New Mystery Novels

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It's cold out. You might as well stay home and read some mysteries. Here are a few to get you started.


Click for availability and more information Dead To Me, by Cath Staincliffe
 
Detective Constable Janet Scott is subtle and reliable, a diplomatic thinker with a wry sense of humor. She's put in the time and seen it all, but has no desire for the boss's job--she loves her own too much. Rachel Bailey couldn't be more different--she's energetic, impulsive, and ambitious, and has just been transferred to the Manchester murder squad. Their commander thinks Rachel's intuition could make her a great cop, but has reservations about her shoot-first-think-later approach, so she partners her with Janet. At first, the match seems to have been made somewhere considerably lower than heaven, but when a teenage girl is found brutally murdered, stabbed to death in her squalid flat on a North Manchester housing estate, both detectives realize they must work together to stop a vicious killer. But the case quickly becomes more complicated than it seems, fraught with dangers neither woman could see coming. Eager to make her mark, Rachel's reckless pursuit of the truth could threaten her future on the squad. And an unexpected turn in the investigation forces Janet to face personal demons. No matter the cost, both must race to stop a vicious killer before it's too late. For fans of Tess Gerritsen and Deborah Crombie. 


Click for availability and more information Death of a Nightingale: a Nina Borg mystery , by Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
 
Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who has been convicted of the attempted murder of her Danish fiancé, escapes police custody on her way to an interrogation in Copenhagen's police headquarters. That night, the frozen, tortured body of Michael, the ex-fiancé, is found in a car, and the manhunt for Natasha escalates. It isn't the first time the young Ukrainian woman has lost a partner to violent ends: her first husband was also murdered, three years earlier in Kiev, and in the same manner: tortured to death in a car. Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg has been following Natasha's case for several years now, since Natasha first took refuge at a crisis center where Nina works. Nina, who had tried to help Natasha leave her abusive fiancé more than once, just can't see the young Ukrainian mother as a vicious killer. But in her effort to protect Natasha's daughter and discover the truth, Nina realizes there is much she didn't know about this woman and her past. The mystery has long and bloody roots, going back to a terrible famine that devastated Stalinist Ukraine in 1934, when a ten-year-old girl with the voice of a nightingale sang her family into shallow graves.

NPR book critic John Powers has compared the book's main character, Nina Borg, to similar "run amok" heroines like Homeland's Carrie Mathison and Lisbeth Salander, the star of Stieg Larsson's popular Millennium Trilogy series. Borg was first introduced to reader's via the author's bestselling book The Boy in the Suitcase. 


Click for availability and more information The Dinosaur Feather, by S.J. Gazan
 
Selected by NPR's Maureen Corrigan as her favorite mystery of 2013 and one of the top ten mysteries of the year by The Wall Street Journal's Tom Nolan, S.J. Gazan's debut novel  is a classic of Scandinavian noir. With keenly observed and deeply flawed characters, this thriller uniquely employs one of the most controversial and fascinating areas of contemporary dinosaur and avian research in its diabolical twists. It has been published in more than a dozen countries and won the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade Award.

Biology postgraduate, PhD hopeful, and single mom Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from defending her thesis on the saurian origin of birds when her academic supervisor, the highly respected yet widely despised Dr. Lars Helland, is found dead in his office chair at the University of Copenhagen. The police discover a copy of Anna's thesis in the dead man's bloody lap. When the autopsy suggests that Helland was murdered in a fiendishly ingenious way, brilliant but tormented young Police Superintendent Søren Marhauge begins the daunting task of unraveling the knotted skeins of interpersonal and intellectual intrigue among the scientists at the university. Everyone involved with the investigation-- from Anna Bella Nor to Helland's numerous rivals to Marhauge's own ex-wife, who is pregnant with her current husband's child-- has something to hide, complicating the investigation and presenting the detective with the greatest professional and personal challenge of his career. 


Click for availability and more information The Ghost Runner: a Makana mystery , by Parker Bilal
 
It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo's streets. Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of his wife and daughter, is shaken out of his despondency when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl. In a country where honor killings are commonplace and the authorities seem all too eager to turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator. He finds unexpected assistance in the shape of Azza, a woman who seems to share Makana's hunger for justice. 


Click for availability and more information Lost Girls of Rome, by Donato Carrisi
 
Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sanda is convinced it was anything but. Launching her own inquiries, Sanda finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband's murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows. 


Click for availability and more information The Man Who Loved Dogs, by Leonardo Padura
 
This book brings a noir sensibility to the assassination of Leon Trotsky by Ramón Mercader. The story revolves around Iván Cárdenas Maturell, who in his youth was the great hope of modern Cuban literature--until he dared to write a story that was deemed counterrevolutionary. When we meet him years later in Havana, Iván is a loser: a humbled and defeated man with a quiet, unremarkable life who earns his modest living as a proofreader at a veterinary magazine. One afternoon, he meets a mysterious foreigner in the company of two Russian wolfhounds. This is "the man who loved dogs," and as the pair grow closer, Iván begins to understand that his new friend is hiding a terrible secret. Moving between Iván's life in Cuba, Ramón's early years in Spain and France, and Trotsky's long years of exile, this is a story about political ideals tested and characters broken, a multilayered epic that weaves together three different plot threads-- Trotsky in exile, Ramón in pursuit, Iván in frustrated stasis--to bring emotional truth to historical fact. Blogger Yoani Sanchez, writing in The Huffington Post, calls Padura "the great Cuban novelist of today." 


Click for availability and more information Resurrection: an Detective Brenner mystery, by Wolf Haas
 
When Inspector Simon Brenner leaves the police force, he's looking forward to some peace and quiet, and the lovely Alpine village of Zell seems like just the place. That is, until the corpses of an American couple are found frozen on a ski lift, and Brenner, doing some part time work for an insurance company, is called in to investigate the matter. It turns out that the victims have relatives in the area, and the crime--if it is a crime--seems like it could be a family affair. Except the prime suspect has a solid alibi and no one in picture-perfect Zell is talking. Brenner draws out all the village's characters--the longtime residents, the resort staff and guests--and uncovers the dirty doings that lurk underneath the pristine snow...and family secrets long buried. This first book sets up the totally unique, quirky narrative voice that runs throughout the series and introduces the reluctant, yet brilliant, Detective Brenner,in a plot with as many twists and turns as a Double Black Diamond. This is the first of a series that was first published in Germany and is finally making it to the U.S. in a translated version.


Click for availability and more information Who Thinks Evil : Professor Moriarty mystery, by Michael Kurland
 
In this fifth book of the series, a well-guarded young nobleman goes missing under distressing circumstances. The nobleman, one Baron Renfrew, is actually Prince Albert Victor, eldest grandson of Queen Victoria. He disappeared while he was visiting a house of ill repute, with bodyguards both inside and outside the building--with his inside bodyguard rendered unconscious and the trussed-up corpse of a brutally murdered young woman left behind. Hoping to find the missing Prince and to clear him of the murder, the royal family is looking for a brilliant--and, more importantly, discreet--investigator. Sherlock Holmes, alas, is out of the country so, at the suggestion of his brother Mycroft, they turn to the only man who just might be more brilliant--Dr. James Moriarty. Moriarty, at the time, is up on charges of murder, awaiting retrial after his first jury was hung. In exchange for


New Art Books

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Now that all the rushing around is done, why not kick back and spend some time with a few of the art books that have recently hit our shelves.


Click for availability and more information Art Deco, by Norbert Wolf
 
Author Norbert Wolf traces the chronology of the Art Deco style by looking at the politics and culture of Europe in the 1920s and early 30s, and the artistic movements that paralleled its popularity. He follows Art Deco's influence in Europe, its gradual popularity in the Americas and Asia and how Art Deco has survived that original era, with numerous revivals and a continuing influence in the arts today. The book is filled with hundreds of examples of Art Deco painting, architecture, interiors, jewelery, crafts, furniture, and fashion. 


Click for availability and more information Bernini: his life and his Rome, by Franco Mormando
 
Sculptor, architect, painter and playwright, Gian Lorenzo Bernini  was the last of the great universal artistic geniuses of early modern Italy. His artistic vision remains present today, through the countless statues, fountains, and buildings that transformed Rome into the Baroque theater that continues to enthrall tourists today. Drawing on archival sources, letters, diaries, Mormando leads us through Bernini's many feuds and love affairs, scandals and sins. He sets Bernini's raucous life against a vivid backdrop of Baroque Rome, bustling and wealthy, and peopled by churchmen and bureaucrats, popes and politicians, schemes and secrets. 


