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Showing posts from 2009

After You by Julie Buxbaum

Last Thursday when Lucy stopped breathing, there is no doubt that a part of me died too. The history of who I am--the accumulation of a million memories from a thirty-one-year friendship, the knowledge that at least one person in the world could see me, that at least one person in the world would always know me--has been washed empty. I picture her blood trickling between the cobblestones, and one of the most important voices in my head, certainly the most constant, goes with it.

from page 33

I spent all day Christmas reading this book. And I know I wrote in the last post that I was in dire need of a break from reading about grief and death. While that is true, this book isn't about the bleak, visceral grief felt in the wake of a loved one's death as much as it is about finding a way through the sorrow on your way back to who you were before loss came calling.

After You is the second novel by Julie Buxbaum, an American expatriate living in London. This novel is as much about…

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

Ed was at work trying to figure out "what happened," but Andrea already knew what happened. She had made a promise and then not upheld it. God had waited years and years, but he had come back for Tess.

from page 148

I had previously begun the book Goldengrove by Francine Prose; it's about a girl whose sister drowns and how the girl deals with her grief over the sister's death. However, I started it over Thanksgiving and then got distracted that weekend. Meanwhile, Hold Still by Nina LaCour came in for me, and we all know what that one's about and that I read it because the previous post reviews that novel. I then read The Castaways and in the forthcoming review you shall hear what this one's about, but in a nutshell, it is about death and grief, and therefore, I decided to take a vacation from death and grief and in short order returned Goldengrove to the library unfinished and reserved some other titles.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand is set on Nantuck…

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I took a month long break from reading books and since I wasn't reading books, I didn't have anything to write about for the blog. I was planning on getting something up after the new year. However, I read this book recently and am nearing the end of another one (which means another review!).

I turn my flashlight off and all the light that's left comes from the moon and the living room of my house. A gust of wind comes. All the leaves above and below and around me rustle. It's the sound of losing, or of starting over. I can't decide which. I turn my flashlight on. I read.

from page 184
Hold Still is Nina LaCour's debut novel. I believe she's a teacher somewhere, but I could be wrong about that. LaCour's debut is realistic and raw.

Caitlin and Ingrid are best friends. They confide in each other about everything, and they have no secrets from each other. However, it soon becomes apparent that the issues that Ingrid only hinted at were far more ser…

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Three years later, Louis had gone away to college and I married Griff. Damn fairies, I thought to myself now. I don't live in a yellow house, I've never been to the ocean, and Louis didn't love me forever. And my Calli, my dear heart, is missing. All that I touch gets damaged or lost.

from page 115

The title of Heather Gudenkauf's debut novel, The Weight of Silence, has both literal and figurative meaning in this spell binding and heart pounding story. The story is straight from every parent's worst nightmare; however, at its heart it is truly about the cost of the silence it takes to keep a secret hidden and the trauma that would silence a little girl for years.

One idyllic summer day, the Clark and Gregory families wake up early to find that their seven year old daughters, Calli Clark and Petra Gregory, are missing. As the sweltering summer day progresses and the search continues, it becomes clear that the two girls, best friends for years, have not merely wan…

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

This is the fourth novel by Maggie O'Farrell, but only the third that I've read. Copies of her debut title, After You'd Gone, are available in the county to borrow; her second title, My Lover's Lover, is available upon request from outside the county, which is how I read it. I've read her first two novels and I recommend them. O'Farrell's most recent novel is The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and it is a complex, tragic tale of the dynamics of family, love, trust and betrayal in 1930's Britain.

The novel switches off among three perspectives: Iris's point of view in present time, Esme's point of view that fluidly moves between her recollections of the past and her perception of the present, and Esme's sister Kitty's point of view that offers extremely disjointed recollections filtered through the fog of the Alzheimer's disease from which she suffers. Each perspective has a subtley distinct voice as each character narrates the story…

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs is the most recent addition to the annals of the adventures and misadventures of Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist. This is a must read for die-hard fans of the series. From the gripping, frightening, heart pounding opening lines, the tension is thick and the suspense is high.

In this installment the stakes are much higher than in previous Brennan novels. 206 Bones is not just about catching a brutal murderer of elderly women; the integrity and credibility of the Montreal medical examiner's office is also at stake as well as Brennan's own reputation, credibility, career, and eventually her life.

Brennan awakens in pitch black darkness and cold without any memory of how she got there or the past several days. She is unsure of how long she has been unconscious or how much time she has spent in captivity. Instead Brennan focuses on passing the time by working to free herself from her terrifying, dark tomb while reconstructing her memories…

Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler

"I feel apart from everything and a part of everything ... I wish this pain would go," he muttered. "But it's getting worse ... It's like walking with a shadow you can't shake off. And now this new vision. I can't make sense of it. All I know is it's..." He breathed heavily out. "It's something to do with the light. Something not many people can see. But you can see it. You think your biggest mystery's Josh. But it isn't. It's this other thing." from page 78

Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler simmers with crackling, heart pounding suspense right from the start as the story breathlessly sweeps you up and along in its momentum.

The story opens with a frightening phone call from a mysterious and strange boy who wants to die and who knows things about Dusty that only her long disappeared brother Josh would know. For this reason Dusty thinks the boy knows more about her brother's disappearance and fate than the boy adm…

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

First of all, as a person who has always been interested in names and their origins and meanings, I'd just like to say that the name Deliverance Dane is awesome. Truly awesome--and according to the author's note at the end of the book, it belonged to a real person involved in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 in Massachusetts. Deliverance Dane. I love that name.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the debut novel of Katherine Howe, a doctoral candidate in American and New England Studies. In 1991, Connie, a Harvard graduate student just beginning her doctoral dissertation research in American colonial history and culture, is coerced by her mother into cleaning up her grandmother's ancient house in Marblehead, Massachusetts. When Connie arrives, the house is in near ruins, having stood empty for about twenty years, the yard's herb and vegetable gardens are overgrown and the house lacks a phone and electricity. One evening Connie happens across an old key hidden in…

Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee

Let me tell you a girl of eleven is capable of far more than is dreamt of in most universes ... a girl of eleven is more than the sum of her age. Although it is not often stated, she is already living in her twelfth year; she has entered into the future. From pages 4-5

I told him stories are the way you look at the world. That stories are your salvation. Stories are your salvation. From page 228

There may be no one [my mother] loves more than me, but every time she looks at me she sees my sister ... Warring ghosts fight each other inside my mother's heart, and the battles have made her stern and strong. From page 229

I have a lot to say about this book, and I suppose that means it had more of an impact on me than I initially thought. When I was reading one of the last chapters I was thinking about how I was disappointed in this book... mostly because I felt that nothing really "happened" in it. Upon further reflection I've realized that this is not really true. …

Session 9

Session 9 stars Peter Mullan, David Caruso and Josh Lucas, who, let's be honest, is the whole reason I stumbled upon and watched the movie. It's too bad Lucas plays an insensitive jerk, but I guess it's good for his career not to be cast as the romantic lead/hero in every movie he's in. At the end of this movie, I thought "Whoa. Wait a minute. What just happened?" And apparently the catalyst behind what happens in this film is up to much debate and interpretation in the cyberuniverse where the ultimate consensus is that it is in the eye of the viewer as to which interpretation one believes. I will say that while I expected this movie to go in one direction --that is, the supernatural/horror path--it really went in an altogether different direction for me. One bit of advice for viewing this movie: watch closely because there little details that will clue the viewer into what is happening.

