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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Fiction: Christmas Romances

    Anytime is the right time for romance, especially at Christmas. Here are some new stories, some written by your favorite authors.

    Candlelight Christmas: the Lakeshore Chronicles is written by Susan Wiggs. Logan, a single father with a son, invites family and friends to his home at Willow Lake for Christmas. Then he meets his sister’s best friend, Darcy, also a veteran of a broken marriage. Can this romance survive? (Christmas recipes also included).

    Christmas in Snowflake Canyon is written by RaeAnne Thayne. Wealthy Genevieve is running from her philandering fiancé; her father insists she marry him or he will disinherit her. Then she meets up with returning wounded veteran Dylan. Will he be her true love?

    The Dogs of Christmas is written by W. Bruce Cameron. When Josh takes ownership of some abandoned puppies he consults with staff of the local animal shelter for advice. This is where he meets Kerri, a volunteer. Romance ensues.

    Merry Christmas, Cowboy is written by Janet Dailey. Denver police officer Paula Lewis volunteers at the Christmas House to help local children, where she is drawn to local rancher Zach Bennett, as they work together to help a young boy.

    No Place like Home contains four Christmas novellas in one book: Linda Lael Miller’s The 24 Days of Winter; Mary Carter’s The Christmas Carousel; Laura Florand’s A Rose in Winter; and Kat Martin’s Christmas Angel.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Readings: Mysteries for Christmas

    Murder doesn’t take a holiday at Christmas. Enjoy these seasonal mysteries when you have some free time.

    The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries is edited by Otto Penzler, the owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. This is the twelfth annual collection; it features sixty mysteries originally published between 1877 and 2011.

    A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange: a Mystery with Recipes is written by Isis Crawford. It presents Bernie and Libby, sisters and owners of a catering and bakery business and heroines of Crawford’s earlier mysteries. They again put their amateur sleuthing skills to use when a Christmas-cookie-baking contestant is murdered.

    Christmas Carol Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery is written by Leslie Meier. Reporter Lucy Stone is on the case when one of the owners of a shady mortgage company is murdered during the holiday season.

    A Christmas Hope: a Novel is written by Anne Perry. A volunteer at a women’s clinic, unhappy with her marriage and her high society life, becomes involved with the murder of a prostitute who crashed an upper-class holiday party.

    Duck the Halls: a Meg Langslow Mystery is written by Donna Andrews. Just before Christmas, pranksters are leaving a variety of animals at several of the local churches, but then things take a serious turn when an elderly vestryman is murdered.

Monday, December 9, 2013

CIA Thrillers, Part Two

    Here are some more novels of suspense, featuring the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Multiple Exposure: a Sophia Medina Novel is written by Ellen Crosby. When her husband, a geologist and covert CIA operative, is abducted and potentially a suspect in his boss’s murder and illicit Russian oil deals, photojournalist Sophie Medina is forced to play a high-stakes game of Russian roulette as she tries to prove his innocence.

    Downfall is written by Jeff Abbott. Compelled to assist a beautiful woman who whispers a plea for help in his San Francisco bar, former CIA agent Sam Capra is pursued by authorities and a secret network of people who owe their wealth and power to a mysterious Faustian figure.

    English Girl: a Novel is written by Daniel Silva. The wayward son of Israeli intelligence, Allon is plunged into a high stakes game of murder, espionage and corruption after a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, which threatens to destroy a prime minister’s career.

    Blowback: a Vanessa Pierson Novel is written by Valerie Plame Wilson. Narrowly escaping a sniper attack that leaves a key informant dead, covert CIA ops officer Vanessa Pierson resolves to capture the nuclear arms dealer behind the killing and defies orders by involving a fellow officer with whom she is romantically involved.

    A Foreign Country is written by Charles Cumming. When a newly appointed first female Chief of M16 disappears weeks after two possibly related cases, disgraced former M16 officer Thomas Kell is offered a chance to redeem his career by conducting a discreet operation that uncovers a shocking conspiracy.

    The Secret Soldier is written by Alex Berenson. CIA operative John Wells goes undercover in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon to find conspirators bent on tearing down the monarchy of King Abdullah. If the conspirators prevail, it will mean more than just the fall of a monarch – it may be the start of a final conflagration between America and the full force of Islam itself.

    Red Sparrow: a Novel is written by Jason Matthews. Drafted against her will to serve the regime of Vladimir Putin as an intelligence seductress, Dominika Egorova engages in a charged effort of deception and tradecraft with first-tour CIA officer Nathaniel Nash before a forbidden attraction threatens their careers.

Friday, December 6, 2013

CIA Thrillers

    Monika presents a selection of CIA thrillers, each guaranteed to keep you up late at night until you reach the end of the book.

    Once a Spy is written by Keith Thomson. After his apartment is blown up by would-be killers, Charlie learns that his father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, used to be a spy for the CIA and part of an operation that sold faulty nuclear technology to terrorists.

    Death Echo is written by Elizabeth Lowell. Ex-EIA agent Emma Cross and former Special Forces member MacKenzie Durand put aside their differences and join forces in order to take down a formidable international crime network that plans to destroy a major American city.

    Devil’s Light is written by Richard North Patterson. Sidelined after a colleague’s blunder, CIA agent Brooke Chandler envisions a way to halt an Al Qaeda plot to set off a massive nuclear explosion and begins a race against time that returns him to Lebanon, where nothing is quite as it seems.

    What Doesn’t Kill You is written by Iris Johansen. Trading information on the streets to survive after being abandoned at the age of four, Catherine Ling is instructed by assassin and master poisoner Hu Chang before being recruited by the CIA and pitted against a rogue operative in a race to obtain a brutally deadly poison.

    The Cryptos Conundrum is written by Chase Brandon, a former longtime CIA operations officer. CIA operative Dr. Jonathan S. Chalmers, the only man in the world capable of understanding a mysterious code emblazoned on a famous copper statue in the CIA’s courtyard, works at the head of a task force to contain the greatest secret ever kept by the U.S. government.

