Monday, May 28, 2007

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

"A leisurely walk on a foggy San Francisco beach culminates in every parent's worst nightmare—a missing child. Abby turns her head for a matter of seconds to look at a dead seal pup. When she looks back up, her fiancĂ© Jake's six-year-old daughter, Emma, is gone. Abby knows that Emma is still alive and that the clue needed to solve her disappearance is buried in her memory, but the police and even Jake eventually decide that Emma must have drowned. Stopping the search is not an option for Abby; to let go of Emma would be to let go of her own sanity. Richmond (Dream of the Blue Room) has written a mesmerizing novel of loss and grief, hope and redemption, and the endurance of love....(It will appeal to readers of) Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard."

—Karen Fauls-Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, NY Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Camel Bookmobile by Marsha Hamilton

"New York City librarian Fiona Sweeney has taken an unusual assignment in Kenya—running a bookmobile service powered by camel and serving isolated, seminomadic villages like Mididima, where teenaged library customer Kanika lives with her grandmother, Neema. Taban, a young man severely scarred as a toddler by a hyena, is shunned by most of the community, but he and Kanika share a friendship and a sweet anticipation of Sweeney's every visit. Matani, Mididima's schoolmaster, is a champion of the service, but even he can't do anything when several missing books threaten the village's reputation and set off a chain of events that expose misguided motives, hidden agendas, illicit romance, and tragedy. This third novel from international journalist Hamilton (e.g., The Distance Between Us, an LJ Best Book) presents a rare and balanced perspective on issues surrounding cultural intrusion and the very meaning and necessity of literacy, using rich and evocative prose that skillfully exposes the stark realities of poverty and charity in today's Africa.... The story was suggested by the Camel Mobile Library Service actually provided by Kenya's national library."

—Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll.-Northeast, TX Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Landing: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

"Landing is an old-fashioned love story with a uniquely twenty-first-century twist. This romantic comedy explores the pleasures and sorrows of long-distance relationships - the kind that millions of us now maintain by plane, phone, and the Internet. Sile, an Irishwoman with an Indian mother, is a stylish citizen of the new Dublin. A veteran flight attendant turning 40, she is getting itchy in her career as well as in her domestic life. Jude is a twenty-five-year old Canadian who runs a one-room museum and is stubbornly attached to the tiny town of Ireland, Ontario, where she was born and raised. On Jude's first plane trip, their two worlds touch and snag at Heathrow Airport. In the course of the next year, their lives - full of men, women, commitments, and complications - will be drawn into a new, shaky orbit. This story explores age-old questions: Does where you live matter more than who you live with? What would you give up for love, and would you be a fool to do so?"


Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark

"London in 1718 is not a pretty place, particularly if you happen to be young, female, pregnant, and alone. Abandoned by her mother and husband, Eliza Campling is taken into the household of an apothecary and his wife, where she believes she will be relieved of her pregnancy only to come to the dawning realization that the apothecary has other designs on the fetus. Grayson Black, in regular correspondence with the great minds of his day, fancies himself a serious scientist researching the effects of external stimuli on grotesque birth deformities. He takes this research further by attempting to influence the outcome of Eliza's pregnancy by treating her with preparations designed to cause hallucinations and terrors. Eliza takes small comfort from her bleak situation in her friendships with a fellow servant and a friendly bookseller and from the possibility of creating and selling her own cure-all medication. As she did so successfully in The Great Stink, Clark again transports readers to another time and place in this mesmerizing tale of life in the mean streets of 18th-century London. "

—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Kingston, Ont. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'
by Paula Deen with Sherry Suib Cohen

"In this richly emotional culinary memoir, Deen, the author of three best-selling cookbooks, star of a popular Food Network television show, and the owner of the celebrated Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA, shares her life story. Writing in a warm, comfortable, and occasionally salty style, Deen talks about everything from her decades-long battle with agoraphobia and her troubled first marriage to the hard work that went into building her first business, The Bag Lady, and the professional and personal successes that followed. A few of Deen's recipes (almost all new) are sprinkled among her stories, which offer a sample of the distinctively Southern cooking that is the foundation of Deen's life and career. This wonderfully nourishing book will have readers laughing, crying, and hungry for more."

