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

July 2008 Recommendations

book cover  Green for Danger
by Christianna Brand

A military hospital in a rural village in England during World War II is the setting for this mystery, which is considered one of the best of the Golden Age of mysteries. Amid the bombs and air raids works a group of medical staff, attempting to heal, cure and operate on the wounds of war. Some are volunteers, happy and earnest to do their part for the war effort. Those assigned there are either resigned to it or enter the door kicking and screaming. The patients are a blend of those on the mend or those needing the best this short-handed group has to offer. The village postman IS an unexpected patient. Although his injuries are quite routine, his stay at the hospital ends up in the morgue!

[ Wikipedia page for Christianna Brand ]

Recommended by Evelyn D.
Bennett Martin Public Library - Technical Processes Department


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book cover  The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence
by Gavin DeBecker [362.88 Deb]

Gavin de Becker is a busy guy! A leading expert on predicting violent behavior, he is also a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and one of the world's leading threat-assessment consultants. De Becker believes we can all learn to recognize the signals of the "universal code of violence," and use them as tools to help us survive. de Becker says victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. The book teaches how to identify the warning signals of a potential attacker and recommends strategies for dealing with the problem before it becomes life threatening. The case studies are gripping and suspenseful, and include tactics for dealing with similar situations. People don't just "snap" and become violent, says de Becker, whose clients include federal government agencies, celebrities, police departments, and shelters for battered women. "There is a process as observable, and often as predictable, as water coming to a boil." Learning to predict violence is the cornerstone to preventing it. De Becker is a master of the psychology of violence, and his advice may save your life.

[ Wikipedia page for The Gift of Fear ] | [ official Gavin DeBecker and Associates web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Lisa V.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World
by Thomas M. Disch [809.388 Dis]

This 1999 Hugo-Award winning non-fiction book takes an interesting look at science fiction's influence on American society. Disch, who committed suicide in early July, has an extremely confrontational manner of presenting his arguments, but the book presents a nicely conversational tone that makes for easy reading. Speculative Fiction enthusiasts may have a few bones to pick with Disch over his opinions here, but casual science readers and those interested in the influences of popular culture should find this one to be right up their alley. Note -- This is NOT a short story collection, but rather a collection of interrelated essays on literature and society.

[ official Thomas Disch blog ] | [ Thomas M. Disch's credits at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database ]

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


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book cover  Sentimental Living From the Porch
by Alda Ellis [747.7 qEll]

Decorating and entertaining ideas for the porch and backyard for every season. Beautiful photographs, easy instructions at the back.

[ Biography of Alda Ellis ]

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


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book cover  From Dead to Worse
by Charlaine Harris

With distruction caused by Hurricane Katrina still adversely affecting Louisiana residents, including the supernatural community, telepath Sookie Stackhouse discovers family she never knew she had and once again risks her life for both the Were and Vampire communities. This latest series installment (published in May 2008) further cements Sookie's relationship with the supernatural community - every one and every thing from witches to werepanthers to fairies to vampires - as the Were community prepares for going public as vampires did years earlier. With a surprising yet pleasing ending, this one is hard to put down!
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

[ Chapter One of From Dead to Worse on the official Charlaine Harris web site ]

Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Trust Me
by Jayne Ann Krentz

Krentz does her usual great job of drawing you in with her quirky characters, fun dialogue and intriguing mystery. This time she matches Desdemona Wainright of the flamboyant theatrical Wainright clan with Sam Stark, the computer genius who has been left at the altar twice by women who claimed he was as unemotional as his computers. He's been called an android, a Super Nerd, but Desdemona sees the lonely man who's afraid to trust. She sets out to teach Stark the importance of family. When a dead body turns up and Desdemona's life is threatened, Stark proves he's more than a machine, he's a man in love who will do what it takes to keep his woman safe.
[Also available in unabridged audiotape format.]