    The Expats is written by Chris Pavone. Newly arrived in Luxembourg, mother and expat Kate Moore suspects that another American couple is not who they claim to be and as her paranoia grows, she becomes increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her.

    American Assassin: a Thriller is written by Vince Flynn. Syracuse University student Mitch Rapp broods over the deaths of his girlfriend and thirty-four other classmates on the bombed Pan Am Flight 103, until he is recruited and trained by the CIA and receives his first assignment – to kill the Turkish arms dealer who sold the bomb that killed his friends.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


    A different view of the goings-on at Longbourn, the family home of the Bennetts in Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice. In this recently-written novel by Jo Baker, life is seen through the eyes of the Bennett’s servants. And while the reader does catch glimpses of the major events in the original novel, the focus here is squarely on the five servants: orphaned Sarah, a housemaid; Mrs. Hill, the cook and head servant; her husband Mr. Hill, Polly, a younger housemaid; and James Smith, a footman who is hired by Mr. Bennett after mysteriously arriving in the night. At first Sarah mistrusts James, thinking him to be a fraud. Sarah would like to escape Longbourn and travel the wide world, particularly going to London. She thinks she sees her chance to do this by leaving with one of the Bingley’s menservants, but James prevents her from making a disastrous mistake. A romance develops between Sarah and James but James has a secret that he doesn’t dare reveal to her. He had been punished for supposedly deserting the British army after battle and has been on the run ever since. With the installation of the militia in the neighborhood, James is on edge and decides to quit Longbourn and work elsewhere.

    There are other mysteries to be resolved here too: the relationship between Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Hill; the reasons for James’ journey; and how Sarah is able to locate him. All are eventually revealed through Baker’s accurate detail and perceptive characterization. This is an enjoyable read for Austen fans and for others.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Authors Celebrating November Birthdays

    Commemorate these authors’ birthdays by reading some of their books.

    November 18th – Margaret Atwood is a Canadian novelist, poet and literary critic, well-known for several titles that some regard as science fiction but she sees as “speculative fiction”. Some of her best-known works include The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, and MaddAddam.

    November 20th -- Don DeLillo, a novelist, playwright and essayist, is viewed as an author of the literary postmodernism era. He has been both nominee and finalist for several book awards. Some of his best-known works include White Noise, Libra, and The Body Artist.

    November 23rd -- Rick Bayless, a chef and cookbook author, specializes in regional Mexican cuisine. His cookbooks include Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen and Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends. He also hosts the PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time.

    November 26th – Charles Schulz was a cartoonist and the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. He has left a legacy in a collection of books containing his Peanuts cartoons as well as videos.

    November 27th – Michael Stackpole is a science fiction and fantasy writer who has contributed to several volumes in the Star Wars and the Battle Tech series. He also has had a career in game design.

    November 28th – Rita Mae Brown is the “coauthor” of mysteries written with her cat Sneaky Pie Brown, featuring the feline character Mrs. Murphy. These include The Big Cat Nap and A Nose for Justice. She also has written other styles of fiction, poetry and screenplays.

    November 30th – Mark Twain, pseudonym of author and humorist Samuel Clemens, lived during the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for his classic novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Craft Presents for the Holidays

    Express your creative side by crafting holiday gifts for friends and family. Here are some books to get you started.

    Vogue Knitting Very Easy Sweaters: 50 Simple, Stylish Designs features current styles using basic stitches and techniques. Color photos accompany each project. First-time knitters and those with more experience will find patterns to interest them.

    The New Crochet: a Beginner’s Guide with 38 Modern Projects, written by Marion Madel, presents 25 lessons in the art of crocheting, each including at least one, or two, projects to reinforce the stitch or technique. Illustrations and color photos assist the crafter.

    Sew Modern Baby: 19 Projects to Sew from Cuddly Sleepers to Stimulating Toys, written by Angela Yosten, offers ideas and patterns for creating infant toys and accessories out of fabric. Color photos and explicit instructions abound.

    And, for kids of all ages, here are two books each featuring 101 duct tape activities: Tape It & Make It and Tape It & Make More, each written by Richela Fabian Morgan. Create fashion accessories, housewares, costumes and more. In-depth instructions show you how.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cooking for Thanksgiving Day

    Start planning now for your Thanksgiving Day menu! Here are some cookbooks to help you out.

    Autumn from the Heart of the Home, written by Susan Branch, is a combination of cookbook and gift book designated just for Thanksgiving and Halloween. The book is brightly decorated with watercolor illustrations and appropriate quotations, and includes easy recipes, tips on entertaining, decorating ideas, and other projects.

    How to Cook a Turkey: and all the other Trimmings is produced by the editors of Fine Cooking magazine. Sure to satisfy the needs of both novices and more experienced cooks, there are a hundred recipes covering everything from appetizers, to turkey, gravy, and stuffing, to desserts – especially pies. Color photos accompany it all.

    Thanksgiving: how to Cook it Well is written by Sam Sifton, a former New York Times restaurant critic; it was named one of the best books of the year by He presents the basics and more, with many variations; helpful hints abound. The reader also will enjoy his ideas for leftovers.

    Thanksgiving 101: Celebrate America’s Favorite Holiday with America’s Thanksgiving Expert, written by Rick Rodgers, presents recipes, menus, shortcuts, variations on classics and more. Rodgers is also the author of The Turkey Cookbook and teaches Thanksgiving 101 classes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Strange Stories, Part Two

    Ready for some more horror tales? Try these on for size.

    Ash is written by James Herbert. Visiting a secluded stately home that country locals believe to be haunted, paranormal investigator David Ash looks into stories about strange occurrences and makes a shocking discovery beyond anything he has ever encountered.

