December 2012 Archives

Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

womanwhite.jpegMany people are familiar with Charles Dickens but few have heard of his friend and contemporary Wilkie Collins. Wilkie Collins was the master of mystery and is credited with writing one of the first detective novels, The Woman in White. This mystery, told in the epistolary format, revolves around Walter Hartright, a young art teacher who is hired to teach the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half-sister Marian Halcombe. Upon heading to his new position, Hartright meets a mysterious woman in white who he later learns has escaped from an asylum. As the novel progresses, Hartright and Marian uncover a sinister plot by Laura's fiancé Sir Percival Glyde to steal her money. Little do they know that the woman in white holds the key to outsmarting Glyde and saving Laura from a similar fate. This book is a must read for fans of gothic fiction and mystery.

Maria @ Central

For more information about Wilkie Collins, check out this previous entry by Dan @ Central!

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Dog Company by Patrick K O'Donnell

dog company.jpeg

If you enjoyed Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, then this new book on D Day, Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc by Patrick K. O'Donnell will be right up your alley. Well researched and written, the story of a company of US Army Rangers and their near impossible mission is a tale of honor, gallantry, persistence and death.

D Company of the U.S. Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion had been assigned to scale 90 foot cliffs and destroy heavy German artillery that had been placed overlooking the landing beaches. Facing a relentless German defense and overcoming fantastic odds, the men of Dog Company defeated the Germans repeatedly on their trek across Europe.

Stories of bravery during war are nothing new, but the Rangers of Dog Company truly accomplished one of the great military feats in American history.

Dan @ Central

I Spent HOW MUCH?!?!?

Now Christmas is over, the gifts are unwrapped, the tree is down and the decorations are packed away until next year. There's nothing left but the bills. BILLS?!? Yes, those pesky credit card bills for Christmas gifts and travel which are now waiting to be paid. It's no fun to start the new year knee-deep in debt! So how can you avoid this problem next Christmas season? Your Milwaukee Public Library has some great new books on hand to help you organize your finances!


The Debt Free Spending Plan by Jo Anneh Nagler offers readers a simple, easy-to-understand plan for eliminating personal debt and living by a strict budget. The book contains clever ideas to keep track of your spending and ways to keep those nasty creditors at bay. Don't be mistaken, though--it won't be easy to get out of debt, but Nagler's common-sense suggestions will work if rigorously applied.


Marty Martin's The Inner World of Money takes a more psychological look at our spending behaviors and financial decision-making skills. More than just a self-help book, Martin backs his practical advice up with recent findings from scientific studies in the areas of economics, finance and psychology. This book will tell you not only what you are doing to sabotage your personal finances, but WHY you do so as well.


Finally, once you've got your own financial situation in check, how can you teach positive spending and saving habits to your children? Steve and Annette Economides, the Mom and Dad of America's Cheapest Family, will show you how! In The MoneySmart Family System, the Economides will help you prepare your kids at every step of the way to be thrifty and responsible. Live cheap and live life to the fullest!

Most importantly of all--save money by taking advantage of the great FREE resources available to you at the Milwaukee Public Library!

Brett @ Central

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The Invisibles by Hugh Sheehy

invisiblescover.jpgWhen I first saw Hugh Sheehy's The Invisibles on the new book shelf, I thought, "oh, I don't really like short stories." The first sentence of the first story hooked me, though, and by the fourth page of Meat and Mouth, my heart was in my throat and goose bumps were on my arms.

I guess I do like short stories, at least when they are as gripping and evocative as the ones in this collection. Ranging from scary to sad, and mysterious to melancholy, they are filled with situations that, as far out or as strange as they appear on the surface, strike universal chords. Some of the most vivid and haunting characters are ones that we the readers do not even meet. It's hard to get these tales out of my head, and I'm finding myself encouraging friends and family to read them so we can please discuss.

Anna W @ Central

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svconficover.jpgMillions of females across the world are familiar with the Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth. Author Francine Pascal has written (or at least attached her name to) numerous stories featuring the twins at a variety of ages from childhood to adulthood. I was a huge fan of the junior high series and read a good number of the high school books as well, so I was happy to get on the juggernaut one more time.

In Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, Pascal has decided to revisit the twins as adults, ten years after high school. The whole cast is there from Jessica and Elizabeth to Todd, Bruce and Lila. This story centers around Todd and Elizabeth's long term relationship and what happens when Jessica betrays Elizabeth for the last time.

The beauty of the books is that even if you are like me and don't quite remember all the characters it is all good. Lots of back story is given, along with reminders of who people are. As long as you remember that Elizabeth is the good twin and Jessica is the "bad" twin you are as golden as their hair.

The plot, like all Sweet Valley books in any incarnation, is campy, dramatic and over-the-top. But, it is also a quick, enjoyable read that evens ends with a very detailed catch of all your favorite characters and then some. This is suburban fiction at its best.

Meredith @ Central

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The Islanders by Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest's The Islanders fashions itself as a guide to the islands in the 'Dream Archipelago', a vast array of tropical and subtropical nations in a fictional world quite similar to our own. What unfolds is a series of interconnected short tales of various locales, stories of lost romance, ghosts, scientific expeditions gone awry, and more. Masterfully crafted, the book not only keeps you turning the pages eager to read what's next, but also has you flipping back as events and characters recur in the various entries, revealing more of their history and unveiling some of the mystery of previous tales.

The Islanders is easily one of the most engaging and challenging books of 2012. Not a book for those who require a traditional plot structure, or those who hate it when some mysteries are left unanswered; those who do make the trek through the Dream Archipelago will be rewarded for their efforts with a deeply enriching reading experience.

Tim @ Central

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Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer


What a fun story! I've enjoyed reading other books by Jennifer Crusie and thought I'd give this one a go. In Agnes and the Hitman co-author Bob Mayer gives Crusie's writing style a different flavor and lots of action. Obviously one of the main players is Agnes Crandall - cook extraordinaire, columnist, dog owner, and primary target of one murder attempt after another. Then there's Shane Doyle - Agnus's personal 24/7 bodyguard, hitman, love interest, and possibly a mobster.

After that there are too many colorful and unique people to write about, each one playing an integral role in the outcome of the story. The story begins with Agnus having only a few days to put on a wedding for her best friend's daughter. Simple? With the grandmother of the bride sabotaging absolutely everything, the mob dueling it out here, there, and everywhere, a missing fortune of 5 million dollars, dead bodies popping up everywhere, and two honking pink flamingos we see how crazy difficult it can be to pull together a successful event. Who will end up literally swimming with the fishes? And who will still be standing to eat the wedding cake after it's all over?

Valerie @ MPL Central

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Sugar, Sugar: Cookie Cookbooks

If you have yet to start your baking, need some gift ideas, or just want to look at some gorgeous books here are a few from our vast and varied baking collection.


Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Cookies is classic and full of abundant choices; a name you can depend on for tested, homey treats.


Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations & Everyday by Bake at 350 blogger Bridget Edwards brings new ideas and step-by-step pictures. Amp up your sugar cookies with very doable designs.

It is not too late to make something. Sweet Christmas: Homemade Peppermints, Sugar Cake, Chocolate-almond Toffee, Eggnog fudge, and Other Sweet Treats and Decorations by Sharon Bowers will inspire and motivate you to get in the kitchen. The title says a lot. The photographs say even more.

giftskitchencover.jpgIt is not too late to make a gift for the person who has everything, the hostess, teacher, friend, boss or your next door neighbor. You'll find terrific packaging ideas, sweet and savory offerings and easy directions in Gifts From the Kitchen by Annie Rigg. Chocolate-covered Candied Almonds were simple to make and provided everything one could want in a candy: crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet.

vegancookiecover.jpgVegan Cookie Connoisseur by local author and blogger Kelly Peloza gives us 140 recipes for classic cookies adapted for vegans or those wanting a dairy-free, egg-free treat. Egg replacers are not used here so you probably have all your ingredients in your kitchen.

Plus, Milwaukee Public Library's Historic Recipe File has over 400 cookie recipes to browse. You may find your childhood favorite or discover a new creation. You can search by ingredient (nuts), ethnicity (Bombki-Polish), and lots more. Have you been craving Aunt Margaret's Christmas Cookies or Chuck's Favorite Almond Spritz Cookies? Done.

