Friday, October 31, 2014

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

“It’s Shakespeare,” historian George Will says in the opening minutes of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, “to have a single family in which human flaws and virtues are on such vivid display—and the constant struggle between those vices and those virtues to try to do good and fulfill one’s duty.”

In case you missed the Ken Burns film series, The Roosevelts; An Intimate History that chronicled the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics, here is a booklist that will come close to all you missed.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty, 254 pages

Caitlin Doughty not only finds the process of what happens to the human body after death fascinating ; she's dedicated her life to it. In a rather macabre but interesting book about "life" after death, Doughty explains just what happens in a crematory and her experiences as a crematory operator with wit, humor, and candidness. She explains how so much of our Western culture revolves around trying to hide the biggest fact of life: death. I found her story to be very eye-opening and sometimes disturbing. This is a book that will truly make you think. How have the deaths of those close to me affected my life and my outlook of the world? How has my concept of death and dying been affected by those around me and the culture I was raised in? Doughty tells her own journey with these questions, and suggests how we can change our own perceptions. I had even more questions after I finished reading the book, so I watched Doughty's awesome YouTube series called "Ask a Mortician". I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, especially as a great non-fiction read during the Halloween season!

Holiday Hot DVDs To Start The Season!

                          Kirkwood Public Library Holiday Hot DVDs Return November 2nd!
Holiday Hot DVDs are located on the main level across from the circulation desk.  You will find a great assortment of titles for all ages!  Below is just a sample of some of the seasonal favorites.






             Arthur Christmas
             Bad Santa
            A Christmas Carol
            Deck The Halls  
            Disney's A Christmas Carol
            New Year's Eve    
            Eloise at Christmastime
            Four Christmases
            Frosty the Snowman
            Love Actually
            Miracle on 34th Street
            Shrek the Halls
            White Christmas


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teen Books Adults Will Enjoy

Young Adult (or Teen) literature isn't just for teenagers! Are you curious to see what all the fuss is about? Or would you like to learn more about what your teen is reading? Maybe you simply want a great book. Whatever the reason, give these popular young adult titles a whirl! 

Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Diviners by Libby Bray
Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Powell
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen

Monday, October 20, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult 405 Pages

If there is one thing I can say about reading Jodi Picoult books it is that you always get an education. Her books are incredibly researched, so that whatever the subject matter is, you now feel like an authority on the subject. What is the subject you ask? Why it's elephants. Yes, elephants. Everything you need to know, from the tips of their floppy ears to the nails on their hooves. From their incredible memories (yes, an elephant never forgets) to their grieving process when a death occurs.

Thirteen-year-old Jenna is searching for her mother, a scientist who studied grieving among elephants, who disappeared ten years ago under mysterious circumstances. Aiding in her search is retired Police Detective now Private Detective Virgil Stanhope and Psychic Serenity Jones. This unlikely team gathers decade-old clues and re-investigates a decade-old murder. A startling twist ends the book with something I did not see coming. At all.

Lots to read but I am unsure if it was worth the time. Not a bad book just very unusual. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Love Letters by Debbie Macomber 306 Pages

It is time I feed my semi-yearly addition for over-sentimental, saccharin-saturated romance as only Debbie Macomber can write. Why read it, you ask? Like anything sweet, it seems to satisfy an addition I am trying to cut down on. But this time the author surprised me, as the characters are complicated, and maybe even a little bit hard to like.

Continuing her Rose Harbor series, she returns to Jo Marie and her B & B in Cedar Cove. The weekend guests Jo Marie prepares for are not exactly what they seem. There is 20-something Ellie Reynolds who has cancelled twice before but is determine to come and meet the man she met online.Then there is the young couple, Maggie and Roy Porter, who are taking their first vacation alone since they have had children. But not is all bliss, Roy has become a work-a-holic and has had an online affair with a girlfriend from high school and Maggie upon discovering this affair plunged into a drunken-one-night-stand with a stranger. Yes, this is Debbie Macomber.

Not overly spicy, but definitely real life, for once.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale 340 Pages

This month's book club selection for Adam's Place Senior Living is The Thicket. Library Journal declared it one of the best historical fiction written in 2013 and I agree. Think of this book this way, the Coen Brothers meet True Grit and there are no rules. The book is definitely on the gritty side, and sometimes a bit too descriptive but well worth the vivid portraits of East Texas at the turn of the twentieth century.

16-year-old Jack Parker in one day looses both parents to a small pox epidemic, his grandfather to a gang of outlaws, who then, also kidnap his sister, Lula. He meets Eustace, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave and Shorty, a charismatic, gun-toting dwarf who makes his living by bounty hunting. And so this unlikely trio join together to rescue Lula thought to have been taken into The Thicket, an unlawful haven for outlaws hidden deep in the woods of east Texas. This is an odyssey of good versus evil with lots of gray in between. 

