Friday, March 30, 2012

A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable,and Meaningful Celebration by Meg Keene

Is a practical wedding an oxymoron? Not according to Meg Keene who has written a down-to-earth but very wise and sensible guide to the increasingly expensive and exhausting business of planning and giving a wedding. The suggestions about many aspects of the event: guest lists, venues, flowers, photography, vows, and the roller-coaster of predictable emotions involved will help any couple maintain their "wedding zen". If you have a wedding coming up or know someone who does, treat them to this title. It will be one of the best presents they receive! PM

Rethinking A Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking by Eran Ben-Joseph

Rethinking A Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking by Eran Ben-Joseph

Ben-Joseph, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT, attempts to answer the question, "Are there any good examples of notable or 'great' parking lots?" As basic parking lot design has not changed since the 1950s,, where to put the 600,000,0000 passenger cars in the world has become a critical issue. The author provides a visual history of of this vital space and presses us to consider that parking lots could be rendered into significant public spaces. This is a fascinating and absorbing read that will make you think differently about a space you visit almost everyday--a parking lot. PM

Beacon Street: Its Buildings and Residents by Robert J. Guarino

Ever walk or drive down Beacon Street and wonder about the stories behind the houses that line this venerable street? This gem of a book traces the beginnings of Beacon Street from its earliest inhabitants the Massachusett tribe of Algonquin stock, through William Blackstone the first European in 1624 to the 1950s when changes to the street essentially stopped with the exception of the building of One Beacon Street in 1974. The journey down Beacon Street from Tremont to Arlington Streets gives the reader a fascinating glimpse into life in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries with many photos, maps and renderings. The book can be used as a visitor guide to this beautiful part of the city or a imaginative sojourn from the comfort of one's armchair through the history and architecture of Beacon Street's past. PM

Monday, March 26, 2012

Megan recommends: Other People We Married: Stories

Not everybody likes short stories, and their circulation statistics here at the library seem to confirm that. When a writer is first published, it's often a collection of stories, so I say give newly published writer Emma Straub a try. She's the daughter of horror novelist (and Stephen King collaborator) Peter Straub and writing is in her blood. The stories do often revolve around marriage but the characters also include widows and singles. "A Map of Modern Palm Springs" concerns the unequal relationship between two sisters and was the story I liked best.


Monday, March 19, 2012

His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty's Dragon
by Novik, Naomi

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Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future-and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France's own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte's boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

As outlandish as the premise seems, Novik pulls it off by capturing the spirit of society during the Napoleonic age. This is a fun read for teens and adults with some romance and some violence. Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame has purchased the movie rights to the first 3 books.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rob Recommends Faceless Killers

Ingredients: Flawed main character. Palpable and exotic setting. Emotional social issue. Brutal crime. Crackerjack detective work. Mix the ingredients together and you've got a modern Swedish crime novel. There's a reason why they've gained recent popularity in the U.S. and other parts of the globe. They're good. And the ingredients are variable enough that the novels (even the series) don't present as formulaic. So it's in this context that we're given Kurt Wallander, homicide inspector from Ysad, faced with a cruel double murder of an elderly rural couple. The story takes place in a Sweden that seems cold and barren, both physically and culturally. And the murders are set inside a cauldron of simmering anti-immigrant emotion. Faceless Killers is the first Kurt Wallander book translated into English. The detective has also been the hero of Swedish movies and TV shows and a British TV films.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

1930's New York City - Greenwich Village jazz clubs - disingenuous patrician banker - smart, ambitious working girls looking for glam and glitter - excellent dialog - strong narrative - literary comparisons to Fitzgerald and Wharton.
Mr. Towles, a Massachusetts native, received the Wall Street Journal's rating of 'one of the ten best novels of 2011' for Rules of Civility, his first novel.

Loved this book. Try it.


Friday, March 9, 2012

The Art of Uncertainty: How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It by Dennis Merritt Jones

As Yogi Berra so famously said “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else.” Dennis Merritt Jones’s compact guidebook The Art of Uncertainty will help you understand, reconcile, and spiritedly handle the currents of uncertainty in your life. Jones, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post leans heavily on the tenets of New Thought and the writings of Ernest Holmes. The reader can dip into any of the 14 short chapters of this book ( with engaging headings such as “Like it or Not, This too Shall Pass”) to gain encouraging insights and wisdom or use a study guide available at the author’s website. PM

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Art of Confession: Renewing Yourself Through the Practice of Honesty by Paul Wilkes

“Deep within every human heart, there is the desire to be good.” So begins Paul Wilkes’s little gem of a book on confession. Wilkes who has written numerous books on religion, including the biography of Natick priest and pastor Joseph Greer (In Mysterious Ways), traces the origins of the practice of confession from its earliest roots in human society through its expression today in various faith practices. Short sidebars about confession from a rabbi, a priest, a psychiatrist, and a Roman Catholic nun who ministers in bookstores are included. Wilkes maintains that confession is part of the need to realign ourselves with our highest good and is a necessary and important step in releasing guilt and amending our lives. He addresses some thorny problems such as when not to confess, guilt, the types of confession (moral, psychological, personal), secret confessions, and his method of “praying backward through the day.” Wilkes maintains that confession is a kind of grace that ultimately can reunite one with oneself. Don’t miss the opportunity to understand how. PM

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mike Suggests (Surprise!) A Comic

Comic mega-events (also known as crossovers) can be the bane of a comic collector's life--in order to get the gist of the story, you have to "collect them all" and buy comics you'd never consider just to fill the narrative gaps. Thankfully Marvel & DC have begun to move away from that method and have run an individual series to give you the core of the story, replete with major character deaths, the impending doom of world destruction and a landscape that is forever changed in light of said events.

Case in point: this past year Marvel featured Fear Itself and DC destroyed (and recreated) its universe through Flashpoint. If you're like me, you've dropped out of paying attention to these crossovers a long time ago but you may still have your interest piqued and want to know what zaniness the editors and "world architects" come up with. To feed that fix, you need to look no further than your local library because we're looking out for you!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Physics of the Future

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

By Michio Kaku

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Imagine, if you can, the world in the year 2100.

In "Physics of the Future," Michio Kaku--the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Physics of the Impossible"--gives us a stunning, provocative, and exhilarating vision of the coming century based on interviews with over three hundred of the world's top scientists who are already inventing the future in their labs.

Cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on powerful magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism.

Using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases.

In space, radically new ships--needle-sized vessels using laser propulsion--could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars.

But these astonishing revelations are only the tip of the iceberg. Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy.