|All Titles are in the Benson Library except where noted
2012 Books & AV Enjoyed (or Not) by the Librarian
January 2012 - 10 Books
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
First of the new series Sherlock Holmes: the Legend Begins, I kept wanting to go back read more even after it ended. Like Shakespeare's plays, Sherlock
Holmes continues to live on in a variety of revisions, reimaginings, and rewritings (such as recent BBC creation of Sherlock which writes him in the 21st
century). I am enjoying this one's take on his teenage years. How did he become the man we first officially see in A Study in Scarlet? Can hardly wait to read
Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
This was a re-read for my book group which I think I enjoyed more this time than the last. Now that I am a bit older I think I better appreciated the dynamics
and interplay of relationships between parent and child.
Blizzard of Glass: the Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker
Last year, I read Burden of Desire by Robert MacNeil, which is a fictional story that occurs during after the Halifax explosion. This brief but detailed history
follows several actual families before, during, and after the events. Fascinating read of the details of the tragedy as well as the details of life at the time. I found
it ironic that only a five years before, Halifax has learned how to deal with a massive influx of corpses when the Titanic sunk and hundreds of the recovered
bodies were brought there. Then just a few years later, they had to put their knowledge of an ad hoc morgue back into service for their own people.
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
It's 1996 and the internet is still pretty new to most people. A teenager girl sticks an AOL disk in her new computer and finds something unexpected: a website
that is 15 years in the future - Facebook. See how the knowledge of the future can affect or not affect the present. A fun read. Highly recommend!
The Hole: a novel of psychological suspense by Guy Burt
This short book is taut and just when you think you have it figured out at the end, the last few pages blow up your pat answers. Then you find yourself
needing to re-read it again with the new information in mind. Don't cheat and look at the epilogue first!
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I wanted to read this before I saw the movie which is now an Oscar-nominated film in three categories. Felt like a time traveler as I returned to the Cold War
era of spy, double-spy, and spy vs. spy.
Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson
Read for my book group, made me do a lot of thinking about my faith. I enjoyed the read but the climax at the end seemed a bit forced.
When She Woke: a novel by Hillary Jordan
A thought-provoking combination of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, reminds us that sometimes the future is
not that far away. I couldn't stay away from reading this and had to know what happened to the characters caught in a world where Big Brother & Sister
know all. Where there is no where to hide, especially when you have been "chromed" or colored appropriate to your "crime."
The Auslander by Paul Dowswell
Whenever I read about ordinary people in very non-ordinary circumstances such as in the middle of Nazi Germany, I contemplate what I would have done;
how would I behave, act? This young man who looked like the Nazi Aryan ideal could have gone either way when he arrived in WWII era Germany after
being in an orphanage in Poland. A fabulous and frightening look at the live of ordinary people doing extraordinary deeds.
The Distant Summer: a novel by Sarah Patterson
This sweet melancholy short novel set during World War II is the only published work by the author who wrote it at age 17. Only available from one
Pioneerland System library, this little jewel is worth the time it takes to interlibrary loan it.
February 2012 (9 Books & 2 DVDs)
Shadow Divers: the true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson
Read for my book group, I loved this book and could not put it down. The dangers of the deep, the historical mystery, and continual realization that this was
NOT fiction. If you enjoy a good thriller but are leery of trying non-fiction, then this might be a good book to try.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
Diesel now has his own series and this is the first (and I hope not the last). Lizzy Tucker is a gifted baker of cupcakes. She finally feels she is in a good place:
a great job, a fabulous old house, inherited from her great-aunt Ophelia. This lovely normalcy is not destined to last as Diesel, a one-eyed cat, a monkey,
unsuspected skills, and an evil man drop into her life.
Chasing the Falconers: On the Run #1 by Gordon Korman
The Fugitive Factor: On the Run #2 by Gordon Korman
Now You See Them, Now You Don't: On the Run #3 by Gordon Korman
If you like perpetual action and adventure, sympathetic heroes, surprising twists, terrorist cells, than this series is for you, no matter what your age. The
second half of the series awaits me this weekend. I'll let you know if I start breathing again when I finish.
