Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
by Don VanRyn [363.1 Van]

This is a heartbreaking, true story of a extremely deadly car accident that took place on April 26, 2008. Like me, you may have followed the story through CNN or other news sources. This story is chilling and absolutely riveting and comes highly recommended. I read this entire book in less than two days. Two girls, Whitney Cerek and Laura Van Ryn, who happen to look very similar in appearance, were students of Taylor University. Both were riding in the same van that was struck head on by a semi-truck. At the accident scene, these two girls were mistaken for one another by medics due to their similar appearance and Laura's purse lying next to Whitney in the grass. Whitney was alive, severely injured but believed to be Laura Van Ryn. Laura died at the scene, but was identified as Whitney Cerek. Whitney's parents were notified that their daughter was one of the students who did not survive the accident, and Laura's parents were told that their daughter was hospitalized with a severe head injury and was in a coma. When the Van Ryns first saw what they thought was their daughter, she was in a coma, tubes in her mouth and nose with her face was partially bandaged. The doctor's warned the family Laura may not look like herself. They did not question the identity. Laura Van Ryn's parents held vigil at a hospital for weeks nursing a woman they believed to be their daughter, Laura. The Cerek's buried what they thought was their daughter Whitney on Whitney's 19th birthday when in fact it was Laura Van Ryn. Over 1,400 people attended Whitney's funeral. As Whitney slowly came out of her coma, her behavior and things she said were not making sense. They also noticed a few physical traits that were different, but thought nothing of it. After five weeks, the Van Ryn family began to question whether this was really their Laura. After dental records were ordered and their worst fear confirmed, two families' worlds were once again torn apart. For two years the families were asked "how could you not know your own child?" Now the Cerek and Van Ryn families have come together to write the true story about their daughters' mistaken identity and how unwavering faith in god, helped both families cope with tragedy twice. -- recommended by Jessica H. - Walt Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Reader List - People Magazine's Top 10 Books of 2008

Another new Reader List recently submitted to BookGuide:

People Magazine's Top 10 Books of 2008
submitted in December by BookMan

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch [158.1 Pau]
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher [Biography Fisher]
The Snowball by Alice Schroeder [Biography Buffet]
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan [Not currently owned by Lincoln City Libraries]
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris [817 Sed]
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Straight Into Darkness

Straight Into Darkness
by Faye Kellerman

In Munich Germany in 1929, a serial killer challenges the professional abilities of Inspector Axel Berg. Simmering in the background is the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, a subplot not to be dismissed lightly when one of the suspects is Jewish and when it influences police policy and procedures. The novel is stylish and reflects the period well. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in unabridged audiotape, book-on-cd, and Large Print formats.][ official Faye Kellerman web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Forgotten Ellis Island

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital
by Lorie Conway [j325.1 Con]

This nonfiction selection tells the story of the state-of-the-art hospital built on man-made Ellis Island to accommodate thousands of immigrants who were found not to be physically/mentally well enough to enter the United States. Some patients viewed the hospital, in use for only three decades, as a place of rescue while others viewed it as a "place of tears." It housed a "mental defect" wing as well as a separate contagious diseases facility. The reader becomes acutely reminded of the giant steps in medical knowledge from that era to this one. A corps of doctors, nurses, and interpreters worked at the site where 7-8,000 immigrants were seen on a busy day. One of the service interpreters spoke Yiddish, Italian, and Spanish, and was noted for his kindness of bringing a chocolate bar to patients from the city where he was attending law school. Fiorello LaGuardia would eventually become Mayor of New York City and suffered over the deportation decisions (marked by a large chalked "X" inside a circle on the right shoulder) made regarding mental health. With the window of a year in 1999, the author was given exclusive rights to document the remains of the hospital before restoration efforts began (despite such obstacles as poison ivy, asbestos and lead paint). Because of Conway's work, the reader is able to relive some of the authentic history of this one-of-a-kind facility through fascinating photos and anecdotes. (Even the survivors of the Titanic were required to disembark at Ellis Island!) -- recommended by Kay V. - Bennett Martin Public Library


Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood
by David McCullough [974.877 M13j]

I decided to read The Johnstown Flood because I have read all of David McCullough's books. He is a great storyteller. He makes history come alive. -- recommended by Vicki J. - South Branch Library


[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.][ Wikipedia page for David McCullough ] [ official Publisher's Page for David McCullough ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

New Reader List - Creature Comforts

A new Reader List is now available on BookGuide -- Creature Comforts. Don't forget -- you can submit your own short lists of recommended titles to share with others at BookGuide's Reader List page.

