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KFOR Book Chats

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Starting in April 2002, a panel of library staff members (primarily from the Anderson, Bethany, Gere and Eiseley branches) have appeared somewhat regularly on Cathy Blythe’s Problems and Solutions program on radio station KFOR 1240 AM in a segment called “Book Chat,” sharing information about books and upcoming library programs. Beginning in 2018, the length of episodes was decreased from 1 hour to 30 minutes, so the number of books discussed was reduced as well.

Here is a list of the books discussed (or mentioned) in the most recent show: June 28, 2018

Cathy B. was not available, so show producer Lizz B. was host, with the following library guests: Scott C., Becky W.C., Lisa V.

150@150: Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings at the State’s Sesquicentennial
by Jeff Barnes [978.2 Bar]

A beautiful photography collection, released in 2017 in conjunction with Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial celebrations. Explores 150 significant architectural wonders spread across the entire state of Nebraska, still standing as of 2017, and the impact they had on their communities. Beautiful images, and informative essays — perfect for anyone who’s either a fan of Nebraska history or architecture…or both!


Written in Red
by Anne Bishop [Bishop]

Enter the world of the Others in the first novel in New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s thrilling fantasy series: a place where unearthly entities–vampires and shape-shifters among them–rule the Earth and prey on the human race.

As a cassandra sangue , or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut–a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard–a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


Robicheaux
by James Lee Burke [Burke]

Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man. From the acts he committed in Vietnam, to his battles with alcoholism, to the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts pepper his reality. Robicheaux’s only beacon remains serving as a detective in New Iberia, Louisiana. It’s in that capacity that Robicheaux crosses paths with powerful mob boss, Tony Nemo. Tony has a Civil War sword he’d like to give to Levon Broussard, a popular local author whose books have been adapted into major Hollywood films. The sword’s history can be traced back to Broussard’s ancestors, and Tony figures it belongs to Levon. But Tony’s intentions aren’t so pure; he believes the gift will lead to a slice of Broussard’s lucrative film adaptations. Then there’s Jimmy Nightengale, the young poster boy of New Orleans wealth and glamour. Jimmy’s fond of Levon’s work, and even fonder of his beautiful, enigmatic wife, Rowena. Tony thinks Jimmy can be a US Senator someday, and has the resources and clout to make it happen. There’s something off about the relationship between these three men, and after a vicious assault, it’s up to Robicheaux to uncover the truth. Complicating matters is the sudden death of T.J. Dartez, the New Iberian local responsible for Molly’s death. Robicheaux’s colleague, Spade Labiche, thinks Robicheaux had something to do with it. Robicheaux’s determined to clear his name. He’s not alone; his daughter, Alafair, along with his old friend, Clete Purcel are right by Robicheaux’s side as he searches for the killer, where a shocking discovery awaits.


Hank & Jim: The Fifty Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart
by Scott Eyman [791.43 Eym]

Fonda and Stewart became friends and then roommates as stage actors in New York. When they began making films in Hollywood, they roomed together again, with shared interests in elaborate practical jokes and model airplaness. Eyman spoke with Fonda’s widow and children as well as three of Stewart’s children, plus actors and directors who had worked with the men to create a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary friendship that lasted through war, marriages, children, careers, and everything else.


Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
by Margalit Fox [ On Order ]

In this thrilling true-crime procedural, the creator of Sherlock Holmes uses his unparalleled detective skills to exonerate a German Jew wrongly convicted of murder.

For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no recent book that tells this remarkable story–in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case. In Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox takes us step by step inside Conan Doyle’s investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time–a story of ethnic, religious, and anti-immigrant bias.

In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home. The police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater–an immigrant Jewish cardsharp–who, despite his obvious innocence, was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor in a brutal Scottish prison. Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Using the methods of his most famous character, he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies, and outright fabrications by police and prosecutors. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater’s freedom.