Visions of Sugar Plums: a Stephanie Plum Holiday Novel by Janet Evanovich
I wanted to see where Diesel got his start and now I am truly hooked. Get thee to the library and discover the comic sauciness of Janet Evanovich.
The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe (DVD)
The latest Doctor Who Christmas special is worth the wait. The holiday may be packed away (well at your house maybe), but if you have lost that warm glow
from December than you need to view this right away. Or as soon as it is cataloged and put on the shelf.
Nominated for an Oscar, I wanted to watch this before the actual event. Glad I did as Christopher Plummer became the oldest actor to win an Oscar. If you
only think of Plummer as Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music, then you will be surprised and shocked by this role: a widower who comes out of the
closet at age 75 after his wife of 46 years dies. This is a subtle arty movie.
The Stowaway Solution: On the Run #4 by Gordon Korman
Public Enemies: On the Run #5 by Gordon Korman
Hunting the Hunter: On the Run #6 by Gordon Korman
The series finally concludes with continuous breathless, non-stop action as Meg & Aiden pursue the truth and justice for their parents while trying to elude the
assassin out to kill them & the FBI who are trying to capture them.
March 2012 (5 Books)
The Abduction: Kidnapped #1 by Gordon Korman
The Search: Kidnapped #2 by Gordon Korman
The Rescue: Kidnapped #3 by Gordon Korman
Spoiler Alert! I couldn't stay away. Meg is kidnapped by people thinking that a family so notorious must have lots of money. Luckily Meg & Aiden
learned a thing or two while on the run so watch out kidnappers, you don't know what you have gotten yourself into.
Thank You For Being Such a Pain: spiritual guidance for dealing with difficult people
by Mark I. Rosen
Available only from outside the system, this book is extremely helpful for learning how to deal with the people who drive you up a wall, be they family
members, co-workers, or strangers you meet.
The Traitor in the Tunnel: the Agency #3 by Y. A. Lee
Waiting for the next installment in a fabulous series to come out can be pure torture. The thrill of having it in hand is a relief, but finishing it can be so
sad, especially when it is the best of trilogy. I sure hope Ms. Lee brings Mary Quinn back in some new adventures. She is far too intriguing to be left
to linger on the shelf.
April 2012 (8 Books)
Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman
Soon to be published & not to be missed. I had the pleasure of reading a pre-pub copy of this work. If you like mystery, romance, suspense, a bit of
serial killing and historical fiction, you will find something for yourself in this book. To be published June 19, 2012.
Elegy for Eddie: a Maisie Dobbs novel by Jacqueline Winspear
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
A boy raised by ghosts in a cemetery. You have to read it just to see how this is pulled off.
The Unseen Guest: the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book #3 by Maryrose Wood
Mr Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
This weekend I finished the first installment of a mystery series by new author, Susan Elia Macneal. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, as the title hints,
takes place during the early days of World War II when England found itself fighting for its future against the Nazis. Maggie Hope is a brilliant
mathematician, raised in America, who is hired to be a secretary in the Cabinet War Rooms below 10 Downing Street. Trust me; she does not remain
an ordinary secretary for long. There’s a war on, you know.
Singing Sands by Josephine Tey
Captivated by the author's Daughter of Time, I knew I had to read this when it came across my desk.
Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James
Controversial and popular? Guess I will have to read it. Not much more racy than many other popular authors already on the shelves. If detailed
descriptions of certain activities are not your cup of tea, pass this one by. There are plenty of alternatives. If that doesn't turn you off, then get your
name on the waiting list. Just a racier version of the Twilight Series without the vampires (at least so far :-)
Voyagers of the Titanic: passengers, sailors, shipbuilders, aristocrats, and the worlds they came from by Richard Davenport-Hines
With all the publishing done around the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, it is hard to find something new, but this book does a marvelous
job of bringing ordinary and extraordinary people to life.