Creature Comforts - Books Featuring Animals and Their Humans
submitted in December by Paige Turner
A quick list of books that highlight the relationship between people and the animals they care about.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Convivial Codfish

The Convivial Codfish
by Charlotte MacLeod

As Exalted Chowderhead of the Comrades of the Convival Codfish, Jeremy (Jem) Kelling, presides over their Christmas revels. Part of the merriment includes skewing a plastic inflatable Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The company yells, "Bah, humbug!" Because he is the Exalted Chowderhead, Jem wears the Great Chain with its sterling silver codfish, but when he notices that the insignia is missing, Jem puts in a call to his niece and nephew-by-marriage, Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. This mystery is totally off-the-wall and Jem is an endearingly puckish curmudgeon and eccentric. (When he is injured later in the book, he ducks hospital rules and drinks eggnogs laced with brandy.) Max must tread carefully in his investigation because a member of the Comrades obviously took the "sacred relic" as Jem describes the codfish, and some of them are even family members. The pranks do not overwhelm the mystery in this effort (as they sometimes do with MacLeod). A really great read. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Wikipedia page for Charlotte MacLeod ]

See more books like this on our Mistletoe Mysteries booklist

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the
Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dead Witch Walking

Dead Witch Walking
by Kim Harrison

This is the first volume in the increasingly popular Rachel Morgan series. This series has a contemporary setting, but in an alternate history in which a man-made genetics disaster has wiped out over 10% of the human population. In order to allow humanity to continue to survive, the Interlanders -- the creatures of nightmare and fantasy (vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, pixies, etc.) have revealed themselves publicly and tried to integrate into the human world. Rachel Morgan is a white witch, specializing in capturing the Interlander bad-guys for the equivilant of the Interlander cops. This novel features Rachel leaving her job and partnering (reluctantly) with a vampire friend to set up their own "bounty hunter" agency. Rachel has to deal with the fact that she has a "contract hit" on her, as she investigates a powerful industrial figure who may be producing and distributing illegal biodrugs. Rachel is an interesting character, and her scenes with her Pixie sidekick as hilarious. Harrison has created an interesting world here...my only complaint is that there's not a real sense of any kind of closure at the end of this book. It really feels like simply an introductory volume to Rachel's later, more interesting, adventures. Still...an entertaining read, and I'll definitely sample further novels in the Rachel Morgan series. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Dead Witch Walking page on the official Kim Harrison web site ]


Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bees: Tales From the Hive

Bees: Tales From the Hive
Fascinating episode of NOVA from 2000, using a specially-designed macro camera to examine the life of bees within a beehive. Narrated by David Ogden Stiers, this documentary traces the life of one hive over the course of a single year, and features some truly astonishing footage of these industrious insects. Even if you have a fear of bees, I encourage you to watch this fascinating and educational show! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in VHS format.][ official Companion Web Site to this episode of NOVA ]

Have you seen this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Stranger Room

The Stranger Room
by Frederick Ramsay

I love books that incorporate local history in the plot. Frederick Ramsay uses the phenomenon known as the "stranger room" in this mystery. In the early centuries wealthy stagecoach passengers did not like to stay in crowded public inns and often rented rooms in nearby private homes. These homes had rooms built specifically for travelers. The rooms had only exterior entrances that allowed the travelers to come and go without disturbing the household. The rooms came to be known as "stranger rooms" because the boarders were strangers to the homeowners. History repeats itself in the latest entry in the Ike Schwartz series. In1864 a boarder, Franklin Brian, was found shot to death in the "stranger room" of Jonathan Lydell?s home. The door was locked from the inside. Lydell had to break down the door to get in. The room had no access to the rest of the house. How had the killer escaped? The murder was never solved. Fast forward to 2008. Jonathan Lydell IV has restored his ancestral home to its former glory, complete with a "stranger room" that he rents to lodgers. One summer morning he knocks on the door of the "stranger room" to wake the lodger. He gets no response and the door is locked. Lydell tries to unlock the door with his key but finds that the door is locked from the inside and that the key is still in the lock. Jonathan Lydell breaks down the door and finds his lodger, Anton Grotz, lying dead on the floor. Grotz had been shot just like Franklin Brian one hundred forty-four years before him. How had the murderer escaped? Ike and his deputies have to solve this locked room puzzle. -- recommended by Donna G. - Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries

[ official Stranger Room page on the official Frederick Ramsay web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey...Book Discussion Groups!

