Archive for September, 2009

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

This unusual novel tells the story of Alice Howland, a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard. She is a respected expert in linguistics, writes papers, attends conferences & gives lectures. She is a brilliant woman, until at the age of 50 she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. This story is unusual in that it is written from Alice’s point of view as she faces the fear of losing her identity. Whether or not you have dealt with Alzheimer’s or dementia in your own family or among friends, this is a wonderful book to read. Genova has a real feel for the trials that Alice must face and portrays her in a very compassionate manner. It is a sad but not depressing book that gives the reader insight into this condition from the point of view of the afflicted rather than the caregiver. Due to the fact that Alice is the narrator, the book can only go as far as it is believable that she can still narrate, and she never reaches a point of being violent or abusive as some do. In a way this softens the ending, which is filled with love that Alice can feel even if she can no longer name it.

Genova is a columnist for the National Alzheimer’s Association & holds a PH.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University. She obviously has studied Alzheimer’s disease well, and has spent time with both those who have it and those who care for them. She is a good advocate for greater understanding of those who get this disease.

For book groups, there is a list of questions at the end of the story, suggestions for websites to look at, and an interview with the author.

“After I read Still Alice, I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, ‘You have to get this book.’” — Beverly Beckham, The Boston Globe

Way To Wellness – Healthy Snacks

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

There is a concern throughout the Western World, and the US is no exception, about growing numbers of children who are obese. One way adults and parents can help reverse this alarming trend is to help promote a healthy relationship with food in their children. A good beginning is to provide nutritious and delicious snacks and lunch box treats.

These books are full of good and tasty ideas:

Click on the Healthy Snacks booklist on Readers Place to read more…

My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Although My Life in France was published several years ago, it bears a second look. With a major movie out, Julie & Julia, Julia Child has been called to center stage once more. In this brief biography, Child, with her grandnephew Alex Prud’homme, focuses on her years spent in her beloved second country, where it all started – France. And if you like food, you may find this to be a particularly appealing book, with lively descriptions of elaborate meals prepared, eaten, and enjoyed. Child discusses her early days in the world-famous Parisian cooking school L’Ecole du Cordon Bleu, with the hits and misses of cooking under the strict eyes of some of France’s best chefs. She also takes readers on a journey through her life in France, from restaurant to kitchen to picnic scene to dinner party, all glorious events revolving around food, drink, and joy. But the focus of the book is really the creation of Child’s seminal work Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that was years in the making. Readers may feel like enjoying a celebratory meal when her masterpiece is finally published.

D. L. S.

Way to Wellness – Keep Moving!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

My next installment in preparation for Healthy Harford’s Way To Wellness Week, September 26 to October 3 is about fitness. Keep moving!

Everyone needs to maintain his/her general fitness throughout life. The most basic thing anyone can do to maintain or improve the flexibility and strength of joints and muscles or the health of heart and lungs is to keep moving!

My Keep Moving booklist posted on Readers Place and on My Next Good Book is a list of books for adults which give lots of ideas for basic fitness for anyone, at any age, anywhere and anytime. The books include how to start exercising more, ideas for all kinds of activities or different sports that can be done at home or other places, and ideas that do not necessarily require investment in equipment or gym memberships. Simplicity and fun are the keys!

Healthy Eating for Busy Families

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

In honor of Healthy Harford’s Way to Wellness Week my first list of wellness materials in Harford County Public Library will showcase some of the many wonderful books that we have that deal with a subject very much on everyone’s mind – how to feed the family nutritiously and economically while on a busy schedule.

Try some of these titles that speak to the reality of contemporary lifestyles while fostering in our children a healthy relationship to food:

Check out Readers Place and My Next Good Book for more suggestions for nutrition as well as fitness books.

Books to Start You on the Way to Wellness Week

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Healthy Harford’s Way to Wellness Week will be Sept. 26 – Oct. 3 this year. Watch this blog and Readers Place and My Next Good Book for reading suggestions on a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and diet. Fitness will also be included: walking, running, swimming, aerobics, pilates, yoga, dance – just about anything that gets one moving!

Healthy Harford is a non profit founded in 1993 by community leaders from the Harford County Health Department, Harford County Government and Upper Chesapeake Health. Its sole vision is to make Harford County the healthiest community in Maryland.