Click for availability and more information Calder and Abstraction: from avant-garde to iconic , edited by Stephanie Barron and Lisa Gabrielle Mark
 
Alexander Calder's most beloved creations--from his mobiles to his public sculpture--are examined from every angle in this stunning book. Widely considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Alexander Calder revolutionized modern sculpture--most significantly with his kinetic works, for which Marcel Duchamp coined the term "mobiles." Later in his career, Calder created enormous versions of these floating abstractions. Their arching forms, dynamic surfaces, and sheer mass reflected his fascination with engineering and technology. This book focuses on Calder's earlier, interior-scaled works, which paved the way for the public works that continue to fascinate viewers around the world. Filled with images of Calder's elegant, colorful, floating shapes, this volume offers a number of critical texts that enrich our understanding of this innovative artist. Next time you're at Greenwich Library, walk on over to the periodicals room and take a look at the Calder mobile, which hangs over the stairs to the cafe. 


Click for availability and more information Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch paintings from the Mauritshuis, edited by Lea Van der Vinde
 
This book introduces readers to the Dutch Golden Age and its brilliant master painters, including Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, and Jan Steen, among others. Housed in a splendid seventeenth-century palace in The Hague, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is home to some of the world's most beloved paintings, including Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and has become a destination for art enthusiasts from around the world. This companion volume to a long-awaited exhibition guides readers through the highlights of the collection. 


Click for availability and more information In Extremis: death and life in twenty-first-century Haitian art , edited by Donald J. Cosentino
 
This book examines the striking disjunction between social collapse and artistic flourescence in twenty-first century Haiti. It brings together the work of 34 artists, most of them living in Port-au-Prince, where they produce remarkable and controversial bodies of work in a variety of media while confronting on a daily basis the realities of Haiti's frustratingly slow recovery from the earthquake of 2010. Some of these artists have achieved acclaim on the international stage, but many receive new attention or reexamination here. 


Click for availability and more information Jean Patou: a fashionable life , by Emmanuelle Polle
 
During the 1920's and 1930's, the French couturier Jean Patou was Chanel's main rival: day pajamas, jersey sportswear, swimwear and the little black dress were all among the innovative designs marking Patou's remarkable but brief career as the king of Parisian fashion. With his untimely death at 49, he had only fifteen years to make his mark on the history of couture, yet in that short time he amassed a colossal fortune, opened shops and studios in Paris, Deauville, Biarritz, and New York, and invented some of the world's legendary fragrances. This book recounts the story of Patou's charmed life and career during the most glamorous years of the twentieth century. For the first time, the heirs of the Patou family have agreed to share their extensive private archives, and author Emmanuelle Polle spent more than two years reviewing thousands of unpublished documents: photographs, diaries, client lists, and original, hand-colored sketches. 


Click for availability and more information Magritte: the mystery of the ordinary, 1926-1938, edited by Anne Umland
 
This catalog focuses on the breakthrough Surrealist years of René Magritte, creator of some of the twentieth century's most extraordinary images. Bringing together nearly 80 paintings along with collages, objects, photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, it offers fresh insight into Magritte's identity as a modern artist and as one of Surrealism's greatest painters. 


Click for availability and more information Proud too be Weirrd , by Ralph Steadman
 
Iconoclastic British artist Ralph Steadman has been creating editorial and political illustrations for more than five decades. He is revered for his ink-splattered, anarchic, and often shocking drawings. His well-known illustrations alongside the work of literary legend Hunter S. Thompson have long been celebrated and have achieved a cult-like following. Together, Steadman and Thompson's iconic work has come to be known as Gonzo journalism. This book, Steadman's first-person narrative, takes us on a literary and visual journey of his well-known, provocative work and is accompanied by his acerbic wit, heartfelt political views, and unique sense of humor.


Click for availability and more information Star Trek: the art of Juan Ortiz, by Juan Ortiz
 
A Trekkies dream: This book presents a collection of original artwork that imagines a movie poster for each of the original series' episodes and incorporates retro-style, era-specific elements reminiscent of period comics, pulp novel covers, and advertisements. Super cool.


Click for availability and more information Winslow Homer Watercolors, by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr
 
Winslow Homer captured in his paintings the true magnificence of nature. For more than thirty years between, 1873 and 1905, he turned to watercolors during his working vacations, concentrating on capturing the spirit of each place he visited with both spontaneity and intensity. Many of Homer's most beautiful paintings focus on the interaction between humans and nature. This book reproduces the best of these paintings. Large color plates allow these reproductions to be appreciated almost as much as the originals. Accompanying the more than 100 color plates is an eloquent introduction and detailed chronology of Homer's life and artistic development. 


Click for availability and more information The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti , by Rafael Schacter
 
Provides a guide to the most significant artists, schools, and styles of street art and graffiti around the world.Organized geographically by country and city, more than 100 of today's most important street artists.The evolution of street art and graffiti within each region is also chronicled, providing essential historical context. With contributions by the foremost authorities on street art and graffiti, this landmark publication provides a nuanced understanding of a widespread contemporary art practice.

2013 National Book Award Winners

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Each year the National Book Foundation presents awards to winners in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

The four winners were announced in a ceremony in New York hosted by Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."


Established in 1950, the National Book Award is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States. Past recipients include William Faulkner, Alice Walker, Philip Roth and Adrienne Rich.

The winners were narrowed down from a pool of 1,432 submissions. A panel of writers, literary critics and booksellers in each category came up with a list of 10 titles announced in September and narrowed it down to five finalists in October.

The New York Times coverage of the awards can be found here.

Here are this year's winners:

FICTION


Click for availability and more information The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
 
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town--with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry--whom Brown nicknames Little Onion--conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination. 

James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the American classic The Color of Water. 

New York Times review.



Non-Fiction

Click for availability and more information Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief, by Lawrence Wright
 
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists--both famous and less well known--and years of archival research, Wright uses his investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

New York Times review.


Poetry


Click for availability and more information Incarnadine: poems, by Mary Szybist
 
ary Szybist's richly imagined encounters offer intimate spaces and stagings for experiences that are exploratory and sometimes explosive. Through the lens of an iconic moment, the Annunciation of an unsettling angel to a bodily young woman, Szybist describes the confusion and even terror of moments in which our longing for the spiritual may also be a longing for what is most fundamentally alien to us. In a world where we are so often asked to choose sides, to believe or not believe, to embrace or reject, Incarnadine offers lyrical and brilliantly inventive alternatives.

Slate.com review


Young People's Literature


Click for availability and more information The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata
 
Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan--right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills. The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own. Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished--but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Kira-Kira.

New York Times review





New DVD's

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Things are cooling down out there. It's a perfect time to pull out the blankets and watch some movies. Below is a list of some new and noteworthy DVD's that have recently arrived at Greenwich Library.


Click for availability and more information At the Gate of the Ghost, directed by ML Bhandevanop Devakul
 
First of all, in a move that was sure to get films buffs up in arms, it should be noted that this is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, which has long been considered a masterpiece. Attempting a re-make was fraught with peril. It was certainly obvious that director, ML Bhandevanop Devakul, knew of these perils when he decided to stay relatively in line with the original. A reviewer at Japan Cinema seemed ready and eager to dislike the film but, in the end drops his fists and is won over, conceding " If you are a fan of Kurosawa, however, you might want to give this a look to see his masterpiece through the eyes of another director." 


Click for availability and more information Fred Won't Move Out, directed by Richard Ledes
 
With levity and sadness, two grown children and their aging parents struggle with the decision whether the older generation should stay in the house where they have lived for fifty years. Shot in the house where the director's parents lived for close to fifty years shortly after they moved out, the film's semi-autobiographical story is acted by a small ensemble cast led by Elliot Gould.

In the New York Times review critic Stephen Holden states "The movie gets almost everything right about the uncomfortable moment when grown children are forced to be their parents' parents" 


Click for availability and more information Going by the Book , directed by La Hee-Chan
 
Sam-po is a small town with a major problem. Its banks are increasingly targeted by armed robbers, and local law enforcement's efforts to address the issue have been nonexistent. Incoming police chief Lee Seung-woo initiates an ambitious plan to send a message to the criminals and win the confidence of the townspeople. Every member of his force will participate in a bank robbery simulation, unscripted training involving bank personnel and customers, plus a lone cop playing the role of the crook. By-the-book patrolman Jung Do-manis dismayed to find he has been personally selected for this role. But when the dedicated officer is told to "do his best," what was meant to be a simple role-playing exercise quickly spirals into a nationally televised event.

