Monday, November 30, 2009

Sue Recommends Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly's newest Harry Bosch novel, Nine Dragons, not only takes on an International flavor but also adds a helping of technology. For those of you who do not know Harry Bosch, he is an L.A. Police Detective who always gets his man (or woman) any way he can. With this story, his investigation of the murder of a Chinese storekeeper involves Harry with one of the Asian gangs known as the Chinese Triad. Is it coincidence that his 13 year old daughter who lives in Hong Kong is abducted at the same time? Using cell phone technology to communicate via text messaging, digitized pictures, video, and other enhanced features, he is able to augment his superior investigative skills and track the suspects in an unknown country as he tries to locate his only daughter before it is too late. Will he be able to beat time and protect his loved ones from being victims of his profession? Is the threat against his family really connected to his current case in Los Angeles? The pace of the story and twists of the plot will keep the pages turning. SH

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rob Says Try Archie's Way

You don’t have to be a machinist or woodworker or craftsman of any kind to appreciate Archie’s Way. Archie was a master of machines and tools, a throwback to an earlier age when people (men mostly) knew the innards of everyday devices. But Archie knew more than most; he was the northern Wisconsin go-to guy for that tricky lathe operation or a .00001 inch tolerance in an engine part. The author, Richard Probert was a music teacher with a yearning to be a part of that old way of being, when he met Archie. This is the story of a developing friendship between the two men and in it an homage to fine craftsmanship. [If you like the book, and are interested in the fate of craftsmanship in the 21st century, try also Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford or The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.}

Monday, November 23, 2009

Megan recommends: Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich

This book's title leapt out at me because "Is Mercury in retrograde?" is the question our library's director jokingly asks when something goes awry here at the WFL. In this novel, three women's lives intersect in New York City when they all move into the same apartment building. Written by the former gossip columnist for the New York Post, the book is a great example of funny and light "chick lit." An easy and entertaining read.

Debra recommends 'A Fortunate Age'

A 'starred review' in Booklist, A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff, is reminiscent of Mary McCarthy's The Group. Rakoff's debut novel highlights a group of bright, ambitious Oberlin grads coming of age in the 1990's in New York City. The politics of the era are competently woven in the story of this arts loving group of twenty somethings as they emerge into adulthood. The story is further enhanced in the audio recording expertly narrated by Christina Moore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why the Allies Won

Why the Allies Won
Richard Overy

In hindsight many feel that the Allies victory in World War II was inevitable. There is a commonly held assumption that the Axis states were beaten in World War II by the sheer weight of Allied material strength. Another assumption, that Germany, Japan and Italy, made fundamental mistakes in the war, not the least of which was biting off more than they could chew in fighting Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union together.

Overy disputes these assumptions about the war and shows readers how the Allied victory over Germany in 1945 was not inevitable. He recounts how the Allies managed to regain military superiority only after a series of extremely decisive military campaigns. Overy demonstrates that the outcome of the war had not just a material explanation but also important moral and political causes.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Mike Suggests: The Wire on DVD

If you've ever talked television shows with me, then this week's suggestion won't come as any surprise to you. Shown on HBO for five seasons, where it had a small but aggressively loyal following and also the acclaim of many critics, The Wire is a police drama that takes West Baltimore's heroin trade and dissects its causes and outcomes, season by season. The series has some of the most interesting and well-played characters on television, and the stories stand in stark contrast to the one-dimensional cops and robbers from other shows that are neatly resolved in one hour.

In addition to the fantastic actors, the writing duo of David Simon and Ed Burns is what makes this show so great. David Simon is a journalist and author, having written two books about crime in Baltimore. The first book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, was written while Simon was embedded with the Baltimore homicide detective unit, and turned into a show by the same name on NBC. His second book, The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, was co-authored with Ed Burns (a 20-year veteran of the homicide unit and later public school teacher) and followed a family of four in West Baltimore whose promising lives had been devastated by heroin addiction and trade. The Corner was also picked up by HBO and turned into a miniseries, directed by Charles S. Dutton and is every bit as heartbreaking as the book. It might be best to watch it after The Wire, because you'll get a kick out of watching the same actors who portrayed hardcore police detectives from The Wire playing junkies in The Corner.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Debra recommends : The Tenth Muse

Legendary Knopf editor Judith Jones, famous for publishing Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, authors The Tenth Muse, a delightfully articulate memoir of Jones' life in Paris and the states after World War II. The book, which includes 50 of her recipes, is a charming overview of the evolution of cooking and food
during the 20th century.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mike Suggests: West Coast Blues

West Coast Blues by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jacques Tardi

George Gerfaut is a disaffected executive salesman, distanced from his wife and children, with a fondness only for his nightly glasses of scotch. He's certainly not the most lovable of men, but not the kind of guy who would have hitmen on his trail--at least not until he helps a wounded motorist he finds in a car wreck. This is another fantastic example of the crime noir genre that's popping up in graphic novels; others include Parker: The Hunter, Miss Don't Touch Me, and Sin City. West Coast Blues is written and drawn by two individuals considered the top of their field in France: Jacques Tardi has won every major European cartooning award, and Jean-Patrick Manchette was considered one of the best crime novelists.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jonathan Recommends: Warcraft Legends Volume 1

World of Warcraft are three words that usually evoke images of individuals sequestered in a dank basement who have been sitting in front of a computer for the past week.

Not only is that stereotype completely false but what if I told you there is much more to Warcraft than being a highly successful Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game. It has its own mythology of heroes and villains, victory and defeat, romance and heartache.

Legends is the first of a new series sharing these stories. It picks up where the Sunwell Trilogy left off and then continues in new directions.

The separate stories in this manga provide a glimpse into the greater world of Azeroth and serves as a nice starting point for anyone wanting to get their feet wet in the pantheon of Warcraft tales.

The black and white artwork matches the look and feel from the game and other Warcraft properties (comics, collectible card game, and collectible miniatures game) while allowing the artists to shine.

It is a fun read appropriate for older teens and above.