Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Outside of a Dog, #78

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

There is nothing quite like settling down on a cold Saturday afternoon with a good book. The best sellers list is often the first place folks look first to find an interesting read. Unfortunately, many of these titles come with long reserve lists. The following stories are great reads and forgotten gems but you will likely be able to find them on the library shelf today.

The Abortionist’s Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde

A female physician and the director of the Center of Reproductive Choice is found drowned in her swimming pool two weeks before the Christmas holidays. When demise is ruled a murder, the unsolved crime threatens to expose the small Colorado town’s deepest secrets.


Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman

The tumultuous marriage of John and Arlyn has a profound and lasting impact on their children and grandchildren. In this story, three generations of family cope with a variety of challenges that threaten their stability and happiness.


A Clean Kill by Mike Stewart

Tom McInnes, looking into the mysterious death of a juror, finds himself charged with murder. Confronted with the possibility of disbarment and entangled in a conspiracy that may reach all the way to the top levels of the government, Tom must act quickly to solve the crime and clear his name.

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Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

Sarah Laden is recovering from the death of her husband from cancer two years ago. Her two sons, Nate and Danny, are vulnerable and fragile as they too cope with grief. It is Sarah’s next door neighbor and best friend Courtney who helps Sarah during the difficult days after her husband’s death. Courtney’s son Jordan is Danny’s best friend, but after the two boys have an unexplained falling out, Sarah begins to come to the horrifying realization that she doesn’t know Courtney quite as well as she thought. A gripping and very chilling story.

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The Doctor’s Daughter by Hilma Wolitzer

A middle-aged woman cares for her prominent surgeon father as he begins his descent into Alzheimer’s. During this time she takes a fresh look at her marriage and wonders what direction her life is headed.

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Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

Be prepared to laugh out loud with this delightful story of a woman whose skills coping with a surly teen-age daughter, a laid-off husband, a live-in mother, and a variety of other equally frustrating folks is truly entertaining. Written in an intelligent and breezy style this book makes it a perfect choice for a fun read.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Outside of a Dog, #77

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

Last week, the Warren Public Library was lucky enough to get Michigan-born author Steve Hamilton to come and speak about his new stand alone novel, "The Lock Artist." We asked which authors he liked to read, and put together this list:

Darkness, Take My Hand - Dennis Lehane
In Dorchester, Massachusetts, private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro work to solve crimes and investigate threats to the locals. In this second novel (the first being "A Drink Before the War") the pair is trying to find a murderer who leaves brutally violated corpses as his calling card.
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There are five other Kenzie-Gennaro novels, and if you enjoy these, try season 3 and 4 of the HBO Drama "The Wire," where Lehane has a few writer credits.
DVD WIR 498 - 501

The Killing Floor - Lee Child
The first Jack Reacher novel by Child finds the former military policeman stopping in a small town called Margrave, Georgia. He thinks it's just by accident, a town his brother mentioned once, but it will turn out to be much more.
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Soul Circus - George Pelecanos
The third in the series of Strange and Quinn novels (Pelecanos' second set of protagonists since he began writing in 1992). Here, Derek Strange is working for a mobster, trying to bargain his case from the death penalty to life in prison, and he and his associate Terry Quinn are getting caught up in abductions, murders, and drug deals gone bad.
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The Torment of Others - Val McDermid
Title taken from a T.S. Eliot poem ("The Dry Salvages" from Four Quartets), this fourth novel in the Carol Jordan and Tony Hill series puts the hero and heroine (a profiler and a detective) to work looking for a possible copycat killer. British author McDermid is well-known for her talent at suspense and surprise and is in high form here.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Memory Of Robert B. Parker

The literary world lost a great grand master of fiction yesterday, when author of the best-selling Spenser and Jesse Stone novels, Robert B. Parker, passed away of natural causes.

In memory of this prolific novelist, we suggest some of his latest and greatest titles.

The Godwulf Manuscript
The very first Spenser novel, this one introduces Spenser as a private detective on the job for a university; hired to find a famous and priceless illuminated manuscript.
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Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel
Fans of the Spenser series are not privy to many details about the P.I.'s childhood or teen years, so 2009's "Chasing the Bear" begins to let the audience (and Spenser's love interest, Susan) in on the back story.
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Night Passage
Parker's first Jesse Stone book follows the police chief (of a small town called Paradise, Massachusetts) as he tries to discover the circumstances surrounding the death of his predecessor. In a corrupt town like Paradise, where thugs and mobsters abound, will he get more than he bargained for?

