February 2013 Archives

Tippecanoe Reads


The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter

How would Abraham Lincoln's second term as president have played out if he hadn't been assassinated at Ford's Theater in April, 1865? Carter presents what might have happened in this alternate history, with Radical Republicans leading an impeachment attempt for Lincoln's supposed unconstitutional abuse of power. This is more than a novel of political intrigue, as the impeachment proceedings are simply the visible side of a deeper conspiracy. This is a riveting historical thriller set in an America that has changed much in the aftermath of civil war, emancipation, and reconstruction.

Christopher @ Tippecanoe

Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday With Us!

Our Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss celebration takes place on Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Central Library. For more information on Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and celebrations happening at neighborhood libraries, click here.


Get ready for the event by reading and sharing these favorite Dr. Seuss titles:

cat in the hat.jpg

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Two children sitting at home on a rainy day are visited by the Cat in the Hat who shows them some tricks and games.

Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
A city of Whos on a speck of dust are threatened with destruction until the smallest Who of all helps convince Horton's friends that Whos really exist.


The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Each time Bartholomew Cubbins attempts to obey the King's order to take off his hat, he finds there is another one on his head.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, follow Sam I Am as he tries to convince an acquaintance that green eggs and ham is, indeed, a delectable meal to be savored everywhere and every way.

Jacki @ Central

The Unwritten by Mike Carey

unwrittencover.jpgTom Taylor has forever lived in the shadow of his father's work. His father, Wilson Taylor, is the author of one of the most successful series of children's books in history: the stories of Tommy Taylor, intrepid boy wizard. Unable to shake the specter of his fictional namesake, Tom struggles to make a living through personal appearances at conventions. Yet the lines between fact and fiction begin to blur when Tom is kidnapped by a mad fan convinced he's the villain of the Tommy Taylor books, and Tom discovers he has more in common with Tommy than he ever knew.

That's the start of Mike Carey's The Unwritten, an intelligent and intricately crafted comic book series that caters to the 'well read' crowd. Though hard to describe without spoiling some of the excellent plot twists, the series is a well plotted page turner that simultaneously entertains and evokes serious thoughts about the power of fiction. Definitely worth giving a look, there's a lot of depth and intrigue to be found in the pages of Carey's work.

Tim @ Central

Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly


Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly

If you loved the adventures of Mole, Toad, Ratty and Badger in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, you will enjoy this book. This is a continuation of the funny and entertaining adventures that the fabled foursome get into. The stories and writing are just as good as Grahame's. Clint Young's illustrations add to the fun and drama. Toad still exhibits great pride; Rat and Mole remain steadfast; and those pesky weasels and stoats still create mischief. Two new characters are also introduced, Toad's young nephew, Humphrey, and a young rat named Matilda, with whom Ratty falls in love!

Be a kid again, read this book and share it with those you love!

Irene @ Tippecanoe

News From Heaven: The Bakerton Stories by Jennifer Haigh


News From Heaven: The Bakerton Stories is a collection of short stories centered on the same fictional Pennsylvania mining town and tells the daily lives of the citizens, as well as their family histories. The stories are interwoven, not only by the geographical location, but by some of the characters as well. Each character's story is affected, whether they realize it or not, by the decline of the towns mining industry. The book discusses the mining industry from its creation, to World War II, to its decline. Each character has a melancholy tone about them that resonates with the reader. Though it can be depressing to read about a recession, during a recession, this is a well written short story collection that reads more like a novel than a collection of stories.

Meredith @ Central

Tippecanoe Reads


Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher by Paul Hoffman

In 1925, eight-year-old Arthur "Buddy" Schumacher was last seen by his friends after they hopped a train to a local swimming hole. His badly decomposed mutilated body was found seven weeks later. The author, who grew up in Wauwatosa, takes the reader back to the 1925 investigation. He describes how the crime was investigated and the role of the local newspapers.
Sue @ Tippecanoe


A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths by Tony Fletcher

"There's more to life than books you know, but not much more..."
---The Smiths, "Handsome Devil"

Tell that to the author. At almost 700 pages, Tony Fletcher's book about the band that gave Morrissey to the world aspires to be the definitive account on the Smiths. This ambitious biography offers plenty of details about the band's formation, concert tours, songwriting inspirations and studio sessions. More than that, though, the book offers a glimpse into the world that formed the group's members, that of working-class 1970s Manchester and its nascent post-punk music scene. New interviews with guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke offer fresh perspectives on the band and its era (Morrissey, as you would expect, declined to participate) and the book overall displays the kind of obsessiveness usually associated with cultish bands like this. While it may not help you recreate the perfect Mozzer coif, it is still worth a read.

Brett @ Central

Classic Detective Fiction

"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend." As spoken by Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie

terrorandmystery.jpgA bloodcurdling scream! A gasp! A ghostly hand gently tapping upon your chamber door! Heart beating, and thumping and drumming away, faster and faster until... silence. Nevermore. As reality sinks in and your friendly living room comes to life, you remember why you love reading creaky old mystery stories. So, with that in mind, let's look back on some golden old head-scratching mystery stories and the great writers who created them!

Many people call Edgar Allan Poe the "father of the mystery story." I won't argue that. Poe was awesome. Poe was gruesome. Poe was romantic. Poe could also pen a mighty poem. But oh man, could Poe write a mystery! Let's start with his famous Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) which introduced the first fictional detective Auguste C. Dupin, who would also appear in The Mystery of Marie Roget (1842) and The Purloined Letter (1845).

Next, lets stroll down a bleak, foggy cobblestoned London lane until we encounter The Moonstone (1868) by the kooky Wilkie Collins. Collins was a prolific writer who dabbled in many genres (and much controversy -- poor Queen Elizabeth!) but was certainly centered in Gothic mystery and intrigue. The Woman in White (1860) is about as Gothic as you can get and still be in this century!

houndbaskervilles.jpgAfter drying your boots and raincoat, it's time to pull out your pipe and pop open a Sherlock Holmes story. A Study in Scarlet (1887) introduced the singularly British detective and his very proper sidekick Dr. Watson. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes has gone on to be a pop culture icon and you may still hear folks say "Elementary, my dear Watson," while finding a solution to an everyday problem. Forget all the film versions and read a Sherlock Holmes short story instead -- I think they're better.

orientexpress.jpgAlthough Anna Katherine Green was technically the first woman to pen a detective novel with The Leavenworth Case (1878), let's skip forward to the woman mystery writer: Agatha Christie. Christie wrote more than 80 novels and changed the way generations of avid mystery readers think about murder. Christie introduced the world to the impeccably dressed Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). Poirot is still incredibly popular today. Christie also introduced a new type of detective to readers when she created Miss Jane Marple. Miss Marple showed many a murderer that elderly spinsters are a force to be reckoned with!

whosebody.jpgI would be remiss in my endeavor if I left out Dorothy L. Sayers. She introduced Lord Peter Wimsey to the masses. Wimsey was a "gentleman detective" who solved murders as a hobby. Though Sayers was most active in the 1920's, I think her works went on to influence 1930's and 40's B-movies with detectives like the Falcon (first published in 1940 by Michael Arlen) and The Saint (created by Leslie Charteris in 1930), who solved crimes with panache!

They were smart, tough, gentle and very sophisticated! As a literary footnote, Dorothy Sayers was one of the first authors to have her worked published in paperback form by London publisher Allen Lane. His first paperbacks, called "Penguins, "were issued in 1935 and helped bring novels to a larger audience.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the unofficial history of the mystery! Next time, we'll start with Ellery Queen and graduate up dishonest gumshoes slapping and kicking their way to pulp fiction history!

"It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic." Spoken by Auguste C. Dupin From The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) by Edgar Allan Poe.

Dan @ Central


For those of us who don't know the difference between a botnet and a SQL injection, computer hacking is both simultaneously intriguing and frightening. The seeming ability to outsmart and damage large companies and even governments with a few keystrokes is awe-striking to say the least. Parmy Olson's book We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of Lulzsec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency takes an in-depth look into real world hackers, their exploits, and even their eventual downfall.

These aren't just any hackers, either. Olson's book details members of infamous hacker groups and internet denizens from Anonymous and Lulzsec, some of the more powerful groups in recent history. Olson's book is of note not only for exposing such organizations so deeply, but also for humanizing the subjects as well. It's easy to think of hackers as pimply-faced basement dwellers, but the book helps paint a better picture of these individuals' humanity and their motivations. While the book sometimes gets bogged down in very detailed accounts of the technical details involved in hacking, overall it is an exciting and rewarding read, especially for those who want to learn more about modern computer 'hacktivism'.

Tim @ Central

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Science Fiction & Fantasy Fridays

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

creatures.jpg movie.jpg

Set in Gatlin, a small town in South Carolina, Beautiful Creatures is the first book in the Caster Chronicles series and revolves around Ethan Wate. Ethan has lived in Gatlin his whole life and can't wait to get away and see the world because nothing ever changes or happens in Gatlin. He's also having recurring dreams about a girl, and when Lena Duchannes moves into town he's certain that she's the girl from the dreams, and so their star crossed romance begins.