    Breed is written by Chase Novak. A couple obsessed with their infertility travels to Slovenia to have an unusual and painful procedure that results in horrible consequences they manage to hide until their twins, Adam and Alice, turn ten years old and start asking questions.

    Abandon: a Novel is written by Blake Crouch. Hiring back-country guides, a psychic, and a paranormal photographer to aid their investigation into the bizarre and abrupt disappearances of every citizen from a gold-mining town over a century earlier, a history professor and his journalist daughter embark on the journey aware that the last team that attempted to solve the mystery was never heard from again.

    77 Shadow Street is written by Dean Koontz. Once the center of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse, the 1800s Gilded Age palace known as the Pendleton, has been re-christened in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building. But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, and elevators plunge into unknown depths.

    American Gods is written by Neil Gaiman. Just released from prison, Shadow encounters Mr. Wednesday, an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and when Mr. Wednesday offers him a job as his bodyguard, Shadow accepts and is plunged into a dark and perilous world.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Strange Stories

    Just in time for the Halloween season, here are some spooky novels selected by Monika for your reading pleasure.

    Soul Trapper: a Novel is written by F.J. Lennon, Rising to legendary underground status as a ghost-hunter in spite of a lack of motivation, Hollywood native Kane Pryce uses a supernaturally charged object to dispatch lost souls, falls in love with a nosy reporter and becomes entangled in the problems of two ghosts.

    Alien Hunter is written by Whitley Strieber. When brilliant police detective Flynn Carroll’s young wife vanishes inexplicably in the middle of the night, his obsessive investigation reveals a string of similar disappearances and draws the attention of secret police Special Agent Diana Glass, whose team invites Carroll into their world of extraordinary challenges and lethal dangers.

    The Darkling is written by R.B. Chesterton. Working for a wealthy family in a 1940’s Alabama community that once provided a secret haven for hideaway movie stars, live-in tutor Mimi attempts to schedule a curriculum for her employer’s new ward, a troubled orphan teen with no memory of her past who harbors a savvy and malicious nature.

    The Temporal Void is written by Peter F. Hamilton. At the center of the galaxy is the Dreaming Void, an artificial black hole that may hold paradise within its walls. When a human named Inigo begins dreaming of what lies within the Void, the word spreads, triggering a religious pilgrimage into the Void and possibly a catastrophic expansion that threatens the peace of the Commonwealth Universe.

    World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War is written by Max Brooks. An account of the decade-long conflict between humankind and hordes of the predatory undead is told from the perspective of dozens of survivors who describe in their own words the epic human battle for survival.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Birthdays

    Celebrate October by reading up on the lives of celebrities who have birthdays this month.

October 1st: Former President Jimmy Carter:
  1.Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: the Georgia Years, 1924-1974; written by E. Stanly Godbold, a professor of history, it examines the lives of both Carters prior to his election to the presidency
  2.White House Diary; written by the former president, it is an edited and annotated version of the diary he kept during his White House years

October 1st: Singer, actress and author Julie Andrews
  1.Home: a Memoir of My Early Years; written by Andrews and covering her life between birth and Walt Disney’s discovery of her in 1962
  2.Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies; a collection selected by Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton

October 2nd: Musician Sting
  1.Sting, Back on the Beat: a Biography; written by Christopher Sanford, a rock music critic, it traces Sting’s career from a schoolteacher, to his work with The Police, to his successes as a solo artist

October 16th: Actress and author Suzanne Somers
  1.I’m Too Young for this!: the Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause; written by this talk show host and natural health writer; this is her twenty-fourth book

October 26th: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  1.Living History, written by Clinton herself about her years in politics, first as a partner in her husband’s career and then as a senator from New York
  2.Bill and Hillary: the Politics of the Personal, details the political partnership and personal relationship of the Clintons

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Music Icons that Baby Boomers Will Remember

    Here is a selection of books about several of yesteryear’s music idols that all self-respecting members of the over-fifty generation can identify. They are all available at our library.

    The Bee Gees: the Biography, written by David N. Meyer, is a comprehensive life story about the four Gibb brothers – Maurice, Robin, Barry and Andy, who sold 250 million records over a forty year-career. It includes detailed information about their poverty-ridden childhoods, their musical successes beginning in the 1960s, their interactions with other music personalities, their battles with one another, and their drug addictions. A small selection of black-and-white photos is included in the book.

    Days that I’ll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono is written by Jonathan Cott, who first got to know John and Yoko when he interviewed them when he was the London correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine. This expanded from a professional relationship to one of friendship. Cott is able to provide personal details about the couple as well as his own recollections of the era’s music, politics and culture. A few black-and-white photos are scattered among the text.

    I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, is written by Toure, a journalist and television personality. Toure uses interviews with Prince’s band members, former girlfriends and music scholars to describe Prince’s unique brand of music based on his perceptions of God and religion.

    Led Zeppelin: the Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band is written by Barney Hoskyns, a prolific music writer whose interviews with some of rock’s most famous musicians, record company executives and recording engineers provide insight into the band’s twelve-year duration. Several black-and-white photos are interspersed throughout the book, along with a small section of color photos.

    Rocks Off: 50 Tracks that tell the Story of the Rolling Stones, written by Bill Janovitz, who himself is a musician as well as a Rolling Stones aficionado. Janovitz’s technique is to use fifty of the Stones songs to relate aspects of their music and their personal lives, over the course of their fifty-year career.

Monday, September 16, 2013

W is for Wasted

    As she nears the end of the alphabet, author Sue Grafton continues to add layers to the character of Kinsey Millhone, accentuating the depths of her personality. Yet again, Kinsey investigates the untimely deaths of others and resolves the mysteries surrounding them. The two deaths in this book are those of a homeless man, R.T. Dace, who perhaps died of natural causes, and Pete Wolinsky, a private investigator with less than sterling ethics who was thought to have been shot as a victim of a robbery.

