Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Lost Valentine

The Lost Valentine
based on the book by James Pratt [DVD Lost]

I'm a sucker for the Hallmark Hall of Fame productions that pop up on television two to three times per year. Invariably heart-warming and frequently sappy, these "movies with a message" are always well-made, with impressive casts and great production values. I originally watched The Lost Valentine when it aired on TV, mainly to see how Betty White did in a purely dramatic role. She is the heart and soul of this movie, and her performance is emotionally resonant. The rest of the cast, including Jennifer Love Hewitt as a pushy, but ultimately good-hearted reporter, who ends up falling into a relationship with Betty's character's grandson. It's all schmaltzy, but it's good schmaltz...and I dare you not to be teary eyed as White's Caroline learns what happened to her true love 65 years earlier. Good stuff! [Most other entries in the Hallmark Hall of Fame DVD series would work well -- I personally recommend Silver Bells, a Christmas-themed story of love, redemption and perseverance.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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 web site. 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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Booktalk Booklist - A Celebration of Sisters!

Erin S., from the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries, presented an all-new booktalk at the Bethany Branch BooksTalk session on September 16, 2011 and at the Gere Branch BooksTalk session on October 10, 2011, on the theme of A Celebration of Sisters!

The booklist from her booktalk is now available on the BookGuide web site on the Booktalk Booklists page. Click the preceeding link to see the master index, or click the link for her booktalk title to see just that specific booklist!

Erin is also one of the library staff members who has a monthly "column" newsletter as part of the libraries' Books, Movies & More newsletter service. Visit the sign-up page (click here) to learn more about "Through the Pages With Erin S." and all the other newsletters you can subscribe to and receive in your email each month!

And don't forget -- although they are on hiatus right now, the Gere BooksTalk and Bethany BooksTalk winter/spring sessions will be starting up again shortly -- starting in early January, we encourage you to stop by Bethany on Friday mornings at 10:30 and Gere on Monday afternoons at 2:30 to hear presentations about great books for you to read!

The House Without a Christmas Tree

The House Without a Christmas Tree
by Gail Rock [j Rock]

In many ways this story feels like what anyone in a small town might experience -- up to a point. Addie and Carla Mae are best friends who like to hang out at each other's homes. This particular December day, they're talking what to buy for the student exchange at school and Addie is stumped about what to buy snobby Tonya. As Addie and Carla Mae spell their names with soup noodles, the conversation shifts to what each girl wants for Christmas. Sound like typical small town life? Oh, and Addie and Billie have a crush on each other, but of course neither will admit it. Then Carla Mae asks, "How come you haven't got your Christmas tree up yet?" Addie parrots the argument that her dad uses: they cost too much. The reality is sadder, to the point that the topic is a forbidden topic. When telling my husband about this book, he easily guessed its big secret. Yet my biggest problem, instead, is how long the secret is withheld and then how quickly Addie's problems are resolved once we know the truth behind them. Even so, The House Without a Christmas Tree remains a charming seasonal classic. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

[Editor's note: This was also adapted in 1972 into a TV special, starring Jason Robards, which remains a perennial holiday favorite for viewers, as well!]

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

I LOVED this book! From the very first pages I was completely engaged and could not wait to find out where this story was going to go. Le Cirque des Rêves is only open at night and travels from city to city without notice. Morgenstern's descriptions of each tent and the acts within them are so wonderful that I can only hope this book is made into a movie so I can see it all come to life! At the heart of the story is a competition between two illusionists, Marco and Celia, who have been brought up to think of nothing else. The circus is somewhat of a stage for the competition and showcases each competitor's skill and imagination. Marco and Celia fall deeply in love. A love that will not only change the course of the competition, but will dramatically affect each person involved with the circus as well. This story has many layers and I think has a little bit for everyone. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Time Traveler's Wife or Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger or Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.] -- recommended by Alyse S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in downloadable audio, book-on-cd and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ official Night Circus page on the official Erin Morgenstern web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Customer Review - A Lantern in Her Hand

A Lantern in Her Hand
by Bess Streeter Aldrich [Aldrich]

Abbie Deal through the course of the book matures from an eight-year-old whose family has recently migrated to Iowa into an "old lady who dies while the meat burned and the children played 'Run, Sheep, Run'." With that opening, who could resist turning the page? For the first few chapters, Aldrich recounts Midwest adventures akin to those in the Little House books. While this is interesting enough, I most enjoyed reading about Abbie's creative pursuits. I also related to how she used every opportunity to dream of being a singer, painter, or writer. At the age of eighteen, Abbie faces a decision not uncommon at that time about who to marry. Here's where Abbie's story really begins, for true to pioneer life the family meets very few people and face year after year of crop failure. Aldrich has written a beautiful fictional tribute to the memories of her mother and all the other settlers whom she interviewed about the forging of this state. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