Subversively hilarious, this film was released theatrically way back in 2007 but is just now seeing it's DVD release in the U.S. 


Click for availability and more information I Killed My Mother, directed by Xavier Dolan
 
First of all, don't worry, this isn't a film about matricide. It is, however, a movie about the complex relationship between a single mother and her teenage son. Directed by 20 year Xavier Dolan (he wrote it when he was a teenager!) The film attracted international press attention when it won three awards from the Director's Fortnight program at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. After being shown, the film received an eight-minute standing ovation. It was also a New York TImes critic pick when it was released theatrically in the US earlier this year. You can read the glowing New York Times review here and watch an interview with the director as well. 


Click for availability and more information Johnny Guitar, directed by Nicholas Ray
 
Saloon owner Vienna battles the local townspeople headed by Emma, the local sexually repressed, lynch-happy female rancher out to frame her for a string of robberies. Johnny Logan is a guitar-strumming drifter with a dark past who was once in love with Vienna and has been offered a job in her saloon.

In this bizarre Western that manages to transcend the genre the women are far tougher than the men and some critics have viewed it as an allegory for the McCarthy era Red Scare. The lead cast, Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden and an absolutely twisted Mercedes McCambridge are all amazing. The usually straight-laced film critic Leonard Maltin called this movie "the screens great kinky western." 


Click for availability and more information Life is Sweet, directed by Mike Leigh
 
Directed by the master Mike Leigh, this film, originally released in 1990 is a portrait of a working-class family in a suburb just north of London, an irrepressible mum and dad and their night-and-day twins, a bookish good girl and a sneering lay about.

Leigh made many films in the UK prior to this but "Life is Sweet" was the film that broke him in the United States and has now received a deluxe re-issue courtesy of the folks at Criterion. The film is both tragic and funny and features great performances from Leigh regular Jim Broadbent and by Jane Horrocks as the bitter and reclusive Nicola. Mike Rogers, writing on rogerebert.com, calls this re-issue a "cause for celebration."

Click for availability and more information Lore, directed by Cate Shortland
 
Left to fend for themselves after their SS officer father and mother, staunch Nazi believers, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents' actions. Led by the eldest sibling, 14-year old Lore, they set out on a journey across a devastated country to reach their grandmother in the north. After meeting the charismatic Thomas, a mysterious young refugee, Lore soon finds her world shattered by feelings of both hatred and desire as she must learn to trust the one person she has always been taught to hate in order to survive.

Director Cate Shortland talks more about the film here in a New York Times interview. Stephen Holden's review from the same paper is here


Click for availability and more information Obselidia, directed by Diane Bell
 
George is a librarian who in his spare time poses as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman as he writes The Obselidia, a compendium of obsolete things. George believes that love, among other things, is obsolete. In his quest to document nearly extinct occupations, he befriends Sophie, a beautiful cinema projectionist who works at a silent movie theater. Sophie believes that nothing is obsolete as long as someone loves it. This quiet and somewhat quirky film won the 2010 Sundance Film Festival's Alfred P. Sloan Prize, awarded each year to an outstanding film focusing on science or technology, or featuring a major character who is a scientist, engineer or mathematician.


Click for availability and more information Reality, directed by Matteo Garrone
 
A darkly comic look at Luciano, a charming and affable fishmonger whose unexpected and sudden obsession with being a contestant on the reality show Big Brother leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia. So overcome by his dream of being on reality TV, Luciano's own reality begins to spiral out of control. Garrone approaches the story with a light heart, part fable, part satire. The film won the 45-year-old his second Grand Prix at Cannes last year. Here's an interesting take on the film from UK's The Guardian. 


Click for availability and more information Seconds, directed by John Frankenheimer
 
More post-McCarthy paranoia from the late 60's. This one features Rock Hudson as a disaffected middle-aged banker who wants to start a new life. So much so that he agrees to undergo a strange and elaborate procedure that will grant him a new life. As Edward Tenner states in this piece about the film from The Atlantic, not only was "Seconds" ahead of it's time, it also went from abject failure to cult classic. It seems that Rock Hudson fans initially wanted more romance and less "probing philosophy." This one is an entertaining head-scratcher.

New Graphic Novels

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What was once a niche has now become a popular and amazing genre. Greenwich Library loves Graphic Novels and now there are more than ever to choose from. Below is a sample of our new additions.


Click for availability and more information Best American Comics 2013,edited and with an introduction by Jeff Smith
 
The latest installment of this annual collection showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Jeff Smith, creator of the classic comic Bone, has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and web comics to create this collection. A review in Paste Magazine states that "Remember, nerds, that this book is an introduction to comics as much as a recognition of the best in the field. It's as if the Grammys were a mixtape you give to a friend who'd never heard music. That's a tough job, and, as ever, it's unsurprising that some worthy folks were missed." It is a tough job but Smith knows his stuff and, at the very least, this serves as an excellent introduction for folks that are just getting acquainted with the world of Graphic Novels. 


Click for availability and more information The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: a graphic novel, adapted from the original novel by H.P. Lovecraft; text adapted and illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard
 
With creepy, spooky art, and sinister, suspenseful text, I. N. J. Culbard brings new life and death to H. P. Lovecraft's psychological mystery of forbidden knowledge and pursuits. Young Charles Dexter Ward is fascinated by the history of Joseph Curwen, his wizard ancestor of the 17th century. Curwen was notorious for haunting graveyards, practicing alchemy, and never aging. Ward can't help his fixation: He himself looks just like Curwen. In an attempt to duplicate his ancestor's cabbalistic feats, he resurrects the fearsome Curwen . . . and then the true horror begins!

This review from The Comic Journal is insightful and provides some history behind Lovecraft's novel that this graphic work is based upon. 


Click for availability and more information Co-Mix: a retrospective of comics, graphics, and scraps, by Art Spiegelman
 
In an art career that now spans six decades, Art Spiegelman has been a groundbreaking and influential figure with a global impact. His Pulitzer Prize-winning holocaust memoir Maus established the graphic novel as a legitimate form and inspired countless cartoonists while his shorter works have enormously expanded the expressive range of comics. Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps is a comprehensive career overview of the output of this legendary cartoonist, showing for the first time the full range of a half-century of relentless experimentation. Starting from Spiegelman's earliest self-published comics and lavishly reproducing graphics from a host of publications both obscure and famous, Co-Mix provides a guided tour of an artist who has continually reinvented not just comics but also made a mark in book and magazine design, bubble gum cards, lithography, modern dance, and most recently stained glass. By showing all facets of Spiegelman's career, the book demonstrates how he has persistently cross-pollinated the worlds of comics, commercial design, and fine arts. Essays by acclaimed film critic J. Hoberman and MoMA curator and Dean of the Yale University School of Art Robert Storr bookend Co-Mix, offering eloquent meditations on an artist whose work has been genre-defining. 


Click for availability and more information The Graphic Canon, volume 3: from Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest, edited by Russ Kick
 
Volume 3 of this series brings to life the literature of the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st, including a Sherlock Holmes mystery, an H.G. Wells story, an illustrated guide to the Beat writers, a one-act play from Zora Neale Hurston, a disturbing meditation on Naked Lunch, Rilke's soul-stirring Letters to a Young Poet, Anaïs Nin's diaries, the visions of Black Elk, the heroin classic The Man With the Golden Arm (published four years before William Burroughs' Junky), and the postmodernism of Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, Kathy Acker, Raymond Carver, and Donald Barthelme. The towering works of modernism are here--T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The Waste Land," Yeats's "The Second Coming" done as a magazine spread, Heart of Darkness, stories from Kafka, The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf, James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, and his short story "Araby" from Dubliners, rare early work from Faulkner and Hemingway (by artists who have drawn for Marvel), and poems by Gertrude Stein and Edna St. Vincent Millay. You'll also find original comic versions of short stories by W. Somerset Maugham, Flannery O'Connor, and Saki (manga style), plus adaptations of Lolita (and everyone said it couldn't be done!), The Age of Innocence, Siddhartha and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Last Exit to Brooklyn, J.G. Ballard's Crash, and photo-dioramas for Animal Farm and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Feast your eyes on new full-page illustrations for 1984, Brave New World, Waiting for Godot, One Hundred Years of Solitude,The Bell Jar, On the Road, Lord of the Flies, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and three Borges stories. Robert Crumb's rarely seen adaptation of Nausea captures Sartre's existential dread. Dame Darcy illustrates Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece, Blood Meridian, universally considered one of the most brutal novels ever written and long regarded as unfilmable by Hollywood. Tara Seibel, the only female artist involved with the Harvey Pekar Project, turns in a series of illustrations for The Great Gatsby. And then there's the moment we've been waiting for: the first graphic adaptation from Kurt Vonnegut's masterwork, Slaughterhouse-Five.

