Search The Catalog My Account

Gift Suggestions for Kids and Adults

November 23, 2009 by Reader's Connection

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year and any number of other holidays are bearing down upon us. If you’re looking for gift ideas, here are some books (and a few CDs) that might work.

Adult ListKids List
Flesh and FireFlesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
This launch of a new trilogy by the author of the Retrievers urban fantasies (Blood from Stone) achieves an extraordinary power from its elegant storytelling and unique magical philosophy. Offering one of the most original approaches to fantasy adventure; highly recommended for all fantasy fans.–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


Highest Duty: My Search For What Really MattersHighest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters by Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zazlow
In this inspirational autobiography, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the airline pilot whose emergency landing on the Hudson River earned the world’s admiration, tells his life story and talks about the essential qualities that he believes have been so vital to his success.–Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon


Forgotten Hoosiers; Profiles from Indiana's Hidden HistoryForgotten Hoosiers; Profiles from Indiana’s Hidden History by Fred Cavinder
Entertaining brief profiles of Hoosiers who were once famous and now forgotten by most people. These include poets, humorists, reporters, generals, reformers, the first coast-to-coast racer, the first movie Tarzan, and even Colonel Sanders. Cavinder is a retired Indianapolis Star reporter.

Buy from Amazon


The Violet HourThe Violet Hour by Daniel D. Judson
Judson’s latest Hamptons thriller (after The Water’s Edge and The Darkest Place) features Bridgehampton, NY, car mechanic Caleb Rakowski, who finds himself surrounded by intrigue and mayhem. In shielding a pregnant friend from her abusive husband, Carl becomes entangled in a violent domestic relationship, and at the same time he begins discovering new and disturbing things about his friend, employer and landlord Eric. Verdict Set around Halloween, this well-written and compelling noir will appeal to fans of J.A. Jance, Martha Powers, and Peter Abrahams–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


Between Me and the River : Living beyond Cancer : A MemoirBetween Me and the River : Living beyond Cancer : A Memoir by Carrie Host
Host’s slow-growing yet rare and generally lethal carcinoid tumors were treated via a lengthy surgery. She describes her ordeal as being in a boat caught up in a rushing river, constantly being tossed about and pulled under. A writer by trade, Host continues her river metaphor throughout and as such brings her trial to readers’ consciousness and recognition. With her youngest child now five, Host is still at the oar, still working vigilantly to stay afloat. A beautifully written memoir for all audiences.–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


If on a Winter’s Night by Sting
If someone on your list would enjoy a truly different holiday album, you might try this one. “Like many people,” Sting writes in his meditative album notes, “I have an ambivalent attitude towards the celebration of Christmas. For many, it is a period of intense loneliness and alienation. I specifically avoided the jolly, almost triumphalist, strain in many of the Christmas carols.” This is an album that someone might listen to on into January.

Buy from Amazon


The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health : More Than 200 New Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-rich Dishes by the Moosewood Collective
The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health : More Than 200 New Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-rich DishesLong before ecofriendly vegetarian eating became trendy, the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y., wowed diners with delicious meat-free, organic-focused fare. The 12th cookbook inspired by the restaurant, dedicated to “organic farmers and small farmers the world over, including backyard and balcony gardeners,” focuses on dishes filled with superhealthy ingredients and loaded with flavor . . . The recipes work beautifully and feel approachable and doable, and the results taste so terrific that meat and unhealthy ingredients are scarcely missed. — Publishers Weekly

Buy from Amazon


Sweet ThunderSweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood
The captivating life of the African-American champion who brought grace and style to the boxing ring in the 1940s and ’50s . . . Always enigmatic, Robinson was an absent father, had a volatile marriage, went mysteriously AWOL in World War II and wound up near-broke. Sportswriter Red Smith called him “a brooding genius, a darkly dedicated soul who walks in a lonely majesty, a prophet without honor, an artist whom nobody, but nobody, understands.” A wonderful book that deserves a wide audience. — Kirkus Reviews

Buy from Amazon


A Year of Cats and Dogs by Margaret Hawkins
A Year of Cats and DogsMaryanne lives simply with her dog, Bob, and her cat, Clement. Having quit her job at Keepsake Cottage Collectibles after her live-in boyfriend leaves her, she spends her days napping, going for walks in the dog park, cooking comfort food, throwing the I Ching, and taking on the occasional writing project for her ex-employer. As she gets deeper into her isolation, she begins to hear Bob and Clement talk; then she begins to hear other people’s pets talk as well . . . VERDICT Hawkins, a journalist and writing teacher, seamlessly weaves together many eclectic elements: soup recipes, I Ching meditations, bits of maudlin poetry, a pet’s simple request for toast, the heartache of death. You don’t have to be an animal lover to enjoy this funny and moving debut novel.–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


Robert Altman: The Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff
Robert Altman: The Oral Biography. . . Reminiscences by more than 100 family members and friends [of film director Robert Altman] as well as colleagues and stars ranging from Meryl Streep and Paul Newman to Warren Beatty and Martin Scorsese . . . After a decade making episodic TV, he scored his artistic and commercial breakthrough in 1970 with M*A*S*H. Three decades of ups and downs followed, with fallow periods inevitably broken by comeback hits, the most notable among them being The Player and Gosford Park. The freewheeling oral history format seems appropriate for tracing the life of a man known for his loose, improvisational style, although, given his signature treatment of dialogue, a more fitting approach might have been to print the quoted passages overlapping one another, with occasional words smudging one another into unintelligibility.–Booklist