—John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

“Cathryn what's-her-name has written an understandable, enjoyable, highly informative book about memory and mental acuity—and all the things that plague and hamper them as we age. This is a tremendously comforting book: You are not alone, and you are not losing your mind. Best of all, there are solutions: simple, sound ways to clear the maddening fog of the middle-aged mind. Though just now, I can't recall any.” – Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Spook
"Memory loss and other cognitive problems are increasingly the bugaboo of aging baby boomers, as well as many of their elders. In her first book, veteran journalist Ramin turns herself into a guinea pig as she seeks ways to restore her own failing memory and growing inability to concentrate. Looking at a wide variety of genetic, biochemical and environmental factors that slow the connections among the brain's 100 billion neurons, especially in the hippocampus, Ramin undertakes 10 interventions, methods of achieving her cognitive enhancement. She logs the ups and downs of medications such as Adderall and Provigil; she looks at dietary supplements and biofeedback. She ends with discussions with experts, such as Nobelist Eric Kandel, about what keeps some people mentally young into old age; the key seems to be having the "mental reserves" gained from challenging one's mind with new kinds of learning—such as learning a new language or studying art—that use different parts of the brain; the right diet and exercise also help...."
~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 04, 2007

What Makes Women Happy by Fay Weldon

"Finally, the age-old question of "What do women want?" gets a lighthearted, realistic answer. Prolific author Weldon (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) shares her opinions and observations about female happiness—the fact that it never lasts more than ten minutes at a time and primarily comes from sex, food, friends, family, shopping, and chocolate. Weldon avoids ponderous analysis and fluffy self-help talk in favor of humor, keen observations, and entertaining parables. Furthermore, Weldon manages to convince her readers that doing good leads to being happy. The engaging chapters—one each is devoted to the seven sources of happiness and the four threats to it—are full of contrasts between nature (how evolution causes us to behave) and nurture (what behavior society expects); women will recognize their own dilemmas in these analyses. And although this work is light on research or evidence, it is certainly an engaging read that will delight women. "

—Erica L. Foley, Flint P.L., MI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Lois on the Loose: One Woman, One Motorcycle, 20,000 Miles Across the Americas by Lois Pryce

“Mix a biting British sense of humor with a Yamaha motorcycle and you get this adventure-filled story about an intrepid woman facing her destiny across the Americas, one rain-soaked, bug-infested, low-quality-taco-filled mile at a time.”---Wendy Dale, author of Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals

"Bored by her desk job at the BBC, Pryce decided to convert her travel daydreams into real-life adventure. At her local travel bookshop, she discovered a book called Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon as well as a few handbooks on motorcycle adventuring, and she was hooked. She bought a small dirt bike, a versatile and affordable Yamaha XT225 Serow, and decided she'd bike from Anchorage, Alaska, to the southernmost city of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina—almost 20,000 miles. In this engaging read, Pryce narrates the adventure. Local bikers helped the witty and sociable Pryce get her Serow fixed, strangers offered shelter or advice and various friends joined her, for better or worse. She rode through flaking dried mud and boulder-strewn donkey paths, through broiling desert heat and blinding Andean snows. Armchair travelers will delight in this funny, vivid account and—almost—wish they'd done it themselves."

~Publishers Weekly Review, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Interested in more adventures of Lois? Check out Lois' website to find out about her recent motorcycle adventure in Africa.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mergers and Acquisitions by Dana Vachon

"Tommy Quinn is a recent Georgetown grad who has just landed the job of his dreams as an investment banker at J. S. Spenser, and the perfect girl, Frances Sloan, the daughter of one of New York's oldest moneyed families. As he travels from the most exclusive ballrooms of the Racquet and Tennis Club to the stuffiest boardrooms of J. S. Spenser, from the golf links of Piping Rock to the bedrooms of Park Avenue, and from the debauched yacht of a Mexican billionaire to the Ritalin-strewn prep school dorm room of his younger brother, he finds that neither the job nor the girl are what they once seemed."


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

American Outrage: A Novel by Tim Green

"Sure, Jake Carlson is making big bucks as a reporter on the tabloid news show American Outrage, but the former foreign correspondent is ashamed of his job, and his personal life is a mess, too. Widowed for a year, he's struggling to keep his 13-year-old adopted son, Sam, on the straight and narrow. Jake finds a renewed sense of purpose, though, when Sam convinces him to help find his birth mother. He knows the hunt will be difficult, but he doesn't realize just how challenging until he starts asking questions. The head of the agency Jake used for the adoption had died, and there's no trace of the agency, which had been operating slightly under the radar, funneling babies from Albania to the U.S. for couples desperate for children. As Jake attempts to tie his investigation into a story to bolster his waning popularity at American Outrage, he and Sam become the target of violence and revenge. Genre veteran Green hits his stride here, with his best novel since his early football thrillers (Outlaws, 1996)."

~ Mary Frances Wilkens, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved