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May 2006 Recommendations

book cover  Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady [B W234b]

Martha Washington is an often overlooked figure in American history. We think of her as the dumpy little lady seen in later portraits. She was actually an intelligent, charming and smart woman who ran her husbands' business affairs when they couldn't and supported her husband George throughout a long, arduous war. Martha outlived all of her children but was survived by her grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was also instrumental in changing the way households were designed and run throughout the colonies. An interesting look at a remarkable woman.

[ publisher's official Book and Author Web sites ]

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

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book cover  Peony by Pearl S. Buck

Interesting characters and a unique display of two very different cultures.

[ Pearl S. Buck page at Wikipedia ] | [ Pearl S. Buck page on the site ]

Recommended by Andrea S.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries

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book cover  Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

This is one of Dickens' best works. A new filmed adaptation was released theatrically in 2002.

[Also available in abridged audiotape, 9-part 1982 Video Series, 2000 BBC tv version on DVD, and 1977 BBC tv version on DVD.]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Kim J.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  The March by E.L. Doctorow

In 1864, after Union general William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta, he marched his sixty thousand troops east through Georgia to the sea, and then up into the Carolinas. Along the way they were joined by freed black and white refugees. Among them are unforgettable characters--unionists and rebels; generals and privates; freed slaves and slave owners. A remarkable piece of historical fiction.

[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd and Large Print formats.]

[ official The March website ] | [ official E.L. Doctorow website ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Ann F.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  This review is from the staff of the Polley Music LibrarySongcatchers: In Search of the World's Music by Mickey Hart [Music 780.89 Har]

Hart, Grateful Dead percussionist & an ethnomusicologist, traces a century of women and men who caught songs by recording traditional music of the world's peoples. Historical photographs enhance the stories about these early songcatchers.

[ official Songcatchers website from National Geographic ] | [ official Mickey Hart website ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Carolyn D.
Polley Music Library -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  Teaching in Eden: Lessons From Cedar Point by John Janovy [378.125 Jan]

This wonderful book is all about teaching in the best of all possible situations, where the teachers engage the students in hands-on, real-life learning. Janovy's lucid style enables the reader to see the joy he and his students experienced. Janovy is convinced others can use what he learned to expand the possibilities for student engagement and excitement.

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

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book cover  Creative Digital Scrapbooking by Katherine Murray [745.593 Mur]

Learn the basics of creating a scrapbook electronically. Then print it for use in a traditional scrapbook or save to CDs for sharing with friends and family. Excellent way for the family genealogist to create a heritage scrapbook of the ancestors to share with the entire clan. Discusses hardware and software needs, and gives basic instruction on how to install the software on your pc. Everything is kept at the beginner's level with examples, samples and illustrations on every page. Lots of tips, how-tos and ideas throughout the book. Appendix B provides a listing of scrapbooking programs, image editors, and digital scrapbooking vendors and suppliers, online photo developers and font suppliers. Appendix C lists other resources: websites for traditional scrapbooks, other digital scrapbooking books, scrapbooking magazines and online tutorials. Overall, an excellent resource to refer to again and again.

[ publisher's Creative Digital Scrapbooking website ] | [ Author Katherine Murray's blog ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Charlotte K.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  The Story of Chicago May by Nuala O'Faolain [364.374 Ofa]

We may never know exactly what prompted young Mary Ann Duignan to run away from her home at the age of 19 and head for the promise of a fresh start in America. In the Ireland of the late 19th century, there was no shortage of reasons to run. Mary Ann stepped onto the steamer bound for the promised land, and reinvented herself completely. To survive in her adopted home, she did whatever it took-picking pockets, robbing banks, running con games, marrying several times, stage acting and, like so many other women of her time, selling herself. She went by many names, but most people knew her as Chicago May. O'Faolain has drawn on many sources of information to write this almost unbelievable account of one woman's immigrant experience. Her greatest resource is May's own autobiography, written during a relatively quiet period in her life. This is both a biography and a study of how individual life stories are remembered and forgotten. It's rare to find an account from this period that examines honestly what conditions could be like for women trying to support themselves. There are many revelations in this remarkable book, and it can profoundly change how readers view the position of women in early twentieth-century America.

[ publisher's Story of Chicago May page ] | [ Profile of Nuala O'Faolain at ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Lisa V.
Gere Branch Library

Review Score - 7
Rated by -- Barbara R.
Customer of Gere Branch

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book cover  The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson

This is one of my favorite collections of all time. The Callahan Chronicles puts together the first three books in Robinson's famed Callahan's series -- Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Time Traveler's Strictly Cash and Callahan's Secret. Each book is, by itself, a collection of shorter works that originally appeared in such sources as Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, all set in a mysterious bar called Callahan's Place. Bar stories are nothing new, and even bar stories in a science fiction or fantasy setting could be considered a popular sub-genre. However, the tone of the Callahan's stories, and the humanity of the characters (even the inhuman ones) really makes this series stand out. The stories here range from heartbreaking and thought-provoking, to tales so humorously pun-filled that you'll be giggling yourself silly. For anyone interested in humorous SF/Fantasy or genre works that'll give you a quick pick-me-up, the Callahan's series is required reading! If you don't come away from Punday at Callahan's with a smile on your face, there's something seriously wrong with you! There's a thriving Internet community that has grown up around the Callahan's subculture...stop in to one of the discussion areas and propose a toast...and remember: "Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, thus we refute entropy."
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

[ semi-official All-Callahanian Web page ] | [ official Spider Robinson Web site ]

related lists See more books like this on our In Space...No One Can Hear You Laugh booklist
Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover

Nobody does dark sci-fi like Matt Stover. That's what makes Shatterpoint one of the best Star Wars books written. The book features Mace Windu during the Clone Wars. Stover freely admits to using plot elements of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". However, Shatterpoint is far from a retelling of a classic novel. It poses an interesting question: How can the Jedi, defenders of the peace, effectively fight a war, where victory often goes to the most brutal? Only a somewhat shaky ending keeps this from being the perfect Star Wars novel.

[ Matthew Stover discussion thread at ] | [ Matthew Stover's blog ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 9
Recommended by Corey G.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library

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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the VHS or DVD format of this itemHoratio's Drive: America's First Road Trip by Dayton Duncan [Video 973.91 Dun]

This 146 minute, Ken Burns, video presentation, tells the story of an eccentric doctor who, on a $50 bet, is the first person to drive coast to coast by automobile in the U.S. Traveling with his mechanic and his goggled bulldog Bud, Dr. Horatio Jackson becomes a local hero as he drives through many small towns, greeting people who have never before seen an automobile. Their vehicle travels at top speeds of 30 MPH and has no roof or windshield to protect them from the elements. It is for this reason that the Doctor has special goggles constructed for his dog. This is an enjoyable story for the entire family.

[Also available in book format.]

[ official Horatio's Drive website from PBS ]

Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library

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last updated July 2007
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