Readers Guide


By Susie Stooksbury


April 4, 2014
March 28, 2014

March 21, 2014 
March 14, 2014 

April 4, 2014 

As science and technology evolve, what was once science fiction is becoming real.  Take neuroscience and the brain: researchers can now track telepathy and have been able to boost brain function in animals.  Physicist, author, and TV personality Michio Kaku takes us on a breathtaking ride into “the scientific quest to understand, enhance, and empower” the brain in his new book, The Future of the Mind (612.820). 

Jean Hanff Korelitz follows up her hit novel Admission, with a story centering on therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs who is gearing up for the media attention surrounding the publication of her new guide for women on relationships.  Grace’s well ordered, charmed life – a husband she adores and a delightful son in one of Manhattan’s best private schools – is turned upside down when her husband disappears from a conference and one the mother’s on her school committee is murdered.  You Should Have Known is the title. 

In 1915, Germany wanted to make sure that America would not enter the war.  Their ambassador to the U.S., Johann von Bernstoff, was tasked with secretly establishing a team of terrorists who then set about blowing up supply ships in New York’s harbor.  Capt. Tom Tunney, who led the New York Police Bomb and Neutrality Squad, cleverly thwarted the plot.  Journalist Howard Blum shows how in Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America (940.486). 

While on a seaside vacation with their parents, young Mathew Holmes and his older brother, Simon, snuck out one evening – as young boys like to do.  Simon, who had Down syndrome, died that night.  Now 19, Matthew carries the baggage of his brother’s death while trying to deal with his own bipolar disease.  With humor and rare insight, mental health nurse Nathan Filer tells Matthew’s story in Where the Moon Isn’t. 

Jane and Michael Stern have a cool job.  They ride around the country and eat – mostly at the out-of-the-way places where the locals go to get good food.  Then they spread the word – through public radio’s The Splendid Table, a variety of magazines, and in their book.  Roadfood (647.957) is now in its ninth edition – still “the coast-to-coast guide to 900 of the best barbecue joints, lobster shacks, ice cream parlors, highway diners, and much, much more”. 

Meet Harvey Kendall, a budding magician who substitute teaches while he waits for his big break into show business.  Harvey is currently under arrest for the alleged murder of a young woman he didn’t know and had never ever seen.  As the police continue to build their case around DNA evidence, Harvey decides to pour his talent for keen observation and sleight-of-hand into proving his innocence.  Don Passman begins a delightful new mystery series featuring The Amazing Harvey (M). 

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman;
Blackberry Pie Murder: a Hannah Swenson Mystery with Recipes (M), Joanne Fluke;
The Bootlegger: an Isaac Bell Adventure, by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott;
The Chase, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg;
Private L.A., by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan;
Like a Mighty Army (SF), by David Weber.

Back to top

March 28, 2014 

Eighteen years ago, NYPD detective Kat Donovan lost her fiancé Jeff Raynes when she was unable to move on with her life after her father was murdered.  Jeff walked out in frustration, and Kat has been bitter about it ever since.  But tonight as she scrolls through the online dating site her friend Stacy signed her up for, she sees Jeff’s photo among her list of possible matches.  Her personal involvement with soon turns professional, though, when Brandon Phelps fills out a missing persons report on his mother – who disappeared shortly after hooking up with someone from that same site.  Missing You is the latest suspense-filled novel by Harlan Coben. 

Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger makes his exciting fiction debut with A Burnable Book.  In 1385 there is a secret book which has accurately predicted the deaths of the English monarchs since William the Conqueror.  The current king, young Richard II, will be the last to fulfill the prophesies.  Geoffrey Chaucer and poet John Gower determine that they must find the book and destroy it before various factions start plotting an assassination.  The problem is that the book keeps falling into different hands – and possession of such a volume, one that holds threats against the king, is considered high treason. 

The news last month of the sinkhole in the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was devastating for car lovers.  While we wait for word that all eight cars involved have been pulled out and restored, photographer and Corvette expert Randy Leffingwell offers a detailed, gorgeously illustrated book that chronicles the evolution of this most popular automobile – Corvette Sixty Years (629.222). 

A psychopathic ex-soldier, a high-jacked subway train, and a blind hostage negotiator are the elements of Max Kinnings’ latest thriller Baptism.  Tommy Denning may believe he is a prophet, but he is really the unwitting tool in a diabolical plot.  He has just commandeered a subway train and is holding the passengers hostage between London’s Leicester Square and Tottenham Road stations.  Detective Chief Inspector Ed Mallory is called in to negotiate with Denning, but with only his ears, nose, and considerable experience to guide him, can he save the many people relying on him? 

If you are a new grandparent, you probably hope to play a central role in your grandchild’s life.  Four grandmothers, all with backgrounds in early childhood education, have put together the perfect handbook.  It’s The Grammie Guide (306.874) and it is full of activities and advice to help you connect with your pre-school grandchildren – no matter whether they live nearby or far away.  Jan Eby, Laurie Mobilio, Lynne Noel, and Cindy Summers are the authors. 

Although the internet has only been with us a few short decades, it’s hard to imagine life without it.  That is exactly what columnist Wayne Gladstone does, however, in his debut comic novel.  Notes from the Internet Apocalypse features a character named Gladstone who is already mourning the loss of his wife when he awakens one morning to find that the internet is not working.  Not only is it not working, it is not getting fixed.  The only person happy about the situation happens to be a former librarian – a human search engine, if you will – who goes into business answering questions for $5 a pop. 

New DVD titles:

Feature –
     Runner Runner, starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck;
Last Vegas, with Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, and Morgan Freeman;
Diana, featuring Naomi Watts;
Ender’s Game, with Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.

Television –
     The White Queen, with Juliet Aubrey.

