Friday, September 30, 2011

Now You See it: How the Brain Science of Attention will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn

Author Cathy Davidson offers a stunning new vision for the future, showing how the latest advances in brain research could revolutionize education and workplace management. Davidson, formerly a vice provost at Duke and now codirector of the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital and Media Learning Competitions, begins with the concept of "attention blindness," a basic principle of neuroscience stating that individuals only see a portion of the world in front of them. Davidson asks how, whether working alone or collaboratively, we might overcome this deficit and gain a broader perspective on our mental and physical surroundings. She interviews pioneers who have demonstrated amazing success in accomplishing this goal. Her focus ranges from startup charter schools in rural North Carolina to IBM, demonstrating how to move to a world that recognizes the rich interrelationships inherent in the 21st century. Duke, for instance, allowed students to bring digital experience to their (and their professors') educational experience by giving studentsiPods and asking them to "dream up learning applications." Davidson has produced an exceptional and critically important book, one that is all-but-impossible to put down and likely to shape discussions for years to come.

Review from Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 22

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire has become synonymous with fairytales revisited. Readers already know the story - they love Maguire's work for his re-imagining of established characters and events, adding fresh spin to a familiar tale. Maguire often turns the story on its head by examining the "villain's" point of view, and, in the process, sometimes rehabilitating them. Historical fiction buffs like his injection of real historical characters (e.g., Lucrezia Borgia as Snow White's Wicked Queen). His prose is beautifully surreal, giving his novels an impressionistic feel -- but like the originals of many of these tales, darkness always lurks. Read if you enjoy: fantasy fiction, character-driven plots, dark humor, puns or wordplay-filled, and a lyrical or witty writing tone. Start with: Wicked.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Calligrapher's Secret by Rafik Schami

Schami’s intricately woven tale of mid-twentieth-century Damascus is brimming with love and jealousy, prejudice, politics, and intrigue. His lively cast of characters includes Hamid Farsi, a renowned Muslim calligrapher, and his wife, Nura, a talented dressmaker and daughter of a famous scholar. Nasri Albani, widely known as a philanderer, is obsessed with Nura. And there’s Salman, a poor Christian youth who becomes Hamid’s assistant, learning the calligrapher’s art from the ground up. Hamid’s talents place his work in high demand, but when he detects weaknesses in the Arabic language, and secretly seeks to make radical reforms, he comes under the purists’ scrutiny. Though Hamid is famous, he remains a stranger to Nura long after their wedding day, leaving her isolated. Until one day she disappears, setting in motion a series of events that, like a whirlpool, never stops swirling until the novel’s end. A captivating and enlightening read, enriched by the sights, sounds, and sensuality of Damascus, and by the author making his mark by bridging the Arab world of his upbringing with his adopted home in the West.

From Booklist vol 107, number 12

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revolutionary Reads

To arms! Join George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and a host of others as they participate in America’s war for freedom. Experience the plots and battles safe within the bulwark of your imagination and secure in the knowledge of the war’s eventual outcome.

To Try Men's Souls by Newt Gingrich and Willian Forstchen

A novel of the darkest days of the American Revolution follows George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Jonathan Van Dorn, a private in Washington's army, during the days surrounding Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on December 25, 1776.

Patriot Hearts by Babara Hambly

The triumphs and turmoil of early America are revealed through fictional portraits of four women--Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Sally Hemings, and Dolley Madison--who played key roles during four presidential administrations.

The Hornet's Nest by Jimmy Carter

This novel of the American South during the Revolutionary War follows Ethan Pratt, his wife Epsey, and their neighbors, Kindred and Mavis Morris, as they become caught up in the conflict and the problems confronting local Indian tribes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Family Sagas

Follow these families over the course of generations as their lives play out. Characters from a wide variety of countries and social backgrounds are represented.

Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Robertis

Follows the story of three generation of women of the Firielli family as they search for love and identity during the tumultuous political events of twentieth-century Uruguay.