    Kinsey discovers that Dace is a cousin from her father’s side of the family; Dace, estranged from his children has left an inheritance to Kinsey instead. Mayhem results when the Dace children discover this. Kinsey also becomes involved with Dace’s three homeless friends.

    Meanwhile, Robert Dietz, Kinsey’s former boyfriend who also is a P.I., shows up in town. He has been bilked out of payment for a job done in Reno for Pete Wolinsky. Dietz and Kinsey investigate and discover that Wolinsky was murdered. Thoughtful examination of the clues, skillful interviewing and a lot of activity result in the discovery of a link between the two deaths and the capture of a murderer. The adventure with Kinsey is as enjoyable as ever.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September is National Coupon Month

     Save lots of money this month and all year long when you read these books and use their advice.

     Extreme Couponing: Learn how to be a Savvy Shopper and Save Money... One Coupon at a Time, is written by Joni Meyer-Crothers, one of the stars of the hit TLC television series by the same name. Couponing is a skill that is useful for those people who are well-off financially as well as those struggling to survive. Techniques such as collecting as many coupons as you can, learning the coupon lingo, using a blog to do price matching, and stockpiling your purchases give the reader a shopper’s edge.

     The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is written by Stephanie Nelson, the founder of, Nelson recommends planning menus and shopping lists before going out shopping, studying prices and their trends, and surfing the Internet for deals. She discusses whether it’s always better to shop the super centers and wholesale clubs, saving on non-grocery items, deals at the drugstore, and more. Appendices lead the reader to sites to access coupons.

    Savvy Savings: Couponing Secrets from the Stockpiling Moms, is written by Melissa Jennings and Shelley King, who blog at They also give tips on stockpiling, coupon strategies, and menu planning; the authors recommend living the frugal life.

    Supershop Like the Coupon Queen: How to Save 50% or More Every Time You Shop is written by Susan Samtur. She presents her Five-Step Supershopping System, which uses such techniques as rewards programs, store cards, using coupons and refunds from websites, and more.

    Pick another Checkout Lane, Honey: Save Big Money and Make the Grocery Aisle your Catwalk!, written by Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler offers all there is to know about coupons and how to use them. Topics include how to obtain them, file them, stockpiling, finding the best time to use them, store policies on their use and learning the lingo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lost Girls: an Unsolved American Mystery

    A true crime story with a local link; author Robert Kolker writes of the recently discovered prostitute murders in Oak Beach on Fire Island. Kolker goes beyond the newspaper headlines and articles to delve into the backgrounds of five of the victims; all prostitutes who eschewed working with pimps in favor of independently marketing themselves on Craig’s List. Shannan Gilbert, the first woman to be searched for when she went missing was the reason that the other bodies were discovered; but she was the last to be found and may have accidentally drowned in a marsh while trying to escape. The other four women able to be identified came to metropolitan New York City from other parts of the East Coast to earn their livings. Kolker examines each in turn – Maureen, Melissa, Megan, Amber and Shannan. Each had family members and friends that cared about them. Each had limited education and family history of psychological ills that affected their ability to successfully launch themselves into mainstream American society.

    Kolker also examines the Oak Beach community and the tendency of its residents to keep to themselves. Several of the residents suspect one another of the murders and share their theories with the author. Even the Suffolk County Police Department alters their theories of who the murderer or murderers are. The murders still are not resolved; the reader is left to guess who is responsible and to be amazed at the depth of this tragedy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

House Beautiful Quick Changes: Fresh Looks for Every Room

    Be inspired to make creative changes in your home decor when you browse through this book. Descriptive text accompanies full-color photos to describe how to make simple modifications that don’t need a lot of time or money. Chapters focus on accessorizing, imaginative painting ideas, wallpapering designs, using mirrors, “cozy it up” schemes, “punch it up” ideas to brighten and refresh, and simplifying techniques. The works of various professional decorators are presented visually, along with quotes of designers’ secrets.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

    Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss presents this in-depth report on the growth of the American processed food industry in conjunction with the increase of obesity and chronic diseases in the American public. Because of the qualities of convenience and savings in time, our society has increased its reliance on processed and fast foods. And, in line with growing their industry, the conglomerate companies lure their customers by increasing the amounts of sugar, fat and salt that they add to their products. This causes the consumer to reach a “bliss point” and to crave an increased amount of the food or drink. Moss compares this to a virtual addiction.

    Basing his information on company documents and interviews with former executives, Moss shows us how the industry is between a rock and a hard place: decrease the amounts of sugar, fat and salt to benefit the American public’s health, while exposing processed food’s off-tastes that will reduce sales. And, this is the dilemma that our nation finds itself in: continue on the path to ill health or change. Some of the answers might be to increase government food regulations, become more educated consumers, and go back to the basics in food preparation, however inconvenient that might be.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crafty Ideas

    Fill some of your quiet time with crafts; you can make some holiday or birthday gifts for yourself or others. Find your inspiration with these books.

    Crochet Cool: Fun Designs for Kids Ages 1 to 6, written by Tanya Bernard, is a collection of twenty designs for young children’s crocheted clothing and accessories. Patterns range from easy to intermediate to advanced; complete instructions for each pattern are accompanied by several color photos.

    101 Fabulous Small Quilts, published by the Patchwork Place of Martingale Press, features an assortment of small quilts ranging in size from one that is 14” by 17” to a 48” square. There are pieced quilts, appliquéd ones and a combination of the two; they range from easy-to-make to challenging. A multitude of color photos and drawings assist with the sewing and assembling of the quilts.

    Craft Happy: Scrapbooking Your Memories, published by Harper Design, presents thirty scrapbooking projects that will help the crafter enhance their photographs and souvenirs. The book begins with the basic techniques, continuing on to projects highlighting travels and commemorative celebrations. Color photos abound, and sample motifs to copy are provided

    Tie-Dye: Dye it, Wear it, Share it, written by Shabd Simon-Alexander, introduces the reader to the tie-dye craft; describing techniques, color mixing and materials. Then it’s on to the over twenty tie-dye projects that include all types of clothing and household items.

