New Book Discussion Kits May 2012

May 14, 2012

Thanks to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, we now have some great new titles  in the Book Kit Reservation System.  Crow Planet has two donated kits that come from the Whidbey Reads event.  The Wealth of Nature was a separate customer donation.  Also on order is The Borrowers by Rebecca Makkai, which has not yet arrived.

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Otsuka, Julie. The Buddha in the Attic. 

Presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.   

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Haupt, Lyanda Lynn.  Crow Planet.

Illustrated with lovely b&w woodcuts by Daniel Cautrell, Haupt’s book is part memoir, part musing on the challenges, common thinking, and realities of interacting with nature while living in a city. Based on her own study of the crows of Seattle and including many personal anecdotes about her own family, Haupt’s text does not answer any questions so much as draw attention to various issues that arise from human’s fraught relationship with the natural world. An accessible read, the work concludes with a bibliography, but is not indexed. Annotation c2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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O’Nan, Stewart.  Emily, Alone.

Newly independent widow Emily Maxwell dreams of visits by grandchildren and mourns changes in her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood before realizing an inner strength to pursue developing opportunities.

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Collins, Brandilyn.  Gone to Ground.

Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named-bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison. In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago-a sixth murder. Clearly a killer lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are sure they know who he is-someone they love. None is aware of the others’ suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down. But each woman suspects a different man.

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Edugyan, Esi.  Half-Blood Blues.

“Berlin, 1939. The Hot-Time Swingers, a popular German American jazz band, have been forbidden to play live because the Nazis have banned their ‘degenerate music.’ After escaping to Paris, where they meet Louis Armstrong, the band’s brilliant young trumpet-player, Hieronymus Falk, is arrested in a café by the Gestapo. It is June 1940. He is never heard from again. He is twenty years old, a German citizen. And he is black. Berlin, 1992. Falk, now a jazz legend, is the subject of a celebratory documentary. Two of the original Hot-Time Swingers American band members, Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, are invited to attend the film’s premier in Berlin. As they return to the landscape of their past friendships, rivalries, loves and betrayals, Sid, the only witness to Falk’s disappearance who has always refused to speak about what happened, is forced to break his silence. Sid recreates the lost world of Berlin’s pre-war smoky bars, and the salons of Paris, telling his vibrant and suspenseful story in German American slang. Half-Blood Blues is a novel about music and race, love and loyalty, and marks the arrival of an extraordinarily ‘gifted storyteller’ (The Toronto Star)”– Provided by publisher.     

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Diffenbaugh, Vanessa.  The Language of Flowers.

“The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past”– Provided by publisher.     

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Ream, Ashley.  Losing Clementine.

“A new writer makes her fiction debut with a tale involving a renowned artist’s impending suicide”–Provided by publisher.     

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Wickenden, Dorothy. Nothing Daunted.

“A captivating book about Dorothy Wickenden’s grandmother, who left her affluent East Coast life to “rough it” as a teacher in Colorado in 1916″– Provided by publisher.   

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Demick, Barbara. Nothing to Envy.

Follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years, a chaotic period that saw the rise to power of Kim Jong Il and the devastation of a famine that killed one-fifth of the population, illustrating what it means to live under the most repressive totalitarian regime today. 

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deWitt, Patrick.  The Sisters Brothers.

When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm’s claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.  

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McKenzie, Catherine.

When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate–and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop–and complete the thirty-day program–they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay.   

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Patchett, Ann. State of Wonder.

A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years–a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.   

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Schulman, Helen.  This Beautiful Life.

When the Bergamots move from a comfortable upstate college town to New York City, they are not quite sure how they will adapt, or what to make of the strange new world of well-to-do Manhattan. Soon, though, Richard is consumed by his executive role at a large New York university, and Liz, who has traded in her academic career to oversee the lives of their children, is hectically ferrying young Coco around town. Fifteen-year-old Jake is gratefully taken into the fold by a group of friends at Wildwood, an elite private school. But the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when Jake wakes up one morning after an unchaperoned party and finds an email in his in-box from an eighth-grade admirer. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, stunned, maybe a little proud, and scared, a jumble of adolescent emotion, he forwards the video to a friend, who then forwards it to a friend. Within hours, it has gone viral, all over the school, the city, the world. The ensuing scandal threatens to shatter the Bergamots’ sense of security and identity, and, ultimately, their happiness. They are a good family faced with bad choices, and how they choose to react, individually and at one another’s behest, places everything they hold dear in jeopardy.     

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Greer, John Michael.  The Wealth of Nature.

John Michael Greer has re-thought economics, starting from its fundamental premises, giving it a basis in ecological reality rather than political fiction… The result is perhaps the most important and readable book on economics since Small Is Beautiful. Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth

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Evison, Jonathan.  West of Here.

Since the dawn of recorded history, the Klallam Indians have thrived upon the bounty of the Elwha River. In 1889, on the eve of Washington’s statehood, the Olympic Peninsula remains America’s last frontier. But not for long. As northwestern expansion reaches its feverish crescendo, the clock is ticking…   

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McClure, Wendy.  The Wilder Life.

In this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west, children’s book editor and memoirist McClure (I’m Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of “Laura World” (i.e., the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family).     

Posted by Darren

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