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Archived Staff Picks - March 2012

 

 

More than words can say 
by: Robert Barclay

Recommended by Ann

I always enjoy an entertaining read. More than words can saydid not disappoint.
It intertwines two love stories into an easy to read novel that really made for some delightful reading.  In the modern day there is Chelsea who is suffering the loss of her beloved grandmother Brooke.  She soon realizes that she has inherited her grandmother's cottage on Lake Evergreen in northern New York.  Chelsea had never been there and she was also told there are secret journals hidden there dating from WWII that her grandmother has asked her to read.  This is how the journey begins.  Once at the cottage we learn of Brooke's life as a young woman during the time that her husband is off fighting in WWII.  she wrote down her thoughts in a journal only to hide it and run away quickly one day leaving her friends and family back home knowing nothing of her quick leaving and always wondering why she never went back.
As the story unfolds we get to follow both Brooke and Chelsea on their journeys sometimes similar and heartbreaking as they both live in the beloved lakeside cottage.
This is a novel of long-buried secrets and self discovery, showing us that sometimes what goes unsaid is more powerful than words.

This title is available in Book and Large Print formats.
Parts of this review are fromwww.goodreads.com.

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The Paris Wife


By:  Paula McLain
Recommend by Marilyn

Paula McLain offers a vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre, bringing Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life. Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by the brash "beautiful boy," and after a brief courtship and small wedding, Hadley and Ernest take off for Paris, "the place to be," according to Sherwood Anderson.  McLain ably portrays the cultural icons of the 1920's - Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra and Dorothy Pound - and the impact they have on then unknown Hemingway, casting Hadley as a rock of Gibraltar for a troubled man whose brilliance and talent were charged and compromised by his astounding capacity for alcohol and women.  Hadley, meanwhile, makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career.  The historical figure cameos sometimes come across as gimmicky, but the heart of the story - Ernest and Hadley's relationship - gets an honest reckoning, most notably the waves of elation and despair that pull them apart. 
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I did enjoy it.  It did amaze me at how little this couple lived on and yet they saw a good portion of the world.  They skied in the winter and watched the running of the bulls in Spain.  Having a child did little to stop their travels.  I had watched "Midnight in Paris" prior to reading this book and it had a lot of the same literary characters in it.

This title is available in Book, Large Print, CD, Downloadable Ebook and Audiobook formats.  Review is fromwww.publishersweekly.com.

 

The Grimm Legacy


By:  Polly Shulman
Recommended by Pauline

What if fairy tale magic really existed?
Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as pocket money.  The Repository is no ordinary library.  It lends out objects rather than books - everything from tea sets and hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette's everyday wig.  It's also home to the Grimm Collection, a secret room in the basement.  That's where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's stepmother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own.
When magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they're accused of the crime themselves - or the thief captures them.
Recommended for tweens and teens but adults will also enjoy the action and the many references to classic fairy tales we enjoyed in our youth.

This title is available in Young Adult Book format.
Review fromwww.pollyshulman.com/grimm.html
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The Bounty: the true story of the Mutiny on the Bounty


By:  Caroline Alexander
Recommended by Robert

Most of us have watched one or several movie productions of "Mutiny on the Bounty".  We have become accustomed to a raging, barely coherent Lieutenant Bligh pushing a tormented Fletcher Christian and crew over the edge to the world of mutiny.  It makes fun viewing, but according to Caroline Alexander, the author of the "Bounty: the true story of the Mutiny of the Bounty" is only far more ambiguous and interesting.  A Library Journal Best Book of 2003, The Bounty is the result of Ms. Alexander's meticulous research of captain's logs.  Admiralty records, personal diaries and various other sources of information.  We learn the Lieutenant Bligh learned seamanship at the foot of the noted Captain Cook, took on Fletcher Christian as a protégée and was probably no more severe a taskmaster than most of the Royal Navy's officers.  Fletcher Christian is shown to be fairly well-connected young man who, tempted by the carnal pleasures of Tahiti, led a group of sailors to an alternate future with Tahitian mates.  We will be impressed by Lieutenant Bligh's ability to preserve the lives of his loyal sailors as he navigates the Bounty's launch to Dutch-held Indonesia.  An important part of the book is devoted to the trials of 10 mutineers who were brought back for trial.  We discover that political connections become a major factor in these trials and haunted the now Captain Bligh to his death.  In fact, one of the convicted mutineers was pardoned and rose to great heights in the British Navy.  Finally, we learn of the less than wonderful fate of the mutineers who escaped.  For those who enjoy a serious, but fascinating study of the entire "Bounty" story, this is a very fine read.  Well recommended.

