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Friday, December 26, 2008

Loving Frank: A Novel

This is a fictionalized account of the continuing romantic relationship between the innovative architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, an educated upper middle class matron who at first was a client of his. Author Nancy Horan combines in-depth research (unfortunately there is a limited amount of source material) with imagination to depict Cheney and Wright’s physical and emotional desires and how they conflicted with their fractured family relationships and the humiliation endured by both in the early 20th century Midwestern society. Cheney’s character is well-developed and sympathetic; Wright’s character is more self-centered. What would be a routine story of adultery and divorce in today’s world takes on an aura of tragedy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Afternoon Book Discussions

Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk three weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

Wednesday, January 21st
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

Wednesday, February 18th
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Letham

Wednesday, March 18th (postponed from an earlier date)
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India and Indonesia

Wednesday, April 15th
Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt

Wednesday, May 20th
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Wednesday, June 17th
The 10th Circle by Jodi Picoult

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Life of Pi: A Novel

Life of Pi, written by Yann Martel, is the story of a boy’s journey and triumph despite incredible odds. Piscine Patel (self dubbed Pi) sets out by freighter with his family who is relocating to America. Along the way Pi’s ship is destroyed. He ends up trapped in a life boat with a handful of wild animals. Pi is forced to live off the sea with only his wits and an old survival manual to guide him. Life of Pi shows us the power of the human mind to overcome, despite the horrors and turmoil inflicted on it.

Similar Authors: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Paulo Coelho

Read-alike: Lost Horizon by James Hilton, Poseidon Adventures by Paul Gallico, Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bones: An Alex Delaware Novel

This is the latest in the bestselling Alex Delaware series written by Jonathan Kellerman. Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware and LAPD Lt. Milo Sturgis team up again to solve a string of murders. When a young woman’s body is discovered, minus one hand, out in the open at an endangered marshland, detectives quickly investigate and unearth bodies of other young women similarly mutilated. Is this the work of a serial killer? Or is it a ruse to deter the investigators from uncovering a more heinous crime. Join the two men as they unravel the knots in this mystery, relying on Milo’s perseverance and Alex’s skills in psychological analysis.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Share the experiences of breast cancer patients and survivors by reading these books.

Cancer Is a Bitch: (Or, I'd Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis)
Written by Gail Konop Baker, who is a forty-six-year-old mother of three, doctor's wife, runner, and writer. She describes her fight against breast cancer, relating how she spent a year in treatment in her struggle to get back to the life she loved.

Choices in Breast Cancer Treatment: Medical Specialists and Cancer Survivors Tell You What You Need to Know
Edited by Kenneth D. Miller, this is an authoritative resource for women everywhere. After a lengthy description of breast cancer and its treatments, the remainder of the book deals with the personal experiences of breast cancer as shared by several women.

Lopsided: How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting
A memoir by Meredith Norton, an African-American woman, married to a Frenchman, whose disease is misdiagnosed in France. Returning to California, she describes her experiences with chemotherapy, double mastectomy and radiation treatments, and her fight against self-pity.

I Am Not My Breast Cancer : Women Talk Openly About Love & Sex, Hair Loss & Weight Gain, Mothers & Daughters, and Being a Woman With Breast Cancer
Ruth Peltason, an editor and breast cancer survivor, founded and hosted the “First Person Plural” Web site project, an online forum for women facing the disease. Their dialogue provides the content for this book, culled from the entries of 800 women across the U.S. and around the world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nineteen Minutes

Nineteen Minutes, a novel written by Jodi Picoult, explores the moral issues that emerge after a high school shooting rampage. Set in a small New Hampshire college town, where everyone knows each other since grade school, the story focuses on two students, Josie Cormier and Peter Houghton, who were best friends as children but now move in different social circles. In high school, Josie is part of the popular crowd, but is not certain that this is what she wants in life. Peter, a sensitive boy who has been bullied since his first day of school, is a loner. After an ultimate incident of abuse, Peter runs amok, shooting and killing ten people and wounding many others.

