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Staff Pick: Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1798-1815 by Gordon S. Wood

Larry staff picks photoA readable, fascinating history of the early United States, Empire of Liberty describes political and social philosophies of the time and their effect on American society and events. Without directly saying so, the book makes it evident that the roots of current American thought can be traced back to that time, with often striking parallels.

By MPPL on June 24, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Barb B.Worth’s The Midwife tells the fascinating story of her life as a midwife in 1950’s London. Set in the East End, where she worked with nuns from St. Raymond Nonnatus, Worth chronicles the rigorous drama and inspiring magic of birth. It’s a captivating memoir. After reading, watch the excellent television series it inspired.

By MPPL on June 10, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Fiction Books

The Hollow Ground book cover The Possibilities book coverDebbie Doesn't Do It Anymore book cover

     –  The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett

     –  The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

     –  Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

     –  Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

     –  Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

     –  Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins

     –  To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

     –  The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

New: Nonfiction Books

Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie book coverCreativity, Inc. book cover Little Demon in the City of Light book cover

     Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie by Ranya Tabari Idliby

     – Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

     –  Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

     –  Cattitudes by Victoria Roberts

     –  Young Widower by John W. Evans

     –  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

     –  Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller

     –  Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

By MPPL on May 30, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio book cover

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

 

Title: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Author: Terry Ryan
Page Count: 351
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Family stories
Tone: Humorous, Heartwarming, Inspirational

 

1.  Much of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio takes place in the 1950s. What in particular demonstrates how people and/or attitudes were different during that time?

2.  There’s a popular saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Was there anything you read that you can relate to life today?

3.  If this book were written today, what would be different?

4.  How would you describe Evelyn as a “character”? What was her most admirable trait? What about her was not so admirable?

5.  Evelyn very much believed in destiny. How do you see this belief playing out in her life?

6.  What do you think of Kelly, Evelyn’s husband? Did you feel any sympathy for him?

7.  Why do you think Kelly started drinking?

8.  Would you label Kelly as abusive? Why or why not?

9.  The concept of domestic violence didn’t exist in the 1950s (though the act certainly did). How might Evelyn and Kelly’s relationship be received today, in light of our modern understanding of domestic violence?

10.  Why did Evelyn never leave Kelly? Should she have? Would she today?

11.  At one point in the book, Evelyn tells daughter Tuffy it would be a waste of time to stand up to Kelly. What does she mean by this? Do you agree?

12.  Do you think the author – Terry Ryan – was too tough in her portrayal of her father?

13.  This is a work of nonfiction. Do you think the author took any creative license when telling her family’s story?

14.  What do you think Ryan’s motivation was for writing this book?

15.  What might be different about the book if it were an autobiography written by Evelyn herself?

16.  How would you describe the tone of this book? Do you think the tone was appropriate for the topics discussed in the book?

17.  Evelyn was a religious woman, and she respected clergy as representatives of God. Do you think the clergy in her story deserved such high regard?

18.  There are several integral supporting characters in this story – particularly Aunt Lucy. What was her role in Evelyn’s life?

19.  What do you think would have happened to Evelyn and her family if she hadn’t discovered contests and used her writing talents?

20.  After Evelyn won the Dr. Pepper contest, the children knew “From then on . . . there could never be a problem bigger than Mom’s ability to solve it” (p. 334). What would it have felt like, growing up as a child in the Ryan household? How did Evelyn’s children view her?

21.  Evelyn wrote a letter to college admissions, intimately discussing her family’s troubles. Why did she do this? What does it reveal about the kind of woman she was?

22.  After Evelyn died, her children discovered she “had” to get married. How do you think a lack of options affected Evelyn, her marriage, and how she raised her children?

23.  What are your thoughts on Kelly’s “legacy of atonement” (i.e., $60,000)? Why didn’t Evelyn spend it?

24.  On her deathbed, Evelyn said of Defiance: “It was a nice place to be. A saving place” (p. 341). What do you think she meant by that? How do you see the town of Defiance, Ohio?