    The Ultimate Handbook for Paper Crafters, edited by Jennifer Schoerer, shows the reader how to create greeting cards with a personal touch. Each of the more than 300 examples is accompanied by a color photo, list of supplies needed and instructions.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Thread of Grace: a Novel

    A historical novel written by Mary Doria Russell, set in Italy between the years of 1943 and 1945, when Jews were struggling to escape the reach of Nazi Germany by traveling over the Alps into Italy. Italian citizens, intimidated by the occupying Nazi army, act kindly towards the Jews and attempt to hide them from the Nazis. This resulted in more than 43,000 Jews being saved. However, many others still were captured and killed.

    Into this setting, the author focuses on several characters, presenting their experiences: Jewish refugees, Italian freedom fighters, priests, rabbis, Nazi officers, and others. We see the hardships of war, the joys of simple everyday life, the horrors endured by prisoners and soldiers. Survival or death is dependent on the luck of the draw.

    Well-drawn characters, descriptive language and in-depth research of the culture and history make this an enjoyable albeit poignant book to read.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

     Third novel in the Millennium Trilogy written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson; this book continues the story of Lisbeth Salander, genius computer hacker and sexual and psychological abuse victim in her struggle against the government agencies who have conspired against her since childhood. Lisbeth is supported in her fight by Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and editor of a left-wing political journal who fearlessly works against government corruption and for victims’ rights. Together they investigate a special “section” within Sapo, the Swedish secret service.

     How have they become involved in this mission? In the second book of the series, the reader discovers that Lisbeth is the daughter of former Soviet agent Alexander Zalachenko, who defected to Sweden during the 1970s. Zalachenko is a prize for the Swedish secret service and all sorts of rules are bent to preserve his cooperation, including sweeping his abuse of Lisbeth’s mother under the rug. And Lisbeth also has a German half-brother through Zalachenko, named Niedermann, a murderous strongman. In her quest to bring them to justice, Lisbeth is shot in the head and buried alive; she manages to escape and wound her father. Blomkvist comes to her rescue and Lisbeth, near death, is brought to the hospital to have a bullet removed from her brain.

    Lisbeth’s survival and her efforts to uncover information through computer hacking, Blomkvist’s efforts and those of a whole cast of characters from the police, Sapo, Lisbeth’s friends, and more are detailed in more than 600 pages of nail-biting plot; a worthy ride to justice. And more than that, the reader is able to see Lisbeth’s personality relax and grow into an individual who begins to trust others.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

True Crime Adventures

     Want some edge-of-your-seat reading selections? And they’re true, not fiction! Here is an assortment of some recently published true crime books.

     The Annals of Unsolved Crime, written by Edward Jay Epstein, expands on over thirty mysterious deaths from the nineteenth century through the present, most of which the average reader thought were resolved. Chapters range from Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy’s assassinations, the purported suicide of Marilyn Monroe to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, the murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife to that of Amanda Knox’s roommate, and more. The author examines each case thoroughly, presenting what is known and unknown, considering alternate theories where they exist, and identifying when the case is not yet resolved.

     Murder on Long Island: a Nineteenth-Century Tale of Tragedy & Revenge, written by local historians Geoffrey K. Fleming and Amy K. Folk, is the story of a revenge murder set in 1854 Cutchogue. James Wickham, a wealthy farmer and his wife Frances, were murdered by Nicholas Behan a disgruntled employee, who killed them with an axe while they slept. The book follows Behan’s capture, trial, conviction and hanging.

     Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases, written by Ann Rule, is volume 16 of Ann Rule’s Crime Files. Rule is a prolific crime reporter with many books to her name; this collection of cases focus on recently committed murders where the attacker is a loved one.

     Echoes of my Soul is the story of the murder of two young New York City career girls in 1963, and how a young black man with an IQ of less than 70 was wrongly accused of the crime by police. Author Robert K. Tanenbaum presents this story of how assistant D.A. Mel Glass assiduously searched for the real killer, and exhibits crime scene photos and trial transcripts to complete the story.

     Waiting to be Heard: a Memoir is written by Amanda Knox, the American college student studying abroad in Italy, who was accused of the murder of her British roommate. We hear Amanda’s version of events leading up to the crime, the investigation, police interrogation of her, trial and conviction, her four years in an Italian prison, appeals process and the overturn of the conviction in 2011. Of course, there will be more to follow as Knox’s acquittal recently was overturned by Italy’s highest criminal court; there will be a retrial.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

Mary Roach is an intrepid reporter and author of several popular science books on such topics as cadavers, the afterlife, sex, and space travel. With Gulp, the reader is given a tour of the entire alimentary canal, focusing on its functions of eating (enhanced by the senses of taste and smell), digestion and elimination. Ever the investigator, Roach interviews the scientists who research the assorted subdivisions of these functions; and is able to present the facts in a comprehensible style and with a humorous touch. Find out the answers to such questions as: “why doesn’t the stomach digest itself?”, “can constipation kill you? did it kill Elvis?”, “does saliva have curative properties?” and more.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

June is Men's Health Month

      It’s always the right time to improve your health and look and feel younger; here are a few books to help men meet these goals.

      Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: a Real World Guide to an Unreal World, written by fitness experts John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein, introduces the reader to a program that will safely and naturally produce more testosterone. This increase allows you to lose weight, increase muscle size, improve sexual performance and enhance brain function.

     The Life Plan: How any Man Can Achieve Lasting Health, Great Sex, and a Stronger, Leaner Body, written by Jeffry S. Life, a medical doctor who is 70+ years-old and a prime example of the rewards to be gained when you follow this book’s program. The program’s precepts include exercise, healthy diet, nutrient supplements, and male hormone replacement; a guide to all of these is provided.

