Monday, December 26, 2011

What We're Reading: Tracy

How Santa Really Works, by Alan Snow.

Curious children have always wondered how Santa really works. How does he get down those chimneys? How does he fit so many presents into his sleigh? How does he know if you've been bad or good? Alan Snow delivers these answers and more in this clever picture book, filled with highly detailed, comic style illustrations. A fun read (and look) for anyone who has ever had questions about Santa.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What We're Reading: Edward

Medusa Amulet: a novel

by Robert Masello

David Franco is a researcher at the Newberry Library in Chicago. After giving a presentation at the Library, he is approached by a wealthy woman. She shows him a precious manuscript that gives a clue on how to find a precious object. His reward for finding the object is a million dollars plus expenses. The money would help to pay the bills for his sister's cancer treatment. David flies to Florence to begin his search. At a library in Florence he meets another researcher. She helps him find and follow more clues to the object. It is a mirror that was crafted by Benvenuto Cellini using the dark arts. When it is used properly it can give the gift of eternal life. But David is not the only one searching for the mirror. Has the mirror granted eternal life to someone? Was it Benvenuto, his muse, or someone else? David's sister takes a turn to the worse. Will he be able to find the mirror and save her life?

What We're Reading: Tracy

Snowmen at Christmas, by Caralyn Buehner.

In this sequel to the bestseller Snowmen at Night, it's Christmas Eve and everyone is asleep in their beds. Everyone, that is, but the snowmen. The snow families slip quietly away from their yards to gather in the town square for their own Christmas party, complete with a visit from the snowman Santa Claus. Children will enjoy this further peek into the snowmen's magical world, brought to life with rich, colorful illustrations that seem to glow with warm light.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What We're Listening To: Abby

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. Unabridged, Random House Audio, 2011, 3 hrs 55 mins. Read by Samantha Quan & Carrington MacDuffie.

This is a very unique novel. It is the story of a group of young Japanese women beginning their voyage to America to find their new husbands. They have already been promised and have the photos of their husbands but now the reality of their experience is palpable. How these new husbands treat them, how hard they have to work, the struggles of having children, and all of the many challenges and hurdles are described. The voice in this book is both singular and plural. It talks of all of them and at the same time describes individuals. It is beautifully written and haunting throughout the book but especially with the last chapter when these women and their families are rounded up and taken to internment camps where they remain until the war is over. What it really means is that all of the hard work, everything they have accomplished over many years, has to be left behind. In fact all evidence of them disappears and they are forgotten by the people who remained behind. It is quite striking and heartwrenching.

What We're Reading: Edward

Joy for Beginners: a novel

by Erica Bauermeister

"All serious daring starts within"

Eudora Welty

Kate is recovering from her battle with cancer. Six of her friends gather to help her celebrate her remission. Kate tells them that she plans to go white-water rafting, to conquer her greatest fear. She wants them to conquer their greatest fear. So Kate gives them each an task to master. Kate does go white-water rafting with her daughter. They form a closer bond during the trip. Kate's friends do their part and come to a fuller realization of who they are and what they can become.

Take the time to read Bauermeister's previous book, The School of Essential Ingredients.

What We're Reading: Tracy

O Christmas Tree: Its History and Holiday Traditions, by Jacqueline Farmer.

This accessible children's book explores the historical roots of the modern Christmas tree, from the palm and evergreen branches of ancient winter solstice celebrations to the shiny aluminum trees of the 1960s American holiday. Curious readers will also learn about the workings of Christmas tree farms; different types of trees (Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine, and Colorado Blue Spruce); and fun facts and trivia.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What We're Reading: Edward

Gourmet Game Night: bite-sized, mess-free eating for board-game parties, bridge clubs, poker nights, book groups, and more

by Cynthia Nims

Since the days of the Earl of Sandwich, everyone who has entertained at home has search for an easy way to keep their game pieces clean. In the present economy, more people are staying home for game nights. Gourmet Game Night will give you many great food ideas to satisfy hungry gamers. This cookbook is divided into sections for Dips and Spreads, Skewers and Picks, All-Edibles, Sandwiches, Pastries, Small Dishes, and Drinks. From updated classics to new ideas, you will find something to feed your gamers this winter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What We're Reading: Tracy

Christmas with the Mousekins: A Story with Crafts, Recipes, Poems and More!, by Maggie Smith.

The Mousekin family is busy getting ready for Christmas. They're decorating the tree, making paper snowflakes, writing to Santa, baking cookies, and crafting presents for each other. After reading the cozy story, your family can get ready for Christmas right along with the Mousekins, as the book includes holiday recipes and craft instructions for making a variety of decorations and gifts.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What We're Reading: Laurie

Life by Keith Richards

Keith Richards is an inventive guitarist with a deep passion for music, guitar, songwriting and performing. Richards is a riff master. His love of music is evident throughout this book. The way he describes how he spent hours studying songs by his favorite blues musicians and learning to play guitar is very inspiring. The fame that goes along with being a legendary rock star certainly took its toll on Richards as he became addicted to drugs and excess, but he never gave up on the music, which is probably what saved his life. Keith is a raconteur, but is very open about his turbulent personal life, especially during the '70s, and about his strained relationships within the Rolling Stones. Upon finishing the book, one will definitely come away with a clear picture of this rock icon.
This biography can be found in the adult biography section of the library B Richards.