Additional sub-plots allow the reader to examine the other characters, including the mothers of Josie and Peter, a police detective and the defense attorney. These individuals’ personalities are richly detailed; their actions serve as a means of exploring the various ethical dilemmas presented.

The shooting incident itself, and its origins and aftermath, are slowly revealed in alternating chapters, from the different characters’ points of view and various points of time, until all is exposed. It remains for the reader to discover that no community is immune from such horrific events.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie

Written by Ole Edvart Rolvaag, originally in Norwegian and later translated into English, this is a story of the early Norwegian settlers and the hardships they discovered crossing the American plains in the 1870s. Tragedy was almost a daily occurrence and hunger a constant companion. Although the men toiled and suffered so that they might bring up their children in the Promised Land, the women sometimes went mad in conditions that they had known only in nightmares.

The conquest of our land was a great American triumph, but it also took its toll in human lives, misery and disaster.

New Biographies

Whether the setting is Hollywood or network television or Broadway, reading the biographies of the stars can be a fascinating experience.

Life with my Sister Madonna, by Christopher Ciccone, is a memoir written by the younger brother and personal assistant of music legend Madonna. He recreates their work and travel experiences throughout her career; it includes the inside scoop about Madonna’s many transformations and ordeals.

Audition: A Memoir, written by Barbara Walters, is a no-holds barred account of Ms. Walters’ remarkable rise through the ranks of television journalism. Her interviews and experiences with many of the world’s most influential people in politics, royalty, show business, and more provide the reader with quite a few “you are there” experiences.

Home: A Memoir of my Early Years, written by Julie Andrews, details the singer/actress’s youth, from childhood to her late twenties during the 1940s to 1960s. As a member of a family act in England’s music hall circuit, Julie’s big voice leads her to fame in London’s theater district and New York’s Broadway, where she meets many theater and music legends along the way.

These and many other biographies are available at the library.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Ruth Reichl, currently the editor of “Gourmet” magazine, tells of her experiences as the New York Times restaurant critic during the 1990s. Although Ruth’s career in the food industry included stints as chef, restaurant owner, food writer and restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, none of these posts prepared her for such an exalted position as that of the New York Times food critic. Operating in this competitive atmosphere required fortitude, an encyclopedic knowledge of all foods and cuisines, and a sense of the dramatic. In order to accurately assess each restaurant, Reichl developed a variety of characters and dressed them in an assortment of wigs, makeup and clothing. Then each of these personalities anonymously visited the restaurants to evaluate their menus and to see how they behaved toward typical customers. Sensual descriptions of food, hilarious accounts of the New York City restaurant culture, and some of Ruth’s favorite recipes enliven the pages of this book.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and social critic, here is a satirical commentary of the first decade of twenty-first century life in the United States. Ehrenreich mourns the disappearing middle class and the rise of a two-class society, upper and lower. She zeroes in on the enemy, who include the private health insurance industry, the oil companies, the financial industry, medical professionals, big box stores, and more. Politicians and college administrators also feel her barbs.

This is a compilation of 62 previously published essays, for such publications as “The New York Times” and “The Progressive”; each essay being a few pages in length. Ehrenreich also is the author of several other books, including “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” and “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream".

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

“Sense and Sensibility”, a classic novel written by Jane Austen, is the story of two sisters who exhibit completely different emotional responses when they are both faced with romantic disappointments. Elinor, the elder sister, is directed by sense to minimize her grief in the company of others; Marianne, the younger one, encourages and deepens her personal suffering even if it causes harm to herself and pain to her family members. As with Austen’s other novels, at first glance “Sense and Sensibility” appears to be a mere love story, but it develops into something more: a critique of early nineteenth century British society and its morals. Detailed descriptions of domestic and social behavior and a text that includes frequent infusions of sarcasm and humor provide the reader with an enjoyable reading experience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Non-Fiction Books on Demand at Lindenhurst Memorial Library

