Monday, April 13, 2015

Selections from BookPage magazine

The Friends of the Peter White Public Library sponsor a subscription to BookPage magazine.  This monthly tabloid is a selection guide for readers.  Free copies are available at the PWPL each month.  BookPage editors evaluate and select for review the best books published in a variety of categories and genres.  The Library Reads List is a compilation of books nominated by library staff across the country.  These are the latest books that librarians can’t wait to share with readers.  The PWPL has nine of the ten books listed for February 2015 on the book shelves.  These new works of fiction include new authors as well as popular and time-tested writers.
            Anne Tyler has established herself as a writer who captures history.  A Spool of Blue Thread follows three generations of the Whitshanks family back and forth with overlapping stories—just like a spool of thread.  Filled with quirky but genuine characters, this book realistically recounts the lives of this family and their well-worn Baltimore home. Tyler fans will not be disappointed, and this novel may encourage those unfamiliar with Tyler’s work to read some of her previous works.
            A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott combines a historical setting and a fictional screenwriter as Julie, an aspiring screenwriter from Indiana advances from studio go-fer, assistant to Carole Lombard and finally becomes a contract writer for MGM.  Using the making of Gone with the Wind as a backdrop, this captivating story will appeal to fans of vintage Hollywood.
            The unnamed friend of 15 year-old rape survivor examines the aftermath of the crime as it influences the life of victim Lindy Simpson in My Sunshine Away.  This debut novel by M.O. Walsh ties together numerous threads in what is being called “a budding classic likely to remain in readership for many years to come.”  The novel is filled with suspense, angst, loyalty and deceit.
            Joe Abercrombie follows his novel Half a King with a sequel Half the World.  This book can be read as the second book in the series or a standalone.  Thorn, a 15 year old has been told that a woman should look for a wealthy husband rather than a warrior.  Desperate to revenge her father’s death she lives to fight and destroy those who are bent on deceiving her.
            Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon uses flashbacks and present-day narratives to tell the story of stay-at-home dad Simon Connelly as he confronts the fact that he does not know his son Jake.  Suddenly one day, Connelly receives a text that there has been a shooting at his son and daughter’s high school.  As parents are reunited with their children, Connelly’s son Jake is declared missing.  Psychological suspense surrounding a parent’s worst nightmare make this a captivating and impossible book to put down.          

Fantasy fans will enjoy A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Set in London, the link between parallel universes, the magician Kell is one of only two travelers who can move between them.  Something very sinister is disturbing the equilibrium, and Kell must unravel a plot that threatens to destroy both worlds.  Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, he will first need to stay alive.
Laurie R. King is one of the most popular mystery writers today, and her new book Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes will not disappoint.  Russell and Holmes board an ocean liner enroute to Japan.  During the journey they meet a known blackmailer and a young Japanese woman who is not all that she seems.  Dobbs and her husband Holmes must solve a mystery involving international espionage, extortion and shocking secrets or an empire will be toppled. This book contains rich atmosphere and wonderful historical research.         
The Siege Winter is a novel set during King Stephen and Empress Matilda’s tumultuous civil conflict to claim England.  The pair will do whatever it requires no matter the cost to themselves or their subjects.  The brutality of the period is realistically captured without sacrificing the complex nature of the time or the people involved in the story.
            These and many other new works of fiction are available at the Peter White Public Library.

By Pam Christensen, Library Director

Monday, April 6, 2015

New for Kids and Teens

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (Easy Picture Book)
This fun picture book is about a red (or is it?) crayon. The colorful illustrations and even more colorful personalities of the various crafting supplies that feature in the story will have kids giggling and chiming in with their own answers as to why the red crayon is having such trouble coloring things red. A great story for young artists! But it also contains a great, subtle message for parents and kids in regards to being true to yourself despite the label the world may put on you.

This book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne (Easy Picture Book)
Here is a book that is just plain all-around fun! Have you ever wondered about that little space at the spine of a book where 2 pages meet? What happens if something slips through that little space-instead of continuing on to the second page? And what if, just for example, your dog wanders into that little space? How do you get him back? Read this laugh-out-loud book to find out! Warning to parents-this one might be a repeat read demand from your kids!

At Home with…. by T. Cooke (Juvenile Non-fiction Series)
The books in this non-fiction series each feature a historical people (Aztecs, Ancient Romans, Ancient Greeks, Victorians, Vikings) in a very eye-grabbing and informational format reminiscent of the ever so popular Guinness World Records books. Each 2 page spread covers a different topic. For example, in At Home with the Aztecs these topics range from Master Chef to My Home and Make Over. Each volume contains a useful glossary and index, along with websites and books to check out for more information. This series is sure to be a hit for kids with an interest in how ancient peoples lived.

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Juvenile Fiction)
This is a touching, well-written story of normal kids with good grades, friends and family –but with one problem. They are homeless. 19 year old Gage couldn’t stand living with their guardian anymore, so when he leaves, 10 year-old Ari, wanting to honor their mother’s dying wish that they stay together, goes with him. But Gage doesn’t have an apartment or a job yet, and they find themselves couch surfing with his friends. Ari’s greatest comfort are her Paper Things-clippings from catalogs that she uses to create a perfect paper family and that gives her some semblance of control in a life quickly spinning out of control. This novel is a realistic look at what 6 weeks of homelessness looks like for kids-how the adults and friends in their lives are kept in the dark and the difficultly of find shelter, food, showers, and other basic things that most kids take for granted. A wonderful read that address a very real issue.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley (Juvenile Fiction)
This book will satisfy just about any reader. Set during the London Blitz, this historical fiction features strong characters overcoming huge odds in an attempt to find, and keep, a life and family that is worth fighting for. 9 year-old Ada has been confined to her room and mistreated her entire life by her mother because she was born a club-foot. When her little brother Jamie was getting shipped out to the country with the rest of London’s children, Ada sneaks out to join him. They are reluctantly taken in by Susan Smith-and a long journey of discovery, growth, health and acceptance begins, for Susan and the children alike. This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Teen Fiction)
From a master of dark fantasy and paranormal books comes this incredible story of a town where fae and humans co-exist with each other on the edge of a razor-thin blade. Hazel and her brother Ben have long since accepted the fae as a part of their lives, and are all too well aware of how dangerous the fae can be-and at one time, they knew how to stop them from harming humans. But not anymore, and the fae are becoming bolder and more dangerous. On the tip of this delicate balance is the boy with horns on his head who has been sleeping in a glass coffin for generations. Until the day when suddenly the coffin is broken and the boy is no longer sleeping. With his awakening come a danger unlike anything the town has faced before and soon Hazel and Ben find themselves fighting for not just their survival, but for the whole town as they struggle with love, deciding where their loyalties lie, and startling betrayals. A must read for Holly Black fans and those like their fantasy with a dark edge to it.

By Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services Librarian

Monday, March 30, 2015

Garden planning

Spring is here and it’s early, but who’s complaining? Although there is still snow on the ground and it’s a bit nippy, now is the time to start planning your gardens. Check out the following non-fiction books on the main level.
Want to go organic and biodynamic, then check out Vegetable Gardening for Organic and Biodynamic Growers by Joel Morrow. This book contains over 70 vegetables with detailed accounts of how to grow them, their nutritional and therapeutic potential. Everything is organized alphabetically, and Mr. Morrow gives new perspectives and ways to work with soil and plants. He might have some great information considering he has over 40 years of experience with plants.

Now on to fruit, like blueberries (one of my favorites), peaches, apples and pears for starters. Lee Reich has a new hands-on guide to homegrown fruit, entitled, Grow Fruit Naturally. He is also the author of The Pruning Book. His books contain many tips on harvesting your fruit, how to store it, and how to deal with all the many pests and diseases that you will need to control.

You know that space of weeds, dirt and something that resembles grass between the sidewalk and the curb? It’s waiting for something exciting to happen, really it is. Evelyn J. Hadden’s (award-winning author of four gardening books) Hellstrip Gardening can help you create that hell strip into something that will throw your neighbors into the “keep up with the Joneses” mode. This book is loaded with beautiful color photographs. Also, don’t stop with that lonely little strip out front when you can transform that patch next to the steps, beside the driveway or that bald spot in the back yard.

If you enjoy flipping through recipes to find new things to entice your spouse or family with, then how about taking a look at The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman? This book contains about 100 living arrangements for any home in any season, even winter. Each plant recipe has a list of ingredients that will teach you step-by-step about how to lace each plant, which kinds of containers you can use and so much more. Treat yourself and bring some of the outdoors inside.

Many of us understand the importance of growing native plants in our gardens to help sustain wildlife but are unsure about how to make a garden that is friendly to both wildlife and humans. If that’s the case, then The Living Landscape, Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy might be the book to check out. This book is overflowing with information about a variety of techniques. They refer a lot to “layers” and how to use and incorporate the various layers found all around you to achieve your goal to design a much more eco-friendly garden/area.

If you like using fresh herbs in the food you eat or just like to enjoy the variety of fragrances that herbs provide, then the book, Your Backyard Herb Garden, by Miranda Smith will help you do just that. It has information about how to grow over 50 herbs and she also has pages of information on how to cook them use them in crafts and much more. She shows you how to grow your favorite herbs using safe, natural and all organic methods. This book has great pictures and is very easy to understand and follow.

