Sunday, August 30, 2015

The New Prairie Kitchen by Summer Miller

New Prairie Kitchen
by Summer Miller [641.505 Mil] 

Food writer, Summer Miller, believes in buying locally grown foods and supporting restaurants that use these fresh ingredients. She decided to find out what is available within a 200-mile radius of her Omaha home. In the process Miller met many interesting people and she shares their stories and recipes.

On a road trip to Hastings, Nebraska she met John and Charlotte Hamburger who own the Back Alley Bakery and learned that the bakery started because of a bet. John challenged a friend to see who could bake the best loaf of bread. They built a wood-fired brick oven in the back room of an old building and started baking. People heard about the project (or perhaps smelled the enticing aroma of baking bread) and lined up in the alley for samples. Eventually the duo stopped giving away the yeasty delights and started selling them. Thus was born the Back Alley Bakery. John shared a recipe for Honey-Oat Bread that is made with Wild Yeast Starter. The recipe for the starter is also included.

Another journey took Miller to the Cleverly Farms near Mingo, Iowa. Larry Cleverly left the farm to work in New York. After 20 years of city life he realized that “New York is not a town to grow old in” and returned to Iowa and started farming the land that his grandparents bought in the “roaring twenties”. Over melon slices and coffee, Cleverly shared his philosophy about growing good food with Miller.

This is a fascinating book with interesting recipes and stunning photos of the Great Plains.

[ official Scalded Milk — Summer Miller blog ]

Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Ancient Muse (on CD)

An Ancient Muse
by Loreena McKennitt [Compact Disc 781.63 McK]


I really liked this music. It sounded a lot like the soundtrack to the videogame ‘The Witcher’, and the ‘Lord of the Rings ‘soundtracks, both of which are set in fantasy worlds. It was very old worldly, a bit Celtic, but with a mix of styles from different places. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy world music or to those looking for a bit of an auditory escape to far off places.

[ official Lorenna McKennitt web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We Bury
by Allen Eskens

Joe Talbert is taking a writing class at the University of Minnesota. His assignment is to interview someone and write a brief biography of that person. Joe goes to a nursing home to find a willing subject. He meets Carl Iverson, a Vietnam vet and convicted murderer dying of pancreatic cancer. As he talks to Carl, Joe comes to believe that Iverson is innocent of the murder that sent him to prison 30 years ago. Joe and his next-door neighbor, Lila, search through the old trial transcript, talk to the people orignially involved in the case and pour over the evidence that remains to track down the real killer.

Not only does Eskens create an intricate puzzle but he also weaves Joe and Lila’s troubled personal stories into the novel.

This is a well-written book that kept me up past my bedtime.

[ official Allen Eskens web site ]

Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Dark Disciple
by Christie Golden

Based upon would-be episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Dark Disciple is best described by Katie Lucas in the foreword as “a story of redemption; a story of how people can be unbelievably broken, and yet find a way to rebuild despite the odds.” Fans of the Clone Wars series will get the most of out it. However, any fan of Star Wars will enjoy this book.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Tarkin by James Luceno.] [ Star Wars Books on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Christie Golden web site ]

See more books like this on the Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!
Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (on DVD)

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [DVD Mad]

One of the most bizarre comedy movies ever filmed. This 1963 chase flick featured a virtual “who’s who” of film and TV comedy at the time it was made. Spencer Tracy is ostensibly the lead, as a dogged police chief, who thinks the death of a career criminal may bring closure to a case he’s worked on for decades. That criminal, before dying, gives clues to where he buried $350,000 in ill-gotten loot, to a variety of unrelated good samaritans who attempt to assist him when he fatally wrecks his car. All of those passersby soon end up in a helter skelter race to get to the buried loot. The main players are all comedy legends (Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett and Milton Berle), but the star parade doesn’t stop there. Scattered throughout the film as cameos by dozens of other comic actors — from Stan Freberg, Carl Reiner and Jesse White, to Andy Devine, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis and The Three Stooges. The plot of this madcap farce doesn’t really make a difference, the reason you watch it is for all the comic actors to pop up!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on Wikipedia ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl
by Nick Hornby

This was my first time reading anything written by Hornby, and from what others have said, he really strayed from his usual subject matter. However, that may be okay. I found this book to be pretty light-hearted. It’s about a young girl in the early 60’s in London, trying to make it as a comedienne, like her hero, Lucy Ball. Sophie Straw is actually quite funny and clever, it’s just that it takes a while for people to see past her physical beauty. (Some reviewers of this book have found that to be unbelievable and even annoying, but I could understand how it would be frustrating to be intelligent AND blessed with beauty. Wanting to be appreciated for one’s intellect is not a bad thing, in my opinion.) Sophie finds some success after stumbling upon a writing team working with a BBC producer and a voice actor who have all worked together before. They end up having a few years of memorable work together, and the majority of the book is spent going over those years.

