Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!
May 19, 2014
by Hale, Shannon
Austenland by Shannon Hale is a delightful story of a young woman’s quest to rid herself of her Jane Austen and Mr. Darcy obsessions that are ruining her love life. The heroine, Jane, is given a two-week trip to Austenland, a vacation destination where you can live like Regency era Jane Austen characters. Tired of failed relationships and too high expectations of men, Jane goes to cleanse her palette of her Mr. Darcy fantasies in hopes that she can find true love and move on with her life. Interspersed between Jane’s curious adventures in Austenland, readers learn about Jane’s past failed romantic relationships from early childhood crushes to her unsuccessful more recent affairs. Written with quick and witty prose, Austenland is a light and short read. Will Jane get her happy ending? Is Mr. Darcy really something Jane wants? Through her interactions with other vacationers and actors at Austenland, Jane finds what she really wants, which may not be what she thought.
If you enjoy this quick read, Austenland was made into a feature film starring Keri Russell of TV’s Felicity fame. Check out the movie once you’ve read the book and decide which you like better!
--Recommended by Meredith Albertin, Lawrence Library
May 12, 2014
Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater
by Harris, Brayton
Chester W. Nimitz, arguably the most important U.S. Navy officer of World War II, was one of only three to reach five-star rank. In character he had the rectitude and vision of George C. Marshall, the Army chief, but without the aloofness. This biography, in the concise style of a background investigation report, describes his rugged Texas childhood and subsequent naval career in the oft-scorned submarine service, eventually commanding the Pacific war against Japan.
The story of Nimitz is much the story of our Navy’s progress into the modern age. As a young officer he devised and tactfully promoted solutions to Navy problems: NROTC as an answer to officer shortage, underway refueling to extend the reach of the fleet, diesel engines to improve submarine crew safety, circular formations to prevent scattering during course changes, and many others including ballistic missile submarines.
He was too modest to write a memoir or approve a biography, so he is less well known than some of our more flamboyant commanders, but this book should help to rectify that.
--Recommended by Melinda Mullican, Wayne Library
May 5, 2014
Miss Manners Minds Your Business
by Martin, Judith and Nicholas Ivor Martin
It may seem as if etiquette is a relic of a bygone age, but this book “Miss Manners Minds Your Business” makes it clear that nothing could be further from the truth. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, it is more necessary than ever that we all practice the good manners that lubricate the joints of our society. Indeed, with social websites, cell phones and texting, virtual realities, and the impact all this has on the workplace as well as our personal lives, it is more important than ever to behave in a way that is socially acceptable, and the solutions to the problems of what to do are not always clear. Luckily, Miss Manners shows the way, by offering a series of interesting and sometimes flabbergasting scenarios and then offering witty and workable solutions. As Miss Manners herself has observed, “The younger generation can’t eat, and the older generation can’t tweet.” Thanks to Miss Manners’ sage and amusing advice, everyone can learn how to do both, even as the myriad examples offered in this nonfiction book make it clear that technology is having an impact upon our lives in ways that would not have been imagined even ten years ago.
--Recommended by Patricia Fogleman, Southport Library
April 28, 2014
by Harris, Sam
For a short, very easy to read book, with just 95 pages, this makes you think a lot. It starts simple with a discussion about white lies and how we waste a lot of time and memory trying to remember what we have said in the past so we don’t get ourselves into trouble in the future. This is the, “Does this make me look fat?” variety where we try to spare another’s feelings, or so we think. Harris says that what we are really doing is trying to avoid reality and what that makes us acknowledge. Then he starts on questions like, “If the Nazis were at your door and you had Anne Frank hidden in your basement would you be truthful even if you were killed for it?” OR “Should I tell my terminally ill child that they are going to die?” Real life experiences are talked about and how they were handled examined.
The author has divided the book into three parts that include a discussion with a leading professor of ethics at Stanford University and a question and answer session he had with readers of his book. Each section brings more depth of understanding to what honesty really is. For a small book this has caused me to think in ways I never have before. I’m glad I read it.
--Recommended by Lygia Bischoff, Pike Library
April 21, 2014
The Beautiful Mystery
by Penny, Louise
Having just finished another of Louise Penny’s novels, I find myself pondering why I can’t seem to get enough of this particular author’s work. Perhaps it’s the deft way she interweaves plots, or perhaps it is because characters are always the driving, central force of her novels. But then again, it could be that I am intrigued by a detective who occasionally spouts poetry. Indeed Armand Gamache, the chief inspector of homicide for Quebec Province, appears in all Penny’s novels.
The Beautiful Mystery, my favorite of her mysteries so far, involves a murder in a monastery known for its Gregorian Chants. Bits and pieces of the history of musical notation figure into this mystery—are actually a part of the mystery. Neumes, monks passionate about music, historical intrigue, and an order of monks retreating into the backwaters of Canadian wilderness for safety makes this novel intriguing from the first page to the last.
--Recommended by Jan Swan, Glendale Library