Lena has a secret, she and her family are Casters, or people with supernatural powers. And on her sixteenth birthday, which is only six months away her destiny will be determined. Will she be claimed for dark? Or for light? The series continues in the books Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption and the first book was just released as a movie.

Jacki @ Central

Tippecanoe Reads


Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy

"It is worth being shot at--to see how much one is loved." So said Britain's Queen Victoria, the target of 8 different assassination attempts during the course of her 64-year reign. Murphy follows the lives of the would-be assassins, examining the social, political, and even the technological aspects of their plots. From William Hamilton, left impoverished and destitute after the Irish Potato Famine, to the precursors of modern terrorists who attempted to sabotage her golden jubilee with bombs, the range of assassination attempts reflects the varied and changing face of 19th century Britain. Far from undermining the British monarchy, the assassination attempts only shored up support for it that has helped sustain its popularity down to our day.

Christopher @ Tippecanoe

Go on a Blind Date with a Book! at Central and Atkinson


Take one of these books out from the Central or Atkinson Library and see how things go--without all the awkwardness of a real blind date.

You just might fall in love!

Don't like it? Just bring it back, no hard feelings!


Urban Fiction

Guard the Throne by Nisa Santiago


Spoiled 'like left out milk,' Citi Byrne is the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Queens drug kingpin. She's got a pit bull attitude, and is already a veteran of smoking and having sex. But after she finds her father dead, body shot through with multiple bullet wounds, her privileged life starts to destruct.

She's compelled to 'guard the throne' of her fathers empire, but finds herself sleeping with the enemy. Can she continue to face the brutal violence and cold-hearted betrayal of this new life?

Jacki @ Central

Speculative Fiction for Black History Month

With Black History Month upon us, what better time to read excellent works of speculative fiction by some amazing authors from a variety of backgrounds, from African-American to Caribbean-Canadian? What follows is just a small sample of great works out there. For more suggestions, check out the Carl Brandon Society or BlackSci-Fi.com.

Featuring works both by modern writers and those of the past such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Charles W. Chesnutt, Dark Matter is a series of anthology collections focusing on both genre fiction and essays by writers of African descent. Spanning a diverse range of styles and themes, these collections provide a taste of many different unique voices in the world of sci-fi and speculative fiction.

midnightrobber.jpgNalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber draws from African, Caribbean, and Creole folklore to flavor a tale of a fierce and resourceful young woman, Tan-Tan, determined to make her way in a world she has not chosen. Tan-Tan grows up spoiled and cherished until her father's crimes lead them both to exile on the prison planet of New Half-Way Tree. Forced to survive in a lawless world, Tan-Tan takes refuge in childhood games, becoming the legendary Robber Queen, providing her with the courage to overcome her harsh surroundings.

icarusgirl.jpgIn The Icarus Girl, author Helen Oyeyemi creates a tale of psychological horror with echoes of both Henry James and Stephen King. Jessamy Harrison is skipped ahead a year in school (to the pride of her English father and Nigerian mother), but the nervous eight-year-old finds the change difficult. Unable to make friends or to cope with teasing about her mixed-race status, she breaks down in screaming tantrums and is prey to odd, feverish illnesses. Add in an imaginary friend that might not be entirely in Jessamy's mind, and you've got the formula for a very interesting read.

futureland.jpgIn Futureland, Walter Mosley presents nine interconnected stories in a near-future Cyberpunk tale, each with their own interesting and different black central character. From the smartest man in the world, to the world's heavyweight boxing champ (a six-foot-nine-inch woman), to a private detective who solves cases with the help of a greatly enhanced artificial eye, there's a lot of variety to be found in Futureland. Those who like mystery and noir will find Mosley's work especially enticing.

Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. Something has happened there, and the population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. And into this disaster zone comes a young man-poet, lover, and adventurer-known only as the Kid. Tackling questions of race, gender, and sexuality, Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren is a literary marvel and groundbreaking work of American magical realism.

List compiled by Tim @ Central. Annotations adapted from NoveList.

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Science Fiction & Fantasy Fridays

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker


Imagine going to bed one night and when you wake up the next day, the world as you know it is gone. In The Age of Miracles, 12 year old Julia faces just that when it's announced that the earth's rotation is slowing and no one knows why. The days slowly stretch from a predictable 12 hour day and night to a 72 hour day and night. She and her family struggle with the decision to follow the customary 24 hour day or to follow the sun, sleeping when it's dark and being awake during daylight.

