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2/9: New at the library this week

Posted by Laura Haskins - Library Director on February 9, 2011

Movies

Six feet under (complete 5 seasons)

Books

Strategic moves / Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington is enjoying his usual dinner at Elaine’s when his boss at Woodman & Weld, the law firm where Stone is “of counsel,” walks in, sits down, and hands Stone a check for one million dollars. It seems Stone’s undercover dealings with MI6 have brought in a big new client for the firm, and they’re willing to pay Stone a huge bonus and make him a partner.
But almost as soon as he’s taken the deal, Stone gets wind of an impending scandal that might torpedo his big promotion: It may be that the lucrative new client whom he’s introduced to the firm might be a Bernie Madoff in disguise… (Stone Barrington Series #19)

The quiet world : saving Alaska’s wilderness kingdom, 1879-1960 / Douglas Brinkley
A riveting history of America’s most beautiful natural resources, The Quiet World documents the heroic fight waged by the U.S. federal government from 1879 to 1960 to save wild Alaska—Mount McKinley, the Tongass and Chugach national forests, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and the Coastal Plain of the Beaufort Sea, among other treasured landscapes—from the extraction industries. Award-winning historian Douglas Brinkley traces the wilderness movement in Alaska, from John Muir to Theodore Roosevelt to Aldo Leopold to Dwight D. Eisenhower, with narrative verve. Basing his research on extensive new archival material, Brinkley shows how a colorful band of determined environmentalists created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just before John F. Kennedy became president.

Fatal error / Judith A. Jance
Ali Reynolds begins the summer thinking her most difficult challenge will be surviving a six-week- long course as the lone forty-something female at the Arizona Police Academy—not to mention taking over the 6:00 AM shift at her family’s restaurant while her parents enjoy a long overdue Caribbean cruise. However, when Brenda Riley, a colleague from Ali’s old news broadcasting days in California, shows up in town with an alcohol problem and an unlikely story about a missing fiancé, Ali reluctantly agrees to help.
The man posing as Brenda’s fiancé is revealed to be Richard Lowensdale, a cyber-sociopath who has left a trail of broken hearts in his virtual wake. When he is viciously murdered, the women he once victimized are considered suspects. The police soon focus their investigation on Brenda, who is already known to have broken into Richard’s home and computer before vanishing without a trace. Attempting to clear her friend’s name, Ali is quickly drawn into a web of online intrigue that may lead to a real-world fatal error. (Ali Reynolds Series #6)

Caribou Island / David Vann
On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary’s old dream, they’re hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to build the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place.
But this island is not right for Irene. They are building without plans or advice, and when winter comes early, the overwhelming isolation of the prehistoric wilderness threatens their bond to the core. Caught in the emotional maelstrom is their adult daughter, Rhoda, who is wrestling with the hopes and disappointments of her own life. Devoted to her parents, she watches helplessly as they drift further apart.

Tick tock / James Patterson
Tick—a killer’s countdown begins
A rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.
Tick—Michael Bennett is on the chase
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.
Tock—your time is up
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer’s pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. (Michael Bennett Series #4)

Meeting Luciano / Anna Esaki-Smith
To Hanako Shimoda, recently divorced, Luciano Pavarotti is a god. To her daughter, Emily, this fixation on Pavarotti is a harmless fantasy, the byproduct of loneliness. Meeting Luciano is the story of what happens when Hanako acts on her fantasy and invites opera star Pavarotti to dinner in their Westchester County home.
Emily, with no real career plan, has gone back after college to work at her old summer job – waiting tables at the local Japanese steakhouse. Even worse than wearing a fake kimono and obi is that she’s living at home with her mother. At first, her mom seems pretty much her old self – still reliving her Japanese childhood; still affecting the airs of a European sophisticate; still brewing espresso, cooking Italian, and singing arias from Rigoletto while she cleans; still idolizing Luciano Pavarotti.
But when Hanako hires Alex, a handsome Greek, to renovate the kitchen, Emily begins to worry. And when Alex, who seems to be getting very cozy with her mother, spills the secret that the renovation is in preparation for a visit from Pavarotti, Emily is thrown into a wonderfully familiar quandary: how to deal with a parent who might be losing it. (read a sample chapter)

