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

May 2011 Recommendations

book cover  The Lure of the Limerick: An Uninhibited History
by William S. Baring-Gould [820.08 Bar]

Baring-Gould makes a point, early in this book, that the Limerick is a literary form that appeals mainly to men, and that most anyone who is a fan of this poetical form has probably memorized at least one Limerick from their past. That is definitely the case with me -- I was first introduced to this art form in junior high school, and still remember one particular Limerick, from (of all places) an Isaac Asimov poetry collection! The Limerick is a very controversial form of poetry -- not only for the strictness of its format, but also for the frequently scatological and/or sexual nature of limericks' subject matter. Baring-Gould's volume, originally published decades ago, makes for fascinating reading. Accompanied by classical, titilating illustrations, some may find the content of this objectionable, but those wishing to take a good look at the origins and development of limericks over the course of English literature, this is a great read!

There was a young lad name of Bob
Who carried his watch on a fob
I haven't got time
To make this all rhyme
Or I'll never get back to my job!



[ Wikipedia page on William S. Baring-Gould ] | [ Wikipedia page on Limericks ]

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


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book cover  Scrappy Quilts: 29 Favorite Projects from the editors of American Patchwork and Quilting
from the editors of Better Homes and Gardens [746.46 qBet]

Every quilter has fabric scraps s/he has accumulated and is seeking projects to utilize them. Here are 29 patterns of various quilt sizes organized by color, but offers alternate color suggestions. "LIght & Bright" includes 30's reproduction fabrics and pastels. "Rich & Warm" uses gorgeous fall colors, patriotics, and even a Halloween quilt. "Modern Makeover" offers blacks and pinks, denim, geometrics and even includes a pattern called "My Guy" using plaids and browns. There are patterns for all skill-levels and tips from the pros are sprinkled throughout, as well as a short chapter on making and using templates, mitering borders, attaching appliques, cutting bias strips, and making and attaching the binding. A double-sided removable sheet is at the back that includes nine full-size template patterns. Many ideas here to help the quilter use up a stash including bar quilts, checkerboards, flying geese, circles, Chinese coins, log cabins, baskets, and many variations.


[ publisher's official Scrappy Quilts web page ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Charlotte K.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  All Over But the Shoutin'
by Rick Bragg [B B2785]

Rick Bragg wrote All Over But the Shoutin' for his mother, a woman abandoned by an alcoholic husband and left to raise three sons in the hardscrabble country of northeastern Alabama. His tribute to his mother is touching, but never too sweet: the pathos of poverty and hopelessness tempered with humor and everyday acts of kindness. Bragg's birth at a drive-in movie theater seemed to portend his eventual career as a journalist, on assignment and packed suitcase at the ready. "I am told it was a hot, damp night in late July 1959, one of those nights when the setting of the sun brings no relief. It might have been the heat, or something that she ate - an orange slush and a Giant Dill Pickle - but about the time Charlton Heston laid eyes on that golden calf and disowned the Children of Israel as idol worshippers and heathen sons of lewd women, I elected to emerge. Some births are marked by a notation in the family Bible, others are acknowledged with the hoisting of glasses. For me it all began with wandering Hebrews, flying gravel and a dangling speaker." He writes of his childhood in the backwoods of Alabama, the feel of the rich, red clay soil, the whisper of the wind through the pines in the evening and the smell of the sweat on people trying to eke out a living there. "The only thing poverty does is grind down your never endings to a point that you can work harder and stoop lower than most people are willing to. It chips away a person's dreams to the point that the hopelessness shows through and the dream accepts that hard work and borrowed houses are all this life will ever be. While my mother will stare you dead in the eye and say she never thought of herself as poor, do not believe for one second that she did not see the rest of the world, the better world, spinning around her, out of reach." Read this book because you like to read memoirs, read this book because you like characters who are hardworking and down-to-earth, or read this book because you long to read a beautifully written and fitting tribute to all the ordinary people, those people so important in each of our lives.


[ Wikipedia page for Rick Bragg ] | [ publisher's official Rick Bragg web page ]

Recommended by Evelyn D.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleThis Time Together: Laughter and Reflections
by Carol Burnett [Compact Disc Biography Burnett]

Although not her first autobiographical offering, this is a good overview of her life and career for those who love her work and those who may not know much about her. And I can't imagine anyone BUT Carol Burnett narrating her own memoirs. From the young girl who was raised primarily by her grandmother to the renowned comedienne/actress/variety performer, she is an American icon and American success story, whose luck and talent has been tempered by tragedy. Oddly, although she mentions her middle husband, Joe Hamilton, who was the father of her children and the producer of the venerated "Carol Burnett Show", she doesn't really talk about him much. All in all, it's a good and not overly long 'listen'. There is a small amount of adult language, and Carol becomes quite emotional on the chapters about the deaths of a young fan and her own daughter, Carrie.

[Also available in downloadable audio, print, downloadable E-book and Large Print formats.]

[ Wikipedia page for Carol Burnett ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleWishful Drinking
by Carrie Fisher [Compact Disc Biography Fisher]

Originally, I picked up this book on CD hoping to hear about Star Wars anecdotes, but was pleasantly surprised to hear about so much more. The book, as read by the author, includes stories about becoming a Hollywood icon at only nineteen, her struggle with drugs and alcohol, her bipolar diagnosis, memories of her mother Debbie Reynolds and growing up in a famous family, and her past marital problems. I listened to this book all the way through because she doesn't just tell us about her life but she does it in a way that keeps you laughing and intrigued throughout the entire story. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try "Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding my True Voice", or any of the fiction novels written by Carrie Fisher.]