My Lucky Life, In and Out of Show Business [on CD]

My Lucky Life, In and Out of Show Business
by Dick Van Dyke [Compact Disc Biography Van Dyke]

Dick Van Dyke does a marvelous job of narrating this audiobook format of his recent best-selling autobiography. Like many TV and movie buffs, I've been a fan of Van Dyke's for his legendary sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, as well as the movies Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and his more recent series Diagnosis Murder. I was also aware of Van Dyke's bouts with alcoholism in the past. This bio is not a "tell all" about anybody except for Van Dyke himself. But the memories he shares of working on the various projects that have contributed to his professional life are fully engaging. His frank discussion of the disintegration of his marriage, and falling in love a second time, are both sad and uplifting at the same time. Van Dyke's open and gregarious personality on screen conceals a much more private and thoughtful persona out of the spotlight. This biography does a great job of bringing the private Van Dyke to the forefront. The only drawback to listening to this as a Book-on-CD is that you don't get to enjoy the large section of photos that is featured in the traditional print version of the book! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in downloadable audio, regular print and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ Wikipedia page for Dick Van Dyke ]

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 web site. 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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Booktalk Booklist - Lights, Camera, Books - Take Two!

Shannon K., from the Walt Branch Library, presented an all-new booktalk at the Bethany Branch BooksTalk session on October 28, 2011 on the theme of Lights, Camera, Books - Take Two!

The booklist from her booktalk is now available on the BookGuide web site on the Booktalk Booklists page. If you're curious about which recent and forthcoming movies have been based on previously-published books and short stories, check out some of her prime examples!

And don't forget -- although they are on hiatus right now, the Gere BooksTalk and Bethany BooksTalk winter/spring sessions will be starting up again shortly -- starting in early January, we encourage you to stop by Bethany on Friday mornings at 10:30 and Gere on Monday afternoons at 2:30 to hear presentations about great books for you to read!

Amazing Cows

Amazing Cows
by Sandra Boynton [j741.5 Boy]

Sandra Boynton, best known as a childrens' board book illustrator and the creator of a long-running line of greeting cards featuring cartoon animals (such as "Hippo Birdie Two Ewe"), occasionally tackles a bigger project, and always with satisfyingly hilarious results. Amazing Cows is her latest -- appropriate for all ages, "up to a hundred and moo". This book, cataloged in our youth collection, is jam-packed full of cow jokes, poems, fake facts and humorous comic books. It's all illustrated with Boynton's highly-recognizable cartoony animals. Anyone who's a fan of cows, or of Boynton's other works, should get a chuckle out of this one. [Note: a song, referenced and linked to at the end of the book, is no longer available at the publisher's website!] [Obviously, Boynton fans can check out all the many board books for little kids. But for the slightly older reader, I recommend Rhinoceros Tap and Philadelphia Chickens.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Sandra Boynton web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Destiny of the Republic

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
by Candace Millard [364.152 Mil]

This is no ordinary biography of a mostly- forgotten president. Candice Millard brings President James A. Garfield to life. Not only did I learn a great deal about Garfield's early life and short presidency, I was also fascinated to learn so much about his assassin as well as the doctors and scientists who tried to keep him alive. Although I knew how this story was going to end, there were moments of suspense as well. I also was unaware of the part that Alexander Graham Bell played in trying to save Garfield's life. This really was an enjoyable read, and peaked my interest in the medical world at that time. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey also by Millard or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.] -- recommended by Alyse S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in downloadable audio and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ official Candace Millard web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson [Biography Jobs]

A detailed and very interesting book even at 600 pages. It bogged down only for 40 pages or so when Jobs was being expelled from Apple, and Isaacson seemed to go on and on and on about how nasty Jobs could be - we'd already figured this out. This also turned out to be a fascinating history of the computer industry as well. Jobs seemed to be bipolar, slightly psychotic, and missing the social filter most of us have that prevents us from speaking EXACTLY what's on our mind and deliberately hurting people's feelings. Told mostly chronologically, this includes the requisite photos in the middle of the book, as I feel all good biographies should. It was made more poignant knowing Jobs died of cancer shortly before this book came out. Some of the events in this book I vaguely remember occurring, such as the "1984" Super Bowl commercial, so I went online to You Tube and got to giggle again during 13 "Hi, I'm a PC, and I'm a Mac" commercials, watched some of Jobs' product releases during the MacWorld conferences, and viewed the Jobs/Gates co-interview. It was interesting to visit these videos as a supplement to reading this book. One does not need to be a computer nerd to understand or enjoy this biography. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Roone: Memoir by Roone Arledge.] -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ Publisher's official Steve Jobs book web site ] | [ Wikipedia page for Walter Isaacson ]

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 web site. 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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger


Captain America: The First Avenger [2011]
[DVD Captain]

The story follows Steve Rogers, an American who desperately wants to join the military and serve his country. The problem is that he is too small and has too many ailments so he is constantly turned down. After a mysterious doctor approves his application he joins a special military project that turns him into a super soldier. Now known as "Captain America" Steve fights to save the world from the evil hands of Johann Schmidt and his army known as Hydra. While the storyline wasn't all that fantastic, the special effects were very impressive as they were able to make Chris Evans look tiny and frail in every scene until his tranformation. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and all the other movies leading up to the great anticipated "Avengers" movie coming out in 2012.] -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Captain America: The First Avenger web site ]

Have you seen 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 web site. 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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Booklist - NYT 100 Notable Books of 2011

A new booklist has been added to the web pages of the libraries' BookGuide readers advisory site! The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011 is a collection of the 100 most noteworthy books, in both fiction and non-fiction, released in the English language during the course of 2011. At least, in so far as The New York Times Book Review's staff is considered.

At the time of the list's release, in the December 4th issue of the Book Review, the Lincoln City Libraries has 61 of the 100 titles in our collection. This online booklist has those 61 titles hotlinked into our catalog. We encourage you the use the libraries' InterLibrary Loan service to request the remaining titles, or fill out our online Suggest-a-Title form to recommend them for our collection!

The Pilgrim's Progress


The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan was once the most widely read and translated book in the English language apart from the Bible. If you are not already familiar with The Pilgrim's Progress, it is an allegory about the Christian journey. At its core is a thrilling story. The first part of The Pilgrim's Progress is about Christian, who undertakes a dangerous journey. Carrying a burden of sin, Christian leaves behind his family and friends to seek deliverance from an impending judgment on his city. Christian must overcome many dangers if he is to reach his final destination. The second part is about Christian's wife and sons who undertake a similar journey. John Bunyan doesn't simply recreate his original tale, but imagines new adventures that might happen to other pilgrims. By now, you might also be thinking that both parts are simply one danger after another, when that is simply not true. Christina's sons and Mercy find marriage. We also meet some new types of pilgrims, with whom many of us probably readily identify. Besides being a thrilling tale, The Pilgrim's Progress is also an allegory about the Christian journey. Not everything on a pilgrim's journey is dark. There are places of excellent sights and rest such as Palace Beautiful, the Delectable Mountains, and Country of Beulah. Too often for my taste, there are the moral passages. Sometimes this Christian classic felt like being in at everlasting church service, which is the main fault I find in this otherwise epic tale. John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress for Christians. It seems as it's a reflection of Bunyan's own realization that the Christian life is a journey that can be fraught with strife while also having moments of joy. It's is an important and encouraging book to read. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. -- a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poe's Detective: The Dupin Stories


Poe's Detective: The Dupin Stories
by Edgar Allan Poe [Compact Disc Poe]

As a long-time fan of the mystery genre, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never read Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", nor any of the other stories to feature his intellectual crime solver C. Auguste Dupin. When I saw that Bronson Pinchot -- one of my favorite TV actors (Balki on Perfect Strangers) was the narrator of this audiobook set, I couldn't pass it up. Pinchot was almost unrecognizable and his heavily accented Dupin is perfectly appropriate for these stories. I will admit that the Dupin stories are historic for their role in helping to create the modern genre of murder mysteries. However...though intriguing, I found these stories somewhat bland and unengaging. I did, however, love the biting humor of the fourth (non-Dupin) story in this audio collection. Despite some disappointment, I would still recommend this set to any mystery fans! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[The works of Poe are available in a variety of formats through the libraries.]

