October 2011 Archives

You Know Where To Find Me by Rachel Cohn


"Once upon a time, Sleeping Beauty decided to take a nap from which she would never wake up." (p. 12)

Laura and Miles grow up together like sisters. One is fair, beautiful and popular. The other is plain, seemingly ugly, and an outsider. One commits suicide. The other, left in utter despair, attempts to commit suicide. Now the "left behind girl" wonders how do you measure suffering? What do you do with all of the excruciating pain? This is a story about how people are not at all who they appear to be, happiness can be faked, and grief can abruptly obliterate life as you know it.

Another extremely well written novel dealing with similar topics and questions is Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher. I recommend listening to the audio version read by Debra Wiseman.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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The main players in this novel are Aziraphale, "an angel and part-time rare book dealer" specializing in autographed first edition books of prophesy, and Crowley, "an angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards" to Earth who enjoys driving all over the place in his bizarre vehicle while listening to rock 'n roll and singing along. What they are playing with is Armageddon and the boy whom they think is an antichrist or as known in this account as the "Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness." The absolutely ridiculous, fast paced dialogue packed full of historic, literary, mythological and biblical references is absolutely hilarious. With this tone you wouldn't guess that the ultimate good versus evil war for the outcome of the end of the world is about to take place eleven short years from today.

I listened to this story on CD performed by Martin Jarvis. His fantastic performance had me laughing out loud.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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Dead To The World: A Southern Vampire Novel by Charlaine Harris.


Dead to the World is book four in the Sookie Stackhouse Series written by Charlaine Harris. One night while driving home Bon Temps telepath and waitress Sookie Stackhouse discovers a man running wildly down the side of the road. She recognizes him, stops her car and asks the man, who turns out to be vampire Eric Northman Sherriff of Area 5 in Louisiana, why he is out running in the dark. It's then that we all discover that Eric, a once fierce, humorless and bloodthirsty vampire, has spell-induced amnesia. There's more. Now he is sweet, kind, thoughtful and loving. Naturally Sookie takes him home and, naturally, all chaos breaks out from that moment forward. This is my favorite Sookie Stackhouse novel (so far). It's fun and funny to see what Eric says and does while he has amnesia.

Will Eric regain his memories? Will he regain his original personality? The outcome will change Sookie and Eric's relationship forever.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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Fight Zombie Fatigue! Read Zombies vs. Unicorns!

Are you tired of the same old zombie apocalypse story? Then you may be suffering from zombie fatigue. Zombie fatigue can hit anyone at anytime; symptoms include forgetting who Max Brooks is, incoherent grunts while friends talk about The Walking Dead, and blank staring when asked about your zombie survival tactics. Fight against zombie fatigue with Zombies vs. Unicorns, a collection of stories by the best and brightest teen and adult horror and fantasy authors. Does the word "unicorn" in the title scare you? It should. Forget the Lisa Frank unicorns of your childhood; these mythical creatures pack a punch and may have you cheering for Team Unicorn (note: cheering for Team Unicorn is the last and most frightening stage of zombie fatigue.) Each story is preceded by hilarious verbal sparring by editors Holly Black for Team Unicorn and Justine Larbalestier for Team Zombie as they battle to decide if unicorns are better than zombies (spoiler: no.) Check out Zombies vs. Unicorns from your local library today before it's too late and stay strong zombie nation.

Submitted by Kristina @ MPL Central

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The Big Read--Tonight at Mill Road


The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read in Milwaukee will focus on Harper Lee's American classic To Kill A Mockingbird.

Join us tonight, October 26, 2011, at Mill Road Library and hear the novel come to life as excerpts of To Kill A Mockingbird will be read by local actors, students and community volunteers. A moderated discussion about the themes of the novel will follow. The program begins at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

For a complete list of Big Read programs click here.

Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert

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Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Those simple hand gestures were the trademark for film criticism's most renowned duo, Siskel and Ebert. Gene Siskel is sadly gone now, but Roger Ebert is still here, and provides us with a generous look back on his eventful life in his new memoir, Life Itself. The film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for over 40 years, Ebert's rich understanding of the cinema and its meaning in culture cannot be overstated. His interactions with film's greatest stars, including John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, and many others are retold here and are a pleasure to read. Even more enjoyable are his accounts of his personal life, including his early years in downstate Illinois, his travels, and his romances. He also discusses with disarming frankness the devastating cancer that has left him disfigured and unable to eat, drink or speak. He does this all in the sharp, straightforward prose style familiar to his readers. Life Itself is an enjoyable chronicle of a life well lived.

