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INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS

July 2006 Recommendations

book over  In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead
by James Lee Burke

Atmospheric Dave Robicheaux mystery set in New Orleans. Wonderful characters!
[Also available in unabridged audiotape format.]

[ official James Lee Burke website ]

Recommended by Rayma S.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Review Score - 9
One of his best, although some may be put off by the supernatural element. Made into a hard-to-find movie starring Tommy Lee Jones as Robicheaux and John Goodman as Babyfeet.
Rated by -- Barbara R.
patron of the BookGuide web site

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book over  The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

Set in Spain, this is the inspiring story of a shepherd boy who learns to follow his dreams and listen to his heart.
[Also available in several foreign language editions.]

[ Wikipedia page for The Alchemist ] | [ official Paulo Coelho English-language website ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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book over  This review is for a Book-on-CDHaunted Ground [Audio Adaptation]
by Erin Hart

In a remote corner of Galway, two mysteries, one current and one from long ago, begin to unravel when the perfectly preserved head of a young woman is discovered in a peat bog. Narrator Jennifer McMahon's Irish brogue compliments the telling of a story that is rich with the history, music and folklore of Ireland.
[Also available in the original print edition]

[ Reading Club Guide for Haunted Ground on the official Erin Hart website ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Tammy T.
Collection Management Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book over  The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America
by Eric Idle [827 Idl]

I didn't quite know what to expect from this book when I picked it up a few weeks ago. Obviously, Eric Idle is one of the Monty Python's Flying Circus group, so a bit of anarchic humor would be only appropriate. As it turns out, The Greedy Bastard Diary is a fascinating, engaging and highly readable personal odyssey. In the fall and winter of 2003, Idle, spurred on by a sense of wanderlust and the desire to prove that he still had the chops to perform live comedy, set out on a 50-performance tour of Canada and the United States...by bus. The term "Greedy Bastard Tour" is, it turns out, a reference to rock star tours. When an individual rock star first goes on tour, they're on the road with a huge crowd of support personnel and a massive, effects-heavy show. Most artists lose a lot of money on those kinds of tours. So, afterwards, they go on a tour with just themselves and a guitar, in the hopes of raking in a huge amount of money that they didn't see on the first tour. That latter tour is known as a Greedy Bastard Tour. In the case of Idle, his tour consisted of two large buses and about a dozen fellow performers, drivers and support staff. Eric's wry and acerbic observations of life on the road in a tour bus and his anecdotes about performing a two-hour live stage show night after night would have probably been enough to get me to read this book. But, as it turns out, The Greedy Bastard Diary turns out to be much more than that. Idle literally kept a running journal during every day of his tour...of whatever and wherever his thoughts carried him. This book is filled with hilarious and emotional looks back at Eric's childhood, his days with the Pythons and his life since then. I particularly enjoyed the memories Idle shares of his friendship with former Beatle George Harrison, and the effect that Harrison's death had on Eric. This wacky ex-Python proves to be a very philosophical and instrospective fellow, given half a chance. His observations on faith, friendship, sacrifice, love and creativity all make for fascinating reading. Interspersed among the more serious ruminations are frequent song lyrics from the many well-known ditties written by Idle and his co-horts over the years. These are wonderful reminders of the legacy of absurd humor that the Pythons have created over the past 30+ years. While I absolutely loved this book, I would offer a strong warning about language in The Greedy Bastard Diary. It should not be surprising that the composer of "Sit on My Face and Tell Me That You Love Me" feels no compulsion to soften his language for the reading audience, and those easily offended by casual swearing should probably reconsider reading this book. On the whole, though, anybody who considers themselves a died-in-the-wool Monty Python fan should not miss this one. I know I certainly came away with a much better picture of who Eric Idle truly is!

