Meredith Baxter was no stranger to show business. Her mother, Whitney Blake, was an American television/film actress who appeared in Hazel, Perry Mason, and multiple westerns over the years. Meredith’s Pasadena, California family life was highly dysfunctional. Her mother was distant and often was secluded behind a closed bedroom door which Meredith was forbidden to enter. After divorcing Meredith’s father, Blake married Jack, a militaristic man who meted out severe punishment to Meredith and her older two brothers. He also made unwelcome sexual advances toward Meredith.
Ready Player One takes place in a stark, near future where people hide from their dark reality in the OASIS, a virtual world created by James Halliday. As the story takes off lifelong gamer and game creator Halliday has just died and left behind one last game for the ages.
Budo is six years old, but he looks like an adult. To the people who can see him, that is--he is an imaginary friend, visible only to his human imaginer Max and to other imaginary friends. Imaginary friends are born from people's, pimarily chilrden's, minds and come out looking like pretty much anything--a fully formed person like Budo, a spot on a wall, a robot, whatever. One day, they're imagined and exist, knowing what their humans think they know.
Loved this book! A BBC British comedy in print. The main character is drawn to perfection; Constance Harding is a totally clueless but well meaning, well-bred, English lady. Her home is "a comfortable five-bedroom Georgian house located on the outskirts of a pleasant village in Surrey." She defines herself as wife to Jeffrey, mother to Rupert (a 25 year old IT consultant) and Sophie (a slightly directionless adolescent); she dotes on her Eclectus parrot Darcy. This book is a year in her life, told through her blog entries.
When informed that George Gershwin had died, the novelist John O’Hara wrote, “I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.” Gershwin was only 38 at the time of his death, and had been widely seen as the future of American music.
The Kommandant's Girl is the story of what an ordinary person will do in impossible circumstances. Nineteen-year-old Emma has been married three weeks then the Nazis invade Poland. Her young husband leaves her alone to go underground with the resistance, and when she returns to her parents' home in the Jewish ghetto she is imprisoned there with the rest of the city's Jews. Late one night she is smuggled out and taken to her husband's Catholic cousin. In order to remain safe, she must assume a gentile identity, the single girl Anna.
This summer the latest and most-likely last (hopefully not!) installment of the Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen), was released. The 8 books follow Artemis’ adventures with the Fairy world: dwarves, trolls, goblins, centaurs, pixies, and more; they all live under the earth’s surface but pop up every now and then. Artemis is a young, criminal mastermind, determined to steal Fairy gold to fund the search for his missing father and to refill the family fortune’s rapidly emptying coffers.
If you listen to NPR on Friday mornings, you may be familiar with the interviews from David Isay’s StoryCorps Project. Shortly after 9/11, David Isay decided he wanted to record an oral history of America. Not just any history, mind you, he set out to capture the lives of everyday Americans --- your average John & Jane Doe, not the elite upper-crust celebrities that traditionally dominate the media. He set up a recording booth in Grand Central Station in New York City where family members and friends can record interviews with each other. It became so popular tha
I liked Meg Rosoff's There is No Dog. It's a funny, somewhat scattered, odd little story that I wasn't expecting. I think when you read the blurb on a book that tells you God is a stereotypical teen boy, you get some expectations--like seeing a preview for a Will Farrel movie. I expected much more zaniness than this story brought, and I appreciate that the humor was more understated.
Susannah Delaney‘s life is unraveling. Her son Quinn, a quiet, cerebral child is being severely bullied at school and her high-spirited, 14 year-old daughter Katie is spiraling out of control. Susannah makes the drastic decision to move her family thousands of miles away from home to an isolated island off the coast of Washington, where there is no electricity, only a one-room school and any resemblance of a store is an hour boat ride to the mainland. Life on the island is anything but easy and Susannah must also deal with Katie’s hostile attitude towards her.
You might ask…what is Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret? Read this book and find out! Here’s a clue…most of the finished product from studio recordings was performed by behind the scenes session musicians. Some of those musicians ultimately became famous in their own right. Think Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Neil Diamond, to name a few. Hartman leads us through the stories behind Phil Spector’s wall of sound, and Sonny and Cher’s rise to fame with their signature song, I Got You, Babe.
I frequently read in subject ‘clumps.’ Upon reading an interesting fact or blurb, I typically search for more books and articles in that area until my interest has run its course. In this case, what sparked my inquiry into restrictive eating disorders was, for me, a very unusual source.
Author Erik Larson details the events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, focusing on the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. I have read a lot of reviews where people had a strong preference for one story or the other, but found both equally intriguing.
I got hooked on Kristin Hannah years ago after reading Angel Falls and have been an avid fan of hers ever since. Her books tend to be warm, romantic reads and the plots usually have strong family ties. In 2010 she published the book, Winter Garden. I anticipated a nice, heart-warming story as always, but this book went far beyond her usual charm. The book chronicles the lives of sisters, Nina and Meredith. The story opens with Nina and Meredith as adult children of a warm-hearted father and a seemingly distant mother.
