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Staff Recommendations – May 2008

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May 2008 Recommendations

by Susan Wittig Albert (Albert)

With this book, Wittig Albert brings us another suspenseful installment in the China Bayles series. Herb store owner, China Bayles, continues reluctantly to investigate her late father’s suspected murder. This time her husband, affectionally known as McQuaid, takes a more active role in the investigation – even getting some chapters told from his point of view. This book brings to a conclusion the story of China’s father begun three books back in Bleeding Hearts. A must read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, books set in Texas, or cooking or gardening-themed stories.

( official China Bayles page on the official Susan Wittig Albert web site )


Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library

smallfavorSmall Favor
by Jim Butcher (Butcher)

The tenth volume in the popular on-going Dresden Files series finds Chicago wizard Harry Dresden enjoying some down time between crises. Quiet times never last, and Harry soon finds himself under attack from mystical assailants, while also having to repay a favor to Mab, the Queen of the Winter Court of the Sidhe. Allies and enemies keep popping up to make things even more complicated, including a group of Fallen Angels who may be trying to bring John Marcone, Chicago’s biggest mob leader, into their midst. With his friends, the Knights of the Cross, Sgt. Karrin Murphy, mercenary bodyguard Kincaid, and his vampiric half-brother Thomas backing him, Dresden finds himself opposing a mystical power play that could have permanent global repercussions. All while Chicago endures one of the worst white-out blizzards it’s ever faced! The Dresden Files books will be a hit with anyone who is a fan of the hip, pop-culture sensibility of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or who doesn’t mind a hefty dose of spell slinging with their noir-ish detectives. One caveat: If you’ve never read any of the Dresden Files books before, don’t start with Small Favor — there’s way too many returning characters to enjoy without knowing how they fit into Harry’s world from previous adventures. The series starts with Storm Front.

( official Small Favor web page on the official Jim Butcher web site )


Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

ragtimeinsimlaRagtime in Simla
by Barbara Cleverly (Cleverly)

Simla, a city in the Himalayan foothills, is the summer capital of the British Raj is the setting for this book. It bustles with activity when the British aristocrats escape the sweltering heat of Bombay and Calcutta by moving to Simla. Scotland Yard Commander Joe Sandilands has been on assignment in India and will soon head back to England. Governor Sir George Jardine invited Joe to vacation at his at his home in Simla before he leaves India. When Joe’s, traveling companion, a Russian opera singer is shot before his eyes, Joe plunges into the murder investigation. The clues lead Joe on a twisted path that leads to a murderer as deadly as a cobra.

( Publisher’s Ragtime in Simla web page ) | ( Publisher’s Barbara Cleverly web page )


Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries

elizabeththequeenmotherElizabeth the Queen Mother
by Grania Forbes (B qEl43f)

A fascinating book about Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II. Begins with her birth as you move about the rarefied, aristocratic world she was born into. The story bounces back and forth between her and her future husband, King George VI (known as “Bertie”) as they grow up, court, and marry. You move through history and see it from her perspective: WWI, WWII, the abdication, Lord Louis Mountbatten’s assassination, the wedding and death of Diana, and the Queen Mother’s funeral. Photos on every page. A fast read – it took this reader only four hours to get through – and so interesting.

( Wikipedia page for Elizabeth the Queen Mother )

Recommended by Charlotte M.
Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

bigovereasyThe Big Over Easy
by Jaspar Fforde (Fforde)

If some of you are so practical and down to earth that you can’t suspend reality for a time, then The Big Over Easy is not for you. Jasper Fforde (pronounced like the car) has created a mystery so rich in literary references, that you are completely drawn into his silliness and whimsy. Never fear, the mystery is quite satisfying. Detective Jack Sprat is the head of the Nursery Crimes Division in the town of Reading, England. This division deals with the sordid and sometimes violent doings of the Mother Hubbards, The Three Bears and The Gingerbread Men. Mother Goose had a very dysfunctional family indeed. As you are aware, Mr. Dumpty (only his close friends call him Humpty) had a famous fall. Or was he pushed? Is this a crime scene or a shattering accident? Was Mr. Dumpty a true egg or a “hard-boiled” victim?

( official Nursery Crimes page on the official Jasper Fforde web site )

Recommended by Evelyn D.
Technical Processes Department

losingyouLosing You
by Nicci French (French)

This is the first person account of Nina Landry who realizes her daughter is missing on the morning of the day that her family plans to catch a plane for a Christmas vacation. Frustrated by the delays of the police, and instinct telling her that time is very limited, Nina strikes out on her own, guided by the fierce determination of a mother to endure anything so that her daughter is rescued. This is a book that keeps you reading into the small hours.