Jeff, Mike, Hank, Phil and Gordon make up the hazardous materials …

Fractured by Karin Slaughter

I have now read every Karin Slaughter book out there and must now wait for the next one. I believe I talked about Slaughter's penchant for the wicked twist in a previous blog entry; whether it's in the opening chapters or at the end, she's got a talent for them. Another thing I like about Slaughter's books is how the mystery of whodunit is revealed and resolved. She makes the resolution believable and organic--though this does not mean it was necessarily predictable by any means and is often quite the opposite. Maybe it's a testament to Slaughter's meticulous development of characters throughout the story that one never feels that the culprit appears suddenly from the mists out in left field.

Fractured opens in an affluent, Atlanta neighborhood. A wealthy teenage girl has been beaten to death and quite possibly raped during the course of her brutal murder. Before the sun sets on this murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case and a…

TripTych by Karin Slaughter

I'm a big Karin Slaughter fan. After reading Undone and the last two Slaughter books outside of the Grant county series that I hadn't read yet, it's like I'm rediscovering why I'm a Slaughter fan in the first place. Now that I've read all of her books (a review for Fractured is forthcoming), I am giddy with anticipation for the next novel coming out in 2010 and desperate for information on what it's about. I'd settle for knowing whether or not it'll feature both Dr. Sara Linton and GBI agents Will Trent and Faith Mitchell like her current release does.

I remember when TripTych first came out; I started to read it and then stopped after the first couple chapters. Something about the character of Michael Ormewood just turned me off. A couple years later after I finished reading Undone and decided I had to read Slaughter's other novels that featured Trent, I gave TripTych another try, and I am so glad I did. In a way it is different from her o…

Undone by Karin Slaughter

I started reading Karin Slaughter's Grant county series a few years ago and quickly fell in love with the characters of Dr. Sara Linton, coroner to rural Grant county and her husband, Jeffrey Tolliver, the local police chief. Slaughter says that in these novels she tells the story of Sara. While this may be true, I've noticed that for novels that are supposed to tell Sara's story, the focus of the story is often on Tolliver and his crime solving rather than Sara. The same is true for the latest (highly anticipated) installment of the series, which picks up Sara's story three years later.

Undone is the latest installment of Karin Slaughter's Grant County series that features a cross-over with the characters of Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents that were featured in a previous novel by Slaughter. I can only hope this means that we'll see more of Trent, Mitchell, and Dr. Sara Linton sharing the pages of new installments. (Th…

Knowing

The film Knowing stars Nicolas Cage and Rose Byrne. I'm not sure why I expected more from this movie than I did; I should know by now that sometimes Nicolas Cage's films don't always live up to what they should be. The film starts out as a supernatural thriller before morphing into an apocalyptic disaster story about half way through the movie. In the end there were strange parallels to the recent remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still (starring Keanu Reeves who also has one acting mode like Cage, however, Reeves' one mode annoys me far less than Cage does) that made me feel like Knowing was really a rip off of The Day The Earth Stood Still with a far more bleaker ending.

In 1959 a young girl puts a piece of paper covered with an extremely long series of numbers into her class's time capsule. Half a century later that time capsule is unearthed and unsealed and John's (Nicolas Cage) son, Caleb, receives the girl's 'vision of the future.' John, a…

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

In 1913 a four year old girl is boarded on a ship bound for Australia. When the ship reaches its Australian port, it is clear the girl has been abandoned and that no one is there to meet her. The port master and his wife take in the little girl, name her Nell and raise her as their own. On the night of Nell's twenty-first birthday her father reveals to her the family secret and her world, her identity, her family, her life and her future are irrevocably altered.

At the center of the book is the mystery of Nell's identity and life prior to boarding the ship. Eventually Nell follows the mystery all the way to England to find the answers to the questions about her parentage and of how she came to be on that ship alone in 1913. While Nell makes remarkable headway in solving the mystery in 1975, circumstances at home conspire to keep her in Australia and Nell goes to her grave without ever knowing her true origins and why she was sent on a ship to Australia. In 2005 upon her d…

Bone by Bone by Carol O'Connell

A batty old man of the cloth had once described the Hobbs boy as a joke of God's: an archangel of the warrior cast and a beacon for women with carnal intentions. An angel. Would that he had wings.

from page 1

Bone by Bone is a poetically written mystery suspense novel by Carol O'Connell who also writes the popular Kathy Mallory mysteries. Bone by Bone is a stand alone novel that focuses on a different set of characters from the Mallory series.

