Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Literary Life

What would you do to have it all? That is exactly what Frances Thorpe has to answer when a random encounter with a dying woman gives her a chance to fulfill her dreams. Frances is a shy editorial assistant for a London’s Questioner newspaper. She has put in her time but nothing seems to be moving in the right direction. While returning to London one rainy evening she notices an accident. Since the road is basically deserted, she stops to help. She calls emergency and speaks with Alys, the accident victim, until the crew arrives. After making a statement to the patrol officers, she picks up her dull life once again. Frances is contacted by a sergeant and informed of Alys' passing. The family would like to meet Frances and thank her for her assistance. When she agrees to this, Frances’ life begins to change. Alys, Always by Harriet Lane is a twisting tale about coming to terms with grief and pursuing an aspiration. Intriguing. DB

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Death, Politics, and Roadtrips

Fascinated by presidential killings and their public commemoration, author and NPR contributor Sarah Vowell helms a whirlwind tour of American history in Assassination Vacation.  She visits sites and artifacts related to Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley -- all the while weaving in her trademark humor and social commentary.  If you like this title, check out some of Vowell's other books -- The Partly Cloudy Patriot, The Wordy Shipmates, and Unfamiliar Fishes.  HM

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Million Death Quake - The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disaster by Roger Musson.  “Million Death Quake” makes quite the headline, doesn’t it?  Roger Musson has been studying earthquakes for three decades and tells you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about earthquakes (and tsunamis).  This book is a scientific look at seismology including how it is used as a way to monitor nuclear testing.  If you don’t think you are interested I want to share an interesting quote from chapter 6:  “There has even been speculation that some ancient societies were so weakened by the effect of a disastrous earthquake that they collapsed altogether…”  But proceed with caution.  As Musson explains – as seen in Peru in the 1980s the consequences of earthquake prediction can be an economic disaster (and result in a lot of embarrassed scientists). SG

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Questioning Catholic

Jenny McCarthy may be too young to have her say, but she doesn’t let that stop her. The outspoken actress, former playboy bunny and best-selling author speaks her mind in Bad Habits: confessions of a recovering Catholic. McCarthy grew up on the south side of Chicago, in a working -class neighborhood. She was one of four girls. Jenny attended Catholic schools and eventually went off to college and then on to bigger but not always better things. She writes about questions that have plagued her along the way: choices, God, and traditional practices. Although the book is funny and often offensive it is none-the-less direct. McCarthy has come to terms with her life experiences, her religion and her relationship with the Divine. If you are looking for your own answers consider reading this work.DB

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hungry Girl!

Attention Hungry Girl Fans – Lisa Lillien has a new book out Hungry Girl to the Max! The Ultimate Guilt-Free Cookbook.  For those of you who don’t know her Lisa Lillien, aka Hungry Girl, is the star of the hit cooking show Hungry Girl which airs on both the Food Network and Cooking Channel.  She also has a free daily email service which can be found at  She’s written six N.Y. Times bestsellers – my favorite being the Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival book.  This new book H.G. to the Max! is a cookbook with over 650 recipes including meatless meals, single-serving recipes and dishes with five ingredients or less.  She includes meatless recipes and her pasta dishes are fantastic, ranging from a mere 141 calories to a little over 300 per serving.   At 290 calories the Hungry Girlfredo White Lasagna is a must try, but my vote is for the Chicken Girlfredo pizza.  Next up I’ll be trying the Crazy Glazy Roast Pork Tenderloin which has a simple marinade and the added bonus of a glaze that includes cranberry sauce, apricot preserves, rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Making you hungry yet?  Then you'd better check this book out!  SG

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Emotions against facts.

A man is found poisoned to death in his home a few days after he announced to his wife his desire for them to separate. Tokyo detective Kusanagi and his partner begin to round up the suspects, with the jilted wife as the leading contender. Was it the girlfriend, the business associate, or a random act of violence? The solution eludes the investigators until physics professor Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, is introduced to the case. But even his brilliant mind can't seem to connect all the pieces. VERDICT This intricate, sophisticated story will pique the interest of the most avid mystery readers, especially those who loved the author's acclaimed The Devotion of Suspect X. With this new book,Salvation of a Saint, Higashino has taken the art and craft of mystery writing to a new level of excellence.  Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC

So many kitchens,so little time.