New York by Edward Rutherfurd

A tale set against a backdrop of New York City's history from its founding through the September 11 attacks traces the experiences of characters who witness such periods as the Revolutionary War, the city's emergence as a financial giant, and the Gilded Age.

Bloodroot by Amy Green

Myra Lamb of Bloodroot Mountain has troubling "haint" blue eyes and a grandma whose touch charms people and animals alike. When their neighbor John Odom tries to tame Myra, he meets a with shocking, violent disaster.

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

The decade following World War II becomes one of tragedy, excitement, and unexpected change for the five Novak children and the residents of their western Pennsylvania community of company houses, church festivals, union squabbles, and firemen's parades.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

The story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow who is ahead of her times, Katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss.

Elegant and captivating, Rules of Civility turns a Jamesian eye on how spur of the moment decisions define life for decades to come. A love letter to a great American city at the end of the Depression, readers will quickly fall under its spell of crisp writing, sparkling atmosphere and breathtaking revelations, as Towles evokes the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Capote, and McCarthy.

Read if you like: Historical and/or literary fiction, a lyrical and witty tone, and character-driven plots with a strong sense of place.

Comparable Authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, or any other Jazz Age writer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Overcoming Adversity

These are accounts of individuals dealing with catastrophic disruptions in their lives. Bear witness to their valiant struggles to cope with or overcome their ailments.

Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison

The author describes life growing up different in an odd family, his unusual talents, his struggle to live a "normal" life, his diagnosis at the age of forty with Asperger's syndrome, and the dramatic changes that have occurred since that diagnosis.

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

A brain scientists recounts her experiences after suffering a stroke at the age of thirty-seven, describing her discovery of differences in the left and right side of the brain and the steps she took over a period of eight years to recover her health.

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

Traces a San Francisco newspaper columnist's life experiences as evaluated during her late thirties, describing her relationships with her husband, children, and Irish-American father before and during her battle with breast cancer.

Swallow the Ocean by Laura Flynn

Traces the author's coming of age under the shadow of her mother's paranoid schizophrenia, a disorder that ended her parents' marriage and caused the author to be raised in accordance with her mother's distorted perceptions of the world.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not Just for Teens: Fantasy

Enjoy these explorations into the world of make believe written for young adults but sure to please the young at heart as well.

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

Torn from their parents in a society increasingly controlled by the government, 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother, Whit, are incarcerated in a totalitarian prison where they discover they have incredible supernatural powers.

Summerland by Michael Chabon

Ethan Feld, the worst baseball player in the history of the game, finds himself recruited by a 100-year-old scout to help a band of fairies triumph over an ancient enemy.

Hero by Perry Moore

Thom Creed, the gay son of a disowned superhero, finds that he, too, has special powers and is asked to join the very League that rejected his father, and it is there that Thom finds other misfits whom he can finally trust.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming of Age Stories

Growing up is no easy task as these novels demonstrate. Compare your own experiences with those depicted here--you're sure to empathize with many of these characters no matter which decade you were born into!

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

When twelve-year-old cartography genius T.S. Spivet receives a prestigious award, he leaves his quiet ranch home in Montana for Washington, D.C., and he learns more about himself and the world around him on his journey.

Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Grieving after the drowning death of her sister, thirteen-year-old Nico falls into a seductive and dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend during a summer when she realizes that she has moved beyond the help of her parents.

Invisible by Paul Auster

Poet and student Adam Walker meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent, seductive girlfriend, Margot, sending Adam into a perverse triangle that leads to a shocking act of violence that will alter his life.

The Girl who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

After a family tragedy orphans her, Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., moves into her grandmother's mostly black community in the 1980s, where she must swallow her grief and confront her identity as a biracial woman in a world thatwants to see her as either black or white.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Library Catalog Update

We will be upgrading the Library catalog system today and tomorrow to better serve you. The Library will be open with limited services during this 2-day period .

Manual Material
Check-in and Checkout

Temporarily Unavailable
Customer Accounts
Catalog Searches
Hold Requests

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fatally Funny Mysteries

Nuclear Jellyfish by Tim Dorsey

Serge A. Storms, Florida's resident madman and serial killer, continues to dispense his own variety of justice against society's evildoers--this time he and his pal Coleman are out to get an assortment of skinheads and shysters as well as a particularly nasty thug called Jellyfish.

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

On Boston's North Shore, pastry chef Lizzie Tucker is recruited by newcomer Diesel to track down a cache of priceless ancient relics while keeping them out of the hands of Diesel's criminal mastermind cousin.

Withering heights by Dorothy Cannell

Heading for her young cousin Ariel's delightfully Gothic mansion on the Yorkshire moors, Ellie Haskell discovers that a mysterious villain is stalking the house's picturesque halls.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On the Lam

This list contains characters from many different types of thriller. All that they have in common is that they are on the lam. Who is chasing them? You'll have to find that out for yourself.

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
When Melody Grace McCartney was six, she and her parents witnessed an act so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into Witness Protection with the promise of safety, but the program took Melody's name, home, family, and ultimately her innocence. Twenty years later, Melody's had countless identities. So when a man accosts her and calls her by her real name, it's a thrill she can't resist.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
For a price Libby Day will reconnect with the players that murdered her mother and two sisters in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." Having testified that her brother Ben was the murderer on that fateful night twenty-five years ago, now she is not so sure as, piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started--on the run from a killer.

Money to Burn by James Grippando
Michael Centella is a rising star at Wall Street investment bank Saxton Silvers. Everything is going according to plan until the love of his life, Ivy Layton, vanishes on their honeymoon in the Bahamas. Seven years later, Michael's got undercover FBI agents afoot, spyware on his computer, and mysterious e-mails from a "JBU." Embroiled in corporate espionage, he's desperate to clear his name. He doesn't want to believe it, but the signs point to his first wife, Ivy. Could she be back from the dead to destroy him?.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci
Having assassinated the two men who had been inhibiting his freedom, John Carr becomes the target of a manhunt involving the highest levels of the U.S. government, prompting Joe Knox to launch an investigation that tests the resources of the Camel Club.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Teen Reading: If You Like the Pretty Little Liars

You're read the series and even watched the first season on DVD. But what to read next? If you enjoy fast-paced, high drama, and intense mysteries, try on of these other great reads.

The Carter House Girls series by Melody Carson
Why: The Pretty Little Liars books and the Carter House Girls books are high-drama Chick lit and realistic fiction about Rich teenage girls.
Start Here: Mixed Bags. DJ's grandmother is a former fashion model who has restored an old mansion and turned it into a boarding house for rich teenaged girls who are interested in fashion, presenting DJ with a conflict between retaining her tomboy identity or changing her style, as she decides whether or not to try to fit in.

Privilege by Kate Brian
Why:If you enjoy the Pretty little liars series, you might also enjoy the Privilege books. Both are intense mystery reads about the secrets of teenagers. And the secrets keep coming!
Start Here: Privilege. Ariana Osgood plots her escape from the mental insititution where she was locked up after being arrested for the death of Thomas Pearson at Easton Academy, as she plans to reunite with and seek revenge on her old friends.

The Carlyles by Cecily Von Zeigesar
Why: Both series are realistic fiction featuring the lives of teenage girls at elite schools. Rumors, romance, and riches are a big part of both.
Start Here: The Carlyles. Triplets Avery, Baby, and Owen Carlyle have different approaches to their new life in a Manhattan penthouse and elite private schools, but soon each has cause to want to return to their home on Nantucket Island.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

We're just Wild about Harry

Harry Bosch is the lead character in Michael Connelly's bestselling series. And he is one tough guy. Born in 1950 in Los Angeles to Marjorie Phillips Lowe, he was named Hieronymus Bosch after the 15th century Dutch artist and nicknamed "Harry." He became an orphan at 11 when his mother, a prostitute, was murdered. Harry grew up living in a youth hall and foster homes. He joined the army and did two tours in Vietnam. Harry returned to Los Angeles and joined the LAPD in 1972. He became a detective after five years in patrol.