[ Wikipedia page about C. Auguste Dupin ]

Have you 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 web site. 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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Habibi


Habibi
by Craig Thompson

Habibi is Craig Thompson's latest graphic novel bound, drawn and written with an exquisite attention to detail. The story follows two young slaves, Dodola and Zam, through the ins and outs of desert life, a harem and a developing urban center. The story transcends any specific time and place giving it a seemingly post modern setting. Thompson has clearly labored intensively to integrate the Arabic language throughout the book. While written in English, Arabic calligraphy is incorporated throughout, providing a stunning text layer to the backgrounds on many pages. The story itself is a rather dark romance. Dodola and Zam's story is filled with terrible tragedy. As Dodola and Zam face the environmental and social challenges of poverty and slavery, they incorporate mythical stories and Islamic parables into each problem in efforts to overcome. The book's binding and drawings are breathtaking. The drawings will make you feel as though you are looking at a fine art piece, not simply a graphic novel. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, Blankets by Craig Thompson, and Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson.] -- recommended by Glory B. - Bennett Martin Public Library


[ official Habibi web site ] | [ official Craig Thompson web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Customer Review - SLOB (and other Ellen Potter titles)


SLOB
by Ellen Potter [j Potter]

When I read the first lines of SLOB, I wondered what I was in for: "My name is Owen Birnbaum, and I'm probably fatter than you are." Was this going to be another "pity the fat kid" story? Or was it going to be another "here's how to lose weight" story? I should have known better than to wonder. This is Ellen Potter. SLOB starts out with a simple problem: The cookies which Owen eats for lunch everyday have disappeared. After you read about Owen's gym class, you'll probably also understand why Owen needs those cookies. On the heels of gym class is a third problem: Owen is trying to build something called Nemesis. What amazes me about SLOB is how organic it is. SLOB goes in one direction and then another. Yet no matter what surprises crop up, when you think about them in hindsight they all make sense. Something else I love about Potter's books is how easily she weaves in lessons, without ever preaching about them. Owen is all of us who have ever run away from a problem. He is also every person who has faced up to problems. For so many reasons, including this one, SLOB is my favorite Ellen Potter book. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

Visit the Customer Reviews page on BookGuide (linked below) to see three additional recent reviews by Allison of other Ellen Potter titles!

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tour de Lincoln: Artistic Bicycles Celebrating Lincoln's Unique Trails System


Tour de Lincoln: Artistic Bicycles Celebrating Lincoln's Unique Trails System
by The Lincoln Arts Council [739 Tou]

Remember the Tour de Lincoln public arts project from 2003? You know -- when 71 different variations on the same bicycle sculpture were scattered throughout Lincoln during an entire Spring and Summer, and then at the end of the event, most of them were auctioned off to support the arts in Lincoln? Well, this cute little book was released at the time that all 71 bikes were on display that year. Though it's a bit artsy-fartsy, and occasionally uses fonts and layouts that aren't very pleasing to the eye, the Tour de Lincoln book is none-the-less an excellent guide to all 71 of the bikes. After a general introduction to the background of the project as a whole, each bike then gets its own two-page spread, with photographs, bike title, artist and sponsor names, some brief information about how the design was chosen and created. An article in the November 27th, 2011 Lincoln Journal Star, about a local woman's quest to find all of the surviving indicated that 60 of the 71 bikes are still around (a few in other cities), in case (like me and my wife) you'd like to track them down all over again! [Note: I just wish a similar book had been published in conjunction with the Star Art public arts project that was a follow-up to Tour de Lincoln!] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library


[ 11/27/11 Lincoln Journal Star article about bikes' locations as of 2011 ] | [ Collections of photos of the Tour de Lincoln bikes: Steve Adamson (Omaha) | Dietrich family (of Lincoln) | CannellFan (Flickr user) ]

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 web site. 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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Across a Wide Horizon


Across a Wide Horizon: Discovering the Beauty of Nebraska's Plains
by Jorn C. Olsen [917.82 qOls]

Originally from Oregon, Olsen has lived in Nebraska for over 30 years and clearly demonstrates his affection for his adopted home state in this volume of photography. Most of the selections are 2-page landscapes, with a few gate-folds for the extremely panoramic compositions. Many of the most striking images have intense or deep colors, or a wow factor, such as the butter-colored mist over a lake in "Morning Glow" or the dramatic cloud formation of "Framed by the Trees II". As one who loves Nebraska's wide prairie views, I very much enjoyed the volume and I especially appreciated Olsen's clever phrasing in many of his titles. -- recommended by Becky W. C. - Walt Branch Library

[ official Jorn Olsen web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One Man's Paradise


One Man's Paradise
by Douglas Corleone

Kevin Corvelli was a rising star in New York City's legal world until his arrogance cost a client his life. Corvelli, appalled at his own behavior, packed his bags and moved to Honolulu vowing to handle only misdemeanors. He is through with high-profile murders and the accompanying media spotlight. But his first case is a headline grabbing murder. Joseph Gianforte, Jr. is accused of tracking his ex-girlfriend to Hawaii and bludgeoning her to death. Corvelli is convinced that Gianforte is innocent and he is determined not let another innocent man go to jail. This page-turner sparkles with great characters and wit. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Robert Dugoni or John Verdon.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ official Douglas Corleone web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Library Word Search Dec 2011


Hey, Lincoln City Libraries fans who are also Flickr users! Stop by this puzzle on the BookGuide Flickr account to try out a library-term Word Search puzzle!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home


Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
by Jeni Britton Bauer [641.862 Bau]

The colorful graphics -- spoons of multi-colored ice cream flavors -- on the cover of this book grabbed my attention immediately. The author is the owner/operator of a chain of gourmet ice cream shops in the Columbus, Ohio area, and here shares her philosophy of ice cream construction and use of fresh, seasonal, regional and thematic ingredients. Nearly all of the recipes in the book are built around a simple ice cream base of frozen yogurt base, and Jeni gives the scientific and culinary reasons for how add-on ingredients affect both the chemical balance and the taste experience for her rather unorthodox flavor combinations. Bauer's recipes are designed around the use of a table-top electric ice cream machine, with its clear cover so that you can see the ice cream as it churns. So...if you've got an ice cream machine that's not so sophisticated you may be handicapped. However, if you've got the right equipment, and you're up for some intriguing experimentation, this book is for you. Bauer organizes the book into "seasons", and each season has some flavors I'd love to try making, including: Savannah Buttermint Ice Cream, Sweet Basil and Honeyed Pine Nut Ice Cream, Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Torched Marshmallows, and Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream. Some recipes require some advance preparation for some of the ingredients, but many require very little time. The illustrations are gorgeous, and Bauer includes instructions on preparing various sauces and other toppings, as well as how to make waffle cones. She also includes an index to sources for uncommon ingredients. All in all, this is a delicious cookbook. If you love ice cream, give this one a try! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official jenisicecreams.com web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Customer Review - The Distant Hours


The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton [Morton]

A wonderful Gothic novel, very much in the style of Lincoln's OBOL a few years ago, The Thirteenth Tale. This tells the story of three sisters in an English mansion and their story, told both in flashback and in present time. The present-time narrator is the daughter of a young woman who stayed at the mansion as an evacuee from London and so we have a variety of viewpoints. Make a pot of cocoa, put a log in the fire and enjoy The Distant Hours. -- review submitted by Barbara R. - a patron of the Gere Branch Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ghost Story


Ghost Story
by Jim Butcher

Spoiler Alert! Harry Dresden, Chicago's wizard/private-eye is dead. He was gunned down in the final few pages of the previous volume of The Dresden Files (Changes), leaving fans apoplectic with anger and frustration at author Jim Butcher. However, being dead is only a minor inconvenience to Harry, who finds that eternal rest is not exactly next on his agenda. Sent back to the land of the living, Harry is charged with discovering who killed him -- before others that were close to him come to dark ends. Life as a ghost proves complicated for Harry -- his wizardly powers are close to non-existent, and only a very small fraction of people can even sense his presence. But when Harry sees what the results are of his world-altering actions in Changes, and how precarious the lives of his friends have become, he eagerly tackles the afterlife head on. This is one of the most unusual volumes this series has seen, and the characters are all vibrant and alive (if you'll pardon the jest). I particularly liked the major roles that former minor characters enjoyed in this particular story. I recommend this one strongly, but the Dresden Files books have a strong level of continuity, and you really need to start with one of the first 3 or 4 books -- you'll easily be lost if you try to pick up Ghost Story without any prior knowledge of the series. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ official Jim Butcher web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jeannie Out of the Bottle (on CD)


Jeannie Out of the Bottle
by Barbara Eden

As a kid, I grew up on the weekday afternoon repeats of I Dream of Jeannie, and easily grew to love the cute, spunky, perky, energetic Jeannie, as played by actress Barbara Eden. Years later, reading reports of how uncomfortable the set of the show was, with star Larry Hagman a drugged up egocentric mess, I felt somewhat disillusioned. Barbara Eden's new autobiography, Jeannie Out of the Bottle, brings it all back to vivid life, both the good and the bad. I chose to enjoy this title as a Book-on-CD, with Eden reading her own work. She's a fun narrator to listen to (frequently chuckling or laughing at her own text), and seems to enjoy her opportunity to share memories of her career, both pre-Jeannie and post-Jeannie. This particular book is fairly lightweight, but it was a joy to listen to, as she reminisces about past relationships, including ex-husband Michael Ansara, acting achievements, and the sad passing of her son as a result of drug addiction. But, for me, as for many other Jeannie fans, it is her chapters dealing with the origins of I Dream of Jeannie, and her experiences working on that 4-season series, that brought the biggest smile to my face. Her tales of Larry Hagman at his ego-maniacal worst are easily tempered by the love and friendship she still obviously feels for him after all these years. If you grew up on 1960s and early 1970s television sitcoms, you'll enjoy this one too! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in print and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ official Barbara Eden web site ]

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 web site. 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.

New Customer Review - Speak


Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson [j Anderson]

Speak is well-crafted. Anderson undertook the challenge of introducing a disenfranchised teenager and convincing readers to like her. How much easier that challenge would have been if Anderson had revealed from the start what had happened to Melinda. Anderson also undertook the challenge of revealing details about the events of one August night, only as Melinda was ready to deal with them. How much easier Anderson's challenge would have been if she'd simply told a straightforward story about how Melinda came to terms with the fact that bad things can happen. That she instead took the higher road, readers are blessed with a complex and richly textured story that is still applauded over ten years after its publication. Anderson is still writing problem novels. Speak is an impressive introduction to her writings. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. -- a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dead in the Water


Dead in the Water
by Dana Stabenow

Kate Shugak is working undercover on the Avilda, a crabbing boat, hoping to learn why two crewmembers disappeared on its last trip. The skipper, Harry Gault, claims that when water supplies ran low the men went ashore on Anua Island to find fresh water. They never returned to the ship. Stabenow's description of life on a crabber is riveting. The work is grueling and dangerous as the crew battles high seas and ice storms. Kate and her shipmate, Andy Pence, are such well drawn characters that they just pop off the pages. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Sue Henry, Louise Penny and Nevada Barr.]

[ official Dead in the Water page on the official Dana Stabenow web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Customer Review - Girl vs. Ghost


Girl vs. Ghost
by Kate McMurry and Marie August

Isabel doesn't believe in magic, but her best friend Tripp does. Girl vs. Ghost is part comedy, part romance, and part paranormal. After Tripp inadvertently conjures up a ghost, we discover that Marc doesn't even know that he is one. Moreover, only Isabel can see Marc who is connected to her by a cable. Of course, given how much Isabel and Marc start out by hating one another, the real question isn't whether they will end up together but how they'll overcome their animosity to work together. And work together they must or Marc will forever remain an amnesiac ghost. The paranormal element unsettles me due to my religious beliefs. My main complaint otherwise is one I keep having about many first novels and that is: the writing quality is, not surprisingly, uneven. These concerns aside, the story was refreshingly cute for paranormal fiction, which is often dark. Also, I like that Marc is not a "bad boy," but just an innocent bystander. For those who are open to all aspects of the paranormal line of fiction, Girl vs. Ghost is worth checking out. [Note: Not currently owned by the Lincoln City Libraries -- consider ordering this title through InterLibrary Loan!] -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Due South


Due South
[DVD Due]

Due South is one of my all-time favorite "buddy cop" shows. Airing new episodes from 1994-96 on CBS and then straight-to-syndication in 1997-98, this was a classic fish-out-of-water story, of Canadian Mountie Benton Fraser (played to perfection by Paul Gross), who ends up coming to Chicago from the Canadian wilderness. There, he gets teamed up with Ray Vecchio (David Marciano), a street-wise Chicago cop from a wacky Italian family. Though the series played the distinct differences between the characters for occasional laughs, their odd friendship grew quite strong, and the stories were frequently very serious police action tales. The supporting cast, including Fraser's pet wolf/dog Diefenbaker, and the ghost of Fraser's father, was terrific, and the series featured noteworthy guest stars in key roles - including Leslie Nielsen. After the two CBS seasons, there was a one-year production hiatus, then a new actor replaced David Marciano as a different "Ray" and the character chemistry shifted accordingly. You definitely want to watch this series from the pilot forwards, due to the growing relationships. Great stuff!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Due South episode guide at epguides.com ]

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 web site. 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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Keeper of Lost Causes


The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Chief Detective Carl Mørck has just returned to duty after a tragic shooting that killed one of his partners and paralyzed the other. Mørck is suffering from survivor's guilt because he could do nothing to save his colleagues. He is depressed and crabby and his co-workers keep their distance. His new assignment is to head Department Q, which is tasked to solve Denmark's coldest cases. Mørck's office is a windowless room in the basement. His superiors hope he will stay out of sight and out of mind. Mørck looks at the hovel that passes for his office. He does a little research and finds that the government has allotted several million kroner to his department. Mørck uses this information to demand an assistant, a car and that his office be painted. He gets Assad, an émigré from the Middle East. The cheerful Assad prods the morose Mørck to take an interest in one of the cases. It is the disappearance of Merete Lynggaard, a beautiful, talented and up-and-coming politician. She disappeared while on a ferry sailing from Denmark to Germany five years ago. Did she commit suicide by jumping overboard? Did she fall accidentally fall overboard? Did she plan her disappearance? Was she abducted? Mørck is appalled by the errors made by the original investigators and digs into old case. This novel is, by turns, humorous, poignant, twisty and engrossing. The book is not to be missed. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Stieg Larson, Anne Holt and Louise Penny.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[Also available in downloadable audio and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ official Jussi Adler-Olsen web site ]

See more books like this on our Nordic Noir booklist


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 web site. 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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Did you know...? -- November 22nd

For many Americans (and perhaps those of other nationalities, as well) in their late 40s or beyond, November 22nd maintains its dark place in history as the day that United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX in 1963.

You might be surprised to learn how many other well-known individuals in the fields of popular culture have also passed on this day, in various years, throughout history. Here are some highlights:

Authors who died on November 22nd (year in brackets)

  • Jack London [1916] -- author of "Call of the Wild"
  • Aldous Huxley [1963] -- author of "Brave New World" -- same exact day/year as JFK
  • C.S. Lewis [1963] -- author of the Narnia series -- same exact day/year as JFK
  • C.C. Beck [1989] -- prominent mystery author
  • Leonard Wibberley [1983] -- author of "The Mouse That Roared"
  • Anthony Burgess [1983] -- author of "A Clockwork Orange"

Prominent actors/entertainers/artists who died on November 22nd (year in brackets)

  • Scatman Crothers [1986]
  • Sterling Holloway [1992]
  • Mae West [1980]
  • Michael Conrad [1983] -- Hill St. Blues
  • Shemp Howard [1955]
  • Mark Lenard [1996] -- Sarek in the Star Trek series/movies
  • Michael Hutchence [1997] -- INXS lead singer
  • Parley Baer [2002]
  • Verity Lambert [2007] -- first producer of Doctor Who in 1963
  • Dave Cockrum [2006] -- long-time artist on The X-Men

What is it about November 22nd?

Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far


Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far
by Bristol Palin [Biography Palin]

This was interesting to me. I am not really into politics, this book is about an Alaskan young lady. Bristol told her story including the struggles she faced as an unwed mother, with the support of her loving family, while in the political spotlight. She spoke of many struggles young people face today. She said her faith led her to aspire to find ways to help other young people. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try: The Memory Keeper's Daughter-fiction by Kim Edwards; The Help, historical fiction by Kathryn Stockett; Lavender Morning, contemporary romance fiction (1st in Edilean series), by Jude Deveraux; Married to Laughter, a love story featuring Anne Meara, non-fiction by Jerry Stiller.] -- recommended by Kathy H. - Walt Branch Library

[Also available in downloadable audio and book-on-cd formats.]

[ Wikipedia page for Bristol Palin ]

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 web site. 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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A new addition to the official Sherlock Holmes canon!


Holmesians and other mystery fans were treated this month to the first new Sherlock Holmes novel that is considered to be part of the official "canon" of Holmes stories, at least as far as the Arthur Conan Doyle estate is concerned.

The House of Silk, by author Anthony Horowitz (creator of the Foyle's War television series, and author of the Alex Rider series of young adult novels, among others), was released on November 1st, 2011. This book marks the very first time -- ever -- that a non-Doyle-written novel has been acknowledged as belonging to the Holmes "canon" -- those stories that are considered truly and completely official by those individuals in charge of the Doyle estate.

This book's release, along with the appearance of other recent new Holmes-related tie-in books, like Kim Newman's The Hound of the D'Urbervilles (a Moriarity-centric story collection), Between the Thames and Tiber: Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Ted Riccardi, and A Study in Sherlock (an anthology edited by Laurie R. King), inspired us to update our extensive Sherlock Holmes booklist on the BookGuide side.

Elementary... has had several additional titles added to it, both current and classic. All titles still owned by the Lincoln City Libraries are hotlinked to the libraries' online catalog. All other titles can be ordered through the InterLibrary Loan service.

All of which leads us to the following questions: If you are a Holmes fan, which of the hundreds of Holmes tie-ins, pastiches or parodies have you enjoyed the most? Which do you think are truest to the original Doyle Holmes stories?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Fatal Grace


A Fatal Grace
by Louise Penny

Louise Penny's second volume in the increasingly popular Inspector Gamache series is once again set in the small Canadian town of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border. When a brittle, unpleasant domineering woman is killed by electrocution while attending a curling match on a bitterly cold day, shortly after Christmas, Gamache and his team of Surete investigators is called in from Quebec to investigate. Nobody liked her, nearly everybody had a reason to hate her or even wish her dead; but there's more to the killing than meets the eye. Equal parts cozy and police procedural, the Inspector Gamache mysteries feature colorful casts of well-rounded characters. Gamache, himself, is an immensely likeable man, as are many of the routine denizens of Three Pines (introduced in Still Life). The brutally cold winter described in this volume (it was originally entitled Dead Cold) is well-realized, and the mystery is crafty. Penny has a penchant for revealing all the clues as you're going along, but still often catching you by surprise in the final few pages. A sidebar mystery is dealt with, in part, in this volume, as we begin to peel away the layers of a work-releated crisis that Gamache lived through several years earlier. Excellent, flavorful mystery...I highly recommend it! [If you enjoy this, you may also like the traditional classic mysteries of Agatha Christie.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Louise Penny web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Prostitutes' Ball (on CD)


The Prostitute's Ball
by Stephen J. Cannell [Compact Disc Cannell]

Detective Shane Scully and his temporary partner, Sumner (Hitch) Hitchens, are assigned to investigate a shooting on the grounds of an abandoned mansion in the hills above Hollywood. The victims are a renowned producer and two prostitutes. When Scully and Hitchens close the case they are left with a piece of evidence that does not fit. This bit of evidence causes Scully and Hitchens to look at the history of the dilapidated mansion that still has a Christmas tree and gifts in the living room. They learn that a double murder and suicide was committed there twenty-five years before. Scully and Hitch poke around in the old case and find that many things were "swept under the rug" in order to close it. The Prostitute's Ball was published shortly after Stephen Cannell died. The Shane Scully books and The Rockford Files TV series were two of the gifts that Cannell gave the world. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Michael Connelly, Robert Crais and Jonathan Kellerman.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[Also available in print format.]

[ official Prostitutes' Ball page on the official Stephen J. Cannell web site ]

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 web site. 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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Freak Nation


Freak Nation
by Kate Stevens [306.1 Ste]

Equal parts fascinating and frustrating, this volume is a guide to over 100 odd or extreme American subcultures. The fascinating parts are some of the factoids that Stevens provides about odd groups, both big and small. Curious to see the basics about such well-known subcultures as Trekkies, Model Railroaders, Survivalists, Deadheads, Conspiracy Theorists, Tea Partiers and Hackers? Look no further -- each entry features information on each group about: "also known as", origins of the culture, "how to recognize", where the culture exists, who the "heroes" or figureheads of the culture are, most distinctive traits, "biggest controversy", "biggest misconception about", buzzwords of the culture, and what the signs are to identify minor fans, major fans and super fans of that culture. The "frustrating" part of this book, for me, is its organization -- it is NOT in alphabetical order, with entries instead being grouped by categories (Collectibles, Fashion, Art, etc.). The book does not feature an index at the back to cross-reference by "group name" or interests. While much of the content is presented non-judgmentally, the author does inject some rather snarky comments hear and there about some of the specific groups. There were also some fairly obviously subcultural groups which were not included, for no obvious reason. Despite my complaints, however, I enjoyed reading this book, picking profiled groups at random, and for readers looking for a relatively light and amusing way to learn about odd subcultures, this is a fun and quick read. -- 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 web site. 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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Customer Reviews - Writing Books for Teens


Customer Allison H.-F. recently submitted several reviews to the Customer Reviews pages of BookGuide, all on the topic of encouraging teens and other youth to write. You can check out her reviews of Write Your Own Story, Writing Mysteries, Movies, Monster Stories and More!, Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook, What's Your Story, and Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly on the 2011 Customer Reviews page.

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.