Margalit Fox, a celebrated longtime writer for The New York Times, has “a nose for interesting facts, the ability to construct a taut narrative arc, and a Dickens-level gift for concisely conveying personality” (Kathryn Schulz, New York ). In C onan Doyle for the Defense, she immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in the history of forensics, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.


The Perfect Couple
by Elin Hillenbrand [Hillenbrand]

It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate. But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect.


The Spellman Files
by Lisa Lutz [Lutz]

Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted toGet Smartreruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors — but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who’s become addicted to “recreational surveillance”); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed “Lost Weekends”). But when Izzy’s parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go — a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.The Spellman Filesis the first novel in a winning and hilarious new series featuring the Spellman family in all its lovable chaos.


Pet Friendly
by Sue Pethick [not in libraries’ collection — try borrowing through InterLibrary Loan!]

In Sue Pethick’s witty and heartwarming debut novel, a sweet dog in need of an owner brings together the perfect candidates…

Todd Dwyer, a successful app designer, wasn’t planning to adopt a dog, but when his Uncle Bertie dies and leaves his little mutt Archie homeless, Todd can’t help welcoming the pooch home.

Archie could charm the marrow out of a bone, but Todd’s girlfriend Gwen is less than impressed with the instant bond the fluffy white ball of fur makes with her boyfriend. When things go awry the first night, she insists that Todd give Archie to his sister, Claire, whose rural home is a day’s drive away.

Todd and Archie hit the road, but circumstances compel them to make a detour to a quaint hotel run by Todd’s childhood friend, Emma Carlisle. As it happens, the hotel is hosting a colorful group of ghost hunters in town for a paranormal conference, and when Archie starts howling into the air vent, it isn’t long before their road trip turns bumpier than an unpaved country lane.

But with Archie’s unerring canine instincts and loyal heart, he may help Todd and Emma see the happiness that’s waiting just under their noses.


Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation
by Brad Ricca [363.289 Ric]

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the incredible true life story of Mrs. Grace Humiston, the New York lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and traveling detective during a time when no women were practicing these professions. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female U.S. District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into modern slavery. One of Grace’s greatest accomplishments was solving the Cruger case after following a trail of corruption that lead from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price when she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire NYPD. In the literary tradition of In Cold Blood and The Devil in the White City, Brad Ricca’s Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. This story is about a woman whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the role of the media, and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist ending – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.

Also discussed —  The 2018 One Book – One Lincoln finalists:


Beartown
by Fredrik Backman [Backman]

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with Beartown –an instant New York Times bestseller–about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world. “Like Friday Night Lights , this is about more than youth sports; it’s part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction” ( Kirkus Reviews ).


Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann [976.6 Gra]

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West?where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the ?Phantom Terror,? roamed?many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization?s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.


Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng [Ng]

“In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.”


Here is a list of the books discussed in the most recent show: May 1, 2018

Appearing with Cathy on this episode: Scott C., Becky W.C., Lisa V., and show producer Lizz B.

The Deal of a Lifetime
by Fredrik Backman [Backman]

It’s Christmas Even morning. Years ago a man abandoned his son to pursue professional success; now he wonders if it’s too late to forge a relationship with him. One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. When the man is given the chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son before he makes the deal of a lifetime.


My Tiny Flower Garden: Beautiful Blooms in Surprisingly Small Places
by Matt Collins [712.6 Col]

With colorful cutting patches, sweet-scented city streets and pickup trucks perfect for pollinators, we’ve unearthed 25 amazing unconventional plots. Meet the couple packing pavements with flowers, the landscape architect who has constructed a meadow in the middle of London, and the Detroit florists who created an awe-inspiring installation in an abandoned building (before deconstructing the site and turning the land into a community flower farm). You’ll pick up all the best tips and tricks as each gardener shares their small-scale expertise, from crafty containers and sequential displays to expert advice on establishing creative community spaces. Plus, practical projects including seed bombs, a pallet planter and a homemade flower press will ensure that every inch of your space is always in bloom. Whether you’re looking for a floral fix or a bee-friendly bed, get inspired, let your imagination grow and enjoy your tiny flower garden.


Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like a Star!
by Tim Federle [not yet in libraries’ collection]

Before Tim Federle became a bestselling author and a Broadway playwright, he worked as a back-up dancer at the Super Bowl, a polar bear at Radio City, and a card-carrying chorus boy on Broadway. Life is Life a Musical features 50 tips learned backstage, onstage, and in between gigs, with chapters such as “Dance Like Everyone’s Watching” and “Save the Drama for the Stage.” This charming and clever guide will appeal to all ages and inspire readers to step into the lead role of their own life, even if they’re not a recovering theater major.


Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist
by Tim Federle [641.594 Fed]

Even if you don’t have a B.A. in English, tonight you’re gonna drink like you do! From barflies to book clubs, Tequila Mockingbird is the world’s bestselling cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels, Tequila Mockingbird also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout. Drinks include:

  • The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose
  • The Last of the Mojitos
  • Love in the Time of Kahlua
  • Romeo and Julep
  • A Rum of One’s Own
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita
  • Vermouth the Bell Tolls

and more!


Music of the Deep
by Elizabeth Hall [Hall]

Fleeing an abusive marriage and tormented by her past, Alexandra Turner finds solace in a small coastal town on Puget Sound and a job with a local marine biologist studying orcas.

After befriending a group of locals, Alex learns that she has moved to a place that has a reputation of being the “most haunted town in Washington.” Such superstitions would be easy to dismiss…if Alex wasn’t already on edge.

Haunted by shreds of memories of her days with her husband, Alex can’t keep from looking over her shoulder. As unexplained sounds and scents accumulate and unnerving forces seem to take hold, Alex is beginning to believe that she’s not escaping her ghosts, after all. In fact, she might finally be inviting them in.


Uncommon Type
by Tom Hanks [Hanks (or Compact Disc Hanks)]

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have

The audiobook version features additional performances by Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Cecily Strong, Holland Taylor, and Wilmer Valderrama on “Stay With Us.”


Gardening Shortcuts: Shameless Shortcuts, Tips and Tricks for a Great Garden Super-Fast!
by Jenny Hendy [635 Hen]

Millions of people love their gardens but wish they weren’t quite so demanding. Imagine growing simple fruit and vegetables quickly, equipping yourself with a list of the best plants to buy for your garden in every situation, and losing fewer plants to pests and diseases. Gardening Shortcuts can show you how.

Packed with effective techniques, sparkling ideas, and shameless shortcuts for every corner of the garden, Gardening Shortcuts contains all the advice needed to create the garden you want and still have time to sit on the patio with a glass of wine.


A Beautiful Poison
by Lydia Kang [Kang]

Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned, and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note. Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails. As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone?even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.


Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
by Peg Kehret [j Biography Kehret]

The author describes her battle against polio when she was thirteen and her efforts to overcome its debilitating effects.


The Food Explorer: True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats
by Daniel Stone [Biography Fairchild]

The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes–and thousands more–to the American plate.

In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.

Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America’s capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.


Here is a list of the books discussed in the most recent show: March 15, 2018

Appearing with Cathy on this episode: Scott C., Lisa V., and show producer Liz B.

The Massacre of Mankind
by Stephen Baxter [Baxter]

A sequel to the H.G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds, brilliantly realized by award-winning SF author and Wells expert Stephen Baxter It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right. Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.


Penguin the Magpie
by Cameron Bloom [Biography Bloom]

People around the world have fallen in love with Penguin the Magpie, a global social media sensation, and her adventures with her human family. But there is far more to Penguin’s story than meets the eye. It all begins when Sam, Cameron Bloom’s wife, suffers a near fatal fall that leaves her paralyzed and deeply depressed. One of their three sons, reeling from the tragic accident, discovers an injured magpie chick abandoned after she had fallen from her nest. The boys name the bird Penguin, for her black-and-white plumage. As they nurse Penguin back to health, the incredible joy, playfulness, and strength she exudes fortify the family and especially lift Sam’s spirits. Penguin’s resilience demonstrates that, however bleak things may seem, compassion, friendship, and support can come from unexpected places ensuring there will always be better days ahead. This plucky little magpie reminds us all that, no matter how lost, fragile, or damaged we feel, accepting the love of others and loving them in return will help to make us whole.