An annual holiday tradition since 1932, WE Energies' Cookie Book is anticipated by many Wisconsinites. MPL has many in our collection. Check our catalog for availability. If your sister took your mom's well-worn copy, anger not. Relive your childhood by visiting WE Energies' cookie book archive which has the recipes going back to 1932. Fun!

Rebecca D @ Central

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Give Nonfiction Books

"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books." -- J. K. Rowling

For more ideas, see our great gift giving board on Pinterest: Give Books! 2012.


Behind the Beautiful Forevers is an eye-opening book about life in one Mumbai slum written from the point of view of the people who live and work in it. Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo lived a great deal of the years 2007 to early 2011 in Mumbai interviewing and recording the lives and events of the Annawadi settlement in the shadow of the Mumbai airport. Her book is a marvel of non-fiction writing, reading almost like a novel.


Political satirist, comedian and host of The Colbert Report Stephen Colbert puts his signature humorous spin on healthcare, the economy and food, in his new book America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't. He even goes so far as to promise that this book will single-handedly fix an America that is broken and has lost its way.


A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by Dwyane Wade is a heartfelt and deeply personal story about parenthood. The NBA superstar who helped lead the Miami Heat to its first NBA Championship shares with readers his greatest off-the-court triumph: earning sole custody of his two sons.

Jacki @ Central

Give Fiction Books

"Do give books for the holidays. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal." Lenore Hershey

For more ideas, take a look at our great gift giving board on Pinterest: Give Books! 2012.

gonegirl.jpeg Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick's wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife?

If you want to hop decades and continents, Beautiful Ruins is the ticket. The story opens in 1962 as a gorgeous movie starlet, Dee Moray, lands on the Italian coast. Dee is pregnant with Richard Burton's baby and has to be re-appropriated from the film set of Cleopatra to avoid scandal and the scrutiny of the public eye. A besotted young man, Pasquale, runs the small hotel where she's hidden and he falls in love with her...looking her up in Hollywood years later.

cutting season.jpeg

The Cutting Season is set in contemporary Louisiana on the grounds of Belle Vie, a lush antebellum plantation owned by the Clancy family. Caren Gray and her family have worked for the Clancy's for generations; today she manages the entire staff, catering weddings and staging shows about plantation life in the old days. When a migrant worker's body is discovered on the property the investigation that ensues reveals just how entwined the two families' histories are.

Jacki @ Central

Give Children's Books

Looking for last minute holiday gift ideas? Books feed children's minds. The gift of a good book will encourage children to read, and parents to read with them and/or ask them about their books. Many children rarely receive books as gifts, so even gently read books are special treats. Here is a quick sampling of titles to consider. For more ideas, take a look at our great gift giving boards on Pinterest: Great Books = Great Gifts: Children & Teens and Give Books! 2012 which includes adult titles as well.


Peekaboo Baby by Sebastien Braun is a great book for ages infant to two. The reader is invited to lift the flaps to reveal babies engaged in a variety of familiar activities.


Mice written by Rose Fyleman and illustrated by Lois Ehlert has simple, rhyming text that celebrates what's nice about mice and will be enjoyed by ages 3 - 5.


For ages 5 - 8 Let's Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems is a good bet. Elephant Gerald and Piggie want to go for a drive, but as Gerald thinks of one thing after another that they will have to take along, they come to realize that they lack the most important thing of all.


McQuarrie Middle School's students miss Origami Yoda when Dwight leaves for Tippett Academy, but he sends Sara a paper Fortune Wookiee that seems to give advice just as good as Yoda's--even if, in the hands of girls, it seems preoccupied with romance. The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger is great fun for ages 9 - 14.

Jacki @ Central

12/21/12 is almost upon us! For those fearing doom and destruction as the Mayan calendar comes to an abrupt end, here are three books that can help you prepare for the end of the world as we know it.

roughsurvive.jpgThe Rough Guide to Surviving the End of the World by Paul Parsons is a light-hearted but scientifically thorough look at the threats to human existence. It covers many plausible apocalyptic scenarios, including out-of-control technology, massive natural disasters, overpopulation, and threats from space, among others. This is the ultimate guide to have on hand when the unthinkable happens.

