Friday, December 20, 2013

What a crock!

There’s nothing better than coming in out of the cold to a hot dish!  For something easy and tasty the crock pot is king! In the Fix-it and Forget-it New Cookbook by Phyllis Good there are 250 slow cooker specialties to warm up your winter nights! There are several Quick and Easy recipes that require even less time and ingredients to feed your brood. Phyllis offers meat, meatless and pasta main dish ideas along with appetizers, snacks and beverages. A little bit of everything for a season of good eating. DB

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Discussion Recommendation

It’s that time of year when we start seeing all kinds of “best of…” lists.  While reading about the best book discussion selections of 2013 I came across the title Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm during the GreatDepression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish.  I was intrigued by the unusual selection, and because I belong to several book groups decided to read it.  I have to admit that reading about The Good Old Days was thoroughly enjoyable.  This was not a book about the deprivations most suffered during the Depression but more about clean, honest work on a farm and finding fun in something as simple as the weather.  The book includes recipes and how-tos and reminds me a bit of a Little House on the Prairie episode.  It will leave you longing for simpler times.  SG 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The classic American treat finally gets its due: foolproof pudding recipes, from irresistible standards to inventive modern twists, by the chef and owner of New York City's popular pudding destination.
"Puddin'" shares Clio Goodman's secrets for re-creating--and improving on--your sweetest childhood memories. From grown-up renditions of snack-time favorites like Butterscotch Pudding (spiked with whiskey) to party-ready showstoppers like Banana Upside-Down Cake with Malted Pudding and summertime crowd-pleasers like Peanut Butter Fudge Pops and Peach Melba Parfaits, "Puddin'" serves up luscious and decadent recipes for your every dessert whim. Along the way, Clio offers suggestions for adapting her pudding recipes--all of which are naturally gluten-free--for vegan and low-fat variations. And because creamy pudding just begs for a companion, "Puddin'" also includes recipes for homemade toppings, such as Salted Caramel Sauce, Marshmallow Creme, and Brownie Crumbs, that can be mixed and matched with the puddings of your choice or incorporated into one of Clio's signature parfaits.
These surprisingly easy-to-execute pudding creations are destined to become staples of your dessert repertoire. "Puddin'" is a celebration of an American classic. ML

Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is the story of a young couple, Tom and Isabel, but it is also a story of Australia and of life lived immediately following World War I.  Tom, recently back from the war, lives an isolated life as the lighthouse keeper of Janus Rock off the shore of Australia.  After marrying Isabel they try for years to have children with several miscarriages and stillbirths.  One day a boat washes ashore, carrying a dead man and a living baby.  How Tom and Isabel deal with the arrival of this child and the repercussions of their actions make this novel a great story and highly recommended for book groups.  In addition to the story, reading about the geography of Australia and the history of that time, gives this book an added dimension.  SG

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookie Time

It's that time of year -- even if you don't bake during the other eleven months of the year, I'm willing to bet you at least make (or enjoy) a batch of cookies in December.  Why not try something new?  In her book, Cookies, Martha Stewart shares some of her favorite recipes, each accompanied with a full-page, color photograph.  Great for brainstorming for holiday get-togethers and cookie exchanges, or just for drooling over in your spare time.  I can't wait to try the Buttered Rum Meltaways and the Ginger Cheesecake Bars! HM

Stop into the library and check out our display of books on all kinds of Christmas goodies and treats!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Takedown Twenty

Another Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich!  If you love the Plum series then you will enjoy Takedown Twenty, with Stephanie and Lulu trying to capture a mob boss and lots of shenanigans going on as usual. There isn't much new to any of the characters and it's the same old story line but it's still a fun read as long as your expectations are to just enjoy Evanovich as usual.  I really like listening to these books on audio because the narrator does an awesome job with each character. SG

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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Holiday time finds Boston PI Spenser confronted by a strange case. A young homeless boy named “Slide” has come to ask for help for his mentor, Jackie Alvarez. Jackie runs a shelter for street kids (not entirely legal) and is receiving threats and being told to cease and desist. Spenser and his sidekick Hawk decide to look into the threats and find themselves caught up in a web of deceit, family promises, fortune, and illegal business. Silent Night : A Spenser Holiday Novel was unfinished when author Robert B. Parker passed away. His long-time agent, Helen Brann ties up the story in faithful Parker fashion. Happy Holiday reading!DB

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's all Good...

Hildy Good is direct descendant from Sarah Good---who was tried as a witch in Salem. She has lived in Wendover, Massachusetts all of her life. As the most successful realtor in the area, she knows everything about everybody in town. Hildy is also an alcoholic, somewhat recovering, mostly in denial, who is privy to a cache of secrets that is about to complicate her life. Her days become a pendulum of thoughts, actions, emotions and solace. The Good House: a novel by Ann Leary provides a compelling look at someone who struggles with an addiction in current everyday life. DB

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A walk on the wild side

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a remarkable girl, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of
them in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back.
     Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane written with skill and sensitivity, about the things that scare us. ML

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting Wild About Food!

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson is all about how to “select and prepare food to reclaim the nutrients and flavor we’ve lost.”   There is a big difference in food we eat today versus the less selected and processed food of our past.   This book covers the history of food items and how to get the most from them for optimal health.  Did you know beets have more antioxidant properties than almost any other common vegetable?  They were used in Roman times as a healing food and were also used as an aphrodisiac! Buy beets with their greens on since those will be the freshest. Try steaming your beets to keep the nutrition content optimal and always cook them with their skin on (peel them after they are cooked and have cooled).  Try eating them with a sauce made from oil, onion, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and blue cheese.  This book is chock full of information and great recipes.  You will never look at a carrot the same way again (they should really be purple). SG

Monday, November 18, 2013


Are you a cat lover?  Check out this gorgeous book, The Elegance of the Cat, comprised of a history of various breeds from antiquity through modern day.  Accompanying the text are beautiful photographs that show up-close details like fur texture and markings.  A great book to take home and flip through.  HM

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fast & Easy

The Big Book of Weekend Woodworking: 150 Easy Projects by John and Joyce Nelson is chock full of great ideas for items to make and give as gifts.  I think the author's idea of what can be made in a weekend is a little ambitious for my skill level in woodworking but I really think even I'm capable of making the picture frame or wooden basket.  The toys are the best part as they all are based on adorable antique finds such as the rover pull toy circa 1935.  The walking penguin is my favorite but alas you need a lathe to complete this project.  The authors have contributed many articles (over 500) to magazines and this is their 60th book!! SG

A Stolen Identity

At first glance, Alexandra “Zan” Moreland seems to have everything going for her. She is a beautiful interior designer with a promising career in NYC. In reality she is an orphaned divorcee who has been the victim of a heinous crime. Her adorable toddler son Matthew has been kidnapped and the police have no leads after two long years. Now, as she competes with her former boss for an exclusive decorating job, she finds out someone is using her credit cards. Furthermore, on the anniversary of her son’s disappearance, new information surfaces and Zan becomes a suspect.  I’ll Walk Alone is a classic Mary Higgins Clark novel. It’s an intriguing story of child abduction, identity theft and revenge. DB

Monday, November 11, 2013


Bell Elkins is the prosecuting attorney for Ackers Gap, West Virginia. A small and rugged town in the mountains, people there live hard. When a bright and beautiful teenage girl is found dead in Bitter River, Bell is involved in a haunting mystery set in the stark beauty and poverty of the mountains. Good writing and a strong sense of place make this a winner. ML

Friday, November 8, 2013

Show me the Money!

Brian J. O’Connor, an award winning columnist from The Detroit News, has published his first book. The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget without Moving under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese is funny but more importantly helpful.  While looking for fodder for his newspaper column, Brian launched the challenge idea to his editors and much to his surprised dismay they loved it. Now all he had to do was shave $1,000 off his annual family budget--Good Luck, Brian. The good news is he does it—and you can too! Brian finds creative ways to cut costs and takes a good hard look at his expenses. Grab this book and start crunching some numbers. You can most likely save some hard-earned $$$$. DB

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sew True!

