Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #36

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Long known as the holiday celebrated with wild parades and traditions in New Orleans, Mardi Gras (literally, “fat Tuesday”) was a celebration of the days leading up to the observance of Lent, when some people give up their favorites vices like candy and caffeine. Mardi Gras is the last day to eat these goodies, so make sure you pick up a pączki (poonch-key) before the day is done! Pick up one of these books, movies, or CDs while you’re relaxing.

Cajun Dance Hall (CD)

Featuring music mainly in French and it’s variant, French Creole, this CD will have you dancing along to well-known Cajun artists like Eddie LeJeune and David Doucet.

CD Folk: Cajun WCV

Creole Flavors: recipes for marinades, rubs, sauces, and spices – Kevin Graham

If you like a little crawfish or want to try your hand at gumbo, this is the book for you! Kevin Graham, a longtime New Orleans restaurant chef, promises to test your tastebuds – and your cooking savvy in this collection of tasty traditions.

641.6 G WAM SBL

New Orleans 2008

While Hurricane Katrina rocked the Crescent City in 2005, New Orleans is still a vibrant, city of cultural and spiritual wonders. Visit the French Quarter to glimpse Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s crypt, or the Garden District, where galleries and musicians still thrive. The Fodor’s edition explains the extent of hurricane damage and what’s been done to repair and revitalize the districts.

917.63 F WCV

Cendrillon: A Cajun Cinderella – Sheila Hébert-Collins

The Cinderella story may have its roots in the ancient Roman tale of Rhodopis, but there are versions all over the world, and all over the United States. Cendrillon has French words and phrases included in the story, and they’re defined on every page, so you can learn as you go!


Interview with the Vampire (VHS)

Anne Rice’s book started off a series of vampire legends and movies, but this was the first. Starring Tom Cruise at the height of his popularity, and Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst as they were getting started, the movie showcases the lush backgrounds of New Orleans for hundreds of years. [Rated R.]


DVD Arts Interview TPL


Monday, February 23, 2009

You'll freak for this book!

Today’s Book: Candyfreak: A journey through the chocolate underbelly of America, by Steve Almond

The plot: A nonfiction winner of the Alex Award (given to 10 adult books with special appeal to young adults), Almond’s odyssey of rediscovering the candies he loved as a child is funny and touching all at once. It’s a road-trip adventure to see how candies are made, and gives great detail on the machines and hand-done confections. Almond also goes into the politics and price of getting older candies made and sold.

Why You’ll Love It: Described by many reviewers as tantalizing, Candyfreak will make your mouth water for old classics like the Twin Bing, the Peanut Chew, the Goo Goo Cluster, and the Idaho Spud (which doesn’t contain potatoes, by the way.)

Who Will/Should Read It: Food lovers, candy lovers, chocoholics, and anyone who likes humor and a road trip rolled together in caramel and nuts!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Author Profile: Carl Hiaasen

A Florida journalist whose novels tend to mirror his concerns about the world and his home state, Hiaasen has been writing since the early 1980s. His first novel, Powder Burn (written with Bill Montalbano), thrusts the reader headlong into drug cartel and murder scandals, and the rest of his solo books, mostly thrillers, do the same. A little known fact – Hiaasen also wrote the book that became the movie Striptease with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds.

Tourist Season
Hiaasen’s first solo novel features a man who goes swimming and returns in a suitcase, missing his legs and with a few nasty surprises, too. Private Eye Brian Keyes discovers that the dead man was the president of the Miami Chamber of Commerce – and that he was likely killed by a group of anti-tourist terrorists!
Mys Hiaasen RAY

Naked Came the Manatee
A book written by 13 different Miami-based authors starting with Dave Barry and ending with Carl Hiaasen, Naked Came the Manatee was printed as a serial novel in the Miami Herald’s Tropic magazine. Played like the literary game “Exquisite Corpse” or “Telephone,” the story twists, turns, murders, and beheads a wild cast of characters, not least of all is a manatee named “Booger.”
Fic Naked WDB CHE
LT Fic Nake SBL

Hiaasen’s first young adult novel, Hoot tells the tale of Roy Eberhardt, a new kid at a middle school in Coconut Grove, Florida. He discovers, oddly enough, through being bullied, that there are endangered owls whose home will soon be built over by a pancake house. With help from tough girl Beatrice, Roy tries to save the owls. Like most of Hiaasen’s novels, there is a heavy focus on environmentalism.


