August 2012 Archives

Zane @ MPL Sept. 12

Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava III is the third installment in Zane's bestselling Eroticanoir.com anthology series. It features short stories from twenty-six masters of the genre who were selected and edited by Zane for the collection.

In Zander's Come See a Man About a Horse, a man planning a wedding with his fiancée, meets the object of his desire from the internet. Zander is Zane's son and a talented writer in his own right. In Swirl by N'Tyse, a cyber porn addict visits a nightclub and finds herself engaged in a ménage à trois. In the final story, Zane presents Mea Culpa, where a woman finds the sexy boyfriend of her best friend completely irresistible as he cleans the kitchen.

Edgy, adventurous and brimming with desire, the stories in Z-Rated are a smorgasbord of lovers, trysts and liaisons. Fast paced plot-lines take the reader on a sexy romp that both tantalizes and satisfies.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., bestselling author Zane will be at Centennial Hall to talk about her latest book, Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava III. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Book sales and signing will follow the program. Sponsored by Boswell Book Company.

Jacki @ Central


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Posters of Paris

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The Posters of Paris exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) will close shortly on September 9th. Three new exhibit-related books have recently entered our collection. The first is Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries, the official exhibition catalog published by MAM. After the exhibit closes, this book will bring back colorful memories of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha and many more artists who put the belle into Belle Époque Paris with their lively posters.

Of all the Montmartre entertainers Lautrec painted, he became friends only with Jane Avril. One of his posters of her appears on the cover of Posters of Paris. They were the joint subject of a 2011 Courtauld Gallery exhibit and book, Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge. Lautrec portrayals of her as a private person little resembled her as the dancer nicknamed La Mélinite after an explosive. In posters, he captured her unusual combination of frenetic dancing with an impassive face that sometimes led critics to describing her public persona as "depraved virginity" and "perverted sanctity."

Jules Chéret's name has faded over the decades, but when he died, The Milwaukee Journal published a seven-column appreciation of the "poster king" in its November 27th, 1932 Sunday Magazine section. Jules Chéret: Artist of the Belle Époque and Pioneer of Poster Art is an English-German exhibition catalog for a retrospective held last year at the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany.

Van Lingle Mungo @ Central


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Bushville Wins! by John Klima

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Since the 2012 Brewers season has turned out be a bit (ahem) disappointing, it's a good time to turn back the clock and remember when Milwaukee baseball reigned. John Klima's Bushville Wins! recounts the magical 1957 season when the Milwaukee Braves brought home the city's only World Series championship.

In it, you will find the names that still make local Baby Boomers smile: Joe Adcock, Johnny Logan, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, and Hammerin' Hank Aaron. You'll also get a taste of what it was like in Milwaukee that summer and fall, when the whole city would put aside everything else whenever the Braves were playing.

Klima's play-by-play descriptions of crucial innings throughout the season and the World Series make for thrilling reading, and the players' personalities shine through on every page. These guys turned Milwaukee from a "Bushville" into a bona fide Major League city. Put down yesterday's Brewers box score and pick up Bushville Wins!

Brett @ Central


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City of Women by David R. Gillham

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City of Women captures the sights, sounds, and stress of war-time Berlin. With the men off fighting for German glory, Berlin has become a city of women. Tensions are high. The RAF runs bombing raids almost nightly. Ration coupons run low. Neighbors watch each other closely for cracks in home-front stoicism.

Sigrid works in a patent office and lives with her difficult mother-in-law. Her husband is fighting the Russians on the Eastern front. The cinema has become her escape, but may also become her downfall. Egon, a handsome and aggressive man, approaches Sigrid during a film, and the two begin a clandestine affair, but he abruptly disappears.
Sigrid returns to the cinema hoping to see Egon again when she is approached by a young woman. Ericha is the caretaker for her neighbor's children. Ericha is distressed and asks Sigrid to say they were watching the film together. Moments later, the police stop the film and question the women. Sigrid protects Ericha, but demands to know what Ericha is hiding.

As Sigrid learns more about this mysterious young woman, she also discovers difficult truths about the German war effort. Under the scrutiny of her mother-in-law, neighbors, and co-workers, Sigrid involves herself in Ericha's schemes, making life-altering decisions that impact everyone around her.

Sigrid's dramatic decisions will make readers wonder, what difference can one woman make?

