February 2014 Archives

You Really Got Me

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"You Really Got Me

You Really Got Me

You Really Got Me"



When Ray Davies spewed those teen angst lyrics in his cockney voice over the driving guitar riffs from his brother Dave in 1964, the Kinks legend was born. While the Beatles were "cute" and honed, the Kinks were shaggy, unruly and jagged. They were awesome.

Fast forward 40 plus years and, though the Kinks have since disbanded, their legend lives on. In the new biography from Ray Davies titled Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story, the master songwriter offers insights into a life on the road for much of the 1970's and 1980's throughout the United States and how the U.S. has helped to increase his love of England. Ray Davies is British through and through, but he writes affectionately of his tours through the massive American landscape and how the Kinks were finally able to conquer the American public. Written in a whimsical style that could only come from Ray himself, Americana offers a look into the thoughts and feelings of one of rock n roll's greatest songwriters.

Dan @ Washington Park

Bay View Reads

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Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World by Thomas Cahill is the latest entry in his survey of pivotal times in history. Here he looks at the artistic, technological, and spiritual changes in Western Europe from the late 14th through the early 16th centuries. Thoughtful and detailed but very readable, this is the perfect book for the armchair historian who is looking for a survey of an era that did so much to shape the modern world.

Here is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History by Andrew Carroll is a fascinating account of his visits to many lesser-known (or practically unknown) historical sites around the United States. His style is a bit like Sarah Vowell's, especially in his empathy for the obscure, humble underdogs who never made it into history books and who deserve at least a historical marker. Chapters include his visits to places connected with Elisha Otis (the founder of Otis elevators and inventor of the safety brake for elevators), rocket pioneer Robert Goddard, and Dr. Loring Miner (the first physician to warn of the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918). While he's a lot less snarky than Vowell, Carroll's research and his often self-deprecating sense of humor would make him a great tour guide for the ultimate history geek road trip.

Chris at Bay View and Tippecanoe

Botanica Magnifica by Jonathan Singer


Containing over 200 spectacular images taken by photographer Jonathan Singer, Botanica Magnifica: Portraits of the World's Most Extraordinary Flowers & Plants is an absolute joy for the eyes. Dr. Singer combines art and science in order to record a wide variety of flowering plants, some of which are endangered. Adding to the beauty of the photographs, W. John Kress & Marc Hachadourian have written introductions to each of the five chapters with interesting facts about the flowers. This book is a reproduction done in one half the size of the original, double-elephant (roughly 27"x39") folio bound, in five separate volumes.

Botanica Magnifica can be viewed in person at the Central Library in the Art, Music and Recreation department. Because of it's unique nature it is not available for checkout.

Valerie @ Central

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

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Coralie Sardie thrills the masses at The Museum of Extraordinary Things on the 1911 Coney Island boardwalk. She appears as the Mermaid, alongside the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. Her hands are webbed and she can swim with speed and ease; her father, "the Professor," trained her to use a special breathing device so she could spend an hour or more underwater in an ice-filled tub.

Thanks to a believable tail and some carefully applied paint, Coralie's evening swims up and down the Hudson generate rumors of a monster. One night, as she rests along the northern shore of the river, she spies Eddie Cohen, a dashing Russian immigrant runaway taking pictures in the moonlight. Eddie photographs the devastation following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and becomes tied up in the mystery behind a missing young woman. His quest entangles him with Coralie and The Museum of Extraordinary Things unfolds with Hoffman's magic and horror in a rapidly changing city full of lies, bootleggers, thugs and idealists.

Jacki @ Central

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

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Daily Rituals by Mason Currey is incredibly fantastic, offering a peek into the lives (and perhaps minds) of great cultural figures. The project started as a blog, so it has that same short, easy-reading format.

The book covers authors, composers, poets, artists, scientists, mathematicians, inventors, and filmmakers; and the huge variety in how different people create. Some toil waiting for inspiration, others chug ahead day after day. There are early risers (like W.H. Auden who said, "Only the 'Hitlers of the world' work at night; no honest artist does." Harsh!), night owls (Jackson Pollock said, "I've got the old Eighth Street habit of sleeping all day and working all night pretty well licked. So has [my wife] Lee. We had to, or lose the respect of the neighbors."), and nappers (Buckminster Fuller practiced "high frequency sleep" where he slept for 30 minutes after every 6 hours of work). There are many parents who write while their children are napping (Alice Munro and Sylvia Plath are two) and civil servants and blue collar workers who work after a full day on a job (like Anthony Trollope and Joseph Cornell).

And their eating habits! Holy moly, their eating habits! Soren Kierkegaard would pour sugar into his coffee cup so it was piled to the rim, and then slowly pour coffee in until it dissolved. He would down that concoction swiftly, then chase it with a sherry. Beethoven counted the beans in each cup of coffee (60, if you're interested). Patricia Highsmith didn't care much for food - an acquaintance remarked that "she only ever ate American bacon, fried eggs and cereal, all at odd times of the day."

Currey focuses on the ritual, not necessarily the product. All of these individuals produced great work, but with wildly varying levels of productivity. People have quested for the perfect routine since the beginning of time, and this book is evidence that there are as many productive ways to work as there are people getting work done. This book can also serve as inspiration for people looking to change up or tweak their routine.

As a sneak peek, here is Benjamin Franklin's daily routine as outlined in his Autobiography.

Allie @ Central

Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike

wolfandcub.jpegWhen I sat down to start reading Lone Wolf and Cub, I wasn't entirely certain what to expect. I was vaguely aware of the movies based on it, most famously the movie Shogun Assassin (which was actually an American effort that spliced together parts of two of the original Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub movies). I knew that it was considered a 'classic', though I did not realize that it was from the 1970s.

What I was absolutely unprepared for is just how good Lone Wolf and Cub is. Written by Kazuo Koike with art by Goseki Kojima, this is a story set in the Tokugawa era of Japan. Ogami Itto, executioner for the Japanese shogun himself, faces terrible betrayal by the Ura-Yagyu clan, killing his wife and household and framing him for treason against the Shogun. Vowing vengeance, Itto takes the road of the assassin, become a killer for hire to any who would pay his fee. He brings with him his seemingly unstoppable skill with a blade, his now three-year-old son Daigoro, and a baby cart that conceals multiple tools of death and destruction.

Itto carves a path of utter destruction, as his skill is seemingly unparalleled in all of Japan. Yet alongside the bloody and violent action is a dedication to historical accuracy both in its portrayal of society and in the artistic depiction of the clothes and setting. These elements combine to create something that is not just simply an excellent story, or an excellent manga, but an excellent work of art and something that anyone with a love of graphic novels, samurai, Tokugawa Japan, or even just excellent action stories should check out. We even just received some brand new omnibus editions of the early volumes, so you can check out big chunks of the story in one convenient book!

Tim @ Central

Bay View Reads

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Couture Prairie And Flea Market Treasures by Rachel Ashwell; photography by Amy Neunsinger

Rachel Ashwell, who popularized "shabby chic" delivers page after page of photos and narrative-- delightful pastels, provincial furniture, floral patterns, distressed finishes, whimsical objects, cowboy memorabilia, bucolic landscapes and rustic Texas flea market charm. She visits Round Top antique markets, purchases a farm property called Outpost, and transforms it into "The Prairie" Bed and Breakfast.


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The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. contains fifty-two compelling, personal stories about adversity and its value. Rosenthal is a psychiatrist whose expertise ranges from treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with light, depression with St John's wort, Transcendental Meditation and Botox. Each story starts with a quote and ends with a summary of what the author learned - lessons that can be applied to one's own life.



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Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity by Meredith Whitney explains how fiscal sins of the past transform the U.S. economy along regional lines, and why the Midwest "flyover" states will recover while coastal states may continue to decline. Not doom and gloom - but sound advice to local and state governments to get serious about digging themselves out of debt--a good read for those who are considering relocation.

Deb at Bay View

Winger by Andrew Smith

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Junior year at Pine Mountain Academy (PM) is going to be rough for fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West. With a name like Ryan Dean, things don't come easy. Luckily, most of his rugby teammates called him Winger after his rugby position or Eleven after his jersey number. After Winger steals a teacher's cell phone to make long distance calls to his crush and friend Annie, he is forced to move into Opportunity Hall, aka O-Hall, with the other campus criminals. The most intimidating delinquent is Chas Becker, Winger's new roommate. Will he be able to keep his friends from last year? Can he resolve his roommate problems? Winger's ups and downs are honest, humorous and even illustrated with some doodles. You won't want to miss Winger's story! Check the catalog here for availability.

Katharina @ Central

The World Below by Sue Miller

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The World Below tells two different stories; one about Cath, a new divorcee who moves across country to her Grandmother's house to pick up the pieces of her life, and also that of her Grandmother Georgia, a woman who went to a sanatorium for tuberculosis and the affect it had on her life.

Chapters alternate between the two to show the differences and similarities between the women. Georgia's story is told through journal entries, Cath's memories and some first person experiences. Though Cath's story wasn't as compelling for me, Georgia's story is engaging and kept my interest throughout.

Meredith @ Central

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The Total Outdoorsman Manual by T. Edward Nickens and the editors of Field & Stream has some kind of information for everyone; if you go outside then you could use this book.

outdoorsman01.jpg The first portion of this book covers many aspects regarding roughing it in the outdoors. This is information that could be used by people camping, fishing, hunting and surviving. Illustrations show what to wear and eat, how to pitch a tent and chop wood, and much much more.

outdoorsman1.jpg The second portion of this book covers information about fishing. It illustrates the different locations and techniques a person can use to fish. It instructs readers on what rods and nets to use and why. After you catch your fish it shows you the wide variety of ways to prepare it.

outdoorsman2.jpg The third portion of this book really gets into all things about hunting. It's a large portion, because it covers such a wide topic. It illustrates multiple ways to hunt - standing, kneeling, and in a tree. It shows different kinds of weapons that could be used to hunt - bow and arrows, guns, knives and dogs. It discusses different kinds of animals to hunt - deer, bears, and birds. Lastly it covers how to prepare animals for consumption.

outdoorsman3.jpg The remainder of this book is useful for all of us, though more so for people camping, fishing, and hunting. It covers what to do in the worst of situations - bear attacks, snake bites, lack of water, loss of supplies, and more.

Valerie @ Central

Looking for love between the covers?

The covers of a good book, that is! Look no further than Milwaukee Public Library. Whether you want to laugh at another's messy foibles as they search for love or live vicariously through their sexcapades, we've got a book for you to check out and enjoy today.

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a fast-paced and often hilarious comedy--even though the ending was a little predictable, it sure was fun to get there. It often feels like the first person narrator (Don Tillman, a genetics researcher who has Asperger's syndrome) is channeling Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory". But as his unexpected romance with Rosie unfolds, it's fun to discover some unsuspected facets to his character that even he hadn't realized were there.

Chris at Bay View and Tippecanoe
Also reviewed here by Jacki.


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Bared to You by Sylvia Day, the first book in the Crossfire Series is sure to satiate those craving something steamy. When Eva meets super sexy and mega rich Gideon Cross, she falls for him almost immediately. They find themselves together during nearly all their free moments; the details of their encounters are explicitly spelled out, so you can rest your imagination for a spell. The story continues in Reflected in You and Entwined with You.

Jacki @ Central

Throw the Damn Ball by R D Rosen, et al

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Throw the Damn Ball: Classic Poetry by Dogs by R. D. Rosen, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles

Let your poetry-loving pooch share the couch for a read-aloud of this collection--poems from the canine perspective accompanied by photos of dogs being dogs. Most of the focus is on food, sticks, toys and body and potty humor--which is where it's at for dogs! Especially fun are the titles or lines that reference famous poems, at least the ones which even I recognized: "Whose Ball This is I Think I Know", "Do not go gentle into that dog run", "I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a half-eaten sandwich", and from 'Growl': "I saw the best of my generation/ barking madly moonward". Five paws for this one!

Chris at Bay View and Tippecanoe

Celebrate Black History Month with Us!

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A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, a Coretta Scott King honor book, uses poetic verse to describe Emmett Till; a fourteen year old boy who was lynched in 1955 for whistling at a white woman while at the grocery store. The illustrations by Philippe Lardy offer powerful, bold symbols that follow the verse.

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Simeon's Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till by Simeon Wright

Wright was twelve years old when he and Till went to the grocery store. He was sleeping in the same bed when Emmett was kidnapped and attended the trial of the men who killed him. A first-hand account of the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till told by the author Simeon Wright, Till's cousin.

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Scholar and author Henry Louis Gates has skillfully and superbly written an encyclopedia of African American history in Life upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008. It is an outstanding, well researched book that focuses on defining events, debates and controversies as well as important achievements of famous and lesser-known figures, in a volume complemented by reproductions of ancient maps and historical paraphernalia.

Sue @ Tippecanoe

Promise Land by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro

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Jessica Lamb-Shapiro is well-versed in the language of self-help. Her father is a psychologist, parenting expert, and self-help author. In Promise Land she explores the culture of American self-help, trying to find why self-help has such a strong appeal and how the self-help industry became so huge. She goes to conferences, walks on hot coals, makes a vision board, attends lectures, takes a class to deal with her fear of flying, and volunteers at a camp for teens dealing with grief.

Promise Land starts with Lamb-Shapiro and her father attending a workshop/conference by Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the Chicken Soup franchise. The conference focuses on how to write and market the next big self-help book series. Her father has written numerous books, but none have been best-sellers. His setbacks don't seem to matter, because he is still relentlessly, endlessly, annoyingly positive. In addition to writing books, he makes and sells educational/therapeutic games and toys (the Ungame, anyone?). She experiences the world of self-help first-hand by helping him sell his products at conferences all over the country. At every turn she counters her father's boundless positivity with a healthy dose of cynicism.

Her relationship with her father is a constant thread throughout the memoir. He provides a way into a lot of self-help communities, but more than that Lamb-Shapiro uses the time spent together and the self-help world to explore their relationship and her upbringing. They have an interesting rapport because her mother died when she was very young. They never talked about it, and all the knowledge of her mother comes to her secondhand. After that rather traumatic event, he remarried, moved around, got divorced - lots of change at a time when people often recommend stability. In this book she looks at the legacy of self-help within her own family, how that has shaped her, and how that can help her deal with her unresolved grief.

