Monday, November 30, 2015

New fiction funded by donor

Peter White Public Library is well-known for excellence in programming and services, but the Library’s bread and butter will always be a relevant and current collection of books and other materials.  PWPL must raise over 10%--about $150,000--of the operating budget every year to help keep the collection strong. Our library is fortunate to have many donors who give specifically to build the collection.  This year, a donor gave $1,000 to supplement the adult fiction collection.  Below is a small sampling of the 61 books PWPL was able to purchase thanks to this generous person.  If you would like to join this donor and help  PWPL promote literacy and lifelong learning, please consider making a gift to the 2016 PWPL Annual Fund.  More information can be found at  Thank you to everyone who helps make PWPL the heart of the community!
A Blossom of Bright Light by Suzanne Chazin.  Detective Jimmy Vega must find a balance between the local immigrant community and his hometown's most powerful residents during a horrific murder investigation when a body is found.  The community is consumed with fear of deportation, so Vega employs the help his girlfriend to gain people's trust. However, she is acting strangely, consumed by a secret that threatens to tear them apart. 
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas.  Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities and more than a few surprises. The estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's sisters are still occupying the house  along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own. 
Crimson Shore by Douglas J. Preston.  A seemingly easy case turns out to be much more complicated than Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast ever could have anticipated. When investigating the theft of a priceless wine collection, something considerably more disturbing is found: a bricked-up niche that once held a crumbling skeleton.  This skeleton may be only a hint of an ancient transgression, kept secret all these years. He soon discovers that the sins of the past are still very much alive. 
The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson.   Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes--the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father--and shame is not something this family can afford.  When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. 
The Mare : a Novel by Mary Gaitskill.  Velveteen Vargas is eleven years old, a Fresh Air Fund kid from Brooklyn. Her host family is a couple who wonder what it will mean to "make a difference" in such a contrived situation. The story tells of their shifting relationship with Velvet over several years, as well as Velvet's encounter with the horses at the stable down the road. 
Run You Down by Julia Dahl.  Aviva Kagan was just a teenager when she left her Hasidic Jewish life in Brooklyn for a fling with a smiling college boy from Florida-and then disappeared. Twenty-three years later, the child she walked away from is a NYC tabloid reporter named Rebekah Roberts. And Rebekah isn't sure she wants her mother back in her life. 

--Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Non-fiction

The Peter White Public Library offers these new nonfiction books:

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll by Peter Guralnick.
The story of Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records and Sun Studio. Phillips had a hardscrabble upbringing, born the eighth child to tenant farmers in rural Alabama. He recognized early the wealth of talent that existed in others like him that would otherwise go untapped. Phillips presided over the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, working with such talents as Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, and Elvis Presley. Author Guralnick also wrote the acclaimed biography of Elvis Presley called Last Train to Memphis.

New Adult Nonfiction 781.66 GU

Hiking Michigan's Upper Peninsula: A Guide to the Area's Greatest Hikes (Regional Hiking Series) 2nd Edition by Eric Hansen and revised by Rebecca Pelky.
From the Falcon Guide series of outdoor guidebooks. Includes hikes suited for every ability, directional cues, difficulty ratings, color photography, GPS coordinates, and other local information to help plan a day trip or overnight stay.
New Adult Nonfiction 917.749 HA

The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food by Matthew Gavin Frank.

A culinary journey though the 50 states, highlighting the signature dish of each. While it includes recipes, it is not so much a cookbook as a cultural look into place identity and the role of food in that identity. Small spoiler: Michigan’s signature dish is not a Coney dog or cherry pie, but the humble pasty.

New Adult Nonfiction 641.5973 FR

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello

A collection of memoirs and anecdotes written entirely by Costello. Born Declan Patrick MacManus, he was raised in London and Liverpool, and music was an important part of his family life from an early age. He recounts many of his collaborations with musical greats, including his experiences as a member of The Clash. “A must for Costello fans everywhere” -- Booklist (starred review).

