Friday, March 30, 2012

Great Classic Science Fiction (on CD)

Great Classic Science Fiction
an audio anthology with works by eight authors [Compact Disc 813.08 Gre]

Interesting collection of eight classic science fiction short stories or novellas, on a set of seven compact discs. These stories, from some of the giants in the genre -- H.G. Wells, Andre Norton, Stanley Weinbaum, Lester del Rey, Fritz Leiber, James Schmitz, Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert -- run the gamut from thought-provoking and timeless to kitchy, dated and awkward. But, if you're looking to sample some works by any of the included authors, this is a nice starting point -- especially if you're on a road trip and looking for something mild to pass the time. I particularly enjoyed the Wells, Del Rey and Herbert stories...but your mileage may vary. [If you enjoy this science fiction audio collection, you may also wish to try the sets of Twilight Zone stories adapted to radio broadcasts on CD.]

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 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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days

[DVD 910.41 Pal]

This was Michael Palin's first travel documentary. He is well known for being part of Monty Python, but he also makes for wonderfully enjoyable travel host. Inspired by Jules Verne's novel, he starts his journey in London in attempt to circle the globe, using no aircraft, and return to London in 80 days or less. Unlike other travel documentaries that explore the fancy hotels and sightseeing, this and Palin's other travel documentaries focus more on the everyday lives, customs, and history of the people who live in the places he visits. It's a fantastic documentary of the world's people and places. As you watch through the seven episodes, you feel as if you are traveling along with the film crew. I've seen all of Palin's travel documentaries and he hosts them in such a real and personal way that after watching them, you just want to watch them over again. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Michael Palin's other travel documentaries: Sahara, Pole to Pole, Full Circle and Himalaya.] -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library
[Also available: Tie-in Book.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Michael Palin's Travels web site ]

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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, March 28, 2012

The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten

The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten. The Tweets of Steve Martin
by Steve Martin [817 Mar]

Having been a fan of Steve Martin for a long time, and also having a Twitter account of my own, I couldn't pass this one up when I saw it on the "new books" display. Martin originally set up his twitter account as a means of self-promotion. After having and using his account for several months, however, he realized Twitter was an interesting venue to experiment with humor. This book compiles some of the results of his experimentation. Organized in a loose chronological fashion, readers can see Martin's progression as as Twitter user. He also saved and reprints here some of the humorous responses he received from his followers, which turned his Twitter experiment into a two-way street. I enjoyed this as an extremely light-weight read -- I finished it in less than an hour overall, and was laughing throughout. On the other hand, I'm very grateful I was able to get it from the library, because the formatting -- hard cardboard cover -- and price -- $15.99 -- were ridiculous for a book of this limited size. So...if you're a fan of Steve's style of wry, sarcastic humor, track this one down for some quick laughs. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Steve Martin's novels and autobiography.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter - It's All Geek to Me!]

[ official Steve Martin web site -- don't forget to follow him on Twitter! ]

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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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snow Angels

Snow Angels
by Jim Thompson

This is a police procedural as dark as northern Finland itself is during kaamos, the country's two weeks of complete darkness. After his wife left him, Kari Vaara left Helsinki and rebuilt his life in his hometown. Now the police chief of Kittila, he spends his time on routine police matters. The few murders that come his way are easily solved domestics and bar fights gone wrong. A few days before Christmas the body of Sufia Elmi, a Somali refuge and minor film star, was found gruesomely murdered in a snowfield just outside of town. The evidence initially points towards the common law husband of Vaara's ex-wife as the killer, which brings forth speculation that Vaara is seeking revenge. Vaara ignores the gossip. He and his team follow the forensic trail and find a more complicated crime. Thompson's debut novel is full of atmospheric descriptions of winter in the artic circle where the temperature, fueled by polar winds, drops to 40ยบ C. And night is 24 hours long. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Hakan Nesser, Anne Holt and Asa Larsson.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

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

[ official James Thompson - Author web site ]

See more books like this on our Nordic Noir booklist


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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.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Measure of Katie Calloway

The Measure of Katie Calloway
by Serena Miller

The book deals with life in a north woods lumber camp in the mid-1800's. Katie is hired to cook for the men but no one knows she and her little brother are fleeing her abusive husband. -- recommended by Dorene O. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official Serena Miller web site ]

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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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Booklist - If You Like...The Hunger Games!

