Reading List: The Many Styles of BUNRAKU

A mysterious drifter and an ardent Japanese warrior both arrive in a town terrorized by criminals. Guided by The Bartender at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two join forces to bring down the corrupt reign of Nicola and his lady Alexandra. Remember Ethan Chandler (from this post on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful)? Well. Josh Hartnett plays…

The Great Pearl Heist ~ Molly Caldwell Crosby

On the eve of World War I a string of pink pearls worth a small fortune disappears somewhere between Paris and London. Molly Caldwell Crosby’s The Great Pearl Heist is the story of those pearls, the men and women who stole them and the Scotland Yard detectives tasked to get them back. I was attracted…

The Quest ~ Daniel Yergin

An exhaustive explanation of the history of consumable energy in the industrialized world, from animal oils to petrochemicals to nuclear power to renewables (solar, wind etc.). Daniel Yergin somehow manages to cram an improbable amount of information into a considerable amount of pages (804 in all!). “The Quest” delivers an illuminating (and, often, surprisingly entertaining)…

BookPage Interviews Alice Ozma

Alice Ozma is the author of The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared. Publisher’s Summary: “When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On the hundreth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon…

Excerpt from Simon Pegg's NERD DO WELL

Publisher’s Summary: “The unique life story of one of the most talented and inventive comedians, star of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek. Zombies in North London, death cults in the West Country, the engineering deck of the Enterprise: actor, comedian, writer and self-proclaimed supergeek Simon Pegg has been ploughing some bizarre…

(Sort of a) Book Trailer: "Experience Paris with David McCullough"

Publisher’s Summary: “The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked…

Biography Booklist: Remembering Elizabeth Taylor (1932 – 2011)

“Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, a two-time Oscar winner and Hollywood beauty whose screen success was sometimes overshadowed by her tumultuous personal life, died on Wednesday at age 79.” [via Los Angeles Times] The library owns several biographies on Elizabeth Taylor, including: (linked to the catalog) Elizabeth by J. Randy Taraborrelli “A portrait of Oscar award-winning…

Small Furry Book Trailer

Here’s a book trailer for all you dog lovers out there: Steven Kotler was forty years old and facing an existential crisis—which made him not too different from just about every other middle-aged guy in Los Angeles. Then he met Joy, a woman devoted to the cause of canine rescue. “Love me, love my dogs,”…

Film Trailer: My Dog Tulip

J.R. Ackerly’s Memoir My Dog Tulip has just been re-released in anticipation of the new animated film based on the book. The distinguished British man of letters, Ackerley hardly thought of himself as a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came to adopt Tulip – a beautiful, yet intolerable 18-month-old German shepherd. To…

Look Inside the ‘Furious Love’ of Burton and Taylor

HarperCollins, the publisher of an upcoming biography that focuses on the love story that played out between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, has a neat feature that allows you to look inside the book, sample the writing, the story. They’re offering up that look inside for Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage…

The Wayback Machine – Sports Edition

When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullen For Boston sports fans growing up in the 1980s, nothing was bigger than the Celtics vs. the Lakers.  The nearly two decades that have passed since the retirement of their franchise players has left this Generation X-er sorely missing Larry…

Late Night Autobiography

We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Show-biz Saga by Paul Shaffer As a longtime Late Night/Late Show with David Letterman fan, Paul Shaffer’s memoir was a must-read for me.  And while he shares plenty of great behind-the-scenes stories about this now 28-year stint in late night television, Shaffer offers a…

Lost City of Z ~ David Grann

David Grann is a reporter for the New Yorker Magazine who likes to write about people who are obsessed with one thing or another, so writing about Percy Fawcett’s obsession with the Amazon rainforest and a lost civilization in that region was a perfect assignment for him. Grann gives the reader a wonderful look at…

On Moving: A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again by Louise De Salvo

If you haven’t yet discovered the talented and passionate writer Louise Desalvo, On Moving is a wonderful opportunity to begin to glimpse this unapologetic feminist and highly accomplished scholar’s inner life and to share her fascinating musings and insights into the lives of writers you may also have read and loved .  Marilyn Demario writes:…