How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley Rawles provides the ultimate guide to total preparedness and self-reliance. Written by one of the best-known survival experts, this work contains everything people need to know in order to prepare and protect themselves.


Modern Survival : How to Cope When Everything Falls Apart by former British Special Air Service member Barry Davies outlines a guide for surviving modern catastrophes. Documenting recommended steps for handling such examples as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and government shutdowns, this guide is a must if you fear the worst.

For those who don't have any fear for the impending immolation of civilization, here are a few books of exciting tales of post-apocalyptic fiction for your enjoyment.


A hefty tome of collected short stories from genre fiction juggernauts such as George R.R. Martin, Orson Scott Card, Octavia E. Butler, and Stephen King, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse explores the scientific, psychological, and philosophical questions of what it means to remain human in the wake of Armageddon.


Then for those looking for a classic tale of civilization's end, why not try John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids? When a freak cosmic event renders most of the Earth's population blind, Bill Masen is one of the lucky few to retain his sight. The London he walks is crammed with groups of men and women needing help, some ready to prey on those who can still see. To make matters worse, man-eating plants known as triffids are roaming wild, hunting the blind and sighted alike. You can also check out a previous review by Dan @ Central.

Of course, the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genres don't end there, in case you're hungry for more stories of the struggle for survival in desolate landscapes. City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is a gem of the genre and especially suited for younger readers (though older readers will enjoy it too!) Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a harsh but immensely engaging tale of a boy and his father in a world gone wrong. Finally, for those still left in the dust of the popular fiction bandwagon, now is as good of a time as any to read Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, a story for those who like their Running Man with a side order of Battle Royale.

Tim @ Central

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Makeup to Breakup by Peter Criss


The 'Catman' drummer is now the third member of KISS to publish a memoir, following Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley. If you were harboring any hopes that the original four members might ever play together again, consider them dashed now. Makeup to Breakup: My Life in and Out of Kiss is a scathing autobiography that unleashes an incredible amount of dirt on the iconic band--the affairs, the drugs, the chicanery, and the betrayals. No score goes unsettled here. Insider stories from the fascinating to the revolting are on display in ways Gene's and Ace's books barely touched upon. Criss also talks about his life before, after, and after (again) the mid '90s reunion in sometimes cringing detail. If you're a KISS fan, though, you'll lap it up like a cat at a dish of milk. This is one crazy rock-and-roll ride. Paul Stanley, you're next.

Brett @ Central

2012 Urban Fiction


Animal by K'wan
Given their author's unmatched ear for street talk and talent for bringing gritty characters to life, K'wan's "Hood Rat" stories make up one of the best series in urban fiction. His latest plot will draw readers into an intricate web of deceit. (The Word on Street Lit, 10/23/12)


An Angry-Ass Black Woman by Karen E. Quinones Miller
Miller expounds on racism, crime, drug use, poverty, spousal abuse, and pedophiles preying on young black girls--exactly what street lit is all about. (The Word on Street Lit, 7/18/12)


Natural Born Liar: The Misadventures of Mink LaRue by Noire
Noire knows all about street slang, scams, strip clubs,and wild sex bouts, but she also has created wonderfully realistic characters who are bold, fierce, and wide open. (The Word on Street Lit, 5/18/12)


Low Down and Dirty by Vickie M Stringer
Raven Gomez is the perfect street lit antiheroine: a lying, thieving, backstabbing, cold-blooded, selfish, heartless, scandalous bitch. Her adventures make a terrific read. (The Word on Street Lit, 3/13/12)


A Gangster and a Gentleman by Kiki Swinson & De'nesha Diamond
Two major urban fiction talents contribute novellas loaded with street-lit cred and plenty of furious action that will have readers pumping their fists and demanding more. (The Word on Street Lit, 8/13/12)

Jacki @ Central

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The Distance Between Us: A Memoir by Reyna Grande


Reyna Grande is an author of great talent and insight. With The Distance Between Us she has crafted a beautiful and poignant memoir of her early years which is both heartfelt and provides a realistic look at the immigration issues that face the United States and Mexico.

