National Book Critics Circle Finalists
Posted January 31, 2012
The National Books Critics Circle list of finalists was announced recently and we're impressed. We recommend you check out every single finalist for fiction this year, if you have the time. There are a few heavyweights, a short story collection, and a debut author who could certainly pull off a win. Who will it be?
Jeffery Eugenides's The Marriage Plot, a "story about being young, bright and lost," according to Ron Charles of the Washington Post, is certainly a frontrunner. Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child "uses a ‘love in wartime' narrative to explore the deep and wildly complicated connections between memory and what passes for history," according to Publishers Weekly. We've heard great things about Edith Pearlman's Binocular Vision, a short story collection which Booklist recommends for fans of Alice Munro and Andre Dubus. Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia, a book that explores a brother/sister relationship, is a "clever meditation on the feedback loop between life and art," according to Kakutani at the New York Times. And finally, Teju Cole's Open City is an "intelligent and panoramic first novel" about a Nigerian immigrant living in New York City says Publishers Weekly. We'll have to wait until March to find out the winner.
Here are some of the other nominees:
Posted January 26, 2012
Recent news stories about Hostess filing for bankruptcy have cited the classic Twinkie snack as a symbol of the company's fortunes. The snack has long fascinated people and even been the subject of urban legends about how long they can remain edible. And critics like author Michael Pollan have spoken out about the way such foods factor into our diets. One recent book on the subject comes to mind in light of this recent news and has in fact been cited in some of the coverage, and its subtitle really says it all: Twinkie, deconstructed : my journey to discover how the ingredients found in processed foods are grown, mined (yes, mined), and manipulated into what America eats by Steve Ettlinger. Whether you're a twinkie fan or critic, if you're interested in learning more about the foods we eat, consider checking out this book or other books about the food industry.
Based on the Book
Posted January 24, 2012
This Friday One for the Money comes to the big screen. The movie is based on the first book in the bestselling Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Katherine Heigl will star as Stephanie Plum and if the movie is anywhere near as popular as the books, then this one is going to be a blockbuster. Fans of the popular Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins will have to wait a few more months but can also look forward to seeing the first installment of the popular series in theaters in March.
Here are some other books that inspired films this season:
Iron Lady: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher by Hugo Young
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My Week With Marilyn by Colin Clark
Catherine the (still) Great
Posted January 19, 2012
A couple of recent books prove the enduring fascination we have with royalty - and Catherine the Great in particular. Born a German princess, she was a strong leader with a keen interest in European culture, and she quickly deposed her husband, the weak Peter III and was Empress of Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796. With such a history to work with, is it any wonder the Pulitzer-winning historian Robert K. Massie (Peter the Great) has had a huge success with his recent biography, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman? Publishers Weekly said, "Massie once again delivers a masterful, intimate, and tantalizing portrait of a majestic monarch."
And now a brand-new novel about the life of Catherine promises to keep interest in the Empress at full boil: The Winter Palace: a novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak. Booklist magazine proclaims the "brilliant, bold historical novel of eighteenth-century Russia is a masterful account of one woman's progress toward absolute monarchical rule.... This superb biographical epic proves the Tudors don't have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph." A sequel is already in the works for this planned trilogy about the life of Catherine. Fiction inspired by fact? or History told as grippingly as fiction? You're in luck, whichever you choose.
Eat Right in 2012
Posted January 12, 2012
Speaking of New Year's resolutions, January is a common time for people to resolve to make changes to their diet and lifestyle. With the holiday feasting behind for many of us, it makes sense to tighten that belt and find our discipline, last seen when we were raking the Fall leaves. For the past few years, the magic words in dieting have been "vegan" and "raw" and "carb" (for or against) and more recently "paleo." Additionally, publishers have also stepped up and paid more attention to specialty topics such as gluten-free and diabetes diets. Check our catalog for hundreds of the most recent dieting books. Below we list just a sample of books the library offers.
Also, be sure to check out the terrific Nutrition and Healthy Eating page put together by our staff of librarians.
Why we get fat and what to do about it by Gary Taubes
The Mayo Clinic diabetes diet
20 years younger: look younger, feel younger, be younger! by Bob Greene
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf
The now eat this! diet by Rocco DiSpirito
Vegan for life by Jack Norris
Choose to lose: the 7-day carb cycle solution by Chris Powell
Diet rehab: 28 days to finally stop craving the foods that make you fat by Mike Dow
The Dash Diet Action Plan by Marla Heller (on order)
Hungry girl 300 under 300 by Lisa Lillien
Feed your face : younger, smoother skin and a beautiful body in 28 delicious days by Jessica Wu
Reading Resolutions for the New Year
Posted January 10, 2012
Stuck in a reading rut? Are you enjoying what you read? Are you getting what you want out of you reading time? Sure, it's arbitrary to think about all this now in January, but it can be a nice idea to take a step back and evaluate your course. The library offers hundreds of carefully selected self-help books that can be of use in evaluating those big life goals, but here we'll just focus on reading habits. But keep in mind that many experts recommend setting specific goals if you really want to change your behavior.
An easy challenge to set yourself is to select a number of books to read in a year. One challenge we like that's made some news in the book world is to read 12 books in 2012. For busy adults, that's a good basic challenge and easy to remember. Of course you might prefer to aim lower or higher, depending on your needs. Goodreads, a free social networking site for reading, offers a nice program you can use that makes it easy to keep track. Set your goal at the start of the year, add books as you read them, and check the counter for your progress.
- Try a new author
- Try a genre you don't normally read (mystery, literary, romance, science fiction, etc.) or subject (science, psychology, economics, the arts)
- Read more fiction / nonfiction (if you tend to read one or the other)
- Start a reading project (read the winners of an award; books from a favorite publisher or author; take on a series you've always wanted to read)
- Read a book you've long wanted to read, perhaps something classic or a long book or one requiring concentratrion
- Keep a list of the books you read
- Be more social with your reading - join book discussions in person or online, discuss books with friends on sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter
- Re-read an old favorite
- Plan not to plan - burned by past resolutions? some are happiest reading by whim
- Read some of those books you have lying around your home but haven't read yet
- No time for or interest in books? Resolve to read a newspaper or magazine; or use a service like Instapaper to manage reading online articles
Best Music of 2011
Posted January 5, 2012
2011 was a fantastic year for the ladies in music. According to Billboard, the top-selling albums of the year were Adele's 21, Taylor Swift's Speak Now and Lady Gaga's Born This Way. It's likely you heard Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" at least a couple dozen times and you've probably heard "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People nearly as much. What else happened in music in 2011? We saw two of hip-hop's biggest stars make an album together, Britney Spears made a bit of a comeback, and troubled songstress Amy Winehouse died. And what great music came out of 2011? We persued a number of best of the year lists and found ten albums that we recommend you check out.
Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Let England Shake by P.J. Harvey
Strange Mercy by St. Vincent
Whokill by tune-yards
Undun by Roots
Wild Flag by Wild Flag
Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming by M83
Bad As Me by Tom Waits
Kaputt by Destoyer