     Flat Belly Diet! For Men: Real Food, Real Men, Real Flat Abs, written by Liz Vaccariello and D. Milton Stokes, shows how diet and exercise can enable you to get rid of that gut. The diet includes plenty of fiber to fill you up and protein to boost testosterone production, and recommends the use of monounsaturated fatty acids that is thought to target belly fat. It also includes easy-to-do exercises and stress reduction techniques that contribute to building a muscular, fit physique, better health and more energy.

   The Eat-Clean Diet for Men: Your Ironclad Plan to a Lean Physique, written by Robert Kennedy and Tosca Reno, is a modification of the original Eat-Clean Diet book but designed specifically for men. Learn to follow this diet without having to count calories or exclude food groups. Instruction is given on assessing your body’s needs for improvement; lists of food beneficial in losing or gaining weight are accompanied by recipes, shopping tips, and more.

Monday, May 20, 2013

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 four weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

July 17th
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, written by Stieg Larsson
Salander is plotting her revenge – against the man who tried to kill her; and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. But it’s not going to be easy, as she’s in Intensive Care under close supervision

August 21st
The Language of Flowers: a Novel, written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Discovering the symbolic meanings of flowers while languishing in the foster-care system, eighteen-year-old Victoria is hired by a florist when her talent for helping others is discovered, a situation that leads her to confront a painful secret from her past

September 18th
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a Savannah Story, written by John Berendt
In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows

October 16th
The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island, written by Linda Greenlaw
The author details her return to Isle au Haut, a tiny Maine island with a population of seventy year-round residents, many of whom are her relatives, to describe small-town life in a lobster-fishing village

November 20th
The Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, written by David Grann
Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author’s own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett’s final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle

December 18th
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A young man, newly rich, tries to recapture the past and win back his former love, despite the fact that she has married

Wide Sargasso Sea

     Here’s a different view of the “madwoman” in the book Jane Eyre. Author Jean Rhys, a Caribbean/British mid-twentieth century novelist, presents her version of Antoinette Bertha Cosway, born into a wealthy white Jamaican family fallen on hard times. The first part of the book is narrated by the young Antoinette. Her widowed mother is too self-absorbed to raise her; Antoinette is tended to by Christophine, a native servant. Slavery has recently ended in Jamaica, and some of the former slaveholding families are belittled and bullied; Antoinette’s family among them. After the mother remarries, there is a downward spiral in which she becomes increasingly insane. Antoinette is sent off to a convent school, during which time her mother dies.

     Part two is narrated by both Antoinette and Mr. Rochester. When Antoinette returns home from the convent, a marriage is arranged between her and Rochester by her stepfather. Rochester is not the sympathetic character we see in Jane Eyre. Emphasis is put upon his lust for both Antoinette’s dowry and her physical self. Their marriage deteriorates as Rochester puts stock in rumors about the insanity streak that runs through her family tree. Antoinette is bewildered and seeks a magical cure from Christophine so that Rochester will “love” her again.

     Part three is narrated by an increasingly bizarre Antoinette, now in England and locked in the attic with a servant to guard her and virtually ignored by Rochester. She is completely out of touch with reality. We are given the impression that Antoinette jumps to her death during the fire, as she does in Jane Eyre.

     Rhys’s viewpoint leads the reader to realize Antoinette as a fully fleshed-out individual, capable of love even though she didn’t receive much during the course of her life and with her freedom limited, almost to the point of being a slave. We see that Antoinette’s life is as tragic as that of Jane Eyre’s, except that Jane is able to attain equality by the end of her story and Antoinette’s release only can come through death.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Daddy's Gone a Hunting

   Mary Higgins Clark, the mistress of romantic suspense, has produced yet another novel featuring a young woman entangled in a dangerous situation. By now we know that the heroine will survive and succeed through the use of her intelligence and high moral standards. But it’s always fun to let the momentum of the plot (short chapters, rotation of characters narrating the story) and lushly descriptive settings create an exciting reading experience.

     In this story, Hannah Connelly is beside herself with worry when her twin sister Kate is found in the explosion/fire of their family’s antique reproduction factory building, along with Gus, a disgruntled craftsman, now retired. Gus is killed and Kate is critically injured. Did Gus cause the massive destruction? Kate? Who else could it be? The reader eventually finds out; also, two other minor mystery plots involving missing persons are featured and the solutions brought to light. We get three mysteries for the price of one.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Gangs of New York: an Informal History of the Underworld

           Written by journalist Herbert Asbury, and originally published in 1928, this is a factual recounting of gang activity in New York City between the 1820s and the 1920s. New York has been and still is a city of immigrants; their ethnicities may change but the drive to survive and succeed always is there. The depths of squalor and prejudice endured by these individuals are astonishing, topped only by the violent acts they inflicted upon one another. All is described in graphic detail.

While we read about the gang members and their adventures, we also learn about the birth and development of the city police force, comprised of both honest and dishonest members. The history of that era’s political machine, Tammany Hall, is also explored.

The writing style is factual and intensely detailed, with the author’s prejudicial feelings towards certain ethnic groups put on view. Illustrations and photographs give the reader an appreciation of the times and places described. This book would be most enjoyed by history and crime buffs; it is dry reading for everyone else.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's New in Gardening

    Browse our gardening collection for some new ideas and some inspiration.

      The Roots of my Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal why they Garden, edited by Thomas C. Cooper, is an inspiring collection of essays, from a wide range of gardeners both amateur and professional.

      The Layered Garden:  Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage, is written by David L. Culp, the co-creator of the gardens of Brandywine Cottage in Downington, Pennsylvania. He previously worked at Longwood Gardens also. His layering technique of garden design incorporates the planting of many different species in the same area so that there always are some plants at their peaks.

     The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers is written by Teri Dunn Chace. Read this and find out how to fix the 100 most common gardening mistakes and then avoid them in the future. A to Z chapters, from bulbs to pests in your garden to zone matters round up all of the information a gardener can use.

      Slow Gardening: a No-Stress Philosophy for all Senses and Season, written by Felder Rushing, is a peaceful, philosophical approach to planning and growing a garden. Enjoyment of the garden is the primary goal. Information on plants and gardening techniques is also provided.

     The Complete Guide to Mid-Atlantic Gardening:  Techniques for Growing Landscape and Garden Plants in Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, Southeastern and Northwestern New York, is written by Lynn M. Steiner. Here are practical solutions for growing vegetable, fruit and ornamental gardens. Planning and preparing, maintenance and problem solving, color photos and more are included for gardens in USDA zones 5, 6 and 7.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism, a group of neural developmental disorders typified by impaired social interaction and communication problems, is increasingly in the news these days. About 20 per 1,000 American children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) each year.

The book Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know, edited by Alan I. Rosenblatt, Paul S. Carbone, and Winnie Yu, provides in-depth information on the various ASDs and how to determine if your child has one of them. It then discusses how to obtain services and therapies through the schools, medical community, community organizations, and more. This is a complete handbook for parents, teachers and caregivers.

            An Early Start for your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn, is written by doctors Sally J. Rogers, Geraldine Dawson and Laurie Vismara. This instructional manual demonstrates techniques to transform daily routines into learning experiences, encouraging play, language skills and social engagement.

Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism, is written by Arthur Fleischmann (father) with Carly Fleischmann (daughter). It tells the story of Carly, who was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition by the age of two. Her condition did not improve, even with extensive speech and behavior therapy, leaving family members feeling increasingly frustrated. Then, at age ten, there was a breakthrough when it was found she could type words to communicate with those around her. Now, at 16, Carly also communicates through social networking sites and a blog, and is a spokesperson for those who have autism.

The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism is written by Kate Winslet with Keli Thorsteinsson and Margret Ericsdottir. Winslet met Keli and Margret when she did the English narration of the Icelandic documentary A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism. The documentary was created by Margret and details her and her son Keli’s struggles with his nonverbal autism disorder. Keli learned to express his thoughts using a letter board; he now can communicate with others. Winslet started an autism non-profit fund, the Golden Hat Foundation; its name derived from a poem written by Kelli, about a magical golden hat that could talk. This book features several photos of celebrities with the symbolic hat.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Guilt: An Alex Delaware Novel

     A dead infant is discovered, after being buried for more than sixty years, on the property of an old house undergoing gentrification. This event demands the attention of Lt. Milo Sturgis and his associate, psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware, even though there isn’t enough evidence with which to work. But more discoveries await; a few days later another infant’s body is found in a park, with a woman’s body nearby. The two incidents are not related; but since the resolution of the second crime is more likely, Sturgis and Delaware concentrate their efforts on solving this one.

     Some tenacious detective work leads to the discovery that the woman is not the infant’s mother, but is a nanny to the children of one of Hollywood’s most well-known couples, Prema Moon and Donny Rader. Their family life is not as it appears to the world. Alex is able to gain information and insight into the case by gaining Prema’s trust and taking her on as a patient. Then the action begins and the chips fall into place. As usual, Alex and Milo satisfactorily wrap up this case; they even are able to solve the sixty-year-old mystery death thanks to Alex’s sharp observational skills. This is another superb mystery written by author Jonathan Kellerman; one that will leave the reader wanting more.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Baked Delights: Part Two

            Some more books on baking:

Flour Water Salt Yeast: the Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, written by Ken Forkish, shows the reader how to bake excellent breads and pizzas. You can adapt the baking time to your personal schedule by choosing from one of three types of dough: straight, pre-ferment, or complex levain.

Bouchon Bakery, written by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, presents recipes from the chain of five bakeries that are part of the Thomas Keller Group headed by Keller with Rouxel as the executive pastry chef. Their baked goods are jointly inspired by French and American cuisines.

Tart it up!: Sweet and Savory Tarts and Pies, whose author, Eric Lanlard, is a British master pastry chef, presents a combination of recipes, some for more advanced students and some easier ones using pre-made dough. Lanlard is well-known for his TV career and for Cake Boy, his cake emporium and baking school.

The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking: 80 Low-Carb Recipes that Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, by Peter Reinhart, is a collection of 80 recipes for the wheat sensitive, diabetics and low-carb/low-sugar dieters. Selections include breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, and more.

Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth presents updated recipes for more than 50 classic cakes, some of which were in their heyday almost 100 years ago. Julie Richardson is the author.

Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes is written by Joy Wilson, a caterer and blogger. Here she presents recipes on everything sweet: pancakes, pies, pudding, cakes, brownies, cookies, snacks, and frosting.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baked Delights: Cookbooks to Please the Palate

     Here are some new books featuring baking; some are written for beginners, some for the experienced, and the rest for everyone else.

Seasonal Baker: Easy Recipes from my Home Kitchen to Make Year-Round, written by John Barricelli, contains over 100 baking recipes using fruits and vegetables available by season. The author is the owner of the SoNo Baking Company in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Your Time to Bake: a First Cookbook for the Novice Baker is written by Robert L. Blakeslee. This is a beginner’s text that explains it all: definitions, needed equipment, techniques, baking products and their substitutes, and more. There are over 1500 photos used with the step-by-step instructions for 150 recipes.

Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook: More than 100 Recipes from the Best Little Bakery in the South. The authors, Cheryl and Griffith Day, are the owners of a bakery in Savannah, Georgia that is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Their desserts and breads have been highly praised by Chef Paula Deen, who writes the foreword for this book.

The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle, by Tom Douglas, includes stories, photos, recipes and more. The author is a prize-winning Seattle restaurant owner and chef.

A Year of Pies: a Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies is written by Ashley English. She starts with the basics and then continues with 60 recipes for pies and tarts, based on ingredients available seasonally.

