Monday, August 31, 2009

R.I.P. Dominick Dunne, 1925-2009

Popular American author Dominick Dunne died August 26th, 2009, at his home in Manhattan at the age of 83.

Dunne was the author of such bestselling works as The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, Fatal Charms, People Like Us, An Inconvenient Woman, A Season in Purgatory and Another City, Not My Own.

In addition to his work as a novelist, Dunne was a frequent contributor of columns and/or feature pieces to mainstream magazines, such as Vanity Fair.

You can find more information about Dunne, his life and his works at the following links:



Death of a Cozy Writer

Death of a Cozy Writer
by G.M. Malliet

Death of a Cozy Writer is a witty tribute to the classic English country house mystery. The cozy writer is Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk who has made piles of pounds writing about a Miss Marple like character. His protagonist is Miss Rampling, an amateur sleuth who solves murders in the village of Saint Edmund-Under-Stowe. When he's not writing his stories in longhand, Sir Adrian is writing his adult children in and out of his will. Sir Adrian lures his squabbling offspring back to the family estate by announcing his intentions to remarry. The bride-to-be is Violet Middenhall who was accused of murdering her first husband for his money. Hoping to discourage their father from making an unsuitable match (and to preserve their inheritances) the brood hurries home. The result of Sir Adrian's theatrics is murder. Detective Chief Inspector St. Just and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Fear, are called in to untangle the knots in this intricate plot and identify the killer. [Note: Winner of the 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel.][ official G.M. Malliet web site ] -- recommended by Donna G. - Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

And the selected title for 2009 is...

People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks! This year's One Book - One Lincoln main title was announced this morning.

You can click here to visit our Primary Resource Guide for One Book - One Lincoln this year, including Discussion Groups, and Programs and Special Events.

We also encourage you to become a Fan of the One Book One Lincoln Facebook page if you're on that social networking site, and to follow the Lincoln City Libraries Twitter feed for regular postings associated with this year's One Book - One Lincoln.

And, of course, watch for discussion questions to be posted regularly on the One Book One Lincoln blog.

We look forward to hearing from readers about this year's title!

Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe - Collection 1

Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe - Collection 1
[DVD Dirty]

My wife and I have made made the watching of Dirty Jobs a "must see TV" event. Every week, host Mike Rowe finds himself learning the ins-and-outs of a new job, somewhere in the United States (although there have been a few "overseas" episodes as well). Most of these jobs are of the filthy and pungent variety, from garbage collectors and sewer workers to hot tar roofers and big animal veterinarians. The "gross-out" factor is one of the show's appeals, however that's just a "surface" factor. Beneath the disgusting appearance of many of these jobs, Mike is paying heartfelt tribute to the men and women across our country who do such jobs for a living, wading hip-deep daily into disgusting and thankless tasks that most of us would try to avoid. I've gained a serious appreciation for the unsung individuals who do what I could never do. Hour-long episodes of the TV show usually feature Mike in anywhere from 1 to 3 different jobs (depending on how much humor and/or fascination he can wring out of the experience). This DVD set pulls 24 different jobs together, though not necessarily in the exact same pairings as were shown on TV. Episodes from this set that I would highlight include: Pig Farmer, Ostrich Rancher, Disaster Cleaner-Upper, Coal Miner, Fuel Tank Cleaner, and the infamous Monkey Caretaker (in which Mike and his entire filming/production crew are terrorized by a small but vocal monkey in Africa). -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library


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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

By a Woman's Hand

By a Woman's Hand: A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women
by Jean Swanson and and Dean James [809.387 Swa]

This is one of my favorite mystery-fiction reference books, but the library has it available for checkout. By a Woman's Hand: A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women provides brief biographical descriptions of 262 different female authors of mystery fiction (running the gamut from cozies to police procedurals to thrillers). Each "blurb" highlights the author's best-known works as well as some of her best critically-received works, and concludes with a concise "If you like this author's works, you may like the following authors as well..." The book commentaries provided brief but helpful plot descriptions. The back of the book includes a guide to recommended anthologies featuring mysteries by women authors, and index to series characters, an index by regional geographic settings (New England, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, etc.), and an index by the type of sleuths these authors write (Artists, Journalists, Police, Older Sleuths, Teachers, etc.). The original volume came out in 1994 -- so don't expect to find any of today's "newer" authors profiled. But for fans looking for some of the classic authors of mystery fiction, this is an indispensible volume still valuable after all these years. [Note: A second volume was released in 1996 but is not in the Lincoln City Libraries' collection. It is available through our InterLibrary Loan service. The same authors also produced Killer Books: A Reader's Guide to Exploring the Popular World of Mystery and Suspense in 1998.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

BookGuide Booklist - Star Wars

Interested in the dozens of official Star Wars novels that have taken the Star Wars movies and expanded them into a full-fledged literary universe?