The Harry Bosch series will interest you if you enjoy character-driven and intricately plotted mysteries, a gritty writing style, and a suspenseful and atmospheric tone. These novels are intense and fast-paced, but there are seventeen novels in the series so far, with number eighteen coming out this November. Start with Black Echo and work your way through to The Fifth Witness.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day

We'll be back in business tomorrow. In the meantime, put your feet up, grab something cool to drink, and enjoy a good book. We'll be doing the same.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

In the Kitchen

Are you a die-hard Foodie? Then you'll love these personal accounts of those involved in the food world. Whether you are looking for the stories of professional chefs, curious home cooks or experimental foodies, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained (and recipes to try).

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
The chef of New York's East Village Prune restaurant presents an account of her search for meaning and purpose in the central rural New Jersey home of her youth, marked by a first chicken kill, an international backpacking tour, and the opening of a first restaurant.

Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen
Follows the author's decision to leave her office job and become a pastry chef despite male-dominated kitchens.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Recounts the author's decision to change careers and attend the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, describing how she survived the program's intense teaching methods and competitive fellow students, in an account complemented by two dozen recipes.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Tales from Tinsel Town

There's no business like show business, but what takes place behind the scenes once the movie screen goes dark and the theater lights come up? These novels explore some possible scenarios from Sunset Boulevard to the Hollywood Hills.

Celebutantes by Amanda Goldberg
Hollywood during the glitter, glamour, and hype of Oscar week forms the backdrop for the adventures of Lola Santisi, the daughter of Hollywood royalty, and her friends, Kate, a Hollywood talent agent, and Cricket, a struggling model and actress.

Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk
After personal assistant Hazie Coogan discovers that a new suitor of her boss, movie star Katherine "Miss Kathie" Kenton, has already written a celebrity tell-all memoir foretelling Miss Kathie's death, Hazie realizes she must hatch a plan to save Miss Kathie.

Murder at the Academy Awards by Joan Rivers
While hosting Oscar night on the red carpet, Hollywood personality Maxine Taylor witnesses an actress's suspicious drug-overdose death, which she investigates as part of a plot to separate her daughter from an unworthy boyfriend.

Ten days in the Hills by Jane Smiley
In the wake of the 2003 Academy Awards, a group of friends and family gathers in the Hollywood hills for ten transformative days of love, memories, gossip, movies, and more, including Max, an Oscar-winning writer/director whose career is waning; his lover Elena; his ex-wife, film star Zoe Cunningham; their daughter Isabel; and others.

Poor little B*tch Girl by Jackie Collins
Enjoying power and wealth in their respective positions as a Los Angeles attorney, a senator's mistress and a celebrity madame, three former high school friends find their destinies intertwining with another friend from their teens in the aftermath of a devastating murder.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Southern Sass: Strong Female Characters in Fiction

These Southern women are depicted as strong-willed survivors who know what they want and how to get it, even if they must resort to their womanly wiles to do so. So, fill your glass with sweet ice tea, sit back on your porch swing, and enjoy the rich stories of the south.

Gone for a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

After ending her relationship with her unfaithful fiancee, out-of-work Charleston pastry chef Teeny Templeton is wrongly accused of his murder days later and turns to a lawyer ex-boyfriend, who broke her heart a decade earlier, for help.
Summer Rental

Bulls Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

Twenty years after breaking her engagement to a prominent Southern blueblood in the wake of her mother's suspicious death, Betts Barrett returns to her home on Bulls Island to fight local developers and faces unexpected and dangerous challenges.

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg

TV anchorwoman Dena Nordstrom, the pride of the network, is a woman whose future is full of promise her present rich with complications, and her past marked by mystery.

Carolina Moon by Jill McCorkle

The lives and fortunes of the inhabitants of Fulton, North Carolina intersect at the establishment of Quee Purdy, an energetic, widowed free spirit and tireless entrepreneur whose specialty is fixing broken hearts and changing lives.