Monday, September 25, 2006

A few of my favorite things...

My library has a staff picks section for books, CDs, and movies. I recently wrote down all my favorites so I could remember them more easily when the display is getting empty and I thought I would share some with you.

Here are some of my recent favorite CDs:

Tambourine, by Tift Merritt

Careless Love, by Madeleine Peyroux

We Shall Overcome, the Seeger Sessions, by Bruce Springsteen

American Folk, a compilation by Putumayo

Lifesong, by Casting Crowns

The Ditty Bops, by the Ditty Bops

I also can't wait to get Diana Krall's newest CD, From This Moment On, she's my VERY favorite artist.

You know, I said "recent" favorties, but most of these are from 2004! I guess I need to start listening to some newer stuff!

Your Friendly Librarian

Friday, September 15, 2006

Overdue library book from 1946 returned

Library Journal has a fun story today. Check it out: "Paying that Big Library Fine, for a Cause."

Your Friendly Librarian

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I have quite a stack beside my bed right now:

Alabama Moon, by Watt Key

The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner

The Third Sister, by Julia Barrett

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Bill Bryson's African Diary, by Bill Bryson

Espresso Tales, by Alexander McCall Smith

The Book Shop, by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram

La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind, by Beppe Severgnini

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thirteen Moons

Charles Frazier has a lot to live up to. His very first novel was the highly acclaimed, National Book Award-winning Cold Mountain - a dynamo of a novel that captured the hearts of readers all over America. His second novel, Thirteen Moons, comes out in October, to what response is yet to be seen. I had an advanced reader's copy of Thirteen Moons, so I'll tell you what I think now.

Thirteen Moons is an epic tale set in nineteenth century North Carolina, among the Cherokees and the white men who have settled the land. In a memoir style, the story is told by Ben, who at the age of twelve, was sent off to manage a trading post on the edge of the Cherokee nation. As he forges close ties with the Cherokees, Ben finds family and love among them, and becomes their savior as the government tries to force them to Oklahoma. The sweep of the novel follows Ben to Washington, D.C., into the Civil War, and across the fledgling settlements of the Midwest, through dynamic technological changes and changes in attitudes. Thirteen moons refers to the lunar year, and the cycle of time plays an important role in the novel.

What makes Ben a great character is his unquestionable knowledge that he is just as much a swaggering buffoon as he is full of love, honor, and vengence. He acknowledges his flaws with as much humor as his assets.

Full of memorable characters, yarns, and the same breath-taking scenery that made Cold Mountain such a beautiful book, there is much to recommed in Thirteen Moons. Give it a try and see if you think it is a worthy second novel. I think it is.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Whole World Over

Since it is September 11th, I think it is appropriate to talk about Julia Glass, a truly wonderful author, who has incorporated the events of 9/11 into both of her highly-acclaimed novels, Three Junes and The Whole World Over. While neither novel revolves around the events of that day, both tell the story through their character's eyes, in tender and memorable ways.

Three Junes, Glass's first novel, won the 2002 National Book Award and The Whole World Over lives up to the author's reputation. Glass's strength is in her characterizations. The Whole World Over weaves together the stories of four different New Yorkers and all the people in their lives. Through unexpected connections, the lives of these four come together through love, loss, family, careers, and just running into one another on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

I loved the surprising twists and turns in the plot and Glass is so skilled that her characters live and breath like friends. Now that the novel is finished, I still want more; I'm not ready to let go of these characters, even if the novel has wrapped up well.

Try either Three Junes or The Whole World Over, to commemorate 9/11 or just for a good read. You won't be disappointed.

Your Friendly Librarian

Artist of Detection

Laurie R. King is a very popular mystery writer - she writes the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, the Kate Martinelli detective stories, and has some stand-alone novels as well. Recently a colleague told me that King's newest Kate Martinelli novel, The Art of Detection, has ties to the most recent Mary Russell novel, Locked Rooms. What a wonderful, genius concept! Even though I had never read the Kate Martinelli series, I'm a huge fan of Mary Russell, so I went right out to get this great concept book.

To be honest, to say much more would give away too much. What I will say is that The Art of Detection fills in some gaps left in Locked Rooms where Holmes wanders off on his own investigation while Russell is pursuing her memories. The novel was well-written, highly original and entertaining, and brought even more of Holmes's character to light, King style.

If you haven't read the Mary Russell mysteries, start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is one of my favorite series!

A+ Laurie King!

Enter the world of Laurie R. King at her website.

Your Friendly Librarian