Click for availability and more information The Death of Santini : The Story of a Father and His Son, by Pat Conroy
 
Pat Conroy has attracted a huge legion of fans for his books over the years with The Great Santini being one of his more popular titles. The Death of Santini could be considered a sequel of sorts to The Great Santini as he writes, obviously from the title, about the death of his father, Donald Patrick Conroy. The majority of the book though is Conroy relating the story of his relationship with his father throughout his life. Donald Conroy was a troubled and difficult man beset by alcoholism, a tendency for outbursts of violent verbal and physical incidents towards his wife and children, and a rigid personality formed by his career as a Marine Corps fighter pilot. Pat Conroy somehow maintained a father/son rapport with this difficult man over the years and his story is at times sad, frustrating, humorous but very engaging. Conroy himself reads the introduction which is a hair-raising summary of life as a son with his father. Dick Hill reads the rest of the book and is terrific. While appealing particularly to Conroy fans, this book is also an absorbing account of a son dealing with a troublesome father as well as a writer detailing his emergence as a best-selling author.
-Roy

My Beloved World

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Click for availability and more information My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
 
Sonia Sotomayor is not only the first Hispanic Supreme Court judge, the third woman appointed to the Supreme Court, but also the author of the totally engaging and charming autobiography My Beloved World. As she writes in the preface to her book, "some readers may find comfort, perhaps even inspiration, from a close examination of how an ordinary person, with strengths and weaknesses like anyone else, has managed an extraordinary journey." Her writing style is clear, lovingly descriptive and totally absorbing as she recounts her growing up in a Puerto Rican family in New York City and her rise to the Supreme Court. Diagnosed with diabetes at a very young age, Sotomayor details her troubles with accepting this condition throughout her life. Yet, she excelled in school and attended Princeton, Yale Law School and had a brilliant legal career. Her wonderfully supportive family life bolstered her determination to exceed in school and her legal profession. My Beloved World is indeed interesting and inspirational reading as Sotomayor has written about her life's journey to the Supreme Court with candor and in a terrific style of writing. It is highly recommended.
-Roy

Click for availability and more information Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look
 
There are things you should know about Alvin Ho. He is afraid of everything (or so he says). For example, Alvin is afraid of school. He can talk at home and on the bus, but never, ever at school. That makes it very difficult to make friends. This very funny story of Second-grader Alvin follows his adventures as he tries to overcome his fears, avoid going to school, and deal with the fact his best friend just might be a girl.
-Deirdre

Pie

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Click for availability and more information Pie, by Sarah Weeks
 
After the death of her favorite Aunt Polly, whose award-winning pies made the small town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania known all over the US in the 1950's, Alice finds herself amidst some very suspicious goings-on. Who took Lardo---the cat Aunt Polly left to Alice? Who broke into Aunt Polly's bakery "Pie"? Why are all the townspeople, including her mother, trying so hard to win the next award for best pie? And where is Aunt Polly's secret pie crust recipe?
-Deirdre

Click for availability and more information The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?, by Thomas Cathcart
 
The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge? by Thomas Cathcart is an interesting philosophical study. Cathcart poses an unusual hypothetical case in which a trolley is flying down a track, out of control. On the track are five workers, unaware of the danger. On a spur (or side) track, a single man is working. Would you throw a switch to divert the train to the spur and sacrifice 1 to save 5? What about the rights of the single man? To complicate matters, there's a man on a bridge, standing next to a rather portly man. Should the portly man be thrown on the tracks to stop the train? The author tries to draw an analogy with a case in which a doctor "harvests" a living man's organs to save 5 people. Is he guilty of manslaughter?

