Monday, December 27, 2010

Fighting Brain Disease

This little book of 100 Simple Things just might give you a fighting chance against Alzheimer's. Some of the suggestions are as easy as eat berries every day and avoid inactivity. Others are more involved, like "get a higher education" and "have an interesting job." The bottom line? Make an effort and you might reap the rewards.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Edible History

97 Orchard, by Jane Ziegelman, is a fascinating book! It is the story of five immigrant families who lived in one New York tenement building. I especially enjoyed reading about the women of different nationalities and how they coped with carrying water up flights of stairs for cooking and bathing, carrying babies up those same flights of stairs, and then shopping for groceries and carrying those up the same stairs. Then, to top off their days, these German, Irish, Italian and Jewish women cooked the food for their families. Some of my ancestors were German so I was interested in the recipes the Germans relied on each day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sweet and Sultry

The new album by Sara Bareilles, Kaleidoscope Heart, follows the same vein as her first album, Little Voice. Her style varies throughout the album -- she has peppy hits and moody ballads. She's similar to artists like Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, and she performed at the 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting!

Monday, December 13, 2010

From Neck to Nothing

Nora Ephron is one of my favorite authors. She's funny, humble, and witty. You might know some of her work--she wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia. Her essays are equally engaging. I Feel Bad about My Neck was just the beginning. She's back with a new collection, I Remember Nothing. Give her a read--and you'll have a hard time putting down the book.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bold and Radical Partnership

Franklin and Eleanor: an Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley is a new, almost scholarly, look at a couple who seem to come alive in its pages. This is a well-documented account of the history and facts based on letters and other documents, of the couple who challenged conventional views of marriage and gave their all to their country. I especially enjoyed reading about Eleanor's feelings about sharing a house with her mother-in-law and her need for her own place. She and FDR eventually both had their own cottages on the Hyde Park property. There is an interesting undercurrent about the White House cook, chosen by Eleanor even though she couldn't cook anything worth eating. The details of FDR's negotiations in WW II are riveting. If you want to feel like you are experiencing the war or the depression, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unconventional Creativity

Julian Beever is no ordinary artist. His work takes hours of detailed sketching and planning before he begins the creation of the piece...which can be washed away in a matter of moments if the clouds should decide to burst! The incredibly realistic drawings stop people in their tracks and this book describes each piece from Julian's perspective.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Movie Night Suggestions

If you find yourself in the mood for cozying up with a good movie, film expert Roger Ebert has some great suggestions for you in The Great Movies III. The one hundred essays look at old and new, and include everything from The Godfather to A Prairie Home Companion. You will certainly find something of interest!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bagel or McMuffin?

As we enter the season of family, friends and food, you might worry about packing on the pounds. Fear not--the authors of the Eat This, Not That! series have just released an updated and expanded edition to help you fight an expanding waistline. You don't have to give up all those delicious restaurant snacks during your shopping breaks...just make wiser choices. (Hint: choose the Egg McMuffin over the Bagel!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's not Dear Abby, but it still works

For decades, the broken and wounded of heart have been making the pilgrimage to Verona Italy, the setting of Shakespeare's famous play Romeo and Juliet. Here, they leave letters asking Juliet for advice about relationships. And, thanks to a dedicated team of writers, the letters are answered in due course. This was the inspiration for the 2010 romantic comedy Letters to Juliet:

It is while assisting this team of writers that Sophie, a young woman struggling with her own relationship issues, finds a 50-year-old letter written by Claire. Thinking she is only doing her job, Sophie responds to Claire's letter, offering the best advise she can. But sometimes life brings unexpected twists of fate. Soon Sophie finds herself accompanying Claire, now an old woman, on a journey to find Claire's long-lost true love. Along the way, sparks fly between Sophie and Claire's stubborn grandson. Included is some gorgeous scenery of the Italian countryside. Although quite cheesy and often predictable, Letters to Juliet is a lighthearted and enjoyable film. Watch it alone or with the "girls". Pints of Ben and Jerry's are optional. A word of warning to potential male viewers, though: This movie is more "chick flick" than "date movie" (and yes, there is a difference).

Great Escapes

If you love to travel but can't get away as much as you like, Book Lust to Go has lots of great book recommendations that will have you on your way to destinations worldwide. Librarian Nancy Pearl knows what makes a good read and shares more than 120 of her ideas in this guide.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

That's eyetalian!