Check out the Star Wars booklist on the libraries' BookGuide web site!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Around the World in 80 Days [DVD]

Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin
[DVD 810.41 Pal]
by Michael Palin

In 1988, Monty Python vet Michael Palin, backed by a 5-person BBC camera crew, took on the challenge of duplicating the fictional Phileas Fogg's legendary journey around the entire globe -- in 80 days -- 115 years after that literary achievement. Limiting himself to only the methods of transportation that would have been available in the 1860s (many of which were no longer available to him!), Palin was not only filmed for his successful BBC documentary series, but he also kept a detailed journal, which was reproduced as a companion book to this documentary. This 7-hour DVD set can be enjoyed on its own -- filled with footage both gorgeous and disheartening -- but I recommend pairing it with the companion book that was released at the same time. In that, Palin is able to provide more detailed background about some of his experiences than he's allowed to impart in the video format. Still, this documentary is amazing at showing cultures and ways of life in countries most of us will never have a chance to visit. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in Print format.][ Internet Movie Database entry for this production ] [ official Palin's Travels web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Around the World in 80 Days [book]

Around the World in 80 Days
by Michael Palin [910.41 Pal]

In 1988, Monty Python vet Michael Palin, backed by a BBC camera crew, took on the challenge of duplicating the fictional Phileas Fogg's legendary journey around the entire globe -- in 80 days -- 115 years after that literary achievement. Limiting himself to only the methods of transportation that would have been available in the 1860s (many of which were no longer available to him!), Palin was not only filmed for his successful BBC documentary series, but he also kept a detailed journal, which is reproduced here, complete with hundreds of photos. This chaotic travelogue would have been entertaining enough, but when written by one of the Monty Python comedy troupe, you find yourself chuckling several times per page -- he can be alternately urban and witty one moment, and bawdy and unapologetic in the next. Palin has gone on to take numerous other filmed adventures around the globe in more recent years, but this first global trip still stands as one of the best. This book can be enjoyed on its own or read as a companion volume to the DVD set. In this print volume, Palin is able to provide far more details about many of the experiences he has in the documentary than would have been possible in the video format...including background about how he and his camera crew accomplished some of their incredible footage! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Around the World in 80 Days page on the official Michael Palin's Travels web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Australia

Australia
[DVD Australia]

This movie gives the feeling of being an epic as in films like Gone with the Wind or How the West was Won. The story begins in 1939 just as WWII is starting. Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman) travels from Great Britain to Australia to meet her husband, Maitland, in northern Australia. The husband's drover (Jackman) takes her to the cattle station where they find Maitland murdered. The rest is your standard story of a woman forced to adapt to the situation, showing her strength of resolve to the doubting men around her, and winning the day and a new love. But there's more going on. The film also covers the sad treatment of the aborigines by the white settlers and does so as an integral part of the story line yet isn't preachy to the viewer. Also included is the devastating bombing of Darwin, Australia by the Japanese in Feb, 1942 (considered to be the "Pearl Harbor" of Australia), and not to forget, the bringing to justice of the murderer of Maitland. A very satisfying film with beautiful, scenic vistas of Australia's countryside. You'll find yourself pulling out an atlas while the film is running and then watching the "extras" on the DVD after the story is ended. Set the film to "subtitles" just to catch the slang, but the Australian accent is very understandable. -- recommended by Charlotte Kyriss - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you liked this, you might like: Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington, 994.042 Pil or DVD Rabbit-Proof Fence. (FYI: In the film "Australia" we learned that half white-half aborigine children were forcibly removed from their families by the gov't and placed on an island to be re-educated and forget their families. This is the story of a girl and her two younger cousins who escape from that island and walk across Australia to return to their families using a white picket fence the gov't placed across Australia to try to thwart the rabbit population.) Or, The Far Country by Nevil Shute or DVD Shute. (FYI: Another romantic/adventure of Australia. A German doc is forced to work at a death camp for the Nazis then after the war is able to build a new life for himself in Australia. Of course he falls in love with someone but his hidden past may come to light.).]
Have you seen this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

New Booktalk Booklist - Fantasy Fiction with Female Characters

Fantasy Fiction with Female Characters
Courtyard Book Chats, August 4, 2009
Lisa V.


