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s ’ n o s Sea s g n i Read 2008

Season’s Readings 2008

A collection of reviews written by members of the Durham County Library Family

Table of Contents Friends of the Durham Library Fiction Mystery Romance Science Fiction/Fantasy Nonfiction Biography Young Adult Fiction Juvenile Fiction Juvenile Nonfiction Easy Movies Friends Membership Form 2009 Book Sale Dates

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Season’s Readings is made possible by the Friends of the Durham Library, Inc. ...

2007 Award Winning Publication American Library Association Best of Show for Bibliographies and Booklists North Carolina Library Association Best of Show for Bibliographies and Booklists

December, 2008

Dear Library Friends: The Friends of the Durham Library is delighted to present this year’s Season’s Readings for your enjoyment. We offer you this wonderful gift for the holiday season with our thanks. It is made possible by the generous support of the community and members of the Friends. This annual collection of reviews from staff and volunteers is one of the library’s best-loved services. Recently, the library posted past issues of Season’s Readings at the Reader’s Corner at www.durhamcountylibrary. org. Season’s Readings is not only popular with library customers. In 2007, this publication won state and national awards, competing with other libraries across North Carolina and the country. For 40 years, the Friends of the Durham Library has raised money for the library through its book sales and memberships. We invite you to shop the book sales and to join the more than 1,250 community members who contribute annually to the Friends with their volunteer time as well as their financial contributions. During this holiday season, come visit the library and choose a book by your favorite author. We look forward to seeing you there! Thank you friends! Bobbie Walters-Brown, President Friends of the Durham County Library Board

The Friends of the Durham Library is celebrating 40 years of volunteer and financial support for Durham County Library. The group was established in 1968 and has raised over $600,000 for the library to date. More than 1,250 community members contribute annually to the Friends and many of these contributors actively volunteer their time for the group’s projects. The Friends received statewide recognition with the 2005 Frances B. Reid Award “for outstanding service to their library and their community.”

Book Sales You can find great bargains on gently used books at the Friends of the Durham Library book sales. Held in spring, summer and fall, book sales at Main Library offer great deals on thousands of used books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs. Paperbacks begin at 50 cents and hardbacks at $1. Books are categorized for easy shopping by dozens of volunteers, who work throughout the year organizing and pricing books. Year-round “satellite” sales satisfy bargain-hunters with a smaller selection of books, many in gift-giving condition. 2009 book sale dates are listed on page 77.

Donating Books for the Book Sale The Friends of the Durham Library welcomes donations of books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs, except for: encyclopedias, magazines, cassettes and condensed books. You may take your donation to any Durham County Library location during regular hours. Please bring large donations (two or more boxes) to the Main Library garage on Tuesday morning between 9 and noon, when the Friends of the Durham Library are present and can help unload. The garage is on the far right side, closest to Holloway Street, as you face the Main Library from the parking lot. If you cannot bring your large donation to the Main Library on Tuesday morning, please come first to the Main Library circulation desk and let them know you have a large donation. The security guard will open the garage doors so that you can unload your donation straight into the garage. If you have a question, or wish to make arrangements with the Friends for a special donation, please contact the Staff Liaison to the Friends, Anastasia Bush, at 560-0190.

The Friends Support Your Library Successful book sales and a growing Friends membership generate income that supports annual and short-term needs of the library, such as: • Summer Reading Club: the most popular of all library programs encourages children and families to read while school is out.

• The Picture Gallery at Stanford L. Warren Branch: documents Durham history and is on permanent display in the branch’s lobby, part of an award-winning renovation. • Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project: collected personal anecdotes and photographs from the Jim Crow and Civil Rights Movement eras in Durham, and created banners for a traveling display. • Nintendo Wii and other gaming programs for teens: new equipment and games attract hundreds of teens to the library.

Six Great Reasons to be a Friend of the Durham Library 1. Help make the difference between a good library and a great library. 2. Support library programs and services for children, teens and adults. 3. Shop early at the book sales for the best selection, open to Friends members only. 4. Receive Best of Friends, the Friends’ newsletter. 5. Receive Season’s Readings, an annual booklet of staff reading recommendations. 6. Enjoy a 10% discount at several local bookstores; just show your membership card. Join the Friends of the Durham Library today. The membership application form is on page 76.

Fiction The Almost Moon: a novel by Alice Sebold

F Sebold, A.

Overwhelmed by a lifetime of living in her mother’s shadow, protagonist Helen Knightly wrestles with caring for her aging mother Clair. It’s hard to say which was harder for the daughter to take – her mother’s bouts of highs and lows due to mental illness in Helen’s growing years, or the helpless 88-year-old “stranger” suffering from dementia who sits in her chair petting a skein of yarn as if it were a cat. The crime that Helen commits in the first few pages of this book results in a jumble of interactions in the ensuing 24 hours with past and present neighbors, friends and family members. I read this months ago and it is hauntingly still with me. This fiction title is available in regular type or large print editions and as an audio book. – Susan Wright

The Cat Dancers. Spider Mountain. The Moonpool.

by Peter T. Deutermann. F Deutermann, P. Normally I don‘t read “adventure” stories but I took the plunge with Deutermann’s book The Moonpool because it was set in Wilmington, North Carolina, my residence prior to Durham. The author is a retired U.S. navy captain who resides in North Carolina. These three books feature Cameron “Cam” Richter, lieutenant of the “Manceford County” sheriff ’s department turned private investigator. The first two books are set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina, a region of breathtaking scenery – and pockets of lawlessness with local sheriffs turning a blind eye to crime. Cat dancers are adrenaline-junkies who rappel down a cliff face, camera in hand, to snap a photo of an enraged mountain lion in her cave den in the second before she attacks in defense of her cubs. Somehow these foolhardy daredevils are connected with vigilantes who are murdering criminals who escape imprisonment due to a legal technicality. Spider Mountain is home to a dangerous clan of hillbillies whose crimes of meth trade and child slavery are masterminded by matriarch, Grinny Creigh and covered up by the local sheriff – a clan cousin. Cam moves to coastal Carolina in the third book when a terrorist plot threatens the security of the nuclear power plant across the river from Wilmington (just like the real one in Brunswick County) by sabotaging the “moon pool” that cools the radioactive fuel rods. Character development is adequate. Cam is a movie-star action figure: capable, intelligent, tireless, self-aware, ready for any challenge, even bleeds when he’s been shot, fond of the ladies and the bottle but keeping both in perspective. I just couldn’t picture the movie star I would choose if I were casting the movie. Maybe I read more into the NC settings because of my years of residence; the settings could just as easily have been Tennessee or eastern Kentucky.


But not to be missed are my two favorite characters: Frick and Frack, Cam’s German Shepherd dogs, who are one preternatural step away from human. More appealing than any two-legged crime fighters, highlytrained, completely obedient, and non-verbal: what more could a macho male detective want on his side and at his beck and call? Read Margaret Maron for character development; read Deutermann for action. – Jean Amelang

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci F Baldaccci, D The Christmas Train is a warm and fuzzy holiday story. It includes a train ride, a lost love, a blizzard and a film director. The main character is journalist Tom Langdon. This particular December, he is traveling aboard the Capitol Limited train because a previous incident of “air rage” has caused the airlines to put Tom on their “do not fly” list. Also aboard the train are Eleanor Carter, who is Tom’s ex, and his current girlfriend, which leads to some amusing hijinks. The Christmas Train is the perfect read to get you in the holiday spirit. – Elizabeth Watson

Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini

F Martini, S

Reading Compelling Evidence is like watching Law & Order. This is the story of a murder trial, as told by the defense attorney, Paul Madriani. Compelling Evidence is packed with courtroom drama – opening statements, motions, evidence, testimony from witnesses, banter between the attorneys and the judge, closing statements and more. The pace is quick, and Madriani is a compelling protagonist because of his humanness and fallibility – imagine a lawyer who has made mistakes and whose life isn’t perfect! This is an excellent legal thriller, so fans of John Grisham, Scott Turow and Lisa Scottoline are likely to enjoy this book. – Elizabeth Watson


The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins F Collins, W. The Dead Secret (1857) is the first full-length “puzzle-romance” by Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone. The story springs from a letter hidden for the past sixteen years at Porthgenna, a decaying manor house on the western coast of Cornwall. Involved in the secret of the letter are some of Collins’s most vividly drawn eccentrics: a roving sea-captain and his actress wife; his misanthropic brother, bullied by a coarse serving-man; Porthgenna’s young, blind heir and his charming wife; and a peculiar lady’s maid devoted to her uncle, a German cabinet maker who keeps with him a music box once owned by Mozart. Fastpaced (according to Victorian standards) and brimming with details of nineteenth-century life, this novel is one of the earliest works in the great tradition of British mystery writing. – Frances Evans

Don’t You Forget About Me by Jancee Dunn F Dunn, J. When quirky Lillian Curtis finds herself unexpectedly divorced and child-free at the age of 38, she moves back in with her parents in New Jersey to recover. Lillian is a sentimental sort, whose childhood bedroom is as “well-preserved as Graceland” – rubber bracelets, Squeeze posters and intricately folded notes from Spanish class included. Suddenly, Lillian is in a time tunnel headed straight back to the 80s. She reconnects with some childhood friends and obsesses over an old flame. Can the imperfect present ever live up to her memories of the past? I read this book in one gulp because it rang my chimes of high school, 80s and arrested development. But I think anybody who likes light, contemporary women’s fiction would go for it. – Autumn Winters


Emma: Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori F Mori, K. If you’ve seen teenagers carrying around manga ( Japanese comic books or graphic novels) and wondered what all the fuss was about, this book is a good place to start. Set in Victorian England, Emma is the orphan maid to an old, retired governess. She catches the eye of one of her employer’s old students, the son of a very wealthy man. The first book in the series introduces us to most of the characters and the story unfolds over several volumes. Instead of feeling slow, the delicate plotting fits the quiet love story between Emma and Mr. Jones. The lovely drawings add to the soft feel of the novel, and bring Victorian England alive. If you’ve never read manga, reading a book backwards will take you sometime to get used to, but the translator has included a “how-to” guide and it’s worth every effort. – Jennifer Lohmann

Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman F Shanman, E. I’m always on the lookout for a romance with a new and different character. Mike Edwards in Everything Nice fits that bill nicely. Mike is a tomboy. She’s also rather unlikable at the beginning of the novel. I know why her coworkers hate her, and I don’t blame them. But, her best friend Gunther has faith that Mike would be terrific if she just grew up a bit and soon, I did too. By sprinkling in some bits of Mike’s past, Shanman slowly softens the reader’s view of hard-assed Mike. When Mike grows up and allows herself to be vulnerable, she does it without losing her tomboy nature. Unlike so many tomboy Cinderella stories, Mike never decides she loves lipstick. Shanman allows her character to stay true to herself, and that’s refreshing in romance. This was so enjoyable to read that I blasted through it in one morning. – Jennifer Lohmann


Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans F Evans, R. Here’s a warm, romantic read for the Holiday Season! Richard Paul Evans has written many inspiring tales, and this one is no exception. Two strangers, Mark and Macy, meet on a snowy night by happenstance, and their relationship fosters mutual courage to face the shadows in their past. One of the shadows is Macy’s younger sister, Noel. Finding Noel brings Mark and Macy together on a mission. Along the way, they each must confront their own demons, and, in the search, they discover hope. Finding Noel also means finding love and a family that endures. This one will pull your heartstrings! ­ – Archie Burke


A Handbook to Luck by Cristina Garcia F Garcia, C. The reader of this novel is immersed in the lives of three very different people: Enrique, from Cuba, living in southern California with his flamboyant magician father; Marta, getting by in the slums of San Salvador, forced to leave school to help support the family; Leila, a well to do surgeon’s daughter in Tehran. As we follow them across twenty years we see Enrique, a math whiz from a young age who gives up his dream of attending MIT to care for his dysfunctional father and sacrifices the dream of passionate love to the exigencies of reality; Marta, fleeing war in El Salvador and a sadistic husband, making her way illegally into the United States and finding wholly unexpected possibilities; Leila, allowing the expectations of her mother to pull her into an arranged marriage and the constricted life of women in post-revolutionary Iran. We see chance draw Leila and Marta into Enrique’s life and, throughout, good luck and bad, tilting life one way or another for all of them. The characters are vividly drawn. The movement through time and the psychological shifts of growing into adulthood are done gracefully. Experiencing the hopes and doubts of ordinary people whose lives are made extraordinary by circumstance is both tragic and joyful. I highly recommend this book as well as another book by Cristina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban. – Kathi Sippen


The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts F Letts, B. The combination of a strange-sounding title and an author whose name I had not even heard, led me to try this touching and amusing novel. The setting is a non-descript restaurant in the middle of nowhere (Eastern Oklahoma to be exact) run by Caney Paxton, a disgruntled double-amputee Vietnam veteran. When a Crow woman, Vena Takes Horse, happens to come into town and works her way into a waitress job, the dynamics between the two principal characters become fascinating. Add the large cast of restaurant regulars and irregulars, both employees and customers, and you have the ingredients for applying experiences portrayed at the Honk and Holler to brightening their own lives. – Joyce R. Sykes

Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys F Humphreys, C. C.C. Humphreys based his character, Jack Absolute, on a character from a play he was in years ago. Jack Absolute was thought long dead by his friends, so one of them transforms details of Absolute’s life into a play. Fortunately for the playwright and unfortunately for Jack, he returns during the play’s debut from years in the American and then Indian Colonies. The play embroils Jack in a series of events that gets him sent back to the Colonies, forced to fight for the English when he would rather get his family’s finances in order. Humphreys takes us through the Revolutionary War from the British perspective with a swashbuckling hero, a dashing romantic heroine, and lots of intrigue. Jack is a fun hero with a dry wit and you will find yourself rooting for him, even though it’s against the Colonists. There is a prequel, The Blooding of Jack Absolute, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for more in the series. – Jennifer Lohmann


Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen F Hiaasen, C Like all of Carl Hiaasen’s books, Lucky You takes places in Florida and satirizes its residents, tourists and politics. This highly humorous read centers around JoLayne Lucks, who plans to use her lottery winnings to buy a particular piece of Florida swampland and save the cooters – turtles – that live on it. Chaos and adventure ensue when JoLayne’s winning lottery ticket gets stolen before she can claim the prize money. The ticket thieves, Bode Gazzer and his sidekick, Chubb, are hilarious for their stupidity. Throw in a Hooter’s waitress, a journalist, some religious fanatics, a few of the baby cooters and you have a recipe for a fun read. – Elizabeth Watson

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors F Delors, C. Like most of the books I grab off the new book shelf, this one seduced me with the cover. Often I’m disappointed, which is what I get for judging a book by its cover. Mistress of the Revolution carried no such disappointment. This is a great piece of historical fiction. The first person recollections (the story is taken from the main character trying to write down her memories for her son) are personal and intimate. The language Delors uses as Gabrielle brings a sense of time and period to every page. Perhaps my favorite part of this book was reading about the French Revolution from the other side’s perspective. The Jacobeans and their Terror were always portrayed as crazed and a bit evil in my school textbooks, but Delors gives them a nuanced story. While she does not try to hide the violent nature of this time period, she brings depth to Robespierre and Coffinhal, along with the aristocracy who both supported and opposed them. Each side gets real characters with honest motivations – they are not just portrayed as violent men with a taste for blood or indifferent nobles stepping on the peasants in their desire for more jewels. This may have been the best historical fiction book I read this year. The characters are interesting, the setting rich with detail, and the plot is engaging. Mistress of the Revolution is a book to get lost in on a rainy day. – Jennifer Lohmann


The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck

F Steinbeck, J.

John Steinbeck wrote The Moon is Down in 1941, while working for United States military intelligence (who knew?). He intended to portray the psychological effects of occupation by hostile forces on a populace. The Moon is Down was published as a short novel just three months after Pearl Harbor, and appeared on Broadway a month later. Steinbeck originally set the story in a small American town, but changed the location to a northern European location at the insistence of intelligence officials. Met with mixed reviews in the U.S., the book was a runaway bestseller, especially in Europe, despite Nazi attempts to suppress it. Frankly, I was disappointed with The Moon is Down. Certainly not up to what I expect from Steinbeck, it is preachy and shallow, reading more like the propaganda piece it was intended to be than a serious novel. On the other hand, it is an easy, short read and does have some historical significance. – William Nesmith

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi

F Lippi, R.

Julia Darrow is a young widow who ran away from her life and family in Chicago after the untimely death of her husband. She made a new start in the small town of Lamb’s Corner, S.C., with her own business and the companionship of her employees, her friends, and her houseful of foster dogs. She seems to have a good life there, but is she happy or in hiding? While Julia is cocooned away in her small town, John Dodge has a completely different lifestyle. An Army brat, he rejected a career as a psychotherapist and became a serial business owner, buying small, interesting but troubled businesses, turning them into profitable companies, and moving on to the next one as soon as he begins to get bored. When the rover meets the near-hermit, sparks fly, but how much time do they have before John moves on to another company in need? Lippi’s story of two complicated and fascinating individuals, surrounded by quirky and interesting townspeople, is a great read. Put on your pajamas, settle in, and enjoy. – Lynne Barnette


The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas F Dallas, S. I enjoyed this quick, easy read that is full of romance, murder, friendship and secrets. The characters were fun to read about, especially the narrator, Queenie Bean.  I don’t usually go for Depression-era books, and I know nothing about quilting, but I still liked it.  I even managed to get quite tense and emotional at parts! – Carrie Rider

The Reserve by Russell Banks F Banks, R. A description of this wonderful book could be literary soapopera. Part love story, part mystery, set during the beginning of the second World War, this page turner includes themes of class, politics, art, love and madness. Vanessa Cole is a wild, spoiled, beautiful heiress, the adopted only child of a highly regarded surgeon and his wife. On July 4, 1936, at her parents retreat in the Adirondacks, two events coincide to permanently alter the course of Vanessa’s shallow life: her father dies suddenly and a seductive artist, Jordan Groves, lands his plane in their camp. Jordan is a worldly, sought after artist who is as staggered by Vanessa’s beauty and charm as she is fiercely attracted to his defiant independence. Unstable from the start and coming unhinged by her father’s death, Vanessa begins to spin out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. Beautiful descriptions of the Adirondack wilderness add to this compulsively readable novel. – Kathi Sippen



by Ann Patchett F Patchett, A. Patchett offers the reader a mesmerizing tale in her novel of family relations. Adopted brothers Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive and ambitious father since their mother died. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. When they are leaving a Jesse Jackson speech in a snowstorm, Tip is thrown out of the path of a SUV by a stranger with a young girl. The woman ends up in the hospital with severe injuries, and we find out how all of the characters are connected. Suspenseful and beautifully executed, Run is ultimately a novel about duty, responsibility and the lengths we will go to protect our children. I couldn’t put this one down. – Kathi Sippen

Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan F Arslan, A. Antonia Arlsan grew up in Italy, the daughter of Armenian parents. In this novel, she tells the story of her family’s escape from the Armenian genocide during World War I. With soft, lyrical language, Arslan weaves a peaceful spell around the reader, even though you know the quiet life of the Armenians is going to end horribly. Her poetic language is often at its strongest when the violence is at its worst, keeping you reading, even when you can’t breathe out of the horror of it all. This would be a great book for book clubs. – Jennifer Lohmann


Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer F Singer, J. When horse-trainer Neelie Sterling finds out that her veterinarian husband, Matt, is leaving her for his pregnant office partner, Neelie turns to her horses and her donuts for solace. She concentrates on analyzing what went wrong with her marriage and how she can get her husband back. This campaign takes an unexpected turn when Neelie volunteers to go on safari to rescue an injured elephant in Zimbabwe just so she can be close to Matt. Things get more complicated when Neelie falls in love with the mother elephant, the baby elephant, Africa and the organizer of the mission, Tom Pennington, who is handsome, rich and a very eligible bachelor. Add to the mix Neelie’s penchant for hearing different words than what is spoken along with her somewhat wacky, controlling mother, this is a novel filled with humor and gives the reader an opportunity to apply some of Neelie’s introspection to your own life. – Joyce R. Sykes

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen F Allen, S. Twenty-seven year old Josey Cirrini’s adult life has been spent looking after her elderly mother and trying to make up for her difficult childhood. She counteracts her loneliness by stashing huge amounts of candy and other goodies in her closet along with her travel and romance books. One night she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a toughtalking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis and two parts fairy godmother. Della Lee has chosen Josie’s closet to escape her life of bad luck and big mistakes. In return she is going to change Josey’s life. At about the same time Josey bonds with Chloe from the little sandwich shop at the courthouse. With the support of these two women in her life, Josey steps out into the world little by little to be astonished by all the passion and romance out there. This book, along with Allen’s previous book Garden Spells, is a treasure. – Kathi Sippen


Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen F Allen, S. Repressed doesn’t even begin to describe Josey Cirrini. She spends most of her time at home, being bullied by her mother and looking forward to the daily appearance of Adam, the hunky mailman with whom she’s too timid to flirt. Her refuge is her closet, with its stash of sweets and romance novels. Today she turns to that refuge only to find it already occupied by Della Lee, eating the Mallomars and reading a trashy romance. Claiming she’s hiding out from an abusive boyfriend, Della Lee refuses to leave. Worse than that, she’s pushy, prodding Josey out of her comfort zone with Adam and sending her on errands. On one such errand she meets Chloe, a young woman pursued by books that insist on manifesting themselves when they think she needs them, whether she wants them or not. Every step Josey takes out of her safe little rut brings more changes and more than a few surprises, even some from her own family’s past. Allen lives in Asheville and has set this cozy story (with a twist of magical realism) in North Carolina. – Deb Warner

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901: Arizona Territories by Nancy E. Turner F Turner, N. I don’t generally seek out historical fiction, but this is excellent reading! The story, inspired by Turner’s family memoirs, is full of adventure, romance, humor and touching moments. I have no idea how women coped in frontier days!  Once I decided to try it, I could not put this book down. I was not ready for this book to be over, so I was thrilled to discover that there are sequels. – Carrie Rider


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield F Setterfield, D. This book was totally enthralling for me – the characters, the plot, the setting…all of it. The mysteries and old family secrets that wound through this book were captivating – I had to know what happened! Each time I had a theory or thought I had things figured out, the author would surprise me.  It is, however, a dark and sometimes disturbing story.  Setterfield obviously loves books and believes in the power of the written word.  Great quotes on the impact of reading are sprinkled throughout.  This is Setterfield’s first novel, and I’m excited for another.  – Carrie Rider

The Uncommon Reader

by Alan Bennett F Bennett, A. If you love to read as much as I do, then you will love this book about reading. This novella has the Queen stumbling upon a mobile library behind Buckingham Palace. She feels obligated to check out a book and this leads to an obsession with reading that changes her view of the world drastically. The book is short and funny with great moments such as when the Queen’s security guards confiscate a book because they think it is a bomb. You will have to read the book to find out her hilarious response. Don’t miss this original book. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member


The View from Mount Joy

by Lorna Landvik F Landvik, L. Told from the viewpoint of Joe Andreson, the book opens as he is entering his senior year in a Minnesota high school in 1971. It follows him from his dreams of becoming a professional ice hockey player to the reality of his career as a grocer. His relationships with the women in his life – his mother, his aunt, his high school buddy, Darva, and his first love, Kristi, are central to the novel and make him into a character you will grow to love. The humorous moments as well as touching ones make this novel a pure joy to read. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member

World Without End by Ken Follett F Follett, K You don’t have to have read The Pillars of the Earth in order to enjoy World Without End—the two novels take place in the same town, but two hundred years apart and they have none of the same characters. World Without End is a masterpiece that you can truly sink your teeth into. It takes place in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England during the 1300s. The Catholic Church is dominant during this time period, so life in Kingsbridge centers on the priory and the cathedral of Kingsbridge. The story revolves around four extremely different people—Gwenda, Merthin, Ralph, and Casis—whom we follow from childhood through adulthood and whose lives are interwoven, beginning when all four children witness a mysterious killing in the woods. Follett keeps readers eager to find out what happens to these four characters and how their lives turn out. World Without End has it all—a knight with political secrets, several love stories, a bridge collapse, the black plague, scheming church officials and noblemen, tyrannical rulers, a murder mystery, the formula for dying cloth a brilliant red and gothic cathedral construction. It is quite the thriller. Follett provides a compelling picture of the daily lives of medieval men, women and children from different classes, and gives the reader a feel for what it would have been like to live in the 1300s. – Elizabeth Watson


Mystery Death of a Red Heroine by Xioalong Qiu Mystery F Qiu, X. There are many reasons for me to love this book, some of them are personal and some of them are reasons for any mystery lover to love this book. I lived in Shanghai for a year, from 2001-2002, and remember the city and the people very fondly. So, personally, this book was a chance for me to reminisce about the city and to think, “Oh, I remember that” whenever the main character, Chief Inspector Chen, travels to the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse or Hong Kou Park. Qiu also helped me understand a period in Chinese history my students and friends were reluctant to talk about. For the general mystery reader, the mystery would be your basic politically-tainted mystery, except for the setting. Qiu uses the setting to explore relationships, power, loyalty, privilege and justice in such a way that you don’t quite realize you are reflecting on your own life and country until the book is over. The mystery is not the strongest part of the novel, you know in the middle whodunnit; the political implications, setting and sympathetic characters are the real strengths of this great novel. Death of a Red Heroine will be different than any mystery you’ve read recently. – Jennifer Lohmann


The Detection Collection Edited by Simon Brett SC Dete The Detection Club, founded in the early 1930’s, is an association of British writers dedicated to upholding high standards in detective fiction. Its membership roster has included such illustrious names as Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, Anthony Berkeley and Margery Allingham. For this anthology, president Simon Brett has selected his own brief history of the club, along with eleven short, quirky stories written by current members, among them P.D. James and Colin Dexter. In true British fashion, these tales focus on character and wit rather than bloody violence. The Detection Collection would be the perfect companion for a long flight or a weekend at the beach. – Frances Evans The Donald Strachey Mysteries by Richard Stevenson Mystery F Stevenson, R. One critic claimed that the adventures of Dashiell Hammett’s “Thin Man” series about retired detective Nick Charles and his wife, Nora the socialite, was just what people wanted and that film, television, and fiction were still trying to duplicate it. Well, I submit to you that Richard Stevenson has exceeded expectations with ex-Marine turned private eye Donald Strachey and his boyfriend, Timothy Callahan, the State Senator’s aide. Set in Albany, New York, The Donald Strachey Mystery series follows the intrepid couple from one high intensity drama to the next. The following are the seven novels currently making up the series. (Note: Chad Allen and Sebastin Spence portray the provocative couple in a series of movies based on the novels. Below, * means this book was made into a movie but the book is unavailable here.) *On The Other Hand, Death When Dot and Edith are intimidated in an attempt to get them to move out of their home for a landscaping project, it eventually escalates to murder. Past associations move Timothy to become involved and he pulls Don along with him to investigate.


*Ice Blues Jack Lenihan asks Don to deliver 2.5 million dollars to the city’s reform party and then turns up dead in Don’s car. This is a case he can’t refuse without leaving suspicion on him. Don does not bargain on Timothy getting kidnapped and tortured in the process. *Third Man Out A local activist, John Rutka, is the supposed victim of gay-bashing. Don feels it’s his civic duty to get to the bottom of things only to learn that not only was the beating staged but that the man earned a living “outing” prominent citizens. Rutka claims he does it for the good of the gay rights movement but others don’t see it that way, and this case puts more at stake than the usual as Don and Timothy find themselves on opposite sides of the ethical question. *Shock to the System Three people hire Don to prove they did not kill rich kid Paul Haig. All three trails coalesce around a shady institution offering “reparative therapy” to homosexuals who want to be “cured.” Needless to say, Timothy is not happy with Don’s speculative drifts towards “What if ?” Also in the series and available at DCL: Chain of Fools Strachy’s Folly Tongue Tied

– Cleo Bizzell


Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir Mystery Yrsa, S. I will admit I first read this book because the author is Icelandic and I was curious. My curiosity was rewarded with a fabulous mystery novel. Tempted by money she desperately needs, contract lawyer Thora agrees to be the Icelandic contact for a German family whose son has been murdered and the body mutilated. Together with the German representative for the family, Thora travels around Iceland and delves into medieval history to solve the mystery. Sigurdardottir weaves together medieval witchcraft, history and a good deal of humor into this story and crafts an excellent mystery. – Jennifer Lohmann

Until Proven Guilty Desert Heat by J. A. Jance Mystery F Jance, J. Instead of individual books, this review is of two series of mystery novels written by J. A. Jance. Until Proven Guilty is the first of the series with J. P. Beaumont, a Seattle detective, as the lead character. At the beginning of the series J. P. has a serious drinking problem and then gets sober in a later book. Desert Heat is the first of the series with Joanna Brady, a female sheriff in southern Arizona, who gets elected sheriff after her husband gets killed in the line of duty. Both series are notable for a well-balanced combination of the personal lives of the main characters and the cases they are working on. They also offer captivating portrayals of the locations of the protagonists. My recommendation is that these books are best read in sequence, but I’ve been flip-flopping between the two series for years. When you get to the point of reading Partner in Crime there is the additional bonus of the two protagonists collaborating on a case. – Joyce R. Sykes, Board of Trustees and Volunteer


Romance Killer Curves by Roxanne St. Claire Romance F St. Claire, R. Roxanne St. Claire is perhaps better known for her recent Bullet Catchers series, but Killer Curves, her third book, is still my favorite. Celeste Bennett has never known her father, NASCAR team owner Travis Chastaine. He’s never shown any interest in her after a brief affair with her socialite mother . . . until he needs a kidney. Driver Beau Lansing has been sent to beg Celeste to get to know her father and, maybe, give him a kidney. Suspenseful, sexy, and romantic, Killer Curves is one of my favorite romantic suspense books. If you love NASCAR and romance, this is a great book. If you love romance and aren’t sure about NASCAR, still give this book a try. It’s a page-turner. – Jennifer Lohmann

A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught Romance F McNaught, J. Jennifer Merrick, daughter of a Scottish lord, is captured by her family’s enemy, a man known only as “the Wolf ” for his fearsome fighting on behalf of the English King Henry. Royce is a favored warrior for his king and a man who has never been beaten—until he captures Jennifer. Desperate to return home and defend her family, Jennifer outwits Royce at every turn. It’s a romance novel, so these two enemies have to end up together, and McNaught brings them together in grand style. With humor, romance and emotion, McNaught writes a winner of a story. – Jennifer Lohmann


Lord of the Fading Lands: Tairen Soul by C.L. Wilson Romance F Wilson, C. The Tairen, great beasts related to the Fey, are dying and when they die, the Fey die as well. Rain, the King of the Fey and the Tairen Soul, learns that to save the Fey and the Tairen, he must find one woman in the middle of a city he hates. The evil Eld, hidden for thousands of years after a vicious war, are on the rise and hungry for their lost power. If all this were not bad enough, Ellie, Rain’s truemate, has a secret past which could destroy the entire world. Disregard the label “romance” on the spine; this is the beginning of a strong fantasy series. Wilson creates a rich world with magical and human creatures, good and evil. Once you are hooked on this fantasy/romance, you will have to rush out and get the other two books in the series. – Jennifer Lohmann

Seducing Mr. Heywood: A Regency Romance by Jo Manning Romance F Manning, J. Mr. Heywood is the attractive, and slightly stuttering, curate charged with serving as guardian to the infamous Lady Rowley’s two children. Lady Rowley’s return to her home and children from London is not viewed with pleasure by most of her late husband’s friends, but Mr. Heywood recognizes there may be a heart under the scandal. However, no one but the notorious Lady Rowley can imagine her falling for the country curate. This romance worms its way into your heart and before you know it, you are hooked. – Jennifer Lohmann


