December 2013 Archives

Coreyography by Corey Feldman

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If you remember Coreymania with any sort of fondness, you should probably pick up Coreyography. Feldman speaks candidly about his life growing up in show business (and his work now to help protect child stars), his friendship with Michael Jackson, and the death of his best friend (and other half of "The Coreys") Corey Haim.

Feldman states that this memoir was written to help tell Haim's story as well, and to tell the story of them both being sexually abused at young ages (but by different people). Feldman doesn't go into graphic detail about the abuse, which is fine, but does talk about its lasting effects. One disappointment is that though the book talks about his friendship with Michael Jackson, it only skims the surface - one can find more information by reading Feldman's Wikipedia article. Overall, a fast read that lacked some details - hopefully he will write another and include more pictures!

Meredith @ Central

Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures

Lonely Planet's 1000 ultimate adventures.jpeg If you're looking for some inspiration to get you through the cold Wisconsin winter, check out this book full of superlatives for those wanting to get away. Short chapters with color photos take on different types of travel, most of them for active thrill seekers. The titles of the chapters give you a sense of the variety of themes. From best hidden huts and shelters, or craziest caves, to rousing reads for armchair adventures, and family friendly adventures, everyone can find something to fantasize about. Combine this with the many other travel books available in the library and you can come up with a trip you'll never forget. Even if you're never able to take any of these adventures on, this book provides a wonderful way to daydream on a cold winter day.

Submitted by,
Anna @ Central

Driven by Donald Driver

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I might sound a little biased here; I have loved reading about Donald Driver since he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in April of 1999. He disclosed little about his upbringing in the Packer Plus magazine with his weekly training camp journal entries, and since that point I've wanted to know more about him.

The odds of him being where he is now were very slim considering how poor he was. It was to the point where he sold drugs and stole cars to support himself and his family, who often lived in and out of homes, even becoming homeless at one point and living in a U-Haul trailer. On one occasion, he thinks that he wouldn't even have been drafted if one of his two college roommates didn't take the wrap for him when they were caught with drugs in their dorm room. He also stated that his wife Tina suggested he had potential to do much more with his life. At Alcorn State University where he attended college, he was also a track star and could have qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Once he was drafted by the Packers, he was one of twelve players at his position--again, the odds were against him since was drafted in the seventh round (213th pick overall), where not many players are well known. After he made the team, he worked his way into the starting lineup. His best year was in 2006 where he caught 92 balls for just under 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns. Driver finished his fourteen year career as the Packers' all time leading receiver with 743 catches, 10,137 yards and 61 touchdowns.

I highly recommend reading Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field to anyone, and they do not have to love and watch football. It shows that you can make it even when you do not have much. If you commit any wrong in life, there is someone or something that can enable you to get out of those situations. In addition, it can enable anyone to appreciate the little things they receive in life (as Driver did with the very first contract he signed, where his signing bonus was more than his parents' yearly salary). Donald Driver is truly a professional who was class personified on the football field, as well as off the field with his work for Goodwill and the foundation in his name that helps those in need in his hometown Houston area and Green Bay.

Dave B @ Central

Boleto by Alyson Hagy

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Alyson Hagy's Boleto follows twenty-three year old horse trainer Will Testerman as he purchases a young blood-red filly in the hopes of making something of not only her but himself as well. Unlike the men of his family who fell into a tiresome routine on their family ranch, Will desires to blaze his own path. He builds a relationship with his horse, training her patiently and telling her stories about his past and the ghosts that haunt him. While his horse is left unnamed, Will often refers to her as "Tick" or "Ticket" (which translates to "Boleto" in Spanish). With his fate intertwined with his horse, will "Tick" be the means to get Will where he ultimately needs to be?

Throughout the novel, Hagy provides readers with a sense of place through beautiful descriptions of the landscapes and atmospheres of the American West from the dude ranches of Wyoming to the hustle and bustle of polo fields in Anaheim, California. With sparse, clean writing, the elegant prose paints dynamic characters, quiet emotions, and subtle tensions for readers to mentally kick around. Boleto is more than just an old hat tale of cowboys and horses, it's a heart-warming story of a stirring journey that will resonate deeply with both male and female readers alike; check it out today!