The question on everyone's mind these days: Which is better, Zombies or Unicorns? This unique short story collection pits the walking dead against magic glitter in a grudge match unlike any other. Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, this collection features some of the best teen authors writing today, including Libba Bray, Garth Nix, and Cassandra Clare.
The first title in a new series, this is a stitch from beginning to end! (Pun intended) The heroine, Anastasia Pollack, is the crafts editor at what she describes as a"medium classy" national women's magazine. She has just been informed her husband was not out of town at a work meeting, but gambling in Las Vegas, keeled over and died. Sounds funny so far, right? Suddenly she is a widow, with enormous debts, no assets, and a self-proclaimed communist mother in law (and devil-dog) permanently living with her. But the surprises just keep on coming!
I know, I know, we all cried when we read or saw Marley and Me. Do you really want to read another book about a man and his dog? I say yes, you do -- this one is different. By now you have figured out that I am a sucker for any animal story.
Every single one of this author's books has made me cry! Sparks continues his normal style of getting to a place in your life where either you must make a big decision, or you have one forced upon you. The consequences are never quite what you expect. He makes you examine your choice, and makes you think about how your life, or someone else's, would be if circumstances were different. If only you didn't have to choose. If only you could go back and change a choice. If only you could have it both ways. This particular story brings Amanda and Dawson together after many years.
I really liked this book! The title is absolutely perfect, and says it all. The characters and their interactions are very real; you are smack dab in the middle of this family’s life. Mom and dad are divorced, the kids live with dad, and he is engaged to a woman they barely know, much less trust. You feel their hopes, share their dreams and hurts with each disappointment. The story is told through the voice of one character at a time; each character gets their turn to talk, but they talk only to you and not each other. And that, dear reader, is the proble
Will we ever truly understand what it was like to be Jewish in World War II? Probably not, but this book adds another perspective. Just like in the fairy tale you remember, two children are abandoned in the woods and if you pay close attention there is even a trail of breadcrumbs. But it isn't because the stepmother doesn't like them. The family is running for their very lives. They must all lose their identities in order to survive. Even their names have to change. There is a cottage in the woods, a mysterious and frightening old woman, and a big oven.
Our memories are what make us who we are. Imagine waking up in the morning and having absolutely no memory of your life. Now imagine doing that every day, for years. This is the situation for Christine, who has a rare form of amnesia. Each day is a blank slate. A first novel from British author S. J. Watson, I found this to be an exciting and haunting story. There are a few terms that give it a British flavor, but it could easily take place anywhere. The main character is someone you care about from page one, as she shares her life, one day at a time.
The author was inspired to write this book when she was reading a biography of Alexander Graham Bell. This famous inventor, courted by people from around the world due to his invention of the telephone five years before, set aside all his other projects to try to create an instrument that would help heal President Garfield by locating the assassin’s bullet. Her research led her to discover the character of this “minor” President, shot four months into his tenure.
As a reader with an avid interest in history, Anne Perry provides some of the most meticulously researched series I’ve ever read. Her two most famous (and intertwining) series are the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt and William Monk mysteries. They are set in Victorian England, and move from the world of the rich and famous to the hopeless poverty and dark underworld of Dickensian London. In the first book Thomas Pitt is a gamekeeper's son turned policeman, a relatively new profession.
Le Cirque des Rêves arrives without fanfare and without invitation. Dozens of black-and-white striped tents cover a local field, but no one and nothing moves during the day. The circus is only open at night, when it becomes an extraordinary wonderland of tents, each providing a fantastic magical act, animal show or acrobats performing remarkable feats. There is no color at the circus—everything is black or white, even the flames of the bonfire. One day it will disappear as quietly as it came, only to reappear somewhere else around the globe.
Claire DeWitt is not your average private investigator. She has a brilliant mind and great detective skills but Claire also uses dreams, drugs and Détection—a detective manual written by mysterious French detective Jacques Silette—to find answers in her investigations. She has returned to New Orleans—a thing she has avoided since the murder of her mentor--to investigate the disappearance of prosecuter Vic Willing, known for his skill in winning convictions for homicides.
Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, one of three motherless sisters living in 1950s England. She takes an extreme interest in chemistry--especially poisons--and fortunately is in possession of her Uncle Tar's laboratory where she can make use of the information she discovers. In the first three books she deals with a corpse in the cucumber patch, cruel pranks by her older sisters, and gets involved in mysteries involving old murder investigations, puppet theaters, and gypsies.
Meg Langslow is a blacksmith, an amateur detective, and now the mother of four-month-old twins. She hears a noise during a night feeding and goes downstairs to find their living room crammed with animals and birds which her doctor father, zoologist grandfather and CORSICANS (animal shelter volunteers) have rescued before they meet untimely ends, as the no-kill shelter has been forced to change its policy due to financial woes in the town.