This is definitely light reading, nothing heavy, not too complex, definitely nothing dark or daring. But sometimes I appreciate light read. It wasn’t quite what I would consider *fluff*. And the reader was fabulous, which helped!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.] [ official Nick Hornby web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Poems & Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien

Poems & Stories
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The book titled ‘Poems and Stories’ by Tolkien is a collection of a few different stories. They are also available as separate books, but not in the library’s collection at this time. I recently read two of the stories in the collection.

The first is ‘Farmer Giles of Ham’, which is a tale of giants and a dragon and a farmer from the village of Ham. One night a giant wanders through and destroys the field of Farmer Giles who attacks and scares him off. The fame that comes from defeating a giant travels round and so when a dragon enters the area, Farmer Giles is called to act, even though he doesn’t want to. It’s a fairly short story as it’s written for children, but because it’s written by Tolkien I had to give it a try and it was not disappointing. It’s a great fantasy story but does not take place in Tolkien’s Middle Earth like ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’.

The second book in this ‘Poems and Stories’ collection I read was ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’. This is a poetry collection that begins with Tom Bombadil that takes place in Middle Earth, the Shire in particular. There are only 16 poems that I would describe as short and sweet. There’s a poem about an Oliphant, a lonely troll, a treasure hoard and two appearances of the man in the moon (who is also featured in ‘Roveradom’ by Tolkien). Anyone who enjoys the Middle Earth universe will surely enjoy this short work; even if you’re like me and don’t usually read poems.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Roverandum or The Hobbit, both by J.R.R. Tolkien.] [ official J.R.R. Tolkien web site ] | [ official www.tolkienlibrary.com web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
by Catherine Webb, writing as Claire North

One of the more intriguing “time travel” novels I’ve ever read — my science fiction club recently read this for one of our month book discussions, and the entire group of us were all impressed by this novel! Harry August is born in 1919, lives an unremarkable life, dies in his senior years…and is born once again, under the same circumstances in 1919. When he gets back age 3, all his memories of his previous life as Harry August come flooding back to him. And this happens again and again, always with him being reborn as the same Harry August, and with all his multiple lifetimes of accumulated knowledge coming back to him as soon as his brain is developed enough to handle that much data. And he’s not alone — throughout his lives, Harry encounters, interacts with, and joins a group of fellow ouroborans (also known as kalachakrans) that call themselves the Chronos Club — who have learned to pass messages backwards in time, via their members who are about to be reborn, that help them all live comfortable lives (over and over). When one of those time-traveling messages is passed on to Harry on his death bed — “the world is ending, faster than it should” — Harry must spend several lifetimes trying to figure out who is destroying the world, and how to stop them.

This novel uses a fascinating method of time travel — not completely unique, necessarily — and features several compelling characters, particularly Harry August himelf. I highly recommend this one!

[ official The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August web site ] | [ official Catherine Webb/Kate Griffin/Claire North web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Friday, August 21, 2015

A Mockingbird Review Trio

Kim J., one of the staff at the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown, considers the original To Kill a Mockingbird to be one of her all-time favorite novels. On the occasion of the release of Harper Lee's new novel related to Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman, she submitted the following trio of related reviews:

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greatest books written in the 20th Century. Set in the 1930s, the reader sees life in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama through the eyes of young Jean Louise Finch (nicknamed Scout), daughter of attorney Atticus Finch. Scout’s mother died when Scout was just a toddler, so she has no memory of her mother. Instead, she is brought up by her father, Atticus, and older brother Jeremy, whom she refers to as Jem. Scout is a tomboy in all respects and spends her time playing with her brother Jem and their friend, Dill. Life in Maycomb revolves around the social structure of the Deep South. Relationships between upper society and lower society as well as Blacks and Whites are at the heart of this story. When Atticus chooses to represent a black man accused of raping a white woman, Scout faces harsh treatment from people within her school and the town in general. The trial of Tom Robinson is one of the greatest stories included in this book. As a teacher, I used this book to teach students about racial prejudice and sexual stereotypes. There is also much to learn about compassion, honor and respect. I recommend this book as one of the best books I have ever read.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird – the feature film adaptation of the novel, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, both by Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens).] [ official Harper Lee web site ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

