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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Passings of 2015

            At the close of 2015, we remember some of those individuals from the world of books. Prolific, popular, either of a mainstream or literary bent; let’s review their accomplishments.
            Jackie Collins was a romance novelist who focused on the loves, marriages, and divorces of Hollywood’s finest. And she knew her subject; she had relatives and friends in the industry. Born in London in 1937, she relocated to Los Angeles in the 1960s. Her thirty-two novels all appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Her books include: Lady Boss; Hollywood Wives; and The Santangelos.
            E.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow, born in New York in 1931, was a critically acclaimed author who wrote historical fiction, often featuring actual historic individuals. He wrote twelve novels, among them Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, World’s Fair, and The March; he also wrote short stories and drama. Before beginning his writing career, Doctorow was an editor. He also taught writing courses at several colleges.
            Although Leonard Nimoy was a television and film actor by trade (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, In Search Of . . .), he also was a writer. His two autobiographies are I am Not Spock and I am Spock. Nimoy was born in 1931 in Boston. He also directed films and had a lifetime interest in photography.
            Terry Pratchett was a writer of fantasy novels, with a humorous bent; he was born in 1948 and lived in England for his entire life. He is most famous for his Discworld series, which began in 1983 and also influenced television programs, video games, and board games. Pratchett also wrote children’s books.  
            Ruth Rendell was a writer of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries. She was born in England in 1930 and began a writing career first as a news writer and then as a novelist. Her most famous series features the character Inspector Wexford; she also wrote several standalone novels under her name and that of her pen name Barbara Vine. Rendell won many awards and was appointed a life peer of the Order of the British Empire.
            Ann Rule was a prolific writer of true crime non-fiction. Born in Michigan in 1931, she received an associate’s degree and then worked in law enforcement for awhile. She wrote articles for True Detective magazine under a nom de plume; then she wrote her first book The Stranger Beside Me, based on her real-life encounter with murderer Ted Bundy. Other true crime books followed; many based in her home region of the Pacific Northwest.
            Oliver Sacks was a neurologist, naturalist and writer; he was born in London in 1933. Completing school in England, Sacks continued his professional career in the United States. His lifelong interest in case studies of people with neurological disorders also led to a successful career as a writer, beginning with The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and other Clinical Tales and other bestselling non-fiction. Recent biographical works include On the Move: a Life and Gratitude.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Discussions: January through June, 2016

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:
          January 20th: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is written by Daniel James Brown. It traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of such contributors as their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder and a homeless teen rower. Registration begins December 16th.
         February 17th: The History of Love is written by Nicole Krauss. This is a novel about a man named Leo Gursky, who reminisces about his lost love, missing son, and the publication of his book. Meanwhile, a teenage girl named for one of the book’s characters seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother’s loneliness. Registration begins January 20th.
         March 16th: The Art Forger: a Novel is written by Barbara Shapiro. It is about an artist with a tarnished reputation who stumbles on a piece of art that disappeared twenty-five years ago. She agrees to forge it for a gallery owner but then realizes that the art she is forging may itself be a forgery. Registration begins February 17th.
          April 20th: The Weird Sisters is written by Eleanor Brown. It is about three sisters who are unwillingly brought together to care for their ailing mother; they discover that everything they have been avoiding may prove more worthwhile than expected. Registration begins March 16th.

          May 18th: Time and Again is written by Jack Finney. Here, Simon Morley is selected by a secret government agency to test Einstein’s theory of the past co-existing with the present and is transported back to 1880s New York. Registration begins April 20th.

          June 15th: Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is written by Laura Hillenbrand. It relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war. Registration begins May 18th.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fit and Healthy for the New Year

            January 1st is around the corner! After the overindulgences of this holiday season, we’ll all be ready for our resolution to be fit and healthy for the New Year. Here are some books to help you plan your course.
            Eat Clean, Stay Lean: 300 Real Foods and Recipes for Lifelong Health and Lasting Weight Loss is a publication written by registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian and the editors of Prevention magazine. The reader is introduced to the basics and benefits of clean eating with whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meats and fish, and unrefined grains, then learns how and where to shop for these foods. Chapters follow on each type of food (fruits and veggies, proteins, condiments, etc.) with recipes, color photos, and preparation tips.  
            Yoga Therapy for Stress & Anxiety: Create a Personalized Holistic Plan to Balance Your Life, is written by three experts on yoga and meditation. The authors explain what creates a stress-filled life and how to use exercises, breathing techniques, meditation and other tools to relieve this stress. Over fifty illustrations of yoga postures are presented to assist the reader.
          Core Fitness, written by Hollis Lance Liebman, is a fully-illustrated introductory guide to working the body’s core, which is a system of muscles in the lower-trunk area that includes the lower back, abdomen, and hips. After learning about the necessary equipment and nutritional requirements, the reader is presented with over seventy exercises for warm-up, core stabilizers, core strengtheners, and cool-downs.