Submitted by Brett @ Washington Park

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Oh the Horror! H.P. Lovecraft Stories

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With Halloween fast approaching there is no better time to pick up a book by an author who is regarded by many as the all-time master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft. Although many collections of his work exist, the definitive books are those published by Arkham House, located in Sauk City, WI. The Dunwich Horror and Others, At the Mountains of Madness and Other Macabre Tales and Dagon and Other Macabre Tales collect the short stories and fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. My personal all time favorite is The Thing on the Doorstep in The Dunwich Horror and Others, which grabs the reader with the very first sentence of the story. Other favorites include The Outsider and The Dunwich Horror in the same volume. Anyone want to read the original stories that classic horror movies From Beyond and Re-animator are based on? They are in Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, and definitely worth the read this October. Lovecraft's stories are set in his Cthulhu Mythos universe, where the unseen cosmic horrors of what lies beyond are what truly go bump in the night.

Submitted by Eric @ Central

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Infinity is the first book in this exciting trilogy which is s geared toward teen boys, but can certainly be enjoyed by all. After a violent encounter and a short hospital visit, smart mouthed Nick Gautier is introduced to a whole new, or old world, depending on whom you ask. A world where action is nearly nonstop and dangers are aplenty. He discovers zombies, demons, immortals, ghosts... and girls. He doesn't know it, but he's about to become the main character in a battle to end all battles. The series continues with Invincible. The question remains, however, which side will Nick be on? Good or Evil? We will find out in the final book Infamous of this series which can't be published too soon. I can't wait! But, I will have to--March 2012 will get here eventually.

This young adult trilogy has an interesting origin. After reading the first two books of this series I wanted see if Sherrilyn Kenyon had writen anything else. First I discovered four graphic novels which take place in Nick Gautier's world and are written for young adults. I read and liked them very much. Then I searched for more and was very surprised to discover that Kenyon's main audience up until now is adult fantasy romance (very steamy romance) readers. Nick Gautier is a minor character in a series called Dark Hunter. What's more interesting is that the young adult graphic novels are a toned down version of the first three adult fantasy romance novels in that series. I'm curious to see if Kenyon continues to write young adult novels or not. We will have to wait and see.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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Wandering Son by Shimura Takako


Nitori and Takatsuki are fifth grade classmates who share a secret. Nitori is a boy who wants to be a girl and Takatsuki is a girl who wants to be a boy. Shy and reserved Nitori hides his desire to wear his sister's dresses from his friends and family while outgoing Takatsuki catches a train to a far away town wearing her brother's old school uniform. As the school year progresses Nitori and Takatsuki discover each other's secret and support one another as they try to express their true selves. In this first volume of Wandering Son we see Nitori and Takatsuki at the start of their journey; their friends and family, while loving and kind, are largely unaware of what they are going through. Slowly, Nitori and Takatsuki take small yet momentous steps; Takatsuki cuts her hair in a boy's style and Nitori portrays a girl in a school production. There's no doubt Nitori and Takatsuki's journey to express their true identities will only become more difficult, but in these moments of late childhood we see the two secure in the knowledge that at least they are not alone as they move forward.

Submitted by Nobuta @ Milwaukee Public Library

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Maphead by Ken Jennings


Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame is definitely not only for geography nerds. Even non map lovers will find enjoyment in this book. There are plenty of factual and trivial tidbits about geography, but Jennings interweaves this with personal anecdotes to make this a fun and entirely interesting read.

Although he also gives us historical background information on maps, the majority of the book is comprised of essays on various cartographic topics. Jennings relates family tales such as his father's penchant for hypsometric maps and how young Ken saved his allowance to buy a prized world atlas. In later years, he writes about how his wife, Mindy, was trained successfully to navigate for their family vacation. While enjoying these stories, we also gain knowledge of many aspects of geography, for instance discovering that the outline of the state of Wisconsin is similar to Tanzania's.

Maphead flows from the chapter titles with their geographical definitions to profiles on geocachers and rare map collectors to a section with interviews of children from the National Geographic Bee. Throw in autobiographical pieces about Jennings and his family and this book is sure to be a fun and unpredictably educational delight.