Hayley @ Central

Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman

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If you are an artist or a creative type, Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman will likely appeal to you right off the bat. Originally given as an address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the speech was adapted to this playful little tome. I say "playful" because it was designed by Chip Kidd (if you don't know who he is, I think there is a good chance you'll recognize his design work) and it is certainly not mere words on a page. The text is often layered, angled, colored, or sized to convey or emphasize part of the message. Some pages are stark white with a bit of text, where others are boldly colored and filled to the brim with information. Part of the beauty of this reading experience is that it's so short, meaning that nothing has time to feel superfluous, extraneous, or annoying. I can't imagine reading a novel like this, but this speech is ideally suited to a comical, light-hearted format.

In addition to the visual appeal (which is great), the book is very engaging. Neil Gaiman gives some really dynamite advice; which might be advice you've heard before, but it's also likely advice you still need to hear. He talks about his life as a creative person, and the perils of doing a job just for the money. Even if you're not creative for a living, "what do I want to do with my life?" is not a question you answer once. It's a question you ask, answer, or are confronted with constantly. Frankly, good advice is good advice. As a bonus, you can also watch the original speech online:

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

Allie @ Central

How To Be....Anything!

How to Be Interesting (In 10 Easy Steps) by Jessica Hagy

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Short sentences and an abundance of graphs, charts, and diagrams that give advice on having fun, living with a purpose, and being an all-around more interesting person. Written by Jessica Hagy the Webby Award winning author of the blog Indexed.


How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure

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Simple words and McClure's signature intricate paper cuts will teach your little ones how to be a purrfect cat. Stretch! Eat! Pounce! Sleep! Sounds about right.


How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

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Caitlin Moran dares you to say you're not a feminist. If you insist you're not, she'll tell you why you're wrong. Witty and powerful, How to Be a Woman is part memoir, part rallying cry.



How to Be Compassionate: A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


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Everyone has the potential for compassion. His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains further that compassion is an essential part of our lives. He asks us to self-examine our responses towards others and offers practical advice on how to be compassionate in our day-to-day encounters with others.

Kristina @ Central

A Christmas Story Treasury by Tyler Schwartz

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A Christmas Story Treasury: A Tribute to the Original, Traditional, One-hundred-percent, Red-blooded, Two-fisted, All-American Holiday Movie by Tyler Schwartz is a fantastic companion to the movie. It contains all of the most memorable stills along with buttons on the edge that when pressed read aloud the most famous lines from the film. I can't say whether or not we have all come to love this movie. Perhaps it has just become a tradition along with the rest of the holiday season like it or not. My family loves it and it makes them laugh every year. Personally, the awkward characters and the bizarre situations they find themselves in make me uncomfortable, but I can't help watching it... again and again.


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A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic by Caseen Gaines takes a deeper look into the movie and discusses the characters and the actors who played them. For those crazy about the film and want to learn more about it, I recommend this account.


Valerie @ Central

Fear Itself by Ira Katznelson

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Ira Katznelson's Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time looks at how fear of economic depression, fascist and communist totalitarianism, and the Cold War shaped public governance during presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt's (FDR) New Deal and Harry Truman's Fair Deal administrations. This is a holistic examination of American liberalism in peace and war and the compromises made for economic recovery and reform during the Great Depression, and victory in World War II.

Racist southern Democrats controlled Congress and passed New Deal programs that greatly benefited their region, but often weakened New Deal legislation that would have helped African Americans. Probably the worst example was excluding domestic and farm workers from the Social Security Act of 1935, since many African Americans were butlers, maids and sharecroppers. In World War II, the United States allied with Soviet Union (Russia), temporarily overlooking Joseph Stalin's murderous dictatorship, because it took both countries and Great Britain to defeat Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Most of the German army and its best generals were fighting on the Russian front.

The atomic bombs that ended World War II quickly led to the Cold War and the continuing growth of the national security state. Harry Truman's Fair Deal legislation to extend FDR's New Deal was hampered by southern congressional Democrats who correctly feared it would eventually help erode Jim Crow segregation that African Americans increasingly demanded to end after coming home from a war fought to preserve democracy.