The author began her life in Mexico and lived there until she was 9 years old, first living with both parents and then with her mother at times and grandmothers at other times. When she was 2 her father entered the United States to earn money to build a brick house for his family in Mexico, a dream that never came to fruition for the family for many reasons. When she was 10 she entered the United States as an undocumented person and lived with her alcoholic father, stepmother and her siblings until the time she was accepted to community college and later to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Ms. Grande is candid about the many challenges and abuse that marked her early years. She dealt with abandonment, poverty, discrimination, language barriers and other issues but also had the loving support of her siblings and a few other people to help her through these trials. The reader sees both Mexico and the United States through her eyes with both their positive aspects and their problems. She writes of these in a self-aware and beautiful manner that keeps the reader turning the pages. She has become a successful author and I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Patricia @ Central

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Get Published

Now that you have completed your writing project use Milwaukee Public Library's resources to improve your chances of selling your work! These books offer guidance on different aspects of the publishing industry; topics range from how to find a literary agent to using social media to market your work.


The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers and Set Up Your Novel for Success by Jeff Gerke

Make sure that your writing project is polished and ready to submit. Gerke, an editor and author of fiction and non-fiction helps writers craft proposals and identify common mistakes that cause editors to pass on proposals. This helpful guide walks you through the tasks your first 50 pages must accomplish in order to avoid leaving readers disoriented, frustrated, or bored. Don't let your reader put your book down!


Writer's Market
Edited by Robert Lee Brewer, the Writer's Market is the standard guide for writers. Published since 1921, the annual Writer's Market serves as a major information resource for freelancers seeking to publish books and in magazines, enter literary contests, find an agent, or locate other publishing opportunities. It contains thousands of up-to-date entries, along with submission information, editorial requirements, interviews with successful writers, phone and fax numbers, email addresses and guidance on how much to charge for freelancing.


Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writers Guide to Marketing and Publicity by Rob Eagar
Marketing expert Rob Eagar provides pointers on promoting your work including chapters on branding, effective promotion via social media, and building a fan base. Ignite your confidence to sell more books and make more money as an author. Whether you're a first-timer or an old-hand, self-published or traditionally published, a novelist or non-fiction writer, this is the only marketing guide you'll ever need.

Laura @ Central

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*New at MPL* European History Books


Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum

This follow-up to the author's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag discusses the creation of the Communist regimes that took hold in Eastern Europe at the end of World War II and describes what daily life was like in these countries.


Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden

An all-encompassing history of Venice. It draws on rare archival material and newly translated documents to chronicle the city's rise from a humble lagoon refuge, to its apex as a maritime empire and Renaissance epicenter, to its rebirth as a modern tourist hub.


The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People by John Kelly

Describes the Great Irish Potato Famine that began in 1845 and discusses how the combined forces of bacterial infection, political greed, and religious intolerance started a disaster that killed twice as many people as died during the American Civil War.

Jennifer H @ Central

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Rough Weather by Robert B. Parker


The thirty-sixth of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series is Rough Weather. Parker had forty titles published in the series before he passed away in 2010 and the series continues, now written by Ace Atkins.

I haven't read any of the other novels and was curious if I'd be able to follow along without knowing the history of the characters and previous events. I think I did OK, although I am a bit confused about Spenser's relationships with some of his contacts and associates. Rough Weather starts with private detective Spenser (his first name is never revealed) at a wedding ceremony on a private island that ends with the groom, priest, and several others dead; and the bride kidnapped. It is not yet clear why the mother of the bride invited Spenser to the wedding, oh, but did I mention the hurricane? Now the investigation begins -- Spenser questions lawyers, police, other detectives, ex-husbands, body guards, professors, old associates and more.

Valerie @ MPL Central

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Travel guidebooks can be practical tools to help tourists find their way, discover great deals, secure lodging, and select great meals. Some guidebooks really raise the bar with extraordinary suggestions. Great Adventures: Experience the World at its Breathtaking Best elevates far beyond a basic guidebook and might be the ultimate travel fantasy book. Combining a list of astonishing, once-in-a-lifetime trips with breathtaking images, all readers will be tempted to begin planning their next adventure.