Submitted by Lori @ Central

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Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee


Save as Draft chronicles a love triangle evolving over e-mails, text, and Facebook messages that makes you wonder if the things we leave unsaid- or rather unsent- could change the story of our lives. If you have ever wondered how much your digital trail illuminates where you are in your life, this book illustrates how it does so if you string it all together. Izzy's relationships are on full display through message threads, online profiles (and subsequent deactivations), status updates, Facebook friendships (and defriendings), and Victoria's Secret invoices. Never sent messages (designated as "Saved as Draft", surprise, surprise) give us further insight into how characters are feeling and what they are (read:really) doing and how it all compares to what they are actually messaging/texting/updating to other people.

Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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Barnes Wins the Booker!


The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world's most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and even publishers....

The winner of the Man Booker Prize 2011 is Julian Barnes for The Sense of an Ending. This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he'd left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he'd understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

Julian Barnes has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times previously, for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert's Parrot (1984).

Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


This is a story about Richard Mayhew and the girl named Door he meets one afternoon. What comes after is both fantastic and terrifying. Lady Door Portico introduces Richard to the world that exists under London where nightmares come true and danger hides around every corner. Door desperately needs to avenge her family's death. Richard wants nothing more than to return to his normal predictable life. However, everything becomes even more complicated when the people they encounter have malicious goals of their own. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar love to inflict pain and death on the human race. Hunter will not let anything stop her from keeping her status as the greatest body guard in the underworld. Angel Islington will use all of his incredible beauty and power to attain his freedom and exact revenge on his keepers. The marquis de Carabas wants... I'm not sure what he wants. He's a mystery to me.

I have both read and listened to this story on CD performed by the author. Gaiman's wonderful performance really brings the bizarre characters and dark underworld to life.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, when Dwight brings an origami finger puppet of Yoda to school, everyone assumes that it is just Dwight being a weirdo as usual. But then Dwight starts waving the puppet around and dispensing advice in a bad Yoda impression. And then people start to realize that the advice is good, and they wonder if maybe Dwight really is somehow channeling the wisdom of Yoda. The book is set up as a case file of stories gathered by Dwight's friend Tommy, each telling the story of how Origami Yoda has helped someone in class. Tommy's friend Kellen provides some great Star Wars related cartoons.

In Darth Paper Strikes Again, after suffering several Origami Yoda-related humiliations, Harvey gets Dwight suspended from school. Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file. Tommy and Kellen record cases such as "Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten Wiener," and "Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels." But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight's suspension permanent.

These books are written in notebook format with cartoon illustrations similar to The Wimpy Kid books and will certainly appeal to the same audience but beneath the humor is some wisdom that only Yoda could dispense. The movie references make it a great choice for any boy (or girl) who is more interested in watching Star Wars than reading. Included, of course, are instructions on making your own Origami Yoda and Darth Paper.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View

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Inspiritu Jewelry by Marie French


Author, Marie French researched an historic person, a healing woman (curandera) named Milagro who lived in West Texas in the 1930s in a cabin in a place called Wild Horse. Milagro was known for using jewelry in her healing practice. French shares the prescriptions, recipes and philosophy of Milagro in Inspiritu Jewelry: Earrings, Bracelets and Necklaces for the Mind, Body and Spirit.

French's book is accessible, and few tools are needed for crafting the jewelry. Each creation is designed specifically for the wearer as a healing amulet. French encourages the inclusion of humble materials - old auto parts, rusty nails, patina tins, bone beads and a wide array of found items, charms or materials that the wearer cherishes. She emphasizes the earthy, the worn, the re-cycled. "Rusty tin cans make excellent enclosures for shrines, reliquaries and nichos." Persons interested in crafts, jewelry making, natural healing, aroma therapy, teas and infusions, folklore and folkart will enjoy Inspiritu Jewelry.

Submitted by Deb @ Bay View

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Under the direction of studio chief Robert Evans, Paramount pictures turned out many of the best American films of the era, including Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, Paper Moon, The Godfather and many others. The author, Peter Bart, was recruited by Evans to become his right hand executive. As a result of this experience, Bart has a nearly infinite number of tantalizing Hollywood "insider' stories to share with the reader. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Dan T @ Mill Rd

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212 by Alafair Burke


212, after the infamous NY area code, is the third of the Ellie Hatcher series, following Dead Connection and Angel's Tip. In 212, two simultaneous cases are being investigated; in one, call girls from escort services are turning up dead and tortured prior to death, in the other case, an internet site set up specifically for campus gossip and backbiting among students gets play. Megan, a student, sees her name with posts on the site and believes she is being stalked. She tells her parents who go to the police, but they blow it off since nothing has actually happened. The next day, Megan is murdered. Then, people who had a connection to Megan (and work for an escort service) are murdered. Is Megan working for the escort service? And who is her roommate, Heather? Is she involved too?

Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann


Soon after a new family moves into a small neighborhood, two high school teens go missing from Kendall's school, first Tiffany, then her best friend Nico. Suspicion is placed on one of the new comers, high school student and soccer player Jacian whose antisocial behavior does nothing to help his situation. However, Jacian is one a handful of people who learns how to handle Kendall's OCD which causes the reader to doubt his involvement with the disappearing students. An eerie feeling blankets the entire story based on something that happened in the town's past. Clues are revealed through the whispers and carvings on a mysterious class room desk leading to an unexpected and scary ending. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Valerie @ MPL Central

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu


Oh, you've GOT to read this one! Sunny Nwazue was born in New York, but moves with her family to her parents' native Nigeria at the age of twelve. Sunny, an albino, has always felt a little like an outcast, and these feelings only intensify when she is the new girl at school. Through the help of two classmates, a teen from Chicago, and some adult mentors, she realizes that her skin is far from the only thing that sets her apart. The writing style is accessible for any reader, and I loved the interpretations of traditional African culture as Sunny explores her heretofore unknown abilities. There's a mystery to solve, too! Someone is using children in her town for a sinister purpose. How can the evil and magical Black Hat be stopped? And by the way, who wouldn't love a book where librarians are the richest and most powerful people in the community? Yes, you must read Akata Witch, it's a fun, fast-paced, and intriguing book!
Submitted by Ephemera, soon to be blogging from Villard Square Library!

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Steampunk Style-Jewelry: Victorian Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings is a visual treat starting with the cover, which features a gold winged watchworks pendant, all the way to the Gallery of Steampunk Designs by various artists that grace the final pages. The Maker's Workshop section covers the standard hardware, tools, cements and sealants required to construct jewelry. The text also includes helpful information about shopping for found objects; caution to be taken when handling glow-in-the-dark watch parts from the early 1900s that might contain radium; and how to keep bubbles from forming in dimensional glaze. Basic Jewelry-Making Techniques are nicely illustrated, but this is not a beginner's book. The roots - art, film, and literature of Steampunk culture - are touched upon. The lingo - terms like "modding" and "gearing"- is explained and illustrated in the photos of Steampunk sculpture, costumes, accessories and art jewelry.

I was particularly fond of the goggles presented on pages 128-129 (designed by Rob Powell, Melanie Brooks and Nicholas Chambon), and the Horological Faery Gaget with "Elgin Watch" wings on page 91 (by Jen Hilton). I was also wowed by Chronos #8 (designed by Madelyn Smoak) - the gold winged pendant on the cover - again shown on page 114. The Anachronist Necklace (by Margot Potter) on page 28, the Captured Time Ring (by Barbe Saint John) on page 34, and the copper propeller bracelet designed by Ricky Wolbrum on page 137 are all items I'd love to own. But then there's Minerva's Folly Cuff with spikey brass bolts fringed with black tulle on page 54 (by Annie Singer); a bit too weapon-like for my taste--but still, something for everyone.

The photographs of these whimsical creations are delightful - so even if one is not inclined to make wear-able objects, antique collectors, artists, fashion conscious individuals and jewelry lovers will also enjoy Steampunk Style-Jewelry: Victorian Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings.

Submitted by Deb @ Bay View

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They say not to judge a book by its cover, but right away the creepy, floating child on the cover lets you know that this particular tome is unique. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows a young man named Jacob and his search for answers after a violent tragedy throws his life off course. Searching for answers, he heads to a tiny island off the coast of Wales and an orphanage that has been abandoned since World War II. What he learns about the home and its former occupants, the Peculiar Children, casts a whole new light on Jacob's life and the event that caused him to seek the island and its secrets in the first place.