This is a  seriously ambitious undertaking and Publisher's Weekly has called this collection "the most beautiful book of 2013."  This is definitely worth taking a look at.


Click for availability and more information The Great War: July 1, 1916 : the first day of the Battle of the Somme: an illustrated panorama, by Joe Sacco
 
A 24-foot-long black-and-white drawing printed on heavyweight accordian-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase that describes the battle on the first day of World War I, which saw 20,000 British soldiers killed and another 40,000 injured, on the banks of the French river as they mounted a joint offensive against the German army. This is insanely detailed and a wonder to behold.

Read a Guardian (UK) interview with Sacco where he talks about the book here


Click for availability and more information Hand Drying in America, by Ben Katchor
 
Katchor, a master at twisting mundane commodities into surreal objects of social significance, now takes on the many ways our property influences and reflects cultural values. Here are window-ledge pillows designed expressly for people-watching and a forest of artificial trees for sufferers of hay fever. The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption deals with the matter of products that outlive their owners; a school of dance is based upon the choreographic motion of paying with cash; high-visibility construction vests are marketed to lonely people as a method of getting noticed. Katchor reveals a world similar to our own,lives are defined by possessions, consumerism is a kind of spirituality, but also slightly, fabulously askew. Frequently bizarre, Hand-Drying in America ensures that you will never look at a building, a bar of soap, or an ATM the same way.

NPR Review

Los Angeles Review of Books Review 


Click for availability and more information Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos, Story and art by Harlan Ellison & Paul Chadwick
 
In a distant future, Earth is in grave danger: The fabric of reality itself in unraveling, leading to catastrophic natural disasters, displaced souls appearing from bygone eras, and sudden, shocking cases of spontaneous combustion. The only hope for Earth's survival is a force of seven warriors, each with his or her special abilities. But can these alien Seven Samurai learn to get along in time to find the source of the gathering chaos and save all of reality?

Ellison is a well regarded and prolific science fiction writer and known ans one of the pioneers of "new wave sci-fi".  Chadwick is best known for his comic book series "Concrete". The Geeks of Doom blog calls this collaboration "a match made in the cosmos" and describes this book as "Difficult to classify, hopeless to process in a single reading, and impossible to put down."


Click for availability and more information Red Handed: the fine art of strange crimes , by Matt Kindt
 
Welcome to the city of Red Wheelbarrow, where the world's greatest detective has yet to meet the crime he can't solve--every criminal in Red Wheelbarrow is caught and convicted thanks to Detective Gould's brilliant mind and cutting-edge spy technology. But lately there has been a rash of crimes so eccentric and random that even Detective Gould is stumped. Will he discover the connection between the compulsive chair thief, the novelist who uses purloined street signs to write her magnum opus, and the photographer who secretly documents peoples' most anguished personal moments? Or will Detective Gould finally meet his match?

NPR Review 


Click for availability and more information The Simon & Kirby Library: Science Fiction , by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
 
This collection spans more than 20 years, beginning with the first stories Joe Simon and Jack Kirby ever produced together (beginning in June 1940)--their ten-issue run of Blue Bolt adventures. Then the Cold War years will be represented by Race For the Moon, featuring pencils by Kirby and inked artwork by comic book legends Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres, and Al Williamson. This includes an introduction by Dave Gibbons, the award-winning co-creator and illustrator of Watchmen. Read more about the history of Simon and Kirby in this post from the Los Angeles Times "Hero Complex" blog. Also, here is an informative review from the Pop Matters blog.

National Book Award Finalists

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In this special edition of "This Just In" we bring you the first ever National Book Award Short Lists.

A month after releasing long-lists of 10 titles in each of the four competitive categories, the National Book Foundation announced the five remaining writers for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

Winners will be announced on Nov. 20th and will receive $10,000 and a significant career boost.

Here are the titles:

Fiction

Click for availability and more information Bleeding Edge, by Thomas Pynchon
 
New York City, 2001. Fraud investigator Maxine Tarnow starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO and discovers there's no shortage of swindlers looking to grab a piece of what's left of the tech bubble. 

The notoriously reclusive Pynchon was awarded a National Book award in 1974 for his novel Gravity's Rainbow.

Here's a review of Bleeding Edge from the New York Times.


Click for availability and more information The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner

 
Arriving in New York to pursue a creative career in the raucous 1970s art scene, Reno joins a group of dreamers and raconteurs before falling in love with the estranged son of an Italian motorcycle scion and succumbing to a radical social movement in 1977 Italy.

Kushner's debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. 

New York Times review.


Click for availability and more information The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
 
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town--with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry--whom Brown nicknames Little Onion--conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination. 

James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the American classic The Color of Water. 

New York Times review.


Click for availability and more information The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
 
orn just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960's, and Udayan--charismatic and impulsive--finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother's political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America. But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family's home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind--including those seared in the heart of his brother's wife.

Lahiri is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.

New York Times review


Click for availability and more information Tenth of December: stories, by George Saunders
 
A collection of stories includes "Home," a wryly whimsical account of a soldier's return from war; "Victory Lap," a tale about an inventive abduction attempt; and the title story, in which a suicidal cancer patient saves the life of a young misfit. These stories are sarcastic and insightful but also hilarious. Saunders is a recent recipient of a MacArthur genius grant and won the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story and was also named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. 

New York Times review and here's a profile of Saunder's published in the New York Times Magazine earlier this year. 



Young People's Literature

Click for availability and more information Boxers/Saints, by Gene Luen Yang
 
n two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful. But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

This is the first graphic novel to ever be nominated for a National Book Award.

New York Times review. 


Click for availability and more information Far Far Away, by Tom McNeal
 
eremy Johnson Johnson's life has begun to feel like a cruel fairy tale. He hears voices - "strange whisperings" - so the citizens of the small town of Never Better treat him like an oddity and an outcast. Meanwhile, his mother takes a bite of a cake so delicious it's rumored to be bewitched and runs away with another man. Jeremy's heartsick father goes into his room and stays there unhappily ever after. Then the town's coltish, copper-haired beauty takes a bite of the cake herself and falls in love with the first person she sees: Jeremy. In any other place, this would be a turn for the better for Jeremy, but not in Never Better, where the Finder of Occasions--whose identity and evil intentions nobody knows--is watching and waiting, waiting and watching. . .

McNeal is also the author, with his wife, Laura, of four young adult novels.

Horn Book review


Click for availability and more information Picture Me Gone, by Meg Rosoff
 
Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room--sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father's best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past--slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she's closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.

Rosoff's debut novel, How I Live Now, won the Michael L. Printz Award and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

Guardian (UK) review. 


Click for availability and more information The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata
 
Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan--right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills. The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own. Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished--but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Kira-Kira.

New York Times review


Click for availability and more information The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt
 
Raccoon brothers Bingo and J'miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man--the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp--is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts. Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member of any such organization. But he loves the swamp something fierce, and he'll do anything to help protect it. And help is surely needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn Sugar Man swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, and the troubles don't end there. There is also a gang of wild feral hogs on the march, headed straight toward them all.

Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honor-winning, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award-winning, and bestselling The Underneath.

New York Times review


Non-Fiction


Click for availability and more information Book of Ages: the life and opinions of Jane Franklin, by Jill Lepore
 
Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world--a world usually lost to history. Lepore's life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her books include New York Burning, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

New York Times review


Click for availability and more information Going Clear: Scientology, hollywood, and the prison of belief, by Lawrence Wright
 
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists--both famous and less well known--and years of archival research, Wright uses his investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

New York Times review


Click for availability and more information Hitler's Furies: German women in the Nazi killing fields, by Wendy Lower
 
Hitler's Furies builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally "lost generation" of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post-World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement--a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide. These young women--nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and mistresses--saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of "wild east" of career and matrimonial opportunity, and yet could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post-Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than "desk murderers" or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on "shopping sprees" for Jewish-owned goods and also brutalized Jews in the ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the mass shooting. And Lower uncovers the stories, perhaps most horrific, of SS wives with children of their own, whose female brutality is as chilling as any in history.