New non-fiction books currently requested by our library patrons include:

Change your brain, change your life : the breakthrough program for conquering anxiety, depression, obsessiveness, anger and impulsiveness by Daniel G. Amen

Deceptively delicious : simple secrets to get your kids eating good food by Jessica Seinfeld

Stolen innocence : my growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall

Three cups of tea : one man's mission to fight terrorism and build nations . . . one school at a time by Greg Mortenson

When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris

Books on Demand at Lindenhurst Memorial Library

What are some of the books that your friends and neighbors have requested? Popular fiction titles recently placed on hold include:

Careless in red : a novel by Elizabeth George
Chasing darkness : an Elvis Cole novel by Robert Crais
Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger
Damage control by J.A. Jance
Death angel : a novel by Linda Howard
Love the one you're with by Emily Giffin
Say goodbye by Lisa Gardner
Tailspin by Catherine Coulter
Tribute by Nora Roberts

These and many other new fiction titles are available at our library.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today: 60 of the World's Greatest Minds Share Their Visions of the Next Half Century

Here is a compilation of brief essays written by some of the finest minds in the current national and international arenas, in fields ranging from the sciences, to medicine, to religion, to economics, to politics and more. Many of these forecasts lean towards the optimistic, albeit with warnings to Earth’s present inhabitants that we need to clean up our act. Some of the predictions are quite believable while others verge on the fantastic. Nonagenarian Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame is the editor of this book and the de facto interviewer of the essayists.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do Dead People Watch You Shower?: And Other Questions You've Been All But Dying To Ask A Medium

This handbook to life after death is authored by Concetta Bertoldi, a medium from New Jersey. The book is written in question and answer format, in a down-to-earth, humorous style; each chapter being one to two pages in length. Ms. Bertoldi discusses such topics as whether the dead are with us all the time, their activities, their physical appearance, and how we all cycle between visits to heaven and reincarnating into new lives. Whether or not you believe in the topic of life after death, you may enjoy this lighthearted read.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Everything Is Illuminated

In Everything is Illuminated, written by Jonathan Safran Foer, the novel’s author travels to the Ukraine in search of the woman that saved his family during the Holocaust. The author’s journey is narrated through the eyes of Alex, the Ukrainian man who is hired to assist Jonathan in his search. The novel is broken down into two separate story lines. The first part is the history of Jonathan’s family, written by Jonathan himself. The second is the travel log of Alex, who recounts his, Jonathan, and Alex’s grandfather’s journey through the Ukraine. This complex novel is both amusing and disturbing, with twists and turns that may leave the most astute reader questioning full comprehension.

Read -A-Likes: My Darling Elia by Eugenie Melnyk, Gotz and Meyer by David Albahari, Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Afternoon Book Discussions

Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk three weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

Wednesday, July 16th
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Wednesday, August 20th
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
Wednesday, September 17th
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Wednesday, October 15th
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Wednesday, November 19th
Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan
Wednesday, December 17th
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where Are You Now?

Mary Higgins Clark’s most recent light mystery is set in New York City where Charles MacKenzie Jr. disappeared ten years ago, just before his graduation from Columbia University. Since then, “Mack” phones his mother and younger sister Carolyn once a year, on Mother’s Day, to tell them that he is alright and that they should not try to find him. Carolyn, now a practicing lawyer, finally decides to bring closure for her mother and herself; she will investigate his disappearance on her own since the police and a private detective were not able to solve the case previously. Then, whether or not she does locate him, she and her mother will move on with their lives.
Carolyn becomes entangled with other missing person situations that might be connected to Mack’s circumstances. Does someone close to Carolyn know what happened to Mack? Is Mack’s former college roommate a potential romantic interest for Carolyn or is he Mack's kidnapper? Read this book and find out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries

If you like your mysteries with a lot of supernatural flair, give Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse mysteries a try. Harris has created an interesting and amusing world, set in a small Louisiana town after Vampires have revealed they really are among us. The series heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, is a psychic, with a flair for getting in and out of trouble with a cast of various supernatural beings. These novels are fun and light, good beach reads. There are currently 8 novels in the Southern Vampire series, the first being "Dead Until Dark".

