Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What We're Listening To: Cathy

If on a Winter's Night by Sting.

I thought this album was beautiful. It has an ancient feel although not all the songs are old - Sting wrote two of them. You truly get a feel for the silence and stillness of winter. I liked it so much, I went out and bought my own copy.

What We're Reading: Mary

The Woman Who Fell From The Sky
by Barbara Riefe

This is an interesting historical fiction novel, which takes place in North America, during the French and Indian wars.
The heroine, Margaret Addison Lacroix, is an English gentlewoman, who has been married by proxy, to a French Army officer. En route to join him in Quebec where he is stationed, Margaret is shipwrecked, and the stranded vessel is attacked by Mohawk Indians. By fleeing the ship, she is the only one to survive, and is rescued by a group of friendly Oneidas. Most of the group believes that she is Ataentsic, the legendry goddess who fell from the sky. Even though the brave and stoic leader of the group, Two Eagles, is skeptical, he feels that she needs help, and agrees to escort her up to Quebec. Through many adventures, and some separations, Margaret and Two Eagles slowly fall in love. It is with much relief that when they finally reach Quebec, they find that Margaret’s alleged husband did not really perform the reciprocal marriage by proxy. It is also a relief to the reader, since during the whole book Lacroix has been shown as the cruel, cheating and dishonest person he really is. In contrast, Two Eagles has been stoic, loyal, and very protective towards Margaret.
A great deal of actual historical detail is woven into this book. There are also ongoing comparisons of, the more base aspects of, Indian and European cultures. Overall, it’s a good read, with short, action packed chapters, and characters that are consistently developed.

What We're Reading Now: Cathy

The Coral Thief by Rebecaa Stott.

Daniel Connor, a medical student, arrives in Paris just after Napoleon has been captured and sent to St. Helena. He is planning on studying anatomy with the great Dr. Cuvier at the Jardin des Plantes but his letters of introduction and gifts of rare fossils for the Doctor, are stolen by a mysterious woman on the coach to Paris. He finds her but then falls in love and gets mixed up with her on the wrong side of the law. Discussions on the mutability of species and the origins of the world are constantly discussed by the medical students, the naturalists, the anatomists, and even the thieves. Daniel finds the "heretical" ideas of these French philosophers disturbing but also intriguing. It's an interesting portrayal of a time and place that are usually skipped over because everything - government, property, science, identities - were in flux.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What We're Reading: Edward

Home for Christmas
by Andrew M. Greeley
It has been my experience that readers really like or dislike the novels of Father Greeley. This short novel will not change any one's mind. Father Greeley gives us a story of two people, who have been in love since they met in the second grade. But a high school tragedy separates them. Pete Pat Kane has a near death experience during his third tour of duty in Iraq. He is sent back to Chicago and reunited with Mariana Pia Pelligrino. Love conquers all. Does God have something special in mind for them?
A quick read at 191 pages.
Will there be a sequel next year?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What We're Reading: Tracy

The Secret History of Mermaids
, by Ari Berk, and Fairypedia, by Shannon Beatty.

Youth Services has two new titles that will appeal to our many mermaid and fairy aficionados. Beautifully designed to resemble ancient journals or scientific notebooks in the style of Dragonology and its successors, they are full of inviting details to explore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What We're Reading: Tracy

Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation, by Gregory Maguire.

Gregory Maguire is famed for writing the bestselling novels Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked. His work as an art lecturer and critic is less well known, but it is this expertise he brings to his examination of Maurice Sendak's creative output. In Making Mischief, Maguire uncovers some of Sendak's influences, including William Blake, Walt Disney, and Max und Moritz. He also explores Sendak's recurring themes and motifs, such as monsters, imagination, and creativity.

Recommended for Sendak fans who want to learn more about their beloved author and illustrator.