The Lincoln City Libraries have expanded our Book Club in a Bag selections, with six additional titles now available for Book Groups to borrow. Just a reminder -- for each title, the Book Club in a Bag will contain 10 copies of that book as well as some starter discussion questions. Book Club in a Bag selections will be able to be checked out for 8 weeks but with no renewals. You can find out what titles are available in the Book Club in a Bag program by searching in the library catalog under Subject: Book Club in a Bag.

Here are the latest new additions to this special library collection:


  • Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham [2001]

  • The Shack, by William P. Young [2008]

  • The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch [2008]

  • Hot, Flat and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman [2008]

  • Home, by Marilynne Robinson [2008]

  • Land of a Hundred Wonders, by Lesley Kagen [2008]
Please feel free to share this news with your book group! And keep watching for future addtions to the Book Club in a Bag collection!

Read...Discuss...Repeat! - December - Speaks the Nightbird

December 2008's Read...Discuss...Repeat! selection is Speaks the Nightbird, a 2002 historical suspense novel by Robert R. McCammon, something of a police procedural/forensic mystery/thriller but set during 1699 in a New England town obsessed with witchcraft.

Stop by this month's Read...Discuss...Repeat! page on BookGuide for background information about the book, a list of "readalikes", and links to web sites related to the book and author. Then (or now, if you've read the book), stop by and fill out our on-line comment form to share your thoughts and opinions about Speaks the Nightbird!

Finishing Stroke

Finishing Stroke
by Ellery Queen

In 1929, Ellery Queen accepts an invitation to a Christmas party at the Craig estate. On Christmas morning, all the packages have disappeared from under the tree. Then, a Santa appears in the doorway, laden with packages. Other packages, with mysterious markings, are delivered throughout the twelve days of Christmas. Ellery speculates on the frequency of the number 12 in this mystery. There are 12 guests, 12 months in the year--and all of the guests were born in a different month, so their gifts were gold money clips or brooches fashioned to order at a 5th Avenue jeweler and representing signs of the Zodiac. Other guests contribute to the theme: twelve good men and true, Hercules' twelve labors, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, since one of the guests is an actress. However, the mystery remains unsolved until 1957, when police headquarters is cleaning out some old files and the chief asks Ellery if he would like to look at them. This is a most satisfying and challenging mystery; the title is a clue to the solution. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

Check out more holiday mysteries in our Mistletoe Mysteries online booklist.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ishi in Two Worlds

Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America
by Theodora Kroeber [970.3 K91i]

Theodora Kroeber, wife of famed anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, tells a touching story of Ishi, the last Yana/Yahi Indian. Starving and near exhaustion from being chased by white Indian hunters, Ishi is found near a corral on a ranch. The sheriff turned him over to Kroeber who proceeded to unravel Ishi's past and that of the last of his people. He and Ishi became great friends. After a trip to Washington he was also taken to heart by the American public. Ishi taught Kroeber to use a bow and arrow like his forefathers did and provided Kroeber with a mountain of knowledge on his California tribe. Ishi died while in Kroeber's care and monuments to him can be found throughout the area. A truly touching biography. -- recommended by Rayma S. - South Branch Library


[ Publisher's page for the book ] [ Wikipedia entry on Theodora Kroeber ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Friday, December 5, 2008

1602

1602
by Neil Gaiman (author) and Andy Kubert (illustrator) [j741.5 Gai]

Intriguing look at the traditional heroes of the Marvel Comics universe, reimagined into the year 1602 by master fantasist Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Good Omens). The characters of Nick Fury, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spiderman, Dr. Doom, The Watcher, the X-Men, Magneto and many more are not simply transported through time. Rather, Gaiman takes these archetypal characters and "reinvents" them -- providing equivalents (with variations on similar names) from individuals in the Elizabethan age. The writing in this series is a nice mix of serious and humorous -- with a major, surprising plot twist towards the end of the story. The art ranges from rough and rustic to highly detailed, often resembled woodcuts. This was original a series of monthly issues, since compiled into a "graphic novel" format. When it originally came out, it polarized comics fans -- some hated it and some loved it. Personally, I found it an interesting comics artifact, and recommend it to anyone who's at least slightly familiar with well-known Marvel Comics characters. If you're not at least passingly family with the Marvel Universe, you probably won't appreciate this as much. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ Wikipedia entry for Gaiman's 1602 ] [ official Marvel Comics web site ] [ official Neil Gaiman web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Landscape of Lies

Landscape of Lies
by Peter Watson

Clues to lost treasures once belonging to a monastery in England are hidden in a painting. Its owner and an art dealer interpret the symbols, but a rival is also after the valuables. The real meat of this book is the meaning of the symbols and the research that the hero and heroine conduct to move on to the next clue. As such, it is more cerebral than most mysteries, but not too arcane -- most mystery readers will be rewarded by the book. -- recommended by Rianna S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Waltzing in the Attic