That Summer in Sicily ~ Marlene DeBlasi

“At villa Donnafugata, long ago is never very far away,” writes bestselling author Marlena de Blasi of the magnificent if somewhat ruined castle in the mountains of Sicily that she stumbles upon one summer while traveling with her husband. There de Blasi is befriended by Tosca, the patroness of the villa, who shares her own…

The Photographer ~ Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, Frederic LeMercier

The late French photographer, Didier Lefevre, covered a Doctors Without Borders mission through war-torn Afghanistan in 1986. His good friend, Emmanuel Guibert turned his fascinating story into a stellar graphic novel. The team of doctors, nurses and mujahaddin traveled from Peshawar, Pakistan to their makeshift hospital in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan. The journey itself…

Patron Recommendation

More than a century ago, a school was constructed in Fort Worth, Texas, for the purpose of housing and educating the orphans of Texas Freemasons. It was a humble project that for years existed quietly on a hillside east of town. Life at the Masonic Home was about to change, though, with the arrival of…

The Necklace – Cheryl Jarvis

The true story of thirteen women who took a risk on an expensive diamond necklace and, in the process, changed not only themselves but a community. Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why…

Good-bye to a friend.

One of our good friends passed on recently.  He was a loyal library patron and an avid reader of non-fiction. True crime was his favorite, but he enjoyed any book that taught him something new.  He submitted many written reviews of the books he read.  Here are few excerpts.  We’ll miss you RA! The Poet…

The Longest Trip Home : a Memoir by John Grogan

John Grogan, the author of the very popular book Marley & Me, has written a biography centered around his dying father.  The utmost homage is paid to his dad while he regales his audience with flashbacks from his own life.  He and his siblings were subjected to a strict Catholic upbringing. Several chapters of the…

Fun Home ~ Alison Bechdel

In this groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of…

Apples Are From Kazakhstan ~ Christopher Robbins

Closed to foreigners under Romanov and Soviet rule, Kazakhstan has remained largely hidden from the world – a remarkable feat for a country the size of Western Europe. Few would guess that Kazakhstan – a blank in Westerner’s collective geography – turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern, the country that gave the…

Two True Thieves

One of our avid senior readers had this to say about the stories of two master criminals: Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale, Jr. Don’t let the fact that you’ve seen the movie stop you from reading this fast-moving and fascinating story. It’s a much more comprehensive and exciting account of Frank Abagnale’s…

The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here by Felicia C. Sullivan

You’re the writer, but remember, I’m your author”. These words, spoken by the author’s mother, reveal the truth behind this memoir. Despite growing up in the shadow of a controlling, substance-abusing mother, Felicia manages to get into Fordham University, become a creative writer and secure a position at an up-and-coming dot.com company. Though she is…

Richistan ~ Robert Frank

The Richistanis like to consider themselves ordinary people who just happen to have tons of money, but they live in a world where people buy boats just to carry their cars and helicopters behind their primary yachts, and ordering an alligator-skin toilet seat won’t make even your interior designer blink. But Frank doesn’t just focus…

Twelve Little Cakes ~ Dominika Dery

Long before she was born, Dominika first appeared to her mother in a dream, so when she came to be, she was welcomed with eager expectation and much love. Though her arrival was auspicious, as the child of recognized dissidents associated with the failed Prague Spring uprising, Dominika’s life would be far from charmed. Her…

The Sea Captain’s Wife by Martha Hodes

If you enjoy history, and can snag a copy of this popular read, do so immediately! Award winning historian Hodes does a masterful job of recreating the life of a woman, Eunice Stone Connolly, in the 19th century through her letters to her family before during and after the American Civil War. Connolly was rendered…

On Reading – Andre Kertesz

Photographs that catch people in the act of everyday activities are among my favorites. Kertesz photographs people from all over the world and all walks of life reading books and newspapers. Some of the photos are great because they capture the way a book can possess and transport a reader while others tell stories about…

A Baker’s Odyssey – Greg Patent

A Baker’s Odyssey is a rich collection of recipes and culinary history, all gleaned from Patent’s exhaustive research in the American home kitchens of immigrants from around the world. Through his travels across the country, Patent learned the secrets to traditional baked goods originating from thirty-two different nations. From Scotland and Austria to India and Thailand…

Children of the 80s

Here’s a post from our resident pop-culture maven: Don’t You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes “The angst-ridden films of John Hughes remain vital viewing to a generation of writers old enough to have seen The Breakfast Club in theaters, and this collection of musings from 20 such contributors” is…

