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KFOR Book Chat Selections

Starting in April 2002, a panel of library staff members (primarily from the Anderson, Bethany, Gere and Eiseley branches) have appeared somewhat regularly on Cathy Blythe's Problems and Solutions program on radio station KFOR 1240 AM in a segment called "Book Chat," sharing information about books and upcoming library programs. Here is a list of the books discussed in the most recent show:

March 19, 2015

Book Cover  Life Could Be Verse: Reflections on Life, Love and What Really Matters by Kirk Douglas [Biography Douglas]

The legendary actor Kirk Douglas has written several previous autobiographical works, of which this is his latest, released in 2014, the year Douglas turned 98 years old. This slim volumes is a marvelously nostalgic look back at some of the highlights of both his acting career and his life as a celebrity. Interspersed among the dozens of photos and person letters are examples of the poetry Douglas has written his entire life. He has particularly found poetry to be a good creative outlet since a stroke in 1996 left it difficult for him to speak. This is a wonderful snapshot of a life fully lived, and often in the public eye.
Book Cover  Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke [Fluke]

No amount of brownies can calm bakery owner Hannah Swensen's nerves as she prepares for a trial about her role in a disastrous accident. When someone bludgeons the judge to death, Hannah must catch the killer if she hopes to clear her name and savor the sweet taste of victory. 18th book in the series.
Book Cover  The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal (a.k.a. Matthew Inman) [741.5 Inm]

Online cartoonist "The Oatmeal" applies his trademark sarcastic wit and occasionally grotesque artwork styles to a book that tackles a topic near and dear to the artist's personal life. Inman took up the sport of long distance running several years ago in order to battle the negative health concerns of a lethargic and non-mobile lifestyle. He shares many of the things he's learned about the life of a long-distance running here, complete with illustrations of the "blerch" character that follows him around, symbolizing the kind of fat, slovenly life he could easily be living if he'd just stop running. Inman isn't trying to convert people to a running lifestyle, but his trenchant personal observations and bitingly satirical artwork may make you consider the benefits of getting out of your office chair and off of your couch more often.
Book Cover  Breaking Creed by Alex Kava [Kava]

A commercial fishing vessel's shocking contents send Ryder Creed and his team in search of a Colombian drug cartel that Creed once stopped, but a 14-year-old drug mule who reminds Creed of his long-missing sister jeopardizes everything when Creed lets the drug mule go. Elsewhere, FBI agent Maggie O'Dell discovers a hit list bearing Creed's name while investigating several suspicious cartel murders. Alex Kava is an Omaha, Nebraska novelist.
Book Cover  Fever by Mary Beth Keane [Keane]

Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever. On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined “medical engineer” noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary — proud of her former status and passionate about cooking — the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.
Book Cover  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson [940.451 Lar]

On May 1st, 1915, the Lusitania set sail on its final voyage. That it was sunk by a German U-boat will be news to few — and Larson’s challenge is to craft a historical narrative leading up to the thrilling, if known, conclusion, building anticipation in his readers along the way. To his credit, he makes the task look easy. Focusing on the politics of WWI, on nautical craftsmanship and strategy, and on key players in the eventual attack and sinking of the "fast, comfortable, and beloved" Lusitania, Larson once again illustrates his gift for seducing us with history and giving it a human face. Dead Wake puts readers right aboard the famous Cunard liner and keeps them turning the pages until the book’s final, breathless encounter.
Book Cover  The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki [Pataki]

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead. Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.
Book Cover  You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman by Mike Thomas [ not in library collection ]

In the wake of Saturday Night Live having celebrated its 40th anniversary just a few weeks ago, I enjoyed reading this frank and open biography of one of SNL's greatest stars, Phil Hartman (which came out in late 2014). From his childhood growing up in Canada, to his struggles as a young artist, through his runs on SNL, The Simpsons and NewsRadio, this was a fascinating and brutally honest look at a complicated man. His ability to inspire laughter in so many of us is counterbalanced by the occasional moments of darkness in his own life, including those that led his wife to kill both Hartman and herself in 1998.

Other KFOR Book Chat pages:

Past Years: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008
2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

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