Cathcart cleverly describes a hypothetical trial, in which arguments are made for and against certain actions. Then he presents arguments by different elements of society (academia, medicine, religion, philosophy, etc.). The groups raise questions of ethics, morality, law and logic. Does the greater good for the many supersede the rights of the individual? This book will make you question your own preconceptions.
-Carl

Leap Year

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Click for availability and more information Leap Year
 
Leap Year is a light comedy DVD which is very entertaining. A young girl (Anna) is waiting for her cardiologist boyfriend (Jeremy) to propose to her. He's constantly running off to some emergency. Then she sees a news feature about girls proposing to their boyfriends in Ireland on Leap Day. (Coincidentally, her boyfriend is in Ireland.) She attempts to follow him, but becomes the victim of several mishaps, which threatens her arrival in Dublin by February 29th. In desperation, she hires a down-on-his-luck innkeeper (Declan), who may lose his business to foreclosure. He eventually agrees to drive her to Dublin to earn money to save his inn. At first, they dislike each other, but they eventually learn to respect each other. The movie also takes a subtle look at the difference in cultures. There's a fabulous twist at the end which will make you feel good! This is the movie for you if you're looking for a good laugh!
-Carl

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The Secret Zoo

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Click for availability and more information The Secret Zoo, by Bryan Chick
 
When Noah's sister Megan goes missing, Noah and friends Ella and Richie follow a trail of mysterious clues to the Clarksville City Zoo. Once inside, they discover a big secret--a secret so big that it must be protected at all costs. With the help of some very smart animals, Noah and his friends must rely on one another as they try to rescue Megan and save the magical world of the Secret Zoo.
-Deirdre

Toys Go Out

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Click for availability and more information Toys Go Out, by Emily Jenkins
 
Lumphy is a stuffed buffalo. StingRay is a stuffed stingray. And Plastic... well, Plastic isn't quite sure what she is. They all belong to the Little Girl who lives on the high bed with the fluffy pillows. A very nice person to belong to. Illustrated by Caldecott winning Paul O. Zelinsky, these are the adventures--and misadventures--of three extraordinary friends.
-Deirdre

Alien Autopsy

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Click for availability and more information Alien Autopsy
 

When I picked up the DVD Alien Autopsy, I thought it was a documentary on the alleged crash of a UFO in Roswell in 1947.  Instead, it turned out to be a very entertaining story of two Brits, who ended up producing a film of a "fake" autopsy. 

One of the characters, Ray, is a conman, who hustles bootlegged videos and other items for a living.  His friend, Gary, is a legal assistant, who's trapped in a dead -end job.  They're approached by a man, who says he shot a live film of autopsies on alien beings,  who crashed in Roswell.  He offers to sell it to them for $30,000.  To get enough money to buy the film, Ray must borrow money from a shady Austrian art dealer.  The film appears to be legit; however, the celluloid begins to deteriorate quickly, and Spike starts to panic.  He goes to a film expert, who doesn't give much hope for restoration, but agrees to give it a try.  In the meantime, Ray talks Gary into putting together a fake replacement film with the help of some friends.  Despite many difficulties, the film is completed, and surprisingly they are able to dupe the public.  Demand for copies skyrockets.  Ray is invited on the talk show circuit.  Meanwhile, the film expert is able to restore a portion of the original film, and the results are startling!  Just as the money starts pouring in, things take a turn for the worse.

This is a very funny movie, with great acting and a great storyline.  By the way, it's based on fact!  You should look at this "sleeper".  I'm sure you'll enjoy it!


-Carl

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MVP: Magellan Voyage Project

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Click for availability and more information MVP: Magellan Voyage Project, by Douglas Evans
 
Twelve-year old Adam Story is recruited to attempt to race around the world (without flying) in just forty days. Adam accepts the challenge, and quickly learns he is part of a Great Global Game, where many players are competing to succeed in the world race and the change to win a four million dollar prize. And many others will do anything to stop him from winning.
-Deirdre

I Was a Third Grade Spy

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Click for availability and more information I Was a Third Grade Spy, by Mary Jane Auch
 
When Brian's dog Arful suddenly begins talking, Brian and his two friends send the dog on secret missions to find out what their classmates are planning for the school talent show.
-Deirdre

Passengers

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Click for availability and more information Passengers
 
If you like suspenseful mysteries, then you'll love the DVD Passengers. The main character, Claire, is a young therapist, who is tasked by her mentor with counseling 5 survivors of a plane crash. Four of the survivors start in a group session, while the fifth, Eric, refuses to participate. Eric says he feels fine, more connected to life. He shows no usual signs of depression associated with incidents of this kind. If this is not strange enough, two other men are stalking Claire and the others, which creates a bit of uneasiness. The group starts to fear a coverup by the airline company. There is a very clever twist at the end that you'll never see coming.
-Carl

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