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From Baghdad, With Love

From Baghdad, With Love, by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth, is the story of a marine who will stop at nothing to save "man's best friend" from war-torn Iraq. Lt. Col. Kopelman first met Lava, a stray puppy, in an abandoned house in Fallujah. Despite strict rules the U.S. military have against soldiers adopting pets or mascots, Lava is kept safe by Kopelman and a battalion of Marines. As his tour of duty nears an end, Kopelman attempts to transport Lava back to the U.S. A slew of accomplices are recruited to take on this challenge, including a U.S. news reporter, an Iraqi soldier and the pet food giant, Iams.
This story is both engaging and emotional. It is not only a tale of a man and his dog, but also an eye-opening account of the soldiers stationed in Iraq and the conditions under which they endure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Aloft: A Novel

Aloft, written by Chang-rae Lee, is the story of Jerry Battle, an Italian-American, semi-retired landscaper who managed the company established by his father and now run by his son. Jerry often indulges himself by flying his small airplane above Long Island for hours at a time. This is symbolic of how the soon-to-be sixty- year old man manages his life, keeping family and friends at a distance. Then, circumstances within the family change and Jerry must modify his relationships with several family members, opening up to them before it is too late.
The serious tone of Aloft is expressed through a retelling of the tragic and comic events in Jerry's past and present, yet a satirical bent is present in the description of his money-conscious world in which his neighbors believe that their self-worth is calculated by the latest home improvement or large purchase.
This book is the "Long Island Reads" selection for 2008.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Compulsion: An Alex Delaware Novel

Compulsion, written by bestselling mystery author Jonathan Kellerman, is the latest in his "Dr. Alex Delaware" series. Alex, a psychologist, works as a consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department, often accompanying long-time friend Lt. Milo Sturgis as he investigates grisly murders. This time around, two murders being examined seem to be committed by two different individuals, except that both murderers stole luxury cars to use while committing the crimes, and then returned the vehicles in pristine condition afterwards. Delaware and Sturgis follow the trail back more than ten years and discover several more unsolved murders. The killer, who had been able to escape earlier detection through changes in identity and appearance, finally is apprehended. As in the other books in the series, the reader is left with a sense of justice being done. And this book probably will reach the top of the New York Times Bestseller List too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

In the novel The Memory Keeper's Daughter, written by Kim Edwards, physician David Henry makes an impulsive and fateful decision that affects the psychological well-being of two families; his and another.
After he performs an emergency delivery of twins from his wife Norah during a blizzard, Dr. Henry discovers that while his son Paul is a healthy baby, the daughter Phoebe has Down syndrome. Fearing that the child will have heart problems, die young, and cause heartache for his wife, Henry asks his nurse Caroline to bring the daughter to an institution. He tells Norah that their daughter has died. However, Caroline decides not to abandon Phoebe and instead moves to another city to raise her as her daughter.
As the years pass, Norah continues to mourn the "loss" of her daughter; the suppression of this lie leads to the deterioration of the Henry's marriage and family life. Phoebe, on the other hand, thrives under Caroline's care and grows to reach her full potential.
The remainder of this book describes how this state of affairs is resolved, allowing each of its players some inner peace. The novel's finely drawn characters and realistic emotional expression make this a worthwhile reading experience.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, written by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan, is a memoir based on John and Jenny Grogan's often hysterical yet heartwarming adventures with their 97-pound Golden Labrador Retriever. Impulsively purchased when the couple was newly married so that they could practice their parenting skills before having children, the Grogans unknowingly selected a dog whose neurotic traits made it difficult to control him. While obedience training eventually took hold (somewhat), the family, including the three children who arrived in due course, valued Marley for his fierce loyalty and his joie de vivre. A film based on this book is in the works and is scheduled for release on Christmas 2008.