February 2012 Archives


Was your News Year's resolution to eat healthier? Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard may aid in keeping that commitment, this title has 200 foods listed. Each superfood mentioned comes with a color photograph. Reinhard provides this definition of a superfood: a food that contains a high level of essential nutrients and other compounds that may benefit one's health.

The book is broken down into ten chapters: vegetables, mushrooms, legumes, fruits, nuts & oils, herbs & spices, grains, meat/seafood/dairy foods, beverages and finally nutritional supplements. Each entry includes background information on the food, its origin, why it is considered to be a superfood, and when it is typically harvested. There is also a section called "making the most of ...," this part describes how one can incorporate the superfood in one's diet and tips on how to prepare the food to get the most nutrients; basically tips on cooking. The healthy evidence section of each superfood describes and refers to published studies for each food and the "What's a serving" for each food gives the following: serving size, the calories, protein, total fat, saturated, carbohydrates, and fiber. Check out this source to gain some insights into healthier eating.

Submitted by Gail @ Zablocki

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Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed


Throne of the Crescent Moon opens in the city of Dhamsawaat, the heart of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, where Adoulla Makhslood is the last true ghul hunter, who is in his sixties and thinking longingly of retirement. Though he has no apprentice to take his place, Adoulla is assisted by a young dervish, Rassed bas Raseed, who is much more devout and restrained than Adoulla, who loves good food, cardamom tea, and all the luxuries of the city.

Adoulla's comfortable morning is soon interrupted by the arrival of a young boy whose family has been slain by ghuls. Chasing down the magical culprits brings Adoulla and Raseed into the path of Zamia Banu Laith Badawi, a desert tribeswoman who can take the shape of a lioness to protect her band. Together with some of Adoulla's friends, a mage and an alchemist, the fearsome trio will take on the corrupt Khalif, the dashing criminal who calls himself the Falcon Prince, and the most dangerous evil any of them have ever met.

Filled with fascinating characters, several romances, and set in an Arab-influenced fantasy world different from any you've seen before, Throne of the Crescent Moon offers an adventure you won't want to miss!

Submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park

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Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss by Dean Karnazes


Dean Karnazes may be some kind of superhuman. The ultramarathon runner from San Francisco (an ultramarathon is any race longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles) has run in more endurance races in more extreme conditions than most of us can wrap our heads around. His first book, the memoir Ultramarathon Man, was a New York Times bestseller and introduced many of us to the idea of running for what seems like an impossibly long time. His second, 50/50, described the 50-marathons-in-50-states-in-50-consecutive-days challenge he undertook in 2006, and shared tidbits of advice about how he manages to keep moving when the rest of us would have collapsed hours (or days) earlier. His third book, Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss, is not a book about how to run well, but more a love letter to the sport of distance running. Through 26 (.2) chapters (dictated into a portable recorder while running, naturally), Karnazes relates anecdotes from his years of endurance racing and tries to explain to us mere mortals why he and other ultra-runners take on the challenge of running 100+ mile races time and again. From the Atacama desert salt flats in Chile to the stormy coast of Antarctica, Karnazes writes of the highs and lows of running, delighting in both success and failure, reminiscent of the saying, "Fall seven times, stand up eight."

What is most remarkable about Karnazes is not just the physical limits to which he pushes himself, but how his love for the sport of running and never-quit attitude manages to come through as genuine and inspiring, rather than preachy. Most of us will never run an ultramarathon, but if you've even been a runner, there is a spirit in Karnazes's books you'll be able to relate to. On the other hand, if you've never been a runner you'll likely keep thinking we're nuts. It's lucky that Run! is such a quick read - it will move you to put down the book, dust off your running shoes, and hit the road.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki

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Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich


Does anything in life ever come easy? For most of us the answer is usually no. This is no different for Kate Appleton the main character in Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly. Her husband left her and she was fired from her job as a magazine editor. She decides the best place to go is to her parents' summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene's Harbor, Michigan. Her goal is to turn The Nutshell into a bed and breakfast. She first needs to find a job especially since The Nutshell is falling apart. Unfortunately, since it is a small tourist town there is not much for employment.