Scattered throughout the text are a series of black and white photographs which enhance the other-worldly feeling set by the prose and the storyline. Among them is a headless boy, a man with a mouth on the back of his head, and the floating girl from the cover. All of the photographs are genuine items, and come from the collections of various different people, including the author. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is both a literary and visual experience, so it should come as no surprise that the movie rights have already been purchased. Perfect for a dark and rainy night, this will leave you feeling unsettled long after you set it down.

Submitted by Jennifer P @ Capitol

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The Mad Ones by Tom Folsom


Joey Gallo was an artist, poet and countercultural figure in New York's Greenwich Village arts scene of the 1960s. He was also a gangster, a member of the Profaci crime family who led a bloody revolt against the city's top mob bosses along with his two brothers. A dangerous, deadly criminal who did hard time for extortion, he was also the toast of New York's cultural elite, befriending the likes of actor Jerry Orbach and comedian David Steinberg. The story of "Crazy Joe" is told in riveting style by Tom Folsom in his book The Mad Ones. Folsom's manic, pulpy style fits well with his subject. He distills numerous books, news archives, and interviews into a fast-paced, thrilling read reminiscent of Jack Kerouac, whose own writing was the inspiration for the title. This book will appeal to not only fans of true crime but also anyone interested in New York City's Mafia history and the real-life figures that inspired characters in movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas. Think you'll be able to put this book down? Fagheddaboudit!
By Brett @ Washington Park

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Crazy U by Andrew Ferguson


If you are a parent of a teenager, or a recent college grad yourself, I don't need to tell you how utterly outlandish college tuition is these days. Young people are taking on unprecedented levels of debt to finance college. Furthermore, the very act of applying for college is now a three month or longer trial, involving torturously personal essays, prolonged courtships and redundant college visits. How did it all get so complicated? Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kids Into College will give you a humorous, readable and well-researched look into how we have arrived at this pass.

-Ephemera, dreading paying for college but looking forward to the move to Villard Square Library!

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A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown


Lawyer, professional speaker and New York Times Bestselling author Cupcake Brown has not had an easy childhood. In her 2007 memoir, A Piece of Cake, she gives readers an inside look at her life growing up after the death of her mother at the age of eleven. Brown describes her life in foster care where she is abused by the son of her foster mother, becomes a runaway, and then finds herself tangled in a web of drug use, prostitution, gang life, and homelessness at a very young age. But in spite of her childhood traumas she was able to overcome and turned her dark past into a bright future. The events of her life unfold with each page and readers will find it hard to put down. Also, be aware that the content of this book is very edgy and very bold and exposes a dark side of life that so many young women in our society face everyday. The events of Brown's life are so horrific that one might think they're reading fiction.

Submitted by: SBJ @ East

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Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney by Roger Taney


Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers by United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott opinion of 1857, attempted to use his position to thwart President Lincoln at every opportunity, in a concerted effort to check his broad constitutional powers to put down the southern rebellion and preserve the union. Never has a judge landed so far on the wrong side of history.

Submitted by Dan T @ Mill Road

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Wildwood by Colin Meloy


Wildwood by Colin Meloy follows the adventures of Prue Mckeel and her friend Curtis who embark on a dangerous quest after a murder of crows kidnap Prue's baby brother. Upon following the crows they are taken into the Impassible Wilderness which no one from their town has ever dared to go. There they find a whole secret society called Wildwood, inhabited with humans, animals, bandits, and a number of aggressive coyotes. As Wildwood's different factions begin fighting with one another, Prue and Curtis become separated and must determine where the allegiances lie. As they become more entwined in the battle, both realize that they are more connected with the Wildwood than they realize. The story is beautifully illustrated by Carson Ellis and fans of the band the the Decemberists will enjoy singer/songwriter Colin Meloy's successful foray into children's literature. Be on the lookout for the movie version which has just been optioned by Laika Studios, the producers of Coraline.

Submitted by Maria @ MPL Central

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My Year With Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock


It is so easy to fall into a rut. And often, the walls of those ruts are composed of our fears. When Noelle Hancock is laid off from her job in online media, she realizes that her life has been guided by fear into a narrow channel. With the inspiration of Eleanor Roosevelt, she resolves to do one thing each day that scares her. The very first thing she tries is trapeze lessons. Then, diving in a shark cage (which evoked terror, not just mere fear). Then, composing and performing a stand-up routine (which will make you cry tears of laughter!) in New York City. And it gets crazier from there! Along the path of her many self-inflicted trials, she considers the courageous example of Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt was painfully timid as a child, and feared public speaking, heights, ships, and many other things in her adult life. Yet, she overcame those fears, flying and sailing to visit wounded soldiers during and after World War II, speaking to advocate the founding of the nation of Israel, and making her mark on the world in so many ways. My Year With Eleanor: A Memoir is not a traditional motivational book, full of slogans and platitudes and "you can do its". You'll enjoy reading this memoir, and triumphing with the author and Eleanor!
Submitted by Ephemera, soon moving one block west to the new Villard Square Library!

