Readers Guide

 

By Susie Stooksbury

 
April 3, 2015
March 19, 2015

March 6, 2015


April 3, 2015 

Historian Thomas Fleming severely criticizes the much revered Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in his latest book, The Great Divide (973.300).  He focuses on the political and ideological differences between Jefferson and George Washington as they tried to forge a viable government after the Revolutionary War was over.  On one side of the conflict was the practical Washington, who favored a strong centralized government.  Jefferson strongly opposed this approach as he fostered his belief in man’s innate ability to govern himself wisely. 

Currently making the rounds in movie theaters is The Second Exotic Marigold Hotel, the follow-up to the charming and popular picture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  The first movie was based on a book by Deborah Moggach, who has returned with another tale set in a hotel – actually a rickety bed and breakfast in Wales.  Having inherited the rundown Myrtle House from a relative, a retired actor and unrepentant Lothario named Buffy decides to name the wreck the Heartbreak Hotel with the idea of catering to the newly divorced and other victims of unrequited love who find themselves suddenly single. 

If you have tried decluttering your home using all the tips the experts recommend and you still are surrounded by a lot of stuff, it may be time to take a new approach.  Japanese consultant Marie Kondo has found that grouping things by category, then defining the level of joy each thing brings to your life is key.  She explains her very successful technique in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (648.000). 

Like the other members of NYPD’s Night Watch, Detective Billie Graves has what is called a White in his background – a criminal who somehow managed to beat the rap.  And, like his colleagues, Billie has continued to monitor the movements of his particular perp with the hope of someday bringing him to justice.  One night, a White turns up dead – then another and another, and Billie begins to suspect that his co-workers have started taking the law into their own hands.  Novelist Richard Price takes on the pseudonym Harry Brandt to create a dynamic police thriller in The Whites. 

Probiotic has become a medical buzzword with lots of controversy surrounding these supplements as to how effective they can be.  Holistic nutritionist Michelle Schoffro Cook believes in their usage and tells you why in her new book, The Probiotic Promise (615.329).  In it, she provides you with the latest research into their effectiveness, helps you select the one that will be the best fit for your nutritional needs, and includes recipes that can help you incorporate probiotic containing foods into your diet. 

Cats and mystery novels just seem to go together well, with crime solving felines featured in popular books by Rita Mae Brown, Carol Nelson Douglas, and Shirley Rosseau Murphy.  Lynn Truss, whose usual mission is promoting correct punctuation, has now branched out into the cat-mystery genre - but with a difference.  Her creation, Roger, is a rare form of Uberkatzen who is capable of murder.  The publisher promises that you will never look at kitties the same way as before after reading Truss’ laugh-out-loud Cat Out of Hell (M). 

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     Twelve Days: a John Wells Novel, by Alex Berenson;
    
NYPD Red 3, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp;
    
The Love Letters, by Beverly Lewis;
    
The Assassin: an Isaac Bell Adventure, by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.

Non-fiction –
     God’s Bankers: a History of Money and Power at the Vatican (364.168), by Gerald Posner;
    
Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes Perfected (641.500), by Tyler Florence.

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March 19, 2015 

Twenty years ago, novelist Laurie R. King introduced the reclusive Sherlock Holmes to his clever young neighbor, Mary Russell, and created a new mystery series in the process.  In their 13th adventure together, Dreaming Spies (M), the now married Holmes and Russell take a break from detection for some out-of-character rest and relaxation.  The ocean cruise from India to Japan should be uneventful, but Holmes recognizes amateur blackmailer, the Earl of Darley, almost before the boat leaves the dock, and Russell begins to suspect that a young Japanese woman she has befriended is up to no good. 

A getaway to the Rockies turns into a nightmare for the family featured in Tim Johnston’s Descent.  Grant and Angela Courtland take their daughter Caitlin and son Sean to the mountains of Colorado for one last family vacation before Caitlin heads off to college on a track scholarship.  One morning, she sets out on her usual run and Sean decides to go with her on his bicycle.  When he crashes and breaks his leg, Caitlin goes to get help – and is never seen again. 

Will Durant spent his long life and career studying humans – our history, culture, governments, and religions.  The result was an award winning, eleven volume masterwork he wrote with his wife, Ariel, entitled The Story of Civilization.  Over the years of work and study, Durant formulated his own, more personal thoughts on humankind in a manuscript he frequently hinted at but never published.  Recently discovered by his granddaughter Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War, and God (191.000) is now in print. 