Photographer Todd Selby is back, this time focusing his lens on the kitchens, gardens, homes, and restaurants of more than 40 of the most creative and dynamic figures working in the culinary world today. He takes us behind the scenes with Noma chef Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen; to Tokyo to have a slice with pizza maker Susumu Kakinuma; and up a hilltop to dine at an inn without an innkeeper in Valdobbiadene. Each profile is accompanied by watercolor illustrations and a handwritten questionnaire, which includes a signature recipe. Reveling in the pleasures of a taco at the beach, foraging for wild herbs, and the art of the perfectly cured olive, Selby captures the food we love to eat and the people who passionately grow, cook, pour, and serve these incredible edibles every day in his book Edible Selby.  by Syndetics

Friday, October 5, 2012

Puppy Love

Rachel Hale captures pure “amour” in her newest book SNOG: A Puppy’s Guide to Love. She provides sixty adorable photos of puppies: snoozing, playing and posing.  Proverbs and quotes about love match the images and provide humor and insight. Every picture is sure to tug at your heartstrings. If her work looks familiar, you may have seen it on various greeting cards or calendars. She has been perfecting her talent since 1995. Cuddle up and enjoy! DB

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New and Notable

Most of us stick to the authors we know and love and libraries are always cautious when purchasing a book written by an unknown author.  The August issue of BookPage (available in print for free at Oxford Public Library!) has a feature article on debut novelists and I’m happy to report that not only do we own a few of the titles (7 out of the 9 reviewed as must reads) but that these books have been pretty popular with our patrons.  I haven’t read these books yet as they are always checked out but according to the article “Start at the Very Beginning” Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann is “one of the most anticipated novels of the summer season, and rightly so.”  Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home “is so good, there’s no need to grade on a curve.”  In City of Women by David R. Gillham, we find a novel “full of sharp twists, sex, muddy morals and a Berlin that breathes.”  Other must read debuts include A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson, The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay, Mountains of the Moon by I.J. Kay and Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.  SG

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trick or Treat in Style!

Halloween is fast approaching. But never fear, there’s still time to decorate
your house and get together a cool costume. We have several titles that will get your creative juices flowing and still leave you with some pocket change. Super-Simple Creative Costumes by Sue Astroth features easy costumes and accessories that involve a few stitches and some fusing. This book has many colorful pictures and includes patterns.

The No-Sew Costume Book by Michaeline Bresnahan and Joan Macfarlane lists the instructions for making 41 costumes out of poster board, foam, trash bags and sewing notions. The authors find some really interesting uses for items lying around the house. The costumes are both cute and cheap,    
a winning combination.

Cathie Filian’s book, Bow Wow Wow: Fetching Costumes for your Fabulous Dog has directions for making about 30 costumes for your four-legged friends. There is a size chart for pets of all sizes. Many of the costumes have a sew-or-glue option. These ideas are guaranteed to make you smile. Happy Halloween! DB

Monday, October 1, 2012

Read a Banned Book!

In 1937, writer and ethnographer Zora Neale Hurston published her greatest work to little fanfare -- Their Eyes Were Watching God was largely ignored, and was even viewed as tawdry.  Decades later, scholars and readers rediscovered her classic and fell under the spell of its heroine, Janie Crawford, a strong-willed African-American woman who narrates the passionate and tragic events of her life in 1930s Florida.  It is now regarded as one of the most important works in 20th century African American literature.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is just one of many books that the American Library Association has recorded as being banned or challenged by various groups -- check out our Banned Books display in the Adult Department.  HM

Cooking Michigan

I was just going through our cooking section looking for old or damaged books and I noticed all the many cultures represented, such as Greece, India or Italy. Also there are titles exploring the different areas of our country; many about Southern cooking, Tex-Mex and the Southwest area. What I also noted,was the fact we had some about cooking in Michigan! Our Michigan: ethnic tales and recipes by Carole Eberly is a slim volume that explores Michigan's immigrants and the recipes they brought that reminded them of home.
A different avenue is taken in Savor Michigan Cookbook: Michigan's Finest Restaurants Their Recipes & Their Histories by Chuck and Blanch Johnson. Published in 2007, some of these restaurants aren't around anymore, but their recipes live on. The Lark, a wonderful restaurant this writer had the privilege of going to is represented as is Five Lakes Grill in Milford, The Earle in Ann Arbor and The Riverside Inn in Leland.(Yes! I ate there too!)

Best of the Best from Michigan is selected recipes from  local cookbooks such as Junior League cookbooks, Michigan Farm and Garden, and titles such as Cranbrook Reflections and Mucky Duck Mustard Cookbook.
Well I can hardly wait to start cooking Cornish pasties, baked Michigan navy beans and homemade sauerkraut. Savor Michigan and Bon Appetit! ML