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August 25, 2014
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
by Howe, Katherine
What do we really know about history? About our country’s history, or our own?
On a harsh winter night in 1681, Deliverance Dane races to the bedside of a dying child, only to face the fear and derision of the townsfolk when her skills as a healer are called into question. The resulting lawsuit changes the course of her family’s history forever.
Connie Goodwin is a modern-day PhD candidate in American Colonial History, desperate to find a topic for her dissertation. Meanwhile, she must spend her summer preparing her grandmother’s run-down ancestral house for sale. The task seems pointless to Connie, until she finds clues that could lead her to historical gold.
Katherine Howe’s novel keeps her audience riveted with the contrast between the grueling life of Colonial Massachusetts and the mystery unfolding in modern day New England. The author’s own background as a historian provides a richness to both settings, letting us walk a mile in both women’s shoes.
— Recommended by Kasey Panighetti, Franklin Road Library
August 18, 2014
I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats
by Marciuliano, Francesco
In a sea of funny pet books, it is easy to overlook this small gem. For cat (and animal) lovers looking for a quick read and a bit of humor, check out this very silly book of cat poetry. In a quick sitting you can chuckle away at these tongue-in-cheek poems written “by cats” about behaviors and quirks that cat owners love and love to hate. Less praising a cat’s beauty, and more understanding why a cat paws at your bedroom door, this collection explores a housecat’s psyche with a sense of humor. Interspersed between delightfully funny poems are adorable pictures of what else…cats! And if you are more of a dog lover, check out the companion volume I Could Chew on This: And Other Poems by Dogs.
--Recommended by Meredith Albertin, Lawrence Library
August 11, 2014
Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible
by Rusbridger, Alan
B Rusbridger, Alan
Alan Rusbridger must not sleep much. As editor of the world-renowned Guardian newspaper, he shepherds coverage of WikiLeaks and other hot global and British top news, while also prepping for technological and design changes -and negotiating the release of foreign correspondents in tight spots. “If you make your life the news business, the news will to some extent dictate your life,” he writes. For him, family, friends, and music are part of the escape.
Rusbridger liked sight reading but wasn’t a fan of practicing piano as a child; he resumes piano lessons in his 40s “as some inklings of mortality began to twitch.” Using music as both a respite and a mental challenge, he sets a one-year goal of learning, memorizing, and publicly performing the very difficult Chopin Ballade No. 1 in G Minor. Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible recounts his challenge and his talks with pianists, neurologists, and other solid amateurs about the appeal, the benefits, and the physiology involved in playing.
Rusbridger carefully researches Steinway pianos and buys one. He also sends his serviceable Fazioli to the Italian piano-building facility for loving hand restoration. Rusbridger snatches 20 minutes a day or more when he can to practice. He takes lessons, battling reticence and brain freeze in performing for an audience. A veteran piano teacher advises playing even to pets and teddy bears, as a reminder to play through at the best possible level. That won’t be a professional level – and that’s part of the joy of it. Rusbridger makes a compelling case for the value of amateur musicianship.
Rusbridger gives a friendly account of his challenging and stimulating job, which his musical interludes help him juggle better. Maybe it’s time to dig out that old sheet music…
--Recommended by Diane Palguta, College Avenue Library
August 4, 2014
One Summer: America, 1927
by Bryson, Bill
I just finished listening to One Summer: America, 1927 read and written by Bill Bryson. He did a very good job narrating his book. I really enjoyed the book and the way Bryson brought people of America and America itself to life, warts and all.
Bryson skillfully weaves the story of 1920's America by following the lives of the headline makers of the summer of 1927. I loved the way he introduced a new story by including the background story of the celebrities thereby bringing them to life. Consequently you understand what motivated them to perform glorious acts or heinous crimes.
The book opens up with a murder trial that cemented the place of tabloid journalism in America. Ruth Snyder a NYC housewife from Queens’s and her corset-salesman lover strangled her husband. Coverage of the subsequent trial and execution of the lovers made it into such distinguished newspapers as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as the tabloids. Before this trial the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal would never have acknowledged anything as vulgar as a murder.
Charles Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover Calvin Coolidge Henry Ford, and Al Capone are 6 of the prominent figures in the book you may recognize.
July 28, 2014
Bread and Butter: a Novel
by Wildgen, Michelle
If you are anything like me, just the title of this book is interesting enough to make you want to read more. I like the simplicity of eating a slice of toast with a pat of butter. The taste is simple, but oh so satisfying! And, so is the book, Bread and Butter: a Novel by Michelle Wildgen.
It’s the story of three brothers; two who are restaurateurs – and one who soon will be after drifting in and out of careers for a while. This is a simple story of squabbling siblings, fierce competition, and in the end – who will get the girl?
The reader gets a great read about creating a restaurant from the ground up, cutthroat competitiveness in the restaurant industry, interesting foodie lingo, and some titillating restaurant industry secrets.
--Recommended by Rhonda Oliver, Brightwood Library