Ms. Lower is a college professor and a historical consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

New York Times review. Also, here is a recent interview with the author, also from the New York Times.


Click for availability and more information The Internal Enemy: slavery and war in Virginia, 1772-1832 , by Alan Taylor
 
Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom's swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as "an internal enemy." By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: "Like a firebell in the night it awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nation's course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Taylor's narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.

Alan Taylor has won the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes for his histories of early America. He is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

Wall Street Journal review.


Click for availability and more information The Unwinding: an inner history of the new America , by George Packer
 
American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives. The book portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

New York Times review. Packer also blogs for The New Yorker.


Poetry


Click for availability and more information The Big Smoke, by Adrian Matejka
 
The legendary Jack Johnson (1878-1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers--and white America--to become the first African-American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka's third work of poetry, follows the fighter's journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka's book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson's complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth.

Author website.


Click for availability and more information Black Aperture: poems , by Matt Rasmussen.
 
In this debut collection, Matt Rasmussen faces the tragedy of his brother's suicide, refusing to focus on the expected pathos, blurring the edge between grief and humor. Destructive and redemptive, Black Aperture opens to the complicated entanglements of mourning: damage and healing, sorrow and laughter, and torment balanced with moments of relief.

Author website


Click for availability and more information Incarnadine: poems, by Mary Szybist
 
ary Szybist's richly imagined encounters offer intimate spaces and stagings for experiences that are exploratory and sometimes explosive. Through the lens of an iconic moment, the Annunciation of an unsettling angel to a bodily young woman, Szybist describes the confusion and even terror of moments in which our longing for the spiritual may also be a longing for what is most fundamentally alien to us. In a world where we are so often asked to choose sides, to believe or not believe, to embrace or reject, Incarnadine offers lyrical and brilliantly inventive alternatives.

Slate.com review


Click for availability and more information Metaphysical Dog , by Frank Bidart
 
This "ancient work" reflects what the poet sees as fundamental in human feeling, what psychologists and mystics have called the "hunger for the Absolute"--a hunger as fundamental as any physical hunger. This hunger must confront the elusiveness of the Absolute, our self-deluding, failed glimpses of it. The third section of the book is titled "History is a series of failed revelations." The result is one of the most fascinating and ambitious books of poetry in many years.

He was a Poetry Finalist in 1997 for "Desire", in 2005 for "Star Dust: poems" and in 2008 for "Watching the Spring Festival."

New York Times review.


Click for availability and more information Stay, Illusion: poems, by Lucie Brock-Broido
 
Stay, Illusion, illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits. Her poems are lit with magic and stark with truth: whether they speak from the imagined dwelling of her "Abandonarium," or from habitats where animals are farmed and harmed "humanely," or even from the surreal confines of death row, they find a voice like no other--dazzling, intimate, startling, heartbreaking.

Publisher's Weekly review.

New History Books

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School's back in session, we might as well all hit the books. Why not start with some history. Here are some titles that have recently hit our shelves.


Click for availability and more information Big Week: six days that changed the course of World War II , by Bill Yenne
 
In just six days, the United States Strategic Air Forces changed the course of military offense in World War II. During those six days, they launched the largest bombing campaign of the war, dropping roughly 10,000 tons of bombs in a rain of destruction that would take the skies back from the Nazis...

It later came to be known as the Big Week  and became of the most important episodes of World War II, and coincidentally, one of the most overlooked.


Click for availability and more information The Borgias: the hidden history, by G.J. Meyer
 
The Borgias burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century--as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers--they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the epicenter of the power games in which Europe's kings and Italy's warlords gambled for life-and-death stakes. Five centuries after their fall--a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power--they remain immutable symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name synonymous with unspeakable evil. But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape, a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to the present day, when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling brutality and soared to extraordinary heights. 


Click for availability and more information The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the roots of modern U.S.-Iranian relations, by Ervand Abrahamian
 
In August 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the swift overthrow of Iran's democratically elected leader and installed Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in his place. Over the next twenty-six years, the United States backed the unpopular, authoritarian shah and his secret police; in exchange, it reaped a share of Iran's oil wealth and became a key player in this volatile region. The blowback was almost inevitable, as this new and revealing history of the coup and its consequences shows. When the 1979 Iranian Revolution deposed the shah and replaced his puppet government with a radical Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the shift reverberated throughout the Middle East and the world, casting a long, dark shadow over U.S.-Iran relations that extends to the present day. In this new history of the coup and its aftermath, Iran scholar Ervand Abrahamian uncovers little-known documents that challenge conventional interpretations and also sheds new light on how the American role in the coup influenced U.S.-Iranian relations, both past and present. Drawing from the hitherto closed archives of British Petroleum, the Foreign Office, and the U.S. State Department, as well as from Iranian memoirs and published interviews, Abrahamian's account of this key historical event will change America's understanding of a crucial turning point in modern U.S.-Iranian relations. 


Click for availability and more information Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 : Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain, by George Goodwin
 
On September 9, 1513, the vicious rivalry between the young Henry VIII of England and his charismatic brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, ended in violence at Flodden Field in the north of England. It was the inevitable climax to years of mounting personal and political tension through which James bravely asserted Scotland's independence and Henry demanded its obedience. This book captures the vibrant Renaissance splendor of the royal courts of England and Scotland, with their unprecedented wealth, innovation, and artistic expression. It shows how the wily Henry VII, far from the miser king of tradition, spent vast sums to secure his throne and elevate the monarchy to a new standard of magnificence among the courts of Europe. It also demonstrates how James IV competed with the elder Henry, even claiming that Arthurian legend supported a separate Scottish identity. Such rivalry served as a substitute for war--until Henry VIII's belligerence forced the real thing.

As England and Scotland scheme toward their biggest-ever battle, the author deploys a fascinating and treacherous cast of characters: maneuvering ministers, cynical foreign allies, conspiring cardinals, and contrasting queens in Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor.

Finally, at Flodden on September 9, 1513, King James seems poised for the crushing victory that will confirm him as Scotland's greatest king and--if an old military foe proves unable to stop him--put all of Britain in his grasp. 


Click for availability and more information JFK's Last Hundred Days: the transformation of a man and the emergence of a great president , by Thurston Clarke
 
Kennedy's last hundred days began just after the death of two-day-old Patrick Kennedy, and during this time, the president made strides in the Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam, and his personal life. While Jackie was recuperating, the premature infant and his father were flown to Boston for Patrick's treatment. Kennedy was holding his son's hand when Patrick died on August 9, 1963. The loss of his son convinced Kennedy to work harder as a husband and father, and there is ample evidence that he suspended his notorious philandering during these last months of his life. Also in these months Kennedy finally came to view civil rights as a moral as well as a political issue, and after the March on Washington, he appreciated the power of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., for the first time. Though he is often depicted as a devout cold warrior, Kennedy pushed through his proudest legislative achievement in this period, the Limited Test Ban Treaty. This success, combined with his warming relations with Nikita Khrushchev in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, led to a détente that British foreign secretary Sir Alec Douglas- Home hailed as the "beginning of the end of the Cold War." Throughout his presidency, Kennedy challenged demands from his advisers and the Pentagon to escalate America's involvement in Vietnam. Kennedy began a reappraisal in the last hundred days that would have led to the withdrawal of all sixteen thousand U.S. military advisers by 1965.

Some historian's feel aren't buying Clarke's hypothesis, citing it as too improbable. You can watch watch the author discuss the book here and decide for yourselves. 


Click for availability and more information Lady at the OK Corral: The true story of Josephine Marcus Earp, by Ann Kirschnerr
 
For nearly fifty years, she was the common-law wife of Wyatt Earp: hero of the O.K. Corral and the most famous lawman of the Old West. Yet Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp has nearly been erased from Western lore. In this biography, Ann Kirschner brings Josephine out of the shadows of history to tell her tale: a spirited and colorful tale of ambition, adventure, self-invention, and devotion. Reflective of America itself, her story brings us from the post-Civil War years to World War II, and from New York to the Arizona Territory to old Hollywood. Read more about it in the New York Times review of the book. This is a nice companion to Andrew Isenberg's biography of Wyatt Earp listed below.