Twenty years ago 15 year old budding photographer Josh Hobbs walked into Coventry's woods with a green knapsack and his camera and never walked out. After an exhaustive search that turns up neither Josh nor any clues as to his fate, town life slowly moves on. He's never seen nor heard from again until his bones start showing up one by one on his father's front doorstep.

Josh's older brother Oren, a newly retired agent from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, has not set foot in his hometown for twenty years, …

Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber

I know what it means to be set loose in the world. Damaged children are all of the same tribe: I can look at any adult and recognize one instantly ... we're everywhere. Lost childhood lingers like tribal scars ... there's always some sign.


from page 59


Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber is a mystery thriller that follows two mysteries that in the end are so closely intertwined that one would not exist without the other; in fact, one mystery spawns the other and only by pursuing leads in both mysteries can either be resolved. The mysteries themselves really take a backseat to the character of the narrator, Lena, a young and expert fingerprint examiner for the crime lab in Syracuse, New York; the meat of the story focuses on the inner workings of Lena's thoughts as she struggles to come to terms with her past.
Lena was a foster child, she was raised by Pia and Henry who never tried to legally adopt her. Before she came to live with her foster parents at the age of three, she only rememb…

The Lovers by John Connolly

I tell myself that this is not an investigation. It is for others to be investigated, but not for my family and not for me. I will delve into the lives of strangers, and I will expose their secrets and their lies ... but I do not want to pick and scratch in such a way at what I have always believed of my mother and father. They are gone. Let them sleep.

But there are too many questions left unanswered, too many inconsistencies in the narrative constructed of their lives, a tale told by them ... I can no longer allow them to remain unexamined.

from page 3
So John Connolly released the latest installment of the saga that is Charlie Parker's life earlier this month and I finally got my hands on a copy, read it, and was not disappointed. This new novel is narrated by Parker and focuses on his story; Connolly's previous novel, The Reapers, focused on Louis and Angel. The Lovers returns to the questions first raised about Parker's parentage and history by the Collector in the…

The Likeness by Tana French

This much is mine, though: everything I did. Frank puts it all down to the others ... while as far as I can tell Sam thinks that, in some obscure and slightly bizarro way, it was Lexie's fault. When I say it wasn't like that, they give me careful sideways looks and change the subject ... But give me more credit than that. Someone else may have dealt the hand, but I picked it up off the table, I played every card, and I had my reasons.from page 3

The Likeness is Tana French's follow up to her novel In The Woods. The previous novel focused on Rob Ryan as narrator; the follow up is narrated by Ryan's former partner Cassie Maddox and the action commences in the months following the conclusion of the events portrayed in In The Woods. A little tidbit for French fans: her next novel will have for its narrator Frank Mackey, Maddox's old undercover boss who was introduced to us in The Likeness. And while I anxiously awaited her second novel, I'm not sure about the …

Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

In the suspense novel Blood and Ice by Robert Masello, the most thrilling and unique element is the unusual setting of Antarctica. Not many books or movies are set on that continent.

Blood and Ice tells the tale of the lovers, Eleanor and Sinclair, in mid-nineteenth century England; she is a nurse and he is a soldier who is preparing for deployment to the Crimean war front. These star crossed lovers eventually find each other again in the midst of the bloody business of war. Ultimately, a mysterious and cruel malady befalls them and as a result an even more horrifying fate awaits them. The tale of Eleanor and Sinclair alternates with the tale of freelance journalist, Michael, who is recovering from a brutal, personal tragedy of his own. Michael is offered an opportunity to spend a month at an antarctic research station and report on his experiences there. Little does he know what adventure and danger he will encounter once he arrives and how his story will intertwine with that of…

New Arrivals in AudioBooks!

