Friday, June 27, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Heir to the Empire

Heir to the Empire
by Timothy Zahn

Not a cheap knock-off of the "Star Wars" movie series. Well-written, fast-paced, exciting, excellent storylines that could have been written by Lucas himself. Doesn't branch off on its own, follows the "rules" and storylines as created by the first three movies. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public LIbrary/Reference


[ official Star Wars website ] [ Wikipedia page for Timothy Zahn ] [ Wikipedia page for Heir to the Empire ] [ official Expanded Universe page at the official Star Wars Web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?


Ten 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, June 26, 2008

Staff Recommendation - The Borderlands of Science

The Borderlands of Science: How to Think Like a Scientist and Write Science Fiction
by Charles Sheffield [500 She]

This is a very casually written guide to scientific issues as they related to telling fictional stories -- a guide to what's real and what's possible in a variety of scientific fields as viewed from the prism of a 1999 Speculative Fiction writer's perspective. This book is written for the lay reader -- scientific terms and theories are made easily understandable, and for the science fiction fans in the audience, Sheffield brings up numerous examples of how genre authors have effectively made use of real science in their stories. Topics covered in this book include: Physics, Relativity, Cosmology, Biology, Space Flight, Computers, Robots, Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Chaos Theory, Future Warfare, and a wonderful grab-bag chapter about quirky scientific topics that don't fit comfortably anywhere else. I recommend this book particularly to science fiction fans, but anyone with an interest in cutting-edge scientific theories and studies should appreciate it as well. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference


Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 24, 2008

Staff Recommendation - The Forgery of Venus

The Forgery of Venus
by Michael Gruber

In his latest book, Gruber examines themes of art's creation and its imitation, the nature of time, and the very essence of what it means to know and remember. The Forgery of Venus tells the story of Chaz Wilmot, a painter and a reluctant fixture on the New York art scene. Chaz is blessed with phenomenal artistic talent, but is thwarted in his career by his inability to paint for the buying public. Instead of selling his work for big money in upscale Manhattan galleries, he makes a meager living painting in the style of other famous artists, some living, some long dead, for magazines and other publications. Chaz has two ex-wives to support, and several children as well, one of whom has a life-threatening illness. His life, and theirs, would be infintely easier if he could just bring himself to sell his original paintings to the art-collecting crowd that he despises. Then Chaz hears fro a couple of old college friends, one a doctor conducting research on a creativity-enhancing chemical, and one an artists' agent offering him a lucrative fresco restoration job in Italy. Never one to turn down free drugs or travel, and chronically short of cash, Chaz says yes to both and the plot thickens considerably. To provide too much detail would be to lessen the impact of an intricately written and superbly imagined tale. The book is worth reading simply for Gruber's descriptions of world-famous paintings, particularly those of Diego Velazquez, who figures prominently in the story. Gruber is a virtuoso when it comes to jumping between time periods, and meshing the past with the present. Art lovers, history buffs and fans of time-travel stories will all find something magical in this book-a real masterpiece of fiction writing. -- recommended by Lisa V. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

[ official Forgery of Venus / Michael Gruber web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 22, 2008

Podcasts collection growing quickly!

The podcasts collection of the Lincoln City Libraries is growing quite quickly.

Originally just recordings of some of the branch library Books Talk presentations, we've now expanded into an all-original Podcast show, BookGuide's 'Casting About -- featuring in depth reviews or discussions of books each week, by staff members throughout our library system. [ Read all about it ]

We're also recording the Courtyard Book Chats...in the Garden -- our summer-long Tuesday lunchtime book talk series, being held this year in the Lincoln Foundation Garden (1415 "N" St.), across from the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown. [ Read all about it ]

You can find a list of all of the library's available podcasts (and blogs) on our Blogs & Podcasts page.

Staff Recommendation - People, Places and Books

People, Places and Books
by Gilbert Highet [820.4 H53p]

Highet's introduction to a variety of interesting people, places, and books. Originally a series of radio talks. Very readable. -- recommended by Bob B. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

[ Wikipedia entry on Gilbert Highet ] [ Columbia University profile of Highet and his radio show ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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.