Van Lingle Mungo @ Central

Beastly Crochet by Brenda K B Anderson

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If you've been crocheting for a long time, it can start to seem like every pattern is the same. Therefore, it's always a treat to find a book that offers new and exciting projects. Beastly Crochet: 23 Critters to Wear and Love by Brenda K B Anderson has some of the cutest projects I've come across in a long time. They're imaginative, relatively easy to make and will please a wide range of ages.

My favorites are the Sasquatch slippers and mittens (available in child and adult sizes!), the gnome coin purse and big mouth coin purse. The patterns take simple crochet techniques, like single crochet and double crochet, and turn them into clever projects. I will admit I was nervous at first, as many of the patterns I liked had zippers in them and I had never worked with zippers on a crocheted pattern. The instructions provided were easy enough and I was able to complete the gnome coin purse in one night!

Meredith @ Central

This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the six inductees for 2014. As always, it's an interesting mix. Nirvana, KISS, Linda Ronstadt , Cat Stevens, Hall & Oates, and Peter Gabriel make up the class of 2014. So what better time than the present to dust off your KISS Army badge, put on your old flannel, and dance with a pair of uncooked chickens?

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If you're looking to read about Nirvana, there is certainly a lot to choose from. Why not start with Everett True's Nirvana: The Biography? True offers a first-hand account of the band and the tragic story of front man Kurt Cobain, as one of the first music journalists in the trenches of the 90's Seattle scene. And don't forget to check out some of the band's music while you're at it.





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KISS is a very different sort of legendary music group; painted in black, white, silver and red, framed by explosions and fire, they sang about love guns, the glories of Detroit, rocking and rolling all night and partying every day. Nothin' to Lose by Ken Sharp alongside KISS founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is the most recent big book on the band, but it's also one of the most insightful as it pulls from tons of interviews to give an excellent and detailed look at these amazing showmen. Again, don't forget to check out the band's music, too.



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Linda Ronstadt was a bit of a musical renaissance woman, singing and performing across styles and genres with ease and excellence. Her own memoir, Simple Dreams is the book to check out. Unlike so many musical masterminds, her story is simple and normal. No parental abuse, no drug issues, just a gal from Arizona who ended up making it big. Linda's music is also readily available from the library.


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Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, oddly doesn't have a whole lot written about him. But you can get a lot about him in Dave Thompson's Hearts of Darkness, as one of the featured 3 singer-songwriters in the book. We do have plenty of Yusuf/Stevens' music to make up for the lack of books, though!



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Hall and Oates sadly seem to be less written about than Cat Stevens, so we'll just have to let their music speak for itself.





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Lastly, Peter Gabriel has at least managed to have a couple books written about him (though always alongside Phil Collins and previous Hall-of-Fame inducted band Genesis). The most recent of these is actually another book by Dave Thompson, Turn it On Again. Peter's solo career music is also widely available, as well as the music of Genesis.

Tim @ Central

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen

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As a teen, my friends and I were mesmerized by the music of Steely Dan. Their sharp, slick-sounding albums are full of jazz chops and studio polish, but lyrically, their songs are more subversive than anything in punk rock. Their complex melodies and weird words still fog my brain today.

It's a treat, then, to get to briefly visit inside the head of Steely Dan's lead singer/pianist, Donald Fagen. His first book, Eminent Hipsters, is an eclectic mix of personal essays, music criticism, and rock star tour journal. In the first part of the book, Fagen writes, at times wistfully, about the various bits of '50s and '60s pop cultural elements that formed him--sci-fi novels, Ray Charles and FM radio mavericks (including Jean Shepherd, author and narrator of The Christmas Story.)

The second half of the book is his tour diary from 2009 with the Dukes of September, a supergroup of sorts he formed with singers Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Erudite, sardonic, and biting at times, Fagen's writing is a pure pleasure to read. It could make for a nice, cozy read on the couch this winter while playing Aja or The Nightfly on the hi-fi.

Brett @ Central

The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews

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Who makes feces? How? Why? Afterwards what do they do with it? In The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society author David Waltner-Toews starts his exploration with a small story about dung beetles and how they put their eggs in feces, roll it all into a ball, and bury it. What about the rest of us? Humans in particular. Disposing of waste is something every society over time has had to deal with, especially when humans and animals cohabitate. As our population explodes so does the amount of excrement we create. And that's where some of the debates and problems begin. In an interesting and witty fashion, Waltner-Toews discusses the complexity of the position we've put ourselves in and how multidisciplinary cooperation and solutions may help with the use of or disposal of feces. I've made the book sound difficult and scientific, and some of it is, but it's also full of interesting history that follows excrement and its related issues through time and around the globe.