May 2012 (4 Books)
Titanic: Unsinkable - book 1 by Gordon Korman
Readers of these reviews have discovered my son is a big fan of Gordon Korman and he has made me one too. We both have an interest in the
Titanic so when we had a chance to listen to this story on a recent road-trip, we grabbed it! Terrific & now we want to read or listen to the rest of the
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
This book doesn't hit the streets until June 5th, but I was lucky enough to win a copy from the author! I thought I would just read a few pages to get a
feel for it, but before I knew it, I was sucked in and could not put it down. Be sure to keep an eye out for its arrival this summer.
Bellwether Revivals: a novel by Benjamin Wood
Not published until June, this is another title, I was able to get early access to read. Not as compelling as The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.,
but still a haunting gothic-type novel.
Titanic: Collision Course - book 2 by Gordon Korman
This time we both read this Korman and loved it - surprise, surprise. Time to dig out #3. Who will die & Who will survive?
June 2012 (7 Books & 2 DVDs)
Beautifully filmed story of Charles Darwin's writing of his famous work, despite his deep despondency over his daughter's death and deepening divide
with his religious wife. Some scenes with his daughter reminded me of a young Anna Paquin in The Piano.
Sherlock: Season 2 (DVD)
So how many times can someone watch Sherlock? 1, 2, 3,....the world may never know. I caught the abridged episodes on PBS in May but was
eager to see the unabridged works. Definitely worth the reviewing. Don't miss the audio commentaries. Sounds like these are as much fun to make
as they are to watch. Season 3 in 2013 seems very far away. Will definitely re-watch before those finally appear.
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Years ago, when I learned what an introvert was, I knew I was one. People might be surprised because I can act like a wild extrovert, but at heart I
am not. I need my quiet time away. I need to ponder. I need to observe. Introverts have lots of gifts to offer. Learn more if you are one or if you
want to understand this part of humanity a bit better.
Ashes to Dust: a thriller by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
I'm not usually the modern thriller type, but this one caught me with the premise, Almost 25 years ago a volcano covered a village in Iceland. Now
archaeologists are uncovering parts of the village and find a house with three bodies and one head in it. Definitely murder by man, not volcano. Lots
of twists and turns.
Titanic: S.O.S - book 3 by Gordan Korman
Of course, I know how the story ends, but how does it end for the characters we have gotten to know so well: Paddy, Alfie, Juliana, & Sophie? As in
real life, tears are shed for joy and grief, be it fiction or non-fiction. A read for all ages.
Miss Fuller: a novel by April Bernard
Margaret Fuller hung out with and was the equal of some of America's greatest 19th century literary luminaries: Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson.
Far ahead of her time in female equality, she also scared and angered these same men with her writings, thoughts, and life. Tragically killed along with
her husband and young son while returning to the United States, this book takes a fictionalized look at what Thoreau found when he went seeking her
last manuscript among the remains of the ship.
The Book of Madness & Cures: a novel by Regina O'Melveny
If you enjoy the works of Geraldine Brooks or just love a well-told medieval tale,then this is the work for you. I couldn't put this down as I did not
want to leave Gabriella on her journey to find her father who she hasn't seen for ten years. As she follows his path from Venice to Germany to
Scotland, France, Spain & finally North Africa, we learn a great deal about the Gabriella, her father, & how the middle ages viewed illnesses of the
Jane by April Lindner
A very satisfying modern re-telling of Jane Eyre. Enjoyed how the author was able to pull off some of the plot lines which are a bit trickier to update
than some other classics. Put me in the mood to pull out one of my many copies of one of my favorite books ever for a re-read.
Lifeboat: a novel by Charlotte Rogan
Starts with the narrator on trial for murder which happened on a lifeboat in the north Atlantic. She gradually reveals bit by bit of what happened to her
before and during this 21-day odyssey, and how she came to be accused of murder.