With a movie opening at the end of this week, interest in the incredibly popular young adulttrilogy , The Hunger Games, has increased again.

If you've read the series and are looking for similar books, check out Carrie's brand-new booklist -- If You Like...The Hunger Games, now on the libraries' website.

And "May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Shadow in Summer

A Shadow in Summer
by Daniel Abraham

Huge, multi-volume epic fantasies have been all the rage in recent years, exemplified by the classic Tolkien works then expanded with series by George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Stephen R. Donaldson, and the like. A Shadow in Summer, though it is the first volume in a quarter, feels considerably different. Instead of a faux medieval European-type background Abraham's "Long Price Quartet" has more of a middle-eastern or asian feel to it. The world of these novels is incredibly complex, detailed, gritty and believable. The plot of this novel is complex as well, with several focal characters, whose stories all criss-cross over each other in a multi-layered tale of conspiracy, faith, personal discovery, politics, bureaucracy and love. The characters are all strong and believable, and the "magic system" of this world is quite intriguing. You'll not find elves, gnomes, dragons, white-bearded wizards and epic quests here. But if you're interested in a complex, well-developed world, peopled by intriguing characters, whose stories you become emotionally involved in, I highly recommend giving A Shadow in Summer a try...you won't be disappointed. [This is the first volume in a quarter, of which the libraries do NOT own the other volumes -- try them through InterLibrary Loan: "A Betrayal in Winter", "An Autumn War" and "The Price of Spring".] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter - It's All Geek to Me! - and many other newsletters...]

[ official Long Price Quartet page on the official Daniel Abraham 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
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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead: Complete First Season

The Walking Dead: Complete First Season

[DVD Walking]

Having just ended its second season on the AMC cable network last night, The Walking Dead is one of the most impressive television series I've watched in recent years. This boxed set gathers the first six episodes, which comprised the first season in Oct-Dec 2010. The plot, in a nutshell, is that Georgia police officer Rick Grimes is injured in the line of duty and ends up in a coma. When he awakens, in an abandoned hospital, he discovers that the world around him has gone to hell. Undead humans (zombies, called Walkers in this incarnation) are everywhere, and the few remaining human beings are on the run, hiding out and trying to survive. Grimes connects with a small band of survivors, including his wife and child, and the first season features their efforts to get to Atlanta and the CDC headquarters, where they hope to find a cure for the undead problem. The production design on this show is incredible, particularly in the 2-hour pilot. The cast provides intense, dramatic performances, and the storytelling (though it differs somewhat from the graphic novels it is based on) is compelling. Viewers have to be willing to accept the basic premise, but if you can get past that, this is a powerful, visually unforgettable series, telling all-too-human stories against an apocalyptic background. I can't recommend this one highly enough. The bonus features in this Season One boxed set were impressive as well, including missing scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and a great feature on Zombie Make-Up. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the graphic novel series that this tv series is based on; also, any of the classic "zombie" movies like Night of the Living Dead. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter - It's All Geek to Me!]

[Also available in multi-issue graphic novel format, plus a stand-alone novel, The Governor.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Walking Dead web site ]

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, March 16, 2012

New Booktalk Booklist - Get Your Kicks on Route 66

If you missed Pat's recent booktalk on the theme of Route 66, presented at the Gere Branch on February 13, 2012, never fear -- her booklist is now available on the library BookGuide readers advisory pages!

Check it out at: Get Your Kicks on Route 66, for some excellent books -- both non-fiction and novels -- about the Mother Road that served America as the primary travel conduit to California from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

File M for Murder

File M for Murder
by Miranda James

Rare books librarian Charlie Harris of Athena College again uses his librarian skills to help solve the murder of his daughter's ex-fiance, quite an unlikable man. Of course, Charlie's cat Diesel, a Maine Coon, features prominently in this continuing series. The assorted cast of characters grows book by book, as one gets to know Charlie, his family, his boarders, and his friends. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Murder Past Due, and Classified as Murder.] -- recommended by Carolyn D. - Polley Music Library

[ official Miranda James 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
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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Customer Review - In Care of Cassie Tucker

In Care of Cassie Tucker
by Ivy Ruckman [j Ruckman]

