Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #74

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

Although our culture seems to bombard us constantly with information about what, how, and why celebrities are doing what they are doing, it still can be a fascinating and enjoyable experience to sit down and read a good old fashioned biography. I find biographies that are about the not so famous even more interesting to read. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Grieving: A Love Story by Ruth Coughlin

Similar in topic and tone to Joan Didion’s 2007 bestseller “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Coughlin’s book written in 1993 shows us that losing a spouse remains one of the most devastating events that can happen to anyone who has enjoyed a long and happy marriage.

Coughlin addresses her husband’s struggle with terminal cancer and like the Didion title explores what happened to her after his death and how she slowly and eventually built a new life while paying tribute to the memories of a happy marriage.


Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro

In her early 20’s Dani Shapiro’s life seemed out of control. Involved with an older married man, unsuccessful at her modeling/acting career, the highlight of her day becomes her clandestine meetings with her drug dealer. When both her parents are injured in a devastating automobile accident that will require months of slow rehabilitation, she comes to their aid. In the end their recovery becomes her recovery. Honest and ultimately inspiring, adults as well as young adult readers who enjoy stories of personal redemption should find this book a worthwhile read.

SHL Bio Shapiro

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes fiction but it is her biographical nonfiction titles that have earned her a faithful and devoted following. Her books are a meandering mix of humor, insightful and personal observations about the complexities of life. Readers will find them entertaining as well as thought provoking. Lamott’s most recent book “Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith” was on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Her newest fiction title “Imperfect Birds: A Novel” is scheduled to be published in April 2010.

WAM WCV WMB Bio Lamott

Also available in Large Type

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailkas

From her very first illicit sip at age 14, through a harrowing decade of drinking, binge drinking, and getting so ‘smashed’ she couldn’t see straight, 24-year-old Koren Zailkas has an all-too-common story of a young girl’s alcohol abuse. She explains why she began, and how she chose to stop in this memoir.

Bio Zailkas WMB

616.86 Z WAM

Also available in Large Type

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #73

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

Instead of all those tired and clich├ęd New Year’s resolutions like lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt…blah blah blah…why not make a resolution to simply read more – whether it’s a diet book, a financial management title, or simply a darn good story, you’ll find an endless supply of appealing suggestions available at the library. Here are some great fiction titles to get you started:

Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian
FIC Zadoorian WCV WAM

Richard runs a second hand thrift store just outside of Detroit (imagine Ferndale or Royal Oak). He is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of junk. He has devoted much of his life to finding, selling, and treasuring the discards of others. When he meets a young woman named Theresa, he discovers that her work at an animal shelter has some poignant and painful similarities to his own passion for saving the discards of others. As their relationship grows, they discover some fundamental truths about each other and the real value of material possessions in life.

The Book of Joe by Joe Tropper
Fic Tropper WCV

A funny and touching story about a man who left home, moved to New York City, and wrote a best selling novel about his old hometown. Now, seventeen years later, with his father gravely ill, he reluctantly returns. Unfortunately, the folks living in Bush Falls, Connecticut were not too happy with his literary portrayal of them and even less pleased with the blockbuster movie based on their town and lives. Can we ever really go home again? Joe begins to find out the answer to that question in often hilarious and touching ways.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Fic Shriver WAM

Shriver gives a fictional glance to the behind-the-scenes lives of a family torn apart by absolutely unspeakable violence. When her son kills several of his high school classmates in a well organized and painfully thought out plan, his mother is left to agonize and wrestle with the reasons why this tragedy occurred. What could she or anyone have done to prevent it? Shriver’s writing style is pensive and pondering as she shares with readers the painful tale of what happened and its aftermath.

Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian
Fic Bohjalian WCV

Bohjalian’s novel takes the reader to northern Vermont, where days of rain have caused a river to overflow. The nine-year-old twin daughters of Terry and Laura Sheldon are swept away in the raging current and the girls are tragically drowned. Their deaths have repercussions for the entire community. This is a thoughtful, sorrowful, and quite surprising story dealing with loss, grief, and the emotional bonds between husband and wife, parent and child. A novel that will stay with you long after the last page.

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Fic Weiner WMB
This sweet novel by the author of "Good in Bed" and, most recently, "Best Friends Forever," is all about sisters Maggie and Rose, who seem to share nothing but the same parents and the same taste (and size!) in designer shoes. Maggie is the flighty younger sister, determined to make her fortune and fame by working as little as possible, while Rose is the responsible older sister. Lawyer Rose lets Maggie move in for a few days and finds her life at the law firm and in her own home, turned upside down. Both girls go on journeys to prove to themselves and each other what's really important. We defy you not to make it to the end without sniffling a little!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #72

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

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, many folks find themselves enjoying vacation or holiday time off from the obligations of work and school. For a lot of families, this is a nice time to settle in for a relaxing evening at home with a holiday movie. Tired of heading to the video store or waiting for your Netflix selection to arrive? Why not check out what your public library has to offer in holiday themed movies...

Instead of listing dozens of choices here…simply click on our automated card catalog. In the search box type in “Christmas films” and select the subject link. You will find 51 films listed alone for the Warren Civic Center branch and 281 films listed if you decide to search all the libraries in the Suburban Library Cooperative at one time. Recent releases as well as classics and children’s films are listed.

The card catalog record will let you know if the DVD is currently checked in and available (remember to click "details" if you want the DVD's call number). Many Macomb libraries will allow you to place a hold or reserve if the item is checked out and will send the material to the library of your choice for pick up.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #71

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

Recently released in DVD is the documentary “Food, Inc.” It’s a fascinating and albeit shocking look at how the food we eat every day is produced, manufactured, and ends up on our dining room tables. The film delves into how our meat so attractively displayed at our local supermarket eventually got there. But more than that, it vividly illustrates how our whole food system does tremendous damage to the environment, economy, and our personal health. We may produce the cheapest and most abundant food in the world, but in reality it is tremendously expensive in many ways. Other books dealing with this topic are also suggested.

Food Inc

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the all-American Meal - Eric Schlosser
WCV 394.1097S

King Corn: You are What You Eat
SHL SCS RSV DVD 633.15 King

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto - Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan

Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with more than 75 Recipes - Mark Bittman

Super Size Me - Morgan Spurlock
MPL DVD 647.95 S
ROG DVD 394.1 S
RSV DVD 616.28 S