The Tuscan Child
by Rhys Bowen [Bowen]

From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…

“Pass the bread, the olives, and the wine. Oh, and a copy of The Tuscan Child to savor with them.” –NPR

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history–and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now….


Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
by Sally Fallon [641.5 Fal]

A full-spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling message — animal fats and cholesterol are vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Includes information on how to prepare grains, health benefits of bone broths and enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods.


The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland
by Jenny Woolf [828 Woo]

A fairly new biography of Lewis Carroll, tied in to the release of Tim Burton’s all-star Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was brilliant, secretive and self contradictory. He reveled in double meanings and puzzles, in his fiction and his life. Jenny Woolf’s The Mystery of Lewis Carroll shines a new light on the creator of Alice In Wonderland and brings to life this fascinating, but sometimes exasperating human being whom some have tried to hide. Using rarely-seen and recently discovered sources, such as Carroll’s accounts ledger and unpublished correspondence with the “real” Alice’s family, Woolf sets Lewis Carroll firmly in the context of the English Victorian age and answers many intriguing questions about the man who wrote the Alice books, such as: • Was it Alice or her older sister that caused him to break with the Liddell family? • How true is the gossip about pedophilia and certain adult women that followed him? • How true is the “romantic secret” which many think ruined Carroll’s personal life? • Who caused Carroll major financial trouble and why did Carroll successfully conceal that person’s identity and actions? Woolf answers these and other questions to bring readers yet another look at one of the most elusive English writers the world has known.


Here is a list of the books discussed on February 1, 2018

Appearing with Cathy on this episode: Lisa V., and Vicki W.

Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired
edited by Lawrence Block [808.83 Ali]

Even before Lawrence Block could rest on his laurels from In Sunlight or In Shadow, a question arose. What would he do for an encore?Any number of artists have produced evocative work, paintings that could trigger a literary response. But none came to mind who could equal Hopper in turning out canvas after canvas. If no single artist could take Hopper’s place, how about a full palette of them? Suppose each author was invited to select a painting from the whole panoply of visual art–From the cave drawings at Lascaux to a contemporary abstract canvas on which the paint has barely dried.And what a dazzling response! Joyce Carol Oates picked Le Beaux Jours by Balthus. Warren Moore chose Salvador Dali’s The Pharmacist of Ampurdam Seeking Absolutely Nothing. Michael Connelly, who sent Harry Bosch to Chicago for a close look at Nighthawks, has a go at The Garden of Earthly Delights by Harry’s namesake Hieronymous Bosch. S. J. Rozan finds a story in Hokusai’s The Great Wave, while Jeffery Deaver’s “A Significant Find” draws its inspiration from–yes–those prehistoric cave drawings at Lascaux. And Kristine Kathryn Rusch moves from painting to sculpture and selects Rodin.In artists ranging from Art Frahm and Norman Rockwell to Ren#65533; Magritte and Clifford Still, the impressive concept goes on to include Thomas Pluck, Sarah Weinman, David Morrell, Craig Ferguson, Joe R. Lansdale, Jill D. Block, Justin Scott, Jonathan Santlofer, Gail Levin, Nicholas Christopher, and Lee Child, with each story accompanied in color by the work of art that inspired it.


Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford [Ford]

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off–a healthy boy “to a good home.”

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known–and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion–in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.


Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren [Biography Jahren]

An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.</p

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life–but it is also so much more.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.


My Italian Bulldozer
by Alexander McCall-Smith [McCall-Smith]

Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer.

With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected.

A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start.


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