Thursday, September 30, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Tutankhamun: the book of shadows
by Nick Drake
Tutankhamun is ready to assume the power of the Pharaoh from his regent, Ay. Supported by his wife/sister, Ankhesenamun, he prepares to battle both Ay and Horemheb, the commander of the Pharaoh's armies. Meanwhile in Thebes, a series of horrible disfiguring murders take place. Are the murders related to the power struggles at the court of the Pharaoh? Rahotep is the police investigator assigned to the murders. He knew Ankhesenamun's mother, Nefertiti. Ankhesenamun summons him to the Pharaoh's court. She persuades him to protect Tutankhamun from someone who is leaving frightening omens for the Pharaoh. Rahotep agrees to work both cases, since he believes that they are connected. Rahotep must stop the murderer and protect the Pharoah. Can he do both?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What We're Reading: Jan

Motown: The Golden Years by Bill Dahl

A visit to the Motown Museum prompted a read of this title that covers the history and personalities of the fabled music company. It highlights the major acts such as the Supremes, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder with chapters of their own. An A-Z listing covers lesser known singers, writers, producers and others that contributed to the success of Motown. The story of Berry Gordy himself is compelling. His initial investment of $800 turned into millions within years of starting the company in 1959. Insight into how he sold his ideas and the deals and sometimes disagreements that resulted from so much talent around him are fascinating. There are plenty of photos of favorite Motown stars in the book and discographies as well. It's the story of the Motown sound that so many Detroiters grew up with - and that is still loved all over the world.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Book of Spies
by Gayle Lynds
The Emperor Trajan's Column in Rome is a well know tourist spot. But few know that Trajan loved books. In fact the column was built to be in the courtyard between two libraries. Later Trajan's collection of books was moved to the Eastern Empire. It became the foundation for the Library of Gold. Later Emperors added books and had them covered with gold and jewels. With the fall of the empire the collection eventually became the property of the Russian Tsar. Now a secret cabal has the books and their secrets. One of the books, the Book of Spies, is stolen from the Library. It was smuggled out with secret information on a bank account for terrorists. Is the terror plot the work of the group or just one of the members? The cabal and the CIA both struggle to get possession of the book and its secrets. Will the secrets of the Library of Gold be revealed?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What We're Listening To: Tracy

James Kibbie's Bach Organ Works

Dr. James Kibbie has recently made his recordings of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, recorded on baroque organs in Germany, available for free download. Kibbie, Professor of Organ at the University of Michigan, spent two years in Europe performing on antique instruments suited to Bach's compositions, for which they were originally written. 270 pieces can be downloaded from the University's music site,
which comes complete with a searchable catalog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What We're Reading: Abby

Fodor's Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with so much to see and experience!
It is located in Central America with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. It's a peaceful country without a standing army.
There is great surfing on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. In the Monteverde rain forest you are on top of the continental divide and can see both coasts! Eco-tourism is very big with trips to the rain forest to see the flora and fauna which is abundant and melodic! Some of the best coffee in the world is grown on the sides of the mountains in Costa Rica.
The best time of year to visit is December - March when the rainy season is over (there are basically two seasons in Costa Rica, rainy and dry!) There are many volcanoes scattered throughout the country five of which are considered active. Many people go to the area of the Arenal volcano to soak in the thermal hot springs connected to the volcano. They are said to have therapeutic properties and ease all kinds of aches and pains. Since the topography is so varied you can be way up in the mountains in a cloud forest and a couple hours later be lounging on the beach with a pina colada! It can be cool at the higher elevations and very hot and muggy on the coasts.
The capital is San Jose which is a big, noisy city that most people only see from the airport. There isn't that much to see in the capital so most people head right out to other destinations upon arrival. There is great fishing as well as bird watching and nature trails throughout the country. Hummingbirds are everywhere and if you're lucky you might catch a peak at a toucan or the rare quetzal. Birds you would never think to see anywhere but in a zoo are flying free in Costa Rica.

What We're Reading: Cathy

The King's Mistress by Emma Campion

This is the story of the infamous Alice Perrers, mistress to King Edward III. We follow her from her roots as a merchant's daughter, a wife, and then her life at court. The king dotes on her, gives her valuable gifts of land and jewels which she sees as building security for herself after he dies (he's over 20 years older than her) and also as dowries for her daughters. Others see her as a money- and power-hungry upstart. When the king dies, she must fight for her daughters, her son, and her life. There is lots of detail about medieval life and the wonderful fabrics and jewels that they wore. Emma Campion also writes medieval mysteries under the name of Candace Robb.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

This Summer National Public Radio (NPR) asked its listeners to vote for their favorite Killer Thriller novels, fast-moving tales of suspense and adventure. Over 17,000 ballots were submitted to NPR with a total of 600 recommended novels. Then the list was voted on by 100,000 listeners to get to the final list of 100 novels. The final list contains novels as new as 61 Hours by Lee Child to classics like Dracula by Bram Stoker. On the list were 6 novels by Stephen King, 4 by Lee Child, and three each by Michael Crichton, Dennis Lehane, Dan Brown, and Steig Larson. Check out the list at, then search for Killer Thriller. I have read almost half of them. How many have YOU read?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What We're Listening To: Cathy

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Journalist Juliet Ashton is hunting for a subject for her next book when she begins a correspondence with residents of isle of Guernsey. They tell her about their life under the Nazi occupation and how their book club kept them from being arrested by the Nazis and also kept them sane. Juliet becomes very attached to these people and their island and also discovers her next book project. This novel is written as a series of letters between Juliet, the islanders, and her friends and the audio format is great. You feel she is really talking to you about her experiences. And yes, you find out what a potato peel pie is and why the society was given that name.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What We're Reading: Tracy

Fall Picture Books

Fall is almost here: the weather is turning cooler and the nights are growing longer. It's the perfect time to cozy up with a good picture book. Here are some favorites for fall:

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson.
Fletcher the fox is very worried: his favorite tree is losing its leaves. Fletcher tries to help, holding the last leaf in place, but the strong fall wind wrenches it away. What will happen to Fletcher's tree?

ooray for Fall, by Kazuo Iwamura.
A mother squirrel knits red sweaters for her three little ones. The tiny squirrels wear the sweaters out into the woods, where they discover autumn's colors all around.

By the Light
of the Harvest Moon, by Harriet Ziefert.
Pumpkin people assemble for a seasonal party under the golden light of autumn's harvest moon.