Luck turns around for Kate when she convinces Matt Culhane to hire her at his brewery. Since he doesn't have any typical jobs he hires her to find out who is sabotaging his business. Kate will receive a $20,000 bonus if she finds out who the culprit is. Problem is she does not like beer, her fellow employees do not trust her, and she is falling for her boss Matt. Find out what befalls Kate as she looks for the saboteur. Will she find love with Matt? Will she get hurt or worse trying to find the saboteur? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this entertaining book that contains plenty of humor, romance, and mystery.

Submitted by Collen @ Forest Home

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Hidden by Helen Frost


Hidden starts when Wren Abbott, an eight year old girl and her mother are at a gas station. Wren's mother leaves the keys in the minivan so Wren can listen to music while she pays for the gas. The sound of a gunshot comes from the store and Wren dives to the floor of the van and hides herself under a blanket. The van door suddenly opens; Wren realizes it is not her mother in the van, but a stranger, so Wren remains hidden. Is Wren's mother alright? Is she hurt? Who is this man driving the van and where is he taking her? What will happen if he finds out Wren is in the vehicle? The minivan turns into a garage and Wren can hear the sounds of a family coming from the house. The young girl inside the house is Darra Monson, the man's daughter.

Now the story moves ahead six years and Darra and Wren are both fourteen years old and spending the summer in Upper Michigan at summer camp. Will the two girls recognize each other? What has life been like for each girl since the incident? How has the incident changed their life? How does each girl remember the events? These are the questions explored by the author Helen Frost in parts two and three of the book.

Hidden is told in verse and through the alternating viewpoints of the girls. Each girl's voice has her own poetic style which really captures the feelings and emotions of each of them. Though short, the ramification of the event and the toll it has taken on each girl's life is explored in this suspenseful novel..defnitely worth your time to read; this will not disappoint!

Submitted by Gail @ Zablocki

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Suicide of a Superpower by By Patrick J. Buchanan


In Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? conservative pundit and social critic Pat Buchanan asserts that America is on the decline, ready to fall. There are many reasons for this. Our debt as a nation is already large and getting larger. The slow disintegration of our Christian culture has not only created many social problems but also started the "culture wars." In fact, Buchanan states that the "death of God has blown up our decent and civil society."

Buchanan sites other reasons for America's decline. We have an obsession with the equality of outcome. We worship at the altar of the Cult of Diversity. We are fast becoming a "food stamp nation" with almost half of the population receiving some form of government assistance. And the birth rate in the United States continues to drop. Any nation that does not replenish its population is doomed to fail.

In the last chapter (11), Buchanan claims we have one last chance to avoid our destiny. We have to get the nation's finances back in order and stop swimming in a sea of red ink. We must dismantle the 'American Empire' by bringing our troops home from around the globe and stop fighting in foreign wars. And as a nation we must restore traditional religion and morality. Then a traditional culture will automatically follow.

Like most of Buchanan's books, this one is highly controversial. If anyone reading this review is still around in 2025, it will be interesting to see if Buchanan is right. Or will this title be just another 'doomsday' book among many that sit on our library shelves? Stay tuned!

Submitted by Neal @ Forest Home & Tippecanoe

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My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


For those with a hunger for science fiction but tired of the vampires, werewolves and zombies, try Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series which begins with My Soul to Take. This young adult novel follows Kaylee Cavanaugh as she discovers her abilities as a bean sidhes, which is in turns terrifying and confusing because she senses people who are about to die.

She sees a shadowy fog around an individual and gets the overwhelming need to scream...these people's souls must be collected by a reaper, but if Kaylee is anywhere around she can delay the process and give the soul a chance to say good-bye. She does this through singing for the soul, which to human ears translates to an ear-drum-shattering scream. Young women in town start dying for no reason and Kaylee is determined to get to the bottom of things with the help of Nash, a possible love interest who meets Kaylee at a dance club when one such girl is seen in a misty fog. The two discover many things that illuminate Kaylee's bean sidhes powers and what is causing women to drop dead.

Kaylee's lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin because her mother passed away when she was three and her father is away in Ireland because he can't bear to raise a daughter who reminds him more and more of his deceased wife. Elements of suspense, mystery, romance and horror will keep readers enthralled until the stunning conclusion.