Buy from Amazon


If your friends don’t expect to make it to Rio de Janeiro this winter (or any other winter), give them a vacation in their minds with the Brazilian singer Luciana Souza. Although Souza has worked in the United States for around 20 years now, her composing and singing still draw from the traditional bossa and samba rhythms, and the outstanding musicians of her home country.Her past albums have included voice and guitar duets, Brazilian Duos and Duos II, straight-ahead jazz on North and South and Pablo Neruda’s poetry set to her own musical compositions, Neruda. She received a Grammy in 2008 for her work on Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters. Recent public performances have found her singing in concert with her own trio, Paul Simon and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Souza’s latest CD, Tide includes songs co-written with her husband/producer Larry Klein. Klein’s presence results in a CD with a bit more commercial appeal than Souza’s earlier recordings, but the buoyant sounds of Brazil are ever present in the music.

Brazilian Duos

Buy from Amazon

Duos II

Buy from Amazon

North and South

Buy from Amazon

Neruda

Buy from Amazon

Tide

Buy Tide from Amazon


The American LeonardoThe American Leonardo : a Tale of Obsession, Art and Money by John Brewer
British historian Brewer’s fast-paced work details the controversy surrounding a single painting brought to America after World War I–a painting whose owners, Harry and Andrée Hahn, insisted was Leonardo da Vinci’s La belle ferronnière. Art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen claimed the painting was not an original, and a high-drama lawsuit ensued. As the authenticity of art and authorial veracity are now frequently discussed, Brewer shows that controversy and fine art have been inseparable for at least the last 100 years . . . It is a rare treat when a nonfiction work reads like a thriller or a well-designed mystery, with suspense and wit on every page.–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


I Am Not a Psychic by Richard Belzer
I Am Not a PsychicActor and comic Belzer, best known for his long-running portrayal of the acerbic detective John Munch on the TV series Homicide and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, fares much better with his second light crime novel featuring himself as the amateur sleuth. Both the plotting and the prose are sharper than in 2008’s I Am Not a Cop! and offer promise that future books may be better still. Just before Belzer leaves New York City for Las Vegas to cohost a charity telethon, Paul Venchus, with whom Belzer once worked as a reporter, calls and asks for his help cracking a conspiracy. Venchus claims the suspicious deaths of a Marilyn Monroe-like actress and her congressman lover were actually murders. After Venchus turns up dead himself, possibly from an alcohol overdose, his girlfriend comes to Vegas to implore Belzer to investigate.–Publishers WeeklyBuy from Amazon


Knowing Darkness : On Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship and GodKnowing Darkness : On Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship and God by Addison Hodges Hart
Hart tackles the darker aspects of individual existence; his book seems in part inspired by Mother Teresa’s spiritual despairs. He addresses skepticism and the scriptural tangle of cynicism and doubt that seems to underlie Ecclesiastes and Job, also adding an imaginary dialog on the benefits of spiritual friendship even in the deepest darknesses. He persuades us not to mistake faith for hope or orthodoxy but to take it as itself, lived during times of joy and desolation alike. VERDICT Recommended for the Christian or spiritual seeker comfortable with scripture study.–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


Woodrow Wison: A Biography by John Milton Cooper
Woodrow Wison: A Biography. . . a comprehensive, felicitously written biography aimed at scholars but accessible to general readers, too . . . Cooper . . . admires Wilson for his faith, learning, eloquence, and executive skill while conceding that he had to learn foreign policy on the job–yet established America as an international player. Cooper considers Wilson hard-headed, with limited goals (World War I concluded not with total victory but with an armistice to save as many lives as possible). Unlike other scholars, Cooper claims that the Virginia-born Wilson was not an “obsessed white supremacist” but that his collegial governing style allowed cabinet members to introduce segregation throughout the federal government . . . Readers are invited to wrestle with Cooper’s favorable interpretation of Wilson’s legacy and arrive at their own conclusions–Library Journal

Buy from Amazon


Devil’s dream / A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest by Madison Smartt Bell
Devil's dream / A Novel About Nathan Bedford ForrestA self-made man from a hardscrabble background, Forrest was a particularly American figure, and monuments bearing his stony image still dot the American landscape. But he was also a slave trader, a Confederate general and a founding leader of the Ku Klux Klan . . . Bell imagines Forrest’s interactions with . . . black men who follow him, including one who is his son, as well as his relationships with household slaves and the black woman who becomes his longtime mistress. In doing so, he reveals the complexity and range of interracial interaction possible in the Old South. Some will argue that Forrest hardly deserves humanizing, and that argument has merit. But Bell has chosen to exercise one of the novelist’s greatest gifts: He makes an alien world real and, in so doing, reminds us that slavery was not a spontaneous, supernatural evil, but the product of a particular cultural environment. Brave, accomplished and utterly compelling, seamed with passages of haunting, lyrical beauty.–Kirkus Reviews

Buy from Amazon

Share!

0 comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Archives