Saturday, May 27, 2017

Witches Aboard (audiobook) by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad
by Terry Pratchett [Compact Disc Pratchett] 

This sequel to ‘The Weird Sisters’ features the same characters as before: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and their apprentice witch, Magrat Garlick. This time they go on a trip abroad as the title implies. There’s another witch at the start of the story who’s a fairy godmother and just before she passes away, she leaves her job and wand to Magrat, instructing her to go off to the city Genua. Granny and Nanny insist on going with her so they all set out and along the way there is a lot of weird fairy tale things going on that they don’t like very much. They believe that someone is messing with the land and creating all kinds of stories and forcing the locals to play parts in them against their will. They say this must be stopped so that’s what they go do once they get to Genua and find out who’s doing it. It is very funny all the way through with numerous fairy tales references. Magrat’s new fairy godmother wand is only useful for turning things into pumpkins, there’s a princess named Ella, Little Red Riding Hood shows up as does a road made out of yellow bricks, and they visit an entire castle of sleeping people covered with vines. But that’s not all, there’s also a cat that turns into a person, banana daiquiris, a voodoo witch and two sisters that totally despise one another. Out of the three in the Discworld series I’ve read, I’d say this was the best; that may not be saying much as there are about 40. As with ‘The Weird Sisters’, the plot moves a bit slow as there is more focus on character conversations, making fun at situations and at times the narrator decides to go on for a while about something other than the story. Also as with the other books, there are no chapters to segment the story and it will change without notice from one scene to the next. I listened to this one and it was all the more entertaining hearing the lines than just reading them. This is really not something I could recommend to everyone, as it’s kind of weird and has a sense of humor that is not everyone’s cup of tea, however if you are in the mood for a rather off the wall comedy/fantasy then this could be for you (audio version is particularly recommended).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Witches, by Terry Pratchett, which comes before Witches Abroad in the Disc World series. You may also like the Fables series by Bill Willingham, also about fairy tales, but different.]

[ official Witches Abroad page on the official Terry Pratchett web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Denial (on DVD)

Denial
[DVD Denial] 

Denial is an excellent film based on true-life events as recorded in the book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” by Historian Deborah Lipstadt, portrayed by actress Rachel Weisz. The story itself is a fascinating look at the British Judicial system as seen through the eyes of a Jewish-American Professor who must prove in court that the Holocaust really did happen after being slammed with a lawsuit by British Historian David Irving. Timothy Spall, a veteran English actor, plays the part of David Irving who represents himself in this riveting trial about the Holocaust in World War II. Spall does an incredible job of showing Irving’s point of view throughout the trial, even when pitted againt Lawyer Richard Rampton as portrayed by the excellent British actor Tom Wilkinson. My favorite role in this film was played by Andrew Scott, the actor who played Moriarty in the TV series “Sherlock.” It was interesting to see him in a different role as the lawyer Anthony Julius who represented Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles. All in all, this is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year. I highly recommend it!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the DVDS of Schindler’s List, The Book Thief.] [Also available in traditional print format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Denial web site from the BBC ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Customer Review: The Book of Joe by Vincent Price

The Book of Joe
by Vincent Price [electronic formats only]
 
For dog lovers, The Book of Joe is quirky little book with lots of personality. It’s written by Vincent Price of Hollywood fame who starred as a villain in dozens of macabre horror films. Far from being scary, however, The Book of Joe is a light-hearted and humorous account of Price’s life with pets. Not all is perfect about this unusual and touching book with a dog death, frequent digressions, and mature content. Yet it makes a quick and entertaining read for older pet lovers.

reviewed by Allison H.-F.
customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
May 20, 2017

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New Customer Reviews appear whenever we receive submissions on the Customer Reviews page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually shortly after they appear on our site.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn
by Timothy Zahn [Zahn]

It’s a rare opportunity to get a second chance to make a first impression. Timothy Zahn gets just this chance with the re-introduction of a fan favorite character into the “New Continuity” with “Thrawn”. Already a talented writer, Zahn has really upped his game with his latest novel. A nagging element (to me at least), in his “Old Continuity” novels was his habit of having so many of his characters comment about what an awesome guy Thrawn is and how things would have been better with him in charge. In “Thrawn”, Zahn simply lets his titular character be impressive without feeling the need to have other characters comment about how impressive he is. In fact, this new version of Thrawn is a much more interesting character. While he is as supremely gifted and talented as always, he does have a few flaws (most noticeable is a blind spot when it comes to the nuances of Imperial politics) and is more nuanced in his motivations.

