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

May 2007 Recommendations

book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceI'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
by Ally Carter

This Young Adult book has everything you could ask for: humor, suspense, mystery, romance and action. On the outside, The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women appears to be the run of the mill boarding school for rich, snobbish teenage girls. However, this school teaches its genius young women advanced martial arts in gym class, fourteen foreign languages and gives out extra credit for breaking CIA codes. Cammie Morgan, daughter of two former CIA operatives, is in her sophomore year of 'spy school'. After her father disappeared during a mission, her mother retired and is now the headmistress of The Gallagher Academy. Despite all of the training the girls receive at the school, nothing has prepared Cammie for falling in love with a 'normal' boy; she meets during a class surveillance training mission. The real question becomes, is he a 'normal' boy who is genuinely interested in Cammie or 'honey pot', a spy sent to gather information about The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Cammie and her school mates resort to breaking into the boy's house and computer, sifting through his garbage, reading the family members' email and staking out the house in an attempt to determine if he is a 'normal boy' who is truly interested in Cammie or a rival spy. If he is interested in Cammie, how is she supposed to date him like a 'normal girl' all the while learning seven different ways to kill a man (three that involve a piece of spaghetti)?

[ Young Adult Fiction page on the author's official web site ] | [ Ally Carter's myspace page ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Jessica H.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)
by Ross W. Duffin [Music 784.192 Duf]

Students of music history are generally taught that J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier was composed to make use of the equal-temperament system that was, in the early 18th century, quickly becoming the dominant system of tuning musical instruments. Ross Duffin, a professor of early music at Case Western Reserve University, gives this the “everything you know is wrong” treatment. He presents a startling array of historical evidence to show that meantone temperaments, in several different varieties, actually predominated until the second half of the 19th century, and it was one of these systems that Bach was actually using. While equal temperament (or “ET,” as Duffin distractingly insists on calling it throughout the book) was known as a theoretical system throughout this period, it was almost universally disparaged by leading composers and musicians, and in fact no reliable system for tuning keyboard instruments in equal temperament was developed until 1917. This is, admittedly, not a book for everyone; at least some college-level study of music theory and history is probably necessary to follow Duffin's arguments. But the writing is entertaining and the book is thought-provoking for those with an interest in the subject. The book's greatest weakness is that it does not include a CD of musical examples in the various tuning systems to support the claims Duffin is making. Without such support, we are forced to take his word for it (and that of his formidable historical sources), so that while Duffin convinces on historical grounds, he ultimately fails to prove his argument that meantone systems are superior to equal temperament for most music performance.

[ official Ross Duffin page at the Case Western web site ]

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


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book cover  Darth Bane: Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic
by Drew Karpyshyn

Good book by one of the creative folks behind the award-winning game "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" This is the first novel format book set in the Star Wars Old Republic era, roughly 1000 years before A New Hope. The story centers around the man who would become Darth Bane. Also explained is how and why Bane decided there should only ever be 2 Sith at any one time. It's a very fun read and a good stand-alone title for anyone curious about Star Wars, but not having much knowledge of the Star Wars genre. It's also a great read for folks familiar with the Star Wars Expanded Universe. fans of the Knights of the Old Republic game will especially enjoy this one.

[ Echostation.com - unofficial Star Wars novel site ] | [ official Del Rey Star Wars fiction web site ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 9
Recommended by Corey G.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceSold
by Patricia McCormick

Author Patricia McCormick spent time in both Nepal and India researching lives of hill girls sold into the Red Light District life of Calcutta. Lakshmi is 13 years old, very poor, but happy. When her stepfather says she is going to the city to earn money she proudly agrees and tells her mother she will work hard for her new mistress. She quickly learns how hard life in the city is. She finds joy in the simple kindnesses shown to her such as the new pencil given her by a roommate's son. Lakshmi's story is told in short vignettes making a difficult subject accessible. A teen novel also good for adults.