The library has recently added an entire of new titles in the AudioBooks. This section is located downstairs along the wall right next to the copier.

New titles of books on CD include Bones of the Dragon by Ted Dekker, Eclipse by Richard North Patterson, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and several others! Come visit us at the library to check out these new titles.

New Arrivals in Juvenile Fiction!

The library is adding several new items to its juvenile fiction section located downstairs in the library. We are adding three titles from the American Girl series, and we also adding some graphic novels to juvenile fiction. These titles include Chrissa Stands Strong J/Fic/Cas; Bone #7: Ghost Circles J/Fic/Smi; Nancy Drew Graphic Novel #13: Doggone Town J/Fic/Pet; and The Hardy Boys Graphic Novel #14: Haley Danelle's Top Eight J/Fic/Lob.

We hope you'll check some of these new titles and others that we are adding all the time here at the Matthews Public Library!

The Life Before Her Eyes

The Life Before Her Eyes is adapted from a novel of the same title by Laura Kasischke and stars Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, and Eva Amurri.

Diana and Maureen are best friends coming of age in a small town when a fellow classmate comes to school with a gun and massacres untold numbers of students and teachers. What transpires leading up to that day, in the midst of the confrontation between the gunman and his victims, and in the aftermath of the tragedy is told from the perspective of one of the friends while she continues to deal with the effects of the tragedy during the fifteenth anniversary observance of the incident. Ultimately the viewer must question whether we are indeed witnessing one woman's long delayed emotional and mental breakdown in response to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of an extremely traumatic tragedy or are we witnessing something else entirely?

This movie is both haunting and disturbing; the cinematography captures beautiful imagery. It is al…

Can You See What I See? On A Scary Scary Night / Spot 7: Spooky

Can You See What I See? On A Scary Scary Night by Walter Wick is a fun children's book that's filled with picture puzzles. Take a journey from the bottom of the hill to the inside of the castle at the top of the hill. Search the pages for the items listed. Some items will be spotted right away while others will not be.

Spot 7: Spooky is a seek and find book. The pairs of photos in this book of picture riddles seem the same until the reader examines them closely. There are seven differences. Each page contains a riddle for you to solve. If you're up for a challenge, try to find all of the items listed in the front of the book.

Both books are sure to bring the reader hours of fun. Challenge a family member or friend to race to see who can spot the most items first!

These books are both available at the Matthews Public Library in juvenile fiction at the call number, J/793.73 with our other seek and find/picture puzzle books. Check them out the next time you visit the li…

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

... the field of wheat had closed around her like a golden blanket. [Jessica] was lying with her arms around the body of the dog and their blood had mingled and soaked into the dry earth, feeding the grain, like a sacrifice to the harvest.
from page 11
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson is actually the third book to feature British private investigator Jackson Brodie. I haven't read the other two. But Atkinson does not write or present this novel like your stereotypical series novel; it is not even your stereotypical mystery novel setup. The story is much more intricate and complicated with several threads of story unspooling simultaneously that in time are revealed to be connected. Each chapter generally shifts from one of three main characters' viewpoints until later in the book when the fourth main character's viewpoint is introduced.

Reggie is a lonely, isolated sixteen year old orphan; she works for Dr. Hunter as a mother's helper caring for Hunter&#…

Securing The City by Christopher Dickey

In the three decades [Dickey's] been reporting on guerrilla wars and terrorist conspiracies, the fanatical hatred of countless groups has focused on New York City like a compass needle quivering toward magnetic north. from page 3
Securing the City: Inside America's Best Counterterror Force--The NYPD by Christopher Dickey is the last of my nonfiction reads and I am now (happily) back to fiction. Securing the City was a riveting and interesting read. Dickey has easily accessible writing and another positive for me was the short chapters (chapter length probably plays too large a role in my enjoyment of a book... the answer lies in my reading process, but that is another post for another time).

