Seldovia Public Library

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2/20: New at the library this week

Posted by Laura Haskins - Library Director on February 20, 2010

Books:

The lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver
Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.
Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America’s hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.
Update: This book has won the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Secrets of Eden / Christopher A. Bohjalian
“There,” says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.
Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents’ murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen — who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him. But then the State’s Attorney…

Stones into schools: promoting peace with books, not bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan / Greg Mortenson
From the author of the #1 national bestseller Three Cups of Tea, the continuing story of this determined humanitarian and the schools he has established.

The value of nothing: how to reshape market society and redefine democracy / Raj Patel
Opening with Oscar Wilde’s observation that “nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced. He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place. Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world’s worth. If we don’t want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.

The shock doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism / Naomi Klein
The bestselling author of No Logo shows how the global “free market” has exploited crises and shock for three decades from Chile to Iraq (read an exerpt)

The earth sheltered solar greenhouse book: how to build an energy free year-round greenhouse / Mike Oehler
This book has it all. It takes you step by step through the construction of an inexpensive greenhouse which may be built with either newly purchased or salvaged building materials for pennies on the dollar. It explains the author’s unique Post/Shoring/Polyethylene construction methods and design techniques which Countryside Magazine called Revolutionary… innovative and ingenious…a totally different concept. It tells you how to use gravity to warm your winter plants; how to effectively capture and store the sun s heat; how to make up for poor sunlight free of cost; how to automatically vent without power; how to choose the best glazing for your project; where to find free building materials; when to use heat tubes and when not to; how to use a root cellar in tandem with the greenhouse; where to use insulation with wonderful effect (and where to absolutely avoid it); how to deal with plant pests organically; what animals should be living in your greenhouse; and hundreds of more tips.

Creepy crawlies and the scientific method: over 100 hands-on science experiments for children / Sally Stenhouse
A collection of experiments to engage the interest of youngsters, to introduce them to the scientific method and to encourage them to understand science by observing small animals in their natural surroundings. Experiments accompanied by easily copied charts and tables encourage scientific understanding as children fill them out. Illustrations.

Cat / Juliet Clutton-Brock
Be an eyewitness to the tooth-to-claw story of felines, from domesticated kittens to the real top cats — tigers! Find out how a panther is really a leopard. Discover why cats are sacred. See what makes a Manx cat special. (Age Range: 9 to 12)

Barbie: a visual guide to the ultimate fashion doll / Marie Greenwood
The ultimate dream book about the ultimate dream doll. Trace the history of Barbie from her beginning in 1959 through her meteoric rise in popularity during the “60s” to her place on the world stage as a jet-setting multicultural fashion icon. Beautifully illustrated, this book follows Barbie through five decades of changing styles. Special sections take a close look at Barbie’s friends, as well as her many accessories and how they changed to reflect the times. Specially-commissioned set designs are stunningly photographed and offer a wide variety of detailed scenes of Barbie’s fun-loving world. From the Swinging Sixties through the disco years and into the next millennium, Barbie epitomizes style and glamour.

Shoreline / Barbara Taylor
Look Closer is an innovative series of information books for young readers. Each larger-than-life photograph shows you animals and plants in greater detail than ever before. Look Closer at birds, crabs, fish, and other shoreline wildlife in their natural surroundings. Study a natterjack toad’s warty skin and the stinging fin of a weever fish. Find out why oystercatchers have chisel-shaped bills and how crabs and ragworms live together. (Age Range: 6 to 9)

Under the sea / Linsay Knight

Native Americans / Judith Simpson
Why did some Native American babies have many names? Why were buffalo so important to the Plains Indians?When did Native American boys become warriors?Why did Hopi snake priests wear feathered headdresses and dance with snakes in their mouths?The story of Native Americans is part of the Nature company Discoveries Library, a dynamic new reference series for children. Atmospheric illustrations, strong photographs and lively text engage and encourage readers to discover for themselves the world around them. (Age Range: 8 to 12)

[Note: All synopses are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted and do not constitute reviews by the Seldovia Public Library.]

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