 

Other Resources
Q&A with author Terry “Tuffy” Ryan
Lit Lovers’ book discussion questions
Website dedicated to Evelyn’s life (includes photos and Evelyn’s notebooks)
Roger Ebert’s film review for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Washington Post obituary for Terry Ryan

 

If you liked the Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, try…
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley
The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan
Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

Losing Mum and Pup book cover    The Longest Trip Home book coverHalf Broke Horses book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By MPPL on May 28, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Movies and TV: Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Deceptive Practices DVD coverRicky Jay is a world famous magician and actor. The documentary Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay examines his rise as a renowned stage illusionist and the elder statesmen of magic that helped him on the way. A talk show regular in the ‘70s, Jay wowed audiences with sleight of hand and piercing watermelons with thrown playing cards, but Jay has come a long way. He has studied and owns thousands of books on magic. His performances are half illusions and half entertaining lessons on eccentrics, con men, and magicians through the last several centuries. Deceptive Practices will fill your evening with both history and wonder.

By Readers' Advisor on May 19, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction

Edgar Allan Poe Awards 2014

The winners of the 2014 Edgar Awards have been announced, and thrills and chills fill these top picks from the Mystery Writers of America, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2013.

Ordinary Grace book cover

Red Sparrow book cover

Wicked Girls book cover    

Best NovelOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Best First Novel by an American AuthorRed Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Best Paperback Original:  The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Hour of Peril book coverOne Came Home book coverKetchup Clouds book cover


Best Fact Crime: 
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower
Best Juvenile:  One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Best Young Adult: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

   The Fall DVD cover

Cover of Snow book cover

Best Television Episode Teleplay:  The Fall, “Episode 1” — teleplay by Allan Cubitt
Simon & Schuster – Mary Higgins Clark Award:  Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on May 7, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Movies and TV, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Fiction Books

Bingo's Run book cover The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris book cover The Truth book cover

     –  Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine

     –  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

     –  The Truth by Michael Palin

     –  Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman

     –  Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman

     –  Mimi Malloy, At Last! by Julia MacDonnell

     –  Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

     –  The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

New: Nonfiction Books

The Artisan Soul book coverA Farm Dies Once a Year Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why book cover

     The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

     –  A Farm Dies Once a Year by Arlo Crawford

     –  Ha!: The Science of When and Why We Laugh by Scott Weems

     –  DIY Dye by Loren Lankford

     –  Reproducing Racism by Daria Roithmayr

     –  Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change by Barbara Winslow

     –  I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia by Su Meck

     –  Neanderthal Man by Svante Pääbo

By MPPL on May 2, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

Thank you for Your Service book coverDavid Finkel follows his bestselling The Good Soldiers, in which he reported from the frontlines of Baghdad while embedded with the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion, with the ironically titled Thank You for Your Service. In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel once again follows the 2-16, but this time they’re stateside. Finkel compassionately looks at what we ask of soldiers when we send them to war and the consequences that war has on soldiers, their loved ones, and their communities. This candid, somber book is brilliant war-time journalism where Finkel does not put himself in the narrative. This is the story of the remaining 2-16 outlined by Finkel, but also told through their own diaries, emails, text messages, and medical reports.

By Readers' Advisor on April 28, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

Fiction and Nonfiction: Awards Spotlight

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.  This week we invite you to check out a winner!

Are you drawn to the adventure and panorama of the West?  Try one or more of the Spur Awards honorees:

Light of the World book cover

Crossing Purgatory book cover

Spider Woman's Daughter book cover

Best Western Contemporary NovelLight of the World by James Lee Burke

Best Western Traditional NovelCrossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher

Best First NovelSpider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman

 

Have a taste for distinguished American writing?  Read a newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner:

Goldfinch book cover

Toms River book cover

Margaret Fuller book cover

FictionThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

General NonfictionToms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

Biography or AutobiographyMargaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

 

Which titles have the respect of their peers?  The Los Angeles Times Book Awards are chosen by working writers to celebrate how reading is an essential way of connecting with and understanding the world in which we live:

Tale for the Time Being book cover

Cuckoo's Calling book cover

We Need New Names book cover

FictionA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Mystery/ThrillerThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Art Seidenbaum Award for First FictionWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

 

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on April 18, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Lists, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Linda J. Amendt

Gluten Free Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond book coverLiving a gluten-free lifestyle does not mean that you have to forgo the loveliness of waffles, pancakes, and other scrumptious breakfast stuff. In Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond Linda J. Amendt showcases short, simple-to-follow recipes with full-color photography. In addition to recipes, Amendt gives tips and lists on what everyday ingredients can have hidden gluten. Your mouth will water over the cinnamon pecan bread, cranberry orange scones, and sour cream coffeecake. With 100 recipes that range from kid-friendly French toast to savory stratas, Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond will be a hit with everyone in your home.

By Readers' Advisor on April 10, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction