January 2011 Archives

Inspiration Deficit Disorder by Jonathan H. Ellerby


Four Traits of an Inspired Life: Clarity will help manage your energy and intention, moving through confusion to definitive action. Integrity will bring an alignment of your internal qualities, which will be reflected in your conduct and mindsets. Courage is the ability to take action on what you believe and move toward change. Compassion empowers us and others in seeking the highest good in every situation. Inspiration Deficit Disorder: The No-pill Prescription to End High Stress, Low Energy, and Bad Habits Ellerby brings together much of the current thinking on finding your essence and how to move out of your self-limiting thinking and behaviors to live your best life.

Submitted by Barbara of Art/Music/Recreation @ MPL Central

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Smash Cut by Sandra Brown

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Smash Cut by Sandra Brown (c2009)

The extremely wealthy Paul Wheeler is shot in an elevator with Julie Rutledge by his side in what appears to be a robbery. What follows is the fascinating tale of proving "who done it." Evidence points to Ms. Rutledge setting the murder up. The quintessential villain, though not the actual killer, Creighton Wheeler, is a true sociopath who is obsessed with re-enacting scenes from murder mystery films (a smash cut is an abrupt scene in a film). There are many clever turns and twists, most quite believable and logical. I found myself waking in the night and wondering how on earth this clever villain was going to be found out and punished. Very satisfying ending. Check catalog for availability.

- submitted by Kathy R @ Zablocki

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Matched by Ally Condie.

Two reviews were submitted for this fantastic new book and here they are!

Cassia Reyes lives in a futuristic city riddled with rules. Everyone follows the rules without much question, and Cassia has always been a shining example of obedience. On her 17th birthday she is invited to a special ceremony to determine who her partner for the rest of her life will be. The outcome is a bit of a shock to everyone, and a huge relief and disappointment of sorts to Cassia. The "Match" picked for her seems acceptable until Cassia falls in love with someone else. The new boy pushes Cassia to question the authorities and grow beyond what the society wants, which sets her up for the exciting adventure of awakening to the realization that she wants to make her own decisions. There's an eerie foreboding throughout this exciting story of first love and personal choice.

Submitted by Kellie M. at Forest Home Library


In the future, after our civilization has fallen, Cassia Maria Reyes lives a normal, quiet, healthy and happy life with her mother Aida, father Patrick and brother Bram in Mapletree Borough governed overall by The Society. The story opens with seventeen year old Cassia and her family on their way to her Match Banquet where The Society will reveal her future husband. Although she read all of the prerequisite literature provided by The Society, Cassia remains nervous. Author Ally Condie slowly reveals details of life under the supervision of The Society which exists to provide an environment, based on statistics and predictions, that promotes the healthiest, happiest, most successful life possible. In order to do so all regular citizens carry a scancard, wear the same clothes, eat the same food based on optimum nutritional values, do not run in public (it is improper and disruptive), have scheduled recreation time, work time, curfew, and much more. By removing choices, The Society attempts to create an utopia. As I read about each additional rule and restriction I became more and more uncomfortable with this new and improved world. The Society strongly discourages individuality, worrying, and curiosity, so what happens when someone does?

Submitted by Valerie at Central

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.

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Electric Barracuda by Tim Dorsey


Tim Dorsey's new novel, Electric Barracuda, takes serial killer and state historian Serge A. Storms and his sidekick Coleman on another trek through Florida, this time on his Fugitive Tour. What better way to take a vacation in Florida than to pretend to be a fugitive and hide out in all the most remote places the state has to offer? After all, Florida is where everyone on the run hides, including Al Capone. But is it really all pretend and does Serge know who is on his tail? And how does his great grandfather's old gang figure into the whole mess? Once again Serge's travels create more questions, but all is answered and before the surprising end. Dorsey's newest book reveals new twists and surprises for long time readers, including a major one that could lead to interesting plots in future novels. This was a refreshing read and the surprises made it one of my favorites of the series.