Louise @ Central


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Old Man's War by John Scalzi

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John Scalzi's Old Man's War is born of the heritage of Robert Heinlein's military science fiction classics. Our protagonist John Perry, a seventy five year old widower, joins the mysterious CDF (Colonial Defense Force) thanks to its reputation of making people young again. Of course, it also means defending the far away space colonies from all sorts of vicious and hostile alien races, a rather daunting proposal for a septuagenarian. Of course, the CDF has this accounted for, as all of their recruits are given brand-new genetically and cybernetically enhanced superhuman bodies, complete with green skin and a personal computer built into the brain. We follow John from his initial days as a recruit, to his acclimation period to his new body and following days at boot camp, and finally out to the actual field of battle itself.

Though much of this brief summary seems like old hat for veteran sci-fi readers, the book itself is fresh and interesting thanks to the tone Scalzi keeps throughout. Humor and self-awareness abound, keeping the book from becoming pretentious. This does not mean the novel is without depth, either, as Scalzi plays in a meaningful way with some big themes, most importantly what it means to be human. A wonderful mix of action, humor, wit and philosophy, Old Man's War is enjoyable to both the sci-fi fan and non-fan alike.

Tim @ Central



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If your book club enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, they'll want to consider Margaret Dilloway's The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns. Simply put, it's about a biology teacher who breeds roses so she won't have to think about her kidney disease.

Gal Garner teaches while juggling the necessary treatments to keep her kidney disease under control. But at home, in her garden, she finds delightful respite with the experiments she does involving Hulthemia roses. She cross pollinates different specimens hoping to create a new and remarkable variety. Ultimately she wants to win Queen of Show in a serious competition and bring the rose to market. But then, unannounced, teenaged Riley, niece and daughter of her estranged sister arrives. And...everything changes.

Jacki @ Central


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Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

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It seems like every few years I'm compelled to re-read this novel. It's like re-watching a favorite movie or visiting a dear old friend. In some ways, this book is a dear old friend. Charles Bukowski is known for his coarse poetry and harsh novels, but I find a sensitive, caring man lurking beneath the repugnant language and disregard for societal norms that are routine throughout his works.

Ham on Rye, published in 1982, is an autobiographical story told through the voice of Bukowski's first person alter-ego character Henry Chinaski. Growing up in Depression era Los Angeles wasn't easy for Henry. He had debilitating acne that left both his body and mind horribly scarred. The acne caused Henry to shun other people, often by spending long days in the L.A. Public Library, where he discovered the exceptional works of D.H. Lawrence and Sherwood Anderson and other writers that would influence his work later in life.

Ham on Rye is a novel about acceptance and conformity, or lack of, in school, on the playground, around girls and perhaps, most importantly, among his own family. We get glimpses of his fondness for drink, of which he became famous for later, but here we get a more sentimental Bukowski who uses brashness and contempt to mask his awkwardness and shame regarding his looks - just like most teens.

Between the backyard peeping and neighborhood boxing matches, we see a Depression era family fatally fractured by a father with a fondness for using a razor strop as a whip and a mother who fails to support her troubled son. We see an alienated Bukowski wallow in false bravado to fit in with his peers and we follow along as Henry Chinaski grows up and learns to "be tough."

This book is tough, but not tough to read. It's tough like a flavorful piece of beef jerky. If you are going to read any Charles Bukowski in your life, I'd give this novel a taste.

Dan @ Central


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Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables is a book of recipes that focuses on fresh produce. Organized not by season but by main ingredient color:

RED: beets, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, pomegranate, radicchio, radish, raspberries, red apples, red bell peppers, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon

ORANGE: apricot, butternut squash, carrots, clementines, kumquats, mangoes, nectarines, papaya, peaches, persimmon, pumpkin, and yams

YELLOW: banana, corn, lemon, pineapple, pomelo, squash blossoms, and yellow onions

GREEN: green apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, cucumber, edamame, fava beans, fennel, green beans, honeydew, kale, kiwi, leeks, lime, peas, spinach, swiss chard, watercress, and zucchini

PURPLE and Blue: blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, figs, plums, purple cabbage, purple grapes, red leaf lettuce, and red onion

WHITE: bosc pears, cauliflower, coconut, endive, garlic, jicama, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and turnip

Ripe features such beautiful photography; it's as much fun to page through for the pictures as for the recipes. In addition to traditional recipes, Ripe also provides refreshing "simple uses" for each featured ingredient at the beginning of each ingredient's section, many of them perfect for summer cooking.

