Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Black Snow

We see the hard fields of Carnavan peopled by shadows, among ragwort yellow and the bones of a burnt barn. Author Paul Lynch tells a hard story here in taut, barbed-wire language.  Barnabas Kane returned to Ireland from the high landscape building in New York City with a wife.  He yearns to become one with the land again. The  land was never told anything about such a dream. Fire gutted the heart of  the farm with his cattle and old man soul of Mathew People. Now it is a ghost story, that barn like a beached whale, and God never moves in mysterious ways but in daylight and never flinching from the hardships he brings to Barnabas Kane and his family. His dog is named Cyclops, why not? A one-eyed seer who knew everything all along.

This is  the second book by Paul Lynch, young Dubliner carving his name out of cattle bone and clocks that note only how time is passing them by. A wonderful read for those who suffer through bad weather, long hours listening to clocks in their downpour of seconds, ticking away lives here in the Upper Peninsula! A hundred stars, at least for The Black Snow.

-- Russell Thorburn, first poet laureate in the Upper Peninsula
(His forthcoming book of poetry from Wayne State University Press, Made in  Michigan Series, is called Somewhere We'll Leave the World.)

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Non-fiction

Now that the gifts have been exchanged and the holiday goodies consumed, why not focus your brain power on a stimulating read from the Peter White Public Library’s new non-fiction shelves.

The library’s new non-fiction book discussion group, The Human Condition, will keep you on your toes with exciting true stories that won’t let you nod off while sitting next to a warm fire. Their next selection for discussion on January 20th at 7:00pm is The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival. Author John Vaillant describes an incident in Russia’s Far East about a man-eating tiger on the prowl outside a remote village. The team of hunters begin to realize that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta. Jeremy Morelock, host of the discussion group, or any staff member at the PWPL reference desk can help you locate a copy of this gripping read through interlibrary loan. Just call 226-4311 for their assistance.   

A bit closer to home, Mayo Clinic’s J. Eric Ahlskog, Ph.D., M.D. is the author of New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book.  Widely considered to be a leading authority on this disorder, Dr. Ahlskog has more than 30 years of experience treating people with Parkinson's Disease. The book provides extensive, easy to absorb information for patients and caregivers. This title was highly recommended by a PWPL patron who has firsthand experience with Parkinson’s and found the book to be extremely useful. New non-fiction: 616.833 AH.

In light of the recent Climate Change Conference held in Paris, author Tim Flannery’s, Atmosphere of Hope, may be of interest to armchair scientists and weather watchers. An Australian scientist, explorer and conservationist, Flannery examines the human influence on our planet’s climate and gives an urgent call to action to save our global future. Flannery offers possible solutions to coping with our ever changing climate. New Nonfiction: 363.7387 FL

Nature lovers and anglers will enjoy James McClintock’s A Naturalist Goes Fishing. McClintock, an internationally recognized University of Alabama Antarctic marine biologist and professor of Polar and Marine Biology takes readers on a world tour of surprising fishing hotspots. Included are Louisiana’s marshy barrier islands recently ravaged by the Deepwater Horizon spill and New Zealand's Stewart Island where the commercial fishing industry is in decline. McMurdo Station is the setting for ice fishing for gigantic Antarctic toothfish and Alabama's Cahaba River for sea bass. At each location, the author notes the effects of sea level rise, erosion, pollution, water acidification, and overfishing on these fragile waters. New Nonfiction: 799.1 MC

If you dream of your own space to enjoy the beauty of nature, Microshelters might be the book for you. Taking off on the downsizing tiny house trend, this paperback by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, offers economically feasible, environmentally friendly, creative building designs for people who need to get away from it all in a place all their own. Whether in the backyard or back 40, Diedricksen’s collection of 59 designs from across the nation include building tips and color photographs. Plan your funky small structure this winter to enjoy next summer! New Nonfiction: 728.37

Fiction and non-fiction readers alike will be absorbed by prolific, award winning author Joyce Carol Oates’ memoir, The Lost Landscape. Published in 2015, the book offers a rare glimpse into the early life of the beloved American writer who has published more than 40 novels, as well as plays, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction for which she has won numerous awards. Oates received her Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and currently teaches at Princeton University. The memoir gives a glimpse into her early life in rural upstate New York and how her hardscrabble childhood shaped her, and subsequently, her life’s work. For patrons who prefer to listen to their reads, the audiobook is also available. New Nonfiction or New Adult Book on CD: 813.54 OA

From all the staff at Peter White Public Library, best wishes for many good reads and a healthy, happy New Year!