July 2012 (9 books)
The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton: a Laurence Bertram Mystery by Elizabeth Speller
A sequel to The Return of Captain John Emmett is perfect for fans of Maisie Dobbs or any British historical mysteries. Set in the early 1920's,
Bertram is back helping a friend restore a church in the countryside where a little girl disappeared over ten years before. Mysteries and intrigue among
family and friends fills this mystery. Enjoyed it more than the first one.
The Age of Miracles: a novel by Karen Thompson Walker
The world has started to slow so days and nights are gradually becoming longer and longer. As expected, this affects everything & everyone in a
myriad of ways. See how this all plays out from the viewpoint of one young woman in California. Fascinating read which as received many marvelous
reviews and is showing up on the best-seller lists.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This title has been receiving lots of praise from critics and my friends alike so I moved it to the top of my "To Read" list - now you should too. A story
of friendship, flying, espionage, and survival during World War II.
The Third Heiress: a novel by Brenda Joyce
Fun little romance with family squabbling, history, and a ghost thrown in for good measure. As a woman's fiancé dies, his last words are not her name
but another's. After she escorts his body back to his family in England, she discovers that "the woman" has been dead for almost a century.
Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith
A drastically different take on the three wiseman (or magi) and the birth of Jesus. A disturbing, though realistic look, at life at the time of the birth of
Christ through the eyes of Balthazar, one of the "Wise Men."
City of Women: a novel by David R. Gillham
Not published until August, I was able to get a sneak peak at this look at ordinary life inside Berlin during the height of World War II. The lives, loss,
betrayal, survival, nobility, and tragedy of each day. Seen through the eyes of a woman whose husband fights at the Eastern front and must live with
her ungrateful, critical mother-in-law. She discovers that during war there are choices to make in a gray world.
Darth Vader & Son by Jeffrey Brown
A hilarious comic look at what might have happened if Darth Vader had raised his son. Perfect for parents from any galaxy.
Shadow of Night: a novel by Deborah Harkins
The sequel to A Discovery of Witches was worth the wait. I tried to pace myself through it so as not to go too fast since I know it will be at least a
year before the final installment of the trilogy is released. Diana & Matthew make it safely to 1590 and meet a who's who of Elizabethan England from
Elizabeth I herself to Christopher Marlowe. (Shakespeare is mentioned quite a bit but only has a small cameo).
The Lost History of 1914: reconsidering the year the Great War began by Jack Beatty
Was World War I inevitable? Not so according to the author as he points to key events in the major actors of the country as to why the war could
easily have not begun. Many "what-if's" could have kept the Great War which led to World War II from ever happening.
August 2012 (14 books, oh my)
BossyPants by Tina Fey (audiobook)
Perfect for my recent solo car trip, Tina Fey made me laugh out loud and nod my head often in agreement. Since we are only a few years apart in age,
her childhood sounded a lot like my childhood, her youth like mine, and her mommyhood? Definitely some similarities there too. Our fame &
fortune? Well, the resemblance ends there, but I won't hold it against her :-)
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
A young girl disappears one day, the woods are searched, the boyfriend questioned, but not a trace is found. Twenty years later on Christmas Day,
this same young girl knocks on her parent's door. She doesn't look like she has aged much and claims that she was only gone for six months. Is she
telling the truth? Is she crazy? What about that man who keeps following her?
World War Z: an oral history of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
If the word "Zombie" turns you off to this book, don't let it. I'm not a Zombie fan in any way but this book was recommended to me by people I trust,
and boy, am I glad I read it. An exciting page turner as the story is told in first person by people all over the world who share their experiences as
survivors of the Zombie War. I was intrigued by how the author could give each witness his/her own unique "voice" to the narrative. Give it a try, don't
let the zombies scare you. (Available in Pioneerland)
The Sandcastle Girls: a novel by Chris Bohjalian
A complete departure from the author's author books, this historical fiction novel brings a genocide often forgotten by history to its rightful place in the
history of awful things done to human beings in the name of religion and politics. I was familiar with the Armenia genocide of 1915+ but this provided
an even more human face to the tragedy that befell millions of innocents at the hands of the Turkish government during World War I. The irony was
not lost on me of the Germans, Turkey's allies, who were disgusted by the genocide around them and did what they could to help at least some and
bring word to the outside along with the Americans. History does indeed repeat itself.