Jessica @ Zablocki


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Hell Above Earth by Stephen Frater

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Hell Above Earth: the Incredible True Story of an American WWII Bomber Commander and the Copilot Ordered to Kill Him by Stephen Frater is an amazing book. It not only tells the tale of Captain Werner Goering, US bomber commander, and Jack Rencher, the B-17 instructor who became his co-pilot with orders to kill Goering if the plane went down over Germany, but also is an incredible history of the air war over Europe in WWII. Vividly drawn are the horrendous conditions that pilots and crews of the B-17's dealt with on a daily basis. In one day, 55 bombers were lost to German fighters, with 750 men gone within 48 hours. An unforgettable World War II history book.

Kathy @ Zablocki


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The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner

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It is difficult to know what to expect from a book entitled The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. The book is a strange and divergent tale, with constant and lengthy digressions that seem to simultaneously distract from what plot there is while being the true narrative of the novel. Eschewing traditional story structure and adapting a strange, self-referential style, we are taken on a journey where the formatting of the text on the page is often more significant than the words. While ostensibly the book is the story of Ike Karton, an unemployed butcher who "always keeps it simple and sexy", in reality the book is about the story The Sugar Frosted Nutsack itself in a display of bizarre, metafictional recursion. Most of the book is dedicated to the concept of The Sugar Frosted Nutsack as a story, being told and retold by drug-addled blind bards to crowds of thousands over the course of many hours, and not to the narrative of Ike Karton and his life.

The author finds his humor in absurdity and indelicacy, passages drenched in sexual and vulgar prose without any seeming sanity. The book comes populated with its own pantheon of bizarre and fickle modern gods; some even actively out to sabotage the very text of the book. Leyner plays with the concept of the canonicity of stories, their mutability and the power of interpretation and repetition. As an exercise in almost Dada-esque criticism of narrative, the book is intellectually stimulating and challenging. Readers should be forewarned, however, that this is not a typical novel in any shape or form.

Tim @ Central



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The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie And The 1970s by Peter Doggett

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The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie And The 1970s presents a song-by-song chronicle of David Bowie's most influential decade, detailing the musical, lyrical, and social impact of this singer, and exploring the development of an artist who profoundly affected pop music and the very concept of stardom.

To check out David Bowie CD's available from the library, click here.

City of Milwaukee patrons can also download from a selection of David Bowie music through Freegal. Go to www.mpl.org and then click on this logo in the top right corner: navigation_freegal.gif

Valerie @ MPL Central


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Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

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Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-volume Scott Pilgrim series follows a familiar trope of modern fiction, that of the man-child growing up, maturing, and taking the first steps of adulthood. Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old, lives in Toronto, and he's actually quite unlikable. Perpetually between jobs, living off the generosity of his much more responsible and cooler roommate Wallace, Scott Pilgrim's life mainly consists of playing bass for scrappy rock band Sex Bob-Omb and hanging out with his 17 year old girlfriend, Knives Chau. This precious little life of his is thrown into chaos however when he literally encounters the woman of his dreams, an American package delivery girl with Technicolor hair named Ramona Flowers. In order to date Ramona, Scott must first defeat an entire league of Ramona's seven evil exes. These battles not only force Scott to fight to survive, but they force him to confront himself and his own behavior in unexpected and meaningful ways.

The key to the charm of O'Malley's series comes from the particular blend of pop culture he employs to create his world. Not content with merely referencing the video games that the author grew up on, he instead incorporates the plot devices and rules of videogames into this world; People burst into coins upon defeat, the hero can earn 'extra lives', and superhuman powers exist (especially if you're Vegan). These elements combine with an indie rock sensibility, manga infused art style, and a liberal dose of irreverence to create a potent and page-turning series. Keen readers might also recognize the series from the 2010 motion picture adaptation.

Tim @ Central



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Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

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Dunthorne's novel, Submarine, told from the point of view of 14-year old Oliver Tate, exuberantly details his love life, petty cruelties, and parents' marital problems, along with his insatiable love of words. It's funny throughout, and Oliver is smart and clever and aware while being also frequently cruel, clueless, and self-absorbed. It isn't an entirely pleasant story, with several dark scenes, and an ending that doesn't wrap everything up neatly. Dunthorne is a well-known poet in the United Kingdom, and his love of language shines through.

Bruce @ Central


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Could baseball prevent conflict between Japan and the United States? Connie Mack believed so. Shortly after leading a contingent of Major League players on a tour of Japan and the Pacific Rim in 1934, the legendary A's manager proudly stated that "[t]here will be no war between the United States and Japan." Though we all know what happened next, it's hard to fault Mack for believing so after his experiences there. In Banzai Babe Ruth, Robert K. Fitts gives an absorbing account of that legendary tour.

This postseason tour of Asia, though not the first by American ballplayers, was significant for the big names included--Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer, Earl Averill, Lefty Gomez, Lou Gehrig and, the biggest highlight of all, the Babe himself. These players were greeted as heroes throughout Japan, wined and dined by dignitaries and selling out ballgame after ballgame. At the same time, however, an undercurrent of resentment and jingoism stirred on the fringes of the Japanese population. This nascent rage would outpace any goodwill towards Americans during that time period, culminating in the war we are all too familiar with. This is a definite must-read for any baseball or Asian history fan.

Brett @ Central


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Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

tellthewolvesimhome.JPG June Elbus' uncle Finn is dying. It's 1987 and the person who knows her best in the world, her godfather and confidante, is wasting away. AIDS is a new and wildly misunderstood disease and fourteen year old June is faced with the heartbreaking task of saying good-bye to Finn. Finn of the piercing blue eyes and delicate hands; Finn who knows her through and through and whose parting gift is a portrait of June and her sister Greta, a masterpiece that has the art world clamoring.

After her uncle's death June begins to discover all of the hidden parts of Finn's life and meets for the first time Toby, the man June's mother refuses to speak of. How do you move on from a loved one's death? What is there to move on to? What do you do when you feel a part of you is missing? Tell the Wolves is moving and poignant; it reminds us of the power of compassion and the beauty of loving outside yourself.

Kristina @ MPL Central

The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank

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The Wonder Spot is a story of a woman and her journey to find her place and meaning in the world. Specifically it is the story of Sophie Applebaum, a Jewish girl from Pennsylvania, and her trials and triumphs that mark her life as she makes that metaphysical journey. We see her life through episodes, starting when she is in the seventh grade and a rebellious young girl preparing for her bat mitzvah, to her life in college with her improbably beautiful and captivating roommate, and beyond. Her life is like many others, there are bad decisions, bad relationships, moments of bliss and moments of true tragedy. The most dramatic moments happen in between episodes, Melissa Bank choosing to focus instead on the fallout and growth of Sophie as each event shapes her slowly into the self-accepting adult she is at the book's conclusion.

While slow to start, The Wonder Spot doesn't so much pick up the pace but instead the reader slowly becomes more involved and attached to Sophie, making the book compelling in a different manner. Bank also gives Sophie just enough wit and sarcasm to help add the right amount of levity to make the tone not overly self-serious. Anyone who has struggled with that all important question of finding self-importance in the overwhelming adult world will find comforting familiarity in Sophie's struggles and eventual success.

Tim @ Central

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Sophie Applebaum is the middle child in an average, barely-practicing Jewish family. When the story begins she's about 13 and must go to Hebrew school to have bat mitzvah, like her cousin Rebecca. Each chapter portrays a new stage in Sophie's life through her 30's. We are introduced to her friends and lovers, and like many young women, she isn't sure what she wants 'when she grows up,' so we watch her bumble through jobs, boyfriends, etc.

The wit that is inherent in Banks' writing is what made this book so easy to read. I zipped through in less than two days and lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud. Check catalog for availability. You may also enjoy The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank.

Jacki @ Central (2/25/2009)


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The Games by Ted Kosmatka

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In a not too distant future, the United States is the reigning champion of the Olympic Gladiator competition, an international event featuring genetically engineered creatures. In its desire to remain superior to other countries in genetic research, the government creates a gladiator that assures a US victory. However, their monstrosity is such an abomination that it might ensure the end of civilization as well. Check catalog for availability.