The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne Romance F. Bourne, J. Tired of the same old historical Regency romance? Too many ballrooms, and rakes and dresses? The Spymaster’s Lady is the romance to pull you out of those doldrums! Annique Villiers is a spy for the French, held prisoner by her own side when she meets Richard Grey, a notorious British spymaster. Annique is resourceful and crafty, if extremely unlucky, as she fights to hide from both the English and the French. Grey is determined and willing to stretch the truth to get Annique within English protection. This is not a James Bond-style espionage story set in ballrooms and casinos. Instead, Annique is closer to the fight-for-survival type of spy often seen in Robert Ludlum novels. Joanna Bourne has written a great story with a strong plot and fun characters. The Spymaster’s Lady is the cure for the common Regency romance blues. – Jennifer Lohmann


Science Fiction/ Fantasy The Bone Key by Sarah Monette Fantasy F Monette, S. Kyle Murchison Booth would hate to see his name here once, much less in every story in this collection. He is painfully shy and has a horror of standing out in any crowd. Booth, as he prefers to be called, is the archival curator at a small private museum and has an unfortunate knack for attracting the attention of the uncanny. Things just draw him in, whether through historical documents, personal history, or unfortunate circumstances, and he feels compelled to solve the occult puzzles. Booth is neither courageous nor witty, but his vulnerability makes him far more appealing than any dashing young hero. It is easy to see why Monette acknowledges the influence of M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft. However, these are not formulaic riffs on old themes. If you like well-written eerie stories that aren’t gore fests, these are for you. – Deb Warner


Bone Song by John Meany Science F MMeany J. You can’t get much more noir than a city that runs on necroflux, energy drawn from the dead, and that’s how it is in this gritty police procedural/thriller. Wraiths power everything from elevators to cars, zombiehood is an “un-lifestyle,” while “Bone Listeners” research past events and werewolves are most efficient guard dogs. Tough cop Donal Riordan has a special assignment: to guard a visiting diva from a serial killer known to be targeting talented artists. He fails, but is assigned to the team investigating all the killings and the conspiracy behind them. He already knows the “why”: the artists are killed for their bones, which allow others to savor their artistic visions. The “who” is much harder to track down, but it is becoming obvious that it involves some very wealthy and powerful people. The team includes an “unbound” wraith and is le d by a gorgeous and wealthy zombie who is anything but a walking corpse. Meany does a good job of setting up in his alternate world and I’d like to see more of it. – Deb Warner


Man with the Golden Torc by Simon Green Fantasy F Green, S. They call him Bond, Shaman Bond, but he’s really Eddie Drood, a formerly unimportant member of the powerful Drood clan. Things are about to change. The first clue Eddie had was the simultaneous attack by Men In Black, CARnivores and killer elves. He’d been set up. His tricky car, his torc and some luck got him out of that. The second hint was a warning from his Uncle James to run far and fast because most of his family was out to kill him as well. He’d been declared “rogue” by the Matriarch. Eddie had never been one of his grandmother’s favorites, but this? Why? Now he’s trying every source, friend or enemy, to find out. In the process he unearths some very unpleasant family history and finds a few allies, including a family ghost, the Drood family Armoror (think “Q” with magic) and a powerful (and attractive) woodland witch. If they thought he was annoying before, they haven’t seen anything yet. The sequel is Daemans Are Forever. – Deb Warner

Mind the Gap: A Novel of the Hidden Cities by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon Fantasy F Golden C. If Jassmine Towne hadn’t noticed one of those sinister black cars outside her home, she would have been killed or captured by the same mysterious “Uncles” who killed her mother. As it was, she only had time to sneak in, read her mother’s dying message and run for her life. She runs to the subway tunnels and finds Deep Shelter 7-K and the group of young thieves who make it their home. As a member of this “family” and led by its protector and planner, Harold Fowler, Jazz learns more than how to steal and to avoid subway trains, she learns that she can see ghosts and that the city has a soul, a spirit that wails in the tunnels. It is not long before one of Henry’s plans crosses paths with the Uncles, resulting in deaths and the tearing apart of her new family. Once again, Jazz is running, but soon she must decide whether she will stop running and accept her late father’s mysterious legacy. – Deb Warner


Mystery Date edited by Denise Little Fantasy SC Myst If nothing else, these stories definitely show that you really don’t know with whom you are chatting on the Internet. Who’d suspect that Aphrodite is a gorgeous slob, or that Medusa uses chat rooms to target serial killers that prey on women? Can a dumb board game really predict the future? What if that nerd at work is a monster in disguise? Would you remember the right folktale to defeat it and save the handsome duke? Using her Ouija board, a coed is trolling for Clark Gable. Who would you choose? Most of the stories in this collection are light-hearted, but there are a few that have less pleasant endings. Dater beware! – Deb Warner

Pyramid Scheme by David Freer & Eric Flint Science F Freer, D. All those who think aliens built the Great Pyramid, listen up. A 5sided pyramid has appeared mysteriously on the grounds of the University of Chicago. It’s snatching up bystanders, and weapons only seem to make it grow faster. Most of the disappeared soon reappear, dead or dying. One small group has not reappeared and the action shifts between this group and the growing mass of increasingly frustrated soldiers and government officials on the outside. What’s going on? It appears that the pyramid was indeed sent by aliens, who are sending the “snatchees” into resurrected mythological universes. One minute you’re hanging around the office, next thing you know you’re on the deck of Odysseus’s ship. (Now there’s someone you don’t want to turn your back on.) So far, the survivors have managed to pool their knowledge and skills (and even learn a little magic) to counter the dangers they face, which is not easy with most of Olympus out to get you. Now, if only they can find a way back before someone outside the pyramid does something really stupid. – Deb Warner


When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer Science F Wylie, P. Our planet is three years away from total destruction when the novel opens. Scientists have identified two rogue planets from outside the solar system, rotating about each other, that are headed for a collision with the Earth. The story follows a small group of people with a daring plan to build a space ship and escape before the end. Wylie and Balmer imaginatively describe the catastrophic effects of the approaching planets on the Earth and its population. Written in 1932, the book reflects some dated attitudes (blue blood is apparently enough to qualify one for a spot on the space ship, regardless of a lack of practical skills) – but not as much as one might expect. A classic end-of-the-world tale. – Shelley Geyer


Nonfiction Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak through Philosophy and Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and David Klein

401.41 Cath

After the authors dealt with philosophy in Plato and a Platypus Walked into a Bar, they turned their attention to politics. For a humorous look at what our politicians say and what they really mean, give this book a try. While George Bush and Dick Cheney get their fair share of attention, the authors are generous in their attention to others who, intentionally or not, are not saying what they mean. This book includes a quiz – can you recognize that you are being hoodwinked and how? – Carol Passmore

Brighter Leaves: Celebrating the Arts in Durham, North Carolina, by a company of friends of Patrick D. Kenan

700.922 Brig

Brighter Leaves looks at the architecture, music, theater, dance, visual arts, and crafts our local artists have created and at the individuals and organizations that have made Durham’s arts scene what it is today. The book consists of eight chapters, an appendix, and an index, plus nearly 200 photographs. The first chapter relates Durham’s development as a city in conjunction with its early artistic efforts. The remaining chapters focus mainly on the last 55 years. The extensive appendix, arranged alphabetically by name of artist, organization, or place, provides much additional information. Brighter Leaves: Celebrating the Arts in Durham, North Carolina, is a wonderful addition to the literature of Durham history. – Lynn Richardson


Cheer: Three Teams on a Quest for College Cheerleading’s Ultimate Prize by Kate Torgovnick 791.64 Torgovnick This book is an entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at competitive cheerleading at the college level by Durham native Kate Torgovnick. This Jordan high school graduate followed three different squads through the audition process to the national championships in Florida. Part of the enjoyment with this book is that after reading it, you can go onto the website to watch the videos of the actual performances at the competition. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member

Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys: A Fairly Short Book by Dave Barry 817 Barry I’ve read this book at least five times and I still laugh out loud every time! Barry explores the differences between ‘men’ and ‘guys,’ why guys won’t go to the doctor, why guys can’t see dirt and gives other helpful hints for women who are trying to understand guys. Dave Barry is an irreverent-humor genius! – Carrie Rider

Dewey: The Small-Town Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter 636.8 Myron When I read an interview with the author of the book in Book Pages, I knew I had to read this book. I am a cat lover and was surprised that I never heard about Dewey Readmore Books before. This cat not only made an impact on the residents of Spencer, Iowa. He also became famous around the world. But this book is more than just about Dewey. It paints a vivid picture of small-town life and the hardships faced by the community and local farmers over the past decades. I think every library should have a resident cat like Dewey. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member


Durham Tales by Jim Wise on order This delightful book tells stories that illustrate the “character” Durhamites claim for their town. Here are some interesting tidbits from just one of the fascinating tales — the story of Dr. Barlett Durham: Dr. Barlett Durham gave his land to the North Carolina Railroad and thus his name to the town. According to a man Durham treated as a boy, the doctor “knocked around with the women a great deal.... Dr. Durham was a fine man and when he was sober, he was strong and courageous.” He was concerned about his patients and would go on a drinking binge to drown his sorrows whenever one of them succumbed. He died young and in 1859 was laid to rest 12 miles west of Chapel Hill. He was exhumed in 1933 to be reinterred in his namesake town. His body was so well preserved that he lay on view for some time at the Hall-Wynne funeral home, although the state of decay quickly became so noticeable that it made the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Sunday comic strip. When he was buried in Durham’s Maplewood Cemetery, he was given a spacious plot and a nice stone that records his birth in 1822, his death in 1858, and his middle name as Snipes—all incorrect, as it turns out. Wise’s curmudgeonly fondness for his town and his wide and deep knowledge of its history are evident throughout Durham Tales. If you want to learn some Durham history and be highly entertained in the process, this is the book for you. – Lynn Richardson


Eat, Pray, Love: one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert 910.4 Gilbert After forty something nights spent sobbing on the bathroom floor of her and her husband’s “dream home” in the country, writer Elizabeth Gilbert faces the fact that she is not cut out to fit the mold that she intended to fill as a wife and mother. She decides to find her true self, so to speak, by traveling to three countries that she believes excel in an area of self-discovery. An unusual travelogue in three parts spanning an entire year, Gilbert uses a prayer bead symbol rather than a chapter number to mark each individual section of her book. (See the introduction for more info about the 108 beads). First we’re brought along to Italy for descriptions of pleasurable food (and language) experiences; next we take a spiritual ride via meditation in an Ashram in India; lastly we move on to Indonesia where the author explores peace and balance with the assistance of an elderly medicine man. This is not a slight, fluffy memoir; it is an extremely well-written, emotional and inspirational tale of truth and discovery. If you’ve ever felt you need to re-explore any area of your life, you will readily connect with Gilbert’s pursuits and easily find some ideas – either large or small – for positive self-change. – Susan Wright