Gone Girl: a novel by Gillian Flynn
Like Code Name Verity that I read earlier this summer, Gone Girl is one of those books I've been told by my friends, "You must read it!" It appears,
others have heard the same orders as the holds are growing on this title, and I had to wait a while for it to arrive. However, yes it was worth the wait
with all its twists and turns. Starts simply, a woman disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary. That is the last simple action in the book. This title
will definitely keep you guessing.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy: a novel by Margot Livesey
Here is another modern re-telling of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Between this version and the other I read earlier (see June for Jane), both books,
if combined, would be a great update. Each by itself, is satisfying but lacks the full impact of the original. Again, if you've read the original, read both of
these and decide for yourself. If you haven't read the original, please do so before you even look at either of these successors.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society: a novel by Mary Ann Schaffer
Took me a while to get to it, but I am so glad I did. What a treat. The letter motif reminded me a great deal of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene
Hanff as the reader quickly becomes intrigued and enraptured by the letter writers.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (audiobook)
This radio play refreshed my memory of the book which will soon be hitting the big screen this winter with Sherlock's Martin Freeman starring in the
title role. If you are not familiar, the library can offer the book in print and audio for your pleasure.
The Manual of Aeronautics: an illustrated guide to the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld.
The perfect companion to reading Westerfeld's Steampunk trilogy.
Cuttlefish by Dave Freer
An alternative steampunk history where the icecaps have melted, London's streets have become like Venice's canals, Brittannia still rules above the
waves but the submarines below are outlaws.
Wither: the Chemical Garden Trilogy #1 by Lauren Destefano
Recommended to me by one of my patrons with whom I have similar taste in books, I just loved it. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games, you might just
enjoy this dystopian novel where everyone dies young - women at 20 and men at 25.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Based on the Academy Award winning short film of the same name, this book does not fail to delight. However, to best appreciate it, you should
watch the original from which it was created.
Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer
Fascinating, informative read which does exactly what it says in the title. Since the author is from Minnesota there is quite a bit of information about
Minnesota tribes and their perspectives on these topics. Later this fall, I will have the opportunity to hear the autor speak at a conference.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Like her Newberry winning title, When You Reach Me, there is a big twist at the end. Overall story is not quite at the level of her previous award-
winning tale, but it is still worth a read.
The Dog Stars: a novel by Peter Heller
Another dystopian novel - 99% of the world's population has died. All that remains are small scatterings of people who will kill first so they are not
killed. Hig, a pilot now living at a Colorado airport with his dog and another survivalist, flies to see the world that was around him, but one day he
hears a transmission. Is it enough for him to leave what little security he knows?
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lillian Jackson Braun
The first book in Braun's lengthy Cat Who career introduces the world to Qwill, the journalist, & Koko, the amazing Siamese. Meet them before they
are partners & before Qwill's move to the north. I look forward to making my way through the series in chronological order. Stay tuned.
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
If I'm going to start one mystery series at the beginning, I might as well start two. My love of the BBC's Sherlock series has returned me to the
original stories. It has been a while since I last dipped into these tales of Sherlock & Watson, but Series 3 is at least a year away so I might as well
reacquaint myself with these classics. Please feel free to join me.
No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
This novel which is rich with magical realism will not be for most people, but if you enjoy reading a book that floats dream-like around reality rather
than grounded firmly in it, this book is for you. Taking place in an eastern European village that re-births itself to take it out of the old world which is at
war and has become far too ugly.
On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave by Candace Fleming
If you like sweet little hauntings and ghost stories, this one is for you. With Halloween right around the corner, this is a tidly little book to dip into on a
dark cold windy evening.