Waltzing in the Attic
by P.B. Parris
This novel is set on a farm in Nebraska. Practical, no-nonsense, seventy year old Hannah Meier thinks over her life and the events that shaped it. Much of the book is set in the 1930s as Hannah remembers her girlhood. This book is beautifully written and conveys a sense of place. And although the tough Hannah can wring the neck of a chicken, butcher it, scald it, dump the offal in the sink, then watch it sizzle in the skillet, as a young girl, she can also hum "The Missouri Waltz" and imagine herself in a dress of silver lace, round like a haystack, and silver slippers in a ballroom sparkling with candles. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library
Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cakes to Dream On

Cakes to Dream On
by Colette Peters [641.865 Pet]

I'll admit it...I'm addicted to watching the cooking competition shows on The Food Network. This is particularly true for the often bizarre competitions for creating the most outrageous decorated cakes or pastries. Cakes to Dream On jumped off the new books display at me in the way that some of those bizzare cakes on television do. This is a beautifully illustrated book about how to create surreal cake designs. Want to know how to work with foam core boards and fondant? Are you itching to pipe royal icing or carve cake with an exacto knife? If you've ever wondered how much prep and construction time and effort goes into creating wild cakes, you'll appreciate this one. It definitely falls into the category of "fun to read about, but I'll never actually try to do any of these things" -- but it definitely is an enjoyable book to browse through! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ official Cakes to Dream On page on the official Colette Peters web site ]
Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slings & Arrows

Slings & Arrows

Slings & Arrows was a true marvel -- a short-run series with punch, pathos, humor and drama. I'll admit -- as a "fanboy" I was attracted to Slings & Arrows primarily because I had enjoyed its star, Paul Gross, in the US television series Due South. Although he headlines S&A, this Canadian-made series is truly an ensemble effort. Gross plays a mentally unstable actor/director brought in to replace his former mentor when the latter dies while serving as artistic director of a corporate-sponsored Shakespearean festival. The series then focuses on Tennant's efforts to direct Shakespearean plays in an environment of corporate meddling, commercialization, and increasing audience apathy. The cast is peopled with many quirky charactes: the ghost of his mentor; the leading lady diva; the managing director and his corporate shark girlfriend; the young ingenue; the stagehands and supporting actors; and the critics and fans of the acting troupe's efforts. This series, produced for Canada's Movie Network channel, and also airing on the Sundance cable channel in the US was built in three distinct 6-episode seasons, with Gross' Geoffrey Tennant directing a different Shakespearean play in each season. The series, though extremely baudy and profane at times, is still a love affair with the world of staged theater, and anybody who enjoys going to plays, or recalls the heyday of acting in their high school stage productions should enjoy this tremendously. Excellent acting, marvelous writing and directing, and superb production values. This one is a real winner! Break a leg! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Slings & Arrows web site from The Movie Network ] [ Detailed episode guide at epguides.com ]


Have you seen this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Likeness

The Likeness
by Tana French

Detective Cassie Maddox is called to a crime in the Irish countryside. In the dilapidated cottage Cassie gasps when she sees the victim. She is looking at a mirror image of herself! The dead woman's ID says that she is Alexandra Madison, an alias that Cassie used when she worked an undercover assignment. Who was this girl and why was she killed? Frank Mackey, Cassie's old undercover boss sees this as the perfect opportunity to a killer out. Frank convinces Cassie to recreate her old alias to answer these questions. Lexie's four housemates are told that the stab wound wasn't fatal. Cassie moves into Whitethorn, a two-story ramshackle house to live as Lexie until the killer comes back to finish job. In this intense novel, Cassie is seduced by Lexie's lifestyle as a graduate student living with a close-knit group of friends. Cassie spends her days at Trinity College studying at the library and teaching tutorials. She spends her nights partying with her housemates. The lines between Cassie and Lexie begin to blur in Cassie's mind. She almost forgets that she is there to find a killer. -- recommended by Donna G. - Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries

[ official Tana French web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Victory of Eagles

Victory of Eagles
by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory, which was Book 4 in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, ended with a cliffhanger that left the reader wondering what would become of the hero, William Laurence, condemned to death and parted from his dragon. Book 5 is a satisfying resolution to the conflicts posed in Book 4. Allowed to live long enough to fight one last time against Napoleon and the French, William Laurence is reunited with Temeraire and given the opportunity to make amends for his so-called treason against the British Empire. As with several of Naomi Novik's books, I found it difficult to put this one down. I can only hope that there will be more books in this series in the future. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ official fan-created Wiki for the world of Temeraire ] [ official Naomi Novik web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Read...Discuss...Repeat! - November - The Perfect Storm

Dang...we let half the month of November slip by before posting about this month's Read...Discuss...Repeat! selection.