Better off : flipping the switch on technology / Eric Brende
What is the least we need to achieve the most? With this question in mind, MIT graduate Eric Brende flipped the switch on technology. He and his wife, Mary, ditched their car, electric stove, refrigerator, running water, and everything else motorized or “hooked to the grid,” and spent eighteen months living in a remote community so primitive in its technology that even the Amish consider it antiquated.
Better Off is the story of their real-life experiment to see whether our cell phones, wide-screen TVs, and SUVs have made life easier — or whether life would be preferable without them. This smart, funny, and enlightening book mingles scientific analysis with the human story to demonstrate how a world free of technological excess can shrink stress — and waistlines — and expand happiness, health, and leisure. (table of contents; read a sample chapter)

The jump-off creek / Molly Gloss
Lydia Bennett Sanderson is a hardship-honed widow homesteading in the backcountry of Oregon in 1895. Her neighbors are few: Tim and Blue are a couple of men trying to make a go of it on their small hardscrabble ranch. Evelyn Walker is a young, lonely wife rearing her children in daunting isolation. And a trio of rootless cowboys take up squatters rights in the mountains, and begins killing and baiting cattle to poison wolves for the bounty. While Lydia toils into the summer, building fence, digging ditches, repairing her sorry little homestead cabin, Tim and Blue engage in a deadly spoilers game with the wolvers. One of the rootless losers is dangerous, and Tim finds revenge a sour need. As the months pass, there is good and ill fortune, the exchange of fair-and-square favors, and, at the close, a long road back from trial and grief.

Lord John and the private matter / Diana Gabaldon
The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s Army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: the Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade in arms, who may have been a traitor.
Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society — and threatens all he holds dear. From the bawdy houses of London’s night-world to the stately drawing rooms of the nobility, and from the blood of a murdered corpse to the thundering seas ruled by the majestic fleet of the East India Company, Lord John pursues the elusive trails of a vanishing footman and a woman in green velvet, who may hold the key to everything — or nothing. (Lord John Grey Series; read an excerpt)

Behind the scenes at the museum / Kate Atkinson
Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

The Basque history of the world / Mark Kurlansky
The Basques are “a mythical people, almost an imagined people,” writes Kurlansky. His passion for the Basque people—their heroes and commoners alike—and his exuberant eye for detail shine throughout The Basque History of the World. Like Kurlansky’s celebrated book, Cod, it blends human, economic, political, literary, and culinary history into a rich and heroic tale. (read a sample chapter)

Lark and Termite / Jayne Anne Phillips
Lark and Termite is a rich, wonderfully alive novel about seventeen year old Lark and her brother, Termite, living in West Virginia in the 1950s. Their mother, Lola, is absent, while their aunt, Nonie, raises them as her own, and Termite’s father, Corporal Robert Leavitt, is caught up in the early days of the Korean War. (read an excerpt)

The god of small things / Arundhati Roy
Set in Kerala, India, in 1969, The God Of Small Things is the story of seven-year-old twins Rahel and Estha, born of a wealthy family and literally joined at the soul. Rahel and Estha are cared for by a host of compelling characters: their beautiful mother, Ammu, who has left a violent husband; their Marxist uncle, Chacko, still pining for his English wife and daughter who left him; their prickly grandaunt, Baby Kochamma, pickling in her virginity; and the volatile Veluth, a member of the Untouchable caste. When Chacko’s ex-wife, Margaret, and lovely daughter, Sophie, unexpectedly return, the household is thrown into disarray. Tragedy strikes in the form of an accident (that may not have been accidental) and a terrifying murder. (read a sample chapter)

