Friday, November 30, 2007

Away: A Novel by Amy Bloom

"Imagine Homer's Odyssey set in 1924 New York City, with Odysseus a 22-year-old woman who escaped the Russian pogroms only to try to make her way back in search of the daughter she left behind. Lillian Leyb arrives at the home of her cousin Frieda to begin her new life in America. She meets Yiddish theater impresario Reuben Burstein, his actor son, Meyer, and Reuben's friend, Yaakov Shimmelman, and the three men are instrumental to her education. Lillian becomes romantically involved with both Burstein men, but when she learns that her daughter, Sophie, was spared the fate of her husband and parents, the fate that causes her constant nightmares, Lillian begins a trek west, across the United States to Canada and Alaska and finally to Siberia. Her encounters broaden to include other men, a Seattle prostitute and her pimp, and prospectors and line operators along the Telegraph Trail. In earthy, less-than-genteel language, Bloom (Normal) draws a picture of a no-longer-innocent abroad whose mother-love never diminishes despite the hardships she endures. Bloom reveals the fates of all those Lillian leaves behind, and this knowledge is satisfying, even as Lillian trudges onward."

~Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Author Event Tonight: Tuesday, November 27 @ 7 p.m. in The Brookfield Library Community Room

Come meet Kevin Gianni and Annmarie Colameo, authors of The Busy Person's Fitness Solution, a home workout program that gives you the tools to radically change your views on health and fitness and live an energetic and energized life.

Kevin Gianni is a holistic fitness expert, speaker, personal trainer and goal setting coach. His expertise includes exercise, energy techniques, nutrition, and stress relief. Kevin has helped hundreds of people reach their health and weight loss goals using this simple and effective approach to losing weight. He's been quoted in many national publications including WebMD, eDiets, Today's Diet and Nutrition and more.

Annmarie is a Certified Athletic Trainer and has spent the last 4 years as an ATC working with Division 1 athletes, High School Athletes, and physical therapy rehabilitation patients. Her expertise is athletics, teenagers, rehabilitation and sports specific training. She has a degree in athletic training from East Carolina University. She is also a certified massage therapist.

Kevin and Annmarie are co-owners of Lifestyle Fitness and In-Home Training in Danbury, CT.

Fit and Sexy for Life by Kathy Kaehler

"Since the mid-1990s, Today Show fitness expert Kaehler has authored fitness lifestyle books, which have predominantly focused on the wellness needs of women. In her latest, she continues to offer practical, down-to-earth advice with her Fit and Sexy for Life Solution, which advocates a hormone therapy-free program for coping with menopausal changes in the body and emotions. The Six Day Body Blast is made up of three days of strength training alternated with three days of cardiovascular and abdominal workouts, with one day off each week. The exercises are demonstrated with photographs and written directions. Kaehler advises making five diet modifications that will increase energy levels, control weight, and thwart health problems that menopause can aggravate. A small recipe section is included. Tips for increasing contentment wrap up the book, and an appendix lists Kaehler's favorite web sites and resources. While there are many other books that more deeply cover the facets of the menopausal experience, this book brings the issues of greatest concern together in one believable and personable source."

~ Beth Hill, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

"With the same humor and pathos that turned Empire Falls and Straight Man into best sellers, Russo's latest tale unravels the tangled skein of love, regret, hope, and longing that wraps itself around friends and family in a small upstate New York town. Russo's multigenerational tale follows the fortunes of two families, especially the careers of the respective sons. Although Louis Charles Lynch and Bobby Marconi come from very different backgrounds, they bond over Bobby's defense of Lou in elementary school. As they grow older, they drift apart, with Bobby changing his name to Robert Noonan and moving to Venice, where he becomes a world-famous artist. Louis stays in Thomaston, marries high school sweetheart Sarah (also an artist), and helps out his family in their grocery store. Although Louis reluctantly agrees to visit Venice with Sarah, several events converge to alter their plans (including Sarah and Bobby's possible love for each other), and their lives change in ways that neither could have anticipated. While Russo's tale gets off to a slow start and the attempt to tell the parallel stories of Louis and Bobby is not always successful, Russo's novel is nevertheless a winning story of the strange ways that parents and children, lovers and friends connect and thrive."

~Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Evanston, IL Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan

"A deeply moving novel about how we work, how we live, and how we get to the next day with our spirits intact. If there was ever a book that embodies what's best in us, it's Stewart O'Nan's LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER." ~ Stephen King

"O'Nan's tenth novel (after The Good Wife) demonstrates once again why the author is known as the "bard of the working class." It's December 20, closing day for the New Britain, CT, Red Lobster restaurant, abandoned by headquarters owing to mediocre sales. Manager Manny De Leo had to let most of his employees go—only five can transfer with him to the Olive Garden—and is counting on the good will of a few to run the place. As he opens, we hear in intimate detail about routine tasks (changing the oil in the Frialator) and tacky decorations (the shellacked marlin on the wall). Manny will miss it; it's his shop, and he takes pride in it. He'll also miss Jacquie, the waitress with whom he had a brief, intense affair. As snow falls, Manny handles the regulars, Christmas parties, the mall crowd, and his small crew with aplomb, constantly aware of his losses. This slice-of-life novel is funny, poignant, and exquisitely rendered."

~ Nancy Fontaine, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

City Lights: Stories About New York by Dan Barry

"A perpetual tourist in his New York City hometown, Barry wrote a weekly New York Times column from 2003 to 2006 humanizing the faceless hordes of a bustling metropolis. He gives a voice here to umbrella peddlers grumbling about bad business in a downpour, a Buddhist monk robbed of his bag of humble possessions at Trump Tower and a Bronx poker champ whose winnings bought 10 heart surgeries in his native Guyana. In a city of transition, Fulton Fish Market hawkers bid adieu to their old stinky open-air digs; Plaza Hotel doormen lament the famed hotel's conversion into luxury condos and the probable loss of their jobs. Remarkable yet ordinary New Yorkers include a Methodist office worker who donated a kidney to a Muslim woman, a Harlem window washer who plummeted to his death in a Silk Stocking neighborhood and a potato chip salesman who was unmasked as a brutal Nazi. September 11 casts a long shadow as a Staten Island retired firefighter learns for the fifth time in two years that parts of his son, a commodities trader, have been recovered at ground zero. Pulitzer Prize–winner Barry delivers highly evocative pieces, but they'll be yesterday's news to Times readers."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik

"Landvik's latest light drama opens as Joe Andreson transfers into a Minneapolis high school as a class of '72 senior. Like everyone else, Joe has a major thing for head cheerleader Kristi Casey—a version of Reese Witherspoon's character in Election. Joe gets some action, but is estranged from Kristi by graduation. As the years pass, and they stay in touch sporadically, Joe, who narrates, can't quite let go of his infatuation. He becomes an innovative grocer, still unmarried at mid-book, and Kristi transforms into a Bible-thumping radio/televangelist. Joe builds solid relationships with his mother and her new husband, and reconnects with high school friend Darva Pratt (who returns to town with her daughter, Flora), while Kristi sets her sights on the White House. Landvik (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons) deftly mixes humor and pathos in Kristi's ditzy On the Air with God radio show, starkly contrasted by her quietly powerful portrait of Joe, a man with real family values."

~Publisher Weekly Review, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BurningMan: Art in the Desert. Photographs and text by A. Leo Nash and Introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck.

"Every August people gather for one week in Nevada's Black Rock Desert to create and view curious, often fascinating artworks at the Burning Man Festival. For more than ten years, Californian photographer Nash (2010: The Return of Quetzalcoatl) has participated as an artist in this highly original event held in an otherwise bleak landscape and has documented its varied creations. His black-and-white images, especially the panoramic views against a backdrop of parched sand, capture the whimsy and imagination both of the artwork and the artists themselves. Daniel Pinchbeck (Breaking Open the Head) contributes an introduction that vividly sets the scene and explains the nature of the Burning Man. The photographs are then loosely organized into chapters that include "The Beginning," "Inspiration," "Road Trip," "Desert Rhythms," and "Exodus." Through each of these chapters, Nash provides a running commentary that helps to capture the spirit of the festival. At the very least, this is a fun book; at its best, it is a tribute to the liberating spirit of American art."

~Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Isabella Moon by Laura Benedict

"At the risk of raising suspicions about her mysterious past, Kate Russell arrives at the Carystown, KY, police station with information about the disappearance of nine-year-old Isabella Moon. Sheriff Bill Delaney is skeptical when Kate claims her information came from the missing girl's ghost. When the mother of Kate's best friend, Francie, is murdered and a local high school athlete drops dead a few days later, Sheriff Delaney finds Kate's involvement in another murder too coincidental. Kate's reasons for reinventing herself in this small town are revealed in flashbacks to her life with her abusive husband, and the tension mounts as the story reaches its rewarding conclusion. Benedict'a debut is a small-town thriller with a hint of the supernatural and compelling, well-drawn characters."

~ Karen Kleckner, Deerfield P.L., IL Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.