Readers will browse 75 destinations organized by type of activity: hiking, cycling, diving, animal-watching, and kayaking, to name a few. Excursions vary in intensity, so beginner and advanced explorers can find skill-appropriate trips.

Each destination includes multiple photographs, a map, ideal time to visit, and essential experiences. Armchair travelers will love the highly descriptive travel narratives and recommendations for fiction and non-fiction books, guidebooks, and films related to these locales. The brilliant, oversize color photographs make this a beautiful book to thumb through and ideal for gift-giving.

No matter which spectacular adventure inspires you, be assured that your local librarian will help you find additional travel guidebooks. Start writing your bucket list now!

Louise @ Central

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Japanese Street Fashion

style2.jpgHarajuku is known throughout the world as a place to find cutting edge street fashion. Located in a neighborhood of Tokyo that includes a large shopping district, Harajuku is a mecca for young people looking to express their creative style on the streets. There are a variety of style types found in Harajuku: Lolita, Gothic, Gyaru, Visual Kei, to name a few. Style deficit disorder : Harajuku street fashion, Tokyo presents over 200 photographs of Harajuku's street scene as well as insightful essays from fashion icons.


Kicks Japan examines the sneaker culture in Japan. Profiling many of the legendary designers of Japan's sneaker scene, the book also includes a look at other figures, such as DJ Sarasa and Shin Tanaka that have contributed to the prominence of sneaker culture in Japan.

Shoichi Aoki has been documenting Tokyo street fashion since the mid-1990s. He is the creator the street fashion magazine FRUiTS, now a cult fanzine. The book FRUITS is a collection of photographs from the magazines 10+ year run, documenting the changing face of fashion in Japan.

Click here for even more books on Japanese fashion!

Kristina @ Central

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Red Rain by R.L. Stine

redraincover.jpgR. L. Stine was one of my favorite authors when I was younger. He wrote two popular series, the Fear Street series and the Goosebumps books. I admit I never cared for the Goosebumps books, but I was still excited to read this even though I knew he was encouraged to write an adult book by his former Goosebumps fans.

Red Rain is Stine's attempt at an adult horror story. It is very similar to the Goosebumps books as it has a lot of paranormal aspects to it and centers on preteens. Red Rain is basically a Goosebumps book with some sex and death.

The novel is about a travel writer who is caught in an island hurricane off the South Carolina coast. After witnessing the death and the destruction on the island she decides to adopt twin boys who have lost their parents and home.

Sound far-fetched? It is, but Stine acknowledges that by having the other characters dubious of this decision as well. The husband questions the adoption and when odd things start happening he can't help wondering how the twins are involved. The book starts out creepy enough, especially in the macabre details of the hurricanes victims, but slowly loses steam. There are two "surprises" to the ending, one which got me, but as a former Stine reader should not have.

Overall, it was worth it to reread a former favorite, but I would not encourage him to write another until his plots grow with his readers.

Meredith @ Central

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Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson


Jenny Lawson is just different. Your first impression after reading a couple of pages in her book will be "Wow. What a weirdo." The physical pain you'll experience from constant laughter, though, will be worth it. Lawson, the author of the blog The Blogess, is adept at causing brain hurt with her oddball observations and retellings of fights with her (should be sainted) husband Victor. Let's Pretend This Never Happened collects some of her best posts and also serves as an autobiography, useful for those of us who wonder how in the world she ended up like that. A great read for those who enjoy the humor of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, as well as for those who collect bizarre taxidermy.

Brett @ Central

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The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling


The Casual Vacancy opens with the death of a much-loved figure: parish councilman, father and friend, Barry Fairbrother. He leaves behind a village at odds and consumed by a desire to fill the vacancy with someone who will either support or oppose the rezoning of the Fields (a housing project).

Along the way, the various characters -- a second-string schoolmaster, Colin, and his adoptive teenage son Fats; Miles, caught between his connection to Barry (former business partner) and Howard (blood relation); and Kay, a social worker who shuttles between the two camps, conveying news in both directions -- form and re-form in our eyes. Slow to begin, but really quite compelling, the story makes you think about the people of small communities, especially those who fall through the cracks.

Jacki @ Central

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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