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INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS

April 2006 Recommendations

book cover  Make Love! the Bruce Campbell Way by Bruce Campbell

Quirky, intriguing novel by actor Bruce Campbell, whose last book was the entertainment autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. The story of this novel involves a B-movie actor named "Bruce Campbell" finally being hired to be a major supporting character in an A-movie, starring Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. The research that "Campbell" must do to prepare for his big break leads to extremely silly plot developments, as Campbell's B-movie upbringing taints the big-budget film and drags the rest of the cast down into the muck. This novel is a bizarre exploration of a fictionalized movie shoot, featuring the author as the fictionalized protagonist, and dozens of real-life celebrities making major or cameo fictionalized appearances. In addition, via creative illustrations, Bruce Campbell also appears as numerous other supporting characters throughout the story. This one's an acquired taste, but if you're willing to take a chance on sheer wackiness, it's worth your time!

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Scott C.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton

This short novel, first published in 1908, passes from adventure story, to satire, to surreal farce, to mysticism. Its themes remain as relevant today as when it was first published.

[ Wikipedia page for this book including links to the full text on-line ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Peter J.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No-Horse by Louise Erdrich

This is an amazing story about religion, spiritualism, Native Americans, American history, women, men and so much more.

[Also available in unabridged audiotape and Large Print formats.]

[ Last Report... page on the official Louise Erdrich website ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Andrea S.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


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book cover  The Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind

This is the story of a people who are repressed. They live in fear of their government and are treated terribly. One day, a newcomer to the land does something so amazing that it brings faith back to the people. This book is part of a series by Terry Goodkind, but can be read as a standalone novel. It is inspirational and sometimes philosophical, and is a wonderful story.

[ official Faith of the Fallen page ] | [ official www.terrygoodkind.net ]

related lists See more books like this on our Terry Goodkind booklist
Recommended by Julie H.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

Big Red Amlingmeyer plays Watson to his brother Old Red's Sherlock Holmes in this hilarious mystery set on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1890's. This first time novelist will have you laughing out loud and hoping for a sequel.

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Tammy T.
Collection Management Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson [811 Joh]

This retelling of the stories of the Bible will move you with its powerful verse and images. It must be read aloud for full effect--it's poetry, after all. We have two videos of it being read, one by the author's daughter, and one by James Earl Jones. But you should read it out loud yourself for the full effect. If you liked this, you might like the shorter poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson such as "Miniver Cheevy" and "Richard Cory," which can be found in many anthologies. You also might try Louis Untermeyer's collection of poems, A Treasury of Great Poems, English and American.

[Also available in videotape format.]

[ Wikipedia page for James Weldon Johnson with additional links ]

Recommended by Bob B.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson [070.449 Joh]

A fascinating and entertaining look at both the history and current state of obituary publishing. Johnson takes what could have been an incredibly dry, uninteresting topic and injects it with a great deal of life, if you'll pardon the pun. This exploration of the art and science behind writing and publishing a high-quality obituary also looks at the culture of obituarists and obituary fans. If you thought that the bland, formulaic style of obituaries in our local papers was all that the publishing world had to offer, The Dead Beat will open your eyes to the charms and eccentricities of obituary writing and reading in the world of bigger-city publishing. This book is filled with examples and quotes from newspapers and Web sites around the country and around the world -- give it a try, you'll be glad you did!

[ official HarperCollins page for both the book and the author ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is from the staff of the Polley Music LibraryCinema Serenade by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra [Compact Disc 782.14 Pit]

Violinist Itzhak Perlman presents movie themes for lush solo violin backed by the Pittsburgh Symphony...a highly romantic album.

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Carolyn D. and Linda H.
Polley Music Library


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book cover  Hold the Roses by Rose Marie [791.45 Ros]

Rose Marie, best known to today's audiences as one of the stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show, began in show business at age three when she won a singing contest. She tells about her vast radio, vaudeville, theater (including Broadway), nightclub, film and television experiences as she worked with most of the major stars and was even friends with several members of organized crime (the boys). Lots of interesting behind-the-scenes stories of the entertainment world. Rose Marie writes as if she's talking directly to the reader. Very little dialogue; mostly narrative, easy to read. This reader was amazed at the amount of detail she could provide on her early career and the quantity of information related, yet to be only on page 40 of the book. But the story didn't drag. No foul language, sex or violence; not a gossipy, tell-all book. This is an enjoyable, nice read of a star who worked with all the big names and didn't feel the need to trash anyone to make herself more interesting. There was more to Rose Marie's talent than as one of the co-stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show..

[ official Hold the Roses Web site ] | [ Internet Movie Database page for Rose Marie ]

Recommended by Charlotte K.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Manhunt: The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson [364.152 Swa]

Swanson, a lawyer and Lincoln scholar, gives us a thrilling, minute by minute account of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and the other conspirators responsible for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Swanson disputes Dr. Mudd's claims of innocence which may surprise some readers. Strong character studies of all the major figures involved highlight a well-researched, exciting tale.

[Also available in book-on-CD format.]

[ official HarperCollins page for both the book and the author ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Rayma S.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemWhat the Bleep Do We Know? [DVD 791.437 Wha]

Scientists use a fictional story to discuss quantum physics and the concept that what we think creates our world. This film takes the viewer on a thought provoking journey into the science of creating your own reality.

[ the official What the Bleep?! Web site ]

Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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last updated March 2008
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