Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke

Rules for a Knight
by Ethan Hawke

I’ll have to admit — I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was hoping to. Actor/author Ethan Hawke (Dead Poets Society, Gattaca, Training Day) put out this short volume of fictional essays in 2015, after compiling it over the course of a couple of years. It is framed as advice being passed down from noble knight Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke (ostensibly Ethan’s ancestor) to his children, written on the eve of Sir Thomas entering a great battle. Each short chapter starts with a “rule” for proper knightly behavior, followed by a short fictional “remembrance” of Sir Thomas, recollecting experiences he had during his own training for the knighthood. Topics of the “rules” include, Solitude, Humility, Gratitude, Pride, Cooperation, Friendship, Forgiveness, Honesty, Courage, Grace and ten more. Also included is a short “epic poem/song”, referenced within the text of the rest of the book.

Though fashioned as a legitimate historical document, it isn’t — Hawke weaves together influences from a variety of different philosophical backgrounds and theories, and includes attitudes or ideas that seem much more modern than the time period of the Knights would have allowed. None-the-less, all 20 of the “rules” are admirable, even if the faux “reality” of the examples used to illustrate the rules are unrealistic. Since Hawke wrote this as advice for his own kids, I’ll give him credit for a good read!

[ publisher’s official Rules for a Knight web page ] | [ Wikipedia page for Ethan Hawke ]
 
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!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smuggler's Run by Greg Rucka

Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
by Greg Rucka [j Rucka] 


Smuggler’s Run takes place right after the events of “A New Hope”. Han Solo has his reward for saving Princess Leia and is anxious to get the money to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, things never seem to work out easy for Han Solo. Persuaded/guilted into a mission by Princess Leia and Chewbacca, Han Solo and his faithful Wookiee copilot race against time to rescue a high-level Rebel spy on the run. A relentless and ruthlessly efficient Imperial agent is hot on the Rebel’s tail. If that weren’t bad enough, Han and Chewbacca find themselves dealing with stormtroopers, TIE fighters and a team of bounty hunters looking to collect on the bounty placed by the impatient and vengeful Jabba the Hutt. Along the way, Han starts to believe that maybe there are more important things than just looking out for himself. “Smuggler’s Run” is a short, fast, fun read aimed at younger audiences. Many older Star Wars fans will likely enjoy this book as well. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers story that’s not terribly inventive. However, it’s true to the characters and a fun story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry]

[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Greg Rucka web site ] 

Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this? 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, March 29, 2016

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories edited by Otto Penzler

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
edited by Otto Penzler [828 DoyYp] 

This massive anthology of shorter Sherlock Holmes works is merely the latest in a series of creative anthologies edited by Otto Penzler for Vintage Crime/Black Lizard books. Previous volumes have included The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (previously reviewed here), and The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries). For this Sherlock Holmes collection, Penzler has gather 83 short works from authors both best-selling and obscure. He opens with two short-short works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself (although he does not include the newly-discovered new story by Doyle that was unearthed in somebody’s attic in 2015. Stories included in this collection range from serious, written in classic Doyle Holmes style, to parodies and pastiches, having fun with the characters and tropes of the Holmesian canon.

There are many Holmes collections or anthologies out there, and often you see the same stories in many of those books. I can’t say I’ve ever seen this many different stories featuring Holmes in any collection previously, and Penzler has certainly included some of the rare, lesser-seen tales. If you are a true lover of the world of Sherlock Holmes, or even if you’re just a basic mystery fiction fan, I highly recommend this volume, although obviously nothing substitutes for Doyle’s 56 stories and 4 novels for authenticity!

[ publisher’s official The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories web page] | [ Wikipedia page on Sherlock Holmes ]

Check out more Sherlock Holmes related titles in our Elementary booklist on BookGuide!

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!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Join fellow mystery fans for the 100th meeting of Just Desserts

Hey, Mystery Fans!

In April 2006, the Lincoln City Libraries held its first Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group meeting, at the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown. For the next 11 years, the Just Desserts group has continued to meet, once a month (January through October), first at the Bennett Martin Public Library, and more recently at the South Branch Library, on the last Thursday of each month.

Over the course of 99 meetings, we've discussed novels or short story collections from 94 different mystery authors, and shared dozens of different types of desserts during our discussions.

To celebrate the 100th meeting of Just Desserts on March 31st, we're having a special meeting, moved to the Walt Branch Library for one-month-only. We invite any and all area mystery fans to join us.