What We're Watching: Edward

Dexter: the complete third season

Back in 2004, I tried to read the first Dexter novel. But for some reason I could not finish it. So I was intrigued to hear that it was becoming a Showtime series. Watching some of the show in reruns did not prepare me for the salty language of Debra Morgan and the other characters. It is enlightening to watch the characters develop as the series continues.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What We're Reading: Edward

Silent Spirit (A Wind River Reservation Mystery)
by Margaret Coel

Father John has just returned from a six month stay in Rome. Driving through a snowstorm, he sees a hitchhiker. Father John takes Kiki Wallowingbull to breakfast and then to the highway to hitch to Hollywood. Kiki is on a quest to prove to his grandfather that he has changed, by finding out what happened to his great-grandfather, Charlie. Back in 1923 a group from the reservation worked on the great silent western, Covered Wagon.Charlie worked on the movie, but returned to the reservation to marry. Charlie went back to Hollywood for the premiere of the movie. But then he never came back to his family. Kiki returns to the reservation, after talking to several of the children, whose parents worked on the movie. Soon after his return, Kiki is found frozen to death. Father John investigates Kiki's death for his grandparents. Was the death the result of drug deal gone wrong? Or had Kiki solved the murder of his great-grandfather?

Read the whole series:

1995 Eagle Catcher
1996 Ghost Walker
1997 Dream Stalker
1998 Story Teller
1999 Lost Bird
2000 Spirit Woman
2001 Thunder Keeper
2002 Shadow Dancer
2003 Killing Raven
2004 Wife of Moon
2005 Eye of the Wolf
2006 Drowning Man
2007 Girl with the Braided Hair
2009 Silent Spirit

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Calling all Pokemon fans!

Moms and dads: Pokemon Time on Monday, Nov. 16 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. is just for your little Pokemon fans! Have kids bring their cards, games and other paraphernalia to show, tell, and trade. This is a time for them to meet other fans, play games, and talk about all things Pokemon. Snacks will be provided, and parents and caregivers are welcome. Call (586) 446-2644 for more information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What We're Watching: Rita

The Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

It’s hard to believe that this classic film is 75 years old. Of course, the fashions and the automobiles give away the film’s age, but the characters are just as charming as they were when they were introduced in 1934 and the dialogue sparkles as brightly as ever. The characters are, of course, Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a retired detective trying to lead a conventional life but when his move back to New York with wife Nora and their dog Asta (a sleuth in his own right) reunites him with his old acquaintances, he’s quickly drawn back into the world of investigation. Nick and Nora obviously adore each other, but that doesn’t stop their verbal jousting in repartee that is loaded with memorable lines, many of which involve Nick’s penchant for cocktails. This lovely black and white film was added to the National Film Registry in 1997 and is the first of six films in the Thin Man series. Mix yourself a classic cocktail (Martini, anyone?) and settle in for an evening with the delightful Nick and Nora; even better, check out the entire series.

The Thin Man
After the Thin Man
Another Thin Man
Shadow of the Thin Man
The Thin Man Goes Home
Song of the Thin Man

What We're Reading: Alice

Ford County: Stories by John Grisham

In his very first collection of short stories published this month John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel from 1989, A Time to Kill.

Featuring a cast of characters you'll never forget, from wheelchair-bound Inez Graney whose youngest son is on death row, to Gilbert, a brilliant stalker of the seniors he professes to love while posing as a lowly bedpan boy at the Quiet Haven Retirement Home, the stories shine with wit, wisdom and heart.

Entering short story territory can be a risky business for a novelist but Grisham's brilliant collection only serves to remind us what a great storyteller he is and has been these twenty years.

Check out John Grisham's other works such as The Pelican Brief (his third novel and my personal favorite) or The Client, The Partner, Skipping Christmas, The Appeal, or his nonfiction triumph, The Innocent Man.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What We're Reading: Edward

Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer
Do you want to recreate that drink you had at the Gramercy Tavern in New York City? Are you looking for some new drinks to impress you friends at your holiday party? Then this is the book for you!Danny Meyer's new book has recipes for the old standard drinks with a modern twist. He also gives recipes for artisanal cocktails, the newest rage. Also included are recipes for bar food. Mix Shake Stir will help you make your next party a real hit!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What We're Reading: Tracy

Wham-O Super Book: Celebrating 60 Years Inside the Fun Factory, by Tim Walsh.

