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Staff Recommendations – September 2006

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September 2006 Recommendations

longtailThe Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
by Chris Anderson (658.8 And)

What could have been an incredibly dry look at contemporary economic trends is turned into a fascinating exploration of societal change and cultural shift, in Anderson’s best-selling tome. An expanded version of an article he originally did for WIRED magazine, The Long Tail is entertaining, informative and eye-opening. As the book’s subtitle hints, the theory of “the long tail” of economics is that beyond the “hits” in most product categories — the most popular or most requested books, movies, CDs, herbal shampoos, etc. — resides an immense number of less-popular yet still in-demand products. That vast number of lower-interest products is not traditionally stocked in most brick-and-mortar stores, due to space limitations, but for on-line merchants who can afford to provide a broader selection, those low-interest items, when combined, comprise an increasingly larger portion of sales than ever before.

( Original WIRED article ) | ( Wikipedia article on The Long Tail )

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

tatooineghostTatooine Ghost
by Troy Denning (Denning)

Troy Denning is an awesome author. Unfortunately, many of his works go unheralded beacuse so many of his books are contributions to larger series. Such is the case with many of his Star Wars books. But, in “Tatooine Ghost”, Denning gets to tell a stand-alone story. Denning has a great feel for his characters. His plots draw upon events from other stories and authors, yet only serve to enhance them, not contradict them. In this book, Han Solo and Princess Leia have travelled to Tatooine on a mission. Denning does a great job in portraying their desire to get married, but some of the reservations they have as well. His best work is in having Leia confront the childhood of Anakin Skywalker, the man she only as Darth Vader. A nice touch is involving Anakin’s childhood friend, Kittster, as a central point in the plot. This is a great novel for any fan of Star Wars to read.

StarWarsReviews( official Star Wars website ] | ( Wikipedia page for Tatooine Ghost )

See more books like this on our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist

Recommended by Corey G.
Bennett Martin Public Library

americantragedyAn American Tragedy
by Theodore Dreiser (Dreiser)

Dreiser’s epic features Clyde Griffiths, a Midwest kid whose family runs a strett mission. After working in a hotel and seeing how the other half lives, he gets a job in a factory in order to better himself. After romancing one of the factory girls who gets pregnant he meets a beautiful rich girl who embodies all of his dreams. After hearing about a boating accident on a nearby lake, he plots to rid himself of his complaining girlfriend. This ill-advised venture leads to the tragedy in the title. A classic worth revisiting.

( Wikipedia page for An American Tragedy website )

See more books like this on our booklist: Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels — 1923-2005

Recommended by Rayma S.
Bennett Martin Public Library

doctorsordersStar Trek ReviewsDoctor’s Orders
by Diane Duane (Duane)

One of my all-time favorite Star Trek novels, by one of the writers who captures the characters the best. “When Dr. McCoy grumbles once too often about the way the Enterprise ought to be run, Captain Kirk decides to leave the doctor in command while he oversees a routine diplomatic mission. However, the doctor soon learns that command is a double-edged sword, when Kirk disappears without a trace. Desperately trying to locate his captain, McCoy comes under pressure from Starfleet to resolve the situation immediately. Matters go from bad to worse when the Klingons arrive and stake their own claim to the planet in question. Then another, more deadly power threatens them all, and suddenly, Dr. McCoy and the Enterprise find themselves pitted against an alien fleet in a battle they have no hope of winning.” Though the underlying premise — Doctor McCoy refusing to give up command to the much more able Commander Spock — is ridiculously silly, if you can get past that, this book is a great character study and an adventurous romp in the Star Trek universe!

( official Diane Duane website )

See more books like this on our Star Trek: The Reading List booklist

hear Scott C. talk about this title in the To Boldly Go…Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary podcast recording!


Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

I picked this book because it stars Dr. McCoy, who is my favorite Star Trek character. The Enterprise is on an exploration mission to a planet called Flyspeck which a previous Starfleet crew visited briefly. The goal is to gather more data on the planet and the three intelligent species that inhabit it. Kirk has been told that if possible he is to propose they join with the United Federation of Planets. Upon arrival they meet two species, the Lahit and Ornae. All is going well, except for some linguistic translator issues. When they ask about the other species, the ;At, they get vague responses. During all of the investigations Kirk, by Starfleet Rules, remains aboard the ship. Eager to be down below he summons McCoy who had been working excitedly non-stop for days. McCoy had just meet an ;At and was displeased about being called away. Kirk hands over his Captainship to go ashore, leaving McCoy in charge, assuring him nothing will happen. Well, things do happen. Kirk goes missing and they cannot find him anywhere on the planet with their scanners. As the search continues, a Klingon ship arrives and begins to orbit the planet and send crew ashore. After a while an Orin pirate ship turns up as well, but will Captain Kirk? At first McCoy tries to give up command to Spock, who is much more qualified. However Spock informs him that only the captain can relieve him in the circumstances, and after a while he comes to accept it. I really enjoyed this story’s plot and characters. The actual writing I will say seemed a bit rushed; there were some grammar issues that didn’t read well and some of the phrasing is like this too. While this did get in the way at times throughout the whole book, the plot kept me reading. If you like Star Trek the original series and are looking for a novel to read this would be a good one for you.