Yes, the real deal, The Dog Who Ate the Truffle is a memoir replete with Italian cooking and culture. Suzanne Carriero spent a year and a half in Umbria, and this is her intimate look at its ancient recipes, traditions, and the people who pass them on. Each of the book’s eight chapters features local cooks, as their personal stories are as much a part of the cuisine’s essence as are the crops they grow and the family dishes they prepare.Anecdotes, sidebars, and boxes are used throughout the book to further illustrate Umbrian life;from buying a rabbit in the country, to making torta di Pasqua for Easter, to reading the Italian wine label, and drinking cappuccino after lunch (a serious breach in tradition). With a food and wine glossary included as a reference for travelers, The Dog Who Ate the Truffle immerses the reader in the people, cuisine, and lifestyle that few are privileged to experience. Suzanne’s colorful stories and authentic classic recipes make for an intimate and illustrious travel cookbook.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gotta Love Dewey!

You don't have to be a librarian to appreciate Dewey's Nine Lives, retired librarian Vicki Myron's second tribute to her library's beloved cat Dewey Readmore Books. Here, Myron tells new stories about Dewey's antics that didn't make the cut for the first book. Also included are tales (tails?) about six other extraordinary cats that are sure to give you a case of the warm fuzzies. If you are a cat owner, this heartwarming read will make you want to track down your feline friend and give him or her a cuddle. And if you don't have a cat, perhaps this book will inspire you to make the trek to the nearest animal rescue and adopt a new best friend. Either way, a wonderful read. And it would make a wonderful gift for the animal lover on your holiday shopping list!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Lakes History

It was 35 years ago today that the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. The mysterious tragedy inspired Gordon Lightfoot to write a moving ballad about the wreck. If you visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan you can see the bell of the freighter and many other artifacts relating to the voyage. Tonight at 7pm the Museum will have its annual memorial service to honor the crew of 29 that was lost that fateful night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A different view of Leo Tolstoy

History is seen through the eyes of a wife in Sophia Tolstoy: a Biography. This biography is written by a journalist and literary scholar and provides much information in Sophia's own words through her letters. If you watched The Last Station and wanted to know more, this detailed biography provides the details and a lot of historical background. I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Local Talent

Mark your calendars for a special event at the Library.
On Saturday, December 11 from 2-4 these local authors will be on hand to sell and sign their books:

Join us for this unique event!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Warm Hands

It's getting nearer to that time of year when you'll need mittens to keep your hands warm. Mittens & Gloves has a huge variety of patterns for you to knit up some new ones for yourself or to give as gifts. The items range from mittens and gloves to wristlets and sleeves. Some of the patterns are quite advanced--be prepared to be challenged by them!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The story of a house

Reading Inheritance: the Story of Knole and the Sackvilles is a fascinating way to review British history through generations of the Sackville family living at Knole. Robert Sackville-West, the author and current resident of the house now owned by the National Trust, researched his topic very carefully and provides the facts starting in 1604. The book moves quickly from the 1st through 6th Earl of Dorset to the 1st through 3rd Duke of Dorset to the Dowager Duchess and her Descendants "The very name of Sackville. . . near extinction" (1799-1888). Knole was taken over by the National Trust in 1946 with family living in apartments or separate wings. Many inhabitants suffered depression, sometimes the result of dealing with primogeniture. It was very difficult for the wives to give their lives to a house that would never be theirs. The author had to make the decision of whether to move from a cottage to the "big house" (and its lack of privacy with 80,000 visitors a year) when he took over. Since I have not visited Knole, I especially enjoyed the photos of furniture, paintings and even the marble tomb in the family chapel.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Little Wine

For those of us who are not yet wine connoisseurs, Let Me Tell You About Wine has enough information to get you started. Oz Clarke is an international expert on the subject and breaks it down into three sections: identifying flavors and grape varieties, enjoying the drink, and exploring the world of wine. The highly readable book is great for beginners and probably has new information for the experienced, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wii This Wednesday!

Wednesday Nov. 3
@ 2 p.m.
Have fun, stay active, and test the accuracy of your throwing arm with Wii Bowling Wednesday, November 3 @ OPL. Bring a friend or family member and be ready to "pin" down some fun--without the hassle of having to rent a pair of those uncomfortable billing ally shoes. Not a bowler? Try a game of Tennis, Baseball, or Golf. Browse new books and magazines while you wait your turn to play. Wii Wednesdays are held at 2 p.m. in the Community Room. Drop-ins are welcome!
p.s. Even more exciting Wii games and activities are on tap for next year! Stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

France, Oui!