[ official Sold page on the official Patty McCormick web site ]


Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  All the President's Pastries: 25 Years in the White House: A Memoir
by Roland Mesnier [641.013 Mes]

This is the fascinating memoir of Roland Mesnier, who leaves his family's house at the age of 14 to pursue his career as a pastry chief. 21 years later, and many fine hotel and restaurants in between, he is appointed Executive Pastry Chief at the White House. He continued in this position, cooking for five presidents, and preparing lavish desserts for countless dignitaries and leaders of the world for twenty-five years. Roland Mesiner describes a side of the White House that is seldom the subject of headline news. He tells an interesting story of the inner day to day workings of the White House Staff, as well as that of the presidents and their families. There are some of his recipes included in the back of the book. More than just an accounting of the presidential likes and dislikes, this is a detailed story of what it is like to become a great pastry chief and to work in one of the most prestigious places in the world.


Review Score - 10
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  His Majesty's Dragon
by Naomi Novik

This book was recommended to me by a co-worker who knows that I enjoy the books in the Horatio Hornblower series. Naomi Novik's writing blends the best of C.S. Forester's works with the stories of Anne McCaffrey. For anyone interested in both historical fiction and fantasy novels, this book has much to offer. There are currently three books in the Temeraire series with the possibility of more titles in the near future.

[ official fan-created Wiki for the world of Temeraire ] | [ official Naomi Novik web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Kim J.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


Review Score - 9
Rated by -- Scott C.
staff at the Bennett Martin Public LIbrary


Review Score - 9
Rated by -- Julie H..
staff at the Walt Branch LIbrary

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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audience500 Great Books for Teens
by Anita Silvey [028.535 Sil]

Parents if you need to pick out a book for your teenage son or daughter but are not sure what to bring home, then this is the book for you. 500 Great Books for Teens, is just what the cover says. Filled with 500 engaging essays about books that teens would enjoy reading, the author provides a well organized resource in which to find what you're looking for by dividing her essays into 21 sections, including survival, romance, fantasy, history, politics and many others. Age levels and awards are provided for each book, which helps anyone narrow down the selections. The essays are very informative and would be a great way for parents to keep in touch with what their teens are reading. Reluctant teen readers can browse through the short essays and get a good idea of which type of book might interest them. Teachers, Librarians and Booksellers will also benefit from this book's wealth of information. Most of the titles included in this book are new, but the author does provide some classics in each category. Be sure and read "Beyond the 500: Additional Titles of Interest" towards the back of the book. Here Anita Silvey provides 36 pages of booklists that include titles by time periods, geographical locations and those on audio. 500 Great Books for Teens is an invaluable resource for anyone that is connected to teen reading.

[ official web site for the book and the author ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Patty L.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Pudd'nhead Wilson
by Mark Twain

Set in a small Missouri town patterned after Hannibal, Twain's home town, this little book (100 pages) mixes switched identities, a murder trial, and attacks on the injustices and brutalities of slavery. Twain's characteristic biting humor is evident throughout, a bit blacker here than in some other works. Well worth your time!
[Also available in 1983 tv-movie adaptation, unabridged audiotape formats.]


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


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book cover  Allegiance
by Timothy Zahn

I almost couldn't believe it. A Timothy Zahn book without Thrawn in any way, shape or form? And a good one too? It's true. Set during the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Zahn ties together several storylines involving familiar characters (Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia), newcomers such as the Hand of Judgement and his own characters (Mara Jade). As usual, Zahn's best writing comes with his own characters. He struggles a bit with characters not of his creation in this book, especially Vader. Still, it's a fun book and a good stand-alone title.

[ Echostation.com - unofficial Star Wars novel site ] | [ official Del Rey Star Wars fiction web site ]

related lists See more books like this on our Star Wars booklist
Review Score - 10
Recommended by Corey G.
Reference Department -- Bennett Martin Public Library


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemMurder Rooms; or The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes
by David Pirie, and others

It is well known that the work of 19th-century forensic scientist Dr. Joseph Bell was an inspiration for the famed Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This six-hour short-run series teams the young Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards, Mansfield Park) and Bell (the late Ian Richardson, House of Cards trilogy) as they work together to solve some of the most baffling murder cases in Victorian Scotland. What caused the death of a woman whose body shows no signs of injury? Who killed Samuel the fiddler—and why? Though very dark in tone, this excellent produced mini-series is very much in the Holmesian mode! Shown in the USA on the PBS series Mystery!

[ Internet Movie Database page for Murder Rooms ] | [ semi-official Murder Rooms web site ]

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


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last updated July 2007
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