Sweet Home: Over 100 Heritage Recipes and Ideas for Preserving Your Family History, by Rebecca Miller Ffrench presents Norwegian-based baking recipes, while focusing on activities family members can enjoy while preserving their culinary heritage.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kinsey and Me: Stories

     Author Sue Grafton takes a break from writing her “alphabet” mysteries featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone, and presents the reader with a collection of short stories. Included are nine stories about Kinsey, written between 1986 and 1993, that offer us additional insight into Kinsey’s personality. Then, the second half of the book (“and me”), contains thirteen autobiographical tales featuring the character Kit Blue, written as an expression of Grafton’s conflicted feelings about her dysfunctional family that was headed by two alcoholic parents. Grafton shows herself no mercy as she probes her feelings about her mother’s early death from lung cancer and alcoholism-related illness.

     Sue Grafton’s continued achievements in skillful writing, including well-drawn characterization, original plot and vivid language, leave the reader looking forward to her next novel.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Thirteenth Tale

     This novel, written by Diane Setterfield, is a gothic-style narrative set in England during an undisclosed point in time. It is the story of Margaret Lea, a young woman who runs a rare book store with her father and is an amateur literary biographer. It also is the story of Vida Winter, a famous and reclusive writer who has hidden her past from the world for over sixty years. Now that Vida is dying, she has decided to reveal the truth about her life to Margaret, who will write it as biography; but the fantastic tale she shares is so astounding that Margaret wonders if it is another work of fiction. We learn about the Angelfields, a wealthy upper-class family whose members are totally dysfunctional. There are hints of incest, scandal, violence, murder and more. Is Vida a member of this family? Which feral twin sister could she be? And Margaret has secrets of her own. Her own twin sister died at birth, a secret kept from her until she accidentally discovered it during her childhood, and has affected the bond between her and her mother.

     Lush physical descriptions and an air of the unknown add to the atmosphere; multi-dimensional character descriptions draw the reader in. Settle down to read this book and watch the pages fly by.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February is Heart Health Month

     Expand your knowledge of heart health with these books.

New American Heart Association Cookbook, 8th Edition, by the American Heart Association, offers over 600 heart-healthy recipes, 150 of them new, with accompanying nutritional analyses. Also included is updated information on diet, exercise and lifestyle.

The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease – and the Statin-Free Plan that Will, by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra, presents a four-part program to minimize and manage heart disease, not by relying on statin drugs to control cholesterol levels, but by easing such risk factors as inflammation, triglycerides, belly fat, high glycemic levels and more.

Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, written by Janet Bond Brill, a dietician, who describes her plan to prevent further cardiac issues by prescribing such menu choices as Mediterranean-style diet, good carbs (i.e. oatmeal, popcorn, etc.), fish and red wine in moderation.

The Buena Salud Guide for a Healthy Heart, by Jane L. Delgado, a physician and president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, identifies the ten points of a heart-healthy lifestyle, and then follows with brief descriptions of various cardiac problems. A section on diagnostic tests and procedures, and where to get further valid information follows.

Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life!: the Mayo Clinic Plan for Preventing and Conquering Heart Disease presents the 10 steps to heart health, the types of heart problems, diagnostic tests to recognize them, and activities to boost your nutritional, physical and mental health levels.

The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Speaking with Your Cardiologist, written by Curtis M. Rimmerman, describes how to choose a cardiologist, the different cardiologist specialties, and the various diagnoses, diagnostic tests, treatment options and medications available.

Best Practices for a Healthy Heart: How to Stop Heart Disease Before or After it Starts, by Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist, helps the patient take charge of his or her cardiac health through the monitoring of weight, cholesterol and sugar levels, avoiding addictions, exercising, dealing with stress, and more.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Time Traveler's Wife

            Written by Audrey Niffenegger, this novel is a combination of fantasy and romance, with a touch of late twentieth/early twenty-first century cultural history thrown into the mix. The reader is asked to believe in time travel as a result of a chromosomal mutation that causes main character Henry DeTamble to travel to different points in his life; the process is activated by stress, and Henry has no control over when it occurs. The other main character, Clare Abshire, the love of Henry’s life, first meets him at the age of six and then again at various points of her life until the age of twenty (to Henry’s twenty-eight) when both meet in their present, form a romantic relationship and marry.

We continue to follow their encounters at different points in time (Clare getting there the traditional way and Henry through time travel); experiencing their joys and their sorrows, companionship and loneliness, under these unusual circumstances. Although tragedy eventually ensues, we are left with a hopeful late-in-life encounter between the two, causing the reader to wonder what exactly the true nature of time is.             

Friday, January 11, 2013

Female Celebrity Biographies

 Who among us doesn’t appreciate vicariously living the lives of the rich and famous by reading their biographies? Here, for your enjoyment, are the stories of three talented women.

 Dearie: the Remarkable Life of Julia Child is authored by Bob Spitz, an award-winning journalist and non-fiction writer. This book, written on the centennial of Child’s birth year, contains more than 500 pages of detail on Julia’s beginnings, and continues with her career with the OSS during World War II; her romance with and marriage to Paul Child, a fellow OSS employee; their lives in post-World War II Paris where Julia received her training as a chef; and a return to America and her career as a public television icon. Through it all, the reader is able to view middle to late-twentieth century society and culture and how they affected women’s roles. Black and white photos are scattered throughout the book.

 Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand is written by William J. Mann, who was critically acclaimed for this work and who has authored other female movie star biographies. Here he presents the early years of Streisand’s career and her meteoric rise to the top, using as research the private papers of Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse and interviews with several of her intimates from this time. Black and white photos are scattered throughout the book.

 Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams, written by journalist and author Tina Cassidy, examines the year 1975 when Jackie began laying the foundation of her life after marriage to Onassis. It includes details on his death, Jackie’s troubled relationship with his daughter, her burgeoning career at Viking Press, and more.