Our Milwaukee Public Museum has a special exhibit through January 14, 2014, called The Scoop on Poop. It is "an investigation of what poop is and how animals and humans use it."

You may ask, "What is Milwaukee doing with it's waste?" It's making Milorganite, a fertilizer manufactured by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. "It is derived from heat-dried microbes that have digested the organic material in wastewater." Well done Milwaukee!

Valerie @ Central

March 1 by John Lewis

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In March Book 1, Congressman John Lewis gives a first-hand account his early days as one of the key figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Congressman Lewis is the only living speaker from the March on Washington and one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. This story chronicles his days as a sharecropper's son learning about race in the Deep South to becoming one of the leaders of the Nashville Student Movement which successfully ended the segregation of lunch counters in downtown Nashville.

Award-winning illustrator, Nate Powell's stark drawings bring to life the violence and humiliation Congressman Lewis and his fellow activists experienced during their non-violent struggle. Congressman Lewis has previously published Across That Bridge (with Brenda Jones) and Walking With the Wind (with Michael D'Orso) but the graphic novel format creates a different experience of seeing the violence Lewis endured rather than simply reading about it. This is a great book that introduces Congressman Lewis's story to a new generation.

Maria @ Central

Prepare for the Holidays with These Boozy Books

Here in Milwaukee we have a fine tradition of brewing. With that comes the equally fine tradition of imbibing, and with the holiday season upon us what better time to brush up on your beers, wet your whistle for wine, and craft a few new cocktails? Here's a bevy of boozy books so that you can fortify yourself for that too-long office party, the oncoming horde of hyperactive nieces and nephews, or spice up your special all-alone Christmas dinner of canned ravioli cooked over the hotplate you keep in your garage.

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The Complete Beer Course by Joshua Bernstein features twelve easy lessons on how to taste, smell, and evaluate beer like an expert, so you'll finally tell your pale ales from your bitters.



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The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook isn't about making your own beer using Tim Hortons leftovers, maple syrup, and hockey memorabilia, but instead a fabulous cookbook about utilizing craft beer in a variety of recipes.



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Inventing Wine details wine's 8,000 years of fabulous fermented history in one compelling chronicle. From religious use in ancient times to Prohibition and beyond, there's definitely a lot to learn about the adult version of grape juice.




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Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey: Recipes from my Three Favorite Food Groups (and Then Some) says it all right in the title, really. What more could you want?



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Apothecary Cocktails takes recipes from the past, crafted around their 'restorative' properties, and update them for today's drinker. So when you mix one of these up and get a disdainful stare from your relatives, just tell them it's medicinal!



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For those looking to take a trip, The Tipsy Texan will tell you all about the taverns in Texas in which to get tipsy. An excellent drinking guide for anyone visiting the Lone Star state.





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Finally, for those unable to go on a fancy holiday elsewhere, why not take a Liquid Vacation? 77 tropical cocktails straight from Vegas, by way of Frank's Tiki Room. Bottoms up!

We here at the Milwaukee Public Library just remind you to drink responsibly, and while we might have all the books on the subject, definitely don't drink inside any of our library locations!

Tim @ Central

The Circle by Dave Eggers

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Mae Holland got her dream job. A college connection rescued her from a life of obscurity to work for the Circle, the innovative company at the center of the tech world. Taking all of the advances made by Facebook, Google, and Twitter one step further, the Circle's goal as a company is to promote complete unity of information exchange and social interaction. Mae's small role in the company rapidly increases as she agrees to allow her life and those around her to become more and more transparent. Soon she is broadcasting every waking moment of her life to thousands of online followers, wreaking a havoc she is incapable of stopping and can barely comprehend.

Dave Eggers' latest book, The Circle, is a new take on the dystopian novel, imagining how our twin obsessions with social media and notoriety might be used against us to achieve a kind of tech-totalitarianism. It also explores the implications of some our own desires and fears. Is it possible for us to know or at least access all information at any time? Should we want to? Is the privacy we sacrifice to receive a perceived greater safety worth it? The conversations this book will inspire are important for us to have as we continue to digitize our identities and lives.