Just Desserts #100
Walt Branch Library -- 6701 S. 14th St.
Thursday, March 31st, 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Instead of our normal format -- in which all group members read the same book to discuss as a group -- we will be inviting all attendees to speak for a few moments about their all-time favorite mystery novel or short story collection. We plan to record this month's meeting to release as one of our audio podcast episodes. And a list of all the titles discussed will be shared online after the meeting.

So...join us, even if you've never attended a Just Desserts meeting before. You're welcome to bring a Dessert to share with fellow readers. And be prepared to share a mystery novel that holds meaning to you...and why!

Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 2

Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 2
by Thomas Warkentin [741.5 War] 

This is the second half of a collection of Star Trek newspaper comics from the early 1980s. It features characters from the original television series with new storylines. I really enjoyed the first volume and was eager to read the second. It was not disappointing. The original series is my favorite and this felt like it has the same exploration spirit and crew comradery that I really enjoy about Star Trek. I really don’t have any complaints about it and would recommend it to any Star Trek fan. I’m now waiting to get my hands on the Star Trek UK Newspaper Comics, which have recently been collected (coming soon to the library’s collection).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 1, by Thomas Warkentin]

[ official Star Trek Comics page about this two-volume set ] | [ Thomas Warkentin page on the Memory Alpha Star Trek 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!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The United States of Pizza

The United States of Pizza
by Craig Priebe [641.824 Pri] 

The Lincoln City Libraries have an incredible collection of cookbooks, and nearly every time I wander by our “New Books” display, I find myself gravitating towards one of more of these visually appealing tomes. This one in particular grabbed my attention with its cover image of a meatball-festooned disc of pizza goodness. After opening chapters dealing with the kitchen equipment needed to make good homemade pizza, and sections covering basic crust and sauce recipes, author/chef Craig Priebe breaks the rest of this volume into chapters based on the styles of pizza involved: Naples-Style, New York-Style, Sicilian-Style, Sourdough pizzas, Stuffed pizzas (things like calzones, pierogies and strombolis), Corn Flour pizzas, Whole Wheat pizzas and Gluten-Free pizzas.

Each recipe in each section is highly-detailed but clearly explained, step-by-step, and there is a photographic illustration of the finished product for about 85% of the recipes. Each of which is mouth-wateringly gorgeous. I’ll have to admit — some of his recipes are really kind of “out there” (calamari pizza?), but most of what he includes in this book could be modified easily to accommodate differing tastes. Priebe makes gourmet pizza creation seem like something anybody should be capable of! And the pictures of the pizzas are worth the price of admission!

[ publisher’s official The United States of Pizza web site ] | [ official Craig Priebe web site ]
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? 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, March 26, 2016

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz


Adam Gidwitz (author of the Grimm series) retells the story of The Empire Strikes Back. Gidwitz likens Star Wars to fairy tales in that it takes old stories and makes them new again. He also believes the hero of a fairy tale is “empty” so that the reader can more readily put themselves in the hero’s place. This is why, according to Gidwitz, Luke Skywalker is perceived as bland when compared to someone like Han Solo. Gidwitz thus places the reader in Luke’s place by referring to Luke as “You” and giving the reader insight into Luke’s thoughts and feelings. The other characters are presented in traditional storytelling manner. Interspersed throughout the story are “Jedi lessons”: basic breathing and meditation exercises along with stories and instruction about viewing the world as a Jedi. It is an interesting and unique way to retell the story. Gidwitz does a pretty god job in carrying it off. However, it does come across as clunky at times and sometimes prevents the story from flowing as well as it could. Overall, it is a good book and worth the time of any Star Wars fans. Younger readers will get the most out of it as will older fans with a sense of humor and willing to read a different style of Star Wars story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken or Beware the Power of the Dark Side!, by Tom Angleberger]

[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Adam Gidwitz web site ]

Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this? 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, March 25, 2016

The Ellery Queen Mysteries on DVD

[DVD Ellery] 

Set in the 1940s after WWII, Ellery Queen Mysteries was a one-season TV series starring Jim Hutton as the mystery writer/detective, and David Wayne as his widowed father, NYPD Homicide Inspector Richard Queen. Each episode begins with an introduction to the murder (“in five min this movie producer will be dead”) and a listing of the potential suspects (“Was it the newly fired director? The young starlet with whom he’s having the affair? The film writer?”), and a challenge to viewers to “match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess — whodunnit!” Then moves to the opening credits with the catchy theme song by Elmer Bernstein (encouraging you to Fox Trot across the living room).