To Kill a Mockingbird
adapted from the novel by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird was nominated for many Academy Awards in 1963, including Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Gregory Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his outstanding portrayal of Atticus Finch, a Southern lawyer who chooses to represent a Black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. Mary Badham does a wonderful job portraying Scout Finch, tomboy daughter of Atticus, who tells us the story as seen through the eyes of a young girl in a town torn apart by racial tensions in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Horton Foote won the Academy Award for his excellent screenplay adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel. My favorite performance in the movie is the short glimpse of a young Robert Duvall as the mysterious Boo Radley. This is a wonderful film and well worth seeing.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official To Kill a Mockingbird Facebook page ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee

As a lifelong fan of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I was thrilled when I heard the news that another book by Harper Lee had been discovered and was set to come out in hardback this month. Like many people, I rushed to the bookstore and purchased a copy so that I could devour the book before other people could tell me their opinion of the book and reveal important plot points. I knew enough about the book to know that it featured an adult version of Scout reminiscing about her childhood. This book, written before Lee’s masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has stories of Scout’s childhood and coming of age which would have been an excellent book to follow up her earlier success. However, the stories pale in comparison to the changes in the adult characters: Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, and the family’s cook, Calpurnia, in particular, are almost unrecognizable. The adult Scout finds herself in the midst of racial tensions and family turmoil when she goes back home in the late 1950s. I agree with other reviewers who have said that the book would have been better if there had been some editing prior to publishing. Although I felt comfortable using “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the classroom to teach about prejudice, I would not use this book in a Middle School classroom. However, this book would make an excellent book to discuss as a One Book One Lincoln title in the future. This title will not be remembered as a classic in my opinion. I choose to remember Atticus as he was viewed by the young Scout.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.] [ official Harper Lee web site ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron

Night Night, Sleep Tight
by Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron inherited her considerable writing talent from her parents, screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron. Their Beverly Hills home was filled with books and their neighborhood was filled with celebrities.

The plot for this novel was inspired by the 1958 murder of Johnny Stompanato that happened just a few blocks from the Ephron home. Stompanato was the gangster boyfriend of Lana Turner and he was stabbed to death by Turner’s teenage daughter, Cheryl. In Ephron’s book, 14 year-old Joelen Nichol kills her mother’s boyfriend. This story does not focus on Joelen but on her friend Deirdre Unger who stayed at Joelen’s that night. Deirdre has a hazy memory of being woken up late in the night and carried down the back stairs of the mansion and being put in her father’s car. Her next memory is of waking up in the hospital with a leg that is so severely broken that she walks with a crutch for the rest of her life. Deirdre always wonders what happened that night and when she drives up to Beverly Hills from her home in San Diego to help her father put his house on market she decides to confront him and out what happened that night.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Luckiest Girl Alive by Jess Knoll.] [ official Hallie Ephron web site ]
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio Garcia Sanchez

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure
by Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio Garcia Sanchez [j741.5 Spi]

This amusing and informative youth book passed over the desk in front of me recently and caught my eye, with its visually compelling cover. New York City is one of those metropolises I’ve never visited, but which I would love to see at some point in my life. And one of those New York City experiences I want to have is riding the subway from one part of town to another. In this graphic novel, author Spiegelman and artist Sanchez combine their efforts to tell the story of a grade school class on a field trip from their school, via subway, to visit the Empire State Building. Told from the perspective of new class member Pablo, who’s frustrated at his family having moved for the umpteenth time, and Alicia, the young local girl who tries to befriend Pablo as the field trip begins, this is a short story about cooperation and trust, but it is also a travelogue and history lesson about how and when the New York City subway system was designed and built, and how to navigate its idiosyncracies today. For adults, this is a quick and easy read and a simple introduction to a topic you might be curious about. For kids, this is a painless way to learn something about a fascinating topic, told without being bland or boring. Well done book by the folks at Toon Books. I recommend this one highly!