[ official Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Janet K.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  The Descent
by Jeff Long

What if hell were a real place underneath our feet? That's the premise of Jeff Long's The Descent, which is a rip-roaring adventure book. Mankind has seen demons, gargoyles, and Satan since the dawn of time. What if these creatures were real? The plot of this book sucks you in to a place you never want to visit but can't turn away from. The characters are interesting but the "what if-ness" of the story is what kept me turning the pages.

[ Publisher's page for The Descent ] | [ Publisher's page for Jeff Long ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Deanne J.
Gere Branch Library


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book cover  Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10
by Marcus Luttrell [958.104 Lut]

How many Taliban does it take to fight a four-man team of Navy SEALs? Just ask Marcus Luttrell. He and his 3 friends were on a recon mission in rural Afghanistan when they were discovered. The ensuing battle is heartwrenching and makes the reader want to stand up and fight alongside them. Lone Survivor starts out with a little background on the training that a Navy SEAL must endure to become a member of the team. These men are NOT quitters. As you read this book you feel proud to be an American, where our warriors don't give up; they would rather die defending our freedom. This amazing non-fiction title reads like a fictional account and -- not surprisingly -- Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to this fantastic action story for a movie to be released in 2009. Find out what happens to the four heroes out in the desert. Can they survive the wrath of the enemy forces? Will they take out the Taliban leader they were searching for? Are YOU tough enough to join their mission? (Please keep in mind that the language may be suitable for more mature readers. Marcus speaks like the sailor he is.)
[Also available in unabridged downloadable audio, book-on-cd formats.]

[ Publisher's page for Lone Survivor web site ] | [ Wikipedia page for Marcus Luttrell ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Julie H.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  sTORI Telling
by Tori Spelling [Biography Spelling]

This is a great autobiography from Tori Spelling herself, most notably famous for her television character, Donna Martin in Beverly Hills 90210 which was produced by her father, Aaron Spelling. The actresses' personal life has been filling celebrity gossip columns ever since she landed her breaking role in one of her father's weekly TV series during her late teens. Belonging to one of California's most wealthy families, Tori has chronicled juicy snippets of her lonely, but elaborate childhood, the much publicized relationship with her mother, a nose job at the age of 15, the fight to be taken seriously in Hollywood as a talented actress, her paltry disinheritance from her father, and most notably a fairytale wedding to the wrong man and then scandalously stealing a married man from another woman. Finally settling down to family life with the man of her dreams, Tori describes her recent changes in life, most notably her excitement over finally having the "normal" family life she has always wished for and learning to subside in Hollywood on a much more modest income. Tori discusses her newest ventures and projects such as the Oxygen channel's series Tori & Dean Inn Love and Tori & Dean Home Sweet Hollywood.

[ official Tori Spelling web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Jessica H.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  The Jeeves & Wooster series
by P.G. Wodehouse

Fun, light reading for fans of British humor (or humour, if you prefer).
[The Jeeves and Wooster series is available in various print, audio and video versions in the library collections.]

[ Wikipedia page for P.G. Wodehouse ]

Recommended by Peter J.
Bennett Martin Public Library - Virtual Services Department


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe Prestige
[DVD Prestige]

Marvelously dark period drama with heavy doses of fantasy and mystery. Two turn-of-the-century Victorian stage magicians begin a rivalry and feudd that involves one-upsmanship, thievery, manipulations of loved ones, sabotage, and ultimately murder. This film is exceptionally atmospheric -- filmed, where possible, with natural lighting. The set designs are gorgeous. And the acting, on the parts of Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, is wonderful. The script, based on an award-winning novel by Christopher Priest, is by the same writer/director who brought us Memento, and this summer's upcoming hit Batman: The Dark Knight, so be prepared for lots of twists and turns. This is NOT, however, a movie for kids...it has a very dark tone, and by the end you realize that both magicians are willing to sacrifice their humanity and become monsters to outdo the other. Nevertheless, a highly recommendable movie.

[ official Christopher Priest web site ] | [ official The Prestige on DVD web site ]

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


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last updated July 2008
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