November 2008's title is The Perfect Storm, a 1997 non-fiction title by Sebastian Junger, which chronicles the tragic events surrounding a once-in-a-century storm that occured in 1991, and the effects it had on the fishing industry off the U.S. east coast.

Stop by this month's Read...Discuss...Repeat! page on BookGuide for background information about the book, a list of "readalikes", and links to web sites related to the book and author. Then (or now, if you've read the book), stop by and fill out our on-line comment form to share your thoughts and opinions about The Perfect Storm!

Also, even if you haven't read the book, you may be familiar with the 2000 film adaptation of The Perfect Storm, starring George Clooney!

The Dick Cavett Show - Hollywood Greats

The Dick Cavett Show - Hollywood Greats
from The Dick Cavett Show

This is classic Dick Cavett, providing witty conversations with some of Hollywood's greatest stars. There are 15 interviews in all. Some of them are with people who rarely gave public appearances. Like Katherine Hepburn who came in and took charge of the set, rearranging furniture and even suggesting that the stage crew bring in a different colored rug. Evidently Dick's orange shag carpet didn't appeal to her. Then there is the interview with the master, Alfred Hitchcock. Speaking in his dignified voice, he provides candid and sometimes odd answers to Mr. Cavett's questions that only Hitchcock could pull off. Dick Cavett likes to delve into the psyche of the person he is interviewing. This type of questioning offers a form of insight into the celebrity that may not be seen or read any where else. All of the interviews in this four disc set are fascinating and worth watching. If you liked this you may also like the DVD, From the Ashes: The Life and Times of Tick Hall Call # DVD 728.37 Mor -- recommended by Patty L. - Walt Branch Library
[ official Dick Cavett Show commercial web site ]

Have you seen this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wesley the Owl

Wesley the Owl
by Stacey O'Brien [598.97 Obr]

O'Brien's relating of her 19-year odyssey of raising and living with the barn owl that she named Wesley is an entertaining and educational read. This books is an odd amalgamation of biographical memoir and scientific journal, starting (after a little set up) with Stacey's adoption of a nerve-damaged newborn owl, and ending with her observations over what she could have done better or what more she could have done in Wesley's final days to make the senior citizen owl happier and more comfortable. Along the way, O'Brien identifies "The Way of the Owl" -- a life philosophy based on her observations of how owls live their lives...you both give 100% of yourself, whether physically or emotionally, and you expect the same from those who are close to you. No lying. No subterfuge. Of course, having an owl "claim" you as its mate doesn't really lead to lots of dates with human suitors. All in all, this book reminded me of having read Farley Mowat's An Owl in the Family and Never Cry Wolf back in my teen years. It's a light read, and very informative, but occasionally rather dry reading at times. If you're fascinated with human interactions with "wild" animals, or the psychology of birds, you'll love this one. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ official Wesley the Barn Owl web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Three Literary Giants Leave the Stage

Late October and early November have seen the passing of three prominent American authors – Tony Hillerman, Studs Terkel and now Michael Crichton.

Tony Hillerman died October 26th, at the age of 83. Hillerman is primarily known as a mystery writer, with the popular series of novels featuring Navajo Tribal policemen Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. That series began in 1970 with The Blessing Way, and the 18th and final volume, The Shapeshifter, was released in 2006. Two of these novels have been turned into telefilms for PBS’ Mystery series – Coyote Waits and Skinwalkers. In addition to his mystery novels, Hillerman also has a couple of childrens books, and contributed the text to several photographic books about the American Southwest.

Here are some links to additional Tony Hillerman information: Hillerman page on Wikipedia, Obit in the Chicago Sun-Times, NPR Tribute, Unofficial Homepage.

Studs Terkel died October 31st at the age of 96. Terkel was an author, whose works chronicled ordinary Americans at various points in U.S. History. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1984 book, The Good War, a history of World War II. Terkel’s first book, The Giants of Jazz, was published in 1956, and he was still publishing in 2008.

Additional Studs Terkel info can be found at: Stud’s official site, his last interview, Obit at the BBC, Obit at the Daily Telegraph, Wikipedia page for Terkel.