This is turning out to be a year of great toy milestones: Barbie's 50th birthday arrived in March, and now it's the 60th anniversary of the Wham-O toy company, creators of such iconic American playthings as Super Balls, Frisbees, Hula Hoops, Slip n' Slide, Silly String, Hacky Sacks, and my favorite from the 1970s, the Magic Window. The Wham-O Super Book is a fitting tribute to this fun company, bursting with colorful imagery, including original advertising and graphics from scores of their best products.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What We're Reading: Edward

Doomsday Key by James Rollins
Murders at the Vatican, Princeton, and in Africa are all linked by the mutilation of the bodies with a pagan cross. Grayson Pierce, of Sigma Force, investigates the links that tie these murders together. Evil forces are poised to unleash a genetic plague upon the unsuspecting world. This plague will kill ninety percent of the world's population. Grayson and his partners, from the previous five Sigma Force thrillers, race to find the Doomsday Key. It may prove to be the only antidote to the plague.
2004 Sandstorm
2005 Map of bones
2006 Black Oder
2007 Judas Strain
2008 Last Oracle
2009 Doomsday Key

What We're Reading: Abby

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Complete and Unabridged Audiobook - 3 hours on 3 discs. Read by
Gary Sinise

Every now and then I like to reread an old classic. Since I have a long drive into work I have been "listening" to books to help pass the time. When I find a really good audiobook with a really good reader it's hard to get me out of the car!
This is just that kind of book. Gary Sinise is a fantastic reader. He captures each character and transitions into each voice seamlessly. You almost feel like you are watching the play because the images he creates are so real. The tragic story of Lenny and George in all of it's sadness and desperation is still a true classic and well worth another read.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What We're Reading: Tracy

Barbie: All Dolled Up: Celebrating 50 Years of Barbie, by Jennie D'Amato.

Barbie, the classic American doll, celebrated her 50th birthday this year. (She looks like she hasn't aged a day, doesn't she?) In honor of Barbie's big "five-oh," this fantastic book has just been released. Barbie collectors will enjoy seeing the many new photographs of the famous doll, from her 1959 Model Number 1 to her latest designer incarnation, along with all sorts of little surprises, like reproductions of a vintage Barbie booklet and fan club card. Celebrate Barbie's birthday with this great new book today, and keep on "playing Barbie!"

What We're Reading: Debbie

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

This is the second of this Pulitzer Prize winning author's works that I have read. This is the story of Griffin, a college professor and sometime LA TV writer, and his quest to repair his life by going back to capture the Cape Cod of his youth. Deeply introspective, he confronts his parents and their failed marriage, his own marriage, and the blossoming adulthood of his daughter. Even while touching on very serious topics, Russo has a sense of humor that gives a good chuckle every few pages.

I've also read Russo's The Straight Man, another story of a middle aged man in academia, and really like that too. His novel, Nobody's Fool, was made into a wonderful movie starring Paul Newman.

What We're Reading: Debbie

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Upstate New York, in a gritty, rusty, working class town, is where this tragedy unfolds. Two families are forever destroyed by the unsolved murder of a young mother. Most of the story is told by Krista, the daughter of the assumed killer (who was never charged). Then Aaron, the son of the victim, picks up the tail end of the storytelling. Great book, with just the right mix of love, violence, sex, and mystery to keep me enthralled. This author has become one of my top favorites, especially for when I find that my reading tastes have gotten too "warm and fuzzy" and I need a look at the other side. Others I've read by Oates which have the same style are: We Were the Mulvaneys, The Gravedigger's Daughter, and The Tattooed Girl.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What We're Reading: Edward

Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins
The Big Steal is a mix of Southern charm, antiques, and a mystery. Sterling Glass, from an Old Virginia family, is hired to evaluate the broken and missing pieces that are the result of a burglary at a historic Virginia manor house. Sterling's sixth sense alerts her to several strange things going on at the house turned museum. Next to valuable antiques she finds good forgeries. Sterling finds a secret room and the diary of the lady of the manor. Everyone involved is interested in telling Sterling their side of the story. Each chapter starts with an antiques question and answer that relates to the story. This is the second in a series starring Sterling, after Stealing with Style.