Flirting with Pride and Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece edited by Jennifer Crusie 823.7 Flir This book is a collection of 25 essays centered on Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The essays cover such topics as Jane and History, Jane and the Movies and Jane’s Untold Stories. The final section of the book brings the 19th century novel into the 21st century complete with cell phones and reality TV. Some of the essays are serious, thoughtprovoking ones while others are just pure fun. My favorite essay is the one titled “My Firth Love.” Anyone that has seen the BBC production will know just what that title means. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez

305.486 Rodriguez

This book was hopeful and depressing, funny and disturbing. I have so much freedom! It’s amazing that there are so many different cultures and different ways of living on this one planet. Deborah Rodriguez, a hairdresser from Michigan, decided that the way she could help the women of Afghanistan was to teach them how to be beauticians and run their own salons. This would help them earn income…as well as pride and freedom. Through Rodriguez’ eyes, we can see the horrors and the beauty of life for a woman in Afghanistan. – Carrie Rider


Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey

641.563 Jaffrey

If you asked me last year to name the best vegetarian cookbook I would have said A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. With this classic book, however, Madhur Jaffrey has given Mr. Bishop a run for his money. World Vegetarian lives up to its name. There are recipes from Mexico, Africa, Asia, India, the Middle East, South America — if you can think of a region, a recipe from that region is included. I recommend the extremely tasty Fried Eggplant in Minty Tomato Sauce (it was so good I had to restrain myself from licking the platter) and her split bean recipes (which I’ve been making with plain green split peas). Procuring some of the ingredients requires a bit of looking in local ethnic food stores, but it’s been worth it. Every recipe I’ve tried has been delicious and healthy. She does not use a lot of salt or fat, but rather lots and lots of spice. Since I took the book home, we’ve eaten a curry, rice, and one of her yogurt chutneys at least once a week. – Jennifer Lohmann

Memorabilia Quilts: Fabulous Projects with Keepsakes & Collectibles by Linda Causee and Rita Weiss

746.46 Causee

Wow - what a great craft/quilting book! A must for anyone with a collection they want to display in a useful manner - whether it is sports pins, postcards, ribbons from competitions, old neckties, or t-shirts. This book has easy-to-follow directions, great diagrams, and lots of photographs. The projects are in the front of the book, saving the basic how-to’s for the end which is great for quilters who might not need all the beginner, basic stepby-step sewing stuff. Even if you don’t plan on making one of these quilts, take a look just for the exquisite designs and photography. – Patricia Dew


On Sherman’s Trail: The Civil War’s North Carolina Climax by Jim Wise

973.7378 Wise

On Sherman’s Trail begins with General William Tecumseh Sherman reaching Goldsboro at a climactic point in the Civil War. It flashes back to his army’s entry into North Carolina and the march that brought him to Goldsboro. The book concludes with his last weeks in the state as he marches toward Durham’s Bennett Place to negotiate the surrender that, for all practical purposes, ended the War between the States. Wise takes pains to point out the layers of pre- and post-Civil War history in the landscape — sites important in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, the coming and going of the tobacco culture, and the changes railroads and highways brought. Conceived as a travel guide as well as a history, On Sherman’s Trail is written to help the reader navigate to the places where the war’s events occurred. Wise recommends traveling back roads whenever possible. This approach allows the reader-navigator retracing Sherman’s steps to get closer to the reality of the Union and Confederate soldiers and the North Carolina residents along the way. So get yourself a copy and head out on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon to see some unseen parts of this beautiful state and learn a bit about our storied past in the process. – Lynn Richardson

A People’s History of Sports in the United States by Dave Zirin 796.091 Zirin I would like to recommend strongly this book in the genre of sports/sports history. It is activist journalism at its best and it debunks many of the long-held beliefs that exist about sport, especially: sports etymology, politics, oppression and the evolution of sports. The book explores race and class with distinguished scholarship and is written in short vignettes that kept me mesmerized. It is a new release, published in 2008, and is suitable for non-academics, as well those who enjoy reading dictionaries. – Jeff Anton, Friends of the Durham Library board member


Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and David Klein

102.07 Cathcart

If you never understood philosophy, this is the book for you. If you really like philosophy, it is the book for you. If you like jokes, many of them admittedly bad jokes, you will like this book. What you get is a brief explanation of a philosophical term, which is then illustrated by several jokes. You also get a running commentary by Dimitri and Tasso, otherwise known as the authors, Cathcart and Klein. Lots of fun – and perhaps a bit educational. – Carol Passmore

Rip It Up and Start Again : Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

781.66 Reynolds

This incredibly detailed, but very readable, history of the late 70s/early 80s British music scene is a revelation. Simon Reynolds covers all the important (and obscure) UK post-punk bands and creates a coherent narrative from their stories. The best part is discovering the tortured paths certain MTV bands took to chart success. Even The Human League was chock full of ideology, synths and a futurist outlook. It seems that the few who became one-hit wonders in the U.S. got there despite their best intentions. This book could send a retro-minded teenager down some very exciting rabbit holes. – Autumn Winters


The Shakespeare Riots: Revenge, Drama, and Death in Nineteenth-Century America by Nigel Cliff

792.097 Cliff

In the 1840’s, two actors specializing in Shakespeare dominated the English-speaking stage: William Macready in England, and Edwin Forrest in the United States. Their association began as a collegial friendship, but quickly degenerated into suspicion and animosity on both sides. Soon this personal feud was taken up by political and social activists eager to exploit current Anglo-American hostility and the ever-widening gap between the wealthy and the working poor. On May 10, 1849, Macready made his farewell appearance in the United States at New York’s Astor Place Theater. Within hours after his final speech as Macbeth, the theater was in shambles and thirty people were dead. This stranger-thanfiction book describes the conditions and events that led to the Astor Place riot and the end of a unique era in theatrical history. – Frances Evans

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace­ − One School at a Time

371.823 Mortenson

This book took a bit to get involved in, but I loved it once I got rolling. It is a classic true story of how one person who has courage and a vision can make a difference in the world. Greg Mortenson is an American hero who believes that building schools to give children a balanced education in Pakistan and Afghanistan is the way to battle terrorism. The insert of pictures added another dimension in visualizing the land and people. This book humbled and inspired me. – Carrie Rider


The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. by Amanda Ripley

155.935 Ripley

While Ripley, a writer for Time Magazine, is analyzing disasters like 911 and Hurricane Katrina, her focus is not on what happened but how the human mind functions and thus affects what happens. For example, it turns out that while being poor and lacking transportation was a reason for not evacuating New Orleans, being elderly was the more common reason people did not evacuate. Stewardesses are trained to yell at passengers when a plane needs to be evacuated – otherwise, we don’t hurry. And people, including those in the World Trade Center, tend to stop and consider what to take with them instead of fleeing a dangerous situation. Ripley illustrates how the human mind, when faced with disaster, is fascinating and not necessarily rational. – Carol Passmore

Walking the Gobi: A 1600 Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair by Helen Thayer

915.173 Thayer

This is a travel book that will make you glad you stayed at home and will remind you that something that sounded like a good idea when you are eleven might not be so great when you are sixty. But Helen and her husband, accompanied by Tom and Jerry, two wonderful camels, braved heat and wind and sand and lack of water and scorpions and wolves to cross the Gobi. They met very friendly local people and very unfriendly Chinese border guards and smugglers. From my air-conditioned home, I enjoyed the trip enormously. And if you like this, you might like I Golfed Across Mongolia by Andre Tolme (915.173) – no camels but lots of adventures. – Carol Passmore


Wesley the Owl: the Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl. by Stacey O’Brien

598.97 O’Brien

O’Brien worked in the owl lab at CalTech, which she describes as being a bit like Hogwarts, the school in the Harry Potter series. She adopted a four-day old owl with a wing injury that would prevent him from surviving in the wild. This book tells the story of their 20 years together with information about owls incorporated in the story. How do you go on a date if you have to take along the baby owl and the dead mice he eats? How does a captive but still nocturnal owl adjust to sleeping at night – or keeping you awake at night? And how do your friends respond to the strange noises coming from your room? Teens who like animals will enjoy this book. – Carol Passmore

Where Flavor Was Born: Recipes and Culinary Travels Along the Indian Ocean Spice Route by Andreas Viestad

641.638 Viestad

The first thing you will notice about this cookbook is the pictures. The photographs, taken by Mette Randem, are fabulous. Each photograph, whether of a market or a finished recipe, is rich with color and life. Of course, a cookbook is only good if the recipes are tasty and Viestad does not disappoint. The recipes are organized by spice and I recommend trying the Indian Pepper Chicken. It was very peppery (you will want the recommended yogurt) and delicious. We also liked the Chicken Cardamom Masala with Cashew and the Nan with Cumin, Raisins, and Onions. – Jennifer Lohmann


Biography Allan Pinkerton: The First Private Eye by James MacKay

B Pinkerton, A.

If you like spy thrillers, this is the biography for you! Before I read this book, the only thing I knew of Allan Pinkerton was that he busted strikes in Chicago. Of course, the only thing I knew about him was completely wrong. A poor immigrant from Scotland, Pinkerton used tenacity and wits to open his own detective business, which is still in existence today. He invented many of the terms and techniques still used today in detective and spy work. He created a database of criminals that is the forerunner to the one used by the FBI and his spy network during the Civil War turned into the Secret Service. Part of this book read like a spy thriller and you will be on the edge of your seat. MacKay clearly admires Pinkerton and did a lot of research for this biography to correct some of the myths about him and his Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He does, at times, seem a little too willing to grant Pinkerton some leeway, but this does not detract from a riveting story. – Jennifer Lohmann

Fighting Fire by Caroline Paul B Paul, C Fighting Fire is the autobiography of Caroline Paul, one of San Francisco’s first female fire fighters. Her book reads more like an adventure story or an action movie than a biography, but it is an entirely true story. Caroline’s story is inspiring because she shows she has guts – you cannot help but admire her courage, dedication and determination to save lives. She has to contend with more than just burning buildings and medical emergencies; she has to overcome the prejudices and stereotypes held by her male coworkers, the objections of her family and friends to her career choice, and her own fears. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at life in the firehouse. – Elizabeth Watson


Out of My Mind by Mena Webb

B Webb, M.