BKD YA Fic Hiaasen WCV

Skinny Dip
A satirical crime novel involving a pollution scam, an attempted murder, and a former swimming champ wife, Skinny Dip once again features recurring character Mick Stranahan, an ex-cop who first appeared in Hiaasen’s Skin Tight.
BKD Fic Hiaasen WMB

Thanks to CB for this author suggestion!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #35

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

"Say, hey, good-lookin’, whatcha got cookin’… How about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?" - Hank Williams

While cookbooks are a mainstay of libraries everywhere, if you’re more of a taster than a chef, try these food-related nonfiction finds and novels.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain
We’ve reviewed this book before, in August of 2008, and we revisit it again for this list. Bourdain’s wit and wisdom about food and the restaurant business are interesting and funny. Also available is a collection of short works by Bourdain, released in 2006, called “The Nasty Bits.”
Bio Bourdain WCV WDB
CD Bourdain MCL

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany - Bill Buford
New Yorker editor Buford gave up his desk-jockey life to learn the ins and outs of cooking under famous Babbo chef Mario Batali. Included in the book are adventures with knives, some biographical details about Batali, and lots of humor.
641.5945 B ROG SBL SCS WAM
Also available as an e-book and e-audiobook.

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip—Confessions of a Cynical Waiter – The Waiter
While Kitchen Confidential specializes in ‘back-of-the-house’ (a.k.a. the kitchen) tales, Waiter Rant is all about the ‘front-of-the-house;’ telling of diners both rude and sweet, and adventures with managers and other waiters that stemmed from “The Waiter”’s Waiter Rant blog.
642.6 D TPL
647.9506 W EPL
Also available as an e-book and e-audiobook.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen #1) – Joanne Fluke
The first of the foodie murder mysteries by Fluke (#12 – Cream Puff Murder comes out later this month) finds heroine and cookie-baker extraordinaire Hannah Swensen trying to solve the murder of a delivery man – after he’s found dead in a pile of her famous chocolate chip cookies! Each book contains thematic recipes, too!
Playaway Fluke SCS

Dying for Chocolate (Goldy Bear #1) – Diane Mott Davidson
Goldy Bear is an inventive caterer with a shaky past – her ex-husband stalks and threatens her, and her bills are piling up! She takes a job at the ritzy Aspen Meadow Country Club to both get away and get on top of her mounting problems. But when one of the men at the club courts her, then ends up dead, Goldy’s new life may be in danger!
The Goldy books also include recipes – Dying for Chocolate features “Scout’s Brownies,” so good shivers will run down your spine!
BCD Fic Davidson TPL
AC Fic Davidson CHE

Bone in the Throat – Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain goes fiction in this first novel involving gangsters and restaurateurs in New York’s seedy Little Italy district. Also available is his second novel, which strays away from foodie interests, “Gone Bamboo.”
Fic Bourdain RSV MTC

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #34

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

We can’t forget to mention works that don’t fit any of the other categories. Of course, I’m talking about manga! What is manga? It’s literally translated Japanese for “whimsical pictures,” and they’ve been around since nearly World War II. Listed here are some more modern favorites – most read in the traditional style: back to front and right to left, instead of front to back, left to right.