And the best part, it's going to be a movie. Peter Dinklage to star. Read it before everyone else discovers it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie 384 pages

I've been a huge fan of the Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mysteries for a while now, and I can't believe that number 16 is out already!

Gemma's partner, Melody Talbot, is bout to watch her boyfriend's band perform at St. Pancras Station when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. A white phosphorous bomb has been ignited - was it set off by the protesters Melody solved earlier? Duncan and Gemma are back and dealing with a possible terror case in Duncan's new division - can they keep their family together while solving one of the biggest cases of their lifetimes? Duncan begins to question his priorities and whether or not he is still in the right job.

I love Crombie's books with a passion. She creates a wonderful atmosphere in modern London while still being able to create the feeling of a classic murder mystery. Even after 16 books, the characters continue to evolve and remain fresh - and the mysteries never get formulaic or boring! If you haven't read her books before, I highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series and reading forward so you don't miss any of the character development or any of the amazing mysteries!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah 320 pages

Normally I am not a fan of series being continued by other authors, but boy, was this book a treat! Agatha Christie fans rejoice!

While lovers of Poirot might scratch their heads at the reappearance of the main character after his final appearance in Curtain. Worry not! The book takes place earlier in his timeline AND it's been authorized by Christie's estate.

I started this book with a skeptical heart since I've loved Hercule Poirot since before I can remember. Sophie Hannah has captured not only Christie's unique voice, but also Poirot's every mannerism and quirk. Her expression of Poirot's voice alone is indistinguishable from Christie's writing of the character.

Three people have been murdered all in the same hotel. Except they happened to be in three separate rooms on three separate floors. Can Poirot solve the mystery when he can find so little evidence?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Driftless Area by Tom Drury 215 pages

Aptly titled, The Driftless Area tells the story of Pierre Hunter.  He is a young man drifting through life after the recent deaths of his parents.  Pierre works as a bartender and spends his free time wandering the streets of town.  This occasionally gets him into trouble.  In one amusing episode, Pierre exits one house party and accidentally returns to the wrong party at the wrong house.   The owners of the home are not amused when they discover him although they allow him to perform a coin trick that falls flat before having him arrested for trespassing.

            Oddly, Pierre’s luck changes when he almost drowns after falling through the ice on a remote lake while skating.  He is rescued by a mysterious woman named Stella Rosmarin.  The more Pierre gets to know Stella, the more mysterious she becomes.

            Tom Drury’s writing style reminds me of author Denis Johnson except with a mystical twist.  At first the novel seems like a grim realistic tale of life in a small Iowa town until seemingly improbable and impossible events start happening.

As I was writing this review, I discovered that The Driftless Area is currently being made into a movie starring Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel and Audrey Plaza.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Locke (Hot DVD)

This movie took me by surprise.  I thought it was going to be another action movie about an everyday guy (with super human driving skills) that is forced into driving for some bad guys in order to save his wife, girlfriend, kid and or dog.  Locke is not an action movie.   In fact, it is a tense emotional drama about relationships that takes place entirely within a car. 
Ivan Locke is taking a long distance drive to support a woman he barely knows as she gives birth to his child.  That is a lot for Ivan to deal with but it is only the tip of the ice berg.  Locke is already (happily?) married with children.  In addition, it is the eve of the biggest day of his career.  His company has entrusted him with a multimillion dollar deal set to take place first thing the next morning.  If Locke helps deliver the baby, he will not be able to oversee the deal.  He could be fired from his dream job.  In addition, how will Locke’s family react to his big news?  It is enthralling to watch Locke navigate difficult personal issues as he navigates the road.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Her Last Whisper by Karen Robards 333 Pages

Karen Robards brings us another Dr. Charlotte Stone thriller with her side-kick/ghost lover Michael Garland. I know it sounds bizarre but it works. Really. "Charlie" works along with a specialized team from the FBI who investigate unusual crimes. Since "Charlie" is able to see ghosts who have recently departed, her "specialized" skills enable her to solve crimes that seem unsolvable. 

When the team asks her to come to Las Vegas to help find one of the team member's sister who has gone missing, it is discovered that 16 other women have also gone missing as well. Aiding "Charlie" is convicted serial killer/ghost Michael Garland who "Charlie" is convinced was unjustly convicted. But it doesn't seem to matter anymore, after all he is dead, right?

A fun read that leaves you  knowing that the next book continues the story. I can hardly wait.

Spooky Tales To Keep You Up At Night

                                   For Those Who Like a Good Scare...







Not So Scary Tales For The 'Fraidy Cats Among Us..