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

January 2008 Recommendations

book cover  A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah [966.404 Bea]

This is a timely, if harrowing, book that successfully describes the experiences of a young man who is just entering his puberty who also is ripped from his village and family by a paramilitary attack. After wandering for several months with other homeless children, he is eventually inducted into another paramilitary band and lives the next few years as a "boy soldier." He witnesses and participates in many wartime atrocities and narrowly survives after being wounded. This book describes a portion of the world the mainstream media largely ignores. It is recommended for people who like war stories and those who are concerned about the plight of children in strife-torn, developing countries.
[Also available in downloadable audio, book-on-cd formats.]

[ official A Long Way Gone web site (also for the author) ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Jim W.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  Nanotech
edited by Jack Dann [813.08 Dan]

Although already a bit past the cusp of "cutting-edge" science fiction, this anthology is a terrific look at one of the hottest SF topics of the 1980s and 1990s -- the field of nanotechnology. With nine stories and one extended poem, this collection gathers together some of the most respected science fiction authors of the past 20 years, and some of the most critically acclaimed stories as well. If you're interested in some truly eye-opening, chilling and exhilirating looks at the potential (both good and bad) for the science of micro-technology, you won't want to miss out on Nanotech.

[ Wikipedia article on the subject of nanotechnology]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceThe Entertainer and the Dybbuk
by Sid Fleischman [j Fleischman]

This is a different kind of ghost story with a different kind of ghost - a dybbuk, a Jewish spirit. This dybbuk is the ghost of a 12 year old Holocaust victim who takes up residence in the body of Freddie, an unwilling American veteran who is living in post WWII Europe and supporting himself as a ventriloquist. The dybbuk helps Freddie improve his act in return for assistance in hunting down the former SS officer who killed him and his sister. - A chilling yet humorous tale.

[ Publisher's page for The Entertainer and the Dybbuk ] | [ official Sid Fleischman web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Mary L.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  The Butcher's Theater
by Jonathan Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman is rightly reknowned for his Alex Delaware series. The Butcher's Theater is an interesting departure from that series. Chief Inspector Daniel Sharavi, headquartered in Jerusalem, is a Yemenite Jew with a California-born wife and three kids. He has been asked to investigate the mutiliation murder of a young Arab girl who's body is found in the Old City. Sharavi puts together a multi-ethnic team to help while they slowly unravel their killer's peculiar pathology. It's too bad kellerman has not made this into a series, since it showed great promise.

[ official Butcher's Theater page on the official Jonathan Kellerman web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Rayma S.
South Branch Library


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book cover  The Lies of Locke Lamora
by Scott Lynch

For readers who enjoy a well constructed world fleshed out by eccentric characters who excel in dubious professions, this is the novel for you. Locke Lamora is an orphan sold into slavery to a thieflord. Soon, the thieflord discovers how audacious this little orphan is, and unloads him on a small group of con-men. The story progresses through Locke Lamora's life and culminates in his biggest con ever. Little does he know that someone else is coveting that which he has. Power plays, mummery, twists and turns, and an ending that comes as a complete surprise. The Lies of Locke Lamora has it all, in this author's first novel. Similar titles: If you can imagine a fabulously realized Victorian world like that of David Liss (Conspiracy of Paper) mixed with the Sci-Fi feeling of a city left behind by a past race, you'll enjoy the setting for this book. Fans of Stephen Brust's Vlad Taltos books will like Locke Lamora.

[ official Lies of Locke Lamora page on the official Scott Lynch web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Sean S.
Eiseley Branch Library


I, too, enjoyed this book tremendously. It features a highly-detailed, well-thought-out world and engaging characters. The only reason I'm giving it a score of 9 instead of 10 is that the pacing in the first half of the book is a bit "stop-and-start", but that definitely picks up and races along in the second half!

