Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Join Us for Book Discussion

In February we'll be meeting to discuss Jim Fergus' One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd.  Fergus re-imagines an episode in the dying Old West of the 1870s, describing a fictional, top-secret government program to marry various "undesirable" white women into the Cheyenne Nation.

We will meet Wednesday, February 6th at 1pm to discuss -- please join us!  HM

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Primal Fear

In John Vaillent's book The Tiger, the book opens as a hunter,deep in the cold forest of Siberia, is walking home in the dark. Then the tiger comes, and very little is left of the hunter! Was the attack unprovoked? It turns out that tigers have a very long memory and will track down and try to kill people who have wronged them(stealing their kill,shooting at them,etc) This well written non-fiction book explores the area where China and Russia meet, the stronghold of the Amur tiger. These tigers have lived with the native peoples in the forest for millenia, but now are endangered. Politics,economic policies and immigration patterns have all affected this area and the traditional way of life. The politics and geography are interesting,but the writing about the tiger,riveting! A fine read for a cold night. ML

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Motherly Love

What makes up a mother’s love? Food? Guilt? Nagging? Worry? Maybe all of these things are different versions of maternal love after all. Lisa Scottoline and her grown-up daughter Francesca Serritella examine their relationship in a new book entitled Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim. The authors take turns discussing topics like dating, gardening, painting, pets, traveling, and of course each other. Even "Mother Mary", the larger-than-life Italian grandmother, has her say. The reader gets an amusing look at growing up, letting go and life in the big city! DB

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do the Right Thing

The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet by Dara-Lynn Weiss.  This book is about the red-hot issue of how to address weight issues in the very young.  When her daughter Bea was diagnosed as obese at the age of seven Weiss had to consider the benefits of getting her daughter healthy versus the very real possibility of raising a girl who would develop issues with body image and eating disorders.  As she struggled through the process she came up against the challenges of dealing with cafeteria food, hidden nutrition labels, dieting, discipline, and unwelcome criticism from fellow parents.  On top of that, she wrote an article for Vogue about her journey through the food battlefield which opened up a hornet’s nest of criticism and set off a huge debate on childhood obesity.  This book is all about trying to do the right thing and should be an eye opener to anyone who has ever felt the need to judge another. SG

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's About Time

Mitch Albom moves in a new direction with his latest book The Time Keeper. He tells the story of Father Time. past present and future. Dor, an ancient man, is interested in the cycles of the moon. He starts to keep track of days, nights, seasons and eventually moments.  His whole life is devoted to measuring time. He is exiled from his family and moves into the desert with his wife Alli. When he loses his beloved Alli, he climbs the Tower of Babel to demand that the gods restore her life. As punishment he is forced to spend centuries in a cave listening to mankind bemoan the lack of time. Finally he is thrust into the modern-day world to help two individuals with their all consuming  problems. This is a curious book that combines some timeless story lines. DB

Friday, January 11, 2013


Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall is one of those books that you pick up for a second to flip through and then can’t put it down.  It’s not because it’s an edge of your seat thriller but because it’s full of information about something we ALL do – sleep!  From studies to what happens to your brain when you don’t get enough sleep to the science of sleepwalking, Dreamland is a fascinating read and worth a glance. SG

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fabric Decorating

Batik is an ancient craft using the technique of resist dyeing, using water and wax (resist) on fabric.  In the book Batik: The Art of Fabric Decorating and Painting in Over 20 Beautiful Projects  by Susie Stokoe the art of fabric resist dying is discussed, including the equipment needed and the different techniques you can use - such as direct dying, canting, ragging and cracking.   The book also includes inspiration for more experienced batik artists as they are encouraged to work with paper and wood as well as textiles.  There are over 20 projects included in this book including some smaller, easier projects that I am willing to try as a beginner...perhaps a scarf?  Can't wait to try this new, old technique.  SG

Monday, January 7, 2013

Elementary, My Dear Watson!*

Not even the death of his creator could hamper the detecting of the world's greatest super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.  Accompanied by his trusty sidekick (and oftentimes foil), Dr. Watson, Holmes has found his way into any number of modern retellings and new adventures in the years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's death in 1930.  Check out our current display in the Adult Department, including titles from authors such as Michael Chabon, Loren D. Estleman, and Anthony Horowitz (yes, of Alex Rider fame), all featuring original takes on your favorite detective (such as Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count which is actually a lot better than it sounds).

*TRIVIA -- Sherlock Holmes never actually says "Elementary, my dear Watson," in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works; the phrase was apparently popularized by the first "talking film" featuring the detective in 1929.  HM

Gritty and Tough

Gritty and tough could describe John Harvey's new novel, Good Bait, or the characters in the novel. Switching points of view, two detectives work on related cases but never meet. When a 17-year-old Moldovan boy is found dead on Hampstead Heath, the case falls to DCI Karen Shields.  Karen knows she needs a result. What she doesn't know is that her new case is tied inextricably to a much larger web of gang warfare and organized crime which infiltrates  London society.
Several hundred miles away in Cornwall, Detective Inspector Trevor Cordon is stirred from his day-to-day duties by another tragic London fatality. Traveling to the capital and determined to establish the cause of death and trace the deceased's daughter, Cordon becomes entangled in a complicated situation of his own. Brilliantly plotted and filled with rich, subtle characters, John Harvey's latest novel reveals him once again as a masterful writer. ML

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Here’s a fun tidbit from To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene, about the Martini - a Hemingway favorite.  It’s said Hemingway named the Montgomery Martini after a top Allied commander in WWII.  Montgomery was cautious in battle requiring a 15-to-1 troop superiority before he would commit to fight in battle and so the Montgomery Martini is a dry 15-to-1 ratio of gin to vermouth.  This drink debuted in “Across the River and Into the Trees.” Read about Death in the Afternoon (absinthe, Champagne) or Americano (Campari, Vermouth and seltzer) and enjoy chapters that are chock full of anecdotes about Hemingway, his various hangouts (Harry's Bar in Venice), his cohorts and ex-wives, and the characters in his writing.  This book was way more interesting than I would have thought and thoroughly enjoyable. SG