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Beauty Queens by Libba Bray


When a plane load of teenage beauty queens crash land on a deserted (or not so deserted) island, a Lord of the Flies for the twenty first century is born. The fourteen survivors of a plane that crashes on the way to the Miss Teen Dream Pageant assume that their show's sponsors, aptly named "The Corporation", will waste no time in discovering their whereabouts and rescue them. Unfortunately they have landed on an island housing a top secret military compound also sponsored by "The Corporation." "The Corporation" decides that it's better to tell everyone the girls were all killed than risk having people discover the secret activities happening on the island.

In between practicing their pageant routines and fighting off giant snakes, the girls find they must learn to rely on each other and their own ingenuity. The same can-do attitude that made the girls successful on the pageant circuit is also useful when faced with finding ways to survive in the wilderness. Sequined evening gowns quickly become repositories for rain water and a hair straighter can be used to catch fish. Away from a society that only rewards them for being pretty, they discover truths about themselves. This new self awareness helps them to deal with the seductions of some very hot, shipwrecked, reality show pirates and of course, "The Corporation's" evil plot.

This young adult satire is interspersed with commercial breaks, contestant fact sheets, footnotes, radio broadcasts, and spoofs of reality TV and celebrity status that keep the hilarity coming, but it also tackles a lot of real life issues that teen girls face. Will the contestants ever find a way off the island? Can hair removal products really be turned into explosives? What is Miss Rhode Island hiding under her sash and why does she sing exactly like that guy from that old boy band? Are volcanoes on deserted islands, ever just volcanoes? Do grubs really taste like chicken? If a guy pretending to be a pirate tells you he is trouble, shouldn't you believe him? All of these questions and many more will be answered reading Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Submitted by Fran @ Bay View

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Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir by Karl Taro Greenfeld


Karl Greenfeld was born just 18 months before his younger brother Noah, so he has no recollection of what his life was like before Noah was born. What he does remember is all of his parent's attention being directed toward his younger brother while he was growing up, because Noah is severely autistic; unable to speak for himself, clean himself, and given to violent tantrums. His brother, who spits, twiddles his fingers, and bobs his head, is oblivious to those around him, which also caused the author to feel alienated from the people in his life while they were growing up. Their father also wrote a trilogy of books about Noah, which thrust the family into the national spotlight adding to the author's feelings of alienation. As a teen the author slipped into drug and alcohol addiction, which lasted into his adulthood. In Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir, Greenfeld deals honestly and compassionately with his family as he describes the extraordinary circumstances they coped with and he also explores what it means to be a family, a brother, and a person.

Submitted by KMJ @ East

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The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystyna Chiger


Love, family, prejudice, apathy, trust, selfishness, survival, death, courage, fear, hope, hate, and perseverance these are a few of the themes in the remarkable true life story about Krystyna Chiger's life in hiding in the from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Chiger talks of her family's life before the war, of the Soviet occupation and oppression of her family in Lvov. Chiger was four years old when Poland was divided between the Nazis and Soviets and six when the Nazis seized her home town. Krystina and her family, together with a handful of other Jews, escaped into the sewers where they lived in conditions unimaginable by most (darkness, dampness, constant fear of sewer flooding, rats, and human waste).

Leopold Socha, a Catholic Polish sewer inspector and former thief, is the families life line between the sewer and outside world. He risks his life by protecting and hiding them, bringing them supplies and medicine, and offering friendship. Chiger relates how she and her four year old brother Pawel managed to survive for 14 months. I've read many books about WWII and the Holocaust, but there was something different about The Girl in the Green Sweater; it stayed with me long after reading it. I found myself asking, who would I be under these circumstances? If my freedoms, my dignity, my comfortable life was stripped away from me, who would I be? The book includes many black and white family photos. The author's green sweater is now on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Please click here for additional information.

Submitted by Nichole D. @ Villard Avenue Library

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

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