Mr. Dorsey will be in Milwaukee at the Mystery One Bookstore on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 2 p.m. A frequent guest, Mr. Dorsey braves the Wisconsin cold weather to bring us some Florida fun. If you're not already a Serge fan come in and you'll become one.

Submitted by Eric @ MPL Central

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On February 12th, 1918, Army General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing is quoted as saying "Why the hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
Author George B. Clark attempts to answer the question raised by "Black Jack" Pershing and goes on to describe, in a well researched and engaging style, how the U.S. Marines made a name for themselves on the Western Front of WWI .
Clark argues that due to terrible upper echelon leadership on the Army's part, Marine units were often stranded on perimeters or left in "no-mans-land" outside of protective artillery range. This battlefield isolation lead to individual Marine units acting on their own with little or no coordination with the high command. The fierceness of the Marines small unit attacks lead the Germans at Belleau Wood to refer to the attacking Marines as "Teufel Hunden" or as translated "Hounds from Hell." The term "Devil Dogs" has been used to describe the Marine Corps since.
This fact filled but fun book describes the Corps role through all their battles during World War I and describes how tactics developed during that war shaped the way the Marine Corps still trains and operates today.
Check Catalog Availability.
Submitted by Dan@Central

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O: A Presidential Novel by ????


One of the more interesting reads of early spring may be O: A Presidential Novel. The "O," of course, is President Obama, but the author is anonymous. We've seen this before; in 1996, Primary Colors, also by "Anonymous," about the Clinton administration was released. It was a best seller and made into a movie. After weeks of speculation, it was revealed that "Anonymous" was actually Time magazine journalist Joe Klein. So, not much is being said about the content of the new book, but the recently released website from the publisher is interesting; click here to view. You can review the characters and speculate on their true identities while they work on winning the 2012 presidential election. What do you think about the idea of releasing a book without identifying the author? Is it a worthwhile publicity stunt?

January 27, 2011 update** No longer written by 'anonymous', Time magazine identifies Mark Salter, from Davenport, Iowa as the author. Salter is known for his collaborations with United States Senator John McCain on several nonfiction books as well as on political speeches.

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Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan

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It's been fifteen years since we were introduced to Robin, Savannah, Gloria and Bernadine, the four thirtysomething women of Waiting to Exhale. Why the long wait? Well, McMillan has been through a lot. She's weathered a lengthy divorce, spurred by the revelation that her husband is gay and a lawsuit concerning a potentially reputation damaging phone message. Happily, everything is resolved and we can catch up with the ladies.

Now, they are fiftysomething and are being forced to start their lives over, each for different reasons. Robin, single mother to teenage Sparrow, has become a shopaholic. Savannah is bored with her husband Isaac, and thinks being single sounds unexpectedly appealing. Gloria is blissfully happy in her marriage to Marvin and though Bernadine has remarried a man named James, things may not be as perfect as they seem.

The value of friendship, faith in one another, and hope transcends all as they help each other through hot flashes, heart attacks, internet porn, grandkids, job loss and so much more. Check catalog for availability.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010!


What do you get when you combine Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, and a group of high schoolers? Turns out it's The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010! Part of the Best American series, Nonrequired Reading 2010 is edited by Dave Eggers and features an introduction by David Sedaris. Each year Eggers collaborates with two groups of high school students, one in California and one in Michigan, to select the material to be included in the collection. The students meet once a week to pore over literary journals, magazines, self-published zines, comics, etc. looking for "stories that hit them in the gut." The result is an eclectic mix of fiction, nonfiction, comics, poetry, and more.

Highlights of the thought-provoking short stories include Sherman Alexie's exploration of Native American identity in "War Dances" and New York Times reporter David Rhodes' "Seven Months, Ten Days in Captivity," which details his time as a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The collection's lighter offerings include illustrations of the Best American New Patents, a list of the Best American Farm Names, a compilation of the Best American Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, and Wendy Molyneux's hilarious "Best American Woman Comedy Piece Written by a Woman." If you pick up this unique and unusual collection, be sure to check out the cover art provided by celebrated illustrator Maurice Sendak.