Click for availability and more information The Rainborowes: one family's quest to build a new England, by Adrian Tinniswood
 
The period between 1630 and 1660 was one of the most tumultuous in Western history. These three decades witnessed the birth of English America and, in the mother country, a vicious civil war that rent the very fabric of English social, political, and religious life. It was an era of death and new beginnings, and at its heart was one remarkable family: the Rainborowes. Historian Adrian Tinniswood tells the story of this all-but-forgotten clan for the very first time, showing how the family bridged two worlds as they struggled to build a godly community for themselves and their kin. The Rainborowes' patriarch, William, was a shipmaster and merchant whose taste for adventure and profit drew him into the expanding transatlantic traffic between England and its colonies in the New World. Eventually two of his daughters settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, marrying into the upper echelons of New England society. Back in England, meanwhile, William Rainborowe's sons threw themselves behind the English parliament in its rebellion against King Charles I. So, too, did many New World settlers, who returned to England to fight for the parliamentary cause. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, many of these revolutionaries quit their homeland for New England, where their dreams of liberty and equality were much closer to being realized. Following the Rainborowes from hectic London shipyards to remote Aegean islands, from the muddy streets of Boston to the battles of the English Civil War, Tinniswood reveals the indelible marks they left on America and England?and the profound and irrevocable changes these thirty years had on the family and their fellow Englishmen in Europe and America. Read the Guardian review here


Click for availability and more information Strange Rebels: 1979 and the birth of the 21st century , by Christian Caryl
 
Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That single year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization and radically alter the international economy, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the twentieth century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the twenty-first. The book interweaves these history of five pivotal events of the year 1979, arguing that in these events can be discerned the first stirrings of the world we live in today, a world of politicized religion and the retreat of the secular, combined with the supremacy of market thinking and the decline of socialist and communist thought. The Economist likes it quite a bit. Here's their review


Click for availability and more information The Village: 400 years of beats and bohemians, radicals and rogues, a history of Greenwich Village, by John Strausbaugh
 
The first complete history of Greenwich Village, the prodigiously influential and infamous New York City neighborhood. From the Dutch settlers and Washington Square patricians, to the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and Prohibition-era speakeasies; from Abstract Expressionism and beatniks, to Stonewall and AIDS, this book reveals how Greenwich Village became the pinnacle of culture, politics, and social movements in America. In this video, the author describes the history he chronicled in the book.

Strasbaugh will be speaking about the book early in 2014 at the New York Historical Society. More information on that visit can be found here.


Click for availability and more information Wyatt Earp: a vigilante life, by Andrew C. Isenberg
 
In popular culture, Wyatt Earp is the hero of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and a beacon of rough justice in the tumultuous American West. The subject of dozens of films, he has been invoked in battles against organized crime (in the 1930s), communism (in the 1950s), and al-Qaeda (after 2001). Yet as the historian Andrew C. Isenberg reveals, the Hollywood Earp is largely a fiction--one created by none other than Earp himself. The lawman played on-screen by Henry Fonda and Burt Lancaster is stubbornly duty-bound; in actuality, Earp led a life of impulsive lawbreaking and shifting identities. When he wasn't wearing a badge, he was variously a thief, a brothel bouncer, a gambler, and a confidence man. 

By 1900, Earp's misdeeds had caught up with him: his involvement as a referee in a fixed heavyweight prizefight brought him national notoriety as a scoundrel. Stung by the press, Earp set out to rebuild his reputation. He spent his last decades in Los Angeles, where he befriended Western silent film actors and directors. Having tried and failed over the course of his life to invent a better future for himself, in the end he invented a better past. Isenberg argues that even though Earp, who died in 1929, did not live to see it, Hollywood's embrace of him as a paragon of law and order was his greatest confidence game of all.

New Mystery Novels

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Hey mystery fans, are you looking for something new? Take a look at some of the new mystery novels that have recently arrived at Greenwich Library. The list has an international flair and promises something for almost every mystery fan.


 Click for availability and more information Bad Blood: an Intercrime mystery , by Arne Dahl; translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles
 
When a Swedish literary critic is found tortured to death in a janitor's closet at Newark International Airport, the police realize that the murderer made off with the victim's ticket and boarded a flight to Stockholm. Swedish authorities are placed on high alert, but the killer manages to slip through the customs dragnet and vanishes into the night. With no clear motive in sight, Detectives Paul Hjelm and Kerstin Holm of Intercrime's A-Unit take over the investigation. They learn that the method of torture used was not only a highly specialized means of extracting information secretly developed during the Vietnam War--allowing the victim to whisper, but not to scream--but also that it was the modus operandi of an allegedly deceased homicidal maniac known only as the Kentucky Killer. As additional victims are discovered on the outskirts of Stockholm and the terror grows, the team finds itself coming up empty-handed. Hjelm and Holm fly to New York, hoping to discover both the killer's identity and the source of his interest in Sweden. What they quickly learn, searching through the past, is that bad blood always comes back around.

A few of Dahl's books were made into television series by the BBC. A DVD of those programs was recently issued in the UK.


Click for availability and more information Blood Orange, by Karen Keskinen
 
Santa Barbara private investigator Jaymie Zarlin has built her fledgling agency on finding missing people. Still struggling with the death of her troubled brother, who died in police custody, Jaymie is determined to help others in similar situations find their way home. Homicides are not in her repertoire. But when Lili Molina, a local teenager chosen for the coveted role of Daphne in the annual solstice parade, is murdered, Jaymie is urged to take on the case. Reluctant at first, she soon learns police are mishandling the investigation and can't refuse. In a town where some people are filthy rich and some are dirt poor, Jaymie finds herself slipping into the fault lines between privilege and race. Her investigation turns up an array of suspects, including con artists, spoiled rich kids, and an eccentric oil heiress. Jaymie must move fast to unravel a twisted conspiracy, before she becomes the next victim. 


Click for availability and more information A Cold and Lonely Place: a Troy Chance mystery , by Sara J. Henry
 
Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body--a man she knows. One of her roommates falls under suspicion, and the media descends. Troy's assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who, it turns out, was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become. After the victim's sister comes to town and a string of disturbing incidents unfold, it's clear someone doesn't want the investigation to continue, and Troy doesn't know who to trust. This is the sequel to Henry's earlier Troy Chance novel, Learning to Swim.


Click for availability and more information Detroit Shuffle: a Will Anderson mystery, by D.E. Johnson
 
Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume get caught up in the political turmoil over women's suffrage in Detroit Shuffle, the fourth book in D. E. Johnson's critically acclaimed 1910s Detroit series Will Anderson inadvertently breaks up a key suffrage rally when he thwarts a gunman set on killing his lover, Elizabeth Hume. No one else saw the man, and Elizabeth believes he hallucinated the entire incident, a side effect of the radium "treatment" he received at Eloise Hospital. She asks him to sit on the sidelines while she and her companions try to get the women's suffrage amendment passed by Michigan voters. Instead, Will sets out to protect Elizabeth and prove his sanity. Will's nemesis, Sapphira Xanakis, contacts him with news of a conspiracy to defeat the amendment, led by Andrew Murphy, head of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. Against his better judgment, Will believes she is trying to help. The man she directs him to dies under suspicious circumstances. An old acquaintance of Will's, who is working for the MLBA, is shot and killed in front of him. Still, no one believes Will, including his former ally, Detective Riordan, who not only is unwilling to help, but seems to have secrets of his own. With new death threats against Elizabeth and the next rally only a few days away, Will has to unravel a complicated tapestry of blackmail, double-dealing, conspiracy, and murder--before the killer has his next chance to strike. Johnson's immaculate plotting and high-tension writing make for a spellbinding read set in early twentieth-century Detroit. 


