Books & More
"Dictionaries are like watches. The worst is better than none at all and even the best cannot be expected to run quite true."
— Samuel Johnson
What we were reading on National Read a Book Day 2012
Amy, My Daughter
by Winehouse, Mitch
Written by her best friend--her father--this candid account of the life and legacy of Amy Winehouse, filled with never-before-seen photos and spanning her entire career, goes beyond her public persona, revealing the woman behind one of the greatest talents of our time.
by Cisneros, Sandra
Every year, Ceyala "Lala" Reyes' family--aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and Lala's six older brothers--packs up three cars and, in a wild ride, drive from Chicago to the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother's house in Mexico City for the summer. Struggling to find a voice above the boom of her brothers and to understand her place on this side of the border and that, Lala is a shrewd observer of family life. But when she starts telling the Awful Grandmother's life story, seeking clues to how she got to be so awful, grandmother accuses Lala of exaggerating. Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life. Like the cherished rebozo, or shawl, that has been passed down through generations of Reyes women, Caramelo is alive with the vibrations of history, family, and love.
by Hiaasen, Carl
J FICTION HIA
When the difficult star of the reality television show "Expedition Survival" disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane's family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna's gun-happy father.
A Dance with Dragons
Series Title: A Song of Ice and Fire
by Martin, George R. R.
SCIENCE FICTION MAR
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again--beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
The Empty Nest: 31 Parents Tell the Truth About Relationships, Love, and Freedom After Children Fly the Coop
by Stabiner, Karen
In this fascinating collection, journalist Karen Stabiner has assembled essays from thirty-one writers about their own experience with the empty nest. Parents whose children left home last week join those with grandchildren to explore how life changes once the offspring leave (unless, of course, they move back in again later). They represent the full range of experience -- from traditional nuclear families to single parents to gay parents to grandparents -- with humor, grace, and poignancy.
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
by Pollan, Michael
Michael Pollan, our nation's most trusted resource for food-related issues, offers this indispensible guide for anyone concerned about health and food. Simple, sensible, and easy to use, Food Rules is a set of memorable rules for eating wisely, many drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this handy, pocket-size resource is the perfect guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of the food we eat.
The Gulag Archipelago
by Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I.
The gripping epic masterpiece, Solzhenitsyn's chilling report of his arrest and interrogation, which exposed to the world the vast bureaucracy of secret police that haunted Soviet society
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
by Carter, Stephen L.
In an alternate history novel, Lincoln escapes assassination by John Wilkes Booth only to face impeachment, and Abigail Canner, a young black woman involved in his defense, helps investigate the murder of the president's counsel.
by Weiner, Jennifer
Jennifer Weiner's richest, wittiest, most true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood.
Michael at the invasion of France, 1943
by Calkhoven, Laurie
J FICTION CAL
Michael, a thirteen-year-old French-American, watches in fear as the Nazis invade Paris, and is spurred to become part of the French Resistance movement, defying Hitler, helping American aviators to safe zones, and delivering secret documents at great risk to his own safety. Includes historical notes, glossary, and timeline.
Rosemary and Bitter Oranges: Growing Up in a Tuscan Kitchen
by Chen, Patrizia
Patrizia Chen's childhood was suffused with the scent of simmering pots of cacciucco -- a local, hearty seafood stew -- and of the pittosporum blooming along the Tuscan coast. Her family's house and sumptuous garden in the Italian seaside town of Livorno are at the center of this captivating book that weaves together simple, delicious recipes with a love of home, family, nature, custom, and, above all, food.
Seraphina: A Novel
by Hartman, Rachel
YOUNG ADULT FICTION HAR
In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.
Shadow of the Wind
by Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
A book lover's novel of intrigue. Gothic biblio-conspiracy at its best!
The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
by Kean, Sam
There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.
Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath
by Steinbeck, John
John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath during an astonishing burst of activity between June and October of 1938. Throughout the time he was creating his greatest work, Steinbeck faithfully kept a journal revealing his arduous journey toward its completion.
The journal, like the novel it chronicles, tells a tale of dramatic proportions--of dogged determination and inspiration, yet also of paranoia, self-doubt, and obstacles. It records in intimate detail the conception and genesis of The Grapes of Wrath and its huge though controversial success. It is a unique and penetrating portrait of an emblematic American writer creating an essential American masterpiece.
The Worst Hard Time: the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
by Egan, Timothy
The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, going from sod homes to new framed houses to huddling in basements with the windows sealed by damp sheets in a futile effort to keep the dust out. He follows their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black blizzards, crop failure, and the deaths of loved ones. Drawing on the voices of those who stayed and survived--those who, now in their eighties and nineties, will soon carry their memories to the grave--Egan tells a story of endurance and heroism against the backdrop of the Great Depression.