The woman from Hamburg and other true stories / Hanna Krall
In twelve nonfiction tales, Hanna Krall reveals how the lives of World War II survivors are shaped in surprising ways by the twists and turns of historical events. A paralytic Jewish woman starts walking after her husband is suffocated by fellow Jews afraid that his coughing would reveal their hiding place to the Germans. A young American man refuses to let go of the ghost of his half brother who died in the Warsaw ghetto. He never knew the boy, yet he learns Polish to communicate with his dybbuk. A high ranking German officer conceives of a plan to kill Hitler after witnessing a mass execution of Jews in Eastern Poland. (read a sample chapter)

Girl with skirt of stars / Jennifer A. Kitchell
Lilli Chischilly’s world is one in which she is continually seeking the spiritual balance at the heart of her culture; she stands with one foot firmly planted in the world of the Dine’é, her Navajo People, and the other in the white world of the Bilagáana, where her legal skills and deep understanding of both cultures have put her in the political spotlight.
But to Lilli everything seems to be about agendas and everyone appears to want something from her. Her boss at the Navajo Nation’s Historic Preservation Department sends her down the river, literally, with the front running candidate for the presidency of the United States, a man with a less than surprising agenda of his own.
And what sort of agenda does Jerome Bah have? Lilli’s childhood best friend has recently returned to the reservation and is trying to tell her something through his haunting aerial photographs. Even the most ancient and revered Navajo healer wants something from Lilli, but just what that something might be is not yet clear.
Darker forces are at work here as well. A murdered Navajo grandfather, symbolically marked, is found in the strange landscape of the hoodoos, and someone is determined that a Mormon man named Lee will never be the American president. It is up to Lilli to find her way to the center of this labyrinth as the mighty Colorado carries a raft full of people toward the unknown and the unexpected.

Mythago wood / Robert Holdstock
The mystery of Ryhope Wood, Britain’s last fragment of primeval forest, consumed George Huxley’s entire long life. Now, after his death, his sons have taken up his work. But what they discover is numinous and perilous beyond all expectation.
For the Wood, larger inside than out, is a labyrinth full of myths come to life, “mythagos” that can change you forever. A labyrinth where love and beauty haunt your dreams. . .and may drive you insane.

Lavondyss : journey to an unknown region / Robert Holdstock
Young Tallis Keeton, Harry’s sister, grows up possessed by the magical allure of Mythago Wood. Believing that Harry is lost somewhere inside, Tallis becomes adept at mysterious rituals that allow her to witness events in the mythic past and future. Still not finding Harry, Tallis at last begins a quest to rescue her brother that leads her to Lavondyss, the place that is the source of all myths at the centre of Mythago Wood. (read a sample chapter)

The hollowing / Robert Holdstock
Simon Bradley, a highly imaginative child, brain-damaged after a bizarre attack, vanishes one day from his home. Months later a body is found on the edge of Ryhope Wood. The wood shields a heart of primeval forest wherein live phantoms and strange creatures – mythagos – those shades generated over time by our dreams and nightmares.
Alex has in fact been absorbed by the wood, drawn into its green heart – through a ‘hollowing’. There his dreams will continue to populate the wood with its mythagos. But like Alex, they too are damanged: the great heroes he conjures are wrped, incomplete and dangerous. Savage and lost, they are compelled to seek their creator. The havoc they wrek threatens those who search for Alex, including his father, Richard.
In the end, it will threaten the very existence of the wood itself and of its natural mythagos. Richard must quest repeatedly through Ryhope’s hollowings in an attempt to bring his son to safety and quiet the monsters Alex has created.

Living proof / John Harvey
Charles Resnick and his team watch as one assault turns into a series of attacks on men.

The princess of Burundi / Kjell Eriksson
Opens a week before Christmas when a Swedish town is rocked by the brutal murder of John Jonsson, a local family man. Detectives, led by a very pregnant Inspector Ann Lindell, at first suspect a chillingly well-drawn psychotic, and they may be right. But if they are not right, that leaves a cunning and vicious murderer on the loose in their town. (read an excerpt)

The Victorian book of flowers / Pamela Westland
The Victorian Book Of Flowers captures the style and spirit of the era with around 30 projects and many more inspirational decorations and ideas.

Little princes : one man’s promise to bring home the lost children of Nepal / Conor Grennan
In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.
Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.

[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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