Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kate recommends "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore"

Though it revolves around the hero attempting to solve the mysteries of a 500-year-old code, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore is a fun and illuminating look at the 21st century, the digitization the world around us, and what our future may hold. Like so many recently, designer Clay Jannon loses his job to the recession. He then finds himself working the midnight shift in a dusty bookstore in San Francisco. Strangely, this store barely sells any books, and instead loans out ancient manuscripts to eccentric borrowers at all hours of the night. Realizing something strange is afoot, Clay sets out to get to the bottom of things, using a dizzying combination of software, apps, and networking that scholars of the past could not. This delightful novel combines mystery, science fiction, and even romance to take us on an unforgettable journey through the past - by way of the future.

Recommended for Adults and Young Adults

Kathy recommends "State of Wonder"

State of Wonder, by best-selling author Ann Patchett, is my favorite book this year. Marina Singh, a medical researcher, is sent to the Amazon to find the secret location of Professor Swenson, hired by her company, to work on development of a miracle fertility drug. This mission is prompted by the sudden death of Marina’s friend and colleague Anders Eckman, who has died mysteriously while attempting to find the professor.
The vivid descriptions of the Lakashi people, who are able to bear children well into old age, and the truly magical yet oppressive atmosphere of the jungle are riveting. As the story unfolds, Marina is torn between a number of moral and ethical dilemmas. The bittersweet ending provides much food for thought, and is a great choice for book discussion groups.

Suitable for Adults

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marilena recommends "Lafayette: the lost hero"

Lafayette [videorecording-DVD] : the lost hero.: No one in recorded history has suffered a fate quite like Gilbert de Lafayette. Once he was the most famous man in the world; today few people know who he was or what he accomplished. It is time to re-evaluate his crucial role in the establishment of America's democracy.

I found this piece of American History absolutely fascinating!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kara Recommends "The Lions of Little Rock"

Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958

Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.

But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.  –from Amazon

The Lions of Little Rock is for children ages 8-12

Kara recommends "The Happiness Project"

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.- from Amazon
This book made me happier just reading it and I’m looking forward to reading Rubin’s latest book, “Happier at Home”!
This book is for adults.

Kara recommends "The One and Only Ivan"

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.- from Amazon

The One and Only Ivan is a great read for kids ages 8-12

Kara recommends "Wonder"

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a New York Times bestseller, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.- from Amazon

This book is great for all ages, but especially for kids 8-13.

Lisa recommends "Pete the Cat Saves Christmas"

If you haven’t picked up a Pete the Cat picture book (look under E Litwin in the children’s room), you are definitely missing out.  Pete is a very cool cat who teaches kids colors (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes) and numbers (Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons).  He has eased back-to-school worries (Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes).  In his newest edition, Pete celebrates the meaning of Christmas.  When Santa can’t deliver presents to all of the boys and girls, Pete hitches his minibus up to the reindeer and helps Santa out.  For added fun, you can visit http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/ and listen to Eric Litwin sing.  Very cool!

Recommended for ages 2-8 (or “older” kids who love a great picture book character).