In addition to the titular character “Thrawn” also tells the story of Eli Vanto, an Imperial cadet from a remote world training to be a supply officer. His knowledge of an obscure trade language results in his career becoming linked to Thrawn’s. Another featured character is Arihnda Pryde, whom fans of “Star Wars: Rebels” will know as Governor Pryce of Lothal. The book features her rise to power and provides some insight into how and why she becomes a ruthless Imperial official. “Thrawn” is not quite a must-read novel. However, fans of Star Wars, especially those of “Star Wars: Rebels” will get a lot of enjoyment of this well-paced page turner.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin, by James Luceno, A New Dawn, by John Jackson Miller or Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno]
 
[ Wikipedia page for this novel — with links to Zahn’s previous books about Thrawn ] | [ Wikipedia page for Timothy Zahn ]

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Customer Review: Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Extraordinary
by Miriam Spitzer Franklin [ebook format only]
 
A delightful debut novel about friendship! The main character of Pansy, who is quiet and fearful but also exuberant and determined, won my affection. I also admire the author for creating a sweet but realistic story about disabilities. Just as what lies at the end of Pansy’s year isn’t exactly what she had expected, so I too was surprised at plot twists in Extra Ordinary, and both are good things. Despite minor flaws, the book reminds me of why I’m such a fan of children’s literature!.

reviewed by Allison H.-F.
customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
May 20, 2017

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New Customer Reviews appear whenever we receive submissions on the Customer Reviews page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually shortly after they appear on our site.

Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie

Appointment With Death
by Agatha Christie [Christie] 

Once again our detective is in the right place at the right time. In this story he’s taken a trip to Petra as have an American family who are under the tight reins of their mother/mother-in-law/step-mother. This woman is very controlling and does not allow her grown children to mingle outside the family. This inevitably happens during travel and some feel it rather liberating while others are fearful of her wrath. The family situation becomes known to the other tourists at the hotel they are staying at and on their visit to Petra. This woman is quite old and in poor health so when she’s found dead it’s debatable, briefly, whether her health failed her or if her life was taken. With Poirot on the case and murder looking like a certainty, it’s up to him to figure out who, of the many who had motive, is the guilty one/s. I thought this was one of the better in the series I’ve read so far, though not a favorite. Because of the setting I was reminded of ‘Murder in Mesopotamia’ and ‘Death on the Nile’, from the same series. So if you are looking a mystery in an unusual place this would be perfect.

[ official Appointment With Death page on the official Agatha Christie web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Customer Review: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

 
While the content proved heavy reading for an unscientific person like myself, Waal did give me renewed respect for animals. It also inspired several conversations between my husband and me: What might happen if society were to view animals as smart as humans, but just in different ways. Would we casually destroy the homes of wild animals? Would we inhumanely treat farm animals? Would we easily view domesticated animals as disposable? The implications are endless, making this an important read.

reviewed by Allison H.-F.
customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
May 20, 2017

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New Customer Reviews appear whenever we receive submissions on the Customer Reviews page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually shortly after they appear on our site.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Everyone Brave is Forgiven
by Chris Cleave [Cleave] 

This is historical fiction based upon the letters between the author’s grandparents.
Mary North is an eighteen-year-old woman who left school and traveled to London anxious to help, beginning the very day World War II was announced. Expecting to be assigned an espionage role, she was instead given the responsibility of being a teacher for a short amount of time. As the children were sent by train to the countryside for their safety, Mary was relieved of her duties. Her curiosity and passion to help were not in line with the attitudes and expectations of her affluent parents.
As the Blitzkrieg destroyed London, Alistair Heather was located in Malta after leaving his art curator career and enlisting with the British troops and becoming an officer. The English attitude toward race during that time was described to be ugly, and offered insights I haven’t often seen in historical fiction.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, by Susan Elia MacNeal, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr or The Book of Harlan, by Bernice McFarland.]