Thriller writer Michael Crichton died November 4th, at the age of 66. During a diverse education, Crichton obtained an M.D. in 1969, as well as serving as a visiting lecturer in Anthropology at Britain’s Cambridge University in 1965. While a medical student, Crichton wrote novels under the pen names John Lange and Jeffrey Hudson, winning an Edgar Award in 1969 for A Case of Need as Hudson. Crichton is best know for his own particular type of novel – the medical/technology thriller. His first novel in this category was The Andromeda Strain, and he continued to write fast-paced, technology-based thrillers until his death. Some of his most well-known works are Congo, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Airframe, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey and Next.

In addition to his writing, Crichton was also a director, helming 7 movies or tv-movies, including Westworld, The Great Train Robbery (based on his own book), Coma, and Runaway. He is credited with co-writing the 1996 hit Twister, and wrote the pilot script for the tv series ER, for which he has been listed as Creator and Executive Producer.

Crichton has one remaining unpublished novel, scheduled for release in 2009. He was diagnosed with cancer fairly recently and chose to keep that information private, such that his death came as a complete surprise for most fans. You can find more information about Crichton at: Obit at the Chicago Sun-Times, Profile/tribute in the New York Times, Tribute at PeopleForever.org, Crichton on Wikipedia, Official Michael Crichton web site.

The Thanksgiving Table

The Thanksgiving Table
by Diane Morgan [641.568 Mor]

In this seasonal cookbook, Diane Morgan has created some wonderful recipes and ideas for your holiday gathering. She offers recipes in this book that taste so good they will become a part of your traditional thanksgiving meal for generations to come. Grandchildren will remember you for having made these dishes and will ask you for the recipes. They're that good. She offers tips on table decorations and creative serving ideas like serving soup in a hollowed out pumpkin. There are many recipes that can be made ahead of the dinner so your time spent in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is more relaxed, and spent in a state of gratitude, which is exactly what Thanksgiving is all about. Three of my favorite recipes in her book are the Juniper Brined Turkey, the Praline Sweet Potato Casserole and the Wild Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts, Dried Apricots, and Fresh Herbs. Included in this cookbook is a chapter devoted to vegetarian recipes. If the turkey is your main attraction, then Diane Morgan provides every bit of information you'll need to cook that picture perfect turkey you see in all of the holiday magazines. I urge you to leave your comfort zone, and try one of her brined turkey recipes. Eating a brined turkey is a wonderful experience. Thanksgiving is my much loved holiday of the year. If it is your favorite holiday gathering, then The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan is the one cookbook you should read. -- recommended by Patty L. - Walt Branch Library

[ official Diane Morgan Cooks web site ]
Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Murder in Hell's Kitchen

Murder in Hell's Kitchen
by Lee Harris

Detective Jane Bauer is two months away from retirement. The NYPD brass takes her off the City Hall Park murder and reassigns her to task force to look into unsolved murders. The first case that Jane and her two new partners get is a stabbing death in Hell's Kitchen. Arlen Quill is found sprawled in the entryway of his apartment building. The detectives who originally investigated the case believed that the killer stabbed Quill as he opened the door to his apartment building but was scared off before he could steal Quill's wallet. Jane stops at the apartment building to re-interview the other residents. She is surprised to learn that all five of the residents are gone from the rent-controlled building -- something that is unheard of in New York City. Jane and her partners start the painstaking task of tracking down these people. They find that four of the tenants are dead and one has disappeared. Elaine Best died of a stroke about six months after the murder. Henry Soderberg died when he fell down the stairs in the apartment building. Margaret Rawls moved to Oklahoma City and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. A mugger in Harlem killed Hollis Worthman and Jerry Hutchins has disappeared. Jane traces Hutchins to Omaha. What had started out as a simple murder/robbery becomes a more complicated. Jerry Hutchins won't talk about New York unless he gets police protection. The police officer is shot and Hutchins disappears the day after he talks to Jane. -- recommended by Donna G. - Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Frankenstein

Frankenstein [1931]
directed by James Whale

This is the classic "Universal Monster Movie" adaptation of Mary Shelley's ground-breaking novel. Although the movie takes a few liberties with Shelley's original story, the performances (particularly Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's creation) and the production values are tremendous. Fans of horror films or classic films should not miss this one! This particular release of the film came out in 2006, celebrating the film's 75th anniversary, and features lots of special features. Some of those include "Universal Horror" - a documentary on classic Universal horror movies narrated by Kenneth Branagh, "Karloff: The Gentle Monster" - a tribute to the film work of Boris Karloff, and "The Frankenstein Files" - a documentary about the making of this classic film. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
Have you seen this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Case Histories