The Peoples' writer is back! In Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, Anne Lamott once again examines life’s ups and downs. She offers advice, anecdotes, and thoughts on getting through the worst experiences. She encourages you to “feel” your feelings and not rush through any grieving process. By reconnecting to others and stitching things together during recovery, Anne reminds us that life goes on and so should we. DB

Thursday, October 31, 2013


The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin is not a picture book but an actual story telling.  Kurin selected a variety of artifacts to be included in this book and you will be delighted not only by the object selected but by the backstories associated with each choice. By reading about everything from arrowheads to the space shuttle you will learn about important landmarks in American history.  Be sure to read about the Hope Diamond – fascinating not only for its story but for its method of delivery to the Smithsonian.  This book shows you the process of who decides what is to become an historic artifact; how and why the decision is made and how items are collected.  Makes you wonder how Julia Child’s kitchen made it into the Smithsonian, doesn’t it?  You'll have to check this book out if you really want to know!  SG

The sound of a mortar and pestle...

A new cookbook by Andy Ricker is called Pok Pok because yes, pok pok is the sound of a mortar and pestle! He developed a love of Thai food staying in Chiang Mai with friends and went to a restaurant that specialized in Northern Thai food. After his epiphany he made many trips to Thailand studying the food and eventually opened a Thai restaurant on a shoestring budget in Portland.
This cookbook is approachable, the author claims he has no recipes that have unobtainable ingredients. That said, this is not for those who want easy...there are equipment lists and pantry lists. You need a mortar and pestle. You will make chili pastes! The satay recipe (grilled chicken with peanut sauce) specifies boneless pork loin, cut into strips that are 3 inches long, 1 inch wide , and 1/4 inch thick.
 This book is beautiful, lots of big photographs woven in with recipes and stories. So if you are like me, a tad too lazy to cook authentic Thai food, then take it home and spend an entertaining evening! ML

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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The next title on my "to-read" list is Jhumpa Lahiri's latest book, The Lowland, because she never fails to disappoint -- I honestly believe that if she wrote a technical manual on lawnmowers it would still be poetic.  I first read her debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies when I was in college, and it's a book that's stuck with me over the years.  Her description and use of language draws the reader in, and it's impossible not to become fascinated with and even care deeply for the characters she introduces you to.  Interpreter of Maladies won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000, and consists of nine short stories exploring issues of identity, love, and humanity -- all the good stuff.  Also be sure to check out her other titles, The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth.  HM

Friday, October 25, 2013

Small and Simple

Are you thinking about downsizing and moving to a smaller space or just fixing up an old one?  Browse through some wonderfully useful floor plans and home designs in Compact Houses : 50 Creative Floor Plans for Well-designed Small Homes by Gerald Rowan. You will be surprised at how well efficient yet open designs can complement each other. Even if you’re just looking for DIY project ideas—this book is loaded with constructive, practical information.The homes are suitable for various locations and family sizes. The author has owned and renovated over 60 small homes and cabins and taught art, architecture and design for over 30 years.  DB

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not Your Usual Stuff

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith is a whodunit story of a famous, beautiful model who plunges to her death from her penthouse.   Is it murder? Suicide?  Her brother, believing it to be murder, hires private detective Cormoran Strike.  Strike is a character with an entertaining, enigmatic story of his own, adding a nice dimension to the storytelling by Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling.  And just like in the Harry Potter series, each character that joins Strike in this story is lively, well written, and can hold his or her own.  There is something formulaic about the mystery in this story but Galbraith does such a great job with the character development that you find yourself unable to walk away. SG

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Long Wait

Do you love medical shows, like Grey's Anatomy, or ER? Watch the real thing, it is so much more dramatic. We have a new DVD from PBS called The Waiting Room:24 hours, 241 patients. One stretched ER.
This really illustrates in dramatic fashion what people go through when they don't have health insurance. What happens is they go to the emergency room, in this case a hospital in Oakland California. Fascinating, dramatic and sometimes so sad, this viewer was riveted. The New York Times gave this a Critics' Pick and the Washington Post review said it was "As poetic and universal as a modern-day Grapes of Wrath." ML

