Friday, May 28, 2010
A Little Background: The setting is something of a parallel universe - our world, but not exactly - in the modern era of computers and the like. Where it differs, of course, is in the inclusion of a section of people who can work curses simply by touching you with their bare hands. In this book, we learn about emotion workers, body workers (who can break bones with a touch), luck workers, memory workers, dream workers, and two rarer groups: death workers and transformation workers. In the United States of this America, Working is a crime, which means that criminals do the Working - the top crime families (like the mob) all have big Worker populations. To protect oneself against "the touch," everyone wears gloves and you can buy amulets against curses along with a pack of smokes at the gas station, though there's no guarantee it'll be as good as one purchased from a psychic's tent at a dirt mall.
The Meat of the Story: Cassel Sharpe, youngest of three brothers in a Worker family, has no power of his own. His eldest brother, Philip, works for the Zacharov family, and bears a necklace of scars to prove it, which is likened to the Yakuza practice of counting prison years (look it up.) Three years ago, Cassel killed his friend Lila Zacharov, and now can only remember standing over her bloody body with a knife and a satisfied smile. Now, he's taking after his mother's con-man (con-woman) roots by running a numbers game out of his room at his private boarding school.
When he gets temporarily kicked out for sleepwalking, and sent home to work with his brothers and his retired death-worker Grandad, things start to spiral out of his control, and he finds that his life isn't what he thought it was.
What you’ll Love About It: It’s interspersed with great asides about what Cassel loves about the con, and enough background on the Workers and their history, so that you feel like even though this isn’t your world, you know enough about it that it makes sense to you. You’ll be drawn in by veteran writer Black, and eagerly await the other books in this series; the next is Red Glove, which is likely due out sometime next year.
Bonus: To advertise the books, the Curse Workers website offers banners like these, that might actually show up on billboards and subway signs in Cassel's world.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Contrary to popular culture there is and should be much more to our celebration of Memorial Day than a pile of circulars on the kitchen table highlighting local sales events. The following titles offer a wide variety of reading that may inspire, enlighten, or simply entertain you over this holiday weekend.
Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts this volume brings together a wide variety of eye witness accounts, letters, short stories, and other personal writings that form a dramatic narrative, illustrating in a very real sense the human side and cost of modern warfare.
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Forgotten Americans: Footnote Figures Who Changed American History - Willard Sterne Randall & Nancy Nahra
Fifteen fascinating but little known lives are explored and come to life in this well researched but very readable volume. From early colonial settlements to the close of the nineteenth century, the biographical selections presented here give us an engaging look at our nation’s past through the eyes and actions of very ordinary folks.
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Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-boat Attack - Tom Nagorski
On September 17, 1940 the British liner SS City of Benares was sailing across the
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An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
History comes alive and is faithfully preserved in people’s own words, through oral histories, photographs, reflections, and memorabilia of Word War II. A collection of everyday Americans sharing their wartime experiences with one of our most trusted journalist.
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Herstory: Women Who Changed the World - Ruth Ashby & Deborah Gore Ohrn, Eds.
For years the achievements of many remarkable women have been largely forgotten or ignored by historians. The 120 biographical sketches presented here offer a remarkable look back at some very influential and important women who by their personal decisions, bravery, and actions have helped shape the lives of all women living today.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Outside of a Dog, #92
In memory of Rosalie Kowalski, January 1943 – May 2010.
Baby, let’s play house: Elvis Presley and the women who loved him – Alanna Nash
Elvis Presley had a magnetic personality, not to mention the draw of celebrity that made him appeal to women everywhere. In this gossipy bio, author Nash talks with the famous and not-so-famous alike to show the rock star’s charms and tell the story of his love life.
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The Elvis encyclopedia – Adam Victor
Comprehensive at the least, and exhaustive at the most, this encyclopedia has everything you’d want to know about the hip-swiveling singer. Devoted fans will love it!
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Elvis, Viva Las Vegas [CD]
Featuring remastered tracks ranging from the title to “See See Rider” and “The Impossible Dream,” this limited-edition CD has the best-sounding audio of the King.
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Elvis Presley, with profiles of Muddy Waters and Mick Jagger
A kids’ bio, this book is mostly bout Elvis, but has sidebars and info on the famous bluesman Muddy Waters, and the energetic rocker Mick Jagger, looking into how all three men inspired and encouraged each other.