Case Histories
by Kate Atkinson

Case Histories is a traditional suspense novel written with depth of character and a sense of the inner life of those who are affected by sudden violence. Atkinson introduces the reader to three separate acts of violence and spends the rest of the book delving into the effects these acts had on loved ones of the victim and in one case the perpetrator. The first case - 1970, a 3 year old child goes missing. The second - 1994, the seemingly random killing of a young woman by a mentally disturbed man. The third case - 1979, a new wife and mother proceeds to brutally kill her husband. What ties these cases together? They all occured around the Cambridge area of England and they all eventually involve the services of Cambridge private investigator Jackson Brodie. I am not particularly fond of the "steam of consciousness" novel and rest assured this novel is not of that type. The action is fairly straightforward except for the different time periods in which the 3 original acts took place. The inner lives we read about are only of those closely tied to the cases and so too the resolution (or not) of these cases. In this novel, Atkinson uses her skill to write the inner life of ordinary people, the almost breathtaking love of your child, the feelings of abject failure in what others do so effortlessly and the betrayal of control we foolishly thought we wielded over our lives. Kate Atkinson has written other Jackson Brodie novels, One Good Turn, published in 2006, and When Will There Be Good News, in 2008. -- recommended by Evelyn D. - Bennett Martin Public Library


Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

City of Thieves

City of Thieves
by David Benioff

After an opening chapter -- pay close attention, something happens here that will be expanded on later -- the book is told in flashback, to the siege of St. Petersburg in Russia during World War II. An unlikely duo, who have been captured for various crimes by the local police, are spared the firing squad, their mission: to find a dozen eggs in this war torn city. Their encounters are often savage and bloody and brutal -- but they are also human and heartrending. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein [1974]
directed by Mel Brooks

Hilarious parody of typical horror movies of the 1930s and 1940s, specifically the original Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Gene Wilder is Dr. Frankenstein, a New York-based medical specialist who is the grandson of the famous mad scientist who originally created a humanoid monster. When he is identified as the sole surviving heir to his grandfather's legacy, Victor journeys to Transylvania to close out his family's affairs there but instead gets caught up in an attempt to restart his grandfather's macabre work. The performances in this film are marvelous, from Wilder's Frankenstein, to Marty Feldman as Igor -- it's pronounced Eye-gor -- with his shifting hump, and Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, Peter Boyle as the monster, and Kenneth Mars as the incomprehensible Inspector Kemp. The film is filled with unforgettable, hilarious lines, and moments that are direct parodies of scenes in the 1931 film. Identified as #13 on AFI's list of the Top 100 Top Comedies of all time, this is a true classic. Just remember, when you're looking for a brain to complete your own monster, don't pick one from somebody named Abby Normal! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library


Have you seen this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dark Curse

Dark Curse
by Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan continues her Carpathian Dark series with Dragonseeker Lara Calladine teaming up with Nicolas Dela Cruz, an arrogant, sinfully handsome Carpathian hunter. Lara has spent her life seeking the ice caves where she had been tortured as a child by a grandfather intent on discovering the secret of immortality while destroying the entire Carpathian race. The whispers of her imprisoned aunts kept her sane while teaching her vitally important mage magic. They even helped her escape. Now she hopes to use that knowledge to rescue her aunts. Nicolas wants only to protect his lifemate, but his need for control nearly destroys Lara. Feehan produces another wild ride filled with heart stopping emotions as the two discover just how strong a weapon love can be. -- recommended by Janet K. - Walt Branch Library

[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd [abridged or unabridged] format.][ official Dark series section on the official Christine Feehan web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Booklist -- Ripper!

Horror/mystery/thriller and true crime enthusiasts, take note! A new booklist has been posted on BookGuide that may hold some appeal for you...

Ripper!

This booklist identifies approximately 15-20 novels and 15-20 true-crime books dealing with the infamous Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who bloodily dispatched numerous young women in London's Whitechapel district between 1888 and 1891.

Perfect for scary end-of-October reading!