Submitted by Mrs Nimphius @ Forest Home

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The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

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The Distant Hours is a remarkable piece of writing. It is a luxurious tale woven primarily from the lives of the residents of Milderhurst Castle and spans almost a century from the early 1900's to 1993. Our narrator is Edie Burchill, a young woman on the fringes of publishing whose mother was an evacuee who spent part of WWII at the castle. The tale begins with a letter arriving 50 years after it was mailed to Edie's mother. A truly incredible story unfolds as Edie investigates the letter. The tale is that of author Raymond Blythe, the castle owner, and his three daughters - twins Sassy and Percy, and their younger sister Juniper. Families always have baggage, but not like this; amazing twists and turns with some shocking revelations, all totally realistic make this a marvelous story that pulls you in slowly and won't let you go.

Submitted by Katherine @ Zablocki

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.

Submitted by Jacki @ MPL Central

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux has arrived at Wexford, her new London boarding school just in time for her first semester... and for Rippermania to take over the city. The day she arrives is the same day that a string of brutal murders begins across London, mimicking those attributed to Jack the Ripper a century earlier. The city is in a panic and Rory's new Wexford neighborhood is in the dead center of Ripper-ville. Few clues are provided by London's CCTV network and since Rory the is only person who has seen the man believed to be behind the murders, her boarding school experience isn't starting out quite the way she expected.

Though the premise of The Name of the Star is dark, Maureen Johnson skillfully blends an intriguing murder mystery and paranormal elements with the humor and wit fans of her other work will be familiar with, keeping the book just slightly more on the side of fun than horror. Rory is an independent character with an outsider's perspective whose confusion mirrors that of the reader and allows us to uncover the mystery and explore the city along with her. Clever supporting characters round out the book very well and make it easy to understand the sense of belonging Rory begins to feel in her new surroundings. While the ending isn't a cliffhanger, it will leave readers eager for the release of the second installment of the Shades of London series.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki

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Rainwater by Sandra Brown


Rainwater is a fascinating picture of life in Texas during the depression. A change for Brown, who has been writing thrillers of late, this is a heart-wrenching tale of a young mother, Ella, with an autistic child who runs a boardinghouse to survive after her husband disappears.

David Rainwater comes to her as a boarder. Upfront, she is told by the town doctor that Rainwater is dying and won't be there long. His interest in her son gives her cause for concern as well as hope, and the tale of their relationship is a beautiful one; never cloying. The characters are well-drawn, the town bully Conrad is especially effective and the black preacher Brother Calvin is inspiring. The racial tones of the time are evident and the picture of the program that sent government men to kill the cattle of the farmers who couldn't afford to feed them is well-done. A moving story with a surprise ending that is very plausible. A wonderful tale.

Submitted by Katherine @ Zablocki

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Dear Todd Rundgren:

Hello, it's me. I've thought about you for a long, long time,
maybe I think too much but I don't want to work,
I want to read this book all day.
I don't want to play, I just want to read about your genius all day.
Couldn't I just tell you the way that I feel, I just can't keep it bottled up inside,
since I saw the light and read A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio
by Paul Myers.
I knew love was the answer while I read this book by dashboard light. Dear God, I hope you know Todd created some kind of wonderful pop with his production. The New York Dolls had a personality crises but Todd set it straight while riding the Grand Funk Railroad straight to XTC. He probably enjoyed walking down the Hall eating Oates and Meatloaf. The Band probably jammed Badfinger day after day while listening to the magic Todd conjured with buttons and knobs and meters and strings. It was no Cheap Trick that only A Wizard, A True Star could produce and create so much great music in one lifetime.

Leroy boy, if you think Todd is Godd, give this excellently detailed account of Todd Rundgren's production career a read. It'll be just one victory and we can still be friends if you be a real man; or get a woman and be nice to yourself and read this book together while listening to Rundgren records. It'll be like you're in Utopia.

Submitted by Dan @ Central

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Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logste


Have you ever thought to yourself that your favorite book could be just a little better? Have you ever wondered why Lydia got away with running off with Mr. Wickham practically consequence-free? Or maybe the Wizard of Oz should have asked Toto what he wanted most in the world! If you've ever thought you could improve your favorite book by changing one little thing, you will understand the predicament high school sophomore Emily March finds herself in at the beginning of Little Women and Me.