Brett @ Central

Yves Saint Laurent by Jéromine Savignon and Bernard Blistène

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When I think of artists I usually think of painters, sculptors, and photographers. But what about people who work with fabric? Specifically clothing or fashion designers. Right now there are reality television shows about people creating clothing based on the perimeters of a specific challenge. Would you consider the contestants on these television shows to be artists? What about the designers who dress models that walk the runway? Or movie stars who walk down the red carpet? In Yves Saint Laurent by Jéromine Savignon and Bernard Blistène fashion designers are clearly defined as artists and many consider Yves Saint Laurent one of the greatest of them all. People are his canvases, fabrics of all kinds are his paints and the results are amazing masterpieces. His influences were from other artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh and Piet Mondrian. For those who may still be skeptical about fashion as art, Yves Saint Laurent's (1936-2008) "work was recognized by fashion scholars as so fundamentally important to women's dress that a retrospective of his designs was held at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first time the museum had honored a living designer." (New York Times June 2, 2008)

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Valerie @ Central

The Asylum by John Harwood

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Set in England at the end of the 19th century, The Asylum by John Harwood begins with a young woman calling herself Georgina Ferarrs waking up in an unfamiliar room in the voluntary ward at a psychiatric institution. She has no memory of how she came to be there, and is startled when the doctor at the asylum, Maynard Starker, tells her that she checked herself in the day before under the name of Lucy Ashton.

Even though her clothes and traveling trunks are all marked with the initials "L. A.", the young woman insists her name is Georgina Ferarrs, and begs the staff to send a telegram to her uncle in London. She is shocked when the man she believes to be her uncle sends a return telegraph stating that Georgina Ferrars is in London with him, and that the woman in the asylum is an imposter. Once our heroine overcomes the initial shock, she becomes determined to discover the truth of her identity, and what happened during the two weeks that elapsed between the time of her last clear memory and her first morning in the asylum.

The Asylum is divided into three parts. The first part is split between the present and Georgina's/Lucy's memories of a childhood spent in a cottage by the sea. The second part of the story is told through letter and journal format, and takes the reader even further back in time. The last part returns to the present, where the reader finally gets the answers to who the young lady in the asylum is, and how she came to be there.

This Victorian Gothic novel kept me guessing throughout the course of the story. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the narrator would add another little detail that made me question my previous assumptions. I couldn't read the first three quarters of the book fast enough. The one drawback to the book is the ending, which is a little over-the-top and cliché. There is a monologue by a surprise antagonist at the end, that contains everything except "...and I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!" Scooby-Doo villain aside, The Asylum is an engaging and entertaining read for fans of the mystery and/or gothic genres.

Jennifer P @ Central

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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The Goldfinch is a mammoth book, but it needs all 700 plus pages to tell the story. The (very) basic premise of which is the relationship Theo Decker has with his mother. This includes their time together when she is alive and her lasting effect on him after her death in a freak accident. The book follows Theo as he grows up and moves from family to family all while harboring a catastrophic secret that continually affects the course of his life.

The Goldfinch is a breathtaking story about love and loss that will stick with you. Though a fantastic read (especially for those who love Donna Tartt), I would suggest to those that aren't familiar with her, but love to read haunting, character driven works, to pick up The Secret History first.

Meredith @ Central

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

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I am writing this review on a day when we are experiencing a tornado warning in Milwaukee. That just brings home the fact that one never knows when a disaster may strike you or your city and how you and everyone else will respond.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink is a well written account of the events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans that happened in the 5 days during and after Hurricane Katrina. The author has previously won a Pulitzer Prize for her work and I can understand why. The book is thoughtful, balanced and carefully considers the circumstances, ethics and morals involved in what appears to be the euthanasia of up to 9 patients. The author gives you enough information to consider the evidence for yourself, based on years of research and extensive interviews with many of the people involved.

The profiles of the major actors in this real life drama are fascinating. After reading about them I often found myself wondering what kind of decisions I would make after days of working under primitive conditions with little sleep and many ill people needing help that seemed a long time coming. For example, if only a few people can be evacuated at a time, who gets to go first? The sickest, who might need pieces of heavy medical equipment and have a poor chance of survival or the people who aren't as badly off? One can make an ethical case for both scenarios.

I found Five Days at Memorial to be gripping and worthwhile.

Pat @ Central

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

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The Butterfly Sister is a perfect match for lovers of women's literature and mystery readers. The novel alternates between the present day and the previous year, when college senior, Ruby Rousseau, was entangled in an affair with her married professor. Flashbacks take the reader through the first flickers of attraction, a secretive trip to New Orleans, and the emotionally-charged end of the affair.

In the present day, Ruby Rousseau is still dealing with the repercussions of dropping out of college when she learns a former classmate, Beth, has gone missing. Among Beth's things is a copy of the book, A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf, the very same book Ruby was researching for her senior thesis. As Ruby relives the painful aftermath of the affair and her final days at school, she realizes there are other coincidences linking her to Beth and she is drawn back to campus.

Ruby's return to Tarble, a fictional, southeastern Wisconsin women's college, proves both traumatic and cathartic. After such an embarrassing and public exit, Ruby finds it difficult to explain her reappearance her connection to Beth. Despite the challenges Ruby faces to find her friend and heal her own heart, she is a smart and resilient heroine.

Readers will appreciate the literary allusions, the psychological drama, and Ruby's emotional growth. The descriptive writing complements the gothic tale and readers will enjoy immersive scenes on the foggy lakeside campus and in the French Quarter under the hazy light of gas lamps.

Louise @ Central

Murder in The Kingdom: Saudi Mysteries by Zoe Ferraris

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Author Zoe Ferraris knows Saudi Arabia. She lived in the Kingdom of Saud with her conservative Saudi-Palestinian in-laws and used her experiences to bring to life Katya Hijazi, a crime scene technician with a desire to become a detective; a rare thing in the male dominated society of Saudi Arabia. Katya struggles to balance what is deemed appropriate for an unmarried woman and her capabilities as an investigator.

Finding Nouf sees Katya and desert guide Nayir unravel the mystery of the death of a wealthy Saudi's teenage daughter. While investigating the murders of a controversial filmmaker and American security contractor, Katya comes dangerously close to the limit of permissible behavior in City of Veils. What is Katya willing to risk to solve her case? In Ferraris' most recent Saudi mystery, Kingdom of Strangers, the city of Jeddah reels from the discovery of seventeen murdered women. Katya, Nayir, and liberal minded Detective Zahrani must delve into the hidden lives of Saudi Arabia's many immigrant workers to find the twisted mind behind the killings.

To learn more about Saudi history and culture, try reading Karen Elliott House's On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines-- and Future.

Kristina @ Central

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and Alex

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Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and Alex; with pictures by Matthew Myers but mostly Alex is the funniest book I've read all year. The cover and pages look like they've been vandalized but actually Alex, a little boy and recipient of the book, has dramatically rewritten the story of Bunny's birthday with scribbles and drawings. What was supposed to be Bunny's happy celebration is transformed into a battle for the ages with Bunny as the villain and Alex as the hero. Rather than hopping through the woods and talking with cute animals, the power hungry Bunny wreaks havoc everywhere he goes. After the President of the United States implores Alex to save the day, he does, using clever tactics and his own special birthday powers.

Valerie @ Central

Treasures of the Rare Books Room: Magic, 1400s - 1950s

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Magic experts Mike Caveney and Jim Steinmeyer write about the history of all types of magic and conjuring in this gigantic book, Magic, 1400s - 1950s, donated to the Milwaukee Public Library by the Schlitz Audubon Center. Each chapter has a complete English, German and French translation, with gorgeous engravings, lithographs and photographs throughout.

The book explains that magicians' illusions started with card tricks, disappearing and reappearing objects, and seemingly endless scarfs. Later magicians' baffling skills excelled to sawing women in half, speaking with spirits, manipulating fire, and transforming people into animals. One of the greatest achievements, making people levitate, was accomplished by only the best magicians. And, of course, the book would not be complete if it didn't cover Houdini's career and popular grand escapes.

To view this item, please call the Art, Music and Recreation Department at 414-286-3071 to arrange a visit.

Valerie @ Central

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