Readers Guide


By Susie Stooksbury
April 17, 2015
April 10, 2015
April 3, 2015

April 17, 2015 

Unlike many scientific theories, quantum mechanics seems to have been embraced by our culture.  Popular novels, movies, TV shows, tee shirts, coffee mugs – products trying to capture the essence of the theory – some of them incorrectly.  Two professors at Stony Brook, philosopher Robert Crease and physicist Alfred Goldhaber, teach a popular course about the theory’s impact on society.  They share their own thoughts on The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty (530.120). 

The late Terry Pratchett was one of the most imaginative writers of our time.  The mastermind behind the wonderful Discworld series was, happily, quite prolific.  In fact, he produced his first marketable short story when he was 13 and he continued writing these pieces throughout his career.  That first story, “The Hades Business”, kicks off A Blink of the Screen (SS) – a collection of his fine shorter fiction, including several about Discworld. 

Once the associate of Thomas Cromwell, who was befriended and then beheaded by the capricious Henry VIII, lawyer Matthew Shardlake prefers to stay well away from the volatile Tudor court.  As Henry lies dying, though, Queen Catherine Parr asks Matthew to find a manuscript she wrote that has been stolen.  It contains her radical views on religion, and if it falls into the wrong hands the Queen could be tried for heresy.  C. J. Sansom continues his popular series featuring the wily hunchbacked Shardlake in Lamentation. 

Having spent his childhood growing up in two houses said to be haunted, British film-writer Roger Clarke has always been fascinated with ghosts.  When he was 16, he became the youngest person to join the Society of Psychical Research.  Despite the fact that he has never actually seen a ghost himself, he has written a lively history chronicling our “500 years of searching for proof” in his new book Ghosts (133.109). 

Life couldn’t be better for 9-year-old Lizzie Vogel: Mum and Dad love and take care of her, her older sister, and baby brother in an upscale neighborhood in a nice house with a housekeeper who makes lovely jam tarts.  But then Dad leaves them, relegating Lizzie and her family to a little cottage in the little town of Flatstone, where they become the new topic of gossip and her mother wallows in depression.  But Lizzie and her sister know just what to do – they will find a new husband and step-dad.  Unfortunately the men of Flatstone are a little odd.  Man at the Helm is the latest delight from Nina Stibbe. 

Although we consumers are getting better at reading the labels on the products we buy in the grocery, we may not know exactly what all those terms mean.  Patrick Di Justo, columnist for Wired, probably gives way more information than you ever wanted in This is What You Put in Your Mouth?” (664.070. In it he analyzes everything from A 1 Steak Sauce to Vita Coconut Water, with side trips to such non-consumables as Noxema and Tide Pods, to reveal “what’s inside everyday products” that many of us use.  

Other new titles:

Fiction –
     World Gone By, by Dennis Lehane;
Endangered (M), by C. J. Box;
Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, by Jennifer Chiaverini;
The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Non-fiction –
     Pogue’s Basics: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (that no one bothers to tell you) for simplifying the 
        Technology in Your Life (004.000)
, by David Pogue;
Essays After Eighty (814.000), by Donald Hall.

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April 10, 2015 

While it is well known that Japanese Americans were interned during World War II, journalist Jan Jarboe Russell reveals that German and Italian immigrants, along with their wives and American born children, were placed in detention camps and often exchanged for U. S. prisoners of war.  Her new book, The Train to Crystal City (940.531) uncomfortably focuses on “FDR’s secret prisoner exchange program and America’s only family internment camp during World War II” which was set up in Texas. 

When Thomas Keneally was nine-years-old, Japanese prisoners, who were being held in a camp in the middle of New South Wales, escaped touching off 48 hours of terror throughout Australia.  This intriguing episode forms the framework for Keneally’s latest novel.  Shame and the Captives is full of richly imagined characters – from the people who lived with the camp in their midst, the officers who ran the prison, and the Japanese POWs who keenly felt the shame of surviving battle and being captured.  


From watching Carol deftly repair antiques and jewelry at a back street shop in Paris, you would never suspect that her name is really Grace and that she was the mastermind behind an art heist that sent both her husband and her lover to jail.  Yet as she competently works on items she suspects have been stolen, Grace knows that the two men she betrayed, Riley and Alls, have been released and fears they are going to find her.  Rebecca Scherm makes her debut with her compelling portrait of an intriguing and enigmatic woman in Unbecoming.

Thanks to Indiana Jones, archaeology has seen an uptick in interest during the last few decades.  Science writer Marilyn Johnson goes to the excavation sites, laboratories, museums, and conferences to meet the dedicated men and women who seek to fill in the little details of our past lives and cultures.  She revels in the “lure of human rubble” in her enjoyable new book, Lives in Ruins (930.100). 

Life was innocent and sweet for the kids on Piney Creek Road in Baton Rouge that summer of 1989 – until 15-year-old Lindy Simpson was raped one evening on her way home.  That terrible act changed everything for the neighborhood, not only for the Simpson family but also for the 14-year-old boy who had a secret crush on Lindy.  Years later, he thoughtfully looks back on that time with the eyes of an older, wiser adult.  My Sunshine Away debuts a wonderful new voice in Southern fiction – M. O. Walsh. 

Around Hollywood in the early 80s, William Goldman’s screenplay of his charming novel The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure was viewed as impossible to produce.  Several noted directors had tried and failed.  Then Rob Reiner and his producing partner Andy Scheinman gave it a go – and the rest is Hollywood history.  Cary Elwes, who was cast as the hero Westley, takes a fond look back on a movie that was as much fun to make as it still is to watch in As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (791.437). 

Update on the Library lighting project: While the main library remains closed to the public until who knows when, the staff have been busy providing as many of our usual services as possible – Reference assistance, tax forms, photocopying, and public computer use on a limited basis.  It’s all happening in the Children’s Room.  There are some new adult books and books on CD available there as well, and staff will be happy to fetch what you need from the main library if the items are accessible. 

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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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