Monday, October 21, 2013

An Electric Read

Ben Coes writes thrillers that remind me a bit of Vince Flynn.  Coes' book Power Down is full of international intrigue, government conspiracy and action packed murder, all revolving around America's need for power (as in electric, oil, gas).  It's very scary to see how dependent we are on other countries for our energy and when you bring in the story line of terrorists attacking our domestic power sources it becomes a very plausible story.  Add in ex Delta officer Dewey Andreas and you now have a full blown action packed thriller.  SG

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beautiful Buildings

Take an armchair tour this fall!  Great Architecture of Michigan by John Gallagher and Balthazar Korab takes you on an architectural tour around the state. Designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Kahn and Philip Johnson are featured in more than 150 buildings. The buildings range in age from pre-civil war to modern day. Information includes not only the architect, but location and a history of the building as well.  This is an enjoyable and informative book. DB

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Small town lives

Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she’s just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things.  A successful real-estate broker, mother and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters, convinced their mother was drinking too much, staged an intervention and sent her off to rehab.  Now she’s in recovery—more or less.
Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy needs a friend. She finds one in Rebecca McCallister, a beautiful young mother and one of the town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca feels out-of-step in her new surroundings and is grateful for the friendship. And Hildy feels like a person of the world again, as she and Rebecca escape their worries with some harmless gossip, and a bottle of wine by the fire—just one of their secrets.
But not everyone takes to Rebecca, who is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an eccentric local who shares a complicated history with Hildy, tries to warn her away from Rebecca, Hildy attempts to protect her friend from a potential scandal. Soon, however, Hildy is busy trying to cover her own tracks and protect her reputation.  When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one threatens to expose the other, and this darkly comic novel takes a chilling turn.
THE GOOD HOUSE, by Ann Leary is a classic New England tale that lays bare the secrets of one little town, this spirited novel will stay with you long after the story has ended.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Carry on

How do people recover from horrific events beyond their control? Jenny Rowan was kidnapped at age 8 and held captive by an abuser for 18 months. She managed to escape and live in a shopping- mall until she was discovered and put into foster care. Now she is a production editor at a news station in Washington, D.C.  Jenny is a survivor. She is a decidedly private person who keeps the past and the present at a distance she can control. When Detective Jack Collins shows up at her home and asks her to help a young girl who has been rescued from captivity, she is forced to come to terms with the nightmares of her childhood  and the choices she has made since escaping it. Others of My Kind by James Sallis is a very short story that provides insight into the resolute mindset of those who persevere. DB  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Scary Circle

The latest offering from Dave Eggers, The Circle, is a work of terrifying plausibility, a cautionary tale of subversive power in the digital age. Set in the near future, it examines the inner workings of the Circle, an internet company that is both spiritual and literal successor to Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, as seen through the eyes of Mae Holland, a new hire who starts in customer service. As Mae is absorbed into the Circle's increasingly demanding multi- and social media experience, she plays an ever more pivotal role in the company's plans, which include preventing child abductions through microchips, reducing crime through omnipresent surveillance, and eliminating political corruption through transparency courtesy of personal cameras. Soon, she's not alone in asking what it will mean to "complete the Circle" as its ultimate goal comes into view; even her closest friends and family suspect the Circle is going too far in its desire to make the world a better, safer, more honest place. The plot moves at a casual, yet inexorable pace, sneaking up on the reader before delivering its warnings of the future, a worthy and entertaining read.  PW, LLC. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beyond Bizarre...