New Adult Nonfiction 780.92 Costello

The Unsubstantial Air: American Fliers in the First World War by Samuel Hynes

Author Hynes is a retired literature professor from Minneapolis. He also has a distinguished history both writing military history, and living it as a US Marine aviator during WWII. In writing about the pilots of the First World War, he approached the aviators as one might look at his ancestors, with the question, “what was it like to be an aviator during this period?”

New Adult Nonfiction & Book on CD 940.44 HY 

--Bruce MacDonald, Assistant Director

Monday, November 9, 2015

Historical Mysteries

In the mood for a mystery from history?  The following modern day mysteries can only be solved by uncovering secrets from the past; some as far as 40 years back and some not so old.  All books listed here are available in print and a few stories are also on the audio book shelves.  Whatever your preference, enjoy the suspense. 

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (2014) is historical fiction set in the present, but reflects back to events in the 1960’s, especially those centered on the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi and a splinter group of the Ku Klux Klan called the Double Eagles.  The stage is set for conflict, and the action begins with an aging nurse, Viola Turner, who returns home to Natchez for a peaceful death, but ends up murdered.  The main suspect is the doctor she worked for forty years ago, Tom Cage, who is less active in his advanced age, but still practicing medicine.  He has his share of secrets from the 1960’s and must enlist the help of his son, the mayor and former prosecutor, to keep from going to jail.  The action is plentiful and the suspense builds right to the end of the book.

The Bone Tree (2015) is the second book in the Penn Cage series, taking up exactly where the first story ends.  Most of the characters stay the same, except for the ones who’ve been killed off.  However, there’s no love lost between readers and the villain from the first book - a ruthless old man who built his power by torturing and killing his enemies.  The second villain is even more sinister because he’s a corrupt cop in a trusted government position, aided by other corrupt officials profiting from the drug trade in Louisiana.  This story moves beyond the Viola Turner murder case to numerous hate crimes still unsolved from the Civil Rights era.  The bone tree is mentioned in the first book, but saves its secrets for the second volume.  The third installment of the Natchez Burning series, Unwritten Laws, will be released in 2016. 

The Secret Place by Tara French (2014) features a Dublin detective, Stephen Moran, and a new partner, Antoinette Conway, who end up working the same cold case - the murder of a 16 year-old boy that took place at a reputable girls boarding school the previous year.  A new clue has turned up, so the detective duo head for the school to interview two groups of roommates who rank high on the suspicion scale.  Both groups have alpha females and a group of very loyal friends, always watching out for each other.  As with any good mystery, the prime suspect changes often, keeping everyone guessing who the killer is.  The storyline switches back and forth between the present day and one year ago, letting the murder unfold in one chapter, and coming back to the present in the next, as the detectives interview each girl in turn to sort out the truth.
Part of the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Secret Place is fifth in the series, but was easy to follow as a separate novel.  The library has the whole series.  Since the story revolves around the lives of teenagers, it would also be interesting for high school students, who may recognize some of their friends' mannerisms and speech patterns in these characters.  It seems that teens are similar whether they live in the U.S. or Ireland.  These teens are just a little scarier because of the secrets they hide.

After The Storm by Linda Castillo (2015) continues the saga of Police Chief Kate Burkholder, former member of the Amish community, who returned to her hometown of Painters Mill, Ohio because of her knowledge of local customs and ability to converse with the Amish in archaic German a.k.a. Pennsylvania Dutch.  A tornado leaves behind the usual wreckage, along with evidence of a murder involving an Amish family with secrets from the past, a trademark of the Kate Burkholder series. 

To find what drives the police chief from within, read Breaking Silence (2011) where readers learn about Kate’s own family secrets, what made her leave her Amish roots, and why she is so rattled by a series of killings in Painters Mill.  Fellow detective, John Tomasetti, is introduced in this book as he first antagonizes, and then forms a relationship with Kate that continues into future stories.  There are seven books in this series, with an eighth mystery, Among the Wicked, coming out in July, 2016. 

--Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk

Monday, November 2, 2015

A few good reads

The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (2002 reprint)
Written shortly after World War II, the novel The Egyptian was an international best seller, authored by one of Finland’s most prolific and famous writers.  Waltari interweaves exhaustive research with themes close to heart, including man’s search for a lasting ideal greater than himself, the death of innocence and the nature of truth.  He also uses ancient religion and politics to illustrate the modern struggle between despotism and freedom and between humanistic idealism and cynical real politik.
     The Egyptian is set in the Amarna period of ancient Egypt during the reigns of the pharaohs Amunhotep III, Akhenaten, and Horemheb, encompassing the last years of the eighteenth dynasty (1386 – 1293 B.C.E.), which was an era of great religions and political upheaval.  At this time there came to power a pharaoh, Akhnaton, who sought to replace the old gods with a relatively unknown deity called the Aton. Akhenaten’s ancestors had invested great wealth and power in their godly sponsor, who was called Amun,  that the wealth and the power of the priests of Amun began to rival that of the pharaoh.  Some Egyptologists think that Akhenaten was trying to re-establish a balance of power between Amun and the throne.  However, no one knows for certain why Akhenaten sought to depose this ancient God and set up a new state divinity.  He could have been a religious mystic, a political reformer, or more probably, a little of both.

Dersu the Trapper: A True Account by V.K. Arseniev (1996 reprint)
Dersu the Trapper has earned a privileged place in Russian literature.  In this Russian counterpart to the Journals of Lewis and Clark and the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, Arseniev combines the precise observations of a naturalist with an exciting narrative of real life adventures.  Arseniev describes three explorations in the Ussurian taiga along the Sea of Japan above Vladivostok, beginning with his first encounter of the solitary aboriginal hunter nomad Dersu, a member of the Gold tribe, who then becomes his guide.  Each expedition is beset with hardship and danger.  Through blizzard and flood, these men forge an exceptional friendship in their mutual respect for the immense grandeur of the wilderness.  But the bridges across language, race and culture also have limitations, and the incursion of civilization exacts its toll.  Dersu the Trapper is written as a first person account of Russia’s last frontier and a poignant memoir of rare cross-cultural understanding.  Originally published in 1941, this English translation is reprinted in its entirety now for the first time.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (2015)
He lived his life like clockwork until he met the watchmaker.  In 1883 Thaniel Steepleton returned home to his small London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow.  Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saved his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroyed Scotland Yard.  He set out to find the watchmaker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan.  Although Mori seemed harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggested he must be hiding something.  When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interfered with the investigation, Thaniel was torn between opposing loyalties.  The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey between Victorian London and faraway Japan, as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.  This is Pulley’s first novel.

The Plover by Brian Doyle (2014)
Declan O’Donnell has sailed out of Oregon, deep into the vast wild ocean, having had enough of other people and their problems.  He decides to go it alone, be his own country, beholden to no one.  No man is an island, but then he thinks that he is that very man.  Soon the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, O'Donnell's lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull.  Brian Doyle's story is a sea novel, a maritime adventure, the story of a cold man melting, a compendium of small miracles, a watery quest, a battle at sea, and a rapturous, heartfelt celebration of life's surprising paths, planned and unplanned.

The Trigger by Tim Butcher (2014)
On a summer morning in Sarajevo almost a hundred years ago, a teenager took a pistol out of his pocket and fired not just the opening rounds of the First World War but the starting gun for modern history. By killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Gavrilo Princip, started a cycle of events that would leave 15 million dead from fighting between 1914 and 1918 and proved fatal for empires and a way of ruling that had held for centuries.
      The Trigger tells the story of a young man who changed the world forever. It focuses on the drama of the incident itself by following Prinip’s journey. By retracing his steps from the feudal frontier village of his birth, through the mountains of the northern Balkans to the great plain city of Belgrade and ultimately Sarajevo, Tim Butcher illuminates our understanding of Princip— the person and the place that shaped him—and makes discoveries about him that have eluded historians for a hundred years. Traveling through the Balkans on Princip’s trail, and drawing on his own experiences there as a war reporter during the 1990s, Butcher unravels this complex part of the world and its conflicts, and shows how the events that were sparked that day in June 1914 still have influence today. Published for the centenary of the assassination, The Trigger is a rich and timely work, part travelogue, part reportage, and part history.

--Stan Peterson, Head of Maintenance