Given an assignment in her English class to write a paper explaining how she would improve upon her favorite book, Emily decides there's one thing she could change in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women that would make it even better (spoiler alert - don't read the rest of this sentence if you haven't read or seen Little Women...) - Emily is going to save Beth! But while she is putting together her paper's outline and re-reading portions of Little Women, Emily is literally pulled into the story herself. It's the perfect opportunity to live out her favorite book and push it in the direction she thinks it should go. But how is Emily, now the fifth and middle March sister, going to do it?

Though some knowledge of Little Women will certainly help to appreciate the nods to the original story, it is not necessary to have Little Women memorized in order to enjoy Little Women and Me. Emily's hijinks and observations in 19th century Marchville (as she dubs the book's setting) are clever and on point with what teens today would likely notice about the classics. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but following Emily as she gets lost in the world of the book will make you think about how you would change your favorites, given the opportunity. It's a fun read that just might make you want to pick up Louisa May Alcott's original novel one more time.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki

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A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber


A Turn in the Road is a good romantic read. Macomber is an author who makes you care about her characters (much like Nora Roberts but not as racy). Bethanne Hamilton ends up driving across country with her former mother-in-law and her daughter. Bethanne's ex wants to get back together with her after divorcing her for a younger woman. Ruth (the widowed ex-mother-in-law) is going back to her 50th high school reunion in hopes of reigniting a flame with her first love. Annie (the daughter) tags along because she's mad at her boyfriend. Their adventures and misadventures make for a fun read. Will Bethanne stay with the biker she meets on the trip or return to her ex-husband? Will Ruth reunite with her first love?What will Annie decide to do about her boyfriend (who left her behind and went to Europe)? Read and enjoy.

Submitted by Katherine @ Zablocki

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East Library Book Club Reads Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff


East Library Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month from 7:00 - 8:00 pm at East library. New members are always welcome!

For February 21, 2012 the selection is Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff.

Future selections are:

March 20, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

April 17, 2012

Stradivari's Genius by Toby Faber

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Death of a Valentine by M C Beaton


Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth, much pined-for sworn bachelor of the Scottish Highlands, may at last have met his match. The trouble starts when a local beauty from a neighboring town is sent a deadly valentine and Hamish and his new constable, Josie McSween, are thrown together to solve the case. Though the entire town of Lochdubh is smitten with the pretty, bright-eyed and bouncy Josie, Hamish himself is less than enthusiastic with her attempts at romance and completely unimpressed with her detective abilities (or lack thereof). Somehow, Hamish must solve the case of the murdered beauty queen - who also had her share of unwelcome admirers - while trying his best to avoid the attentions of an inept partner and wannabe Valentine.

M. C. Beaton's cozy Scottish mysteries are a treat to curl up with on a chilly February night. This is the 26th book in the Hamish Macbeth series, but it is not necessary to have read the others to jump into the series as just enough background information is given in the first quick chapters to get caught up. It is easy to quickly become attached to the colorful, eccentric characters of Lochdubh who add humor and atmosphere to each mystery. Beaton's unobtrusive use of regional dialect further helps transport the reader to this tiny town in the blustery Highlands - which has more than its share of crime and intrigue. You can pick up this series with any of the 28 books, but if you're looking for a Valentine's Day mystery with a touch of Scottish charm, Death of a Valentine is a good one to start with.

Submitted by Jessie @ Zablocki

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Snuff by Terry Pratchett


Welcome to the city of Ankh Morpork, the largest city on the Discworld, which floats through space on the back of the turtle. This is a city where gods abound, where magic is mostly under the control of absent-minded professors, and where the City Watch--which includes dwarves, trolls, werewolves, vamipres, gnomes, and one policeman no one knows how to classify--is commanded by a man whose titles range from the Duke of Ankh to Blackboard Monitor Vimes. Sam Vimes, in turn, is commanded by his wife.

Snuff is the story of what begins when the hardworking Vimes is persuaded to take a two-week holiday to the country. Vimes insists that where there is a copper there will always be a crime, and sure enough the crime finds him before he's had a chance to get too bored with the countryside. What follows is both a thoughtful story about the law, the authority of the police, and the rights of the downtrodden, and a hilarious adventure featuring a six-year-old boy's fascination with all kinds of excrement, Vimes's search for a bacon sandwich, the many problems caused by a cigar that sings, and goblins who persist in believing that snot is sacred.

Snuff is the 39th of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. For a look at where Sam Vimes's story began, check out Guards! Guards!, the first of the books about the City Watch.

Submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park

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Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt


Okay for Now is set in the late 1960's and is a stand-alone companion to the Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor book, where we first met Doug Swieteck. This title gives you a taste of life for a 14 year old boy growing up in small town, Marysville, New York during 1968. Doug's oldest brother Lucas is off fighting in the Vietnam War. His second oldest brother Christopher is labeled a "bad boy." At home Doug is cheering on the New York Yankees baseball team and watching the Apollo space mission. Doug is also dealing with a verbally abusive father. Each chapter opens with a reproduction from John James Audubon's Birds of America. A librarian named Mr. Powell helps Doug discover a hidden talent and opens up a new world to him. The story is one of creativity, of loss, of love, and of survival. As you read you find out why Doug has always struggled in school and why the prints of birds are so important to Doug. I found this book to be interesting historical fiction filled with many twists, turns and colorful characters.

Submitted by Gail @ Zablocki

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Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons by Blaize Clement


Pet Lovers Alert! - A new Dixie Hemingway mystery is here. And it's a good one. Dixie, a pet sitter who used to be a cop, always manages to get involved with her client's personal lives. A beautiful baby, Opal, and an orange shorthair cat named Cheddar are the ones pulling at Dixie's heartstrings. Opal's mother has information that will put some very wealthy people in jail for a very long time. When Dixie gets kidnapped being mistaken for Opal's mother, she becomes totally involved in the situation. Cheddar plays an important part in the action. Plenty of intriguing characters, descriptions of life and nature in the Florida Keys, along with a compelling story with several unique twists and turns makes Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons an exhilarating read.

Submitted by Katherine @ Zablocki

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Happy 200th Birthday to Charles Dickens!

charles-dickens1.jpg"The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again." From Nicholas Nickleby.
Born Feb. 7th, 1812 in England, Charles Dickens became, perhaps, the greatest British author of Victorian times. He penned novels, short stories, non-fiction works and essays and often wrote about the harsh economic conditions experienced by the majority of folks during the Industrial Revolution. His social commentary was groundbreaking and he wrote with a realism that accurately depicted the harsh lives of poverty stricken folks. His works, which were often published in monthly serials so they were affordable to the poor, have never gone out of print since being published and have spawned numerous films and stage adaptations. To help celebrate the genius of this seminal author on his 200th birthday, we'd like to highlight a few of his most popular works!

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"think how young he is; think that he may never have known a mother's love" From The Adventures of Oliver Twist

Dickens second novel, published in 1838, is about a young orphan named Oliver Twist who escapes from a terrible workhouse and flees to London where he meets Artful Dodger, the kingpin of a group of child pickpockets and later, Fagin, the leader of the rogues! Dickens depiction of life on the streets and child labor and the nastiness of criminal elements were glowingly received by the public.
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"A loving heart is the truest wisdom." From David Copperfield

The eighth novel from Dickens, published as a serial in 1849 and as a novel in 1850, is said to be almost autobiographical as it describes the title characters life. This book features my favorite character created by Dickens--the very 'umble and unsavory Uriah Heep! (also the name of a killer British band!) Famed Russian author Leo Tolstoy has stated that this was his favorite Dickens novel, so it has that going for it too!

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"I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free." From Bleak House.

How can you not want to read a book titled "Bleak House?" It sounds so chipper. Everything really does kind of work out in the end, no matter how bleak the ride. But, I think this book should be read just to enjoy the names of the characters alone! We have, in no particular order the following characters: Mr. Skimpole, Lady and Sir Dedlock, Mrs. Pardiggle, Mr. Boythorn, Mr. Snagsby, Nemo, Krook, George and Grandfather Smallweed, Bucket, Prince Turveydrop, Miss Barbary and last, but not least, Mr. Guppy! Now don't you want to know what these characters are fiddling around with? There's only one way to find out.......

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"There is a wisdom of the Head, and...there is a wisdom of the Heart." From Hard Times.

Published in Dickens's weekly magazine Household Words in 1854, this novel continues Dickens social commentary by attacking the purveyors of the Industrial Revolution and the expoitation of workers in the working class city of Coketown. Here the common folk are the good guys and the evil leaders see the errors of their ways, but only after taking a metaphorically hard fall.

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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." From A Tale of Two Cities.