One pleasure of reading is that it can take you away, far away,without the hassle of plane travel! The mystery The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker takes us to the peaceful village of St-Denis, France. Bruno Courreges is the town's only policeman,and must investigate when a research field of genetically modified crops is burned. Full of the pleasures of France, a dinner of truffle omelette and a community grape crushing, the novel provides the background for romance, rivalry and murder.
Deadly Slipper, written by Michelle Wan is the first of another mystery series set in France. This mystery about a woman's search for her long-missing sister takes readers to the ruggedly beautiful Dordogne region of France and into the exotic world of orchid hunting.
Peter Mayle has written many fiction and nonfiction books featuring the south of France. Chasing Cezanne is a lighthearted and fast paced mystery about the complications that ensue when a photographer who is taking pictures of houses happens to spot a Cezanne being loaded onto a plumbing truck! So Bon Appetit, and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

da Buck Stops Here

Escanaba in da Moonlight is an hilarious film that celebrates one of Michigan's three seasons: Winter, Construction, and Hunting.

At the age of 43, Ruben Soady is dangerously close to being the oldest member of his family to never hang a buck on da buck pole. That status may be fine for the average Troll (someone who lives south of the Mackinaw Bridge) coming to the Upper Peninsula on an annual hunting pilgrimage, but for a Soady... Well, it's enough to bring the highest level of shame to Ruben and his family. No longer content to endure being called "Buckless Yooper" by friends and neighbors, Ruben is determined that this year will be different. In a last-ditch effort to change his luck for the better, Ruben convinces his fellow hunting buddies to participate in an ancient Native American ritual guaranteed to draw every buck in the state to the front door of their rustic backwoods cabin. What happens instead is a series of strange, terrifying, and unexplainable events, including: An exploding Chevy, UFO sightings, haunted Euchre cards, and a surprise visit from the most dreaded of dreadful visitors, a DNR officer. Will this night before Opening Day ever end? And, when the sun finally rises, will Ruben be prepared to face the inevitable?
Written by and starring Jeff Daniels and featuring Harve Presnell, Joey Albright, Wayne David Parker, and Randall Godwin, Escanaba in da Moonlight is a regional comedy that can be enjoyed by both "Yoopers" and "Trolls", deer hunters and their "widows".
Rated: PG-13 for some crude humor.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More New Magazines

Three more new subscriptions have broadened the scope of our magazine collection. We now have current issues of Crochet World, Dwell, and Whole Living on display. Stop in and see what they're all about!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Film With "Universal" Appeal

It's The Beatles as you've never experienced them! Set in the United States during the height of the Vietnam War and narrated through gorgeously unique re-arrangements of favorite Beatles hits, Across the Universe centers on the tumultuous relationship between Lucy, a sheltered New Jersey teen, and Jude, a dockworker from Liverpool who has traveled to American to locate his estranged father. When Lucy's older brother, Max, is drafted and shipped overseas, everything suddenly hits too close to home for her. Lucy becomes deeply involved with a radical organization opposing the war. At the same time, Jude deals with the stress of war in his own more passive way. This places a strain on their relationship. Also struggling with how to deal with the war (as well as their own inner turmoils) are Sadie, a middle-aged nightclub singer trying to make it big, Jo-Jo, a guitarist from Detroit trying to escape a tragic past, and Prudence, a confused runaway from rural Ohio who is going through a very big identity crisis. Across the Universe is the story of how these six strangers come together to form a bond of friendship that helps each of them deal with their individual struggles and, by the time the credits roll, prove to the audience that "all you need is love." The music, combined with gorgeous costumes, detailed choreography, and cool special effects provide a truly unique cinematic experience. Rated: PG-13 for mature content. Soundtrack also available at Oxford Public Library.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's been 30 years since the Official Preppy Handbook

True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World by Lisa Birnbach is the update you have been waiting for of The Official Preppy Handbook by the same author. Be prepared to laugh outloud at sections titled: "Daddy's New Girlfriend: just like Mummy only twenty-three years younger", "Your Personal Trainer: a Cautionary Tale", "Your Driver, Formerly known as the chauffeur". There are wardrobe details with a list of vintage stores (two in Michigan, guess where?), another list of "The 42 Preppiest Places to Have a Summer House" (think the coasts, nothing up north in Michigan, although "lakes are preppier than pools"). This book will amuse you with staged photos and country club rules (no spandex bicycle wear). Near the end is a "Do-it-yourself True Prep Eulogy". That is just what we will need when we die laughing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Change the way you do business

Be brave and read Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results. There is a new world of work out there and times are changing faster than companies make rules. Irrational rules are killing productivity and morale. This is a wake-up call for executives to remove limitations in the way of innovation.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LWV Guides are Here!

