Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Michigan Mystery

Steve Hamiltons first novel A Cold Day in Paradise is a winner. Not only did it recieve the Edgar Award for Best First Novel but it also won the Shamus Award. The main character, Alex McNight, is a Detroit cop who has retired to Michigan's upper peninsula after being shot. Alex is enjoying the peaceful, slow pace of the U.P., tending a hunting camp, playing cards with friends and doing casual private eye work for the local lawyer, until he suddenly becomes involved in murder. This book could be called a typical hardboiled detective novel but it's a lot more than that. It's fun to read because it takes place in the U.P., it's a great read because it catches you from the first page, and it's a fantastic story because the plot twists and turns unexpectedly. A Cold Day in Paradise is the first book in the Alex McNight series. SG

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cheers! Salud! Prost!

Whether you're a beer connoisseur or just a casual enthusiast, Michigan Breweries by Canton residents Paul Ruschmann and Maryanne Nasiatka will help you traverse the state's rich world of breweries, microbrews, and brewpubs. Broken down by geographic region, the authors present well-researched and informative profiles of 66 brewers, from bigger names like Bell's and Founders to little-known outfits like the Red Jacket Brewing Company. Each profile includes a brief overview and history, as well as valuable insights and suggestions from the authors. Also, interspersed with the individual brewery descriptions are mini-essays on Michigan's regional brewing history and tourist information. Be sure to take Michigan Breweries along with you when going up north or traveling around the state this summer. Who knows -- you might even discover an amazing microbrewery in your own backyard!

As with all guidebooks, remember to check with the local companies mentioned before heading out for the most up-to-date information. HM

Friday, June 24, 2011

Libraries: We're About More Than Just Books

The age-old stereotype of the prim and proper librarian standing guard over endless shelves of dusty books (and likely shushing those who blink or breathe too loudly) is overdue for retirement. Although it is true people are still visiting their local libraries to pick up the latest bestsellers, libraries are about more than just books--and that statement holds true now more than ever. A recent nationwide survey found that more than 77 million people were regularly visiting their local public libraries to take advantage of free computer use and Internet access. This study found that the most common reasons for this computer usage were: job hunting, career building, homework (and other educational needs), and researching health and wellness information. Social networking also figured prominently. To read the complete study, click here.

Oxford Public Library is aware of the increasing demand for free computer access. We currently have nearly 30 public computers spread throughout our Adult, Teen, and Youth departments. All are Internet-ready and equipped with Microsoft Word programs. Our patrons may also access at no charge such resourceful databases as Reference USA and Ancestry Library Edition. Oxford Public Library also offers wireless services for those who bring in laptops. Visit us today and see all we have to offer!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food As Identity

Wonder bread, Ding Dongs, potato chips, and Popsicles -- these are the constant cravings of Bich Minh Nguyen in her coming-of-age tale, Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir. A Vietnamese refugee in 1980s Grand Rapids, Nguyen struggles to reconcile her Asian family life with the Western culture surrounding her. Quickly, she comes to identify "being American" with eating American junk food, and finds herself torn between fried shrimp cakes and Kit Kats. Honored as a Michigan Notable Book in 2008, Stealing Buddha's Dinner is a fascinating look at childhood and the creation of identity through the eyes of an outsider. HM

Friday, June 17, 2011

Apocalypse Now

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank is one of the first novels written about nuclear war, published over 50 years ago it is a timeless classic still relevant today. The novel takes place in a small Florida town where the survivors of a global nuclear holocaust are forced to come together as a community in order to survive.

Other post-apocalyptic novels include The Passage by Justin Cronin, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, One Second After by William Forstchen, and Earth Abides by George Stewart. SG

Thursday, June 16, 2011

buzzzz for Little Bee...

recommended read and a starred review by Booklist---Little Bee, smart and stoic, knows two people in England, Andrew and Sarah, journalists she chanced upon on a Nigerian beach after fleeing a massacre in her village, one grisly outbreak in an off-the-radar oil war. After sneaking into England and escaping a rural “immigration removal” center, she arrives at Andrew and Sarah’s London suburb home only to find that the violence that haunts her has also poisoned them. In an unnerving blend of dread, wit, and beauty, Cleave slowly and arrestingly excavates the full extent of the horror that binds Little Bee and Sarah together. A columnist for the Guardian, Cleave earned fame and notoriety when his first book, Incendiary, a tale about a terrorist attack on London, was published on the very day London was bombed in July 2005. His second ensnaring, eviscerating novel charms the reader with ravishing descriptions, sly humor, and the poignant improvisations of Sarah’s Batman-costumed young son, then launches devastating attacks in the form of Little Bee’s elegantly phrased insights into the massive failure of compassion in the world of refugees. Cleave is a nerves-of-steel storyteller of stealthy power, and this is a novel as resplendent and menacing as life itself.---Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 BooklistDistributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc. CKW

Monday, June 13, 2011

"What if . . .

. . . the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was reversed?" This provocative idea is the core of the alternate history presented in Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo. Kidnapped as a child from her impoverished cabbage farm in Europa, Doris is bought, sold, and enslaved in prosperous Africa before eventually being banished to the plantations of the New World. Stripped of her family and identity, Doris is given a slave name, Omorenomwara, and forced to conform to the Aphrikan culture. Told as a personal narrative alternating between Doris and her owner, Captain Katamba, readers get an insight into the mores and attitudes fueling the slave trade, as well as the inner-conflict felt by those involved. By flipping the roles, Evaristo manages to describe a very dark and bleak chapter in human history in a brand new light. HM

mystery lovers everywhere

The mystery genre is one of the most widely read type of fiction today. This genre while usually involving some puzzle to solve can also feature history or historical figures, a strong sense of place or some theme, like cooking or horse racing. Some series you might not be familiar with such as the one by Louise Penny, featuring Inspector Gamache, and taking place in a northern Canadian town. The inspector is a fine and honorable man, a likable fellow and although mild mannered, he is also a great detective. The first book in the series is Still Life.
Kerry Greenwood writes a series taking place in Melbourne about Corinna Chapman,baker extraordinaire, who live and works with a series of unconventional characters. You will be hungry after this one! The first book in the series is Earthly Delights.
England post-WWI is the setting for Jacqueline Winspear to write the series featuring Maisie Dobbs. Maisie was servant girl but was mentored by several powerful figures because of her intelligence. The losses suffered by a generation involved in the war is explored as well as the role of intuition in solving cases. The first book in the series is titled by her name Maisie Dobbs.
One of the most popular of these offbeat series is written by Laurie King about Mary Russell, who we meet as a teenager as she come across a retired Sherlock Holmes and becomes his pupil. The first and one of the finest in the series is The Beekeepers Apprentice. This series well written,explores exotic locals and features a strong woman lead.
All you mystery lovers out there; what mystery series do you read?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learning the business of McDonalds

Flipping Burgers to Flipping Millions by Bernard Kelly is full of practical advice of learning to adapt, saving your money and following your passion. He advises "Save a little bit, often enough, for long enough, and it will become an enormous fortune." There are local farmers who did what Kelly advises and now find themselves wealthy. I never see them at the mall. They have gardens and fix their equipment themselves. They are satisfied and feel like they have enough. Frugal is a word that describes some very wealthy people. Kelly says the American Indians asked themselves, "How will this decision affect the seventh generation of our people?" but few people now think beyond themselves. Step 1 is to get a job, any job to get started. Step 2 is to be a great employee and work hard. Read the book to learn steps 3-7. STE

Vacations that Won't Stretch your Budget

100 Best Affordable Vacations by Jane Wooldridge and Larry Bleiberg is a National Geographic book divided into American, Into the Wild, Quest for Knowledge and Body & Soul. There are suggestions for learning history, exploring folk arts and even "follow the barbeque trail from North Carolina to Texas. There are even tips for geting free tickets to television shows in Los Angeles. You will find something to do this summer that you haven't done before and probably never thought of doing. It is even fun to read if you are staying home! STE

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Teen-Adult Crossover: A Mooo-ving Story

Looking for your next Epic Read? Look no further than Libba Bray's Going Bovine, winner of the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award.
Cameron Smith just wants to coast through high school (and life) with as little effort as possible. But then the unthinkable happens: He is diagnosed with a rare and particularly vicious form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a.k.a. mad cow disease). Within weeks, perhaps days, he will die. Bummer! As Cameron wastes away in the hospital, he is visited by Dulcie, a pink-haired, punk rock angel with a bad sugar habit. Dulcie promises Cameron that if he goes on a quest to find Dr. X, a mysterious mad scientist who went missing several years ago, he will not only save the universe from certain destruction, he will also be cured of all ailments. Armed with a magical, health-protecting wristband from Disney World and accompanied by Gonzo, his paranoid roommate, Cameron reluctantly accepts the challenge. Cameron and Gonzo journey from Texas to Florida. Along the way they jam with a ghostly jazz musician, narrowly escape being brainwashed by a bizarre happiness cult, pick up a very strange companion who may (or may not) be the Norse god Balder in disguise, party at the world's biggest Spring Break bash, and dodge evil fire giants. Finally, Cameron accomplishes his mission...with some very unexpected results. Loosely based on Don Quixote, Going Bovine will appeal to readers on many different levels. Don't hurt your happiness. Check out Going Bovine today!--AJL