[ official Greedy Bastard Tour website ] | [ official Greedy Bastard Diary website ] | [ official Monty Python website ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book over  Good Morning, Captain: Fifty Wonderful Years With TV's Captain Kangaroo, Bob Keeshan
by Bob Keeshan [791.452 qKee]

Not only will Bob Keeshan be remembered for his entertaining roles on shows such as Howdy Doody and Captain Kangaroo, but also for his role as an advocate for children. In his own words, "our future depends on how well we as a society successfully nurture all children." This book is a delightful look behind the scenes of one of the longest-running programs in children's television history. It is also a look at the life and philosophy of a man who truly dedicated his life to the enrichment of the lives of children everywhere.

[ official Bob Keeshan page on the Internet Movie Database ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Kim J.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book over  Hope, Human and Wild
by Bill McKibben [363.7 McK]

Intriguing stories of successes that never make the newspapers, but which offer ideas of how we can live sustainably, in harmony with nature.

[ Bill McKibben page on Wikipedia ]

Recommended by Bob B.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book over  When the Emperor Was Divine
by Julia Otsuka

The author I'm currently excited about is Julie Otsuka. I believe she has only written one book, When the Emperor Was Divine. She is an amazing writer! This is the story of a Japanese-American family living in California during World War II. The father gets sent to some sort of prison for reasons unknown and the rest of the family has to spend three years living in a relocation camp. It's kind of a quiet, haunting story, told from the viewpoints of the mother, and the daughter and son, who are young children. It's a rather confusing time for them-they don't know when they will see their father again, they wonder about the life they left behind for three years, they see things at the camp they don't quite understand, they don't know when they will be allowed to return home and they wonder what life will be like when that happens. I recommend it because it's a book anyone can read-it's short, succinct, well written, very human and readable. But it's also one of those books that makes you think. It's powerful.

[ official When the Emperor Was Divine page on publisher's website ]

Recommended by Andrea S.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


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book over  Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life
by Charles M. Schulz [808.7 qSch]

A charming book for anyone who loves Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip or is interested in the craft of writing, this contains a number of short essays by famous authors such as Dominick Dunne, Sue Grafton, and Clive Cussler, which are designed to give advice and encouragement to our favorite "Dark and Stormy Night" beagle (and other aspiring authors) as we revisit many of his literary adventures from the daily strips. A fun read, full of insights and tips on the writing process.

[ one of the official Peanuts websites ] | [ official Charles M. Schulz museum website ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


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book over  This review is from the staff of the Polley Music LibraryLaurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary Neighborhood
by Michael Walker [Music 781.66 Wal]

If you are old enough to remember the 60's, this book will bring back fond memories. If you weren't around then, you might want to read an account of what all the fuss was about. The music that defined an era emerged from an unassuming and impromptu collection of artists colonizing Laurel Canyon deep in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Their songs conquered the world and continue to pour from radios, iPods, and concert stages around the world more than thirty years later. This is a fascinating and sobering history of the rise and fall of a major sub-culture.

[ www.laurelcanyonthebook.com ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Linda H.
Polley Music Library -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book over  Outbound Flight
by Timothy Zahn

Outbound Flight reflects Zahn's best effort to date in his contributions to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Unfortunately, Zahn remains preoccupied with the whole galaxy "loving" his most famous character, Thrawn. And his characterizations of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker seem a bit off. That being said, I did like how he tied in characters and events from other books (mostly his own), but still made it so the book could be enjoyed as a stand-alone read. His best work is with the ambitious Jedi Master, Jorus C'baoth. All in all, this book is a great read for all Star Wars fans.

[ official Star Wars Expanded Universe website ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 7
Recommended by Corey G.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book over  This review is for the DVD format of this itemThe Pallisers [Video Adaptation]
by Anthony Trollope [Video Trollope]

Trollope takes on Parliament with this irreverent look at politics and society in Britain. Scandal, intrigue and the quest for power make this series seem like a British version of our "Dallas" television show. This VHS adaptation is available in three sets: Set One | Set Two.
[Also available in several different print editions.]

[ Pallisers page on the Internet Movie Database ] | [ Anthony Trollope page on Wikipedia ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Kim J.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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last updated July 2007
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