The book chronicles the sheer luck and later the sheer diligence of the work that the police put in to prevent many terrorist plots from successfully detonating on American soil. This page turner uses true accounts of countless terrorist attacks both on American soil, specifically New Yo…

Wanted

Wanted stars Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. It is loosely adapted from the limited graphic novel series, Wanted, and a sequel to the film is apparently in the works.

The film achieves a very similar tone and structure to the graphic novel, however, the film's story greatly differs from that portrayed in the graphic novels. The film features thrilling, intense action scenes and satisfying plot twists; ultimately, I liked the story as portrayed in the film better than I liked the story as portrayed in the novel.

About a thousand years ago a group of weavers formed a secret fraternity of assassins to ensure balance in the world by following the credo "kill one, save a thousand." The weaving on the loom of fate (reminiscent of the Fates of Greek mythology) once interpreted and decoded tells the fraternity the names of those that fate wants dead. Wesley is recruited into this secretive, elite organization to exact vengeance on the rogue assassin who murder…

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

In the end, the end of a life only matters to friends, family, and other folks you used to know ... for everyone else, it's just another end. from page six of Elsewhere
In this young adult novel, fifteen year old Liz dies after being hit by a car on Earth; she awakens on a cruise ship bound for Elsewhere, and she slowly realizes that death is more of an afterlife lived in a place similar to Earth called Elsewhere. This is the story of a teen adjusting to the end of her life as she knows it and to the beginning of a new life without her friends and family. The end of the novel, though certainly not the end of Liz's story, is heartbreakingly poignant.

Zevin writes beautifully; however, this novel is definitely for the tween and young adult set. I could easily tell that this was targeted for the younger reader from the juvenile tone of some sections of the book. There are some authors who write for younger readers whose novels the older, more sophisticated reader can also appr…

New Arrivals In DVD's!

The library is adding two new documentary series on DVD to its shelves. We hope you'll check out these series the next time you visit the library.

The History Channel Presents The Decades Collection. Made up of twenty DVD's, each decade of the twentieth century is covered in this series. DVD/577 -DVD/596

The History Channel Presents 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America. This three DVD series examines such events as Albert Einstein's letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging him to develop a new weapon to the assassination of President McKinley to Shays' Rebellion to the gold rush and how they impacted the history of America and our lives as Americans today. DVD/574 - DVD/576

New Arrivals in Yound Adult Fiction!

The library has recently added new titles to the Young Adult fiction section located downstairs along the back wall of the library. We hope you'll check them out the next time you're visiting the library!

New titles

Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter

Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon

Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck

Waiting for Daybreak by Kathryn Cushman

Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson

Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates

I've never read a book by Joyce Carol Oates though I did see her speak once at the National Book Festival On The Mall a few years ago. She is a very prolific writer--she writes scripts, novels, and poems, and as a person she struck me as slightly eccentric. She was a very good speaker. Recently I was reading the news on a movie website that I frequent, and I came across an article about an upcoming independent film production that was adapting Oates' novella, Rape. Samuel L. Jackson and Maria Bello are attached to star. You can easily read this book in a day, all told, I finished it in a few hours.

You were twelve at the time. Your thirteenth birthday would arrive abruptly, too soon in August, and depart mostly unheralded. For childhood belonged to before, now you had come to live in after. from page 37
Rape: A Love Story is seen through the eyes of Bethel Maguire. It is a narrative of before and after; it is the tale of the end of childhood for Bethel, and the story of…

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--And Why by Amanda Ripley

My streak of nonfiction reads continues--and ends with The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--And Why by Amanda Ripley, a writer for Time magazine. I read a short article by Ripley in Time; it was about the survivors of the Hudson River passenger jet crash and their behavior in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The Unthinkable is a fascinating read. Ripley examines the various stages one goes through in a disaster (for example, denial, deliberation, determination...) and the different reactions people have and why (for example, paralysis, panic, action, heroics...). It also examines who responds in what way and why they respond this way in a crisis or disaster and what we can do to improve our chances of survival in the midst of a disaster such as a fire or a tsunami or a plane crash (for example, rehearse evacuation, locate all the exits in an unfamiliar place...). Ultimately this book is an examination of human behavior as it is influenced by genetics and exper…

New Arrivals in Children's Audio Books!