Durham’s Mena Webb compiled Out of My Mind for her family, but her larger family of local fans wouldn’t let her get away with keeping it within that intimate circle. This array of previously unpublished short stories and recollections of her personal and writing life shows her artful way with words. From short stories written for the Durham Junior League’s first “News Sheet” in the 1950s; reminiscences of her husband, newspaperman Mack Webb; the joys and pains of writing and of aging (she’s 92); to a delightful opening vignette on her “First Love,” (the Durham County Library!), from a woman who claims to be the library’s “oldest life-long card-carrying patron,” this book has much to offer Mena’s Durham family. – Lynn Richardson

Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler by L. Jon Wertheim B Basavich, D. Normally I would never recommend a book where my opinion of the writing could be summed up with a rousing “meh,” but the story of Kid Delicious is fascinating enough to make up for lackluster writing. I knew, because I’d heard the term, that there are pool hustlers, but I never imagined what the pool hustling world looks like. Now, I don’t have to imagine. Using the hustling career of Kid Delicious (Danny Basavich), Wertheim paints a vivid picture of a world of wads of cash, high-risk, and larger-than-life characters. I almost feel like I could walk into a pool hall tomorrow and talk the talk, although I’d probably lose thousands of dollars since I’m no pool hustler – just a really bad pool player. – Jennifer Lohmann


A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts

B Holman, J.

Jason Roberts has recreated the inspiring life of traveler James Holman in this biography. Holman was in the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars and went blind while serving. Rather than succumbing to the expectations of the time (begging or living off the kindness of his family), Holman became a traveler. Alone, against all odds, unable to see, and with very limited income, Holman circumnavigated the globe. He visited every habited continent, learned several languages, and became known, even in remote parts of the world, as “the Blind Traveler.” Despite all of his accomplishments, however, Holman’s story was lost to history, forgotten to all but the blind community, until Roberts came across a slight reference to him while browsing a library shelf. Holman’s life is an example of what a person can accomplish with a little creativity and a lot of perseverance. Through reading about his life, a reader not only gets a life-affirming story, but also a glimpse into the past: a portrait of the life of a poor, Regency gentleman, a window into cultures now lost to history and colonization, and a sense of how quickly technology changed in the 70 years of Holman’s life. I had heard about this book when it first came out, and it deserves all the high praise the reviews gave it. – Jennifer Lohman

Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine

B Fine, J.

All misfit, Anglophile, nerdy girls should read this one. Ms. Jerramy Fine is living the dream! She is so ridiculous for so long, but she keeps her eyes on the prize and then suddenly she’s making out with hot British royalty in a windmill while dressed as Grace Kelly. I’m not even kidding. Read this satisfying and silly story with a pint of ice cream by your side. – Autumn Winters


Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine

B Fine, J.

Don’t read this book. I repeat, don’t read this book. Because if you do, it won’t be there when I want to reread it. You don’t have to be an Anglophile (lover of all things English) like me or have lived in London (although I have) to enjoy the witty memoirs of Jerramy Fine. The daughter of hippie parents from Colorado, Jerramy always dreamed of marrying a real prince and after selecting a member of the British royal family, she sets off to fulfill her dream. Think of it as a cross between Bridget Jones’s Diary and a Disney princess movie. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

B Trapp

I had no idea that this memoir would be so funny and touching. I’ve always loved the movie The Sound of Music, even when I was little, and the book is terrific, too. Maria von Trapp was a smart, humorous lady, and there is much more to the story than the movie shows. This family was truly remarkable! They loved each other, worked hard together and managed to adapt and thrive by keeping hope alive. – Carrie Rider


Young Adult Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

YAF Hale, S.

I truly enjoyed this story told in diary entries. Dashti and the lady she serves, Saren, are bricked into a tower because Saren refuses to marry the man her father picked out. Dashti is a strong, witty character who grows, loves and makes difficult decisions. It is a pleasure to read about the danger, as well as the tedium, through Dashti’s writing. This book is based on the story called ‘Maid Maleen’ by the Brothers Grimm, but Hale has made it original and fresh. – Carrie Rider

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Yaf Zusak, M. It took me a little bit to get in the flow of this book, but once I did I was completely gripped. The narrator, Death, skips around a bit but he has a unique and interesting voice. Nazi Germany was quite a place! How did anyone manage to have hope or to love? I was not prepared for how much this book would touch me. It’s not my usual fare, especially since it deals with WWII. But wow, what characters. Wow, the power of words. I haven’t been so moved by a book in a long time. – Carrie Rider


The Fold by An Na

YAF Na, A.

Printz award winner An Na returns with another insightful tale of Korean-American family life. When Joyce’s meddlesome Gomo (aunt) wins the lottery, she bequeaths unwanted gifts to everyone in her family. Gomo’s gifts are aimed squarely at fixing what she sees as her family’s faults. Looking tired? How about some tattood eyeliner? Too short for the basketball team? Try these shark liver pills. Not nearly as beautiful as your big sister? Time for plastic surgery! The Fold is a funny and gentle read at heart. It’s a treat to read about such a functional and supportive, though imperfect, family. – Autumn Winters

How not to be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler YAF Aiegler J. Maggie Dempsey is tired of moving and having to leave friends behind each time. So when her hippie parents move to Austin, Texas at the beginning of another school year, she decides not to make friends that she will just have to leave in a few months. I enjoyed reading her attempts to be unpopular and how they backfire no matter what she does. The cover of the book and the tips at the beginning of each chapter on how not to be popular let you know the fun in store for you in reading this book. – Mary Auen, Friends of the Durham Library board member


Kendra by Coe Booth

YAF Booth, C.

Powerhouse author Coe Booth follows up her stunning debut novel Tyrell with another knockout. Kendra is a 14-year-old who has been raised by her grandma in the projects while her mother Renee pursued her degree. Now, ex-teen mom Renee has finally gotten her doctorate. Is it too late for the two of them to have a real relationship? Kendra thinks it might be, and that’s too bad because she is having big problems. This book takes a complex look at three women in a modern African-American family and asks some hard questions about responsibility, resentment and reconciliation. – Autumn Winters

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen Yaf Dessen, S. This novel is another engrossing Sarah Dessen read. She captivates the reader with a teenage girl named Ruby who shows courage and heart despite abandonment by her own mother. We see the world clearly through her eyes, wrestling with the questions: what do family, friendship, trust, and love really mean? She discovers unexpected answers to these questions when she is forced to live with her estranged sister and then befriends a troubled boy next door. Dessen weaves the lives of her characters together seamlessly, showing the poignant power of relationships in a teen’s ever changing world. – Archie Burke

Love Among the Walnuts by Jean Ferris

YAF Ferris, J.

This novel has quirky characters, poison, money, love, a chicken and lots of humor. What else do you need?! It’s a great story about finding worth in people, and there was one part that took my breath away it made me so happy! Also try Much Ado about Grubstake and Once Upon a Marigold if you like this book – Carrie Rider


The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot


Because I am not a fan of graphic novels, I was surprised to find one that I can enthusiastically recommend. Bryan Talbot’s gorgeously drawn story features Helen, a teen who runs away from, and struggles to overcome, her father’s abuse. The “Bad Rat” is Helen’s pet that becomes her larger-than-life companion and confidante. The subject of The Tale of One Bad Rat is disturbing, yet the author’s treatment of it is surprisingly gentle. Once she leaves her home, Helen discovers that she can stand up for herself. I only wish all abuse victims were so fortunate. I was first attracted to this book by the wonderful landscapes. One Bad Rat is set in England, much of it in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, the Lake District. This is Beatrix Potter country, where her home, Hilltop, is located. Beatrix Potter and some of her characters have a role in Helen’s new world. Beautiful scenery, believable characters and a compelling story made The Tale of One Bad Rat a graphic novel that I could enjoy and take seriously, like a good novel. – William Nesmith

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

YAB Rhodes-Courter, A.

This matter-of-fact account of one girl’s journey through the foster care system will appeal to readers who enjoyed Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It, Tori L. Hayden’s books, and other tales of dysfunctional childhood. Ashley tells her own story without the reflection or literary devices that an adult memoirist would use. It seems as if she wrote the book for herself, as a way to make some sense out of her fragmented history. I really enjoyed her direct approach, and I think her book will appeal to kids who are in similar situations more than a distanced retelling might. – Autumn Winters


Juvenile Fiction Airman by Eoin Colfer

JF Colfer, E.

I first fell in love with the works of Eoin Colfer after reading his first book of the Artemis Fowl series (a series which I highly recommend to all readers. Like the Harry Potter series, it is a body of work which transcends all ages). One of his latest titles, Airman, reaffirms that love and highlights Colfer’s uncanny ability to tie bits of factual information to a heaping helping of good fiction to produce stories that leave you hungry for more of his works. Eoin Colfer is truly a master of suspense. Were Orville and Wilbur Wright the first men to actually fly? Not according to Conor Broekhart who serves as the main character in Airman. This story is set in the early 1890s when man’s fascination with flight was matched only by the sinister greed of those who wished to possess the wealth and power that would come from first flight. Conor becomes an unwilling participant in a saga which leads to the death of his King and leads to him being falsely accused, labeled a traitor and thrown into jail for life. His fight, for his life, his family and his country, blossoms into a wonderful tale of courage and determination. It culminates in a satisfying and well deserved end for those who underestimated not only his fortitude but the possibility and the power of flight. This story is well written and is guaranteed to leave you a fan of Eoin Colfer. It takes place off the coast of Ireland in the times of sovereignty and is sprinkled with just enough factual tidbits to make one wonder, “Were Orville and Wilbur really the first to fly?” – Anna Cromwell


Count Karlstein by Phillip Pullman JF Pullman, P. Phillip Pullman is well known for his trilogy of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, all of which are wonderful reads that I encourage you to try. But did you know that he has other terrific works that are just as suspenseful? Count Karlstein is one such title. The story is told from the vantage point of Hildi, the maid servant, who introduces the three main characters; the evil Count Karlstein and his two nieces, Lucy and Charlotte. Lucy and Charlotte have recently been placed in the care of their wicked uncle, the Count, who credits himself lucky only for what he thinks he can get from trading the two girls. Who better to trade with than Zamiel the Demon Huntsman who can grant all for the right price? Lucy and Charlotte, who suspect their uncle’s sinister scheme, come up with a clever plan to outwit the fiendish Count, but make the unfortunate mistake of setting their plan in action on All Soul’s Eve, the one night that Zamiel the Demon Huntsman is loosed from the bonds of eternity. This story will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is overflowing with thrilling highs and dramatic lows and to top it all off, Zamiel the Demon Huntsman is hiding between every line of suspense, just waiting with each turn of a page to jump out and grab you! – Anna Cromwell


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen JF Paulsen, G. A thirteen year-old boy is on his way to visit his father in Canada when the pilot of the small plane he is in suddenly has a heart attack. Surviving the plane crash, Brian Robeson finds himself alone in a vast forest in northern Minnesota. He soon changes from a helpless boy whining about his bad luck to a crafty survivor who builds his own shelter, builds a fire and hunts for his own food. Brian also survives an attack by a porcupine, an angry moose and a sudden, violent tornado. His most treasured possession is the hatchet his father gave to him before he began his ill-fated trip. Author Paulsen, an avid outdoorsman and Minnesota native, vividly describes Brian’s fears, as well as his excitement in discovering how to create fire and live off the land. There’s a reason young people are always asking for this book, it’s incredible. – Tom Czaplinski

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck JF Peck, R. How could you not want to read a book with a title like that?! This is another great book from the author of A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. I enjoyed this book because it managed to completely surprise me in the midst of funny and touching moments. It is full of oldfashioned cars, quirky characters (including a strong female librarian) and plenty of action. – Carrie Rider


The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

JF/YAF Dunkle

This is the story of two sisters who are orphaned and must move to a remote home with unkind, older relatives. There is an unpleasant legend about Hallow Hill, which is near the house – young women have vanished there. What will happen when Marak, the Goblin King, comes to speak with them? What is truly important in a relationship? Can a girl love a goblin? Find out in this first installment in the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. I enjoyed the strong characters, the fast action, and the fact that it made me ponder. – Carrie Rider

Morning Girl by Michael Dorris

JF Dorris, M.