[ official Lost in NYC web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp

Lords of the Sith
by Paul Kemp

One of the best of the “new continuity” Star Wars novels finds the Emperor and Darth Vader on their own against a rebel insurgency. Kemp writes a fast-paced novel that borrows from both the Star Wars movies and the Clone Wars TV series. A rather rushed ending is the only major flaw in what is otherwise one of the better Star Wars novels out there.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin by James Luceno, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, Darth Plagueis by James Luceno, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.]

[ official Star Wars books on Wookiepedia web site ] | [ official Paul Kemp web site ]

 
Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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Star Trek Into Darkness (on DVD)


One of the new series of Star Trek movies, Star Trek Into Darkness, is about a manhunt for Khan, who has declared war on the Federation. Actors Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto play characters from the original series, Captain Kirk and Science Officer Spock respectively. The character Khan is also from the original series; part of the story is in an episode of the TV show and the later part is the plot for the second movie, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. I like the old and new movie series and even though Wrath of Khan and Into Darkness are about Khan’s story, I think each is worth watching, because they are both good space adventure movies.

[If you like this, you may also wish to try 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, or 2009’s Star Trek, the first of the reboot movies.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Star Trek Into Darkness web site ]


Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2
by Joe Hill

This is a chilling story of a madman, Charlie Manx, who may or may not be imagined, but the disappearance of children at his hands is definitely real. In all his years of abducting children, only one has managed to get away…Victoria McQueen, or Vic; and she may end up risking her life as an adult, trying to save her son from the very man she escaped from all those years ago.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.]

[ publisher’s NOS4A2 web page] | [ official Joe Hill web site ]


Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White

Sanibel Flats
by Randy Wayne White

Though several people had been recommending the “Doc Ford” series by Randy Wayne White to me over the past couple of years, I hadn’t sampled any volumes until the libraries’ Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group chose this series as one of our monthly discussion topics. Sanibel Flats is the first book in the series, introducing the main character of Marion “Doc” Ford, a rough-and-tumble man who has retired from a mysterious job in the intelligence community to follow his passion for marine biology. Settling into a home on the waters of Sanibel Flats, Florida, Doc is simple trying to leave his old life — and the memories of an old love — behind him, but circumstances don’t allow him to forget. When an old friend from high school stops by, begging for his help, Doc gets pulled into an adventure involving bad cops, a corrupt land development corporation, and ultimately the battle for control between two South American guerilla groups. Doc is a fascinating and likeable character, and the supporting cast established in this first series novel, particularly the brilliant but loopy Tomlinson, should provide for many years of reading pleasure. At this time, there are already 22 volumes in White’s “Doc Ford” series, with more on the horizon.

[ official Doc Ford series page on the official Randy Wayne White web site ]

 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona
by Noelle Stevenson [YA Stevenson]

Nimona is the collected web comic by Noelle Stevenson which features the title character Nimona who works as the sidekick for the evil Lord Ballister Blackheart. Nimona can shapeshift into any creature or person and she constantly wants to make a mess of things for the kingdom. It is Nimona who is egging on Blackheart to get his revenge against his nemesis Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, while Blackheart wants to follow the “rules” of villainy. I was very much expecting this to be a simple comic making fun of fantasy tropes, however it is so much more as after a few chapters a real story develops and the characters come to life. It is in this book that the question is posed as to what exactly makes a villain or hero, and if someone is capable of being both. Nimona’s hilariously childlike behavior coupled with her desire to wreak havoc makes her such a funny character and she forms the punchline for many of the jokes. In addition to the excellent narrative and comedic writing, Stevenson’s artwork is amazing with her stylized drawings and bright color palate. It is also in Stevenson’s artwork that she shows the diversity of her world and it was such a great thing to see featured. I very much recommend this book to young adults who enjoy fantasy or adults who would love a comedic graphic novel.

[ official Noelle Stevenson and Nimona web site ]

Recommended by Wyatt P.
Gere Branch Library

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I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (downloadable audiobook)

I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend
by Martin Short [Biography Short / Downloadable Audio / Compact Disc Biography Short]