The print versions of the League of Women Voters Voter Guides have arrived. They are packed with information about the candidates and issues for the General Election on November 2. Included: Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State Senate, State Representative, Michigan Supreme Court, and more. Stop in and pick yours up today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Carved Masterpieces

This past Saturday we had the pleasure of watching John Bradshaw make works of art as he carved pumpkins and gourds here at the library. If you're inspired to do more than triangle eyes and square teeth, you should check out Extreme Pumpkin Carving and try your hand at advanced carving.

(photo by Cristan)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a tangled web...

Julia Glass's new novel The Widower's Tale tells the story of a family, its secrets and loyalties. The main character is Percy Darling, widower, settling into retirement with routines of the familiar. He has strained relationships with his two daughters who have coped differently with the tragic death of their mother three decades before. In the course of the book, Percy's life, family, and friends lives will all come together on a collision course, all will be changed. Glass writes affectionately and a bit satirically about family and change. Excellent! M.L.

Trivia Galore

Which city has the longest underground railway in the world? Which country has the lowest divorce rate? What is the hottest place on earth? Which artist has the most MTV awards? All these questions (and more) are answered in the latest edition of Top 10 of Everything. If you like Guinness records, this will be just the thing for you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't miss The Red Pyramid

From the author of the popular Percy Jackson series comes an adventure of Egyptian proportions. In The Red Pyramid, the first volume in Rick Riordan's new Kane Chronicles, siblings Carter and Sadie must team up to save the world. The action begins immediately: In a failed attempt to "make things right" following their mother's mysterious death, the teens' father, Dr. Kane, blows up the Rosetta Stone and accidentally releases five Egyptian gods and goddesses trapped within. Now only Carter and Sadie have the power to stop the potentially disastrous events that have been set in motion. And time is fast running out.... Aided by a basketball-loving baboon and a very special cat, the teens must race to the Phoenix desert where Set, the god of chaos, is building a red pyramid that will give him the power to destroy and take over North America--and, very possibly, the world.

The action is fast-paced and the characters are well-developed. Woven into the story are bits of Egyptian history and plenty of mythology. The Red Pyramid ends with a cliffhanger, suggesting that first volume of The Kane Chronicles has only uncovered the very tip of the iceberg (or pyramid, if you rather). Even better than Percy and not to be missed!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life in the Wake

Ayelet Waldman writes a story of two Maine families and the journey their lives take over four summers. Jane and Iris are matriarchs whose perspectives could not be more different. A sudden unexpected incident tries the resolve of these women and their loved ones as they struggle to find comfort. Waldman tells the story distinctly and sensitively in Red Hook Road.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More than a Dog Story

Marley and Me by John Grogan is a heart-warming story of the devoted love of a dog and master, most certainly, but it is much more. Grogan writes humorously and touchingly of his marriage, his neighborhood, and his career as well as the World's Worst Dog. Join us for a discussion of this book Thursday morning at 10!

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Resource Available

Reference USA is an excellent source of information that's now available for you to use in the library and at home. It has two categories--similar to the white pages and yellow pages of the phone book--with listings for residences and businesses that include lots of detailed information and great advanced searching options.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

thinking about the past

Dancing Backwards by Sally Vickers. Violet Hethrington is traveling by ship from London to New York. She's going to visit a dear friend from her past who she feels she betrayed some years before. On the long trip she reflects about her past, her dead husband, her abusive first love and her life in general. She meets many characters on board that help her with this process. This novel is quietly intelligent and explores love, loss, and memories.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tiny Tricksters