I found myself wishing that Ivy Ruckman had simply plopped her characters into the middle of the action rather than hitting us with so much foreshadowing. The result is a lackluster start. In the first chapter of In Care of Cassie Tucker, Cassie's younger brother is screaming about their rooster. Cassie rescues her brother and then teaches him his numbers. Next, Cassie helps sets the table. Then her mother sends her outside to do chores. Just like in movies with the same flaws, all these precursory events to the real story are intended to develop the character, but just make me antsy for the action to start. I don't want to hear "What I didn't know that long-ago Thursday -- that everything was about to change." I want the out-of-town cousin to arrive already! Once he does, I was able to settle back and enjoy the story -- which fortunately turned out better than those aforementioned perfunctory movies. My favorite chapter is when Cousin Evan teaches Cassie to swim. I also like their many discussions about religion. Ruckman's strength in writing about storms also shows itself in the chapters about a blinding blizzard. Despite its initial slow pace, In Care of Cassie Tucker kept me glued to my chair. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library [ Check out Allison's guest issue of Customer Snapshot ]

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.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cowboys & Aliens (graphic novel)

Cowboys & Aliens
by Fred Van Lente, Andrew Foley, Luciano Lima, Luciano Lars and J. Wilson, and Silvio Spotti [741.5 Van]

Having been mildly entertained by the hodge-podge film Cowboys & Aliens in the summer of 2011, I was intrigued to actually read the graphic novel that served as inspiration for that film. I ended up far more impressed by the graphic novel than by the film. They resemble each other in only broad strokes -- both deal with humans in the wild west encountering a small alien invasion force and their efforts, with the assistance of one rebellious alien, to prevent the invaders from summoning additional reinforcements. Where the film introduces human conflicts with a cattle baron and an amnesiac central hero, the graphic novel is much more of a straight adventure story, with a traditional heroic cowboy trying to save the day. I'm not a fan of the art in the graphic novel, which varies from quite good to atrocious, but the flow of the action and the storytelling was good. If you haven't seen the film, the book will make even more sense. I recommend this -- as both science fiction, western and graphic storytelling. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the feature film, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ view and subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter - It's All Geek to Me! ]

[ Wikipedia page for movie ] | [ official Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel web site ]

See more books like this on our Graphic Novels 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
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.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction

[DVD Stranger]

One of my favorite films from the past few years! I'm not normally a big Will Ferrell fan -- I find most of his films played a little too broad, slapsticky, farcical and crude for my taste. He's actually a very good actor, capable of serious drama and even sweetness at times. And Stranger Than Fiction provides him with a very intriguing opportunity to explore his acting chops. Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS auditor living a very organized but repetitive life. That life is thrown off-balance when Crick begins hearing a woman's voice providing voice-over narration, which is describing everything he does. No-one else hears the voice, and Harold begins to think he's going insane. What could have been another overly-broad comedy actually turns out to be an intelligent, introspective look at reality -- what it is, to various points of view. Stranger Than Fiction features excellent performances from both Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson as Karen Eiffel, the eccentric, reclusive author who appears to be writing his life story...as he lives it. This film will make you laugh, make you think and make you feel! Highly recommended. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ Subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter -- It's All Geek to Me! ]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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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, March 8, 2012

Bookmarks

Bookmarks
[Periodical Bookmarks]

If you have ever been at a loss as to what to read next, this is the magazine for you. Bookmarks was named "Best New Magazine" by Library Journal shortly after its debut in 2002. It is a bimonthly comprehensive new books guide, and also includes articles about classic and contemporary authors, a reader advisory section and "best of" lists from every genre. Each of the new books featured in Bookmarks is followed by several brief summaries of various reviews, which allows for a much broader impression of the book than would any in-depth review from a single source. I've gotten a couple of great title ideas from this magazine that I probably wouldn't otherwise have tried. After the magazine did an article on Kurt Vonnegut's life and works back in a 2003 issue he effused, "...nowhere else have I found such thoughtful and literate reportage on the state of the American soul, as that soul makes itself known in the books we write. News of the hour indeed!" [Bookmarks is carried by both Bethany and Walt libraries; copies can be reserved and sent to any other library location for pick-up.] -- recommended by Steph E - Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries

[ official Bookmarks Magazine 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
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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Customer Review - Night of the Twisters

Night of the Twisters
by Ivy Ruckman [j Ruckman]

The opening bothers me every time I reread it: "When I was a little kid, I thought a red-letter day was when you got a red-letter in the mailbox. Now that I'm older and more experienced, I know that there are black-letter days as well as red-letter ones. Those BIGGEES, the real blockbusters that mess up your life?." The observation feels forced, just as much as the slow pace of the first few chapters. Yet I have to hand it to Ivy Ruckman, every time I reach the point where the first tornado hits the Hatch house, I am unable to put down her one hundred-and-fifty page book. Better yet, for a while after reading it, every noise around me and every change in the weather puts me on alert. After living in Nebraska for over ten years, I understand how Midwesterners can become complacent about weather alerts. Whenever I read Night of the Twisters, I am reminded why that is not a good idea. -- 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.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Perry Mason, Season One, Volume One

Perry Mason, Season One, Volume One

[DVD Perry]

Perry Mason was one of the pioneering legal television series during the 1950's. Based on ideas and characters by Erle Stanley Gardner, the plots feature complicated legal manouvering and many suspects that usually only Perry can sort out in the courtroom. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Boston Legal, The Good Wife, Shark.] -- recommended by Jim W. - South Branch Library
[Also available The Perry Mason Novels of Erle Stanley Gardner.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ] | [ official Perry Mason episode guide web site ]

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.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

To Your Scattered Bodies Go

To Your Scattered Bodies Go
by Philip Jose Farmer

This classic novel is the first in Farmer's multi-volume Riverworld saga. British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, then awakens in a vast alien space, floating with millions of other naked bodies in rows and columns. Attempting to break free from the invisible bonds holding him tight, he then suddenly awakens again, naked, with hundreds of other individuals, all from various time periods in Earth history, on the banks of a river. In an afterworld that no-one expected, it appears that some force has resurrected everyone who has every lived, from all time periods of history, and placed them in a controlled environment along the banks of an apparently-million-mile-long river. Who is behind this? Why are they doing this? How can individuals from different cultures, languages and philosophies possibility co-exist with civility. This first volume focuses on Burton's insatiable need for freedom and exploring the boundaries of his new world, and featurings a small group of the characters who are drawn to his magnetism and/or become his enemies. Later volumes in the series explore in much greater depth the background of the Riverworld and those who created and maintain it. This is truly one of the science fiction genre's most memorable classic entries, and should not be missed by anyone trying to read the SF award winners, although Farmer's handling of female characters leaves something to be desired. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Subscribe Scott's monthly book column newsletter -- It's All Geek to Me! -- from the library.]

[ Riverworld entry on Wikipedia ] | [ official Philip Jose Farmer 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
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.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Booze Cakes

Booze Cakes
by Krystina Castella [641.865 Cas]

A collection of recipes that incorporate booze in desserts in a classy way. A fantastic book for a girls' night in. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Make Your Own Drinks by Susy Atkins, a cookbook on making alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks using fruit, herbs and vegetable, or Cooking With Beer: Taste-Tempting Recipes and Creative Ideas for Matching Beer and Food by Lucy Saunders.] -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library


[ official Booze Cakes web site and blog ]

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.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Side Jobs (on CD)

Side Jobs
by Jim Butcher

This collection of all the Dresden Files short stories and novellas was released after the Dresden novel Changes (2010), in which -- *spoiler alert* - Harry Dresden died (don't worry, he comes back). The stories included her have appeared in a variety of venues, mainly thematic genre anthologies -- so you might have seen some of the stories previously -- I know I had. None-the-less, it's great to have them all put together in a single package. This collection also features one all-new story, "Aftermath", set 45 minutes after the conclusion of Changes -- it focuses on Harry's cop friend Karrin Murphy, and deals with her coming to terms with the loss of Harry and her need to take up his role as a a protector of the windy city's paranormal population. I thought this one story alone was worth the price of the book! One other note -- friends have been trying to convince me to listen to the Dresden Files books in audio format, because actor James Marsters (Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the narrator. This was the first Dresden book I "listened" to instead of "read". My friends were right -- Marsters does a terrific job with the narration, imbuing a variety of different characters with slightly different voices and personalities. I recommend this volume in both print and audiobook formats!. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the rest of the Dresden Files series.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

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

[ official Jim Butcher web site ]

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
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.