This truly superb novel is blessed with, perhaps, the greatest opening line in literature. It only gets better from there. It's 1775 and the undercurrent of the French Revolution is just starting to emerge. The poor are sick of the aristocracy. Later, after Aristocrat Marquis Evremonde runs over and kills a poor child with his carriage and shows no remorse, things start to get a tad hairy in Paris. Pretty soon the guillotine blade needs sharpening! If you decide to read any Dickens as an introduction to his work, this novel is the place to start.

"Darkness is cheap and Scrooge liked it." From A Christmas Carol.

I can't think of a novella that has had as large an impact on popular culture than A Christmas Carol. Next December, instead of watching this story on a stage, film or cartoon, why not go to the library and read the original? Heck, why wait till December? Any time is a good time for good literature and this is good literature. Since this story needs no introduction, all i can say is "Bah! Humbug!" if you don't give this great read some attention in 2012.

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"Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together" From Great Expectations.

As orphan Pip works as an apprentice in a blacksmithing shop, he has "great expectations" for his life and hopes to become a respected and wealthy "gentleman." As time goes on and Pip's dreams come true, he disses his old friends and moves into higher society. Over time, Pip realizes that maybe the most important things in life have nothing to do with money and that true friendship and love can't be bought. Dickens figured this out back in 1861. (I wonder if Lennon and McCartney had read this novel before writing Can't Buy Me Love?)

I believe that one of the reasons that Charles Dickens is still so popular is, like Twain and a few others, his characters are the same as people I know today. He describes life situations and the people involved with those situations in such livid realism that his characters and settings could be transposed into similar situations today and the stories would still work. He writes as a human about humanity and though the times have changed, people haven't.

So stop by your local library, pick up a Charles Dickens book or two, light up a candle, throw a log on the fire and enjoy a well written story that will make you think, feel and hopefully appreciate the work of a true literary genius.

Submitted by Dan @ Central

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The Ridge by Michael Koryta

Koryta_TheRidge.jpgAnyone who has visited Blade Ridge will tell you it's an unsettling place. Tucked deep in the rural Kentucky mountainside it has a long history of accidental deaths. Wyatt French, an eccentric alcoholic who built and lived in a lighthouse at the edge of Blade Ridge, commits suicide and leaves puzzling instructions for local deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble and recently retired community reporter Roy Darmus to investigate deaths that have occured in the mountains, including his own. Their investigation uncovers a strange connection between the number of deaths and near deaths at Blade Ridge and murders throughout town. Digging further they find their pasts are also tied to the mysteries at Blade Ridge and come to understand why the lighthouse must shine into the dark Blade Ridge woods at all times.

Mystery lovers who haven't read Michael Koryta are missing out on one of the most exciting and original writers of the genre. In addition to his serial crime novels, the Lincoln Perry series, Koryta has several stand alone genre-bending novels that masterfully mix supernatural, horror and crime elements and has earned the praise of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and many others.

Check out Michael Koryta's The Ridge or one of his many other titles at your Milwaukee Public Library.

Submitted by Kristina @MPL Central

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Ace & Tony, Iron Men with No Regrets

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For four decades, Ace Frehley and Tony Iommi have been the reason why millions of teenagers around the world picked up electric guitars. As the riffmasters behind KISS and Black Sabbath respectively, these bona fide Guitar Heroes helped birth the thundering sound of Heavy Metal. Both have recently published memoirs of their wild days and even wilder nights as rock and roll superstars.

In No Regrets Frehley gives readers a glimpse of what it's like to go from being a rebellious kid growing up in the Bronx to playing in front of thousands in arenas all over the world. He describes the beginnings of KISS and the development of the band's now-iconic stage look. Largely though, he gives readers example after example of why the persona of the Spaceman was for him so apt. Combining a daring, outgoing personality with a superhuman consumption of drugs and alcohol, Frehley recounts dozens of misadventures usually beginning with "After consuming several beers (and other substances)..." and ending with "...and somehow, after that, I was still alive."

Tony Iommi's Iron Man also has its share of crazy rock star stories, but is tempered by his more even-keeled and reserved personality. As the only consistent member of Sabbath throughout its long history, Iommi has seen more band mates come and go than Spinal Tap. Iron Man provides an insider's view of what it's like to work or associate with some of rock's most notorious characters, including Gene Simmons, Lemmy, Ronnie James Dio, and of course Ozzy. It's a good, quick read to enjoy in anticipation of the reunion of the original Black Sabbath lineup coming this summer.