[ official Everyone Brave is Forgiven and Chris Cleave web site ]
 
Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Customer Review: The Distance Between us by Reyna Grande

The Distance Between Us
by Reyna Grande [downloadable audio format only]
 
This memoir weaves the universal story of a family’s resolve to reach their goal against all odds. By the same token, her memoir raises the question of how much should one be willing to sacrifice to obtain the impossible dream? Her memoir also makes clear how arduous the road to a better life can be, while at times also offering hope and inspiration. Her memoir tells a story as much about poverty as it does immigration, and should serve as encouragement to press on when life gets tough.

reviewed by Allison H.-F.
customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
May 20, 2017

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New Customer Reviews appear whenever we receive submissions on the Customer Reviews page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually shortly after they appear on our site.

The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

The Black Widow
by Daniel Silva

After several years of considering a Daniel Silva title, the libraries’ Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group finally discussed one of this suspense writer’s espionage novels this past month — The Black Widow — the 16th volume in Silva’s Gabriel Allon series.

For the most part, this novel can stand on its own, but it is very obviously part of a series, and I think that reading the preceding volumes would help a lot in understanding some of the recurring characters’ relationships and motives. Former assassin, Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon (also a renowned art restorer), is next-in-line to become head of Israel’s espionage services. But first, he has one more major operation to supervise in the field. A jihadist mastermind in ISIS has been behind more than one recent terrorism attack in Europe, and the intelligence world believes he’s planning something even bigger, to lure the United States into a holy war in the Middle East. That terrorist mastermind, who goes by the name Saladin, has a track record of using disaffected single Arabic women as his pawns, so Gabriel Allon has recruited a woman he believes can infiltrate Saladin’s network and possibly bring him down.

This is both a character-drive and plot-driven novel. The characters and situations are all extremely well imagined and very realistic. The plot ranges from fast-paced and action-oriented to slow and methodical. In the fifth of the novel, when Saladin’s plans are put into action, the suspense and terror levels are very intense. Silva was writing this at the time of the Paris terror attack, and his novel felt as real as the events that did actually occur. I really enjoyed this novel, and highly recommend it.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the early works of Robert Ludlum, prior to his passing in 2001, particularly The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.]

[ official The Black Widow page on the official Daniel Silva web site ]

Don't miss the May 2017 Just Desserts meeting -- it is our annual Series Share session. Participants are encouraged to read the first volume in ANY new mystery, thriller or suspense series that has started in the past 3 years, and share your thoughts on that series with the rest of the group! Join us at South Branch Library, May 25th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

New Reader List -





A new Reader List is now available on BookGuide -- A Little Left of Normal. Don't forget -- you can submit your own short lists of recommended titles to share with others at BookGuide's Reader List page.

A Little Left of Normal
submitted in May 2017 by Inkie


Stories that are shrouded in the mists of Eastern Europe and beyond…

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves
by Elizabeth Kostova

The Shadow Land
by Elizabeth Kostova

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Librarians (on DVD)

The Librarians
[DVD Librarians] 

This TNT cable network series, which finished its third season in January 2017, is a spinoff from a series of three made-for-TV movies (2004, 2006, 2008) that featured Noah Wyle (ER) as Flynn Carsen, who is hired to be the lone “Librarian” for a mysterious agency that tracks down and secures ancient mystical objects. In those 3 movies, he was a single agent in the field, backed up by Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin in “the Library”, and usually assisted (or threatened) by a different femme fatale in each movie.

In “The Librarians”, which began 6 years after the last TV-movie, Flynn is looking for someone to replace him, and ends up settling on three possible Librarian recruits, plus a bodyguard to protect them. The series initially appears to have the recruits vying to be Flynn’s sole replacement, but with the increased number of magical threats facing the world, they all become full-fledged Librarian field agents, backed by John Larroquette as their crusty and fusty researcher back at their home base. Wyle continues to make occasional appearances as Flynn as the series progresses. Each season of The Librarians has featured a different major threat that the team faces. The action and plots are sometimes silly, but the cast has great chemistry with each other, and tackles the craziest of plots with enthusiasm. The series is written and produced by the same team that created multiple seasons of Leverage for TNT, and in fact, one of the Leverage cast members is a regular on The Librarians as well. Each season is extremely short — only 10 episodes — but they pack a lot into those 10 episodes each year. Fun to watch, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

[If you enjoy this series, you may also wish to try the trilogy of The Librarian movies that preceded it: Quest for the Spear, Return to King Solomon’s Mines or The Curse of the Judas Chalice] [Also available: The Librarians tie-in novels — see them on our TV Tie-Ins booklist.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] | [ official The Librarians page on the TNT web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Fables 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham

Fables 2: Animal Farm
by Bill Willingham [YA PB (Graphic Novel) Willingham] 

The Fables are back in another story, which is long enough this time to take up this whole volume without the addition of shorter stories. It picks up just after volume one, so I recommend that you start at the beginning. To reveal any of the plot here is a spoiler for the first volume; Rose Red was not really dead in the ‘Legends in Exile’ story. Rose Red and her sister Snow White take a trip up to the farm where the Fables who don’t look like people, such as the Three Little Pigs, the giants, and Shere Khan, live away from society so as not to be revealed to the wider world that the characters from fables are real and living in the same world. The visit does not go as planned due to an up rise among the farm residents who feel that all Fables are created equal, but some more equal than others. The revolt and it’s consequences take up most of the story, and the ending is not entirely a happy one. I’ll let you read it for yourself since I enjoyed all the surprises so much I don’t want to spoil them for you. This has been a very enjoyable series so far and personally I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing over time. If you want to see what happened after the story was over for the fable characters you read as a kid, this is a really fun graphic novel series. What’s also nice is the amount of character development there is from volume to volume. If you prefer e-books then you can also check this out online with Hoopla Digital either in a browser or the app.

One last note is that these stories were published in the volumes reviewed here on BookGuide and as deluxe editions, which are hardback and longer, so there are only 14 of them. The stories line up fairly evenly but sometimes the shorter ones get shuffled around a bit differently in the different volume lines. Originally they came out as comic books, not graphic novels, so you could go that route too if you wanted.

[If you enjoy this, almost all the rest of the series is on Hoopla. At the moment they have up to volume 21 out of the 22!]

 official Fables web page on the Vertigo comics site ] | [ official Bill Willingham web site ]
 
Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fables 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Fables 1: Legends in Exile
by Bill Willingham [YA PB (Graphic Novel) Willingham] 

Ever wonder what happened to the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, Goldilocks, Little Boy Blue and the other characters from classic fables? Well, it turns out that they were driven out of their Fable worlds into ours centuries ago by who or what is only referred to as the adversary. They don’t age and it’s difficult for them to die so long as humans continue telling their tales. They have set up a Fabletown in the midst of a large city and this graphic novel series tell of their present and bit of their past. There are a couple of stories in this book. Legends in Exile is the longest and it’s basically a murder mystery. The sister of Snow White, Rose Red, goes missing, her apartment is ransacked and there’s blood everywhere. Bigby, the Big Bad Wolf in human form (as an enchantment), plays detective. It was set up like a classic mystery story even with the get together at the end where the murderer is revealed in front of everyone involved. The next story is much shorter and is actually a prose story about Bigby, called A Wolf in the Fold. It tells of the wolf back in the homelands when people were fleeing for the human world, and a few centuries later after he passed into our world and was brought out of the wilderness into Fabeltown and gained his enchantment to look like a human. The last story is, The Price of a Happy Ending. It’s also set in the homelands during the struggle against the adversary and involved Little Bo Peep. Over all this is a really well written series. There is a lot of character development and a lot of secrets of the past to be revealed at the series continues. I highly recommend it as it’s full of adventure, surprise, mystery and a cast of familiar but new characters. I also like that the white space between the comic frames will change color or pattern depending on what’s happening in the story – I thought this was a nice touch that added a lot to the reading experience. If you prefer e-books then you can also check this out online with Hoopla Digital either in a browser or the app.

[If you enjoy this, almost all the rest of the series is on Hoopla. At the moment they have up to volume 21 out of the 22. One last note is that these stories were published in the volumes reviewed here and as deluxe volumes, which are hardback and longer, so there are only 14 of them. The stories line up fairly evenly but sometimes the shorter ones get shuffled around a bit differently in the different volume lines. Originally they came out as comic books, not graphic novels, so you could go that route too if you wanted.]

[ official Fables web page on the Vertigo comics site ] | [ official Bill Willingham web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury

The Chance
by Karen Kingsbury [Kingsbury] 

The Chance is a nice little romantic story, about a couple who has not seen each other in years. They promise to meet on a certain day years after hiding letters to one another. They are a little bit cautious about what will happen and if the other one will show up. Long ago I decided not to read romance novels, yet after finding Kingsbury and other Christian fiction authors, I found several favorite authors that I really enjoy.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Bridge, by Kingsbury, or others by Kingsbury or Janette Oke, and the tv-movie Signed, Sealed, Delivered and the series of that name, produced by Martha Williamson (past producer of Touched By An Angel); I believe there was also a Christmas-themed special episode of that series, too.]