Not ready to venture outside just yet? Here’s a book just for you, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, by Carol Wall. Get your warm throw and a cup of something hot and cozy up to this wonderful true story of an unlikely teacher and a doubting student, who work together on a neglected patch of ground and bring it back to life. I think my garden needs this book. This book will be very uplifting and make you stop looking outside at the remaining snow and cold, well at least for a few days.

 --Nicki Malave, Network Administrator

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Celebrate Women's History Month

In 1987, the National Women’s History Project helped Congress to pass Pub. L. 100-9 to designate the entire month of March as “Women’s History Month.”  Today, I share with you some great female characters and authors you can check out at PWPL.

Captain Marvel
By Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios
YA Graphic Novels
 Carol Danvers starts her career off in the U.S. Air Force, but after her DNA is infused with Kree genes, she is given super powers. She made her debut as Ms. Marvel in 1977. In 2012, Danvers donned a new costume and became Captain Marvel, the cosmic avenger.  As Danvers comes to grips with her enhanced powers, she explores what comes with the long history of Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing is top notch she truly understands the military aspects of Captain Marvel’s character.

The Galaxy Game
By Karen Lord
Sci-Fi Collection
Karen Lord is a phenomenal science fiction writer from the United Kingdom. Her work has been nominated for several major awards including the World Fantasy Award, John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and others. Often compared to Ursula K. Le Guin and China Mieville, if you like space fantasy, you’ll love The Galaxy Game. Rafi, a teenager with psionic powers, attend Lyceum, a school for teens like him. At Lyceum, he meets two friends, Serendipity and Ntenman. Unlike Rafi, they come from communities where psionic powers are highly valued. At the school, students are seen as assets for good or bad, waiting to pick a side. Explore this far out world in The Galaxy Game.

Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness
By Jessie Close
Adult Non-Fiction Collection
 Sister of actress Glenn Close, Jessie Close has struggled with mental health issues her entire life. A childhood spent living in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire, and Los Angeles only exacerbated her mental health issues. As an adult, Close’s life is difficult to manage, her mental health issues have led to substance abuse, failed marriage, and suicidal thoughts. With short essays from Glenn, this book provides helpful insight for people who support and live with someone with mental illness.

By Rebecca Rasmussen
Adult Fiction Collection
 Rebecca Rasmussen is a true Midwestern writer, even though she now resides in California. Her first book, The Bird Sisters takes place in in Spring Green, WI and Evergreen is set in the wilderness of Minnesota. A young couple moves into a rundown, wild haven in 1938 with their small child. However, when the husband must leave to care for his sick father, the unthinkable happens. A stranger arrives at the cabin and the mother becomes pregnant. Giving the baby girl up for adoption, years later, the son wishes to reunite the family. However, his sister may be too wild to ever integrate back into her birth family. If you are looking for a family drama about love and hope, Evergreen is a great pick for you.

She-Hulk volume 1: Law and Disorder
By Charles Soule
YA Graphic Novel Collection
 She-Hulk is an amazing, underrated comic book character. Jennifer Walters is a powerful attorney, putting villains away using the law. However, after a near fatal shooting, she must receive a blood transfusion from her cousin, the Hulk, Bruce Banner. Jennifer gets all the side effect of the Hulk, minus the rage, making her an even more powerful hero for justice.  In Charles Soule’s most recent iteration of this iconic superhero, She-Hulk, former member of the Avengers and Fantastic Four, attracts a new client at her own law firm, Kristoff Vernard, son of Victor von Doom! How will She-Hulk balance her skills as a lawyer and superhero to battle von Doom? What is inside the mysterious Blue File? You’ll have to read She-Hulk to find out.

Broken Monsters
By Lauren Beukes
Adult Mystery Collection
 Lauren Beukes is a break out author from South Africa and has written both novels and comic books. Her latest novel Broken Monsters has ties to the state of Michigan. Detroit detective Gabriella Versado is investigating a criminal who creates giant paintings in abandoned Detroit warehouses. The first body is discovered, but it is a gruesome sight, a body and deer fused together. But as Detective Versado becomes more obsessed with the case, we are introduce to her daughter Layla, Jonno a former writer and a homeless man named TK. Their separate narratives eventually come together to make one complete story. Beukes is a talented horror author who also has the ability to integrate humor into her tales. If Broken Monsters sounds appealing to you, check out Zoo City and The Shining Girls.

If you’d like to learn more about Women’s History Month, see Amelia Earhart’s Flight Suit, or would like information to use in a classroom or other education setting, I urge you to visit  

--Tracy Boehm, Technical Services Librarian