Morning Girl loves to get up early in the morning. She is a doer and a dreamer who can accomplish more in the quiet of dawn. Her brother, Star Boy, is just the opposite, preferring the star-filled dead of night. Set in the Bahaman islands in 1492, five chapters are narrated by the girl and four by the boy in this coming of age story. A slim paperback that really is a BIG intergenerational story for all ages. This is a fine example of less equals more by the late Michael Dorris, winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. – Susan Wright


The Navigator by Eoin McNanee JF McNamee, E. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and found that the world as you knew it and the people that you loved were all gone? That is the dilemma Owen, our heroic main character, finds himself in. With one ominous shift in the planet’s alignment, all is changed and time is now flowing backwards. Allied with the Resisters (those who have slept for centuries, waiting for this moment in time), Owen sets forth to right the wrong, reclaim his life and to reunite with his mother. There is only one thing standing in his way, the Harsh. The Harsh are enemies of the Resisters who seek to keep time turning backwards in hopes of freezing the hearts of mankind and taking over their world. This story is a good solid read, filled with tremendous battles and ingenious plans. However, the battle cannot go on forever, time is running out and all that Owen has ever known will soon be lost forever unless he is able to navigate his way through the many close-calls and near-misses that his story brings. The premise of this story is similar to most: hero versus villain, good versus evil. Yet hidden between the lines is a hint of something more. The belief that mankind is innately good and that even in the midst of tumultuous odds good will always overcome evil. – Anna Cromwell

Patrol by Walter Dean Myers JF Myers, W. This is a picture book describing the dangers American soldiers encountered while on patrol in the dense forests of Vietnam. Myers’s words convey the fears and uncertainties the leader of the patrol feels while hunting for an elusive enemy. The color collages by artist Ann Grifalconi enhance the sparse poetic words by the author. At the end of his day, the patrol leader says, “‘I am so tired. I am so very tired of this war.’” This book should be read by any teenager who wonders what the war in Vietnam was like. – Tom Czaplinski


Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry

JF Barry, Dave

I loved this book! If you are a fan of Peter Pan, then you’ll enjoy this story as well. Many of the favorite characters are included, like Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell, the lost boys and of course that ever present alligator hankering for another piece of Captain Hook. Most have new names, but are clearly recognizable in the text. Tons of new characters are added in, which makes for a more fulfilling and adventurous tale. Starcatchers serves as a prequel to the original Peter Pan story and provides answers to many questions left unanswered in the original tale; such as “Why can’t Peter Pan grow older?”; “Why is Captain Hook out to get Peter Pan?”; and “Where on earth did the huge alligator come from?” The story starts with the introduction of Molly, a new character, who has a mysterious secret, which Peter is determined to discover. His quest to learn what’s in Molly trunk leads him on a fantastic journey filled with oversea battles and pirating schemes worthy of Blackbeard himself. This book is wonderful and exciting, reading it is like visiting an old friend who looks a little different now, but can still make you laugh until you cry. – Anna Cromwell

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale

JF Hale, S.

This book is written in graphic novel format and is a combination of fairy tale, western and fantasy. The Grimm fairy tale of Rapunzel has been changed into a rollicking tale set in the Old West. Some parts of the tale are the same: the kidnapped daughter, the tower prison and the ultimate end for the witch. But the ‘prince’ is a young adventurer named Jack (who turns out to be the hero of Jack and the Beanstalk). Rapunzel finds a way to turn her long hair into a lasso type weapon, and the ‘revenge’ part of the story is due to the fact that Rapunzel’s mother is a prisoner in the witch’s gold mine. There are also dwarves, fantastic creatures, the rescue of a kidnapped child, jailbreaks and ultimately a love story, as always takes place in fairy tales. – Laurel Jones


The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer JF Colfer, E. Orphaned at birth, the main character, Cosmo Hill, grows up in the Clarissa Frayne Institute for wayward boys: an orphanage which keeps it doors open with the money earned from leasing the boys out as guinea pigs for testing any and every product from medicine to cosmetics. Recognizing this as a means to an early death Cosmo plans his escape. His escape is anything but smooth and leads to the death of his one true friend, Ziplock, at the hands of the cruel and sadistic marshal of Clarissa Frayne, Officer Redwood. To hide what Redwood sees as a minor blunder, Redwood will capture and silence Cosmo forever, which probably would have happened the very night of his escape, had not Cosmo had the good fortune of falling into the hands of the Supernaturalists, and so the adventure begins. The Supernatualists are a group of kids living on their own, each with special abilities, the same special ability that Cosmo possesses: they can all see supernatural beings which suck the life out of sick or dying beings, or at least that’s what it seems they are doing. Cosmo’s quest to aid the Supernaturalists in their fight against these supernatural parasites leads him back to his original place of torture, the Clarissa Frayne Orphanage. His return to the orphanage leads to the fulfillment of his destiny, to avenge the death of his friend, end the suffering of the other wards of state, and discover the true intent of the ever present supernatural being which haunts the town of Satellite City. This is a fast paced thriller which hits the ground running in chapter one and doesn’t slow down until the last page is turned. – Anna Cromwell


The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

JF Schmidt, G.

This book focuses on middle school students, Shakespeare and the Vietnam War‌and it manages to be one of the funniest books I have ever read! This was my pick for the Newbery Award in 2007 I enjoyed it so much. Holling Hoodhood is our witty narrator who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while his classmates leave for religious instruction. Mrs. Baker, whose husband is in Vietnam, obviously despises Holling because she makes him read Shakespeare on those afternoons. Read this book to find out why cream puffs, rats, Shakespearian-style insults and yellow tights are so fascinating! – Carrie Rider


Juvenile Nonfiction How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy by Ruth Freeman Swain J 641.853 Swain This book begins by describing popular candies and the preferences for them at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc. The author then switches to the historical motif, beginning with the definition of the word ‘candy.’ (It originally came from the Sanskrit word khanda, which refers to a piece of sugar, i.e., the juice from sugar cane plants.) Ms. Swain goes all over the world in her book; from “sweetmeats” as candy was called in Queen Elizabeth I’s time, to maple sugar made by Native Americans, to chocolate made in Central America and its distribution. She describes how certain types of candy came into being including fudge, chocolate bars and gumballs which were created in 19th century America. She closes with a scientific description of sweets and sugar, which neatly sums up an informative and funny story of how we came to enjoy one of our favorite sweets. – Laurel Jones


In the Paint by Patrick Ewing J 751 Ewing Most people know Patrick Ewing as a professional basketball player. In this book, he reveals that he is also an artist. For any child who wants to learn how to paint, this book provides easy to follow instructions. Ewing tells children how to use brushes, how to mix colors, and how to choose subjects. A few of the author’s paintings illustrate the book. The rest of the pictures are supplied by ordinary children. At the back of the book is ‘Tips for Parents and Teachers’ by Linda L. Louis, an art instructor at Columbia University Teachers College in New York City. Patrick Ewing admits in the book that he is not a great artist, but he does reveal that he loves to paint. He encourages young readers to join him in his favorite offcourt activity, which he makes easy, fun and engaging. – Tom Czaplinski

Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World told by Isabella, Juliana and Craig Hatkuff J 599.786 Knut If you want to see one of the cutest animals ever, read this book! Knut was born in the Berlin Zoo to a mother who didn’t know how to take care of him. Learn about how he survived in this book filled with terrific photos. – Carrie Rider


Easy Firefighters A to Z by Chris L. Demarest E Demarest, C. If you have a budding firefighter in your family (or just one who’s interested in what firefighters do), this is a terrific and quite realistic book addressing the career of “the bravest.” Although the jacket indicates that the book is targeted at ages 3 through 8, I found that the material would probably appeal to readers approximately through fifth grade. Besides the A to Z portion, the author has an excellent line drawing of a firefighter’s gear, with all the appropriate parts labeled. The alphabet portion is in rhyme with terrific illustrations and a thorough portrayal of the firefighter’s job. My favorite is probably the facing pages showing “S” for Sounding and “T” for Teamwork. The author concludes with several pages explaining some of the less well-known terms in the picture portion of the book. As a volunteer firefighter I encourage all parents to take their young’uns to their local fire department and learn more about fire safety. – Joyce R. Sykes, Board of Trustees and Volunteer for Durham County Library and for Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department

Go To Sleep, Gecko!: A Balinese Folktale retold by Margaret Reud MacDonald

E MacDonald, M.

“Some things you just have to put up with.” That is a valuable lesson for children to learn early! Poor Gecko can’t sleep because the fireflies keep him awake, so he goes to see Elephant, the village chief. Gecko is grumpy in his sleepiness and demands that Elephant take care of the problem. This sets off a chain of events that teaches yet another good lesson – that everything is connected. This is a book with a message that is still humorous and entertaining. The illustrations are interesting and fun, full of yellows and blues. – Carrie Rider


Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard E Tankard, J. This book is a perfect read for a grouchy day! I absolutely love the illustrations. The little animals are so cute, and their facial expressions make me laugh. Grumpy Bird is sarcastic at times, but Sheep, Rabbit, Raccoon, Beaver and Fox stick by him like friends should. Who knew that friendship and a little exercise could make you feel so good? – Carrie Rider

Journey to Cahokia: A Boy’s Visit to the Great Mound City by Albert Lorenz

E Lorenz, A.