The candy-collecting holiday is drawing close--are you and your children ready to haunt the streets? If not, fear not! Best Ever Kids Costumes has plenty of ideas for all types of treaters: dragons, pirates, sharks, martians, butterflies, sheep, ghosts, and snow queens, just to name a few. The book has detailed instructions with photos and patterns to help you make the most out of your Hallowed Eve.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Funny Florida characters

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen is the latest in his list of adventures that take place in Florida. You might want to start with Nature Girl and Skinny Dip and move on through his list of novels, saving the new Star Island for last. Crazy characters get themselves into wild situations in all of Hiaasen's books. This new book involves a hostage situation in which a singer's double is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel. The problem is that the singer's fans aren't supposed to find out that she has a double.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brain Games

As school gets underway, parents want their children to start off the new year on the right foot. This little book has lots of practical ways you can help your child be a better thinker, learner, and communicator. It has sections based on age, subject, diet, and activity. A small change could make a big difference.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ghostly Happenings

Haunted Lighthouses is not for the weak or easily scared. These twenty-eight tales, featuring stories of deep waters, lighthouse keepers, and those lost at sea, just might keep you awake at night. Of special interest to Michiganders: the ghost light of Presque Isle and the mighty ghost ship of Lake Superior.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Great Outdoors

With summer days getting shorter and shorter, we need to make the most of the beautiful weather and this book has lots of suggestions that take advantage of seasonal resources. Make It Wild: 101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors encourages you to stroll the beach, walk in the woods, and scour your backyard to find materials for making art, toys, decorations, and furniture. It's a great way to make an artful reminder of our more temperate Michigan months.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not what you'd expect!

Set in the not-too-distant future, Bernard Beckett's novel Genesis puts a modern spin on Plato's Republic. This brief but deep story of dystopian society paints a grim portrait of what Earth has become following years of war and plague: Civilized society has been confined to a remote, walled island near the bottom of the world. Here, inhabitants sacrifice their freedom in exchange for safety and security. This way of life is all young Anex has ever known. Now, hoping to receive a highly-coveted invitation to join the elite Academy, the country's governing body, Anex undergoes a very rigorous enterance examanation. For this, Anex chooses to research and speak on the trial and eventual fate of Adam Forde, an infamous historical figure who defied the government's demand of ultimate submission in order to rescue an outsider. As part of Adam's punishment, he must work with a highly advanced robot named Art. Brings up the argument: What makes us human. The ending will shock you! Not a light read by any means, but definitely worth checking out!

Sleepless in...Maine

One of Stephen King's hidden gems. Shortly after losing his wife to cancer, Ralph Roberts begins suffering from insomnia, waking earlier and earlier each night. At first, he attributes it to getting older (he is, after all, in his 70s), but soon Ralph is lucky to get in two hours before he finds himself lying wide-awake in his darkened bedroom. It's not until Ralph begins seeing strange things--colored envelopes surrounding friends and neighbors that reveal things like health, hidden emotions, and secret agendas--that he realizes something is very wrong. Meanwhile, a storm is brewing in Ralph's small Maine town: An internationally-known women's rights activist has been invited to speak, and certain people will do anything to keep her out. People who have dangerous plans that, if carried out, will throw the universe out of balance and put an end to known life. And Ralph is the only one with the power to thward these plans. With the help of an unlikely ally and some very odd otherworldly beings, Ralph embarks on a race against time to save the universe. Insomnia may be one of King's odder offerings, but it's one of the author's best.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Music, Food, and Home

Through the generous sponsorship of two local businesses, we are adding a number of new titles to our magazine collection. This month we've started receiving Saveur, Spin, and Elle Decor. Did you know that you can check out previous issues of the library's magazines? It's a great way to catch up on light reading!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Escape to... The Clearing

With The Clearing, author Heather Davis spins a short but (bitter)sweet story of relearning to live, love, trust, and stand on one's own: Hoping to escape an abusive relationship, high school senior Amy leaves her home and friends in Seattle and moves to a rural Washington town to live with her non-intrusive, but still loving Aunt Mae--who she barely knows. Unfortunately, the fresh start isn't everything Amy has hoped for. In trying to mask her deep emotional scars, Amy puts up walls and comes across as defensive and unfriendly to her peers. After a particularly depressing day, Amy escapes the confines of Mae's trailer and wanders off into the wilderness beyond. Here she finds a clearing that seems perpetually shrouded in mist--no matter the weather elsewhere. Beyond the mist, Amy finds the unexpected: Here she meets Henry, who is unlike any boy she has ever met. The friendship-to-love-relationship the two young people begin soothes Amy's deep wounds and helps her to again believe there is good in the world. The whole experience seems almost, well...magical to Amy. And it is. Still, something nags the back of Amy's mind whenever she and Henry are apart--like why are apple trees blooming in autumn?