We are adding several new titles to the Children's Audio Book Section downstairs at the library. Some of these titles include ones by Kevin Henkes, Tomie DePaola, and Rosemary Wells as well as Giggle, Giggle, Quack; Officer Buckle and Gloria, and Harry the Dirty Dog!

Come in to the library to check out these new titles!

Generation Kill by Evan Wright and One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick

Non-fiction books aren't really my thing; generally, this is how my relationship goes with non-fiction books: I see a really interesting one, I borrow it, I start to read it, and then I ditch it a chapter or two later when the dry, boring writing and non-existent plot fail to hook me. However, this a review of two non-fiction books that I read back to back after a five year old three article series that I dug up on the internet; it was written by Evan Wright and preceded his book Generation Kill, which is basically a book version of the article series that he wrote and published in Rolling Stone Magazine.

Recently HBO adapted Generation Kill into a mini-series that ran sometime last year; I got the series on DVD and in the midst of watching it, I decided I wanted to get my hands on the book to read. In the meantime, I stumbled across One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick, the lieutenant of the platoon that Wright embedded with, and I read that book while I waited for Generation Kill …

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Child had been here. It was here no longer. The man Jack followed his nose down the stairs through the middle of the tall, thin house ... The man Jack sniffed the air. Then, without hurrying he began to walk up the hill." from page 10
This Newbery Medal winning book by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy-supernatural-mystery-coming-of-age story told in long, vignette-style chapters interspersed with black ink illustrations.

When Nobody 'Bod' Owens is just a babe his family is killed by a Man, and Bod barely escapes with his life. Serendipity finds the toddler Bod wandering out of his home while the Man is killing his parents and his sister. Bod wanders up the hill and into the graveyard near his home where the graveyard folk take him in, give him the Freedom of the Graveyard, and teach him the ways of the dead. Since Bod is too young when his parents are killed to remember his own name, his adoptive parents, the Owens, give him a new one and their last name.

Each chapter sha…

House of Wax

House of Wax is a horror movie. It stars Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Jared Padalecki, and the (in)famous Paris Hilton. I must admit that I did not expect much from the movie. Truth be told, I expected this movie to be a cheesy horror film because Paris Hilton was in it. The only reason I decided to suck it up and suffer through it was because my dear Winchester brother, Jared Padalecki of Supernatural (CW15, Thursdays at 9 p.m.--it's an awesome show!) fame, was in it and he's not been in much besides Supernatural.

Alas, I was pleasantly surprised by this little movie. It follows a group of six college age friends on a road trip and, of course, they run into car trouble. They are forced to seek help in the small town of Ambrose where appearances can be deceiving and things are not what they seem. The small group of friends has no idea what horrors await them when a serial killer who keeps unique souvenirs from his kills decides they'll make n…

The Night Villa by Carol Goodman

It's the number sequence that's clued me in: 3-4-5, the simplest representation of the Pythagorean theorem. Ely was obsessed with it. He heard it in the cawing of the grackles outside our Hyde Park bungalow and claimed the traffic lights on Guadalupe were timed to it.

from page 12, The Night Villa

The Night Villa is Carol Goodman's latest novel. This one, like its predecessor, The Sonnet Lover, begins in the U.S. before moving the action to Italy.

Dr. Sophie Chase, a classics professor at the University of Texas, is working on a book about a first century Roman slave woman named Iusta who essentially took her masters to court to sue for her freedom. Iusta's fate--both the outcome of her court case and her life--is vague as she disappears from the historical record when her village, Herculaneum, is buried by fallout from the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The eruption buried the entire town and many of its inhabitants, preserving them in volcanic ash unti…