This book is a story of a trading journey made in North America during the year 1300 CE (CE is equivalent to AD). A boy named Little Hawk and his family, are among those who are chosen to take the furs and copper gleaned by their tribe to the ‘great city of Cahokia.’ (Cahokia was the largest city on the continent of North America in 1300 CE!) This is apparently the equivalent of a trip to the State Fair for that time! The journey is made by canoe from their village across from what is now Sandusky, Ohio, and they travel down three rivers: the Sciato, the Ohio and the Mississippi. The city itself is located on a junction where the Mississippi and Missouri rivers meet at what is now lower Illinois. Over the course of their visit, they trade for many different articles (including an early version of a plow), view a game of lacrosse and participate in the festivities for the coronation of the new chief of Cahokia, Great Sun, before returning home. The author pauses in the middle of the book to give archeological information, but it makes for an informative and well-written story about a long-ago people and time. – Laurel Jones


One Day in the Jungle by Colin West

E West, C.

The story begins with a butterfly sneezing as it flies through the jungle. A lizard says, “Bless you.” Then, the lizard sneezes, followed by the monkey, the tiger, and the hippo. Finally, the elephant sneezes, blowing away the entire jungle. The humorous aspect of this silly story comes from each animal creating a larger sneeze than the one before. Adding to the silliness are the cartoony pictures by Colin West in vibrant tropical colors. Young children are going to want this book read to them again and again. – Tom Czaplinski

Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kerby

E Kerby. M.

In 1888, a scrawny mutt crawls into an open window of the Albany, New York post office. Named Owney by the postal workers, the dog soon appoints himself guardian of mail sacks. Soon, he follows the sacks onto a train delivering mail to other states. What follows is an incredible true story of a determined dog that became both a mascot and inspiration for postal workers all across the nation. The book ends with the U.S. Postal Service sending Owney on a cruise around the world. Even if you aren’t a dog lover, this story is recommended to all readers, young and old. – Tom Czaplinski

Pepito the Brave by Scott Beck

E Beck, S.

This book has a terrific message! Pepito is a bird who is afraid to fly, and it is time to leave the nest. His brothers and sisters fly off to their new home, but Pepito decides to go his own way. How will he get there? Will anyone help him? Will he find his family? Is he, perhaps, braver than he thinks? Find out in this colorful little book that is full of animals to identify and actions to perform right along with Pepito. – Carrie Rider


Twenty-one Elephants by Phil Bildner E Bildner, P.. Who thought this would be basically a story about the Brooklyn Bridge? The main character, Hannah, watched the bridge being built and couldn’t wait to walk across it after it opened in 1881. Her father wouldn’t let her because he thought it was unsafe, and she got no support from the rest of her family or from school or from the market. The 21 elephants in the title belonged to the P. T. Barnum circus, but I’ll leave the reader to discover what the link is between the elephants and the bridge. One other comment: the story, and the historical note at the end, talk about the bridge’s chief engineer, Mrs. Emily Roebling, who took over the project after her husband died early in the project. – Joyce R. Sykes, Board of Trustees and Volunteer

A Visitor for Bear by Berry Becker

E Becker, B.

Bear is quite sure that he doesn’t want any visitors or friends. So what will happen when a persistent mouse pops in? This book has cute illustrations and plenty of dramatic outbursts to make, like “Vamoose!” and “Begone!” You also get to fall on the floor and weep when you tell it. – Carrie Rider

Who’s Hiding? by Satoru Onishi

E Onishi, S.

This clever book is a game to play with your little one! The questions posed will make your child think and analyze while they learn about colors, animals, and emotions. An answer key is included if you are stumped. The animals are adorable, and I especially like the kangaroo. – Carrie Rider


The Wolf’s Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood by Toby Forward

E Forward, T.

This reversed fairy tale is told by the Wolf, and he is a funny character! I enjoyed getting a little background on him. Who is telling the truth – Little Red or the Wolf ? You decide once you see what really happened that day in the woods! The illustrations can be a bit on the menacing side, so I recommend this book for a slightly older child. – Carrie Rider

Zak’s Lunch by Margie Palatini

E Palatini, M.

This is a lighthearted tale of wishful thinking that many children will empathize with. When Zak is called for lunch, he races in. But he is not pleased to see that lunch is a ham and cheese sandwich. His mother’s answer to this is, “This is not a restaurant, young man.” Suddenly Zak is transported to a 1950s style diner called “Zak’s Place,” complete with a waitress named Lou to take his order. When she comments that his first order, a hamburger, is “an eensy teensy bit boring,” Zak lets his imagination run loose in ordering his meal. Howard Fine’s vivid illustrations of a fastfood feast are a perfect complement to Ms. Palatini’s plot, in this hilarious tale of mealtime gone wild. – Laurel Jones


Movies Alvin and the Chipmunks (DVD) This is by far one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. If you have a pet that is far too human, or know someone who does, this is the movie for you! Alvin completely steals the show by defeating Dave in handto-hand combat at their initial meeting to giving a Christmas gift that Stephen Hawking couldn’t have thought up. As the “evil” music producer tells the Chipmunks in one scene, “That’s why he has the letter.” Fun for all ages and a must see for anyone curious to know what would a pet say if he/she could talk. I love it! I love it!! I love it!!! There’s a reason this movie grossed over 200 million dollars. It is worthy!!!! – Cleo Bizzell

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (DVD) If you like “Marty,” check out the equally appealing but quirkier 2006 film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, starring Jeff Garlin. Garlin plays James, as a stand-up comedian who loves Marty and is looking for a romantic connection of his own. – Marian G. Fragola

Marty (Videotape) Looking for a heart-warming, affirming film to enjoy over the holidays? No, I’m not talking about It’s a Wonderful Life. Instead, check out the 1955 sleeper Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine in the title role. Marty is a lumpy but sweet butcher who worries he may never find love. Will his luck change when he meets plain-jane Clara at a dance, or is he destined to live at home with his sympathetic mother forever? This film won four Oscars (including Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Director), and its blend of straight-ahead storytelling, engaging characters, and poignant charm makes it a lovely find. – Marian G. Fragola


Thank you to the following contributors Jean Amelang

Technical Services, Main Library

Jeff Anton

Friends of the Durham Library board member

Mary Auen

Friends of the Durham Library board member

Lynne Barnette

Manager, Southwest Branch Library

Cleo Bizzell

Circulation, Main Library

Archie Burke

Reference Services, East Regional Library

Anna Cromwell

Children’s Services, Main Library

Tom Czaplinski

Children’s Services, Main Library

Patricia Dew

Reference Services, Main Library

Frances Evans


Marian Fragola

Humanities Coordinator, Main Library

Shelley Geyer

Reference Services, North Regional Library

Laurel Jones

Children’s Services, Main Library

Jennifer Lohmann Reference Services, Main Library William Nesmith Reference Services, East Regional Library Carol Passmore

Reference Services, Main Library

Lynn Richardson North Carolina Room, Main Library Carrie Rider

Children’s Services, Main Library

Kathi Sippen

Outreach Services, Main Library

Joyce Sykes

Durham County Library Board of Trustees member

Deb Warner

Reference Services, Main Library

Elizabeth Watson Circulation, East Regional Library Autumn Winters

Youth Services, Main Library

Susan Wright

Manager, North Regional Library


Jean Amelang

. ...... 10, 11

Jeff Anton

. ...... 43

Mary Auen

. ...... 23, 24, 38, 41, 51, 53

Lynne Barnette

. ...... 18

Cleo Bizzell

. ...... 26 27, 71

Archie Burke

. ...... 14, 54

Anna Cromwell

. ...... 56, 57, 60-62

Tom Czaplinski

. ...... 58, 60, 65, 68

Patricia Dew

. ...... 42

Frances Evans

. ...... 12, 26, 45

Marian Fragola

. ...... 71

Shelley Geyer

. ...... 36

Laurel Jones

. ...... 61, 64, 67, 70

Jennifer Lohmann . ...... 13, 16, 17, 20, 25, 28-31, 42, 47-49 William Nesmith . ...... 18, 55 Carol Passmore

. ...... 37, 44, 46, 47

Lynn Richardson . ...... 37, 39, 43, 49 Carrie Rider

. ...... 19, 22, 23, 38, 41, 45, 51, 52, 54, 58, 59, 63, 65-70

Kathi Sippen

. ...... 15, 19-21

Joyce Sykes

. ...... 16, 21, 28, 66, 69

Deb Warner

. ...... 22, 32-35

Elizabeth Watson . ...... 11, 17, 24, 48 Autumn Winters . ...... 12, 44, 50, 53, 54, 55 Susan Wright

. ...... 9, 40, 59


A special thank you to the following people for their assistance in the production of Season’s Readings Joyce Sykes

Durham County Library Board of Trustees member

Deb Warner

Reference Services, Main Library



Membership Application Join the Friends of the Durham Library today! NAME: _____________________________________________________ ADDRESS: __________________________________________________ CITY, STATE, ZIP: ___________________________________________ PHONE: ___________________________________________________ E-MAIL: ____________________________________________________

Membership Type (check one)  Family — $25  Individual — $15  Youth (up to age 18) — $5  Senior (age 65 & up) — $10  Sustaining — $50  Life — $300  Additional gift of $______

Memberships expire in one year (except Life memberships). Make checks payable and mail to: The Friends of the Durham Library, Inc. PO Box 3809 Durham, NC 27702 Questions? Call (919) 560-0190


Friends of the Durham Library 2009 Book Sales

SPRING BOOK SALE Friday, March 27, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Friends members only—join at the door! Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Everyone welcome. Sunday, March 29, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Everyone welcome. $7 Bag Sale, auditorium only.

SUMMER BOOK SALE Friday, June 26, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Friends members only — join at the door! Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Everyone welcome. Sunday, June 28, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone welcome. $7 Bag Sale, auditorium only.

FALL BOOK SALE Friday, October 16, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Friends members only — join at the door! Saturday, October 17, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Everyone welcome. Sunday, October 18, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Everyone welcome. $7 Bag Sale, auditorium and garage. LOCATION Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., Durham, NC 27701. MINI-BOOKSALES EVERY DAY AT FIVE LIBRARIES: • East Regional, 211 Lick Creek Lane • Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro Street • North Regional, 221 Milton Road • Parkwood, 5122 Revere Road • Stanford L. Warren Branch Library, 1201 Fayetteville Street


Season’s Readings is produced by the Library’s Marketing and Development Division: Manager, Gina Rozier Graphic Designer, Hitoko Burke Grant Writer, Anastasia Bush Humanities Coordinator, Marian Fragola Webmaster, Jill Wagy Development Officer, Alice Sharpe

If you have questions or comments regarding this publication, please contact Hitoko Burke: 560-0150 or

P.O. Box 3809 Durham, NC 27702

Season's Readings - 2008  

Durham County Library's annual staff reading picks.

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