Birds cannot fly, the tides slow, and the food chain breaks down and causes hoarding. The slowing rotation of the earth also causes some people to get sick, seemingly randomly, though it's thought that the circadian rhythm of the body is being thrown completely off kilter. Julia's mother contracts this disease while her father slowly becomes someone else. And she herself, struggles to cope with pre-teen feelings of a first crush, a first kiss, fitting in, and parental discord. While also learning to cope with a world she no longer can trust, things are overwhelming.

In her first book, Ms. Walker has captured the essence of not knowing what your future may bring in a world gone crazy. The miracle is in the unknown and how one learns to live with the time we have today.

Roxanne, Wisconsin Talking Book & Braille Library

Feb 10th, Schuster's & Gimbels program at Central

"Let's Go By Schuster's where the streetcar bends the corner round."
-old Milwaukee phrase

schustergimbel.jpeg gimbels.jpeg

Two books about Gimbels and Schuster's, Milwaukee's one-time largest department store chains, were recently published. Paul Geenen worked at Gimbels' eight-floor Downtown flagship store. His Schuster's and Gimbels: Milwaukee's Beloved Department Stores will bring back memories for Milwaukeeans who not only shopped and worked at both stores, but grew up listening to Schuster's Billie the Brownie Christmas radio show on WTMJ and watched Schuster's Christmas Parade travel on streetcar tracks past their department stores around town. Gimbels expansion into new shopping centers after World War II helped them to buy Schuster's in 1962. While dominating the Milwaukee market, Gimbels struggled in other markets. It went out of business in 1986, leaving fading memories of Tasty Town, bargain basement and more.

Department store historian Michael J. Lisicky covers Gimbels expansion from Milwaukee to New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Gimbels Has It! Gimbels played second fiddle to Macy's in the Big Apple (rivalry depicted in the classic Christmas movie, The Miracle on 34th Street) and Wanamaker's in Philly. This combined with its slowness to adapt to changing retail trends led to its downfall in the 1980s.

Geenen will speak about his book on Sunday, February 10th, 2:00 p.m. in the Central Library Rare Books Room.

Van Lingle Mungo @ Central

The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook


The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook is arranged into seven chapters with many tempting illustrations. The book introduces you to Mediterranean cooking without the fuss. As long as you have a crockpot, you can make any of the 80 featured meals including braised Basque chicken, Portuguese seafood stew, and spicy Moroccan tagines. The recipes are not too involved and there's a source guide for unusual ingredients.

Irene @ Tippecanoe

What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen


The focus of What She Left Behind, the debut novel by Tracy Bilen, is domestic violence as seen through the eyes of sixteen year old Sara. To escape their abusive home life, Sara's mother makes plans to meet her daughter at the local Dairy Queen at a specific time. Sara waits hours for her mom at the Dairy Queen, but knows something is terribly wrong when her mom never shows up. What happened to Sara's mom? And, can she figure it out before it's too late?

Sue @ Tippecanoe

Teen Awards 2013

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) honors the best teen literature each year with its six literary awards, announced each year at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. To learn more about the awards, including previous winners click here.


The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. The 2013 winner is Nick Lake for his novel In Darkness.

In January 2010 an earthquake rocks the island of Haiti leaving fifteen-year-old Shorty trapped in rubble at a hospital in Port-au-Prince. As he weakens he becomes delusional and has nightmares that mix together his violent childhood and events from a Haitian revolutionary leader's life.


The William C. Morris Award is for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. This year the winner is Rachel Hartman for Seraphina.

In a tale full of dragons and royal scandal, Seraphina is a strong willed young lady who uses her musical talents as a distraction for her own dark secret.


Benjamin Alire Saenz won the Stonewall Book Award for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This award is given annually to English-language children's and teen books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

In 1987, two seemingly opposite boys forge a deep bond. When Dante's feelings for Ari come to light and tragedy strikes, Ari must decide the type of person he wants to be.


The Mildred L. Batchelder Award recognizes an outstanding children's book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoere, translated by Tammi Reichel is this year's winner.

Before the start of World War II, 10-year-old Ziska Mangold, who is raised Protestant, is taken out of Nazi Germany on one of the Kindertransport trains to live in London with an "adopted" Jewish family. She learns about Judaism and endures the hardships of war while attempting to keep in touch with her parents, who are trying to survive in Holland.


The Odyssey Award is for the best audiobook produced for teens and/or children available in English in the US. This year's winner is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd.

Diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer, Hazel has always known her fate. But when she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group, Hazel struggles to change her outlook on life and love.


The Schneider Family Book Award is for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience and this year was given to Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis for Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Ben is wounded and trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury that occurred while serving in Iraq. Although he will never be the person he once was, this is the story of his struggle and transformation.

Karli & Katharina, Central




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