Friday, July 29, 2011

Go Get 'Em Tiger

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua stereotypes the Chinese and Western ways of parenting. While Ms. Chua acknowledges that you don't have to be Chinese to be a "Chinese Mother" she still boasts throughout the book that the drive for excellence in children is more Chinese than Western. If you can get past this then the book is actually an enjoyable memoir and a quick and interesting read. If you would like insight into a mother who is truly a tiger, pushing her children to the extremes with an iron-will, but not without humor and mishaps along the way, then this book is for you. SG

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Social Animal

If you like a little fiction with your non-fiction, this book is for you. In The Social Animal, New York Times columnist David Brooks weaves the story of Harold and Erica, two fascinating, yet achingly normal, people with intertwined fates. This is not your average boy-meets-girl tale, however. The book is jam packed with sociological, cultural, and economical studies and their findings. Brooks keeps the mammoth amount of research from becoming overwhelming by writing in a coversational tone and grounding the work in a relatable and very human story. OEO

Night Road

Night Road is one of those books where when you aren't reading it you're still thinking about it, or at least thinking about the characters. Lexi, a foster girl moves to a small town to live with an aunt she didn't know existed. She becomes best friends with Mia and soon falls in love with Mia's twin Zach. Jude, the twins mother is the perfect mom and welcomes Lexi into the fold. Soon their lives are intertwined and they are inseparable. Tragedy strikes and in the blink of an eye their lives are shattered. This book is profoundly moving and will be a book to read with a box of kleenex. A great read! SG

Thursday, July 21, 2011

heroine's journey

Joseph Campbell, noted writer on mythology,talked about how in many cultures, a theme of the hero's journey is evident. We see this in everything from The Odyssey to Star Wars. In the two following books, the young women that are the central characters are experiencing the hero's journey,the quest for identity. Bonnie Jo Campbell wrote Once Upon A River, which takes place on a river in Michigan. She is a self-sufficient young woman who can handle a rifle or skin game but is still a child when it comes to making choices. The violent death of her father cuts her off from her extended family and she undertakes a journey to find her absent mother. The journey,as all hero's quests,is a journey of self discovery.

In Winter's Bone, young Ree Dolley is on a journey to save the family home,after her father puts it up for bail and disappears. Ree's mother is mentally ill and she must find her father to keep the family farm for her younger brother and sister. This novel takes an unflinching look at a rural Ozark community that has been devastated by methamphetamine use. With the "law" no help and people refusing to talk Ree has to bravely forge ahead,and what she finds at the end is explosive. Both of these books feature wonderful writing and admirable lead characters. ML

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goodbye Ozzie

If you're like me, you're going to miss seeing Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood in the net (or rather, halfway to the blue line). Osgood announced his retirement yesterday, which got me thinking about some of his career highlights. Remember the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs? Ozzie was put in goal after the Wings' starting goalie, Dominik Hasek, failed to deliver in the first round. He then went on to propel the team all the way to the Stanley Cup, beating Sidney Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals. Relive the excitement in Forever Hockeytown!: How the 2008 Red Wings Reclaimed the Stanley Cup and celebrate Chris Osgood's amazing career. HM

Monday, July 18, 2011

What The Heck Is That ??

Ever been driving along a West Michigan country road and come across something that defies all logic? Ever seen strange lights in the U.P. sky or caught a glimpse of a caped crusader in Jackson? These urban myths, roadside attractions, and just plain local strangeness (I'm looking at you, Captain Jackson) are documented in Linda S. Godfrey's Weird Michigan: Your Travel Guide to Michigan's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. With chapters such as "Bizarre Beasts" and "Cemetery Safari," Godfrey provides one-page profiles of Michigan oddities from Witchy Wolves to the Heidelberg Project. Published in 2006, this book has enjoyed a steady popularity among Michiganders, but if you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend browsing through it. Or better yet, take it with you on vacation this summer and explore Michigan in all of its weirdness. HM

Friday, July 15, 2011

More Great Recommendations

Looking for more great staff recommendations? Click on over to Oxford Public Library's new Teen Book Blog. Check out reviews on books, audios, and videos teen staff members have enjoyed! Learn what's new and what's hot in teen literature! Rediscover some old favorites! And maybe, just maybe you'll find your next great read.--AJL

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Too good to be true.

A woman, after months of struggling,gets a dream job as an art gallery manager in Manhattan. The man who hires her says he is representing a wealthy and reclusive client. After a controversial exhibit the rep is found dead and the gallery stripped of all records. Of course the woman,Alice Humphrey is suspected by the police. Can she find out who set her up? Alafair Burke's novel Long Gone is suspensful and fast moving. A great summer read for mystery lovers. ML

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cool Down

I have a confession to make: when the temps start to soar and the weather gets unbearably hot, I like to pretend that I'm somewhere cold. And not just anywhere. I try to trick myself into thinking I'm in Scandinavia. In winter. So when I can't get down to IKEA, I find the next best thing is to turn up the air conditioning and curl up with some good Nordic crime fiction. HÃ¥kan Nesser is a Swedish author who sets his stories in a non-descript northern European country. In Mind's Eye, we are introduced to Inspector Van Veeteren, who has the uncanny ability to accurately assess a suspect's guilt within moments (19 times out of 20 anyway), much to the exasperation of his fellow detectives. His confidence waivers, however, when he meets a high school teacher who is accused of brutally murdering his own wife. The problem? The suspect has no memory of the night in question, and no idea that someone else is going to stop at nothing to make sure he never remembers. This is the first book in Nesser's Inspector Van Veeteren series. HM

My Latest Grievance

Frederica Hatch has had a bizarre childhood. Raised in a college dormitory by liberal professor parents, she has always been taught to speak her mind, and that she certainly does. Her pananche and insatiable curiosity has served her well, but nothing can prepare her for what will happen when her father's self-obsessed and incomparably theatrical ex-wife moves into the dorm next store. The language in this novel is particularly enjoyable, as is Frederica's clear-eyed and lovable narration. OEO

Saturday, July 2, 2011

ode to eating locally

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering and eating locally (all on $40 week) by Robin Mather has it all. It is an entertaining story of an unemployed woman, on her own who is commited to cooking and eating well on a budget. She moves to a small cabin in rural Michigan with her dog and parrot. It is fun to read and includes 150 recipes. Mather's background as a food writer shines. She makes friends and trades her homemade preserves for garden produce and even gets chickens. I especially liked that she shares her knowledge of local Michigan companies such as Williams cheese. STE