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Me and a guy named Elvis – Jerry Schilling
Only a boy of 12 when he met Elvis (who was 19), Schilling describes in detail his life growing up with the legend. He later becomes part of the “Memphis Mafia” of friends Presley kept near and dear to him while his fame continued to grow, and talks candidly about the kind of movies and music the singer really wanted to make.
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Elvis, by the Presleys: Intimate Stories – Priscilla Presley
A family memoir more than anything, this book has stories, pictures of reminiscences of Elvis’ wife, his daughter, and other close family members.
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1956 was the year Elvis broke out into the world of music and gained recognition for his singing, dancing, and acting. This video of performances taped in between January 1956 and September 1956 has an hour of previously unaired footage, and the accompanying CD has all of the tracks, as well.
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King Creole [VHS]
Elvis’ third and final movie shot only in black-and-white (the first was 1956’s “Love Me Tender”), he plays a rough-and-tumble teenager who has to drop out of school to help out his father. He becomes a singer for the money, and gets caught up in mob ties along the way.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Martha Graham, famed dancer and choreographer, was born today in 1894. If you’ve ever felt like just getting up and dancing, these books are for you!
Blood Memory – Martha Graham
Graham’s own autobiography follows her life from her upbringing in Pennsylvania through her desire to dance and create dances for the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and the first generation of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel.
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Frontiers of Dance: The life of Martha Graham - Walter Terry
Part of the juvenile “Women in America” series, this book has lots of information on Time’s “Dancer of the Century.” While Graham preferred not to call what she did “modern” dance, many sources list her additions to the world of dance as exactly that.
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Cal Pozo’s learn to dance in minutes: Swing Medley – Cal Pozo
A former Broadway dancer, Pozo now makes videos of himself teaching dances, as well as produces DVDs of other dancers and fitness gurus, including Denise Austin, Kathy Smith, and Dancing with the Stars. Here, he takes the viewer through the 40s swing style, which made a comeback in the late 90s, and has continued to be popular since the re-emergence of bands like the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
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The dance encyclopedia – Anatole Chujoy
Featuring a comprehensive look at many styles and cultures of dance from ballet to swing to modern and tap, and many others. If you want to know a little something about a lot of styles, or a lot about one particular style, check out this book!
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The nutcracker – Darci Kistler
One of the most famous ballets ever, this Christmas tale about Clara and the prince who was turned into a Nutcracker is a long-lasting fairy tale. The original story, written and scored by Tchaikovsky, was a little longer than the modern version seen now.
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We also carry Dance magazine and everybody’s favorite movie about dance: Dirty Dancing.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Can you really tell the future just by looking at the lines on your palm or the positions of the stars in the sky? For hundreds of years, people have tried to divine what's coming next for them and their friends. If you'd like to give divination a try, here's a bunch of great books to look into!
The Only astrology book you'll ever need - Joanna Martine Woolfolk
Exactly as advertised, Woolfolk's book has been in publication since 1982, teaching people far and wide what their sun and moon signs are all about. She even shows you how to make out a birth chart - and gives examples.
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The Astrologer's handbook - Frances Sakoian
If you'd rather just take a quick peek into astrology, this is the book for you!
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Titania's book of numerology - Titania Hardie
Numerology is the practice of using numbers (usually the numbers of your birthdate, added together) to see your future and your personality quirks, and Titania Hardie is one of the foremost names in books like these.
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Numerology: the power in numbers - Ruth Drayer
Whereas Titania Hardie's book is a bit more modern and fun, this is a very basic primer on how numerology works.
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Hot Numbers: use numerology to discover what makes your lover, boss, friends, family, and you really tick! - Jean Simpson
Looking for love in all the wrong places? Jean Simpson will help you divine which numbers are best for you and why the ones that don't work, don't.
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Colorstrology: what your birthday color says about you - Michele Bernhardt
Blending astrology, numerology, and color theory, Michele Bernhardt's book is a whole new look into personality and individuality.
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Complete guide to palmistry - Batia Shorek
Palmistry traces its roots back to India, China, and the Roma people, who looked at the lines and mounds on a person's hands, and were able to divine the length of a life and how lucky in love they'd be.
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Using the runes - D. Jason Cooper
Runic divination, used by the Norse for thousands of years, involves carving symbols onto bone, stone, or other weighted items, then throwing them and seeing which come up.
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Fortune-telling by tarot cards - Sasha Fenton
Of course, tarot cards are one of the most famous and popular methods of telling futures and fortunes, and this book will show you how.
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