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver

My kids find it hard to believe, but when I was a child I’d never heard of zucchini….our lives changed forever the day [my father] brought home zucchinis. ‘It’s Italian food,’ he explained. We weren’t sure how to pronounce it. And while the artichokes had brought us to tears and throat lozenges, we liked these…

Shaggy Muses ~ Maureen Adams

“In Shaggy Muses, we visit Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Flush, the golden Cocker Spaniel who danced the poet away from death, back to life and human love. We roam the wild Yorkshire moors with Emily Brontë, whose fierce Mastiff mix, Keeper, provided a safe and loving outlet for the writer’s equally fierce spirit. We enter…

Never give up ~ Tedy Bruschi

I’m not a football fan, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. Most everyone was inspired by Tedy Bruschi’s amazing comeback from a stroke to play football again. This biography, co-authored with Michael Holley details the severity of the Patriots player’s attack precipitated by an undetected heart condition. His perseverance and courage in the…

Chasing the Rising Sun ~ Ted Anthony

Raise your hand if you thought that The Animals were the only ones to record “House of the Rising Sun”? Even if you knew better, you just might be surprised to find out how rich the history of this song truly is. Anthony traces its origin as far back as he can, managing to sweep…

Books About Books or Lists, Lists, Lists

I love to read book lists, best of lists or who’s reading what lists, so I was intrigued when I saw the following two books: The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them edited by Roxanne Coady and Joy Johannessen is what the subtitle says a…

Fatal forecast ~ Mike Tougias

This author of Ten Hours Until Dawn has written another compelling account of a disaster at sea.  Two small fishing boats set out to Georges Bank in November 1980 on what marine forecasts lead them to believe is  typical fall weather for that day. Due to a malfunctioning weather buoy, both vessels encounter a storm…

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop – Lewis Buzbee

This fun little book is a memoir about working in bookstores and a history of bookselling. Even though he has worked in the industry for years, Buzbee still loves walking into a bookstore. His passion for books is infectious and unprententious. He spends a fare amount of time talking about the birth of “booklust.” Here’s…

Walking on Eggshells by Jane Isay

Walking on Eggshells by Jane Isay is a must read for any parent who has ever had trouble relating to their older offspring and their significant others. Some topics : how to deal with an empty nest, how to get along with your daughter/son-in law, how to be a good grandparent. She includes stories from…

Big Papi

I already had extreme respect for this baseball player. Reading his biography only increased this respect. He gives credit to his family, especially his dad, who taught him to overcome disappointments by working harder. He is a genuine nice guy who still can’t believe his success.

No More Words – Reeve Lindbergh

For those of you who like biographies, here’s a review from Julie: Lately I’ve been reading some of Reeve Lindbergh’s books. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was (is? how would you put it when the writer is dead (thus was), but you’re still enjoying her books (thus is)? anyway…) one of my favorite writers. I read her…

From the Desk of jmcg

jmcg is a staff member who, with insistent prompting from ta and inkonvellum, will hopefully be providing more recommendations for Read This! She may even be tempted to write a profile! But for now, this is what she’s got for you… Television Without Pity: 752 Things We Love to Hate (and Hate to Love) About…

Notebooks by Tennessee Williams

Margaret Bradham Thornton has edited and annotated Tennessee Williams “notebooks.” The compilation has received rave reviews: From Booklist: “The greatest American playwright? Regardless of one’s personal thoughts on his ultimate ranking, Tennessee Williams was inarguably great. For the first time, and for dedicated aficionados of his work, his complete journals are now being published. Kept…

Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland

Okay, so this isn’t your cozy up to the fireplace with a nice cup of tea reading, but it was a very interesting book. Sunderland bases her research on scientific studies and brain scans. She explores how parenting choices can effect a child’s brain development. Most new parents look at their babies and wonder, “what…

Riding with Rilke

Let me start by saying I don’t like motorcycles. I really don’t like motorcycles. That being said, I enjoyed this book by Ted Bishop about motorcycles and books. Bishop road from Alberta to Austin for a sabbatical project about Virginia Woolf. So the book is about motorcycles and motorcycle culture, a little bit about Virginia…