Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did you know reading is a great stress reliever?

A recent study showed that just six minutes of reading can relieve stress by two thirds. Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

Come in and see what new releases are on our shelves, as well as old favorites. All of us can use a little stress relief!
Honolulu by Alan Brennert

"This sweeping, epic novel follows Jin from her homeland of Korea to a new life on the blossoming Hawaiian Islands. The year is 1914, and Jin is a "picture bride," a sort of mail-order bride to a Korean man living in Hawaii whom she has never met. Not the wealthy husband she was promised, he is a poor laborer who treats her cruelly. Escaping her abusive husband, Jin must make her way in Honolulu, eventually finding love and stability. But as the growth of Hawaii results in racial tension and violence, Jin and her family struggle to adjust. Seeing life through Jin's eyes is a pleasure as she changes from a farm-bound, repressed immigrant girl to an outgoing, educated member of Hawaiian society. Brennert (Moloka'i) weaves the true stories of early Hawaii into his fictional tale, and many of the captivating people Jin encounters are real. His depiction of the effects of the Depression is startling. Let's hope Brennert follows up this second novel with a third and continues to capture this intriguing and little-explored segment of American history in beautifully told stories."

~Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Believers by Zoe Heller

"Heller (What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal) returns with an engrossing story of a severely dysfunctional New York family struggling to find its place in a quickly changing world. Joel Litvinoff, a famous civil rights lawyer, and his acerbic wife, Audrey, have spent their many years together as political protesters, raising their children with the same radical social consciousness. But when Joel suffers a stroke, the family, never a peaceful unit to begin with, loses what little cohesion it had. Eldest daughter Rosa, who had always mirrored her parents' views, decides to embrace Orthodox Judaism. Her meek and unattractive sister, Karla, a social worker married to a critical, arrogant union man, has an affair. Adopted son Lenny, an addict and ne'er-do-well, decides to sober up and get a job. Audrey remains in contention with all of them, angry that Rosa would stoop to religion, remorselessly picking on Karla's weight, and denigrating Lenny's efforts to remake his life apart from her. Heller writes with insight and honesty about the pain involved in testing one's beliefs and the possibility of growth in the process."

~ Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib., Malibu, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

"Both beautifully written and devastating."

Significant parts of
The Book of Night Women are, understandably, very difficult to read. Rape, torture, murder and other dehumanizing acts propel the narrative, never failing to shock in both their depravity and their humanness. It is this complex intertwining that makes James's book so disturbing and so eloquent. Writing in the spirit of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own, James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable—even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an undeniable success.

~The New York Times - Kaiama L. Glover

Friday, March 20, 2009

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

"Like Dunn's heroine in her debut, The Big Love, Holly Frick is brokenhearted and looking for happiness against the backdrop of hectic New York City. Holly believes in doing the right thing. Whether it's a result of her evangelical Christian upbringing or just a generally overactive conscience, the "right thing" includes adopting a dog with a brain tumor and meeting her married friend's paramour because her friend thinks they'll like each other. The assorted cast of supporting characters includes a 22-year-old lover, a skinny girl who finally agrees to date the overweight guy from her gym, and a gay man who has an unhealthy relationship with his attention deficit disorder meds. These characters circle around Holly in an exploration of six degrees of separation as she touches each of them-and they her-in their quests for happiness."

~ Anika Fajardo, Coll. of St. Catherine Lib., St. Paul, Library Journal Review, Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Devil's Gold by Julie Korzenko

"Korzenko's polished debut, a romantic ecothriller, introduces Dr. Cassidy Lowell, a zoologist working for ZEBRA (Zoological Ecological Biological Research Agency). When the president of New World Petroleum targets Cassidy for refusing to report to OPEC that his company's oil spills haven't devastated West Africa's Niger Delta, Jake Anderson, of ZEBRA's covert Black Stripe team, rescues her from her research camp in the Delta. Back in the U.S., Cassidy investigates the mysterious deaths of wolves in Yellowstone Park, while Jake, posing as a biologist, acts as her bodyguard. The stricken wolves turn out to be infected with a genetic mutation of a virus, CPV-19, created by scientist Edward Fiske, who's horrified to learn his sponsor wants to sell it without an antidote. As the deadly virus jumps from wolf to man, Cassidy and Jake find comfort in their growing mutual attraction."

~ Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine

"Ivor Tesham, a dashing member of Parliament, decides to give his married mistress, Hebe, an unusual birthday gift. He hires two men to kidnap her and transport her, bound and gagged, to their weekend love nest. Everything has been carefully planned-when the kidnappers' car is hit by a truck shortly after the abduction; Hebe and one of the kidnappers are killed, the other one is seriously injured. Ivor fears obsessively that the man will recover and tell the media the truth about his involvement. Vine (The Minotaur) paints a disturbing picture of a man whose dark secret is driving him to the edge of sanity. The setup is a bit slow, but once everything is in place, the tension remains high."

~ Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
"Sunley's debut novel is an intricate family travelogue, based in the present of Icelandic-Canadian life and the half-mythical world of her grandparents' Iceland. Sunley gives narrative reins to the granddaughter of a famous Icelandic poet, young Freya, whose memoir begins with the summer she first meets her mom's family in the Icelandic-Canadian village of Gimli. The bitter tension Freya discovers between her sensible mother and her unpredictable aunt goes deeper than personality differences, apparently tied to Aunt Birdie's role as family history keeper, her insistence that the children learn their Icelandic heritage, Norse mythology and language: "Icelandic words are tricksters. Acrobats. Masters of disguise. Shape-shifters." Equally capricious are Sunley's characters who, over 20 years of family storms and mental illnesses, pull Freya across the globe, landing her more than once in beautiful, beguiling Iceland itself. This grand coming-of-age-novel boasts a dynamic set of characters and a rich bank of cultural and personal lore, making this dark, cold family tale a surprisingly lush experience."
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review - Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue

"After his best-selling debut, The Stolen Child, Donohue has written a second novel about an uncanny child. This time, a mysterious girl named Norah shows up at a doorstep of a lonely old woman in the middle of winter. She takes the girl in, telling the neighborhood that Norah is her granddaughter, the child of the daughter who went missing ten years before. Norah brings happiness to many of the people she meets but disturbs others with her assertion that she is an angel sent to bring a message of destruction. What happened to the missing daughter becomes clear eventually, but other mysteries remain unsolved in this strange and finely written novel. Donohue has a talent for using small details to draw his characters, and the result is a dark and unsettling story that takes hold of the reader."

~ Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.