--Margaret Boyle,Programming Coordinator

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cozy reads: New adult fiction

Here’s a few new adult fiction books that you can cuddle up to.

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews, despite its title is not all about gloom and darkness. The author combines as much comedy as she does tragedy. It is a “wrenchingly honest, darkly funny novel,” per the Entertainment weekly. A sister must keep their family from falling apart while facing a very profound situation about what to do for a loved one who truly wants to die.

How to be both, by Ali Smith, a story about a Renaissance artist of the 1460’s and the child of a child of the 1960s. Two stories of love and injustice that become a single yarn where time gets timeless and fictional gets real. It is considered a very warm, funny and brilliant book.

The Black Snow, by Paul Lynch, author of Red Sky in Morning, has shown himself to be one of the most exciting new talents in Irish literature. This book shows us what it means to live through crisis and puts our uncertainties about mankind to the test. A book that may cause you to lose yourself in the obsession, despair and secrets too long held.

If you enjoy bittersweet but inspiring stories, this one may be the one for you, Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf. The story is about a man and a woman of advanced age, who live in a small town and have known each other for decades and how they come together to deal with long empty homes, long lonely nights, and share their adventures and pleasures. So many emotions and moral issues come to the fore.

If you want to get away to the eastern shore to a small group of islands in the Chesapeake Bay just off the coast of Virginia, The Shore, by Sara Taylor, would be a great choice. Ms. Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders as well as the bonds of blood and fate that connect all of them. It’s a place of wild ponies, oysters, crabs, clumps of evergreens with loads of stories of various people who have lived and left this place, only to return.

How about a psychological thriller to pass the time away? In The Hand that Feeds You, author A.J. Rich covers a wealth of information about dogs, forensics, and the human psyche, but it’s also an exploration of love, compassion and grief. It’s been said that you will burn calories while sitting perfectly still with breath held. It is definitely a book you won’t want to put down until you’ve read every terrifying and mesmerizing page.

--Nicki Malave, Network Coordinator

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Youth Books

Car Crazy (Juvenile Non-Fiction Series)
This brand new non-fiction series is perfect for all the young car aficionados, perfect for grades 3-7! This informative series includes the titles: Bently Continental GT, Bugatti Veyron, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dodge Viper SRT, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren 12C and Parsche 918 Spyder. Each volume includes the history, technology, gear, style and specs of the vehicles. With great eye-catching pictures, highlighted vocabulary, a glossary and a “To Learn More”, these books are not to be missed!

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham (Easy Picture Book)
In this beautifully illustrated picture book, children can start to learn how the sun makes its way to their homes each morning. The author demonstrates how the sun creeps over various countries and terrains, wakes cities and animals, and finally makes its way to Coco’s house, to remain there with her throughout the day as she goes about her various activities. This is a delightful book to share with your child one-on-one as a morning story. It is also a perfect story to reassure a child fearful of night time that the sun will arrive at their house again in the morning after waking up other children all over the world.

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead (Easy Picture Book)
Moving can be hard. It can be especially hard on children, who have to get used to a new house, new sights and sounds, and new neighbors.  In this book Peter and his dog Harold have moved to a new house with woods (woods which both are convinced hid terrible things) right across a bridge, making sleep impossible. So Peter makes Lenny, Guardian of the bridge out of pillows and clothes. And then, to keep Lenny company, he makes Lucy to be Lenny’s friend. With Lenny and Lucy guarding the bridge, everyone slept soundly at last. And then Peter meets Millie, the neighbor. And together with Harold, Lenny and Lucy they watch the woods and look for owls. With sparsely colored illustrations, this book is a wonderful reassurance to a child who has just moved about how to learn to settle into a new house, and make things that seems scary a bit less scary.
The Nuts Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants by Eric Litwin (Easy Picture Book)
The author of the ever popular Pete the Cat books introduces some new characters, Hazel and her family (they are all nuts!). Hazel loves to sing and dance and loves her polka-dot pants. So of course, one day she makes up a song about her polka-dot pants. But her family is too busy to sing and dance with her! So Hazel rocks in her polka-dot pants all along, until a very special someone comes along to rock with her! In classic Litwin fashion, there is a link included in the book to take you to a video of Hazel rocking out in her polka-dot pants so you can sing along to the book. Perfect for that active child who can’t stop moving, this book and song will be used in our newest Super Saturday program, Stretch and Learn, coming in January.

When Santa was a Baby by Linda Bailey (Easy Picture Book)
This is hands-down my favorite holiday book this year-and the kids from Cherry Creek 3rd grade agreed with me when they came for a class visit and chose this book to listen to.  In this charming picture book with fantastic illustration, the author imagines what Santa would have been like as a baby. Would he have made cute baby sounds, or instead does he go Ho Ho Ho even as a baby? What would his favorite color be? What are his parents like? Who is his best friend? This giggle-inducing book answers all these questions and more, and is a real treasure to share with your children during the holidays this year.

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang (Juvenile Graphic Novel)

Just in time for our new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program at the library coming in January this new graphic novel introduces kids to the basics of coding and binary code! Even though this book talks about math, kids who like Captain Underpants or the Lunch Lady are going to eat up the humor and the characters, especially tough new girl Hopper. 

Magnus Chase and the GODS of Asgard: The Sword of Summer (Juvenile Fiction)
All you Percy Jackson fans, the wait is over! The long anticipated new book from author Rick Riordan is a great start to what promising to be a fantastic new series, this time focusing on the gods of Asgard. With Valkyries, elves, dwarves, trolls, talking pigeons, and dead heroes who aren’t quite dead, this is an adventure not to be missed! Keep a lookout for at least one familiar face from another of Rick Riordan’s books. One of my favorite new books of 2015, you can get it from the library either on audio disk or in book format.

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Juvenile Fiction Series)
With the new Star Wars movie less than a month away, it is the perfect time to start reading the new canon Star Wars books that are being published. This newest juvenile series contains three books. Smuggler’s Run features Han Solo and Chewbacca and is set between the movies A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Moving Target features Princess Lei and is set between the films The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The Weapon of a Jedi features Luke Skywalker and takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. These novels contain some clues about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, and are perfect for your young (or even not so young!) Star Wars fans.

--Sarah Rehborg, Youth Services Librarian 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mackinaw Island Fiction

Mackinaw Island is a very popular tourist attraction with a rich history of settlements and major military campaigns occurring at Fort Mackinac.  The island has been the center of many publications, both fiction and nonfiction.  These fiction titles will arouse any historical fiction lover’s attention.    

Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees (2014). Adult Fiction.  Written by a Lansing Michigan native, the island of doves centers around one woman who wishes to flee a brutal marriage and thru the help from a local nun whom is a stranger she is smuggled out of Buffalo New York and lands on Mackinaw Island where a widow of a fur trading company and allows the fleeing woman a chance at a new life.  Once you pick up this title you will not want to stop reading the historical description of Mackinaw Island alone is well worth the read.

Mackinaw Maze by Jerry Prescott (1997).  Adult Mystery.  Two retired police officers take a vacation on Mackinaw Island and find themselves pulled into a plot in which a mysterious group of individuals are seeking to infiltrate a secret meeting.  This book will take you throughout the scenic area of Mackinac Island with unpredictable twists and turns of deception and intrigue.

Peacock Prophecy: Stephen Moorehouse Mackinaw Island Mystery by James Nelson (2013).  Adult Mystery. Stephen Moorehouse has finished his first year of art school back east and is excited about returning to his Uncle Phillip’s estate in northern Michigan. When he finally arrives, Jeanette, his uncles beautiful assistant, and the woman he has waited all year to see, is busy catering to a house filled with Hollywood people. Everyone is celebrating Phillip Kahle's return to producing, after the shocking murder of his girlfriend the year before. Stephen’s hoping for some quiet time with his uncle and Jeanette when they make a visit to picturesque Mackinac Island. When Stephen encounters a person from Jeanette’s past, the dim corridors of the Peacock Inn turn deadly and provide the final answer to The Peacock Prophecy.

Geared for the Grave  (2014).  New Paperback.  This is book one of the series, “A Cycle Path,” mysteries by Duffy Brown.  The setting of this story is Mackinaw Island which investigates the murder of a prominent island resident.  The young individual looking for a chance of promotion accepts the duty of caring for her boss’s father in recovering from a broken leg while riding his bike. However what really happens is how this young lady can keep her boss’s father out of jail as she investigates to locate the real killer. 

--Diana L. Menhennick, Reference Department