Night and Day
The most recent Jesse Stone book finds the recovering alcoholic chief Stone trying to get to the bottom of a peeping tom, a mystery involving the middle school principal and her actions towards the 8th grade girls, and the manipulation of his ex-wife.
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Family Honor
The first in a shorter series about Sunny Randall, Parker's first female protagonist. While it's made clear that Sunny is no Spenser, there are several quips and jokes that the Boston PI makes that remind readers of the familiar hero.
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This is Parker's second Westen novel and the first in a trio about lawman Virgil Cole. Critics suggested that these novels refreshed Parker, and that when he returned to writing the Spenser and Stone books that came after this, they were better than ever!
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Before his death, Parker had finished a few books which will be releasing soon. Check with your local librarian for "Painted Ladies" and "Split Image."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Outside of a Dog, #76

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

Many people are aware of the presidential thriller movies about agent Jack Ryan, played in movies such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger by Harrison Ford, but did you know those movies began as books? The Jack Ryan series, by author Tom Clancy is a series of some of the most suspenseful works you’ll ever read. If presidential, political and F.B.I.-based adventures are your favorite thing to read, try some of these novels:

Transfer of Power – Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp novels are very popular, and often on hold as soon as they’re announced. This is the first Rapp novel, where we meet the Navy SEAL while he tries to save the President and a White House full of hostages from terrorists. There are recurring characters from Flynn’s other novels here, too.

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No Safe Place – Richard North Patterson

Normally a fan of courtroom dramas like John Grisham, in this novel, Richard North Patterson dips into politics, introducing readers to a senator named Kerry. In a series of flashbacks, we see how he got where he is today: waiting to hear the results of a presidential primary.

WCV Fic Patterson

The Next President – Joseph Flynn

Well-developed characters and interesting plot twists abound in this 2001 novel. Perhaps showing a bit of clairvoyance, Flynn tells the tale of an ex-Army-sniper who is given a deadly choice: assassinate the presidential hopeful who might be the first African-American president, or let his son be killed an a centuries-old family feud rekindle.

WAM Fic Flynn

Gideon – Russell Andrews

A complicated tale written by a book editor and a mystery author (“Russell Andrews” is a pen name) delves into politics via publishing. Carl Granville is offered an immense amount of money to change the hand-written diary he’s given into a best-selling novel. He sets about doing the job, but things twist way out of control when his contact is murdered and his apartment ransacked. Whose story is he really writing?

WAM Fic Andrews

By Order of the President – W.E.B. Griffin

Griffin’s “Presidential Agent” series makes the total of six for this veteran author. In this first novel, we meet Army Major Carlos “Charley” Castillo, trusted by the President to delve into Angola to discover the truth behind a plane hijacking. These novels take place post-9/11 and explore counterterrorism measures in Griffin’s trademark style.

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The President’s Daughter – Jack Higgins

A YA novel by suspense star Higgins, this book is a fast, fun thrill ride with lots of action and surprises on every page. Here, we find a trio of government agents – including the President of the title, who is a war hero – all racing to save the president’s secret daughter and the world. Will they make it in time?

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Outside of a Dog, #75

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

The New Year is a great time to try new things! Have you ever wanted to learn how to knit? Or maybe you want to fix your own appliances? It doesn’t take a Dummies book to learn how, but sometimes, these easy, fun-to-read collections of everything you need to know to do something can be found in the bright yellow books, and in the other series of easy how-to books, like The Everything Guide, Teach Yourself Visually, and the Complete Idiot’s Guides listed below. If your goal is to expand your horizons, check a few of these out, or ask your reference librarian for more!

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism by Gary Gach

Buddhism, according to various statistical sources, usually ranks between the 4th and 6th largest religion in the world, with approximately 400 million followers across the globe. This religion, focusing on rebirth, enlightenment, and the understanding of suffering is a fascinating way to look at the world.

WCV 294.3 G

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking by Josef Stieff

As Michigan becomes a more popular place for feature films to be made, lots of folks want to get in on the ground floor of fame. This book will teach you how to film your own movie with your own equipment from start to finish.

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Facebook for Dummies by Leah Pearlman

What is Facebook? What is social networking? Who uses it, what does it do, and why should I care? To answer just a few of these questions, read the opening chapter of this new book. It will help you understand why Facebook is as popular and important as it is, and help you set up an account with the site if you want.

WAM 006.754 P

Genealogy Online for Dummies by Matthew Helm

Ever wanted to trace your roots? Find out who you’re related to, or if your family came in at Ellis Island? This book will teach you how! If you can’t wait to take the Genealogy class at the Arthur Miller Branch, here’s the place to start!

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The Everything American Presidents Book by Martin Kelly

If you missed out on history class, or just need a refresher about the Commander-in-Chief and his duties and deeds over the years, check out this Everything book.

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The Everything Start Your Own Business Book by Judith B. Harrington

Is your New Year’s resolution to be successful? Or to take the talent you have and make it work for you? This is the book for you. Detailed here is how to start your own business from scratch, and the legal and financial things you’ll need to know to do it right.

WAM 658.1141 H

Teach Yourself Visually Windows XP by Ruth Maran

While Windows Vista was kind of a mess and is expected to be surpassed by 2009’s Windows 7, Windows XP is still one of the most enduring operating systems out there. All of the library computers still run on XP, and many other business networks do, too. Pick up this colorful, step-by-step guide if you’d like to learn for yourself how computers work.

WDB 005.44 Windows XP

Teach Yourself Visually Guitar by Charles Kim

Do you have music in your blood? Or maybe just want to learn a few chords? Or play your favorite song from the radio? Learning how to play guitar is a great exercise for the brain and for manual dexterity, too. The Teach Yourself Visually books are a fantastic place to start learning anything from guitar to knitting. Try one today!

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