Martin Short has always been one of my favorite comic actors. He throws himself into bizarre characters that really add life and texture to even the most bland productions. Many of his popular “bits” have really taken on a life of their own, particularly the Pat Sajak-obsessed Ed Grimley (from whom the title of Martin’s book originates), and the fawning and repulsive Jiminy Glick. In this very enjoyable autobiography, Short recounts his experiences growing up in Canada, pretending to be an entertainer and talk-show/variety-show host at a very young age. Short provides numerous amusing and insightful observations about the entertainment industry in both Canada and the U.S., and the many fascinating actors and comedians he’s worked with. I particularly enjoyed his tales of working on both Saturday Night Live and SCTV. For such a gifted comic actor and writer, making me laugh at the humor in his life was child’s play. However, the chapters in which he recounts his wife’s battles with ovarian cancer, to which she succumbed in 2010, are ultimately the most moving part of this showbiz memoir. I checked this out from the libraries as a downloadable audiobook, and in retrospect I must say that this is really the only way to enjoy this biography. While well written, and probably enjoyable as a printed book, the audiobook format allows for Short, who narrates, to launch into dozens of character voices, sing songs and emote. This was a truly moving and laugh-filled reading/listening experience. I can’t recommend this highly enough — one of my favorite reads in the past few years!

[ publisher’s I Must Say web page ] | [ Martin Short page on Wikipedia ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

South of Broad
by Pat Conroy

I’ve always enjoyed Pat Conroy’s work. He’s Catholic, as am I, he (like I) LOVES good food, and he’s got a bit of a smart-mouth attitude (which I have to admit to having, too). Typically, his main characters rely on humor when the going gets tough, as a defense mechanism, which is something I tend to do as well.
South of Broad is a more recently published Conroy novel (2009). However, the story is split between two times in the main character’s life–the late 60’s, when he’s a senior in high school, and the mid-80’s, when he is a grown man. It’s a story of personal challenges for Leo King and for his core group of friends. They go through a lot together–more than any one person should ever have to deal with. Yet, through it all, their friendships grow and flourish.

After having read a number of other Conroy novels, I’ve realized I’ve come to find his prose a bit predictable and slightly tiresome… however, one thing that really stands out, for me–that keeps me coming back to him–is his LOVE for the South, and for Charleston in particular. I’ve never visited the South (other than a brief, 2-day trip to Miami, which I hardly think counts); but I feel as though I know a little what it’s like, simply from his loving descriptions.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Great Santini by Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, or Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.]

[ official South of Broad web site ] | [ official Pat Conroy web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (on DVD)


This is the fifth Star Trek movie. It stars the original cast of Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley, as the other movies in the series do. In this one Spock’s half-brother Sybok takes over Enterprise to travel to the center of the universe to find the Supreme Being. Kirk and crew didn’t even know that Spock had a brother, but despite the shock, they need to regain control of the ship. I didn’t like this movie as well as the others. It was kind of like season three of the original series, in that it was still Star Trek and it was still good, but it didn’t feel quite the same as the earlier movies / seasons. I’d recommend it to people looking for a science fiction movie; I just feel there are better Star Trek movies.

[If you like this, you may also enjoy the other “classic series” cast movies, Star Trek I, II, III, IV, VI.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official www.startrek.com web site ]


Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (on CD)


The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favorite movies. When I first saw, a couple of months ago, that actor Cary Elwes (Wesley in the film) had written a behind-the-scenes volume about the making of the movie, following the film’s 25th anniversary, I looked forward to reading it. Time got away from me, but when I noticed the audiobook-on-cd version on display, I couldn’t pass it up. In the end, I’m glad I listened to the audio version, because it was absolutely charming. In addition to Elwes narrating his own text, many of the other cast and crew members narrate their own contributions to the book, in the form of letters and remembrances. Hearing Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Chris Sarandon and Christopher Guest share tidbits about the experience of working on their film was absolutely terrific. Elwes is the emotional anchor though, talking about how much of a life-changing role Wesley was, and the tremendous impact the film has had on his career, and the wonderful experiences he continues to have, interacting with fans of the film, who now cross three generations in the same family, in many cases. I can’t recommend this audiobook highly enough; my only caveat is that I wish there had been even more “making of” details included…in this end this is a fairly slim volume. I absolutely loved Elwes’ impressions of Rob Reiner and Andre the Giant as he recalls conversations with both those men. If you loved The Princess Bride, you’ll love this book/audiobook as well!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The original feature film The Princess Bride, and the novel by William Goldman that started the whole thing in the first place!]

[ publisher’s As You Wish web site ] | [ official Cary Elwes Twitter feed ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations! 

How Rude: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out by Alex J. Packer


As the mother of a teen-ager and a pre-teen, I thought that I would check this book out to see if I could learn some insights to help my daughters learn better etiquette. The introduction mentioned that this book “will show you how to become a master of the game — and art — of proper social behavior.” The author presents the material in a humorous, contemporary manner that is sure to appeal to today’s tech-savvy teens. This guide does more than explain why it is good to have good manners; it shows you how to cope with everyday events in the real world. I loved the author’s sense of humor as he shows teens possible reactions to various situations. Much of the book is presented in advice column format: “Dear Alex, What should I do if someone is bullying me?” I also enjoyed the pop quizzes covering material already presented. I think that this is a great book for anyone wanting to learn how to behave in any social situation.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin.]

[ official Alex J. Packer web site ]
Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Love Letters by A.R. Gurney

Love Letters and Two Other Plays
by A.R. Gurney [812 Gur]

A.R. Gurney’s 1988 play, Love Letters, has become a modern classic of the contemporary theater. Featuring only two actors, who don’t actually interact directly at any point in the events of the play, the entire production is a series of letters sent between the two characters, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner, and read aloud by each of the actors. Beginning with simple notes when they were children, and following their tumultuous friendship through several decades, this series of correspondence covers topics both banal and exceptionally emotional. When produced on stage, this play can be done with no set pieces — the actors sitting side by side but never looking at each other. Or at opposite ends of a stage, also never glancing in the other’s direction — their entire attention focused on the letters in front of them that they are reading. This is a powerful work, plumbing some raw depths of vulnerability, touching on mental and emotional instability. If you have have a chance to see it performed, I encourage you to do so. I also invite you to read the original work here in the libraries’ collection, in script format!

[ Love Letters on Wikipedia ] | [ official A.R. Gurney web site ]
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Lacy Eye
by Jessica Treadway

When I picked up Lacy Eye, I had no idea the suspense that the psychological thriller had packed between its pages. The book opens to the life of the Hannah, a survivor of a brutal home invasion and attack that not only disfigured her and placed and coma but caused the death of her husband Joe and injuries to the family dog. Hannah came out of the coma without significant memories of that night. Now, three years later, the convicted murderer – her daughter Dawn’s former boyfriend, has been awarded a retrial. With only her two daughters (Dawn and elder daughter Iris) to support her, Hanna struggles to remember anything “useful” from that night, not knowing she could land herself in the same danger once again. Who should she keep close and confide in, and who should she keep at a distance to keep herself alive?

[ official Jessica Treadway web site ]
 
Recommended by Sarah J.
South Branch Library

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek

The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek
by Juan Ortiz [SOS 791.457 StaYo]

This is a book of movie posters that were created by Juan Ortiz for each episode of Star Trek the original series. I have watched all three seasons, so it was really fun to look through them all. Even though the art is new, Ortiz created each poster in a retro style, to keep with the time period the show was filmed. This book would obviously appeal to Star Trek fans, but it’s also good art work that can be appreciated in its own right. Maybe after checking it out, it’d spark your curiosity to watch the original series; it got me in the mood to re-watch them.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek the Original Series, seasons one to three, on DVD.]

[ official The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek web site ] | [ official Juan Ortiz web site ]

 
Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Brief Encounter: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (on CD)

Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks
by Dick Cavett [Compact Disc Biography Cavett]


This is the latest collection of New York Times essays by Dick Cavett, one of Lincoln, Nebraska’s more famous sons. As with Talk Show before, Cavett spends some of his time here reminiscing about the guests he’s had on his 1970s-1980s talk show, The Dick Cavett Show, and his own experiences as a comedy writer for such other talk show luminaries as Johnny Carson and Jack Paar. Cavett, an uncompromising Liberal, also uses several of his columns to wax philosophical on causes near and dear to his heart, including sexuality and gun control. But, it is the essays in which he talks about the people who’ve meant a great deal to him over the past 70+ years that really “made” this collection for me. His memories of interacting with Groucho Marx near the end of his life, or of visiting Stan Laurel in Laurel’s small Santa Monica apartment, or recollecting the brilliance of Jonathan Winters after that comic actor’s passing — these are all touching and inspiring, and remind us of what an incredible life this funny and brilliant kid from the Capital City has had, and the fascinating personalities he’s had the chance to meet. I enjoyed this title as an audiobook-on-cd, which Cavett himself narrates. I highly recommend it in audiobook format!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Talk Show also by Cavett.]
[ official Dick Cavett index on the New York Times web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!