Month: May 2011

Check It Out Blog

LISTS: A Vegan Starter Guide

The Joy of Vegan Baking book cover Oprah’s been talking about going vegan, meaning she’s not using or eating anything created from animals or animal by-products. Being vegan is about having an eye for the details of what you’re consuming and how it was created. So what’s there left to eat if you don’t eat meat and cheese? Plenty!

Click here to find out.

RKO’s Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn Flop

Bringing Up Baby DVD cover All Dr. David Huxley wants is to put the intercostal clavicle into place in his near-complete brontosaurus skeleton. OK, he wants a million dollars for the museum, too, but that might not happen. Every time Huxley gets near the money donor’s lawyer, an infernal woman makes him look like an idiot. Susan is a “Who’s On First” hurricane and David gets the screwball brunt of it…but only because she adores him. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn battle each other into falling in love in Howard Hawks’ 1938 box office flop (but absolutely wonderful comedy), Bringing Up Baby.

Mystery Solved!

The Lock Artist book coverIt’s no longer a mystery.  The winners of the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television have been exposed:

Best Novel – The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

Best First Novel – Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva

Best Paperback Original – Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard

Best Biographical – Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang

Best Young Adult – The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price

Best Juvenile – The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dory Hillestad Butler

Best Television Episode – Luther by Neil Cross

Mary Higgins Clark Award – The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Cathleen’s Pick: Great Classic Mysteries

Cathleen staff picks pictureThe intellectual gamesmanship of modern detective tales can be traced to many of the stories featured in Great Classic Mysteries.  Twelve iconic investigations will immerse you in intrigue and test your powers of deduction.  Excellent performances by audio all-stars including Simon Vance and Simon Prebble make this collection one not to miss.

The Newly Wed Duke and Duchess…of Ferrara

The Second Duchess book coverExtravagance, tradition, and public fascination surround the marriage of Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Barbara of Austria.  It is 1565, and the Renaissance court is abuzz with the arrival of a new duchess, especially since it is widely rumored that the duke murdered his first wife with his own hands.  Barbara’s quick mind and inquisitive spirit drive her to risk the displeasure of her forbidding new husband to determine if the whispered suspicions are true.  When attempts are made on her own life, can she deny that the man she is beginning to admire might be responsible after all?  Inspired by Robert Browning’s poem, The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas reveals a world of magnificence, conspiracy, and obsession.

LISTS: The 2011/2012 Lyric Opera Season

Tales of Hoffman DVD cover “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent,” so said Victor Hugo. The Lyric Opera of Chicago has been giving voice to the thunder of the soul since 1952.

Black Humor and Reluctant Heroes

The Blade Itself book cover Logen Ninefingers is a barbarian Northman legendary for his brutality. Glotka is a broken soldier turned Inquisition torturer. Jezal is a foppish noblemen’s son and a soldier – the mirror image of Glotka before he was crippled in battle. Ferro is a warrior woman, hell bent on nothing less than vengeance against an entire empire. And the first of the Magi, the great wizard Bayaz, has gathered them all for his own, private purposes. Say one thing about The Blade Itself, the beginning of the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, say it’s a brutal book about brutal people who are never quite all bad – and that’s what makes them so compelling.

Cynthia’s Pick: Zeitoun

Cynthia staff picks photoZeitoun
insists on riding out Hurricane Katrina as his family flees for safety. In the aftermath, he provides whatever assistance he can from his secondhand canoe before his story takes a troubling turn. Dave Eggers‘ disturbing, nonfiction account shows how extreme circumstances can obstruct the lines between heroes, authority, victims and criminals.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

The Weird Sisters book coverCathleen of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown:

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” – Robert Frost

The Andreas sisters are named for three wildly different Shakespeare heroines, and the one thing they have in common is that their lives are messy.  Bianca has just been fired and is swimming in debt.  Cordelia gives up her semi-nomadic life when she discovers she’s pregnant.  Rosalind had already been living at home in order to care for their ailing parents, and the tension of her upcoming wedding isn’t helping.  In Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters, all three end up back under the same roof, and the curtain rises on a masterful blend of drama and lightness that would make the Bard proud.