 Back to top

March 21, 2014 

They left their families and comfortable homes during wartime to accompany their husbands to a cobbled-together town so secret their mail was censored.  While their husbands worked around the clock doing something too clandestine to talk about, they tried to create some sense of home and community.  Tarashea Nesbit’s marvelous fiction debut sounds like it could be set in early Oak Ridge – but it isn’t.  Join her as she tells about The Wives of Los Alamos. 

Novelist C. J. Box is quickly becoming a favorite of readers who like compelling characters and tricky plots.  Stone Cold (M) is the 14th in his popular Joe Pickett series.  Using his job as a game warden as a front, Joe works special cases on the side for Wyoming Governor Rulon.  His latest is a doozy.  He is to quietly find out what is going on at the secluded ranch owned by the mysterious Wolfgang Templeton – a wealthy recluse rumored to be running a murder-for-hire business. 

One of the newest diet crazes is actually as old as mankind.  The Paleo diet takes us back to the days of the hunter-gatherers with meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables topping the list of foods to turn to, while forgoing processed foods, grains, and sugar.  Paleo for Beginners: the Guide to Getting Started (641.583) gives you a solid introduction, with 150 recipes, a 30-day meal plan, a list of essential items to have in your pantry, and 10 steps for success. 

The 20th Century troubles of the Toliver and Warwick families, so richly revealed in Roses, had their beginnings in South Carolina at the time of the Civil War.  Best friends Silas Toliver and Jeremy Warwick hope to set out for a bright future in Texas.  When Silas’ funds for the journey are lost after his father’s death, his neighbor, Carson Wyndham, makes him an offer: he will bankroll Silas if he will wed Carson’s daughter Jessica, who has caused quite a stir with her abolitionist views.  The problem is that Silas is in love with someone else.  Somerset is the prequel to Leila Meacham’s popular novel. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime.  If your thoughts are turning to flowers and gardens you just might want to take a look at Larry Mellichamp’s gorgeous new book.  A professor of botany at the Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina, he also is the Director of the University’s botanical gardens – a position which makes him uniquely qualified to write on Native Plants of the Southeast: a Comprehensive Guide to the Best 460 Species for the Garden (635.097). 

The trophy wife of celebrity sexologist Charlie Byrne, Claire is completely unprepared for widowhood when he is killed in a freak accident.  Just 32-years-old, she finds herself totally on her own for the first time in her life and she is not quite sure what to do next.  Carole Radziwill draws on her own experiences in her charming debut novel, The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating. 

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     Conquest: the Chronicles of the Invaders (SF), by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard;
Snapshot, by Lis Wiehl;
Worthy Brown’s Daughter, by Phillip Margolin;
Moving Target: an Ali Reynolds Novel (M), by J. A. Jance;
Perfect, by Rachel Joyce.

Non-fiction –
     The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts (940.049), by Graham Robb.

 Back to top

March 14, 2014 

Thanks to a small group of dedicated men and women, many of Europe’s art treasures were saved from Hitler’s plans to confiscate them and, in some instances, destroy them.  This group was made up of art historians, archivists, artists, and curators – most of them middle-aged and unprepared for the dangers of war-torn Europe.  Robert Edsel tells their story in The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (940.531).  The movie based on this book was just recently released. 

Local author Amy Greene received critical acclaim for her debut novel Bloodroot in 2010.  Long Man, her second book, is set again in Appalachian East Tennessee.  It’s 1936 and flood waters from the newly built TVA dam are slowly engulfing the small farming community of Yuneetah.  Most of the residents have moved on, but Annie Clyde Dodson is determined her little girl Gracie will have their land to inherit one day.  Tensions rise with the waters as Gracie and her dog disappear during a storm.  There are few people left to help the Dodsons look for her – and one of them, a drifter named Amos – may know more about her disappearance than he is letting on. 

After a long career with the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, Robert Gates happily took over as president of Texas A & M.  He was called back to Washington by President Bush to take over as Secretary of Defense after Rumsfeld left, and he remained in that post under Barack Obama until 2011.  He has seen Washington at its best and worst.  He candidly reveals his experiences in Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (355.609). 

When his elderly dog, Fidelio, suffers a heart attack, retired professor Peter Els calls 911.  The response team includes the police who become alarmed by Els’ home biochemistry lab.  A harmless, reclusive lover of music and seeker of musical patterns in all things, Els becomes a fugitive when a suspicious Homeland Security agent comes calling.  Richard Powers, winner of the National Book Award, follows Els’ journey across the country and into his past in Orfeo. 

Never one for household chores, Rosetta Edwards was used to helping her father around their farm in New York.  When her suitor, Jeremiah Wakefield, decided to join the Union Army in 1862, Rosetta insisted they get married first.  Yet after the wedding, she was so reluctant to part from him, she cut her hair, dressed up like a man, and joined the army too.  Erin Lindsay McCabe relied on the diaries of the many women who fought in the Civil War to write her fascinating and moving novel, I Shall Be Near To You. 

One of the more popular daytime TV shows is “The Doctors”, hosted by the genial Dr. Travis Stork.  One of the health issues he and his colleagues regularly address is America’s alarming trend toward overweight leading to obesity and other serious health issues.  Stork has devised a sensible weight loss plan that will have you slimmer and feeling better about yourself and your health in no time.  It is The Doctor’s Diet (613.240) – his prescription to “lose weight and restore health”. 

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     The Pagan Lord, by Bernard Cornwell;
Robert B. Parker’s Bull River, by Robert Knott;
Dark Wolf, by Christine Feehan;
Private L. A., by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan;
Concealed in Death (M), by J. D. Robb.

Non-fiction –
     Navigate: How the Bible can Help You in Every Aspect of Your Life (220.070), by Norman Vincent Peale.

 Back to top