Review Score - 9
Rated by -- Scott C.
Staff at the Bennett Martin Public Library

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book cover  No One Noticed the Cat
by Anne McCaffrey

A mind-reading cat, a young prince, the neighboring principality that wants to take over, a ring that detects poison, intrigue and romance - what more could you ask for? At only 124 pages this is a make-believe tale of the first degree.

[ official No One Noticed the Cat page on the official Anne McCaffrey web site ]

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


Review Score - 9
Rated by -- Julie H.
Customer/Staff at the Walt Branch Library

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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceOn the Wings of Heroes
by Richard Peck

Richard Peck's thirtieth young adult novel is a tribute to his real life hero, his dad, who was a World War I veteran. His description of life before the war makes the reader long for that time of family and community, quality and commitment. Peck's main character, Davy Bowman, has a dad and an older brother who are at once heroic and endearing. The dad has a bad shoulder as a result of his military service in WWI and his brother is training as a pilot for the next war. World War II changes everything for Davy. His life is filled with scrap drives, air raid drills, odd neighbors, and growing up early. Peck's usual humor shines through. This would be a great classroom read to help students understand daily life in small town America during World War II.


Review Score - 10
Recommended by Kay V.
Youth Services -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
by Michael Reaves

This is a great book by another underrated Star Wars author: Micheal Reaves. To date, Reaves has only written a few titles for the Expanded Universe. But, this book stands as one of the best Star Wars books out there. The biggest reason this book is so awesome is that it gives us some insight into the character of Darth Maul. This book provides some insight into what makes Maul tick as well as giving fans lots of cool fight scenes. The plot is dark, the heroes are ultimately doomed,but the story is very compelling. A great read for both fans of the Expanded Universe and those who have read few, if any, Star Wars novels.
[Also available in audiotape format.]

[ official Star Wars Expanded Universe web site ] | [ official Michael Reaves web site ]

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


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book cover  Real Life Entertaining
by Jennifer Rubell [641.5 Rub]

Real Life Entertaining is an easy to follow cookbook filled with unique recipes that allow you the cook, to be out with your guests instead of isolated in the kitchen. Fix it and forget it seems to be one of the author's secrets for stress free entertaining. Fix it, put it in the oven, and forget about it until it's time to eat. There are many tasty dishes that have beautiful table presentation. Your guests may think you've spent hours in the kitchen cooking a gourmet meal, when in fact most recipes are quick to put together. This is one cookbook that I return to over and over again.

[ official website for Jennifer Rubell and this book ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  On Gold Mountain
by Lisa See [305.8 ChiYs]

Readers who know and like See's fiction, like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love may not know that she has also written a terrific non-fiction book. On Gold Mountain is a family saga unlike any you have read before. Her parents came from very different backgrounds-her father, from Los Angeles' China Town and her mother from the more mainstream white community. The story of how they came to meet, marry, and raise their children is intertwined with tales from the family's past. Cultures clash, and paths meet and diverge, but See manages to tie it all together in this skillfully written, one-of-a kind portrait of an American family.

[ official On Gold Mountain page on the official Lisa See web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Lisa V.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemFrom the Ashes the Life and Times of Tick Hall
by Scott Morris [DVD 728.37 Mor]

This unique documentary traces the history, devastating fire, and the painstaking rebirth of a house nick named Tick Hall. Native Nebraskan Dick Cavett and his wife Carrie Nye have been the owners of this historic house, built in 1883, for 30 years. When the house burns to the ground, leaving only the chimney standing, Carrie Nye decides that they must rebuild it exactly as it was before. Tick Hall simply must exist. Viewers watch as Dick Cavett and Carrie Nye share their memories of Tick Hall and why they want it back in their lives. The historical architects arrive, and from the sagging porch to the squeaking stairs, they work to accurately build a new 120 year old house. Throughout the documentary viewers learn about the history of the house and the remote area in which it stood. One of the many interesting facts presented in this documentary was that Fredrick Law Olmstead, who created Central Park in New York City, designed the landscaping for the entire subdivision where this house stood. This is an out of the ordinary story that is worth watching.

[ official From the Ashes web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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last updated January 2008
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