This title is available in Book and Downloadable Ebook formats.
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The Hunger Games 


By: Suzanne Collins


Recommended by Rosemary



Hunger Games is one of a number of new books for teens in the category of Dystopian Fiction, literary visions of the world of the future.  Most of the time the world has gone terribly wrong through environmental disaster, global warfare, dramatic social change or other mysterious cosmic force.  These are the hottest books on the Young Adult bookshelves.  The appeal is partly the setting, but I think we like them because they are essentially heroes' quests, like the Greek myths or modern high fantasy.  The characters are catapulted from their ordinary existence and plunged into the unknown.  They face dangers, meet allies and enemies, are tested almost to the edge of death, and in the end, they are the saviours.
In Hunger Games, the world of the future has been divided into 12 districts, with a ruling caste of wealthy, and the rest of humanity are peasants struggling to stay alive.  One of the ways they are kept in their place is through the Games.  In these annual Games, the contenders are chosen by lottery from each district, showered with comforts, and then put in an arena to fight to the death.  The winner gets a lifetime of luxury and celebrity, and great honour and privilege for their district.  The arena, strew with hazards and traps, is actually set up so that the people can see the action like a TV show.  They choose sides and bet on the contestants.
Katniss Everdeen is the heroine of this story.  Katniss lives in District 12, a particularly poor district, where she struggles to support her mother and younger sister.  She takes her sister's place when the lottery takes place, and goes to the Arena.  Her talents for survival are many, which is a good thing because she will need all her skill and intelligence to survive.
This is quite frankly one of the best books of recent years.  Hunger Games is a fast paced, exciting read.  It is not an easy book by any means.  Readers should be warned that the physical violence is extreme.  Collins brings great descriptive skill to her work, and a cold clarity to the arena scenes.  I am not really a fan of violence in fiction, but I found it riveting.  It's really fairy tale violence where we are fascinated rather than repelled, and know that it holds a deeper meaning.  It is also a great book for discussing deep issues like violence as entertainment, hunger and political corruption.
I would recommend this book highly to both teen readers and adults.  Hunger Games has been one of the most popular teen books in recent years, and will be released as a movie on March 23rd.  Expect long lineups!  Once a book becomes a phenomenon like this, it's very hard to keep it from the hands of younger readers and viewers.  The movie is most likely to be released as PG-13 which will reflect its popularity with readers 12+.  I highly recommend that parents read Hunger Games so they know what their kids are reading and why they love it.

This title is available in Young Adult Fiction, CD and Downloadable Audiobook formats.

Sleepwalker


By:  Karen Robards
Recommended by Kim

Start with a flashback of Micayla's (Mick for short) mother's murder when Mick was 11.  She was killed in front of Mick and her sister.  Now 27, Mick has nightmares every few months and she sleepwalks, sometimes waking up to her own screams.  Which is how Mick finds herself out of her bed on New Year's Eve while house sitting for an old family friend Nicco whom Mick considers to be family.
While returning to her room, she hears a sound.  Now a Detroit cop, she runs to her room, grabs her gun and interrupts a robbery in her "uncles" safe.  There is some good butt kicking and kicked butt and then the game changer when Mick comes across incriminating evidence against her "uncle".  She's smart enough to realize she's in deep doo-doo and allows herself to be taken hostage and helps the thief, Jason escape.  Although she plans on arresting him later.
Uncle Nicco is big time mob.  Cop and robber become grudging allies while Nicco's thugs look for them.  Mick doesn't know who to trust and eventually Mick and Jason escape the clutches of the thugs.  Once they are safely in the Cayman Islands Mick calls her police captain only to find out that her sister and her sisters children have been taken hostage by the mob.  Mick and Jason must return to Detroit to try and save her family.
This is a romantic thriller where the cop and the thief are attracted to each other.  Throw in a few other surprises and the book gets really interesting.  I started reading this book on a lazy Saturday afternoon and finished that evening.  There were enough twists and turns to keep me that interest.

This title is available in Book and CD formats.
Part of this review is fromwww.goodreads.com.

 

 

 

 

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