Click for availability and more information The Fainting Room, by Sarah Pemberton Strong
 
Ray Shepard is a wealthy architect who has mystified his friends by marrying Evelyn, a woman who works at a nail salon. Evelyn, in turn, hides a secret past about her former life in the circus, her ex-husband's mysterious death, and the colorful tattoos she carefully conceals under her clothes. When Evelyn starts to cave under the pressure of living in Ray's rarified world, she suggests they take in Ingrid, a sixteen-year-old girl with blue hair, a pet iguana, and no place to stay for the summer. As Evelyn and Ray both make her their confidante, drawing her into the heart of what threatens their marriage, Ingrid increasingly adopts the noir alter ego of "Detective Slade"in order to solve the mysteries that engulf all three characters. Miss Strong is the Poetry editor at The New Haven Review


Click for availability and more information The Fort, by Aric Davis
 
With the boys' new fort finally finished, everything that summer was going great. And then the killer showed up. During the summer of 1987, from their tree house fort in the woods, neighborhood boys Tim, Scott, and Luke spot a man holding a gun to missing sixteen year old Molly Peterson's back. The problem is, nobody believes their story, not even the police. As search efforts to find Molly dwindle, the boys know that she, and the man with the gun, are nearby -- and that they must now find and save Molly themselves. A growing sense of honor and urgency forces the boys to take action -- to find Molly, to protect themselves, and to stand guard for the last long days of summer. 


Click for availability and more information The Lineup, by Liad Shoham; translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai
 
Liad Shoham, the #1 bestselling author in Israel, makes his American debut with Lineup--a superbly plotted, uncompromising crime thriller. A brutal rape in a quiet Tel Aviv neighborhood has the police baffled. There are no witnesses, suspects, or clues, until the victim's father steps in and finds overwhelming evidence pointing to Ziv Nevo. Veteran detective Eli Nahum questions Nevo, but can't get anything out of him. That's because Nevo has a secret. He works for the mafia, and telling the truth about why he was near the crime scene could get him killed. Lineup focuses on these two men, detective and suspect, as they both end up betraying what they value most, fighting for their lives, and struggling make amends for their mistakes. 


Click for availability and more information Mystery Writers of America presents the Mystery Box , edited by Brad Meltzer
 
The latest installment of original stories presented by Mystery Writers of America features quite a few heavy hitters this time around. With this anthology, bestselling author Brad Meltzer introduces twenty-one original stories from today's most prominent mystery writers. In Laura Lippman's "Waco 1982," a young reporter stuck with a seemingly mundane assignment on lost-and-found boxes unwittingly discovers a dark crime. In Joseph Finder's "Heirloom," a scheming neighbor frightens the new couple on the block with an unnerving tale of buried treasure. In R.L. Stine's "High Stakes," a man on his honeymoon gets drawn into a bizarre bet involving a coffin--a bet he may pay for with his life. 


Click for availability and more information The Never List , by Koethi Zan
 
For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the "Never List": a list of actions to be avoided, for safety's sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism. Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn't make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail. Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors?who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined. A review in the London Guardian calls it a "genuinely disturbing thriller." 


Click for availability and more information The Steel Spring: a Peter Jensen mystery, by Per Wahlöö; translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death
 
Chief Inspector Jensen is a policeman in an unnamed European country where the government has criminalized being drunk, where newspapers are designed for reassurance, and where the city centers have been demolished to devote more space to gleaming new highways. Recovering in a hospital room abroad after a liver transplant, Jensen receives a note instructing him to return home immediately, but when he reaches the airport he discovers that all flights home have been cancelled and all communication from within his homeland has ceased. One of the last messages sent requested urgent medical help from abroad. But what has happened? Has an epidemic taken hold? And why has the government fled the capital? To penetrate the silence and mystery that has fallen over the country and its people, Jensen returns only to discover the unthinkable. First published in 1970, Wahloo's books are coming back into the spotlight due partly to the increased interest in Scandinavian mystery novelists. Before his death in 1975, Wahloo co-authored the Martin Beck mystery series with his wife Maj Sjowall.

New Children's Books

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Below is a list of new and recommended children's books, straight for our esteemed children's librarians. Happy reading!



Picture Books


Click for availability and more information Bully, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
 
A little bull has been pushed away by a bigger animal. Feeling hurt and angry, he is mean to all the other animals until realizing he has become a big bully with no friends. The rich color of the illustrations and simple text make this a picture book that can be used to teach the youngest of children about bullying, mean words and how to treat friends.

Click for availability and more information The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt; pictures by Oliver Jeffers
 
This is a great picture book to read aloud to grades K-2. When Duncan opens his box of crayons, he finds nothing but letters from the crayons, who are fed up from the art work. The complaints are very funny and include orange and yellow fighting over who is the true color of the sun, and a very exhausted blue crayon who needs a break from coloring the sky and water.


Click for availability and more information Good Night Sleep Tight, by Mem Fox; illustrated by Judy Horacek
 
Babysitter Skinny Doug shares nursery rhymes with Bonnie and Ben at bedtime. The children love the rhymes and ask to hear more, and each time Doug replies "I'll tell you another I heard from my mother." A fun story to share and read aloud with toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary school children that includes "It's Raining, It's Pouring", "Star Light, Star Bright" and other classic rhymes. 


Click for availability and more information A Pirate's Guide to Recess, by James Preller; illustrated by Greg Ruth
 
A crew of "pirates" are ready for adventure on the school playground, but are they ready to face the challenges of another pirate crew? Share this school story with students as they set sail on their adventures of a new school year. 



Chapter Books


Click for availability and more information Al Capone Does my Homework, by Gennifer Choldenko
 
This final installment in the life of Moose Flanagan, a boy who lives on Alcatraz Island during the 1930s, brings Choldenko's trilogy to a satisfying conclusion (The first in the series is Al Capone Does My Shirts). The story opens with good news: Moose's father, Cam, has been promoted to associate warden of the island's infamous prison. But the new job makes Cam a target, and the family feels the backlash immediately when a suspicious fire breaks out at their apartment while Moose and his developmentally disabled sister, Natalie, are home alone. A malicious neighbor suggests Natalie started the blaze, inciting problems with the special boarding school Natalie attends. Meanwhile, money is changing hands in odd ways around the island, and inmate No. 85 (Capone) sends Moose another cryptic note, written on Moose's homework ("Luckily, he wrote in pencil"), which helps Moose and his affable gang sort the good guys from the bad. Choldenko continues to infuse the Alcatraz community with warmth and originality (the kids play "rock, newspapers, shiv"). Despite being "the roughest hard-time prison in America," by the end of this winning series, it's also a place Moose comes to proudly call home. Ages 10-up. Publishers Weekly 


Click for availability and more information Doll Bones, by Holly Black
 
Zach plays with dolls. Never mind that they're action figures, heroes in a wild, improvisational saga he acts out with friends Poppy and Alice. Never mind that he's a solid student and rising basketball star. Zach is 12, and his father has decided this must stop. While Zach's at school, the dolls go to the dump, and Zach is left with only rage. He quits the game, but Alice and Poppy haul him out for one more quest: a bus trip to lay to rest the Queen, a bone china doll that Poppy swears is made from the bones of a murdered girl. Another crazy quest from Poppy's fertile brain? Or could this ghost story be real? The wonderfully eerie doll, the realism of the kids' improbable logic, and the ache underlying every character's actions create as much a state of existential anxiety as narrative tension. Black captures the adolescent sense that things are about to explode before they get explained. And it's a darn good adventure, too. Ages 10-14. 


Click for availability and more information The Hypnotists, by Gordon Korman
 
The fast-paced first volume in Korman's Hypnotists series introduces some historical conspiracies worthy of Dan Brown. In Korman's world, famous events from the Hindenburg disaster to the Lewis and Clark expedition were influenced by hypnotists, people with a genetic gift that allows them to control others' minds. Twelve-year-old Jackson "Jax" Opus is starting to notice that people sometimes do what he says without thinking about it, and that he has strange visions when this happens. After a run-in with a stage hypnotist, he is recruited to the Sentia Institute, run by Dr. Elias Mako, friend to politicians and movie stars alike. Jax starts training his natural skills, but an encounter with another hypnotist, former con artist Axel Braintree, persuades him that there's more to both his own family history and to Sentia. Korman (the Swindle series) delivers an entertaining mix of intense action and goofy fun; he isn't afraid to raise the stakes when necessary, and he makes the moral murkiness of mind control apparent to characters and readers alike. The ending wraps up some loose ends, but leaves plenty for future books. Ages 8-12. Publishers Weekly 


Non-Fiction

Click for availability and more information Breakfast on Mars and 37 other Delectable Essays, edited by Rebecca Stern & Brad Wolfe
 
Essay writing often poses a challenge for students. This is a collection of "imaginative, rule-breaking, and untraditional essays" by leading writers and favorite authors, including Scott Westerfeld and Wendy Mass. Teachers, parents and middle school students will find a great selection of writing examples of persuasive, narrative, and literary essays. 