Dave @ Zablocki


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Unnatural Acts by Stuart Woods

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Elaine's restaurant--favorite hang-out of Stone and friends--has closed and Stone plays a monor part in Unnatural Acts which deals primarily with the development of Herbie Fisher as a main player. Action is almost non-stop as Herbie deals with the sociopathic son of a very wealthy client of Woodman and Weld. Meanwhile, Stone's friend, Lt. Dino Bacchetti, is scoring with a beautiful serial killer instead of arresting her. A truly unnatural act does provide the closing element in this tale of money, drugs, sex and life in the big city among the very wealthy.

Kathy @ Zablocki


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Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer

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Heroes for My Daughter pays tribute to fifty-five inspirational heroes throughout history, including Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Theodore Roosevelt, and the passengers of United Flight 93. These individuals have changed the world in a positive way by their actions and behavior. No one is born a hero. The people mentioned in this title show that anything is possible with hard work and determination. Each person's story explains his accomplishments, highlights his life and shares interesting quotes form the individual.

Gail @ Zablocki


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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

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The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman's debut novel, explores the disastrous results of a lighthouse keeper and his wife as they pass off a found baby as their own. Tom Sherbourne wants to forget his duties during the Great War and returns to his native Australia, taking a post as lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock. He falls in love with Isabel who is anxious for children, but keeps miscarrying. Then a boat with a baby girl and a dead man come ashore...They struggle with wanting to do the right thing and Isabel's desire for a child.

Jacki @ Central


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In Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian, Bonekemper argues that General Grant won the Civil War through superior generalship rather than through the Union's superior numbers and resources. HIs book compares and contrasts the strategies of the two generals and concludes that Grant fought the war on the national level while Lee was focused on the Virginian Theater of the war to the overall detriment of the Confederate war strategy. Book includes 18 maps.

Laura @ Central


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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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John Green's latest novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is an eloquent and unflinching exploration of the teenage experience. It is the story of Hazel Lancaster, sixteen years old and only alive thanks to a miracle drug that keeps her thyroid cancer in check. Diagnosed with depression, she is thrown into a support group for similarly afflicted young people. This is where she meets cancer-survivor Augustus Waters and the two quickly become friends, and then fall into that wonderful bittersweet world of teenage love. Their adventures take them along a rollercoaster of emotion, from trips to Amsterdam to meet Hazel's favorite author, to mock funerals, to real and unavoidable tragedy. All the while Green keeps the tone even, allowing Hazel's voice to set the pace and mood, sarcasm and wit and a sense of hope clashing with a bitter knowledge of the reality of teenage mortality.

Green has written a book that takes the reader from the heights of bliss that comes with teenage infatuation, to the harshest sadness that accompanies the too real tragedy that is teenage cancer. It is a book about life and love in the face of debilitating disease and seeming impending death, learning the lesson that while living can come with pain it also brings great joy and wonder. While marketed as a book for teens, this is a book that adults can easily and readily enjoy. Just make sure to have some tissues or a handkerchief handy when you reach the last act of the novel.

Tim @ Central


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The Cult of Lego by John Baichtal

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Nearly all of us have played with a pile of Legos at some point in our childhoods (or adulthoods). The Cult of Lego by John Baichtal is packed with beautiful color photos of amazing Lego creations, surprising Lego facts (an average of 62 Legos exist per person on Earth!), and fascinating information about Lego's creators and fans from around the world. It just might inspire you to dust off your old Legos and create!

Jessica @ Zablocki


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My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall

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Garry Marshall produced many television shows and movies that have defined several generations, especially in Milwaukee with the shows Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. In My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir, Marshall shares his experiences of life behind the scenes; the good, the bad, the sad and the funny. Along the way, he also shares his personal trials and accomplishments.

Dave @ Zablocki


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Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb

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Celebrity in Death is another winner by J. D. Robb. During a dinner celebrating the movie adaptation of a book about one of Lieutenant Eve Dallas' cases -- with Eve, Roarke and Peabody in attendance -- the actress playing Peabody is found dead. The victim, a very unlikeable woman whom everyone involved with the production seems to hate, gives Lt. Dallas a plethora of suspects. Murder, sex and blackmail provide grist for this cleverly plotted tale full of intriguing twists and turns. Terrific addition to this futuristic series.

Kathy @ Zablocki


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