During Way to Wellness Week there will be many activities throughout the county including a proclamation from David Craig before the 5K Celebration Run/ Walk in Havre de Grace; nutrition and fitness activities at the Bel Air Farmer’s Market; the Sheriff Office’s Youth Day, recreational soccer and football games; lessons from local fitness trainers, business group walks, bike to work day, healthy menu options at participating restaurants, Ma & Pa trail Walks, etc. The week will end at the Darlington Apple Festival with more fun and fitness festivities.

Harford County Public Library will be participating in Way to Wellness Week in several ways, including wellness displays in the library branches with materials on nutrition and fitness for at least two weeks, including the period of Sept. 26- Oct. 3.

Check at your local HCPL branch for much more information on Way to Wellness Week!

One Maryland One Book Author Tour

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

September 24, 2009 [Press releas from Maryland Humanities Council]

One Maryland One Book
James McBride Author Tour

Join Us! One Maryland One Book Author Tour 2009
James McBride, acclaimed author of the best-selling memoir, The Color of Water and the 2009 One Maryland One Book selection, Song Yet Sung, will tour Maryland this fall. Pick up a copy of Song Yet Sung from your local library or bookstore, read it as part of Maryland’s only statewide community reading program, and then come hear James McBride at one of his free appearances:

Sunday, September 27, 2009 at noon. Baltimore Book Festival, Literary Salon, Mount Vernon Square (East Park), Baltimore. Information: 410-685-0095
Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. Bridgeway Community Church, 9189 Red Branch Road, Columbia. Information: 410-730-4855
Monday, October 26, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. North Hagerstown High School, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Hagerstown. Information: 301-739-3250 ext. 186
Monday, October 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Montgomery College Rockville Campus, Theatre Arts Arena, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville. Information: 240-567-7417
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. Bowie State University, Thurgood Marshall Library, Special Collections Room, Suite 2202, 14000 Jericho Park Road, Bowie. Information: 301-860-3850
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. North Dorchester High School, 5875 Cloverdale Road, Hurlock. Information: 410-228-7331
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Student Services Center Theater, Princess Anne. Information: 410-651-7696
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Salisbury University, Guerrieri University Center, Wicomico Room, Dogwood Drive, Salisbury. Information: 410-543-6100
Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. Washington College, The Alonzo G. and Virginia Gent Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown. Information: 410-778-7899

All programs are free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

National Parks

Friday, September 25th, 2009

A 12-part PBS tv series on our National Parks begins this Sunday, September 27. Filmmaker Ken Burns has co-authored a companion volume to the series:

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea: An Illustrated History (Find this book in our catalog)

You may also be interested in these other books about the National Parks:
Spectacular Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
“Together, Yellowstone and Grand Teton contain the world’s greatest collection of geothermal features, some of the West’s most spectacular mountains, and its best wildlife-viewing areas. This large-format book captures the breathtaking experience, in words and pictures, of a visit to these national treasures.” (catalog notes)
The Big Burn : Teddy Roosevelt and the fire that saved America / Timothy Egan
The Official Guide to America’s National Parks 2009
Life, Our National Parks : celebrating America’s natural splendor
“The notion of preserving and protecting our wilderness for the greater good of present and future generations was an entirely American idea — among the country’s very best. With this book, LIFE brings home, in words and vivid photography, the 55 extraordinary locales that have been anointed national parks. Included are satellite-photo maps, plus a directory.” (Book jacket)
Mammals of the National Parks / by John H. Burde and George A. Feldhamer
The American Wilderness: the photographs of Ansel Adams with the writings of John Muir
“Quotes from noted naturalist John Muir, who started the conservation movement with the founding of the Sierra Club in 1892, are paired with Ansel Adams’s evocative photographs of Grand Canyon National Park, Kings River Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and others. These photographs were commissioned by the Interior Department as part of a mural project and intended to decorate the walls of its Washington, D.C., headquarters. 124 bandw photos.” (catalog notes)

Serial Killers

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Fans of gripping thrillers with a high creep factor should try these:

*Malice by Lisa Jackson Find this book in our catalog
“Former LAPD detective Rick Bentz has rebuilt his life with a happy marriage and new career with the New Orleans police 12 years after divorcing his unfaithful first wife, Jennifer, who subsequently died in a car crash. After “a freak accident in a lightning storm” that left his temporarily paralyzed, Rick starts seeing Jennifer’s ghost. When Rick receives an anonymous package mailed from Culver City, Calif., containing recent photos of a woman resembling Jennifer, he goes to California to investigate. In L.A., the Twenty-one killer, who strangles identical twins on their 21st birthday, resurfaces. Rick’s last unsolved L.A. case involved victims of this serial killer. Jackson heightens the creep factor by including the viewpoint of a character whose hatred for Rick for past wrongs inspires another extreme killing spree.” (catalog notes)
*All the Pretty Dead Girls by John Manning Find this book in our catalog
“A college campus is the setting for a series of depraved, ritualistic murders. If you like Dean Koontz, you’ll love John Manning.–Wendy Corsi Staub.” (catalog notes)
*Whisper in the Dark by Robert Gregory Browne Find this book in our catalog
“Detective Frank Blackburn finds a beautiful Jane Doe naked, incoherent, covered with blood–and brandishing a pair of scissors near the scene of a brutal murder. Is she the perpetrator? Or is she the only eyewitness to the handiwork of a twisted serial killer?” (catalog notes)
*The Next Killing by Rebecca Drake Find this book in our catalog
“For one hundred years, the best girls have come to St. Ursula’s Preparatory Academy to learn. To achieve. To make both memories and friends. But now, it’s where they also come to die… When the first body is found, the police call it an accidentan initiation ritual gone terribly wrong. But the students know something isn’t right at St. Ursula’s. There are sounds in the darkened corridors, a figure glimpsed between the trees, locked doors somehow opened. Someone iswatching them, judging them, hating them…killing them… A twisted psychopath is turning the quiet campus into a school of fear. No sins will go unpunished. No girl will escape justice. And everyone will have a chance to join a serial killer’s exclusive club….” (catalog notes)

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline & Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Here are two books that deal with similar subject matter but in very different ways.
In Look Again, Ellen, a reporter & single mother of an adopted 3 year old finds a card in the mail that shows a missing child identical to her adopted son, Will. She cannot get the picture out of her head & decides to investigate. She will not like what she finds & her world will be turned upside down as she uncovers activities and endures events that will wring her dry. This is an emotional, thrilling and intense read.

The child in Three Weeks to Say Goodbye is 9 month old Angelina who has been adopted by Jack & Melissa. Their world falls apart when they are told the father of the child never gave her up for adoption & he & his father (a powerful judge) want her returned in three weeks. Jack & his friends are pulled into a world of gangs, pedophiles, corruption & evil, as they try to discover why the Judge wants Angelina. And Jack has to ask himself how far he will go to protect his child & family.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Scottoline (Lady Killer) scores another bull’s-eye with this terrifying thriller about an adoptive parent’s worst fear—the threat of an undisclosed illegality overturning an adoption. The age-progressed picture of an abducted Florida boy, Timothy Braverman, on a have you seen this child? flyer looks alarmingly like Philadelphia journalist Ellen Gleeson’s three-year-old son, Will, whom she adopted after working on a feature about a pediatric cardiac care unit. Ellen, who jeopardizes her newspaper job by secretly researching the Braverman case, becomes suspicious when she discovers the lawyer who handled her adoption of Will has committed suicide. Meanwhile, Will’s supposed birth mother, Amy Martin, dies of a heroin overdose, and Amy’s old boyfriend turns out to look like the man who kidnapped Timothy. Scottoline expertly ratchets up the tension as the desperate Ellen flies to Miami to get DNA samples from Timothy’s biological parents. More shocks await her back home. Author tour. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Box (Blue Heaven) explores an adoptive parents worst nightmare in this compelling stand-alone thriller. Jack McGuane, an employee of Denvers convention and visitors bureau, and his wife suddenly discover that demonic Garrett Morland, the birth father of their dearly loved nine-month-old daughter, Angelina, didnt sign away his parental rights. Garrett and his powerful father, a sitting federal judge, give the McGuanes three weeks to return Angelina. In this bleak scenario, Box eschews facile sentimentality and meticulously builds pitch-perfect characterizations, notably that of McGuane, who grew up with uneducated but hard-working parents on a series of Montana ranches. Boxs equally convincing villains—gangsters, murderers, child pornographers—each provide a different face of evil, and each individual has to decide how best to get at the truth. As usual, Box blessedly reasserts that whatever the cost, such truth exists, and ordinary folk have the strength to find it. Author tour. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.