Monday, November 29, 2010

THE OUTSIDE BOY by Jeanine Cummins

"Christy, nearly 12, is an Irish Traveller, a Pavee, a child of motion who, with his family, journeys restlessly from town to town, never staying in any place long enough to call it home. But when his beloved Grandda dies, family secrets begin to spill out, and things begin to change, perhaps irrevocably. Set in Ireland in 1959, Cummin's first novel (shes also the author of the memoir A Rip in Heaven, 2004) is a deeply moving and elegiac look at a vanishing culture. Told in Christy's vernacular but often poetic first-person voice, The Outside Boy is gorgeously written and an implicit celebration of Irish storytelling. And it offers a convincing and evocative look at a way of life little known or understood by the many foreign to it. Though Cummin's treatment of the Pavee may sometimes seem idealized, she is quick to acknowledge their occasional petty thefts and tradition of mooching. Her overriding, beautifully realized theme is larger than that, however: it is the universal desire to find a place where one belongs and people whether ones own family or as-yet-unknown others whose presence provides essential comfort, contentment, and completion.

~ Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association
It's that time of year when we're out and about more, life gets a bit rushed and people can be thoughtless and sometimes, just downright rude. Whoopi's book may be just what you need to realize you're not the only one who thinks good manners are a thing of the past.


"Have you noticed that things aren't as civil as they once were? Or that rudeness is no longer an exception but a lifestyle? Sure you have. All you need to do is set foot outside your door to see that bad manners are taking over everywhere. People are yakking on cell phones in restaurants, even at church. Folks in carpools wear enough cologne to make our eyes bleed. Complete strangers think it's OK to rub a pregnant lady's belly. Passengers abuse flight attendants, family outings to the ball park are ruined by rowdy drunks . . . a congressman heckled the President of the United States.

Well, Whoopi Goldberg has noticed all this and more and asked herself, "Is it just me?" Unleashing her trademark irreverence and humor, her new book of observations takes a funny and excruciatingly honest look at how a loss of civility is messing with the quality of life for all of us.

So if your pet peeve is folks who talk in movie theaters like it was their living room, or if you get bugged by people clipping their nails and performing other personal hygiene next to you on the bus, or if you cringe when "please" and "thank you" get replaced by "gimme" and "huh?" . . . you have found a kindred spirit. Because Whoopi has witnessed the growing disrespect and rudeness in our lives and realized she is not alone. And, as you'll discover in these pages, neither are you."

~ from the Publisher

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Salvation City" is not only timely and thought-provoking but also generous in its understanding of human nature. When apocalypse comes, I want Nunez in my lifeboat." -"Vanity Fair"

SALVATION CITY by Sigrid Nunez

"Teenager Cole Vining had just moved with his parents from Chicago to a rural Indiana college town when a deadly flu epidemic leaves him orphaned and memory impaired. Shuffled from a Dickensian orphanage to a conservative Christian couple, Cole finds his muddled memories of his liberal parents clashing with the new reality of life in Salvation City with Pastor Wyatt, a charismatic preacher with a history of substance abuse, and his wife, Tracy. Cole now has a safe, close-knit community around him, but he feels its limitations as Tracy struggles to homeschool him. Then, an unexpected visitor presents Cole with new options and hope for a more balanced future...."

.-Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll.-Northeast, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

Friday, November 26, 2010


"Amish bishop Eli Miller of Holmes County, OH, placed a ban on his own 18-year-old son Jonah when he refused to follow Amish precepts. Now, after ten years, Jonah returns to kidnap the son he fathered as a teenager, then disappears again. Not wanting to publicize private problems, Miller asks local professor Mike Branden for help in locating the pair. Branden, in turn, frets about not contacting police, especially after murder muddies the waters. Gaus obviously knows his subject well: a professor at the College of Wooster in the heart of Ohio's Amish region, he provides precise, detailed descriptions of Amish practices and full-bodied, unhurried, well-measured prose."

~ Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


"Former Los Angeles police detective-turned-Montana cowboy Mike Wire is enjoying the quiet life on the Square C ranch until the arrival of the titular paleontologist. The scientist's zeal impresses the ranch's owner, widow Jeanette Coulter, who allows him to hunt for T. rex bones, much to Mike's surprise. The mysteries begin with cattle killings and strange engine noises at night, and soon more newcomers appear, including a retired Hollywood producer and his heavily tattooed Russian friend. Environmental activists and government land agents add to the suspect pool, and when a murder occurs at the county Fourth of July party, Mike is forced to combine his skill sets to discover the truth and protect those he cares about."

-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"This prequel to Kent's The Heretic's Daughter (2008) focuses on the early life of outspoken, tart-tongued Martha Allen, from whom the author is descended. Set in seventeenth-century Massachusetts, the novel finds the still-unmarried 23-year-old Martha being sent to live with her cousins as a domestic. Once there, she finds herself intrigued by a hired man named Thomas Carrier. A Welshman, he is the tallest man she has ever seen and one of the most taciturn. But when he saves her from two marauding wolves, intrigue turns to attraction. But other wolves human ones this time may pose an even greater danger to the two. Who is Thomas, in fact? What part might he have played in the overthrow and beheading of England's Charles I? And why have a clutch of dangerous assassins come from England in search of him? An example of the currently popular genre-blender, the book is part historical fiction, part romance, and part suspense. Skillfully meshing these various elements, the author's latest effort is bound to please fans of each."

--Michael Cart, Copyright 2010 Booklist

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Straight is both a novelist and a mother, and has to be numbered among the Mothers of Invention who count for so much in our literature, writers such as Louise Erdrich and Jane Smiley, Barbara Kingsolver and Dorothy Allison.”

—"The Boston Globe"


"Straight's (A Million Nightingales) newest heroine, FX Antoine, keeps a distance from her family, her past, and even her present. Her one tie to home is her godson Victor, the child of her murdered best friend, whose involvement in a shooting sends him careening off the college path and potentially straight into a life of crime. He flees to Louisiana, where FX grew up, and is followed by her and her father, who wrestles with family secrets of his own. Their pursuit of Victor is marred by complications, not the least of which is the looming Hurricane Katrina, putting them all at risk. Straight again places readers in a rich and alien culture, a melange of misfits and outlaws. FX is a detached protagonist, resisting her own family and culture, and readers will share her outsider's viewpoint. Straight's love of language is embedded in every page....."

~ Publisher Weekly Review, Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.