Lisa V. used the Courtyard Book Chats to launch her new book talk, about fantasy fiction (and some science fiction) featuring particularly strong female protaganists. Most of these books are, not unexpectedly, also written by female authors.

Classic Fantasy with women as main characters
The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Briar King by J. Gregory Keyes
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinnbook one in the Twelve Houses series
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyderbook one in the Yelena series

Urban or paranormal Fantasy with women as main characters
Bitten by Kelley Armstrongbook one of the Women of the Otherworld series
Tithe by Holly Blackbook one in the Modern Tales of Faerie series
Moon Called by Patricia Briggsbook one of the Mercy Thompson series
Ill Wind by Rachel Cainebook one of the Weather Warden series
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harrisbook one of the Harper Connelly seriesAttendees also discussed Charlaine Harris' official web site
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrisonbook one of the Rachel Morgan series
Burning Water by Mercedes Lackeybook one of the Diana Tregarde Investigations series
Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Science Fiction with women as main characters
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Xenogenesis by Octavia Butler
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
Stardoc by S.L. Viehlbook one in the Stardoc series

Monday, August 17, 2009

Super in the City

Super in the City
by Daphne Uviller

At twenty-seven, Zephyr Zuckerman is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. By day she fantasizes about saving the world. One day she finds a cure for Aids. Another day she is a lawyer saving the poor and downtrodden. By night she crashes parties with her friends. Her parents burst Zephyr's fantasy bubble. They ask her to act as superintendent of their Greenwich Village apartment building when the old superintendent is led away in handcuffs. Instead of dreaming about saving the world Zephyr dreams about a morning where she does not receive a 6 a.m. phone call from one of the tenants. Zephyr enlists the aid of a sexy exterminator to help her figure out why a tenant's dryer won't vent. (It's a good excuse to get to know him better.) While they try to solve the venting problem they find a secret staircase from the old superintendent's apartment to the apartment on the floor above. But it's a combination of her party-crashing habit and jury duty that causes the FBI to suspect her of working with the mob and the mob to suspect her of working with the FBI. Uviller created a cast of flawed and lovable characters. Besides Zephyr there's Tag, who organizes the party crashing. Lucy, who looks for the love of her life by writing notes on $10 bills. And Mercedes, a world-class violinist, who snags a celebrity boyfriend. -- recommended by Donna G. - Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


[ official Publisher's web page for this book ] [ official Daphne Uviller web site]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Booklist - In Space No One Can Hear You Laugh!

Are you fan of light-hearted science fiction and fantasy, such as the books popularized by Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Terry Pratchett's Discword series? Do you want to hang out in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon or The White Hart? Then check out the In Space No One Can Here You Laugh booklist on the libraries' BookGuide web site for some good reading suggestions!

Bubbles Betrothed

Bubbles Betrothed
by Sarah Strohmeyer

When we first selected this as one of the books for the libraries' Just Desserts mystery discussion group to read, it was because the Bubbles series has been favorably compared to the extremely popular Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Not having read any of the Evanovich books, I found Bubbles Betrothed to be a mild, frothy confection of a mystery. The mystery seems fairly simplistic, and is just a framework to showcase Strohmeyer's collection of wacky characters. I think I might have enjoyed meeting Bubbles earlier in the series (this is the 5th of 6 so far), when she was merely a hairstylist. Now, she's an investigative reporter. Actually, Bubbles was far less interesting than many of the supporting characters. If you're suffering from Plum withdrawal, you might enjoy Bubbles as a lightweight fill-in. Otherwise, don't expect much depth to this series. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in book-on-cd format.][ official Sarah Strohmeyer web site ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?
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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Hugo Award winners announced

The 2009 Hugo Awards were presented at the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal this past weekend. Winners included:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - best novel

"The Erdmann Nexus" by Nancy Kress - best novella (Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)

"Shoggoths in Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear - best novelette (Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)

"Exhalation" by Ted Chiang - best short story (Eclipse Two anthology)

You can read about these and the winners in all the other categories at the official Hugo Awards web site.

You can also see a list of past Hugo Winners on the BookGuide web site!

Civil War Mysteries - Booklist on BookGuide

Are you a mystery fan, looking for a good book to read, or an author you haven't tried yet? Do you also like historical mysteries? Then check out the Civil War Mysteries booklist on the libraries' BookGuide web site for some good reading suggestions!