Click for availability and more information How to Read Literature like a Professor: for kids, by Thomas C. Foster
 
Foster provides an amusing explanation of literary devices such as symbols, metaphor, characterization, setting, plot and other key techniques. By using examples from classic and popular children's books, students will gain an understanding of common themes in literature. Grades 5 and up

New Science Books

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Enough slacking. It's time to get back to school. Put down those tawdry magazines and beach reads, elevate your mind and read a new science book or two.


Click for availability and more information Brilliant Blunders : from Darwin to Einstein--colossal mistakes by great scientists that changed our understanding of life and the universe., by Mario Livio
 
Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein were all brilliant scientists. Each made groundbreaking contributions to his field--but each also stumbled badly. Darwin's theory of natural selection shouldn't have worked, according to the prevailing beliefs of his time. Not until Gregor Mendel's work was known would there be a mechanism to explain natural selection. How could Darwin be both wrong and right? Lord Kelvin, Britain's leading scientific intellect at the time, gravely miscalculated the age of the earth. Linus Pauling, the world's premier chemist (who would win the Nobel Prize in chemistry) constructed an erroneous model for DNA in his haste to beat the competition to publication. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle dismissed the idea of a "Big Bang" origin to the universe (ironically, the caustic name he gave to this event endured long after his erroneous objections were disproven). And Albert Einstein, whose name is synonymous with genius, speculated incorrectly about the forces that hold the universe in equilibrium--and that speculation opened the door to brilliant conceptual leaps. These five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on earth, the evolution of the earth itself, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors. As Mario Livio luminously explains, the scientific process advances through error. Mistakes are essential to progress. Read Carl Zimmer's review in the New York Times to learn more about the book.


Click for availability and more information Bug Music: how insects gave us rhythm and noise, by David Rothenberg
 
In the spring of 2013 the cicadas in the Northeastern United States will yet again emerge from their seventeen-year cycle--the longest gestation period of any animal. Those who experience this great sonic invasion compare their sense of wonder to the arrival of a comet or a solar eclipse. This unending rhythmic cycle is just one unique example of how the pulse and noise of insects has taught humans the meaning of rhythm, from the whirr of a cricket's wings to this unfathomable and exact seventeen-year beat. In listening to cicadas, as well as other humming, clicking, and thrumming insects, Bug Music is the first book to consider the radical notion that we humans got our idea of rhythm, synchronization, and dance from the world of insect sounds that surrounded our species over the millions of years over which we evolved. Completing the trilogy he began with Why Birds Sing and Thousand Mile Song, David Rothenberg explores a unique part of our relationship with nature and sound--the music of insects that has provided a soundtrack for humanity throughout the history of our species. Bug Music continues Rothenberg's in-depth research and spirited writing on the relationship between human and animal music, and it follows him as he explores insect influences in classical and modern music, plays his saxophone with crickets and other insects, and confers with researchers and scientists nationwide. 


Click for availability and more information Full-Rip 9.0: the next big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, by Sandi Doughton
 
Potential bad news for those folks in the Pacfific Northwest, Scientists have identified Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver as the urban centers of what will be the biggest earthquake, also called a mega-quake, in the continental United States. A quake will happen--in fact it's actually overdue. The Cascadia subduction zone is 750 miles long, running along the Pacific coast from Northern California up to southern British Columbia. In this fascinating book, The Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton introduces readers to the scientists who are dedicated to understanding the way the earth moves and describes what patterns can be identified and how prepared (or not) people are. With a 100% chance of a mega-quake hitting the Pacific Northwest, this fascinating book reports on the scientists who are trying to understand when, where, and just how big the big one will be.

Click for availability and more information Heart of Darkness: unraveling the mysteries of the invisible universe, by Jeremiah P. Ostriker & Simon Mitton
 
Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field, Jeremiah Ostriker, and his coauthor Simon Mitton. The story is far from complete, however, as scientists confront the mysteries of the ultimate causes of cosmic structure formation and the real nature and origin of dark matter and dark energy.

Click for availability and more information Heat: adventures in the world's fiery places , by Bill Streever
 
Bill Streever sets off to find out what heat really means. Let him be your guide and you'll firewalk across hot coals and sweat it out in Death Valley, experience intense fever and fire, learn about the invention of matches and the chemistry of cooking, drink crude oil, and explore thermonuclear weapons and the hottest moment of all time-the big bang. Melting glaciers, warming oceans, forest fires, droughts-it's clear that today's world is getting hotter. But while we know the agony of a sunburn or the comfort of our winter heaters, do we really understand heat? Read this alongside Streever's earlier book Cold: adventures in the world's frozen places to get get the full story. 


Click for availability and more information Imperial Dreams: tracking the imperial woodpecker through the wild Sierra Madre , by Tim Gallagher
 
Explorer and naturalist Tim Gallagher is obsessed with rare birds. A decade ago, Gallagher was one of the re-discoverers of the legendary ivory-billed woodpecker, which most scientists believed had been extinct for more than half a century--an event that caused an international stir. Now, in Imperial Dreams, Gallagher once again hits the trail, journeying deep into Mexico's savagely beautiful Sierra Madre Occidental, home to rich wildlife, as well as to Mexican drug cartels, in a perilous quest to locate the most elusive bird in the world--the imperial woodpecker, a giant among its clan.


Click for availability and more information Life's Ratchet: how molecular machines extract order from chaos , by Peter M. Hoffmann
 
Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Peter Hoffmann calls the "molecular storm", specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city, an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves. Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. 


Click for availability and more information Red Rover: inside the story of robotic space exploration, from Genesis to the Curiosity rover, by Roger Wiens
 
In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations, both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our 21st century New World; its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet's secrets. Its most recent scout is Curiosity, a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space laboratory, which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover, geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover's amazing journey to Mars. 


Click for availability and more information The Right Chemistry: 108 enlightening, nutritious, health-conscious and occasionally bizarre inquiries into the science of everyday life, by Joe Schwarcz
 
A big part of Dr. Joe Schwarcz's job as director of McGill University's Office of Science and Society is persuading people that the pursuit of science knowledge is a potential source of wonder, enlightenment and well-being for everyone. And as a chemist, he's particularly keen to rescue chemistry from the bad rep it's developed over recent decades. There is more to chemistry than toxins, pollution, and "Don't drink that soda--it's full of chemicals." The evangelic zeal Schwarcz brings to his day job is also the driving force behind his work as an author. Once again, here he is to tell that everything is full of chemicals, and that chemistry means health, nutrition, beauty products, cleaning products, DNA, and the means by which Lady Gaga's meat dress was held together. In the style established with the bestselling Brain Fuel, each section here is themed and contains a mixture of short, pithy items and slightly longer mini-essays. You will learn whether to put broccoli on a pizza before or after baking, whether beauty pills are worth taking, and whether the baby shampoo you're using is poisonous. You will discover but not use, please, the recipe for a Molotov cocktail. You will be enabled to enthrall fellow dinner guests with the derivation of the name Persil, and the definition of a kangarian (it's someone who only eats kangaroo meat). 


Click for availability and more information The Way of Science: finding truth and meaning in a scientific worldview, by Dennis R. Trumble
 
Most people appreciate science on an obvious level. Modern medicine, electric lighting, rapid transportation, and long-distance communication are among the many benefits of science that have made life today healthier and more comfortable than people in earlier eras could have imagined. This book is about a deeper benefit of science, one that, while less obvious, may prove to be far more important in the long run: namely, the ability to look beyond our preconceptions and see the world and ourselves in a truer light. The author makes a compelling case that now more than ever the public at large needs to appreciate the critical-thinking tools that science has to offer and be educated in basic science literacy. Trumble emphasizes that the methods and facts of science are accessible to everyone, and that, contrary to popular belief, understanding science does not require extraordinary intelligence. He also notes that scientific rationality and critical thinking are not only good for our physical well-being but also are fully in sync with our highest moral codes. He illustrates the many ways in which the scientific worldview offers a profound sense of wonder, connectedness, and optimism about the human condition, an inspiring perspective that satisfies age-old spiritual aspirations. At a time of daunting environmental challenges and rampant misinformation, this provides a welcome corrective and reason to hope for the future.

Recent Comments

  • From Science Fiction, "New Science Fiction Books" :
    Ed: Thanks Stephen. Looking forward especially to reading "Bowl of Heaven" read more

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