Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In the spirit of the season, check out Margaret Visser's The Gift of Thanks, a look at gratitude from an anthropological perspective. Visser divides her book into six parts, journeying from the outwardly mundane exercise of saying "thank you" to exploring the genuine feeling of gratefulness. She also delves into the cultural and biological roots of emotions and how they have shaped our civilizations and interpersonal relationships for millennia. HM

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Communicating with ancient stones.

Stonehenge is a monument in England, constructed of massive stones in ancient times, we don't have a clear understanding of why this monument was built. In The Stonehenge Legacy, Sam Christer imagines an underground cult worshiping the stones. A young man, Gideon Chase, receives news that his estranged father has killed himself. When he goes to investigate and bury his father, he finds clues to cult worship and blood sacrifice. Stuffed with details about Stonehenge, symbols, and clues, this is a riveting read with an exciting conclusion. M.L.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hot Crime in the City

Heat Wave by Richard Castle is about a female New York City detective who is hard as nails tough, sexy (of course! her name is Nikki Heat after all) and a true believer in fighting for what's right. Tailing her as a 'ride along' is Jameson Rook (Jameson after the whiskey) author for The Ledger, a Rolling Stone type publication, where Jameson has written about everything from Mick Jagger to Afghanistan. Dead bodies, criminals, thugs, and a killer Heat Wave in New York make this a book you can't put down...and the 'heat' isn't only in the weather! Richard Castle is well known for the ABC comedy crime drama Castle. SG

Cruel Yule!

If the upcoming holidays bring out your inner Grinch, you may want to take an irreverent look at the season with comic David Sedaris. In Holidays on Ice, he describes his hilarious stint as an elf in Macy’s Santa Land. Sedaris shares his frustration while viewing a local school’s Christmas Pageant. He compares Dutch and American holiday customs in a fairly obnoxious way.Even Halloween and Easter traditions provide a target for his teasing. While this book tends to be offensive and off-beat, it made me laugh. It might be just the thing needed to beat the holiday blues. DB

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dealing With The Devil

Detective Chief Inspector John Luther has a lot of problems. He's incredibly volatile, he's haunted by the terrible crimes he investigates, his marriage is falling apart, and a psychopath is obsessed with him. But he's also a brilliant detective who will stop at nothing to punish the deserving for their monstrous actions. Always balancing on a tight-rope across a moral grey area, will Luther be pushed over the edge when he faces the ultimate betrayal? Find out in Luther: Season 1. And keep an eye out for Season 2, coming soon to the Oxford Public Library! HM

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog for Teen Readers

Like what we've done here with the OPL Staff Recommendations Blog? Well, we now have a similar blog dedicated specifically to books, movies, music, and programs that would interest our teen patrons. Check out OPL Teen Picks to see what our Teen Staff recommends. And remember: Although these books were selected with teens (grades 6-12) in mind, you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy them. Visit OPL Teen Picks today and see what we've been blogging about. --AJL

Thursday, November 10, 2011

All Good Things Come to Those Who Shoot Straight

It's deer season unlike any other, eh!

Ruban Soady is cursed. Unlike his famously outdoors-y relatives before him, he's never gotten a buck. But this year could be different. This year at deer camp mysterious things happen: Strange lights appear in the sky (UFOs?), the Euchre cards change face, the camp's supply of homemade sweet sap whisky turns to maple syrup, and the DNR stops for more than just a casual visit. Terrifying! Strangest of all, this might be the year Ruban finally gets his buck!

Adapted from a play written by Jeff Daniels, Escanaba in da Moonlight has become a (deer) seasonal favorite--especially among Michigan natives. But you don't have to be a deer hunter to appreciate this feel-good comedy about believing in your dreams and making them come true. --AJL

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

If you like strong first-person narratives, I invite you to take the hand of ten-year old Paddy Clarke and let him lead you through his engaging tale of growing up in 1960s Ireland. Roddy Doyle expertly captures the voice of his young protagonist in the Booker Prize-winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, guiding readers through Paddy's thoughts and recollections, sometimes jumping from one story to another and back again. Against the backdrop of his parents' deteriorating marriage, Paddy details his exploits in Barrytown (including setting fires, enduring school humiliations, and torturing his little brother, "Sinbad"). The tone of the story starts out lighthearted and gradually becomes more wistful, culminating in the origin of the book's title as Paddy leaves the innocence of childhood behind. HM

Check out this interview with Roddy Doyle and discover how Paddy came to be:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Epic Tales of Shame and Infamy

If you need a good laugh then pick up any book by Laurie Notaro - it's sure to put you in a good mood. She's the bestselling author of The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club and her newest humorous memoir, It Looked Different on the Model, is a hoot! She puts a fun spin on everything from trying on a piece of clothing that's too small, but if we pull hard enough we can make it fit, to dealing with middle of the night snack attacks. Real life chick-lit for every age. SG

Monday, November 7, 2011

House is Cat's Meow

What started as a project to build a simple scratching post for their beloved cats turned into a complete remodeling job for Bob and Diane Walker--all to make their home more home-y for their extensive feline family. The Cats' House is truly a feline's dream come true! Throughout there are numeorus scratching posts, staircases, walkways (catwalks, if you will), and countless nooks and cranneies that are perfect for hiding, playing, and napping. Many of which are accessible only if one is a cat. This full-color book takes readers on a room-by-room tour of The Cats' House and explains the inspirations behind many of the designs that are truly (functional) works of art. Looking to do something nice for your kitty? Or just want something interesting to read? Look no further than The Cat's House! --AJL

Things kept hidden.

