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

September 2008 Recommendations

book cover  King Con
by Stephen J. Cannell

Television's super-producer (he created, wrote for or executive-produced over 30 different series, including The Rockford Files, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Greatest American Hero, Wiseguy, Profit, Stingray and Silk Stalkings) has become a full-time novelist, with fourteen novels to his credit. King Con was one of his earliest, and is still one of my favorites. Cannell was well known for his snappy dialog and quirky characters on TV, and King Con seems to capture that writing style more effectively than any of his other novels to date. Con man extraordinaire Beano Bates teams up with an agressive female New Jersey Assistant Attorney General to run a series of small cons, leading up to a "big con" against the notorious Jersey gangster who nearly killed him. John Travolta was rumored to be in the running as Bates in a possible movie version of this story, scripted by Cannell, which never came to be. So, in the meantime, enjoy this fast-paced thriller, filled with extremely quirky characters and powered by snappy dialog.

[ official Stephen J. Cannell web site - focusing on both his books and TV series ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Self Reliance, and Other Essays
by Ralph Waldo Emerson [814 Eme]

One of the great classics of American thought and philosophy -- a must-read for those wishing to experience true American voices.

[ Full text of Emerson's "Self Reliance" essay ] | [ Ralph Waldo Emerson entry on Wikipedia ] | [ Emersoncentral.com ]

Recommended by Bob B.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Read It and Eat
by Sarah Gardner [028.9 Gar]

Sarah Gardner's newsletter, The Literary Gathering, is the inspiration for this book about two of her passions -- reading and food. The book is designed as a guide for book groups. Gardner offers a selection of fiction and non-fiction of books with lists of discussion questions and menus with recipes. For example, Gone with the Wind inspired the brunch menu of Eggs O'Hara, Georgia Peach Bread and Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Ham. Other menus are based on foods mentioned in the books. Such is the case with the menu for To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout frequently mentions Lane Cake and Gardner includes a recipe for this luscious dessert. Don't belong to a book group? Pick up this book anyway. I found it to be a wonderful walk down memory lane of old favorites and a good introduction to new books.

[ publisher's page for Read It and Eat ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


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book cover  Neuromancer
by William Gibson

Spectacular and inventive science fiction -- one of the modern classics. Gibson is often credited with creating the framework for the genre tropes associated with Cyberspace and Cyberpunk as a literary form. In Neuromancer, we have the prototypical cyberpunk elements -- a young, counter-culture protagonist, who makes use of cutting edge technology...in this case a worldwide computer network that can be biologically "jacked into", to fight against a larger organization. Gibson's edgy imagery and terminology may sound commonplace to a present-day reader, but Neuromancer was extremely prescient at the time it first came out. It's a Hugo , Nebula and Philip K. Dick award winner -- and justifiably so. Neuromancer is an absolute classic and shouldn't be missed by any science fiction or speculative fiction fan.
[Also available in unabridged audiotape format.]

[ official Neuromancer page on the official William Gibson web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Chuck Amuck and Chuck Reducks
by Chuck Jones [741.524 Jon]

Chuck Amuck (and a follow-up volume Chuck Reducks) is the lighthearted but extremely informative autobiography of legendary cartoon animator Chuck Jones. Jam-packed with copious illustrations, Chuck Amuck delves into Jones' early animation career and culminates in the many years he spent working in the animation department at Warner Brothers, helping to create dozens of characters and writing and directing hundreds of classic cartoon characters -- like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, and so many more. Jones has a playful sense of humor, and makes this read as if you were sitting down with an old friend sharing a series of humorous anecdotes. A must-read for classic animation fans, or anyone who grew up watching the classic Warner Brothers cartoons! I will have to admit, though, that I found the first volume far more entertaining than the second.

[ official Chuck Jones web site ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  Paradise
by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is risky, honest, and a brilliant writer!
[Also available in unabridged audiotape and Large Print formats.]