( Publisher’s Nicci French web site )


Recommended by Dianne E.
Technical Processes Department

manybloodyreturnsMany Bloody Returns
by edited by Charlaine Harris (813.08 Har)

Looking for a new paranormal author? Want to start reading vampire or wizard books but not sure you can commit to an entire 240 page novel? Many Bloody Returns is for you! This anthology of new works by 14 authors will introduce you to the new as well as the tried and true of the genre. This series of short stories combines two seemingly unrelated, or very closely related, topics – life (birthdays) and death (vampires). Each story combines the living dead with a birthday celebration of some kind. To name just a few, you can read about Katherine’s life-changing event at her 55th birthday, Sookie’s invitiation to Vlad Tepes’ birthday celebration at Fangtasia, or a fake medium in Victorian days who gets his just reward. Bwa-ha-ha!


Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library

mummydearestMummy Dearest
by Joan Hess (Hess)

A fun, new read for Hess’ fans! Claire Malloy and “her” police officer begin this book on their honeymoon in Egypt. Daughter Caron and her friend Inez are in tow to keep Claire occupied while Peter is off doing secret police work. What begins as an investigation into a terrorist group leads to black market antiquities and murder and of course a little bit of meddling by Claire! Readers of Hess’ previous works will enjoy the fun new setting of Luxor, Egypt. This book was written after Hess spent a vacation in Egypt with Amelia Peabody series author Dr. Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters).

( Publisher’s Claire Malloy series page )


Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library

by Ruth Rendell (Rendell)

One of the Inspector Wexford series, this is the story of a murder with racial overtones. When the mystery is resolved, Wexford has to re-think his ideas about race and deal with his own prejudices.

( Wikipedia page for Ruth Rendell )


Recommended by Rayma S.
South Branch Library

warunauthorizedW.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose
by Mick Wall (Biography Rose)

A new biography on Axl Rose, lead singer for Guns ‘N’ Roses, dissects the public and private personas of one of the most front mans of one of the most controversial rock bands. Although the author, Mick Wall, has conducted many face to face interviews in the past with the lead singer, he eventually topped Axl Rose’s personal list of sworn “enemies” for reasons unknown long before penning this biography. The author compiles past interviews from Axl, his family members, and childhood friends as well as people in and out of the Guns ‘N’ Roses camp. The book is also based on past magazine and newspaper articles as well as MTV news reports. I found the more recent interviews conducted with ex-band members to be very enlightening in regards to learning about what ultimately led to the break-up of the original band. The author also delves into the Axl Rose’s early childhood in Lafayette, Indiana and explores his tumultuous life and relationships up to the present. This biography includes speculations and facts regarding numerous problems and false starts in the release of new Guns ‘N’ Roses band’s fifteen years in the making album, Chinese Democracy. Although there is very little new or shocking information in this just released biography, it is a great walk down memory lane on one of the most controversial rock bands of music’s history. This book will appeal to long time fans of the band as well people who know little about Guns ‘N’ Roses.

( Publisher’s official W.A.R. web page ) | ( official Mick Wall Twitter )


Recommended by Jessica S.
Walt Branch Library

roughguidetobloggingThe Rough Guide to Blogging
by Jonathan Yang (006.7 Yan)

Excellent general overview on how to become a blogger and what the world of blogging is all about. Short, concise entries on the history of blogging, how to find blogs, how to subscribe to blogs and how and where to begin your own blog. This Rough Guide volume, like others in the RG series, features tons of side bars and a massive appendix, all listing further resources to explore, or cool sites to visit for blogospheric inspiration.

 ( official Jonathan Yang web site ) | ( Author’s companion blog to accompany this book — no longer available online )


Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

Screening Room

formatvhsdiscoveringhamletvhsDiscovering Hamlet
by Mark Olshaker (Video 792.02 Ols – no longer in the libraries’ collection)

For anyone interested in Shakespeare or in theater, this is a wonderful video that shows an all-star cast rehearsing for a production of “Hamlet.” Sir Derek Jacobi directs Kenneth Branagh in this marvelous production, narrated by Patrick Stewart. (Note: Not released on DVD, this is only available in VHS format, or on YouTube — link below.)

( unofficial Notes on this production ) | ( Internet Movie Database page for this production ) | ( Entire documentary available for viewing on YouTube )


Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library/Reference

last updated November 2023
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