In her first novel, The Unquiet Dead (M), Ausma Zehanat Khan fashions a mystery with roots going back to 1995 and the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims.  The death of Christopher Drayton, who fell from the cliffs near Toronto, is considered a tragic suicide until Detective Esa Khattak gets a quiet tip about the dead man’s true identity.  Along with his partner, Sgt. Rachel Getty, Khattak begins the sensitive investigation into Drayton’s past only to discover that he was a lieutenant colonel in the Bosnian Serb army and was responsible for the slaughter at Srebrenica – a fact that turns Drayton’s suicide into a murder investigation. 

Like her mother and grandmother, Neva works as a midwife in Providence, Rhode Island. Now seven months pregnant, she steadfastly refuses to reveal who the father of her child is. This rankles her mother, Grace, who begins pestering Neva to tell her the truth.  Yet Neva’s grandmother, Floss, understands her motives far better than anyone knows, because she, too, never revealed the real identity of Grace’s father.  The Secrets of Midwives is another fine novel from Australian author Sally Hepworth. 

So what is a once-successful, once-happily married advertising executive supposed to do with himself after he wrecks his career and ruins his marriage?  For Brad Fingerman, the obvious solution is to tell the FBI he saw a Mafia hit so he can go into their witness protection program and get a new life.  He didn’t quite think this one through, though, because now he is expected to testify at trial about a shooting he didn’t see – if the Mafia doesn’t get him first.  Formerly Fingerman is the latest treat from Joe Nelms. 

New DVD titles:

Feature –
     Transformers: Age of Extinction – starring Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci;
    
A Walk Among the Tombstones, with Liam Neeson and Dan Stevens;
    
Lucy, featuring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman;
    
Boxtrolls, with the voices of Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning;
    
The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones

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March 6, 2015 

Growing up in the segregated South during the Forties was tough enough for a young African American boy, but for the gifted, intellectually curious Dean Johnson it was especially hard.  There were few people he could ask about the things that fascinated him nor were there very many libraries available to him.  Oak Ridger Al Chambles has turned his own experiences growing up in during segregation and pursuing his passion for chemistry and physics into a compelling novel titled Climbing the Colored Side. 

Downton Abbey has certainly started a wave of interest in the great manner houses of England as well as a fascination with the men and women who lived in them.  Lady Grantham’s backstory – an American heiress married off to a cash-strapped duke – follows the real life story of Consuelo Vanderbilt, whose marriage to the Duke of Marlborough brought a title into the Vanderbilt family and saved Blenheim Palace.  Consuelo, who died in 1964, kept a diary of her experiences, republished now as The Glitter and the Gold (929.700). 

Barbara Parker, the recently crowned Miss Blackpool, soon realizes that her ambition to become England’s Lucille Ball can only be fulfilled in London.  Through a series of very fortunate events, she ends up in the lead role in a new, groundbreaking series on the BBC and finds herself the center of an unexpected smash hit.  Nick Hornby sets his latest novel, Funny Girl, in the Sixties – a time when British culture and television entertainment were in transition. 

The internet and digital media have changed the face of music and book publishing so much that the old rules and ways of doing business no longer apply.  Creative people are in need of new skill sets and different ways of thinking about how to promote their ideas.  Cory Doctorow can help you figure it out.  He shares what he has learned as an author, activist and blogger in Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (346.048) 

Even though her specialty is investigating disloyalty to the government, Song Mei is called to the scene of an apparent suicide by a party official known only as The Wolf.  Once she sees the deceased, though, she understands why she has been called in – the young woman could be her twin.  That shocking discovery impels her to begin her own investigation into the victim’s employer Long Tan Technology, an ultra-secret electronics firm with an inordinately high suicide rate among its workers.  John Gapper takes us into China’s complex political machine in his latest thriller, Ghost Shift. 

Whether a supervisor or a co-worker, most of us are faced at some point with delivering an uncomfortable message about a job done poorly or unacceptable behavior.  Richard S. Gallagher is a corporate trainer who has worked with thousands of people on just how to effectively carry on those awkward chats for positive results.  He shows you How to Tall Anyone Anything (658.450) with his “breakthrough techniques for handling difficult conversations at work”.  His good advice works for personal relationships, too. 

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     The Cruiser: a Dan Lawson Novel, by David Poyer;
    
You Know Who Killed Me: an Amos Walker Novel (M), by Loren Estleman;
    
Golden Son: Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy, by Pierce Brown;
    
The Iris Fan: a Novel of Feudal Japan (M), by Laura Joh Rowland.

Non-fiction –
     Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations that Will Change Your Life (158.100), by Paul Williams and Tracy
        Jackson;
    
The 20/20 Diet: 20 Key Foods to Help You Succeed Where Other Diets Fail (613.250), by Dr. Phil McGraw.

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