[Also available in print format.]

[ official Carrie Fisher web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library and South Branch Library


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book cover  It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider
by Jim Henson [808.882 Hen]

I picked this up after having the chance to see a traveling Smithsonian exhibit of the history of Jim Henson and his puppetry, and read it straight through in just two sittings. This is "the world according the Jim Henson"-like -- with dozens of quotes from Henson, his co-workers, and those who were inspired by the man and his work ethic. Broken up into a variety of categories, this is inspirational but lite-weight, however if you grew up on any of Henson's creations -- the Muppets of Sesame Street, Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggie and the others of The Muppet Show, the creatures of Fraggle Rock, or the various one-shot productions (like The Dark Crystal), you'll appreciate this peek into the psyche of the man behind them all. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Jim Henson: The Works, and No Strings Attached.]


[ Entry on this book in the Muppet Wiki ] | [ official Jim Henson Co. web site ]

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


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book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceThe Ghost and the Goth
by Stacey Kade

Although I'm not the target audience for this Young Adult paranormal novel, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It has a good blend of humor, angst, mystery, and sentiment. It's not perfect by any means, and was a little slow to start, but is a good read over all. Contains a bit of PG/R language. Sequels are planned.


[ official Stacey Kade web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


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book cover  Say No to Murder
by Nancy Pickard

As a child Nancy Pickard was an avid Nancy Drew fan. She wrote in an essay, "it is surely no coincidence that my own detective, Jenny Cain, has a name that matches Nancy's syllable for syllable, and that she's slim, blond and blue-eyed too." Reading Say No to Murder was like turning back the clock to my childhood days when I eagerly devoured every Nancy Drew book that I could find. Jenny is resourceful and courageous just as Nancy was. Jenny Cain is head of the Port Frederick Civic Foundation, which funds worthy community projects such as the restoration of the town's old decrepit wharf. It will be christened Liberty Harbor and will house shops, restaurants and a museum honoring its seafaring past. Someone is sabotaging the project and Jenny is determined to find out who is responsible. Nancy Pickard has created an engaging, witty character that uses her intelligence and common sense to find the culprit. Just as Nancy Drew did. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Margaret Maron, Cleo Coyle and Ellery Adams.]

[Also available in unabridged audiotape format.]

[ The Jenny Cain series on the official Nancy Pickard web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


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book cover  Wife of the Gods
by Kwei Quartey

Kwei Quartay, a physician in Los Angeles, set his first novel in his native Ghana. Quartay contrasts the traditional healing practices involving lotions and potions with modern science. The book opens with the murder of a young AIDS prevention worker, Gladys Mensah, near the remote village of Ketanu. Gladys was medical student who traveled from village to village working on the AIDS project. She also actively campaigned against the practice of troski, which is giving a girl to the local witch doctor. She then spends her life as his slave. Inspector Darko Dawson is chosen for this assignment because he grew up in the area and speaks Ewe. Dawson is reluctant to accept the assignment. He doesn't want to leave his wife and their sick son. Ketanu also holds bad memories for him. It's the last place that his mother, Beatrice, was seen alive. Twenty-five years ago Beatrice traveled to Ketanu to visit her sister. She boarded the bus to go home and that was the last time anyone saw her. Gladys' body was found in a shady grove outside of Ketanu. By the time that Dawson arrives in the village the local police have set their sights on Samuel Boateng, an admirer of Gladys' and the town troublemaker, as the murderer. Darko isn't so sure that Boateng killed her. Gladys made enemies because of her activism. One of these enemies may have committed the crime. Darko must break through the web of secrets in this isolated area to find the real killer. Quartay fills the pages with lively, but flawed characters in this engaging novel. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Malla Nunn, Michael Stanley and Deon Meyer.]


[ official Kwei Quartay web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


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book cover  Best Easy Day Hikes: Lincoln and Omaha
by Michael Ream [917.822 Rea]

I'm a huge fan of the nature guides from Falcon Books -- I rely on their hiking guides to Rocky Mountain National Park every time I vacation in Estes Park and want to hit the trails. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this publisher recently put out a short volume focusing on hiking opportunities in the Lincoln and Omaha area. If you're looking for a quick but detailed guide to interesting places to stretch your legs here in Lincoln, you'll find more than a half-dozen suggestions here, with useful information about what sights to look out for while you're on the trail. Take it along when you head to Omaha, or any of the other nearby locations listed in this volume. The then paperback format makes it perfect for slipping in your back pocket while you're taking a stroll. Who knows, you might discover a hidden location in the city in which you live!


[ official Falcon Books web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleHow to Live Safely in the Science Fictional Universe
by Charles Yu [Compact Disc Yu]

I really wanted to like this book (which I happened to listen to in book-on-CD form). I'd read quite nice reviews of it on various online sites, and have always been a fan of time-travel stories, so I was looking forward to giving it a sample. Yu, using himself as a narrative hero, creates an interesting time paradox, but I ended up finding the the non-stop internal monologue to become a bit tiring. The style of Yu's writing ranges from the humorous satire of Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, to more serious scifi fare. The supporting characters -- Tammy the time machine's operating system, Phil -- the manager who doesn't realize he's a computer program -- and Ed, the dog who doesn't exist...but still does -- are all intriguing, and at times, I felt on the verge of buying into the whole tale. But then it gets mired in too much introspection and lost me again. I think some SF fans will enjoy this, for its component parts, so I'll recommend it for the casual genre fan.

[Also available in downloadable E-book formats.]

[ publisher's official Charles Yu web page ]

Review Score - 5
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


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last updated May 2011
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