So put on Master of Reality or Destroyer, bang your head and play air guitar while reading these instant classics!

Submitted by Brett @ Central

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Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson


Winner of the 2012 Coretta Scott King (Author) award and Honor book for the 2012 Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) award.

My first thought when I finished Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans was that it would win an award. This oversize book is stunningly beautiful with 47 oil paintings richly illustrating the trials and triumphs of African Americans in the United States from Colonial days to the present. The book offers a timeline that starts in 1565 and ends in January 2009. There are twevle chapters written by an unnamed female voice. The feel of the writing is like an elder member telling stories to the young children in the family, stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The narrator takes us through historical events that changed the lives of African-Americans in the United States from slavery, reconstruction, the great migration, to World War II, inventions and Civil Rights. The events are presented in a simple and concise way that assures understanding of the events; truly an inspiring read and an excellent choice to share during African American History month.

Submitted by Gail @ Zablocki

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Ready? Read the Oscars!

The Academy Awards will be presented February 26, 2012 and six of the nine best picture nominations are based on books, which provides a great reading list.


, based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick was nominated for best picture, best director (Martin Scorsese), and best adapted screenplay (John Logan). When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.

Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis, was nominated for best picture, best actor (Brad Pitt), best supporting actor (Jonah Hill), and best adapted screenplay (Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin). Moneyball explains how Billy Beene, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is using a new kind of thinking to build a successful and winning baseball team without spending enormous sums of money.

The Descendants, based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, was nominated for best picture, best director (Alexander Payne), best actor (George Clooney) and best adapted screenplay (Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon and Jim Rash). A descendant of royalty and one of the largest landowners in Hawaii, Matthew King struggles to deal with his out-of-control daughters, ten-year-old Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex, as well as his comatose wife, whom they are about to remove from lifesupport.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, was nominated for best picture and best supporting actor (Max von Sydow). Oskar Schell, the 9-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center attacks, searches the five boroughs of New York City for a lock that fits a key his father left behind.

The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett, was nominated for best picture and best actress (Viola Davis), and a pair of supporting actress nominations (Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer). Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, three women, including an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend and a recently graduated white woman, team up for a clandestine project against a backdrop of the budding civil rights era.

war horse.jpg
War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, was nominated for best picture. Joey the horse recalls his experiences growing up on an English farm, his struggle for survival as a cavalry horse during World War I, and his reunion with his beloved master.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, based on the novel by John Le Carre, was nominated for best actor (Gary Oldman) and best adapted screenplay (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan). British agent George Smiley ferrets out a mole in the Secret Service and begins his epic game of international chess with his Soviet counterpart, an agent named Karla.

My Week With Marilyn, based on the book by Colin Clark, was nominated for best supporting actor (Kenneth Branagh) and best actress (Michelle Williams). Presents the author's diary accounts of the week he, an assistant on the set of the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl," bonded with Marilyn Monroe after she escaped the high-pressure set and toured the English countryside with him.

Albert Nobbs, based on the novella by George Moore, was nominated for best actress (Glenn Close) and best supporting actress (Janet McTeer). While working at a hotel as a waiter, Albert Nobbs must share his bed with an out-of-town laborer who discovers his secret.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, was nominated for best actress (Rooney Mara). Forty years after the disappearance of Harriet Vanger from the secluded island owned by her powerful family, her uncle, convinced that she had been murdered by someone from her own deeply dysfunctional clan, hires journalist Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, an unconventional young hacker, to investigate.

Submitted by Jacki @ Central

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Treachery in Death by J. D. Robb


This is the best yet in this series of futuristic cop tales. When Lt. Eve Dallas' partner, Detective Peabody, accidently overhears two dirty cops talking about an unlawful killing, the hunt begins. Watching Eve Dallas and Peabody work to make a case against a largely corrupt squad of cops is fascinating. Pitting Eve Dallas against the former police commissioner's daughter, Rene Oberman is a delicious matchup. Oberman is as bad as Dallas is good and both have their squads behind them. Lots of action and adrenaline rushes throughout. A truly satisfying story for any fan of police tales, enhanced by a terrific cast of characters, including several great villains along with the regulars in the series. Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Katherine @ Zablocki

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