Did you know that ants can form a bridge, there are see-through frogs, albino turtles, and a butterfly with glass wings? If you enjoy the unusual, pick up Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Dare to Look. Filled with 200+ pages of strange facts, crazy pictures and weird wisdom, it will either entertain or shock you. The book is actually divided into chapters featuring animals, art, food, sports, and more. Enjoy, but Beware! DB

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dark Continent

This impressive series kickoff from British author Sherez, A Dark Redemption introduces Det. Insp. Jack Carrigan, a Scotland Yard veteran regarded as an oddball for his obsessive devotion to his work. Years earlier, after graduating from college, Carrigan and two friends took a vacation in Uganda that ended in tragedy. The shadows from that traumatic experience weigh more heavily on Carrigan after the savage murder of Grace Okello, a student of East African history, in her London flat. The victim was studying African warlords who have used revolutionary politics as a mask for their sadistic desire for power, and it appears her research could have been a threat to one of them. The action builds to a jaw-dropping resolution. Readers will want to see more of this convincingly flawed hero.  PW

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

If you're like me you enjoy lists - the best books of all time, the top grossing movies of 2013, etc.  Here's a book of lists that is a bit more unusual than most:  100 Most Influential People who Never Lived by Kelly Knauer.  This book covers everyone from Mary Poppins to Atticus Finch from To Kill  Mockingbird.  All of these iconic figures do not exist but we all know who they are and many of them have permeated our culture and influenced entire generations.  Remember Homer Simpson?  How about Santa Claus?  One of my favorites was reading about what Mary Tyler Moore had to say about her character on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  This is a fun book even if you just have a moment to browse the pictures. SG

Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's a Date

There are so many fun, new books on dating at the library right now.  If you want to know more about online dating (Modern Dating: A Field Guide by Chiara Atik), date etiquette (It’s Okay to Sleep With Him on the First Date and Every Other Dating Rule Debunked by Andrea Syrtash and Jeff Wilser ) or just read a hilarious advice book (Love Him or Leave Him: But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab by Loni Love) you can find it here. The library even has one for the science geek called Data, A Love Story by Amy Webb.  Amy took online dating to a new level as she tried and failed at online dating.  That didn’t stop her though!  She re-evaluated and re-analyzed herself and took a look at the data she could find on 1) what she wanted in a match and 2) what men were looking for.  She then scientifically went about taking this data and using it to great dating success.  So if you are thinking about dating, or just want a good chuckle, be sure to check out one of these books.  SG

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fatal Secrets

In his latest thriller, Mistress, James Patterson takes you inside the mind of a man obsessed. Ben Casper, Washington D.C. blogger, trust-fund baby and would-be lover is caught up in a murder mystery involving Diana Hotchkiss. Moments after he has left her apartment, she is dead. Was it suicide or murder?  Ben finds that Diana has been leading a double life. She has been involved with some dangerous and powerful men who intend to keep their secrets safe at all cost. The nation’s capital provides an intriguing setting and host of characters. Written in short staccato sentences showing thoughts racing in all directions, Patterson takes the reader into Ben’s frenzied mind and investigative plans. This is a captivating story. DB

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The good, the bad, the ugly

Susan Nussbaum's novel Good Kings,Bad Kings is basically a story about teenagers. Teens who are alienated, funny and want independence. Except...these teenagers have a variety of mental and physical disabilities and live in a privately run state home for juveniles with disabilities. There are good people in the system like Joanne Madsen who is a clerk and disabled herself, and not so good, like the woman who trolls shelters for new patients. Since the institution is privately run for profit many abuses occur (the ugly).
The teens must depend on each other to navigate the system. Although it sounds depressing, it isn't. The author, herself in a wheelchair, wanted to write a novel that was funny, not sentimental and she succeeded. ML

Friday, September 20, 2013

Examining the Rainbow

What is your favorite color? Would you like to know the history, meaning and stories associated with it? In her new book, ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color, Jude Stewart wants to share all this information and more. She starts off with the basics: what is color, its history and the terms used to describe it. Then she jumps into the rainbow. Each chapter is devoted to a specific color. You can read it by chapter or skip around. There are also answers to questions about color, especially that pesky one--Why is the sky blue? Informative, entertaining, and of course---colorful!! DB

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Andy Barber, longtime assistant district attorney in a small suburb of Boston, is the narrator of the story Defending Jacob by William Landay.  Jacob is Andy's fifteen year old son, who has been accused of a brutal murder.  The story follows the police procedural and trial, written in a true-crime style made believable courtesy of Landay's experience as a former assistant district attorney.  We also read about the nuances and dysfunctions of the Barber family which gives the story enough plot twists to make the story very engaging.  If you like a fast paced read you will enjoy this novel, which is also available in a very well done audio version.  SG

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Don't pack away your grill just yet -- did you know that September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day?  Check out some of our cookbooks here at the library, including Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes and enjoy the end of summer with some mouth-watering recipes.  HM

Friday, September 13, 2013

100 Years Apart

Sometimes the answers to the future lie in the past. That's what Amanda Rosenbloom owner of Astor Place Vintage believes. Her life is complicated. She's nearing forty, involved with a married man and about to lose her vintage consignment shop.When she finds an old journal hidden in some clothes she takes into sell, she becomes mesmerized with the characters and their adventures. Olive Westcott is a young woman trying to make a life for herself in New York City in 1907. Life for women back then was different and yet similar to Amanda's. While reading the diary, coincidences, dreams and reflections help Amanda find the answers she seeks. Stephanie Lehmann's book Astor Place Vintage includes photographs of New York City, circa 1900. For an intimate look at history and a working woman's story read this book. DB

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Baby I'm Not A Monster

The title pretty much says it all here; Monster Knits for Little Monsters offers up 20 knitting projects for your little one in various animal themes.  Each pattern includes instructions for creating hats, mittens, and in some cases, booties and scarves.  There's even a pattern for "Alien Elf," -- come on, we all know that's supposed to be Yoda!  HM

Monday, September 9, 2013

The cost of intelligence.

In Marcus Sakey's Brilliance he imagines a world similar to our own, but a great shift is going on in the society. About one percent of the children being born are termed brilliants for their astounding mental abilities. When one brilliant or "abnorm" as they are called, makes a fortune on the stock market and succeeds in completely destroying it, the government institutes a policy of hunting down and killing abnorm terrorists. Nick Cooper is an abnorm who works for the government but starts to have doubts about what is is doing. This parable of an out-of control government spying on its citizens is particularly relevant to today. An engaging and thoughtful book with a propulsive plot. ML

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fiori di Como

Dale Chihuly is the master when it comes to glass. He is one of four American artists to have a one-person exhibition at the Louvre. If you’ve ever seen his work—you’d remember it! In Chihuly Bellagio his largest public installation is described in detail. It was a huge undertaking—2,000 pieces of hand-blown glass supported by 10,000 pounds of steel armature—all designed by Chihuly and lighting the lobby of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The short companion DVD explains the process and provides and inside look of his studio. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas you can see some of Chihuly’s work right here in Michigan, The Flint Art Institute and the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids have a few of  his beautiful pieces.DB

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Rolling Stones have a DVD out called Crossfire Hurricane.  It's a documentary on the start of the Rolling Stones which includes interviews with all of the band members, historical newscasts and concert footage, with a lot of the footage showing a very young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  The live concert footage was very enjoyable as it highlighted their songs showing their blues origins and also gives insight into what made Mick Jagger such a great performer.  What was really interesting was the spin on Keith Richards.  When he was arrested in Canada for possession of drugs the brouhaha was all about how the band would fall apart without him.  I always considered Mick Jagger the voice, and showman, of the Stones but the songwriting and music and the core of the band was more Keith than anyone knew - at least according to this video.  SG

Friday, August 30, 2013

Read This!

Library Reads is a new website that highlights top books selected by librarians across the country.  Here are a few of their selections:  How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny - the newest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache story.  One book that is on my to be read list (I actually have it checked out right now) is The Returned by Jason Mott.  It's the story of people coming back from the dead and being 'returned' to their loved ones and how it is handled by families, communities and the government.  It is supposed to be a perfect book group selection which is why it's on my must read list.  Another book that is on Library Reads list is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink.  A story of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.  This book comes out September 10th.  Library Reads will come out with a new list each month.  If you would like to see more reading ideas be sure to check out the Library's Reading Ideas webpage!  SG

Keep on Walkin'

The Mid-life crisis is a funny thing. For Brits David and Rob it begins as an idea about undertaking something out of their comfort zones. They are struck with the urge to hike the GR10, a trail that runs along the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. This was no light undertaking. The trail is about 850km (530miles) and would take about 7 weeks. They would be stopping in hiker’s camps or gites along the way. Armed with guides and maps (somewhat useless) walking boots, sleeping bags and backpacks our duo sets out. They decide to shave only after their journey is done. David Le Vay’s journal, The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek Along the French Pyrenees is funny, realistic, introspective and informative. DB

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dinner Time!