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee

I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee
by Charles J. Shields [j Biography Lee]

This is a very readable, well researched biography of the acclaimed author Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. Author Charles Shields has adapted this book for younger readers from his New York Times best seller, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. Although Harper Lee is someone who has not given out very many public interviews, the author is still able to provide a biographical picture of a famous person that the general public knows little about. His use of interviews with old classmates, fellow newspaper writers with Harper Lee, and town folk from where she grew up, are presented in a way which allows the reader to identify, in a small way, with Harper Lee's triumphs and fears. There are times throughout the book where Charles Shields takes a childhood experience of Harper Lee's and relates it to the book and the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird. Two components of this book that I enjoyed were Harper Lee's struggles about writing her second novel and her relationship with Truman Capote. Containing 246 pages of information, pictures and an index, this book is worth reading if you like studying the greatness of individual achievement, and learning about the acceptance of letting yourself be who you are. -- recommended by Patty L. - Walt Branch Library


[ downloadable discussion guide for I Am Scout on the official Charles J. Shields web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles - The Field Guide

The Spiderwick Chronicles
by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi [jC DiTerlizzi]

The Spiderwick Chronicles is an enchanting set of stories about the Grace family. Recently divorced, Mrs. Grace takes her children to live in an ancient Victorian house owned by an aunt who lives in an insane asylum. The children discover a world of fairies and goblins that co-exists with their own. The authors have created a world that is not only unpleasant but dangerous as well. The books give the reader the opportunity to see how each member of this disfunctional family deals with the realities that they must face as they grow closer to one another in this fight against the creatures that would like to see them gone forever. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library


[Also available: Spiderwick Chronicles series heading.][ official Spiderwick Chronicles web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?


Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror
by Jay Anson [133.42 Ans]

Story of the Lutz family who moved into a home on Long Island that had been the scene of a horrific family murder the previous year. Complete with blood running down walls, a spirit chasing out a priest who was blessing the home, and other strange and scary phenomena. Perported to be a true story but later shown to be fiction, it's still a fast, interesting read. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library


Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Mist

The Mist
based on a story by Stephen King

Mists are scary enough, but the mist in this movie is truly terrifying. Citizens in a grocery store hole up to save themselves from the monsters that are flying and creeping inside the mist. But some of the people in the store are scarier than the monsters outside, and the shoppers split into two camps. One is determined to escape and one is determined to appease the vengeful deity they hold responsible for the mist. This movie has great special effects and the ending is different than the short story by Stephen King it is based on. -- recommended by Deanne J. - Walt Branch Library
Have you seen this one, or read the original story? What did you think?

Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Complete Making of Indiana Jones

The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films
by J.W. Rinzler, interviews by Laurent Bouzereau [791.437 qIndYr]

For anyone who's a fan of the Indiana Jones films, or who grew up going to movies in the late 1970s and 1980s, The Complete Making of Indiana Jones is a treasure. This coffee-table book is a massive history of everything that went into the filming and release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, its sequels in 1984 and 1989, and the much-delayed follow-up film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, released just this past May. Filled with dozens of interviews, and reproductions of script pages, call-back sheets, billing invoices, directors notes and every other form historical document associated with the productions that you can imagine, this book is a movie-lover's dream. Interested in how and when George Lucas came up with the idea for his adventurer, Indiana Smith? Curious as to who else was considered for the role of Indy before they offered it to Tom Selleck, who had to back out? Want to know how they did the incredible stunts and special effects? Want to know what was really in the monkey skulls during Temple of Doom's dinner sequence? Did Sean Connery and Harrison Ford get along off-camera? Why did it take almost 20 years to get a fourth film made? The answers to all these questions, and many more, are to be found here. Though a fascinating read, for a movie buff like me, I'm going to deduct an entire point from my score because they didn't bother to dedicate a chapter to The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. If George Lucas considers the stories told in that excellent TV series to be part of the Indy canon, they least they could do is dedicate a few of this book's 300 pages to Young Indy. Otherwise, an excellent read! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
[ official Indiana Jones web site from Lucasfilm ] -- Don't forget...the 4th film is released on DVD tomorrow, October 14th, 2008!

Have you read this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others
directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

This intriguing film is set in 1984 East Germany, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Winner of the 2006 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film, this is one production that offers an outstanding, yet eerie portrayal of what it is like to live under constant surveillance by the State Secret Police. Neighbors and friends are asked to spy on each other, and are threatened if they don't comply. An examination of anyone, for the smallest infraction, is the norm. The movie opens with the interrogation of a man who claims to know nothing about the escape of an East Berlin citizen. Then goes on to follow the lives of two government sanctioned artists who are lovers. A twist in the story evolves when a high ranking official decides to have the couple's apartment bugged because he is in love with one of them. Filled with secret meetings and whispered conversations, living in a country as controlling as this and creating art can be a tricky and dangerous profession. This film is a must see for those who value artistic expression, and for those who value the ordinary freedoms that are accorded to people living in a democracy. -- recommended by Patty L. - Walt Branch Library


Have you seen this one? What did you think?
Ten (or more) new reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog over the course of the entire month.