The TV series is based on the characters in the Ellery Queen mystery book series written by cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee using the pseudonym Ellery Queen. The stories are plotted with clues that enable to reader to solve the crime and the TV series follows the same pattern.
At the end of each episode Ellery breaks the fourth wall to ask the home viewer if we have figured out the mystery (I never did). Widely recognized character actors populate this series and made the viewing even more fun, as well as the obvious familial fondness Ellery and Richard have for each other.

Definitely a family-friendly program, no foul language or grisly murder scenes, but definitely very entertaining and highly recommended. (Interesting side note: when Hutton’s son Timothy starred in Ordinary People and the Nero Wolfe TV series he wore the Ellery Queen cap his dad wore in the series).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Nero Wolfe mysteries on DVD.] [Ellery Queen mysteries are also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wikipedia page for the Ellery Queen Mysteries series ]

Recommended by Charlotte K.
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!

The Hirschfeld Century by David Leopold

The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age
by David Leopold [Biography Hirschfeld] 

This large, coffee-table art book is a wonderful tribute to the incredible art of legendary caricaturist Al Hirshfeld, whose highly stylized art appeared in dozens of publications over the course of his career. Perhaps best remembered for the line-drawing works that graced many a Playbill, celebrating the New York theatre scene, Hirschfeld’s earliest published art which is reproduced in this volume comes from the late 1920s. Hirschfeld continued to create new pieces until his death in 2003, and a 2002 self-portrait is the last (chronologically) presented in this collection. The over-360 pieces in this large volume are interspersed with biographical information about Hirschfeld, and historical information about the stage shows celebrated in the art — this text by editor David Leopold is equal parts technical writing combined with equal parts reverential tribute.

As a fan of Broadway theatre history, I particularly enjoyed the background information included with the art. There have been other past Hirschfeld collections, but this is a great combination of art and text, and I highly recommend it. As always, part of the fun in looking at Hirschfeld’s line drawings is finding his daughter Nina’s name hidden in the art, usually in the drape of clothing, hairdoes, shadoes, or bits of the backgrounds or scenery — often there is more than just one “Nina” present. Have fun looking!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Hirschfeld: Art and Recollections from Eight Decades, by Al Hirschfeld [1991], Hirschfeld: On-Line, by Al Hirschfeld [1999], and Hirschfeld’s New York, by Al Hirschfeld [2001] ]

[ publisher’s official The Hirschfeld Century web page ] | [ official Al Hirschfeld Foundation web site ] [ New York Historical Society Museum & Library’s web page for the Hirschfeld Century exhibit in 2015 ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? 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, March 24, 2016

The Beach Boys: America's Band by Johnny Morgan

The Beach Boys: America’s Band
by Johnny Morgan [Music 781.66 Beach] 

As a lifelong Beach Boys fan, I have to read every new book that comes out on the group. This book was a fun read and had some of the best photos I have ever seen in a Beach Boys biography. The interviews and background information were very impressive. I also appreciated the complete discography, filmography and websites included at the end. I liked the format of the book, basing the chapters on the various albums that were released by the group in the past 50 years. I would definitely recommend this book to any Beach Boys fan. Even if you don’t care to read the book, it is worthwhile to just look through the photos and see the fabulous collection of concert posters and album covers. The graphic design is very well done!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Beach Boys in Concert: the ultimate history of America’s band on tour and onstage, by Ian Rusten and Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, soul of the Beach Boys: the biography, by Kent Crowley] [ official The Beach Boys web site ]

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!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet

Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet
written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, with art by Ty Templeton [YA PB (Graphic Novel) Smith] 

From 2013 to 2015, DC Comics published a unique comic book entitled Batman ’66, featuring all-new Batman stories, set in the 1960s era of the comical, slapstick Batman sitcom series. These stories are told with the same tongue-in-check sense of humor as the series, with artwork that makes the characters of Batman and Robin look exactly like actors Adam West and Burt Ward — the same for all the well-know villains and other TV supporting characters. The actual TV series Batman did feature a cross-over with the similarly hokey The Green Hornet characters of Britt Reid and his assistant Kato, so it seems only fitting that the Batman ’66 comic book featured a multi-part storyline — written by Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, with art by Ty Templeton — in which The Green Hornet crosses over with Batman. Teaming up these two pairs of crime fighters to take on a villainous team-up of The Joker and General Gumm, the artistic team has captured the tone of the series with perfection. The storyline is captivating, the dialog is spot on, and the art, though cartoony, really captures the spirit of the TV series. If you were a fan of the *bang* *pow* action and overly serious dialog of the TV series Batman, you’ll love this comic-book mini-series.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other comic compilations of Batman ’66, primarily written by Jeff Parker — although none of them feature Green Hornet cross-overs.] [ Information about the Batman ’66 comic book on Wikipedia ] | [ Batman ’66/Green Hornet page on the DC Comics 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!

"Leaf by Niggle" in Poems & Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Leaf by Niggle” in Poems & Stories
by J.R.R. Tolkien [828 Tolk] 

I have read a lot of Tolkien, the Middle Earth novels and others including Smith of Wooten Major, Farmer Giles of Ham and Roverandom, but this story, Leaf by Niggle, is my favorite. It’s very short so it’s one a few stories included in the Poems and Stories book by Tolkien. On the face of it the story is set in the real world. A man named Niggle is living in a cottage in the countryside and has only one neighbor. This neighbor has a bad leg and asks for Niggle’s help fairly frequently with gardening and repairs. Niggle helps whenever he’s asked but is obsessed with painting; his work in progress is a painting of a tree that plays in his mind while he’s not at the canvas. Niggle knows his time is running out to finish it because of an unavoidable trip that was scheduled long ago. The reader is not let in on how he knows that a carriage will soon arrive to take him away, or where it will take him. We follow his journey further but it’s open to interpretation where exactly he goes and what is happening to him. It’s a story to think and talk about because it could mean a lot of different things depending on the reader. I think it is well worth reading. Don’t think you need to know anything about Lord of the Rings to enjoy this Tolkien story, because they are not related. You’ll spend more time thinking about it afterwards than it takes to read.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder or The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho] [ Wikipedia page for “Leaf by Niggle” ] | [ Wikipedia page for Poems & Stories ]

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, March 17, 2016

The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken

 Alexandra Bracken, of Darkest Minds fame, retells A New Hope in an enjoyable fashion. Though it’s written with younger readers in mind, a good number of older Star Wars fans would enjoy the book as well. Bracken retells A New Hope from the viewpoints of the main characters: the Princess (Leia), the Scoundrel (Han) and the Farm Boy (Luke). Leia is eager, maybe even desperate, to prove that she is more than just a princess. Han is the cynical smuggler who is surprised to find himself motivated by something more than credits. Luke finds himself caught up in something larger than he even could have expected. Along the way, Luke learns that the only one he needs to convince that he is more than just a kid is himself. It’s a nicely paced, well-written fun take on a classic story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try So You Want to Be a Jedi, by Adam Gidwitz or Beware the Power of the Dark Side!, by Tom Angleberger]
 
[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Alexandra Bracken web site ] 
 
Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

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!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Sherlock Holmes Book by David Stuart Davies

The Sherlock Holmes Book
by David Stuart Davies [823 DoyYd]

This is the latest addition to a series from publisher Dorling Kindersly (DK) called “Big Ideas Simply Explained”. In this beautifully illustrated volume, editor David Stuart Davies starts with several chapters exploring the biographical background of Arthur Conan Doyle and his era in British history, as well as what went into the creation of the character of Sherlock Holmes. After that, each of the individual stories and novels in the Holmes “canon” is given anywhere from two to 8 or 10 pages of detailed background, exploring what influenced Doyle in the writing of each story, what was happening in the world of the reader at the time each story was published, and which of the characters, settings and bits of dialog are most significant (and why) to readers of the Holmesian stories.

Reading this volume really expanded my appreciation for and understanding of each of Doyle’s stories. One minor complaint would be that some stories get a great deal more background provided than others. Following the exploration of the 60 “canon” tales, there are a few addition chapters about Sherlock Holmes, including a marvelous look back at the different iterations of Holmes on stage and screen, from the very earliest adaptions in film to our current era, in which Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Downey Jr. have each put their own stamp on the character. I don’t really think this is a book to be read cover-to-cover, but instead serves better as a reference volume — I would recommend reading a collection of Doyle’s original tales, then come back to this volume and read the chapters that provide background about the Doyle work — it will add layers to your appreciation of the classic stories!

[ publisher’s official The Sherlock Holmes Book web page] | [ official David Stuart Davies UK web site ]

Check out more Sherlock Holmes related titles in our Elementary booklist on BookGuide!

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!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four
by Agatha Christie

When an international group called the Big 4, comes to Poirot’s attention he starts seeing a connection to them behind nearly everything. Who they are and what their motive is remains unclear, but to get the root of it will require more cunning and planning than usual. The case continues for months and spans multiple countries before the end. This is my favorite Poirot novel so far, as it reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes novels when Sherlock reveals his theory that Moriarty is behind so many, seemingly, unrelated crimes, yet cannot be accused because there are so many other people involved. If you like stories of international crime organizations or James Bond films, I think you’d like this book too.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle or A Quantum of Solace, by Ian Fleming]

[ official Big Four 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!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Moving Target by Cecil Castelucci and Jason Fry

Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
by Cecil Castelucci and Jason Fry [j Castelucci]

Moving Target is set in the time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The Rebellion has just learned that the Empire is building another Death Star. To give the Rebellion the opportunity to gather their fleet and destroy the Death Star before it becomes operational, Leia suggests a risky diversion using herself as bait. Leia, along with a ragtag band of misfits common to the Rebellion, succeed in getting the Empire’s attention. But, might the harm done to others be too much to bear? Is victory worth any price? “Moving Target” is a good, well-paced short read aimed at younger readers (though more than a few older readers might enjoy it). It’s a Star Wars story that has been told many times before, though it is still a worthwhile read.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry]

[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Cecil Castelluci and Jason Fry web sites ]

Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this? 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, March 10, 2016

Leonard: My Fifty Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man by William Shatner

Leonard: My Fifty Year Friendship With a Remarkable man
by William Shatner [Biography Nimoy]

The passing of actor Leonard Nimoy in February 2015 impacted his legions of devoted fans in many ways. One think the world of Trekkies were intrigued by was what the impact would be on Nimoy’s former co-star and long-time friend, William “Captain Kirk” Shatner — who found himself on the hot seat when was committed to a charity event on the other side of the country at the time of Nimoy’s funeral. Although he was criticized by the “fannish” world for not being there for the funeral, Shatner looks back on those events, and the 50-or-so years that he and Nimoy were linked so inextricably, in this emotional and revealing biography — a biography not so much of either Shatner himself or Nimoy, but instead of their friendship.

Shatner rightly points out that in the cutthroat world of television and motion picture acting, long-term relationships are not very common — casts work closely with each other for short periods of time, under intense stress, forming bonds of one type or another, and when the final episode is filmed, there are often empty promises of remaining close to your co-stars in upcoming years, but never actually staying in touch, because you’ve all moved on to other projects and other new groups of co-workers. The fact that Star Trek had a life beyond its short network run — first an animated series, then new feature films, and Star Trek conventions that the actors appeared at, meant that Shatner and Nimoy ended up spending a lot more time together “away from work” and actually getting to know each other. They discovered a great number of similarities in their families and career paths, and grew to respect each other far more as friends than they had as actors on a short-lived television series. In fact, Nimoy’s long bout with alcoholism and with his son’s addictions, led to him being one of the rocks Shatner relied on when his Shatner tried to deal with his own wife, Marcy’s, alcoholism and eventual accidental drowning death.

Shatner has a reputation as a self-centered egotist — many of his other Star Trek co-stars have complained for years about his hogging the spotlight and never showing interest in them and their lives. His constant in presence in new shows, stage productions and commercials, even at the age of 85, is explained as he looks back at both his own and Nimoy’s work ethic and career “drive”. Shatner’s look at their relationship and friendship in Nimoy’s final few years is very emotional, and adds layers to my appreciation for both men and their contributions to the world of popular culture. For Star Trek fans, this is a “must read”, but I would also recommend it to anyone curious about the pressure cooker world of an actor trying to make a living in television. The only reason it doesn’t get a “10” from me is that Shatner (and his co-writer) seems to repeat himself occasionally and meander a bit.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try I Am Not Spock, and I Am Spock, by Leonard Nimoy, and any of Shatner’s several personal biographies, including Up Till Now, Shatner Rules, Get a Life, Star Trek Movie Memories or Star Trek Memories.] [ Wikipedia page for Leonard Nimoy ] | [ official William Shatner 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!