What Amy eventually learns is that Henry and his family have been caught in the endless cycle of reliving the summer of 1944. Worried about his brother off fighting in WWII (and about to be shipped off to war himself), Henry, in a moment of desperation, wished for a miracle--and got it. Amy knows there are choices she and Henry must both make. Choices to move on with their lives. But these choices could separate them forever.
The Clearing is beautifully written. An ideal book for a quiet evening at home or a day at the beach.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fashionably Recycled

What do zippers, curtains, pants, and chip bags have in common? They can all be upcycled into fashionable handbags! Refashioned Bags has ideas and patterns for a wide array of purses and totes. You'll be inspired to reuse all sorts of household items for crafting purposes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Romance and a bit of intrigue in a vintage clothing store

A Vintage Affair is a bittersweet story of friendship and love with a touch of history thrown in. It takes place, and was originally published, in Great Britain. The story is centered in and around Village Vintage clothing store. Phoebe, the store owner, visits older people who have clothes to sell and stories to tell. Purchasing the vintage dresses sometimes changes the way customers feel about themselves and therefore changes their lives. Phoebe has several male admirers and her life and schedule can be quite complex. The book is entertaining and pleasant to read.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There's Always Next Time

Fans of The Time Traveler's Wife will likely enjoy My Name is Memory, the latest adult offering by Ann Brashares (of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame). In it we meet Daniel, a young man who has the unique ability to remember past lives and past loves. In his most recent incarnation, Daniel seeks out Lucy, a young woman he remembers as Sophia, the great love of his lives. Can Daniel convince Lucy/Sophia of their past together, or will he be doomed to yet another lonely life? Told in alternating viewpoints, readers will get to know both characters, their motivations, and the reasons they may or may not be able to be together this time around. A bit confusing and, at times, frustrating, but still a worthy read.

Master of Suspense

If you're wanting to read about blood and guts, keep looking. If, however, you're seeking a subtly spooky story filled with exquisitely well-drawn characters playing out their parts in a setting so gorgeously-descriptive you can almost smell the damp of the lake as you read, rush to the shelf and check out Bag of Bones! In a departure from his typically in-your-face brand of horror, author Stephen King crafts with Bag of Bones a beautifully haunting tale that is driven more by its slowly unfolding suspense than by scariness (although there are a few moments...).

Still reeling from the sudden death of his wife, Jo, author Mike Noonan is mysteriously and uncontrollably drawn to his summer cabin on Dark Score Lake, a place he hasn't been back to in years--not since before he lost Jo. Here he hopes to discover what is drawing him back and, hopefully, find a cure for the writer's block that has been plaguing him. Upon his return, Mike instead finds himself unwillingly pulled into the dirty politics of the community, which are revolving around a nasty and possibly murderous custody battle brought on by a grudge held by the ruler of the area's good ol' boy network. Here at Dark Score Lake, Mike must also learn to confront and deal with his own personal ghosts. In doing so, he uncovers a nearly century-old secret that proves not everything (or everyone) in this outwardly-tranquil lakeside community is what it seems.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pushing the Limits

Anita Shreve is known for her ability to write compellingly about personal challenges and her latest work, A Change in Altitude, continues in that vein. Married couple Margaret and Patrick have left Boston so Patrick can do medical research in Kenya. They make quick friends with a British couple and decide to trek to the top of Mt. Kenya. The dangerous trip takes a fatal turn and the following events have long-term consequences. Thought-provoking and well-written, this is a good read to the last page.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Da Vinci's Genius

The complex man behind the Mona Lisa had thoughts and theories about such a wide variety of subjects: painting, sculpture, flight, architecture, war, and anatomy, to name a few. Leonardo's Legacy: How Da Vinci Reimagined the World delves into the the mysteries of science that so captivated Leonardo, while revealing personal facts that humanize the brilliant man.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not Just James Bond

If you like Sean Connery, you will like Being a Scot by Sean Connery and Murray Grigor. The book is loaded with great photos and illustrations providing the story of Connery's life as well as many details of Scottish cultural life and achievements.