is happening now, part of her "vision for change" in the way we live and how the choices we make affect us and the world we live in. Leonard believes she has enough reason for her tempered optimism and belief that we can turn things around, but reminds us that it will take a lot of commitment from all of us to bring about such change. And yes, Leonard points out the role that libraries play in reducing the amount of "stuff" out there without compromising anything: "And then there are libraries--in every place I've lived, the library has been one of my favorite places to find books, as well as to meet neighbors, attend public seminars, weigh in on community issues, and sometimes even hear live music. Amazon may be easy and fast and impressive in its scale, but it just doesn't provide those quality-of-life extras." (p. 120)

Submitted by Chris G. @ Bay View & Tippecanoe

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Mockingjay is the third book in the extremely popular Hunger Games trilogy for young adults. In the first two books in the series, 16 year old, Katniss Everdeen survived two trips into the Hunger Games arena where tributes from 12 districts are forced to fight to the death in televised competition by the evil rulers of the Capitol. As Mockingjay begins, Katniss has just escaped the arena with help from District 13. For the moment Katniss, her family, and best friend Gale are all safe. But Katniss cannot help but worry about the friends she left behind in the Capitol, especially Peeta who fought beside her in the arena and is now a prisoner of President Snow. Uprisings have begun in the other 11 districts and Katniss's home District 12 has been destroyed. President Snow wants to take his revenge on the girl who has become a symbol of freedom for those who were once so completely under his control. No one connected with Katniss is safe so she is forced to take an active role in promoting the uprisings though she begins to doubt the motives of the leaders of District 13 as much as she once hated the actions of President Snow and the Capitol.

Many teens (and adults) will eagerly read to find a resolution to the Katniss/ Peeta/ Gail triangle but the book is not a romance. It is more a story about war and what happens to people in war. What is the role that media plays in war? Does power always have a corrupting influence? Can anyone who has fought in a war not be changed forever? What is the real price of freedom? These questions and many more are raised by the story. Once again the author ties in many intriguing threads to create a thoughtful and moving story with no easy answers.

--submitted by Fran @ Bay View

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More Of America's Most Wanted Recipes


More of America's Most Wanted Recipes by Ron Douglas (c2010)

If the main title doesn't grab your interest, then the subtitle, "More Than 200 Simple And Delicious Secret Restaurant Recipes, All For $10 Or Less!", most surely will. I, of course, went right to the Red Lobster section to check for their "Garlic Biscuits" - unfortunately that is not included, but their "Crab Stuffed Mushrooms" are. If you are like many cooks, who go to a restaurant and are willing to have their tonsils or appendix removed for a recipe they fell in love with, then this is the book for you. Even if you are not a cook, you can still make these recipes as many have simple instructions and not too many ingredients. The only "but" about this book is that there are no pictures. The cover is in color and then... nada. However, the book can stand alone without the pictures because what we really, really want are those "secret" recipes. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Irene @ Tippecanoe

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I'll Find A Way Or Make One


I'll Find A Way Or Make One: A Tribute To Historically Black Colleges And Universities by Juan Williams & Dwayne Ashley (c2004)

Dillard University was founded in New Orleans, LA on Nov 22, 1898. Some notable graduates of this school are jazz musician Dr. Ellis Marsalis Jr, former Harlem Globetrotter Billy Ray Hobley, and Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University. For more information on this university, and other historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), check out I'll Find a Way or Make One. This tribute to HBCUs tells the story of the founding of such institutions by those once denied both education and freedom.

- submitted by Ephemera @ Villard Ave

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Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman


If you are a fan of historical novels and Karen Cushman, you will welcome this new novel with a strong female character.
Meggy, not wanted by her mother, comes to London to stay with her dad. Elizabethan London being a cruel and unwelcoming town is hard to get used to but, Meggy is not one to give up without a fight. Poor Meggy, lame, ugly, and unwanted tries to make it in the big city, gain friendship and find a place to stay after her father is convicted of murder. Check catalog for availability.
Submitted by Irene @Tippecanoe

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Hiking MKE


Best Easy Day Hikes - Milwaukee by Kevin Revolinski (c2010)

Looking for the best places to get outdoors and enjoy nature without having to take a long drive? Revolinski's guide to hiking trails in the Milwaukee area (part of the Falcon Guide series) lists a variety of spots in Milwaukee county or drives of less than an hour away. The trails can be found in state and county parks, including Havenwoods State Forest in Milwaukee, Lapham Peak State Park, and Grant Park, as well as such local favorites as the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and the Wehr Nature Center.

Revolinski does more than just list places to hike; the guide includes detailed descriptions of the trails and trail conditions, accessibility, whether or not pets are allowed, fees (don't forget your State Parks sticker!), directions on how to find the parks and trailheads, as well as trail maps, background information, and recommendations for the best time to visit. Grab this book and your gear and head out! Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Chris G. @ Bay View & Tippecanoe

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I Hate To Cook Book (50th Anniversary Edition) by Peg Bracken

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Fans of the hit series Mad Men who marvel at the "pre-cholesterol-awareness" culinary delights that appear on the Draper's dinner table will get their answer in the pages of this classic cookbook first published in 1960. In a new introduction, Peg Bracken's daughter sets the tone. The original cookbook "was born from a group of professional women who would have been much happier sipping martinis...than spending the cocktail hour in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove." As someone who loves to cook (at least when I have time) I doubted I'd enjoy her viewpoint or her recipes, but I was wrong. Bracken's sharp wit and keen insights into the social milieu of the period are hilarious and on target, and the recipes are quick and not entirely unhealthy. Whether you're dealing with the "The Leftover - Or, Every Family Needs a Dog" or hosting "Little Kids Parties - Or, They Only Came for the Balloons", you'll find some laughs, some timeless kitchen hints and a newfound respect for the author, whose unabashed plea to good cooks was "Invite us over often, please. And stay away from our husbands." Check Catalog Availability.

Submitted by Christine P @ Central

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One of my favorite books when I was a kid was High Elk's Treasure, by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (New York : Holiday House, 1972). High Elk's Treasure is about the High Elk family, a Dakota family with a proud history of raising the best horses on the plains. Now, there are only a few horses left of the stock that their forebears bred, and Joe High Elk, the 13-year-old son, wants to re-establish the line with the last remaining filly. A sudden storm blows up, endangering the filly, but providing for an astonishing insight into the family's history.


One of my other favorites was Ghost Paddle: A Northwest Coast Indian Tale, by James Houston (New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972). Ghost Paddle is about an ongoing war between two Pacific Coast tribes, and a dream that provides the key to peace between them. The story is well told, and the illustrations are lovely, leading to a lifelong interest for me in Pacific Coast aboriginal art.

-- Ephemera@Villard

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Behind You By Jacqueline Woodson

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Behind You is a stand alone sequel to Woodson's If You Come Softly.

Jeremiah (nicknamed Miah), who is African American, is mistakenly killed by police. Miah's girlfriend Ellie, his divorced parents, his friends Carlton, Kennedy, Nelia and others who knew Miah are all faced with how to go on living after the tragic death of Jeremiah, but they still feel his presence. "And the wind starts blowing soft and high as a song." "You ain't all gone, are you, Miah?" The story gently takes the reader through the difficulties of grieving and letting go for everyone who knew Jeremiah.

Woodson poetically and gently alternates the voices of family and friends with the touching spiritual voice of Miah who remembers the life he left behind as he begins his journey into a new world, but "it's not easy to let go." "When you die, your voice becomes the wind and whispers to the living." "Who knew a surprising cool breeze was someone who had gone before you, saying. "You're loved."

Submitted by Sue @ Tippecanoe

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Would Secretariat win the Breeder's Cup?

The 27th Breeders' Cup, thoroughbred racing's most prestigious global event - currently consisting of 14 races held over two days with purses totaling $25.5 million - will be run on Friday, November 5, and Saturday, November 6, 2010. Since the inaugural running at Hollywood Park 26 years ago, the Breeders' Cup has established itself as the season-ending championship of thoroughbred racing. It is now firmly entrenched in American racing lore with a history and tradition all its own. Though the fame of Secretariat precedes the Breeder's Cup, what do you think? Would he win? Secretariat (March 30, 1970 - October 4, 1989) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse, who in 1973 became the first U.S. Triple Crown champion in twenty-five years, setting new race records in two of the three events in the Series - the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24) - records that still stand today. With a new movie about Secretariat just out this fall, here are a few books that cover the story of the 1973 Triple Crown-winning thoroughbred.


Secretariat's Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend by Kate Chenery Tweedy presents the story of how the Chenerey family came to breed and race Secretariat along with the history of the family and the land in which they bred racehorses.

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The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse by Lawrence Scanlan tells Secretariat's story from the perspective of Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's groom (he's the one in the porkpie hat and loud checkered trousers, often holding Secretariat's halter, in the winner's circle photos). Sweat is one of the thousands of behind-the-scenes workers in the thoroughbred racing industry who over the years have kept the horses racing through their dedication, but receive little in the way of recognition. Scanlan's take is that Secretariat may not have done as well as he did without Sweat providing the care that kept him happy, since a happy horse is more likely to run his best.


Secretariat by Raymond G. Woolfe Jr. is a coffee table book packed with photos of Secretariat's racing career. It adds a lot of material covering Secretariat's breeding career and the racing careers of his offspring as well. Woolfe is the son of a leading trainer with ties to Secretariat's Claiborne Farm home, and so he had the opportunity to cover Secretariat almost from the start, as part of a deal with Secretariat's owner and trainer to document the horse's life. He speaks the language of a seasoned railbird and makes the world of thoroughbred training and racing accessible to casual racing fans.

Submitted by Chris G. @ Bay View & Tippecanoe

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Denim Diaries by Darrien Lee

In this series each book ends with a cliff hanger drawing the reader into the next book. The subjects of drugs, peer pressure, teen pregnancy, gangs and gun violence are treated in a matter of fact, up-to-date manner. While this series may appeal to readers of African American Urban Fiction, the author avoids the excessive profanity and graphic violence usually associated with the genre. Denim Diaries books are faith-based, but not heavy handed. The story diverges to include Denim's friends, yet always comes backs to Denim Mitchell reflecting on feelings and events in her diary. Though some issue is always left unresolved to be picked up in another volume, each story is developed enough to allow reading the books independently, or out of sequence.

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Denim Diaries #1: Sixteen Going on Twenty-one
Denim and Dre are in love. Dre's father is involved in "running numbers" - illegal gambling. Denim's parents don't approve of Dre's family business, and want Denim to go to college. Dre and his entire family disappear. Is Dre's disappearance connected to the death of gangster Lil' Carl, or the shots fired at a party that opens the story?

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Denim Diaries #2: Grown in 60 Seconds
Tthe story from Sixteen Going on Twenty-one continues. Will we find out why Dre's family has gone into hiding, or if Lil' Carl's murder is related to Dre's disappearance? Will Denim and Dre be reunited? Will Denim's estranged friend Patrice live through her complicated pregnancy? Will Denim forgive Patrice for getting pregnant, ruining their plan to attend college together? Read it to find out.

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Denim Diaries #3: Queen of the Yard
This book brings the return of Brianna. Brianna Baxter, AKA Patience, briefly introduced in Grown in Sixty Seconds, is the statuesque honor student and the leader of the gang BGR - Brown Girls Rule. Patience and Denim become friends, when Denim alerts Patience that she overheard girl gang members plotting to assassinate her. Will Patience/Brianna be able to shut down the BGR as she plans to? Will she lose her life, or make her way out of the "hood"?

Continue reading the series with #4 Broken Promises, and, coming later this November is #5, Raising Kane.

Submitted by Deb H @ Bay View

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Rules of Betrayal by Christopher Reich

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If you are in the mood for a quiet read DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Rules of Betrayal unfolds with Dr. Jonathan Ransom, a seemingly upstanding citizen who is working for Doctors Without Borders, looking for his missing wife. Later you learn that, himself being a former spy with a violent past, he knows or suspects what has happened to his wife who was using his organization as a front for her own spying. Reich takes us on a wild chase through snow covered mountains, planes exploding, and native Afghans chasing the bad guys, or are they the good guys.... Read on to find out how it all ends.

Submitted by Irene @ Tippecanoe

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Celebrate Native American Heritage


November is Native American Heritage Month. Here in Milwaukee there is one remaining Indian burial mound, and it is located in Lake Park, at Lake Drive just south of Locust St. It's a great area for a walk, so get out there and find the commemorative plaque placed by the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1910. Check out Lake Park Friends to find out more about this important cultural site.

I recently read Wabi: A Hero's Tale by Joseph Bruchac. Bruchac writes fantastic stories that include elements of traditional Native American stories. In this book, we meet Wabi, an owl with a keen interest in the nearby human community. The people there have a legend about a powerful Village Guardian. Will Wabi be able to protect the people, or endanger himself by getting too close to the humans? Whether serious or whimsical, Joseph Bruchac's books are always worth a read.

Submitted by Ephemera@Villard

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

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Part Steel Magnolias, part The Help, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is the story of a 12 year old growing up in small town Ohio in the 60's with an almost always absent father and a mother who thinks she is still the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. CeeCee's traveling salesman father manages to stay on the road most of the time to avoid confrontations with CeeCee's smeared lipstick, prom dress, tiara wearing mother, Camille. CeeCee is left alone to deal with the difficulties and embarrassment of a crazy mother until the day Camille steps off the curb in front of a speeding Happy Cow Ice Cream truck and is killed. Her father shows no signs of wanting to raise his rightfully resentful daughter but luckily a heretofore unknown great-aunt arrives willing to take CeeCee with her to her home in Savannah.

CeeCee is not certain what to make of her eccentric Aunt Tootie who drives a vintage convertible and lives in a restored mansion, but she comes to realize that she now has an adult in her life willing to care for her. In fact she soon finds that she is surrounded by warm, wonderful, unusual women who take an interest in her well being. The most important of these women, is Oletta, Tootie's black housekeeper, who teaches CeeCee not only about the horrors of racism but also the joys of friendship, love and family. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is another poignant and funny story about life in the south.

Submitted by Fran @BayView

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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