Want more Best American? Other titles in the series include Best American Comics, Best American Short Stories, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Mystery Stories, and more!

Submitted by Jennifer @ MPL Central

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Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Sapphique is the much-anticipated sequel to Incarceron, a dystopia in which entire generations inhabit a living prison. In book 1, teens Finn and Claudia struggled to escape; now in Sapphique, they must find their place while torn between the world outside and the world they left behind. If you've been waiting breathlessly for the new installment, here it is! If this is your first introduction to the series, start with Incarceron.

Check catalog for availability.
Or start with the first book in the series, Incarceron.

Submitted by Audrey @ Central

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Black Wave by John and Jean Silverwood

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When John and Jean Silverwood decide to buy a smooth-sailing catamaran and take their four children on a spectacular voyage through the Caribbean and onward to Polynesia, they little suspect that their dream trip will turn into a nightmare. The idea captivates Jean, who has grown weary of the treadmill of modern life and dreams of sharing the beauty of the real world with her family, but she also worries about uprooting her kids and exposing them to the dangers of the sea, not to mention what the sun and salt will do to her hair and fingernails and face. Thoughts of uprooting the children from their comfortable life and coping with untidy nails pale in comparison with the life and death disaster which befalls the family. From the riveting opening pages, the story is told in a series of flashbacks that describe scenes of unforgettable beauty interspersed with brutally honest family drama. This memoir gives the armchair traveler glimpses of enviable adventures as well as the heartfelt satisfaction of living life on dry land. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Anna W @ MPL Central

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman


I've never read a book quite like this one before. Mia lives a life full of love. She loves her Mom, Dad, and little brother Teddy. She loves playing the cello. She loves her best friend Kim. And she loves her rock-n-roll boyfriend Adam. She struggles a bit with low self-esteem, but otherwise she's quite happy. So this novel is about happiness, right? I guess it depends how much of an optimist you are. As she lay in a coma, Mia recounts the 24 hours following her catastrophic car accident. She watches over her own body and those who visit her in the hospital. She struggles to decide whether to succumb to her horrific grief and injuries or fight to live and build a new future for herself.

Click on the book cover above to check the catalog for available copies.

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So many words have been written about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt that it seems unlikely there is much new to say. But Hazel Rowley has produced a fascinating and eminently readable account that focuses on the Roosevelt's marriage and how it evolved into a powerful partnership. I've read other biographies of each of them but the author provides new insights into the way their complex relationship endured in the crucible of the personal, political and wartime challenges of their era. Rowley does not shy away from questions of sexual intimacy and her conclusions are based on what can be drawn from the historical record and are not sensationalized. It seems difficult to imagine that the marriage as portrayed would have been possible in today's more transparent journalistic times. One is glad they both had enough privacy to carve out a life of meaning, purpose and accomplishment. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Pat @ Central

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It Feels So Good When I Stop by Joe Pernice

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For some reason I found the frazzled and frayed life of the unnamed narrator in It Feels So Good When I Stop to be compelling, irrelevant and hugely entertaining. The story, or lack of, focuses on the personal disasters that define the young narrator's life. He screws up his job, screws up his relationship with Jocelyn, the woman he loves but repeatedly flees from, and screws up babysitting for his nephew.
Though the poor guy has the best of intentions, things just don't seem to work out the way he wished they would. Then he met Marie while drinking beer in his backyard. She just stumbled up, drunk, bummed a beer and voila, the inept man's life was forever changed. This is a love story that the manliest of men could admit to having read because the clueless narrator exhibits a little bit of the foolishness and obliviousness that I imagine every man feels while in the clutches of a love he may or may not want to be part of but can't stop the train from rolling along.

Joe Pernice, the author of It Feels So Good When I Stop, is also an accomplished musician who created a soundtrack album based on songs and bands that appear in this fictional work. Check out the soundtrack for the entire literary experience!