In 1957 Jane was eleven years old and her father disappeared. When his skull rolled out of the gravel pit three years later with a bullet hole in it, rumors went around he had been killed by his mistress's husband. Now, years later Jane plays a weekly scrabble game with the mistress, Ada. Her daughter has a powerful attraction to one of Ada's sons. While this sounds like a soap opera, Game of Secrets is rather a beautifully written novel about the intertwined relationships in a small town. At once a love story and a mystery, it is moving and surprising. Highly recommended! M.L.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Short and Sweet

I love seasonal reads, and this tiny book by Truman Capote is just perfect. In A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor, Capote takes a nostalgic look at his early childhood in rural Alabama. Separated from his parents and living with distant older relatives, he describes his world in wonderful detail. His best friend is a sixty-something, developmentally delayed cousin named Miss Sook Faulk. They do everything together-- chores, homework, reading, and holiday baking. Miss Sook nurtures the best of human qualities in young Truman with her gentle childlike ways. Although he addresses some not-so-sweet issues: bullying, drinking and separation, his description of long-ago Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is enjoyable. A beautifully bittersweet book.DB

Get Ready for the Apocalypse!

Who knew the cello could rock so hard! New to the Oxford Public Library's music collection is Amplified, by Apocalyptica. Not your typical string quartet, this band is perhaps best known for their instrumental covers of Metallica's greatest hits. But they also play more classically-inspired pieces as well--with a hard rock edge, of course. Check out their head-banging version of Hall of the Mountain King! You may forget you're listening to instruments typically reserved for orchestra music. A bonus disc features vocal stylings from some of today's hottest metal bands. You can find Amplified in the Hard Rock drawer of the library's newly-reorganized music collection. Check it out today! --AJL

A Comedy of Errors

It's the year 4022, more than 2,000 years after a global catastrophe wiped out most of civilization. The story centers around Howard Carson, an amateur archaeologist. One day, Howard stumbles through a hole in the ground and makes a fantastic discovery: In front of him is a door to an ancient burial chamber, the first ever found perfectly preserved. Inside is a treasure trove of ancient wonders and mysterious artefact's from a time long past. Read how Howard and his team carefully catalog the strange objects found inside the burial chamber and try to guess how each one was used by the ancient civilization (us) of their studies. And how very wrong their guesses are!

The Motel of Mysteries is part dystopia, part science fiction, and part satire. And keep this last part in mind as you read! This book is not meant to be taken too seriously (example: The object the archaeologists believe was used as a Sacred Ceremonial Headdress by our society). Along with humor is an interesting message about how wrong we can be in our assumptions about societies and cultures we really know nothing about. And it begs the question: In our real-life studies of peoples long gone (the Incas & Aztecs, for example), how accurate are we really when it comes to knowing about them from the artifacts they left behind? We could be as off-base in our knowledge as Howard and his team. Makes you think, doesn't it? --AJL

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Philosophical Fiction

Rene is an aging and seemingly unremarkable concierge in a posh French apartment building, and Paloma is a twelve-year-old intellectual prodigy whose family owns an flat in the same building. Outwardly, no two tenants could appear to be more dissimilar. However, in following their stories, told in the characters' own inimitable voices, the reader will discover that the two tenants share a careful and philosophical view of the world that is a privilege to unravel.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, written masterfully by the French author Muriel Barbery, is tale for those who have a fondness for language, literature, and deeply complex characters. OEO

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Your Next Epic Adventure

Maerad is a slave girl, orphaned, and living a miserable existence. She is only able to escape the worst kinds of torture because everyone thinks she's a witch child who will bring plague and famine if she's treated too poorly. But her life is still far from pleasant. Then one day everything changes. A mysterious stranger, Cadvan, arrives and hints that Maerad may not be who she's always thought she was. Turns out Maerad is a Bard, one of an elite group of magicians and healers resopnsible for maintaining the balance of light and dark throughout the Land of Annar. What's more, Maerad may be The Chosen One, destined to destroy The Nameless, the terrible evil threatening to plunge all of Annar into darkness. Thus begins Maerad's training as a Bard and her epic journey to discover her true identity and destiny.

The Naming is the first book in Alison Croggin's Books of Pellinor series, which can be found on the Teen Area's "series" shelf. Croggon does a remarkable job in crafting an entirely new and believable fantasy world, and her exquisitely detailed writing is reminicent of J.R.R. Tolkien (there's even a map in the front of the book so readers can follow Maerad on her journey). Those looking for the next Epic Adveture need look no further than The Naming. --AJL