Great Books Reading & Discussion Series 2008/2009

The schedule for the 2008-2009 Great Books Reading & Discussion Series, which meets at Gere Branch Library, has been revealed:

2008 MEETING DATES

  • Sep 11, 2008 -- Dewey: Habits and Will

  • Sep 25, 2008 -- Mill: On Liberty

  • Oct 9, 2008 -- Shakespeare: Hamlet (complete)

  • Oct 23, 2008 -- The Bible: Gospel of Mark

  • Nov 13, 2008 -- Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War

  • Dec 11, 2008 -- von Clausewitz: What is War?


2009 MEETING DATES
  • Jan. 8, 2009 -- Chekhov: Uncle Vanya (complete)

  • Jan. 22, 2009 -- Maimonides: On Evil

  • Feb. 12, 2009 -- Homer: The Iliad

  • Feb. 26, 2009 -- Montesquieu: Principles of Government

  • Mar. 12, 2009 -- Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

  • Mar. 26, 2009 -- Aeschylus: Agamemnon (complete)

  • Apr. 9, 2009 -- James: The Beast in the Jungle (complete)

  • Apr. 23, 2009 -- Machiavelli: The Prince

  • May 14, 2009 -- Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ilych (complete)

  • May 28, 2009 -- (Make-up, if needed)


You can find out more on the Book Groups page at BookGuide

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's War

A fast-moving, riveting film filled with quick, snappy, intelligent dialogue based on the true story of Charlie Wilson, Texas Congressman, who secretly funds the Afghanistanis' revolt against the Soviet Union. Thought this would be a slow-moving, dry, behind-the-scenes political story but it's not! The viewer is quickly sucked into the story. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent! Caution: strong language. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference


Have you seen or read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 18, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves
by Adeline Yen Mah [B M277]

Adeline, a Chinese girl, becomes a successful American doctor by overcoming child abuse, neglect, political strife, the loss of her mother and her own self-doubt. This is an amazing story of a courageous young girl. -- recommendation by Andrea S. - formerly with the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 16, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Ava's Man

Ava's Man
by Rick Bragg [B B87705b]

Memoir, written in the style of It's All Over But the Shoutin' and Angela's Ashes. Funny, but very poignant, too![Also available in abridged audiotape, unabridged book-on-cd formats. -- recommended by Evelyn D. - Bennett martin Public Library/Technical Processes


Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 13, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Gastroanomalies

Gastroanomalies: Questional Culinary Creations from the Golden Age of American Cookery
by James Lileks [817 Lil]

A sequel to Lilek's "Gallery of Regrettable Food", "Gastroanomalies" is a smorgasbord of awful culinary illustrations and horribly dated cultural references, wrapped up sarcasm, and lacerated with Lilek's sharp wit. The images in this book are alternately nauseating and hilarious, but without Lilek's off-the-wall humorous commentary they wouldn't be anywhere near as funny as they are. Honestly once you're finished with this book, you'll never look at your mother's cookbook collection the same way again! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

[ official James Lileks web site and blog ]


Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 12, 2008

Staff Recommendation - The Spymaster's Lady

The Spymaster's Lady
by Joanna Bourne

An adventure story, a spy story, a love story--sharp, warm, incisive, at times humorous. The heroine is intelligent, sensitive, and quite resourceful. Set in Napoleonic times in France and England. A minimum of violence and sex. -- recommended by Bob B. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference


[ official Joanna Bourne Blog ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?


Ten 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, June 11, 2008

Staff Recommendation - I'm Chevy Chase...and You're Not

I'm Chevy Chase...and You're Not!
by Rena Fruchter [791.432 ChaYf]

Interesting, but ultimately slightly disappointing biography of the funny man most often associated with early Saturday Night Live, the Vacation movies, and Caddyshack. The biographical revelations are truly fascinating, and explain his comedic style. However, the writing style for the book is quite flat and lifeless -- there was no "flow" and at times it merely felt like a litany of facts and figures and less a portrayal of Chevy's life and influences. I'd recommend this to die-hard SNL fans looking for Chevy's version of the first season, but otherwise it was something of a disappointment. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 10, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Doctor Who Complete First Series

Doctor Who - Complete First Series

Longtime fans of the British television series Doctor Who, as well as viewers new to this time-traveling adventure series, will appreciate this season-long boxed set of the 2006 episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor and Billie Piper as his new companion Rose Tyler. The series actually began in 1963, and concluded its 26th continuous season in 1989 (not counting occasional specials and/or films). An all-new production team revived the series in 2006, but rather than calling it the "27th season" they called this the "first series". Unlike the cheesy special effects of the 1960s and 1970s, this series is mostly state-of-the-art, and features excellent acting performances, especially from Eccleston and Piper. Long-time fans will appreciate that the new producers are very conscious of decades' worth of continuity, while still wanting to put a new fresh spin on the series. All in all, a spectacular rebirth for one of television science fiction's legends. Bravo! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference
[Numerous books are also available in the library collection that feature Doctor Who; also: additional Doctor Who books ]

Have you seen this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 9, 2008

Staff Recommendation - The Opposite of Love

The Opposite of Love
by Julie Buxbaum

Julie Buxbaum is a laywer-turned-author whose first novel is a funny, sad tale of finding oneself. Emily sabotages her relationship because she thinks her boyfriend will leave eventually, so she should beat him to the punch. Her mother died when she was fourteen and her father is distant. How Emily finds out who she really is and what she's really made of is not the usual chick-lit journey. -- recommended by Deanne J. - Gere Branch Library

[ Julie Buxbaum's official web site for The Opposite of Love ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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, June 8, 2008

Read...Discuss...Repeat! for June - The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The June selection for BookGuide's Read...Discuss...Repeat! has been posted.

This month's title is speculative fiction novel "The Yiddish Policemen's Union", by Michael Chabon. It was recently awarded the Nebula Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, but should also prove to be an enjoyable read for non-genre fans.

Stop by the 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, if you've read the novel, stop by and fill out our on-line comment form to share your thoughts and opinions about the book!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Staff Recommendation - Mummy Dearest

Mummy Dearest

by Jona Hess

A fun, new read for Hess' fans! Claire Malloy and "her" police officer begin this book on their honeymoon in Egypt. Daughter Caron and her friend Inez are in tow to keep Claire occupied while Peter is off doing secret police work. What begins as an investigation into a terrorist group leads to black market antiquities and murder and of course a little bit of meddling by Claire! Readers of Hess' previous works will enjoy the fun new setting of Luxor, Egypt. This book was written after Hess spent a vacation in Egypt with Amelia Peabody series author Dr. Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters). -- recommended by Jodene G. - Walt Branch Library

[Also available in Large Print format.][ Publisher's Claire Malloy series page ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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.

Staff Recommendation - Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Elizabeth the Queen Mother

by Grania Forbes [B qEl43f]

A fascinating book about Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II. Begins with her birth as you move about the rarefied, aristocratic world she was born into. The story bounces back and forth between her and her future husband, King George VI (known as "Bertie") as they grow up, court, and marry. You move through history and see it from her perspective: WWI, WWII, the abdication, Lord Louis Mountbatten's assassination, the wedding and death of Diana, and the Queen Mother's funeral. Photos on every page. A fast read - it took this reader only four hours to get through - and so interesting. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

[ Wikipedia page for Elizabeth the Queen Mother ] [ official Memorial Site for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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.

Staff Recommendation - Simisola

Simisola

by Ruth Rendell

One of the Inspector Wexford series, this is the story of a murder with racial overtones. When the mystery is resolved, Wexford has to re-think his ideas about race and deal with his own prejudices. -- recommended by Rayma S. - South Branch Library

[Also available in unabridged audiotape, DVD adaptation formats.]

[ Wikipedia page for Ruth Rendell ]

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Ten 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.