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Submitted by Dan @Central

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, 2011 Printz Award Winner

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The Michael L. Printz Award is given by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association to honor the year's best book for young adults. The book may be non-fiction or fiction, from any genre. The Printz Award has been given every year since 2000, and is named in honor of Mike Printz, a high school librarian and active member of YALSA who passed away in 1996.

The 2011 Printz Award was given to Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker, a science fiction novel set in a grim and grimy future. Nailer and his crew live on the Gulf Coast, doing the dangerous work of scavenging recyclable parts from beached oil tankers, dreaming of striking it rich by finding a hidden pocket of scarce, expensive oil. Everything changes for Nailer when a storm brings in a new ship to scavenge--a wind-powered clipper from the prosperous north. The adventure that follows forces Nailer to reconsider everything he thinks he knows about loyalty, friendship, family, and the world beyond his beach.

Submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park

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Did You Resolve to Save Money This Year?

According to a recent poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, saving money was the third most popular New Year's resolution. If you're better at breaking resolutions than making them, don't fret. These books will help you find ways to make saving money painless, even fun. (And hey! You're already saving money by using the library instead of buying books! See, it's easy. Keep up the good work.)

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Moms saving money by the Tightwad twins, Ann Fox Chodakowski & Susan Fox Wood
For anybody trying to run a household on a budget, the Tightwad Twins offer clever tips for trimming the fat.

Thrifty living by Barty Phillips
Whether you're ready to start setting aside some extra money for a vacation or you're just trying to make ends meet, Phillips offers creative, practical solutions for saving in all areas of your life.

The coupon mom's guide to cutting your grocery bills in half : the strategic shopping method proven to slash food and drugstore costs by Stephanie Nelson
Coupon clippers, rejoice! CouponMom.com, a website which helps you combine store deals with coupons to get items at almost no cost, has been a smash hit. In this book, its creator reveals her methods for significantly reducing your grocery bills - even if you're already a pretty savvy shopper.

Save big : cut your top 5 costs and save thousands by Elisabeth Leamy
Each tip in this book is intended to save you at least $1000. Of particular interest is a section on coping with health care costs.

The new frugality : how to consume less, save more, and live better by Chris Farrell
Farrell, the host of NPR's Marketplace Money, offers timely tips on living a more frugal and fulfilling life. Includes information on current tax policies and regulations.

573 ways to save money : save the cost of this book many times over in less than a day! by Peter Sander and Jennifer Sander
The title says it all - a wide variety of money-saving tips.

Submitted by Audrey @ Central

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Savages by Don Winslow


In a word, the novel Savages is, well, savage. It takes place in Southern California and Mexico jumping from the perspectives of people in the drug trade. The main characters are two twentysomething marijuana producers who are forced to team up with a Mexican drug cartel after the cartel kidnaps their female friend. Fighting to get their friend released, the men resort to methods that push readers into a fierce, adrenaline-filled world.

Winslow's laconic style takes some time to get used to, but after you do you fly through the book eager to see what's next. Savages provides a fascinating look at American culture using language sure to make you feel more cool and hip than you did when you started the novel. The ending isn't completely satisfying; although the thrill ride the book takes you on to get you there makes it easy to forgive.

Submitted by Amy @ MPL Central

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The Pacific

The Pacific, written by Hugh Ambrose (son of Stephen Ambrose) parallels his father's work with Band of Brothers. Both books were also developed into compelling HBO mini-series.

The Pacific follows the war-time experiences of five men through their various experiences fighting in World War II's pacific campaign. Because of the nature of the Pacific campaign the narrative does not unfold in a linear manner. Fighting in the Pacific in World War II happened as a series of separate incidents as the Marines, Army, and Navy personnel moved from one island to the next.

Ambrose follows the five men covered in the books through the major battles of the Pacific Campaign. The reader gets to know the personalities of the five men and becomes completely involved in their lives during this chapter of World War II. Their experiences start before the war and the reader is taken through the war and into its aftermath. Central to each of the stories is the transformation that each man goes through as a result of his service.