One Second After

One Second After
by William Forstchen

If you like apocalyptical stories, One Second After is a scary read. One day all electronic devices stop working. What brings the United States to its knees is an EMP-electromagnetic pulse. Suddenly the USA is hurtled back into the Dark Ages. Food riots, looting, pillaging, murder and disease are all things a small town in North Carolina has to face. It's every man, woman, and child for themselves in this fast-paced, eerily realistic book. Although at times the writing is a little clumsy I was able to overlook it in favor of the subject matter and characters. [If you like this title, you might also enjoy Swan Song by Robert McCammon, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and World War Z by Max Brooks.] -- recommended by Deanne J. - Walt Branch Library
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ official One Second After and William Forstchen web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kidnapped

Kidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped is a fast-paced adventure made all the more interesting by its historical background: many of the characters in the book are actual figures from Scottish history. This is an easy read, but modern readers would do well to seek out an edition that has both explanatory notes for the Scots terminology and a map; a brief review of 18th-century Jacobite history would also be helpful in understanding the book. [If you liked this title, you might also enjoy Treasure Island, also by Robert Louis Stevenson.]

[Kidnapped is available in a number of different editions and formats. This link should take you to a list of all variations of Kidnapped in our catalog.]

[ Wikipedia page for the novel Kidnapped ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset Collectors Edition

The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset Collectors Edition [DVD Avengers]

The Avengers was the quintessential light-hearted British spy drama series, which aired from 1961 to 1969 in the UK (and quickly migrated to the U.S.). Patrick Macnee starred as the deceptively charming John Steed, opposite a variety of co-stars. In the series' first season, the stories were treated with a great deal of seriousness, and Steed the Spy was paired with Dr. David Keel - the Civilian. The series' 2nd and 3rd seasons dropped Dr. Keel in favor of Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman) and the tone of the show lightened up considerably. However, most fans agree that the series high point came during the 4th, 5th and 6th seasons, when Diana Riggs took over from Blackman, as Mrs. Emma Peel -- the ultimate female foil for Macnee's dashing Steed. With a wink and a nudge, this duo investigated some of the most bizarre espionage cases ever seen on television. If you're looking for classic TV espionage, or classic British television, the Emma Peel years of The Avengers are a can't-miss series. [As this review is appearing, the libraries' copies of this series are currently missing...however you can still order this series through the InterLibrary Loan service.]

[
Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] [ official The Avengers DVD releases web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Paul of Dune

Paul of Dune
by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Paul of Dune was a science fiction novel I was supposed to read and discuss in my science fiction reading group. When I realized that I didn't have the time to tackle a 500+ page book, I grabbed the book-on-CD off of the library's new materials display and decided to give it a try. I'll have to admit, I'm one of the Dune fans who didn't see the need for all of the spin-off volumes that Anderson and Frank Herbert's son, Brian, have been releasing in recent years, most of which have been set generations away from the events in Frank Herbert's original series of novels. However, Paul of Dune is set in the multi-year gap between Herbert's first Dune novel and the second in the series, Dune Messiah. In the end, as a book standing on its own merits, I found Paul of Dune to be a bit slow, and with far too much description and not enough action. As an audio adaptation, I commend narrator Scott Brick on bringing a wide variety of characters to life with subtle nuances and voice inflections. Whether you're a long-time fan of the Dune universe, or just want to sample some of the latest fare in Dune novels, I would recommend this audio version. It is very well done. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in print format.][ official publishers site for Paul of Dune ] | [ official Dune series web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.

The Dead Zone: Complete First Season

The Dead Zone: Complete First Season

If you thought the 1983 film, The Dead Zone, starring Christopher Walken as reluctant psychic Johnny Smith was the ultimate adaptation of Stephen King's classic thriller novel, you should definitely take a look at this series. Starring Anthony Michael Hall as Johnny Smith, this series (2002-2007) is able to expand the events from King's book (and the movie) over the course of several years in Johnny's life. In the film, Johnny becomes damaged goods -- freaked out by his own ability to see the future, and obsessed with preventing a corrupt politician from gaining power. In the series, that is still an over-arching long-term storyline, but Johnny is a more stable personality, and we also get nice stand-alone episodes that show the beneficial and negative side to Johnny's power. The supporting cast of Nicole de Boer, Chris Bruno, John L. Adams and David Ogden Stiers (in a recurring role) is all very strong, but the star of the series is definitely Hall, and he carries the show with a great deal of wounded charisma. This first season had some particularly good storylines, and sets in motion Johnny's ultimate quest -- to prevent the armageddon he foresees in the future of politico Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flannery - who also puts in a marvelously layered performance). Good storytelling, fine production values, and an excellent cast make this a series definitely worth checking out. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[The original Stephen King novel is available in print format.][ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] | [ official USA network Dead Zone series web site ]

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

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 individually over the course of the entire month.