If you like this one, you may wish to try Star Trek: Last Roundup by Christie Golden, available through the Hoopla streaming service.


Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

nitpickersclassictrekStar Trek ReviewsThe Nitpicker’s Guide for Classic Trekkers
by Phil Farrand (791.457 StaYf)

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Classic Star Trek’s first airing this month (premiered September 8, 1966), we present this wonderful book for true-science-blue Trek fans. The Nitpickers Guides were a series of books published in the early-to-mid 1990s, until publishing issues brought them to a halt and migrated their content to the internet. The Nitpicker’s Guide for Classic Trekkers looks at the original Star Trek series with a loving yet discerning eye, bringing a sense of humor towards the task of pointing out the logic and continuity lapses that the series fell into. If you’re not “into” Star Trek, this book probably isn’t for you. But if you consider yourself even a passing fan, you’ll appreciate Phil Farrand’s humorous tribute to the show.

( Nitpicker’s Central — the official Nitpicker’s Guide/Phil Farrand website )

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

waterforelephantsWater for Elephants
by Sara Gruen (Gruen)

Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski tells of his life in a traveling circus 70 years earlier. As a veterinary student just shy of his degree he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there he meets the beautiful, married, star performer Marlena and Rosie the elephant who seems untrainable. He falls for both of them. Depression era circus life was hard on everyone but good does triumph over evil.

One of the 2007 One Book – One Lincoln finalists!

( Water for Elephants page on the official Sara Gruen website )

Recommended by Ann F.
Bennett Martin Public Library

purpledotsPurple Dots
by Jim Lehrer (Lehrer)

Author Jim Lehrer, long time news anchor for the Jim Lehrer Report, provides a glimpse into the Washington political scene in this fictional book about the sometimes funny, sometimes thrilling story of a retired CIA agent. Charles Henderson steps out of his retired life to help his long time friend during his nomination as director of the CIA. Along the way he discovers a prized political perk called the purple dot and finds out just what it can do for the person who possesses one. This story is fun to read and provides a picture of some of the absurd priorities held by our Washington politicians

Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library

theworldtheworldThe World, the World: Memoirs of a Legendary Traveler
by Norman Lewis (910.92 Lew)

Norman Lewis was a writer who covered areas of the globe not normally visited by outsiders. He visited Indo-China in 1950, Burma before the communists, tribal India, and various locales in South America. He wrote an expose on the brutal, genocidal treatment of the Indians in Brazil in 1969 which led to the founding of Survival International, a world-wide organization working for tribal peoples’ rights. These memoirs describe Lewis’s life and travels. He truly had a way of picking out the most striking or bizarre happenings that occurred during his trips. His sympathy for the foibles of mankind also comes through in his writing. If you like reading about other people’s lives, this book will be enjoyed.

(Wikipedia page on Norman Lewis )

Recommended by Cindy C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

clearinginthedistanceA Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century
by Witold Ribcynski (B Ol5r)

This is the compelling story of the multi-talented, Landscape Architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, who created Central Park in New York City.

(Note: He was also the primary landscaper for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago — one of the topics of this year’s One Book – One Lincoln selection, The Devil in the White City, and he is featured somewhat prominently in that book.)

( Wikipedia page on Olmsted ) | ( Publisher’s page for A Clearing in the Distance )

Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library

mainstayMainstay: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill
by Maggie Strong (649.8 Str)

Stressed, confused, exhausted from caring for your ill spouse or parent? Strong has been there, done that, and has good advice for you! She knows the pressures, the guilt, the anger, and gives you ways to deal. She points out the need to keep yourself physically and mentally well, the need for outside contacts, relaxation, and other interests. She suggests how to deal with physicians and family, find support groups, and much more. You are not alone.

( The Well Spouse Association )

Recommended by Bob B.
Bennett Martin Public Libraries

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