Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Non-Fiction

Here's a selection of some new non-fiction that recently hit our shelves:
The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff. Mark Twain heads to the West to explore San Francisco as it begins to boom, and meets some influential friends. Includes some black and white photos.

Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics by Humaira Awais Shahid. Pull quote from the book jacket:
"They cut off my microphone. I raised my voice. They vowed to defeat me. I said, 'Let the record show that someone tried.' They labeled me 'the most unmanageable woman in Pakistan.' My husband said, 'Tell me something I don't know.'"

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George Will. I recently saw Mr. Will interviewed and he said (paraphrasing here) "I do politics commentary so I can feed my baseball habit." A history of Wrigley Field, includes some black and white photos interspersed throughout.

Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations With the Great Women of Musical Theater by Eddie Shapiro. Interviews with Elaine Stritch, Carol Channing, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, and more.

A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran by Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal & Sarah Shourd. The true story of three hikers who were held in an Iranian prison after accidentally crossing over from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney. Memoir of a sous chef who has worked with some of the most renown chefs, in some of the most renown restaurants. Foodies would enjoy this one.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some New (and Cool) Additions to the Collection

Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet by Jenifer Ringer. Ringer, a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, pens her autobiography about her life as a dancer. Includes a section of photos. Find it in the catalog

How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJean. Many illustrations and maps litter this book on the city planning of Paris. Find it in the catalog

Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trail of the Nazis by Tim Townsend. Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke is assigned to counsel the Nazi defendants of the Nuremberg trail. Includes a section of photos. Find it in the catalog

Money: The Unauthorised Biography by Felix Martin. "... a sweeping historical epic that traces the development and evolution of one of humankind's greatest inventions." Although, at 320 pages, it's not too epic. Find it in the catalog

The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone by Deborah Madison. A pretty extensive collection  but, unfortunately, it has no photos. Find it in the catalog

The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons by David Menasche. English teacher Menasche's inspiring life lessons after he is diagnosed with cancer. Find it in the catalog

Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks by Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich, and Faith Jones. Includes a CD-ROM of 12 printable patterns. Find it in the catalog

You Can Date Boys When You're Forty by Dave Barry. Barry's take on parenting issues. Find it in the catalog

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recommended Read: Lost Girls by Robert Kolker

When multiple sets of skeletal remains were found in December 2010, it made national news because of the likelihood of a serial killer being responsible. This has become known as the Gilgo Beach Murders (also the unidentified Long Island Serial Killer). The remains were of missing prostitutes which, alone, aren't really a priority among the media and law enforcement. It is understandable that people who put themselves at high risk aren't taken seriously, but it also makes these women perfect targets.

Lost Girls, by Robert Kolker, had to focus on the victims because these cases are yet to be solved. Kolker delves into the lives of the five women: Maureen, Melissa, Megan, Amber, and Shannan. The first five chapters are devoted to the youth and background of each woman. The next five chapters are then devoted to each woman, as her working alias, up until her disappearance. Tragically, Shannan's disappearance triggered the discovery of the other four, yet her remains were not located for another year (and it is theorized by police that her murder is not even connected to the others, or even a murder at all; additionally, remains of others have been found in this same vicinity pointing to a prolific serial killer or multiple ones ). Further chapters discuss the search for Shannan and the implications on the families, friends, townsfolk, and police.

Kolker does not examine in depth the potential suspects or theories of the case, which may turn off some readers. However, what he does do is humanize these victims and their loved ones. This tale is so much broader than the "true crime" label. And, importantly, this case highlights so many other issues: technology (easier access to escorts and john anonymity since the rise of Craigslist, etc.), feminism (prostitutes are inherently less worthy, violence against women), family (turbulent childhoods, disconnected families) and issues that affect society as a whole (money, opportunity, drugs, sex ...).

On a less serious note, my only complaint is that there are no photos of the victims and their families. I don't mean this in a voyeuristic way, but because of the many people discussed and the structure of the book, it can be difficult remembering who is who. I had to look up photos online, which helped me solidify the cast. You can view photos as part of the New York magazine article that Kolker wrote in 2011 and expanded into this book.

Find it in the catalog!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Some New (and Cool) Non-Fiction Additions To the Collection

American Fun by John Beckman - The first line in the book jacket: "From the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Americans have defied their stodgy rules and hierarchies with pranks, dances, stunts, and wild parties, shaping the national character in profound and lasting ways." A history of our wily ways. Find it in the catalog!

The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma by Barry Werth - Werth follows the business story of  the pharmaceutical company Vertex, part of one of America's most profitable industries. Find it in the catalog!

Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half  by Beth Moncel - Begins with some kitchen basics (like stocking a pantry and becoming friends with your freezer). Includes sample menus and many vegetarian and vegan recipes. Find it in the catalog!

A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist, A Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery From World War II by Eric Jaffe - The author's grandfather, Major Daniel Jaffe, was tasked with determining the sanity, and ability to stand trial for war crimes, of a Japanese man. Includes a section of photos. Find it in the catalog!

Doctor Who: The Vault by Marcus Hearn - Attractive book of the history, including behind the scenes info and a plethora of photos. A must for Doctor Who fanatics. Find it in the catalog!

The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life by Kimberly Palmer - Thinking of starting your own side business? Check out this book. Find it in the catalog!

I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia by Su Meck - Chronicles a wife and mother's struggle to re-enter the life she doesn't remember after a traumatic brain injury. Find it in the catalog!

Seaside Quilts: Quilting & Sewing Projects for Beach-Inspired Decor by Carol C. Porter & Rebecca J. Hansen - Ah, the beach ... Anyway, I think the title explains is all really. Find it in the catalog!

Where the Locals Go: More Than 300 Places Around the World to Eat, Play, Shop, Celebrate, and Relax compiled by National Geographic - Just as the title suggests, a guide to all the happening places and things to do around the world. Includes lots of photos to entice you. Find it in the catalog!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day (and while we’re on the subject, Squirrel Awareness Month is October). To get into the spirit, here are some of my favorite squirrel books to check out from the library, whether you are looking to learn more about squirrels or want an entertaining squirrel-related read.

Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide by Richard W. Thorington
599.36 THO
Find it in the catalog!
This book is the go-to resource for all things squirrel-related. I love looking through the appendix of squirrels of the world. Can you pick out the fake squirrel name in the following list?
  • fiery squirrel
  • pale giant squirrel
  • hairy-footed flying squirrel
  • arrow flying squirrel
  • sculptor squirrel
  • shadow chipmunk
What did you guess? Well... they are all real!

Eastern Chipmunks: Secrets of Their Solitary Lives by Lawrence Wishner
599.3232 WIS
Find it in the catalog!
The author shares his findings and photographs after six years of observing a chipmunk colony near his home in Virginia. Even better, the chipmunks have awesome names like Lady Cheltenham, Fenwick, and Earwicker.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Nibbles and Me
(place a hold)
Find it in the catalog!
At the age of 14, film actress Elizabeth Taylor wrote this book about her pet chipmunk, Nibbles. Her sketches and drawings of Nibbles are also included. Originally published in 1946, Elizabeth Taylor's Nibbles and Me was re-released in 2002. A rare find and a really interesting read.

Those Darn Squirrels! (series) by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
I love these picture books. Whether you are three or 93, you will get a laugh out of this series about squirrels that eat from Old Man Fookwire's bird feeders and annoy him to no end.

Those Darn Squirrels! (book)
Find it in the catalog!
Those Darn Squirrels! (read along DVD)
Find it in the catalog!
Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door (book)
Find it in the catalog!
Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door (read along DVD)
Find it in the catalog!
Those Darn Squirrels Fly South (book)
Find it in the catalog!
Those Darn Squirrels Fly South (read along DVD)
Find it in the catalog!

Scaredy Squirrel (series) by Mélanie Watt
Cute books about a nervous, socially anxious, and very scaredy squirrel who thinks of every possible scenario that may go wrong and thoroughly prepares for each situation. Filled with whimsical details and funny lists, Mélanie Watt has created an endearing character. Maybe you relate to some of his phobias, or you root for him to overcome his nerves. Either way, readers young and old know what it's like to be afraid of something, and Scaredy always faces his fears in the end!

Scaredy Squirrel
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel at Night
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween
Find it in the catalog!
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping
Find it in the catalog!

We have many picture books with squirrels in our children's department; here are a couple more of my absolute favorites:

Mario Makes a Move by Jill McElmurry
Find it in the catalog!
A fun story, Mario desires to have his own unique dance move.
Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman
Find it in the catalog!
Beautiful scratchboard art illustrations.

As you can probably tell, I am quite the squirrel fan. I pretty much consider every day to be Squirrel Appreciation Day; nothing makes me happier than to watch a squirrel darting around the grass or performing gymnastic acrobatics in a tree. One thing I have found from being an adamant squirrel admirer is that friends and family tend to share any squirrel or chipmunk related stories, observances, or photos with me. Sometimes I feel like a curator of squirrel memories and history. Do you have any squirrel stories to share? Write them in the comments!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Recommended Read: Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese

Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes and Pairings 
by Tenaya Darlington.
Find it in the catalog!

As someone who spends far too much time and money hanging out at the cheese counter, I consider myself a cheese enthusiast, if not a cheese nerd.  So naturally when I saw this book on some best books of the year lists, I had to check it out.  And I was truly surprised by how much I learned about cheese from this title!  I discovered new brands and styles of cheese, like the American-made Haribson ( described as "A sexy librarian's cheese-all horn rims and whispers"--naturally I had to try it!), or the Spanish raw sheep's milk cheese, La Serena (described as "A gutsy broad, slightly feral, with lots of the soul.")

The author, Tenaya Darlington, has a great sense of humor that shines throughout the book.  The cheeses are organized by the different personalities of the "hunks": "quiet types," "rockstars," "baby faces" and less attractive, "stinkers" and "mountain men".  I discovered my taste in cheese is pretty much the opposite of my taste in dates.  While "stinky" and "boozy" might describe a delicious French cheese, they aren't desirable adjectives for a boyfriend.  Darlington provides serving suggestions to go with each cheese; for instance, with one of my favorite cheeses, Rogue River Blue, she recommends: "A cheese this good doesn't need much to go with it.  Treat it like a great Roquefort... and slice up a ripe pear.  A dish of toasted walnuts is a great foil."  She also recommends beer and wine pairings to go with the hunks.

Warning:  reading this book is dangerous for your wallet and waistline.  Not only did it make me hungry, each and every time I picked up the book, I found myself tempted by even more types of cheese at the counter.  Darlington provided different cheese boards to try and even cheese tasting party ideas.  This book is must read for cheese enthusiasts of all variations, particularly those interested in getting acquainted with American and Italian artisanal cheeses.   

If you still can't get enough cheese, check out the author's blog.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some New (and Cool) Additions to the Collection

A mix of some new non-fiction additions to the collection:

The Rocket Man ,and Other Extraordinary Characters In the History of Flight by David Darling. Looks to be a quick read at 195 pages, and I love the cover ... so the book must be good, right? Includes photos.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. This book was in Amazon's top 100 books of 2013.

Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton. Account of a WWII American bomber that went missing, and the mystery surrounding the fate of the men.

American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon. Includes many photos of his artwork and personal life.

A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton. Interesting concept; photos of all kinds of maps (which one would hope, considering the title).

The outspoken actress, Shirley MacLaine, is back with another book: What If ... A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure.

Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David Henry & Joe Henry.

The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things by Kate Harding. From the online catalog summary: "From A to Z, this work covers the spectrum of defining the woman in contemporary society, and includes short bios of famous and influential women plus cultural terminology, concepts, and the gamut of interests pertaining to womanhood." It's a book that you wouldn't have to read cover-to-cover, but skip around based on your interests.