[ unofficial web site dedicated to Paradise ] | [ official web site of the Toni Morrison Society ]

Recommended by Andrea S.
formerly of the Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


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book cover  This review is for a Magazine or JournalMystery Scene Magazine

Mystery Scene Magazine magazine is a bi-monthly publication that should be right up the alley of any mystery fiction fans. This slick-covered periodical features regular interviews with famed and up-and-coming authors, fascinating looks at subgenres and quirky mystery-related topics, and excellent reviews of new and classic works in the mystery field. The first few pages of every issue also feature "breaking news" and announcements about recent award winners (or nominees) in the mystery fiction field. For readers lamenting the loss of the classic Armchair Detective magazine several years ago, Mystery Scene Magazine should give you a fix nearly worthy of that literary giant. [Note: Currently available only at the Gere Branch library.]

[ official Mystery Scene magazine web site ]

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


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book cover  Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss

Name of the Wind is a book for those that love being lost in descriptive worlds of nuance and good storytelling. The book is part coming-of-age story, part autobiography, and part myth. The story is about Kvothe, a larger-than-life figure known to be a powerful magician, bard, genius, and legend. He is also thought to be dead. But, one day a man named Chronicler discovers his whereabouts and begs for him to tell his story. Told in voices reflective of the different periods of his life the reader is drawn into all Kvothe has to offer. Those that enjoy richly drawn worlds with a touch of magic will love the easy-to-read storytelling style of Rothfuss.

[ official Patrick Rothfuss and The Name of the Wind web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Sean S.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  The Prodigal Nun
by Aimee and David Thurlo

This book takes us back to the Our Lady of Hope Monastery near Bernalillo, New Mexico where Sister Agatha is on the trail of another murderer. One Sunday, just before mass was scheduled to begin in the chapel, one of the parishioners was shot and killed. Jane Sanchez was a vitriolic woman but she did not deserve to be gunned in the monastery parking lot. Sister Agatha hops on the monastery's Harley and Pax, the retired police dog that the nuns adopted, jumps into the sidecar to protect her as she drives around Bernalillo to look for clues to Jane's murder.

[ official Aimee and David Thurlo web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Donna G.
Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries


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The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemDelicatessen
directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This movie has been referred to as both a twisted black comedy and post-apocalyptic horror. The 1991 French film portrays a world where food (and sometimes running water) is scarce. The local currency is comprised of various grains. And, the postman carries a gun to protect himself from muggers. The butcher/landlord who runs the Delicatessen has an agreement with his tenants whereby they don't "squeal" about where he gets the meat from which is sold in his shop and he guarantees not to make them the cut of the day. Things take an interesting turn when the butcher's daughter falls for his newest selection to stock his shelves and aligns herself with the vegetable-eaters to save him. If you like dark comedy - this movie is for you!

[ Internet Movie Database page for Delicatessen ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Jodene G.
Walt Branch Library


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dvd cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemStardust
based on a book and graphic novel by Neil Gaiman

This 2007 motion picture version of Neil Gaiman's 1999 fantasy adventure novel is a charming, humorous delight. Gaiman takes the classic fairy tale, puts some unexpected twists on it, but still leaves us with a recognizable "type" of story. For the feature film, Charlie Cox does a very capable job as the central character, Tristan, who leaves his safe rural village to complete a quest for his "one true love". In the fabulous, frightening world on the other side of the protective wall around his village, Tristan finds himself acting as acting as protector to a fallen star...sought by evil witches who wish to use the star's life to prolong their own. Filled with comical guest appearances, from such actors as Ricky Gervais, Rupert Everett and Robert DeNiro (as a gay pirate), the film's main trio is Cox, Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer (as the main villain). Production values are top notch. Pacing is rapid. And the special effects are great. If you're looking for a fun, comic fantasy film...try this one on for size!

[ official IMdB page for Stardust ] | [ Neil Gaiman web site ]

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


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last updated April 2010
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