The real strength of this book is that it is a memoir: it is not a full-scale exploration of the culture, but her journey through it. She acknowledges that self-help can be really helpful, but that it also might be total hokum. It depends on the person, and it also depends on the self-help. She starts the book with cynicism, but in the end she learns to open herself up. That's not to say she tried a miracle cure and it totally worked, but instead that she saw that holding all her emotions in might not be the best way for her to be healthy. That was her journey through self-help, and I enjoy being there with her.

Allie @ Central

Crocheted Wild Animals by Vanessa Mooncie

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Crocheted Wild Animals: A Collection of Wild and Woolly Friends to Make by Vanessa Mooncie is one of the newer additions to the collection of books we have on amigurumi - which is a Japanese technique for crocheting (or knitting) stuffed toys. Besides making adorably cute items that will make people of all ages smile, they are relatively easy enough for a beginner to make. This book is better than your typical instruction book as the animals are more realistic looking than just a circle with some arms and legs attached to it. The frog on the cover is an example of this and a good indicator of what is offered in the book. The instructions are also shown visually with stitch diagrams, which can be helpful even to seasoned crafters.

Meredith @ Central

It Happens in the Dark by Carol O'Connell

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Before there was Lisbeth Salander, there was Kathy Mallory, NYC's scariest detective. In It Happens in the Dark by Carol O Connell, the eleventh Mallory Mystery, Mallory, whose deductive and manipulative abilities more than make up for her lack of people skills, takes on the case of a playwright murdered during the opening of his new Broadway play. Mallory sees through the histrionics and obfuscations of the theater company to find a killer lurking in the wings.

Fran @ Bay View

Treasures of the Rare Books Room: Hundertwasser

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Friedrich Stowasser, later to be known as Hundertwasser, was born in Vienna in 1928 and began drawing at the age of 6. He travelled extensively and exhibited his art - drawings, paintings and prints - worldwide. Hundertwasser was a true Renaissance man. He wrote, lectured, taught, invented, fought for the environment, climbed mountains, sailed, flew hot air balloons and the list goes on. His curiosity and daring almost had no end.

Hundertwasser used bright and rich colors, squares and circles, swirls and unusual perspectives to create a sense of constant movement in his art, much like his overflowing exciting life. Influenced by Paul Klee's childlike figures, Egon Schiele's loose brush strokes and Gustav Klimt's squares and use of gold, Hundertwasser painted a wide range of subjects - people, architecture, boats, cars, nature and landscapes as well as many abstract pieces which portray motion, emotion and place. The Milwaukee Public Library is proud to own copy 141 from a limited edition of 550 printed in 1974; the item was donated by the George Des Forges Fund.

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

Valerie @ Central

Get Inspired

We can create! We can dance! We can write! We can draw! We just need to get off our butts and do it. Let these books be a friendly kick in the behind to get you started.

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The Artist in the Office by Summer Pierre

Artists often have to work day jobs to make ends meet, and even people with no aspiration to be a professional artist might need an artistic outlet. This book provides artistic ideas about how to use your surroundings and the materials at hand to create small projects and incorporate creative thinking into your daily/weekly routine. A lot of the exercises in this book focus on helping you examine your priorities. What are the obstacles to you making art? What are the obstacles to you enjoying your job? How are you spending your time? How do you want to spend your time? This book is a supportive guide to figuring out the answers to those questions.


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Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon

This is another great book for figuring out how to be creative in your daily life. Kleon outlines 10 principles for making creativity a priority. Filled with some amazing quotes about creativity, Kleon draws from tons of fields to make some interesting points about making stuff. It doesn't all have to be miraculous artistic genius, sometimes you just have to do something and keep doing something until things start to click. The tips in this book are particularly relevant because they focus on creativity in the digital world. Etiquette, putting your work out there, and citing your sources (in the often anonymous internet ether) are all covered.


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What It Is by Lynda Barry

I think Lynda Barry is the absolute greatest, and this book is no exception. Simply put, it's a book about writing and how to write. Barry is very encouraging and open, mixing stories about her life with instructions for writing exercises. Most of her comics and collages are on lined yellow legal paper, making it clear that artistic expression doesn't have to be fancy and special. Art can happen anywhere! She talks a lot about how children create so much and without scrutiny, and when we get older we fall prey to judgment and the idea that we're not really artists/writers/creators. This book is meant to help you see that the freedom and creativity we experience as children isn't off limits as adults. We can create! We can dance! We can write! We can draw! We just need to get off our butts and do it.


And if you need a further inspiration, you should read Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman. What's that about? Just go back in time and read my review!

Allie @ Central

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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