Untraceable poisons were easy to get, Tammany Hall controlled the coroner’s office while corrupt cops and politicians ruled Jazz Age New York—it had never been easier to get away with murder. This is how Pulitzer-prize winning author Deborah Blum’s fascinating story about the beginning of forensic and chemical detective work begins.
Casey, daughter of children’s book author/illustrator Jon Scieszka, and Steven met while studying abroad in Morocco during their junior year of college. They fell in love, and after their return to the US started a long-distance relationship. After graduation they decided to pursue their joint goals for nearly two years: 1) living abroad, 2) pursuing their creative interests, and 3) being together. The first six months were spent teaching English to children in Beijing. From China they toured south-east Asia including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Hadley Richardson was a Midwestern spinster when she first met Ernest Hemingway, seven years her junior. She was naïve, having been an invalid during most of her childhood and tending her mother through her long final illness. Ernest swept her into the world of flappers, jazz and speakeasies.
Soon they moved to Paris for the atmosphere, the jazz, the nightlife—and a place where Ernest could concentrate on his writing. There they became part of the “Lost Generation”—partying with famous artists and writers such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald.
They say you can't judge a book by it's cover, but I'd say sometimes they are wrong. If, for example, the cover is graced by a taxidermied mouse in full Shakespearean garb (right down to the tiny skull of Yorick), a mouse who happens to have the elegant name of "Hamlet von Schnitzel," then as far as I'm concerned you have a pretty good idea about what kind of book it's going to be. And that is a bizarre, funny, ridiculous, funny, over-the-top, funny memoir by Jenny Lawson, better known to her fans as The Bloggess.
Peter Reinhart is a major American authority and writer on bread baking. I came across American Pie several years ago while searching the Library catalog for anything else by Reinhart. Since I regularly made homemade pizza, it immediately appealed to me. A week later I purchased my own copy.
Future Science is the first installment in what editor Max Brockman hopes will be an annual collection; it consists of essays by young scientists who, for the first time, are presenting to a general reading audience the scientific hypotheses they are pursuing in their scholarly research. Nearly every essay is accessible (I skipped 2 of the 18 due to lack of interest).
Introverts are often indirectly told that their very way of being is a ‘condition’ or a ‘shell’ out of which they need to emerge. Susan Cain explores the fallacy of this and other beliefs about the introverted temperament in her fascinating book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating; many introverts are even quite sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, and coffee. Extroverts recharge their batteries by socializing, while introverts recharge by being alone.
Victoria is a young woman whose only way of connecting with others is through a language no one knows. When Victoria was 10, Elizabeth, one of her foster mothers, shared with her the near-forgotten language of flowers: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, red roses for love… thistles for hate and distrust of human beings.
In The Psychopath Test, journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson delves into the definition of insanity, eventually coming to question the methods that are currently utilized for diagnosing psychopaths –- methods which, in many cases, require nothing more than a score of 30 or more on a 20-point checklist of characteristics common to psychopaths: things like glib and superficial charm, grandiosity, manipulative behavior, and lack of remorse.
If you consider yourself an outdoorsperson or know someone who loves hunting, fishing, camping or outdoor gear, you will likely enjoy the humor of Patrick F. McManus. His life stories and musings are a mix of truth and exaggeration featuring many memorable characters, like mountain-man-old-timer Rancid Crabtree, and Crazy Eddie Muldoon: a great child-inventor who always had a new, 'good idea' of how to 'surprise' his parents. ("And guess what, Pat! You get to test the deep sea diving outfit! Don't that sound fun?!")
Explores the prevalence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, popularly known in its most extreme form as multiple personality disorder. Dr. Stout, a psychological trauma specialist, conveys how small things we interpret as distraction, spacing out, or situational fatigue are physiologically and behaviorally not different from an abused individual’s experience of dissociation or hypnotic trance.
Hobgoblins kidnap Henry Day when he is 7 years old, leaving an imposter in his place. Each Henry tries to adjust to his new life. Living in the forest with other stolen children who are also waiting to switch places, the 'real' Henry struggles to piece together fragmented memories of who he was. Meanwhile, the 'imposter' continually fears discovery and cannot forget that he is living a life that doesn’t belong to him; he eventually seeks out the truth of who he was before he too had been stolen and exiled to live in the forest as a hobgoblin (long before he stole Henry's life).
Greitens, a Rhodes Scholar and humanitarian whose work took him to Rwanda, Albania, Mexico, India, Croatia, Bolivia, and Cambodia, recounts his unexpected decision to join the Navy SEALS. “We can certainly donate money and clothing, and we can volunteer in the refugee camps. But in the end these acts of kindness are done after the fact. They are done after people have been killed, their homes burned, their lives destroyed. Yes, the clothing, the bread, the school; they are all good and they are all much appreciated.