The Dinner by Herman Koch is a story that sneaks up on you.  The book seems to be about two couples having dinner together with perhaps an issue or two lurking underneath the surface.  As the dinner (and the story) progresses you discover that the couples’ sons are involved in a darker secret that grabs your interest and leaves you wondering just how far these couples are willing to go for their children.  SG


How well do you really know someone—even if it’s your spouse? Nick and Amy met in New York, both writers for different magazines. They married, lived in a great townhouse and then they lost their jobs. Meanwhile, Nick’s sister needed help with their sick parents in Missouri. So off they go—to a home on the banks of the Mississippi. Stress and change are starting to a toll on the marriage—but things get really crazy when Amy turns up missing on their fifth anniversary. The law and then the media get involved and Nick becomes the prime suspect. Is he really involved in her disappearance? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is the book to read if you’re looking for a dark mysterious murder mystery. DB    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Change is the only constant.

In Jincy Willett's latest book, Amy Falls Down, a random accident puts into motion all sorts of changes in the life of the title character. Amy is a writer, a semi-famous writer who peaked early and now in middle age lives a life of no connection. Although she ekes out a living writing, (her blog is titled Go Away!) editing, and also teaching writing classes, Amy mostly stays at home with her unaffectionate beagle. She is mildly agoraphobic and has many neurosis that probably all of us could recognize. In spite of all this, as we read Amy's thoughts she is smart and very funny.  She wickedly observes popular culture and literary celebrity. In this very funny and touching book we come to care about Amy and delight in her metamorphosis. ML

Weighty Issues

In 703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life by Nancy Makin you read about Nancy's weight gain to 703 pounds and her descent into isolation and self-destruction.  The effects on herself, her family and her friends are handled with startling honesty and a touch of Nancy's offbeat humor.  Her story continues with a gift of a laptop which allowed her to develop the friendships and support she needed to lose over a quarter-ton of weight.  She didn’t diet but the emotional connections she developed help transform her life into one where she recovered her feelings of self-worth and dignity – something that wasn’t afforded to her by others when she was at her heaviest.   

In Jennifer Joyner’s Designated Fat Girl we read about a woman who had it all – marriage, children and friendships but who used food as an emotional crutch until her weight was out of control.  She relied on gastric bypass surgery to lose the weight and you will find it interesting to read about her medical journey and her physical and emotional recovery.  Both books have relevant messages for showing us that when you need help you can get it from outside, or find it within.  SG

Monday, August 12, 2013

Only Mostly Dead

Seventeen year-old Li Lan is saddled with an impossible decision; marry the recently deceased son of her father's creditor, or helplessly watch her family sink deep into poverty.  But before she can choose, she finds herself lost and alone in the afterlife, neither living nor dead, where she must uncover the secrets of her would-be bridegroom.  In The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo masterfully recreates 1890s Malaysia and takes the reader on a spectacular ride through mythology and fantasy as we accompany Li Lan into the spirit realm.  Truly enchanting.  HM

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mamma Mia!

Bob McLean wasn’t Italian. He didn’t grow up with large, noisy family gatherings or lots of relatives, but his wife did. Maria was used to all these things and embraced them and so did Bob. Summers in Supino: Becoming Italian by Maria Coletta McLean describes their yearly summer travels to Supino, Italy. Readers get to partake in the everyday summer lives of the author, whether it is going for a daily latte, dealing with helpful neighbors, or celebrating one of the many festas common to Supino. Maria is really surprised when the Italian way of life becomes interwoven with Bob's plans. Molto bene! DB