Monday, April 28, 2014

The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller

In this exhilarating novel, Robert Olen Butler does a fantastic job blending fiction with real-life 1915 global hysteria. With WWI in full swing, American spy and war correspondent Christopher Marlowe “Kit” Cobb finds himself hot on the trail of a German-American spy named Bauer.  He follows this trail right aboard the doomed ship Lusitania. While aboard the ship, Cobb meets actress Selene Bourgani with whom he begins a romantic attachment. It becomes apparent to Cobb that the mysterious Selene has her own secrets regarding the conflict raging in Europe. Following the historic sinking of the Lusitania, Cobb becomes further entangled in the web of deceit cast by Selene as he follows her to Istanbul. Through all of the blood-soaked drama, Cobb relies on his intuition to uncover Selene’s true motives, only to discover her hidden agenda could bring down some of the great powers of the world.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Annie's Ghosts

This year's pick for the Great Michigan read, Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg, is an intriguing blend of personal, regional and world history.  The book begins when a family secret is uncovered.  Luxenberg learns, as his mother's health is failing, that she had a sister who was institutionalized; in the past his mother had always referred to herself as an only child. 

After his mother's death, the story unfolds, and he learns the sisters in fact grew up together.  The younger sister lived at home till just before her 21st birthday, and she spent the duration of his own childhood in an asylum not far from where he grew up.

The more Luxenberg learns, the more questions he has:  who was in on the secret, what steps were taken to keep the secret, and why keep the secret at all?  Finding the answers to his questions involves not just exploring his own family and those relationships but learning more about the history of the mental health system in Detroit and throughout the United States and about the immigrant experience of Jewish Americans before and after the Holocaust. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Couple of Cookbooks

There is nothing I like to read better than cookbooks, and the PWPL has received a variety of new additions to the collection.

The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey is a handy compendium of how to make fresh, tastier and healthier staples like salad dressings, stocks, sauces, butters and condiments. The instructions are easy to follow and most cooks will have the ingredients on hand. If you want to try your hand at making your own ketchup, mustards, mayonnaise, pumpkin puree, pickles and salad dressings, this is the book for you.

Local chefs Deborah Pearce and Chris Kibit have written the “go to” cookbook for whitefish lovers.  Wild Caught and Close to Home, Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish is a project completed in cooperation with the Michigan Sea Grant. Chefs and cooks from across the Great Lakes share their favorite whitefish recipes and techniques.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

A pair of picture books

As a proud grandmother of four, I have come to enjoy so many of the picture books we have here at the library. My grandchildren love the pictures and the stories and sometimes we read them what seems like one hundred times before we have to take them back. Here are two for you.

I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman was recently re-released with new illustrations.  This whimsical book is full of imagination, wonder and just plain fun. A little girl and her brother find so many fun things to do with hand-me-down clothes. The illustrations are fantastic and add to the story. What imagination old clothes can produce and what adventures and sights they can experience--who knew?

For the kids interested in dinosaurs, Julie Middleton’s book, Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?  is  very funny.  It's about a little boy who just may know more about dinosaurs than his father gives him credit for. The story has a great surprise ending and nudges parents to value listening to what their children say. The pictures and illustrations make the book come alive.

~ Nicki

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff is a gripping story of survival, bravery, and honor in the vast Artic wilderness during World War II. On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished. Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.