Full Metal Alchemist
Edward and Alphonse Elric are two brothers who lost parts of their body when trying to use alchemy to bring their dead mother back to life (which failed). The story has the backdrop of a civil war, which the main characters of the story were involved in. It comes out that the war was generated by homunculi (humans infused with the Philosopher’s Stone) who each represent one of the seven deadly sins. The Elrics are searching for the philosopher's stone to regain their bodies back to normal. The manga (which as a different plot line than the anime series) has deep-running emotions/themes, the essence of what makes one human, humor, action, government conspiracies, and a look at two boys trying to find their way back to an age of innocence when they know they can never un-know what they have witnessed.
YA Fic Arakawa WCV
GN Arakawa MPL
YA Graphic Arakawa ROG

Death Note
Light Yagami is a young man who is upset by the crime and corruption he sees in his city. When he happens upon the Death Note – a notebook that has the names of people fated to die written in it – he decides to become “The God of the New World,” passing judgment on the criminals he sees. Unfortunately for Light, there are rules as to how the Death Note is to be used by himself and other shinigami (“death gods”), and he will have to deal with them, especially one who goes by the name of “L” throughout this suspenseful series.
YA Fic Ohba WCV
741.5 Death RSV
Graphic Novel Death Note WAM

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story
Former assassin Himura Kenshin decides to work for peace after the Bakumatsu War. He wanders the Meiji-era (1868 – 1912) countryside of Japan, offering protection and aid to those who need it, as a way to make up for all of the killing he did during the war.
YA Fic Watsuki WCV
GN Rurouni CHE
Ya Graphic Watsuki ROG

Absolute Boyfriend
Absolute Boyfriend is a short (6 manga) series about an independent high school student named Riiko who helps an odd-looking cosplayer (person who dresses up as anime character in real-life) retrieve his lost cell phone. From there, she "accidentally" fills out an online form from his company on what makes the perfect boyfriend....and they deliver him (a robot) straight to her door! What ensues is a crazy series of adventures as Riiko tries to keep the truth about "Night" (her robo-boyfriend) from the cute-guy-next-door who secretly has loved her for years. Night is perfect in every way, and what every girl dreams of, but will Riiko ultimately chose him over a real flesh-and-blood guy? From a jealous best friend to a malfunction that turns Night the size of a mouse, this manga had me laughing out loud so much. I've never read one so funny. The ending is bittersweet and the entire series is a delight.
YA Fic Watase WCV
YA Comics Wat WMB

If you’re not sure any of these great adventures is for you, try an issue of Shonen Jump or Shojo Beat magazines, which feature many stories in each issue. Shonen Jump specializes in action or “boy” comics, and Shojo Beat is more about romance or “girl” stories.
Shonen Jump YA Fic Shonen WCV/ Magazines WMB SJ
Shojo Beat WCV YA Shojo Beat/ Teen Shelving TPL Sho

Thanks to PW, NB, and BW for your help with this column!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #33

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

DC may be home to the originals – Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, but Marvel comics, founded by Martin Goodman in 1939, boasts more than a few famous names, many of them created by the now-familiar Stan Lee. Here are some of the best:

Ultimate X-Men, Volume 1: The Tomorrow People – Mark Miller

Rebooting one of the most popular and long-lasting franchises, “The Tomorrow People” begins retelling the story of the Sentinel Project, used to hunt down and kidnap or kill hidden mutants.

YA Fic X-Men WCV

Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 7: Irresponsible – Brian Michael Bendis

When a foreign-exchange student, Gedlhoff, shows up with the strange ability to blow things up just by looking at them, Spider-Man really has his work cut out for him. But, as always, his real life and his superhero life don’t always cooperate, because, as Peter Parker, he’s dealing with losing Mary Jane as a friend and a girlfriend!

YA Fic Spider-Man WCV

Best of the Fantastic Four – Mark D. Beazley

Collecting many adventures of the cosmic-ray-altered supergroup, this graphic novel tells the first story of the Fantastic Four (which debuted in 1961). It also continues on to stories as late in the continuity as 2004.

YA Comics Bes WMB

Runaways, Volume 1: Pride and Joy – Brian K.Vaughan

A comic made with teenagers in mind, this series takes on a whole new meaning of ‘fighting with your parents!’ The kids in this story find out that their mothers and fathers are all evil supervillains – and they, too, have superpowers! Will they be able to work together to stop their parents?

YA Graphic Novel Runaways #1 WAM

YA Graphic Vaughan FRA