This book offers a fascinating read and the narrative moves the reader quickly through the 489 pages of material.

FDR's Funeral Train by Robert Klara

fdrs train.jpg When President Franklin Roosevelt died in April, 1945 a funeral train took his casket from Warm Springs, Ga. to his family home in Hyde Park, N.Y. for burial. This book tells the story of that trip. The cars and engines and route of the train are described in detail, as are the crowds that gathered along the journey in tribute to FDR. However most of the book relates what happened on the train. Roosevelt's casket was first brought to Washington, D.C. for a brief memorial service in the White House. The train then went from Washington to Hyde Park carrying 140 of the most important members of the federal government, including President Truman, most of the cabinet and all nine justices of the Supreme Court. The author uses diaries, memoirs and declassified Secret Service documents to describe what took place on the train as President Truman took control of the federal government and prepared his critical State of the Union Message. This popular history provides an interesting snapshot of the people and events on board FDR's funeral train. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Carolyn at Central

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When Deborah Lacks learned that her mother's cancer cells had been cloned for research, she thought that hundreds of versions of her mother were alive again and walking the streets of New York.
HeLa revised.png Those cells, now known as HeLa, were taken involuntarily from a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks sixty years ago. Their story is in the strange, stark contrast between the monumental scientific advances made from her cell line and the total ignorance, poverty, and alienation of her family. henrietta lacks.jpg While Henrietta's cells were used to create the polio vaccine, her family was unable to afford health insurance. While scientists used her cells to uncover the link between HPV and cervical cancer, most of her family didn't graduate from high school or understand basic biological processes. Multimillion-dollar industries were built off HeLa; yet Henrietta's descendants live in slums. Perhaps worst of all, while scientists examined every intimate detail of Henrietta's DNA, her daughter never even know her mother's favorite color.

While the history of one of the most enduring and important tools of modern science is fascinating on its own, the complex intersection of ethics, rights, race, culture, family, and humanity is what makes this book truly standout. You don't have to be a science reader to build incredibly personal and powerful relationships with the many people whose lives continue to be affected by the legacy of Henrietta Lacks.

Submitted by Audrey @ Central

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What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets

what i eat around the world in 80 diets.jpgThis extremely browsable book details the dietary and lifestyle habits of eighty people from all over the world. Large color photos show individuals in their homes alongside a typical day's worth of food for them. The particulars of how much a person weighs, their height and age are enriched by an explanation of a typical day's work and how they acquire their meals. A teenage refugee from Chad, a Spanish bullfighter, a Japanese sumo wrestler, and a lifeguard from Australia are all profiled. The book is equal parts sociology and gastronomy. Fans of Studs Terkel will enjoy this slice of life.

Submitted by Anna @ MPL Central

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Hypatia of Alexandria by Michael Deakin

Hypatia.jpgWatching the movie Agora led me to learn more about the mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Hypatia. Since little is known about her because her writings were destroyed, Michael Deakin focuses on her mathematical and scientific reputation by including surviving historical accounts of her and her work, especially from her former student Synesius' (Bishop of Cyrene) correspondence with her. Follow the political and religious turmoil in 5th century Alexandria, Egypt that led to her gruesome torture and murder by a Christian lynch mob during a showdown between Orestes, Prefect of Alexandria, and Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Van Lingle Mungo

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The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

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The Distant Hours immediately drew me into the world of Milderhust Castle and its inhabitants, the sisters Blythe; Percy, Saffy and Juniper. Then a letter arrives for Meredith Burchill, which had been sent fifty years prior. Though the contents of the letter remain a secret for the time being, Meredith's reaction upon reading it drew me in even further. You see, this is the first time her daughter Edie learns that she was evacuated from London to Milderhurst Castle in Kent during World War II. Many mysteries and secrets lurk within its grounds. Suggested for many readers, including mystery lovers and historical fiction fans as well as book clubs.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton from Pan Macmillan on Vimeo.

Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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