Month: May 2012

Check It Out Blog

LISTS: True Animal Stories

A Buffalo in the House book cover“Happiness is a warm puppy,” said Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts comic strip. But some of us might think happiness is a warm cat. Or owl, chimp, horse, elephant, etc.

Click here for true animal stories that will warm your heart.

A War Correspondent Finds Peace

House of Stone book coverAnthony Shadid was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent. His coverage of three Middle Eastern wars (wherein he was shot and held as a prisoner of war) ruined his marriage. He felt broken by his personal life and jaded by the hostile politics surrounding his ancestral homeland, Lebanon. Then Shadid learned that a rocket had crashed into his great-grandfather’s home. House of Stone chronicles how rebuilding his great-grandfather’s home restored Shadid himself. Equal parts memoir and Lebanese primer, House of Stone is a moving family history that will appeal to anyone who enjoyed Three Cups of Tea or The Bookseller of Kabul.

Once Upon a Grimm Tale

Peter and Max audiobook coverA tale of dark whimsy and treachery, Peter & Max by Bill Willingham offers the fun of a traditional fairy tale partnered with a return to the more gruesome roots of folklore. Inspired by the successful graphic novel series, this first novel explores the rivalry between Peter Piper and his older brother Max. When the Pipers and the Peeps are trapped by villainous forces in the Black Forest, heated jealousy and terrifying danger spark repercussions on all of Fabletown for centuries to come. A fanciful and dramatic reading by Wil Wheaton spotlights the clever interplay of legends both familiar and reinvented. Embrace the storytelling experience, and try Peter & Max on Playaway.

Playing Favorites: A Talk with Myke Cole

Author Photo of Myke ColeMyke Cole’s first novel, SHADOW OPS: Control Point, makes for excellent weekend reading. Oscar Britton is an Army officer turned fugitive sorcerer. Britton isn’t a bad guy, but he is dangerous. He’s manifested magical powers that he can’t control (like thousands of others across the world) and the government he formerly worked for is now determined to collect and control him…or take him out.

Cole has the chops to write military fantasy. He’s been a security contractor, government civilian, and military officer. He’s worked everything from Counterterrorism to Cyber Warfare, in addition to serving three tours in Iraq and being recalled to serve during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Library got a hold of Myke Cole to talk about good books, good movies, and a few other things between.

Mount Prospect Public Library: What are a few of your favorite nonfiction military books?

Myke Cole: Wow. There are so many that have been incredibly influential throughout my career. This is almost like asking me to pick my favorite fantasy novels or comic books. The problem is that they’re pretty much all my favorites. Let me give you three:

The first is Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman’s The Art of War in the Middle Ages. It’s dated, but it has mapped layouts of most of the major battles I was interested in and forms the basis for many of my favorite table top historical wargames.

The second would have to be Carl Philip Gottfried von Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege. I swear, I’m not just Shadow Ops: Control Point book coverpicking these guys because they have long names. Vom Kriege is the seminal text on modern warfare (the kind of warfare that company grade officers like myself have been trained to fight and is now being rendered partially obsolete by the rise of transnational insurgency). It has helped define how an entire generation of military leaders think about war. It has set our vocabulary, and given us a context for discussion.

The third is The Western Way of War, by Victor Davis Hanson. It’s a foundational book that helps lay the ancient groundwork that would eventually become my trade.

Keep in mind, these are just three good books. They are not my three favorite by any means. You’ll also want to read Martin Van Creveld‘s The Transformation of War, Mao Tse-Tung’s On Guerrilla Warfare, Sun Tzu (and commentaries), Musashi, Fussel, Gibbon and on and on and on.

Edgar Award Winning Mysteries

Gone book cover

Follow the clues to discover the best mystery writing of the year.  The Mystery Writers of America recently named the winners of the 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, and it would be a crime for you to leave these cases unsolved:

Best Novel: Gone by Mo Hayder

Best First Novel: Bent Road by Lori Roy

Best Fact Crime: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Best Critical Biographical: On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda

Best Young Adult: The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall

Best Juvenile: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Paris in Love

Paris in Love book coverDonna C. of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends Paris in Love by Eloisa James:

Have you ever longed to spend an afternoon window-shopping along Parisian boulevards, or sipping coffee outdoors while indulging in decadent pastries, or gazing out latticed windows at the rainy, cobbled streets of Paris? If so, you’ll enjoy Eloisa James’ memoir, Paris in Love. For many of us, the decision to move abroad will forever be a daydream. But for James, a best-selling romance writer and professor, her dream was realized. Chronicling her adventure, James embellished Facebook posts and Twitter tweets from that year, resulting in a patchwork of observations of an American’s interaction with a culture both familiar and distinct. If you’re looking for a chance to savor a rich slice of life, Parisian-style, this is a book for you.

LISTS: If You Like the Avengers

Iron Man DVD coverWord on the street is that The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, is awesome. Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and the Black Widow join forces to – what else? – save the world.

Click here, if you liked The Avengers movie (in theaters now!) and want more Marvel materials.