[ official The Chance page on the official Karen Kingsbury web site ]

Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Black River by S.M. Hulse

Black River
by S.M. Hulse [Hulse] 

This is not a comfortable book to read, with its messages about grief, bullying, prison violence, and the lifetime effects of having been tortured. The descriptions of the Montana landscape and the importance of music are beautiful.

Wes Carver returned to his former home in Montana to scatter his wives ashes. The visit puts him back into his stepson’s life, after they parted ways during his stepson’s teen years. They are both angry, but both want to ease the pain of a newcomer to the town, and in doing so they reflect on the music they once shared, and they dance in a figurative way between the many emotions they have toward each other.

I liked Wes’s honest questions about his faith and the glimmers of hope shown between the characters as they planned how to proceed with their pain and frustration.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Plainsong, by Kent Haruf, or the books in the Walt Longmire series, by Craig Johnson.]

[ official Black River and S.M. Hulse web site ]
 
Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Meatloaf in Every Oven by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer

A Meatloaf in Every Oven
by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer [641.636 Bru]

I found this brand-new title on the New Books display at the downtown library and gave it a quick browse. I’m glad I did, because this is a charming little cookbook! I grew up in a household where meatloaf was cooked in a rectangular bread loaf pan, basically 9″ x 5″ x 2.5″. My mom’s meatloaf was always perfectly fine — generally pretty moist, with a mixture of meats, packed densely, and topped in the oven with a spicy ketchup topping. After I grew up, got exposed to a wide variety of cookbooks, and cooking shows like Alton Brown’s Good Eats on The Food Network, I expanded my horizons — I now know that I prefer to cook my meatloaf as a dome shape on a flat sheet — I get more of the crispier “crust” that way.

In A Meatloaf in Every Oven, subtitled “Two chatty cooks, one iconic dish and dozens of recipes — from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s”, authors Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer, both of whom are journalists working for the New York Times, discuss the history and traditions of meatloaf (in many different forms) in many different cultures around the world. The bulk of the book, however, is a listing of 50 different recipes and instructions for diverse and divergent types of meatloaf. The recipes/instructions are basically simple and straightforward, and each recipe includes a bit of background about the person or persons who provided it to the author, and what makes that recipe especially unique. The book is divided into chapters: (1) Classics; (2) Around the World; (3) Lamb; (4) Cluck Cluck Gobble Gobble; (5) Meatless Loaves; (6) Guilty Pleasures; (7) Political Postscripts — recipes from four prominent politicians, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Collins and Chuck Schumer; and (8) Sides. Each chapter features an introductory “dialog” between Bruni and Steinhauer, often quite funny, but also thought-provoking.

Some of these recipes sound absolutely delicious, while others make me wonder exactly how they’d turn out! Some examples of some of the recipe titles, just to pique your interest: “Beef, Pork and Cremini Mushroom Loaf”, “Clean Out the Fridge Meatloaf”, “Bobby Flay’s Korean-Style Meatloaf With Spicy Glaze”, “Japanese Loaf with Miso and Mirin”, “Meatloaf with Moroccan Flair”, “Michael White’s Chicken Eggplant Loaf”, “Crab and Shrimp Loaf Muffins”, “Homely Homey Blue and Bacon Loaf” and “Ricotta Meatball Loaf”. There’s so much to digest here, I may have to get this one for myself! The only thing I have to complain about with this cookbook is that I like having photos/illustrations to go with most recipes, so I know how it’s supposed to come out. There’s not a single photo or illustrative graphic in this book! Otherwise, a fascinating read!

[ publisher’s official A Meatloaf in Every Oven web page]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Between the World and Me by Ta-Hehisi Coates

Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates [305.8 AfrYc] 

The book was written by the author as a letter to his son. Though only 152 pages, it is of a dense nature, which offered me a lot of information. The author examines the racism, oppression and fear that he has experienced as a black man, while also examining the history of race in the United States. History is his passion, and I learned about historical figures outside of our country as he recounted stories of leaders he had admired and then saw through a new perspective. Within America, he shared experiences of his life at Howard University, his life visiting the South, his time spent examining life in the south side of Chicago, and his visit with the mother of a friend . . . a friend who had been shot and killed by the police. I found this to be intense reading, and would highly recommend it for individuals and book clubs. My favorite author, Toni Morrison, called this required reading.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Book of Harlan, by Bernice L. McFadden.]

[ publisher’s official Between the World and Me web site ] | [ official Ta-Nehisi Coates Twitter feed ]

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Nebraska Childhood by Rose B. Clark


Rose Clark was born in Ohio about 1880 and moved to Nebraska as a very young child. The stories in the book are about her childhood, as the title implies. She would go on to earn a PhD and become a professor of geology and geography at Peru State College and Nebraska Wesleyan University in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. I found out about her while doing volunteer work at Wesleyan and was curious about her life because being a female geology/geography professor in the 1920’s was rather unusual. In the book, she says because her mother died when she was only a toddler, when her older sister started school, her father could not leave her home alone while he was at work, so he asked the teacher nicely if she could go to class with her sister – and the teacher agreed. So she started kindergarten at age 3-4, which perhaps instilled a love for education that carried her through her life. Despite being a Nebraskan myself, I don’t have a particular passion for Nebraska history books but I did like this one. It is only 68 pages long and while I may wish it was a bit longer, the introduction justifies it length. She wrote this memoir (published in 1963) in her 80’s while on bed rest for years due to ill health. Her lack of movement restricted her so that she could not even write with her dominate hand. Determined, she learned to use her left hand to write, while still limited to lying on her back in bed. I admire her strength of will and hardiness despite her ill health. I would recommend this book, and while don’t believe it’s on the list for Nebraska’s 150 Books Challenge, it seems like a good book to read in 2017 to celebrate Nebraska’s 150th statehood anniversary.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Prairie University: A History of the University of Nebraska, by Robert E. Knoll, (378.782 Kno)]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Much Ado About Nothing (on DVD)

Much Ado About Nothing
directed by Joss Whedon, from the play by William Shakespeare [DVD Much] 

Director Joss Whedon is perhaps best known for his scifi/fantasy-genre works, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spinoff Angel), Firefly, Dollhouse, and the first two Avengers films teaming up the various Marvel Comics superheroes.

For this 2012 version of the Shakespearean classic romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon takes a break from his action-adventure roots, but pulls in all of his actor friends from his various genre productions for major roles in this marvelous romp. Alexis Denisof (who played Wesley on Buffy and Angel) is Benedick, while Amy Acker (who starred as Winifred/Illyria on Angel, and Dr. Saunders on Dollhouse, not to mention as Root on the entire run of the non-Whedon series Person of Interest) is Beatrice. Other family faces in the cast are Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle), Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Reed Diamond (Designated Survivor), Sean Maher (Firefly), and feature-film newcomer Jillian Morgese as Hero.

Filmed on location at Whedon’s own home, in Santa Monica, CA, this version of Much Ado About Nothing is an updated take on love and relationships, told in the form of two different romantic pairs — one a pair of young and desperate lovers, the other a pair of seemingly bitter opponents, constantly at odds, who have trouble seeing the attraction between themselves. Whedon highlights the fun in Shakespeare’s story, without sacrificing the flowing language of the original. This is a fast-paced romp of a movie, set in a gorgeous home and featuring terrific performances. This feels very fluid, unlike some staged versions of the play, as the actors are given the freedom to move throughout the many rooms of the estate which is the setting. I enjoyed this tremendously…although being a fan of Whedon’s stable of many past actors may have had a part in that! (As a side note — I LOVED the soundtrack to this film and bought it off iTunes right after seeing the movie!).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Henry V, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, Hamlet with Branagh, or Branagh’s own film version of Much Ado About Nothing] [Also available in traditional print format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Much Ado About Nothing web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury

Angels Walking
by Karen Kingsbury [Kingsbury]

Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite authors. This is the first of three books in her “Angels Walking” series. These books are a little different from how I imagined things, yet they are fiction and I enjoyed them very much. If you like Christian fiction, or you liked Heaven Is For Real, you might try this one.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Remembered, by Tamera Alexander, other works by Karen Kingsbury, or either the book or movie of It’s a Wonderful Life.]

[ official Angels Walking page on the official Karen Kingsbury web site ]
 
Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Star Trek: Evolutions (on DVD)


This single disc was cataloged as its own separate item for library checkout, but was originally released as the “bonus” or “special features” disc that accompanied a boxed-set of Star Trek feature films. If you didn’t purchase or don’t own that boxed set that includes these featurettes, then this makes for fascinating viewing!

This disc includes 6 mini-documentaries and a menu-screen-driven guide to the Trek feature films. “The Evolution of the Enterprise” covers the ship designs from multiple different generations of Star Trek, following ships named Enterprise. “Villains of Star Trek” features cast/producer interviews that focus on the villains of the Trek feature films (no mention of the tv series). And “I Love the Star Trek Movies” also features interview snippets with Star Trek staff members and fans, explaining their passion for Trek in the theatres. What I found most fascinating, though, were the three featurettes about “Star Trek the Experience”, the interactive and immersive Star Trek phenomenon that ran at the Las Vegas Hilton from 1998 to 2008. Tourists could interact with performers portraying Trek universe characters, eat in Quark’s bar and restaurant, and be a part of either the “Klingon Encounter” or the “Borg Invasion”, in which they toured Trek sets and participated in a thrill ride. The documentary “Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience” takes a backstage look at what it took to produced this “live” Star Trek event multiple times per day, for over ten years, and the emotional finale for the performers as the event reached its end.

This isn’t a Trek TV series or a Trek movie — it’s more “Trek emphemera”, but for a true Trekkie, I enjoyed it very much!.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the Star Trek or Star Trek the Next Generation feature films referenced by this disc.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (audiobook)

Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick [Compact Disc Biography Kendrick] 


I’ve been a fan of the actress Anna Kendrick for several years now, ever since enjoying her performances in Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods, so seeing that she put out an autobiographical memoir in 2016, and that she narrated the audiobook version herself, made me eager anticipate listening to it. The book-on-cd did not disappoint. Kendrick seems to specialize in “quirky” characters, and she exudes similar quirkiness in real life. She is packed so full of sassy self-deprecating sarcasm that she talks a-mile-a-minute, as if she can’t pause at all in her verbal explosion, for fear of not being able to get all her commentary out. Kendrick is alternately funny, bawdy (I’d rate this title “PG-13” or possibly a soft “R”, based on some of the subject matter and her…liberal use of colorful language), painfully honest and simply fascinating. She’s only 31, but has already had plenty of memoir-worthy experiences, and it’s fun learning about how she got her start in the entertainment business. If you enjoy her acting, and you like sass and spunk and an outsider’s view of the world of acting, I highly recommend this book, especially in audio format, where you can hear Anna’s voice directly..

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try some of Anna’s films, especially the Pitch Perfect entries, or her Oscar-nominated turn in Up In the Air, opposite George Clooney.]

[ publisher’s official Scrappy Little Nobody web site ] | [ Anna Kendrick on: Twitter | Instagram | Internet Movie Database ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

The Moving Finger
by Agatha Christie [Christie] 

While this was a good story it left me feeling a bit disappointed because it’s in the Miss Marple series however she is absent for the vast majority of the story. If you are looking for any sort of historical mystery set in England then this is not a bad choice but if you want to read a Miss Marple story then there are better ones in my opinion. The plot begins with a brother and a sister who move to a small village whist the brother is recouping from some injuries. They begin to get hate letters but come to find they aren’t the only ones. As this continues, someone ends up dead in what seems to be a suicide in reaction to one of the hate letter they received. The question is was it suicide or is the letter writer the culprit? It is a really good read if you like mysteries, just know that Miss Marple does not appear till the very end so it doesn’t have the same feeling as the others in her series.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Murder at the Vickerage, Pocketful of Rye, or 4:50 From Paddington, all by Agatha Christie]

[ official The Moving Finger page on the official Agatha Christie web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing by Alice Walker

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
by Alice Walker [Hoopla Digital Resources]

Hoopla and Overdrive are great resources if you’re like me and want to constantly keep a #poeminyourpocket. This was my favorite poetry book of the last three I tried this month. This breezy read is full of simple yet beautiful lines that repeat only when absolutely necessary, engage the exact readers who need to learn from her wisdom, and remind us of our shared humanity. It is full of humanist and Buddhist lessons, so it sometimes feels like you are reading from a meditation book. She gives us ideas about where meanness comes from and what might happen when you offer it tea, and she describes to us how the love between a human and a pet can heal a broken heart. I strongly feel there is at least one page in this book for everyone who is open-minded about the power of poems.

[ official Hard Times Require Furious Dancing page on the official Alice Walker web site ]

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley and Williams Branch Libraries and the Bookmobile

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

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!