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Book Discussions at the Library January 2010

December 28, 2009 by Reader's Connection

Happy New Year! The 2010 book discussions begin at Brightwood Library, where Liza Mundy’s Michelle: A Biography will be discussed on Tuesday, January 5th at 6:00 p.m.

Michelle: A Biography

Using interviews with her subject’s family and friends, as well as the periodical record, Washington Post reporter Mundy (Everything Conceivable) presents this comprehensive look at Michelle Obama and her relationship with Barack Obama. Believing that Ms. Obama has become a role model not only for African American women but for all women trying to balance family and careers, Mundy provides insight into Ms. Obama’s experiences during her youth in a tight-knit neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. She also reflects on how Ms. Obama’s education at Princeton and Harvard Law during the early years of their integration affected her outlook on U.S. race relations. The author offers a balanced appraisal of her subject’s accomplishments and personality, including an examination of the apparent conflict posed by her being critical of the U.S. health-care system while working as a public relations officer at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and she shows that Ms. Obama is often uncomfortable in the political arena. Mundy also offers delightful stories about the Obamas’ family life. Readers who want reassurance that Michelle Obama is up to the job of First Lady and those who just want to know more about her won’t be disappointed. — Library Journal 

Robert Olmstead’s novel Coal Black Horse will be discussed at Central Library on Tuesday, January 5th at 6:00 p.m. 

Coal Black Horse

Olmstead has fashioned an absorbing tale that is a cross between two of the most respected and widely read Civil War novels. Combining elements of the rite-of-passage motif employed by Stephen Crane in The Red Badge of Courage with the classic odyssey plot device recycled so effectively by Charles Frazier in Cold Mountain (1997), he has provided a fresh perspective on an old–but never timeworn–subject. When 14-year-old Robey Child is sent by his mother to search for his father, a doomed soldier, he witnesses the horrors of war both on and off the battlefield. Arrayed in a jacket (gray on one side, blue on the other) custom made by his mother and riding a talismanic coal black horse, he embarks upon a life-altering journey that will challenge him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Olmstead does not shy away from the brutal reality of warfare, and his starkly powerful descriptions of violence and carnage are harrowing. Civil War buffs will appreciate the attention to detail; general readers will be mesmerized by the powerfully evocative journey. — Booklist  


2009’s One Book One City mystery lives on! Some Buried Caesar, by Rex Stout will be discussed at five different branches in January.
Warren Library: Thursday, January 7th, 10:30 a.m.
East 38th Street Library: Monday, January 11th, 6:00 p.m.
Southport Library: Monday, January 25th, 7:00 p.m.
Pike Library: Tuesday, January 26th, 6:30 p.m.
Spades Park Library: Thursday, January 28th, 6:00 p.m.

Some Buried Caesar

It has been years since the orchid-growing eccentric Nero Wolfe has been outside his beloved home. Stout’s sixth novel in the series finds Wolfe in upstate New York with Archie Goodwin where he must endure poor food, uncomfortable chairs, warm beer, and three dead bodies. A family feud over the fate of a prize bull (send him to the stud farm or a steak house) plus tacky publicity stunts and blackmail all fit into the situation, told from Archie’s point of view.–Library Journal

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith will be discussed at the Flanner House Library on Monday, January 11th at 6:30 p.m.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The beloved first novel in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series . . . tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, Mma Ramotswe is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart–and lands her in danger–is that of a missing eleven-year-old boy who may have been snatched by witch doctors. — Publisher’s Note






College Avenue Library‘s Sugarbook Club will feature a discussion of Shiloh Walker’s Hunter’s Need on Tuesday, January 12th at 6:00 p.m.

Hunter's Need

Duke is bitter. A shapeshifter betrayed by the psychic powers of Analise Morell, he cannot forgive her for putting him in the clutches of a feral vampire, but he also can’t shake his desire for her. And when she needs a Hunter, Duke must face his demons – and hers… After what she did to him, Ana is sure Duke must be using her…but so be it. Ana can’t fight her longing for him or the desire that’s haunted her for years. Every fiber of Duke’s soul – both the man and the cougar within – yearns to protect and possess her — Publisher’s Note








Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey will be discussed at the Irvington Library on Thursday, January 14th at 1:30 p.m.

My Stroke of Insight

On the morning of December 10, 1996 Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain . . . she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours . . . Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely. In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery — Publisher’s Note




Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations . . . One School at at Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, January 14th at 1:30 p.m.

Three Cups of Tea

Greg Mortenson and coauthor David Oliver Relin recount Mortenson’s crossroad and what he did about it. After a near fatal attempt to climb Himalayan peak K2, Mortenson was nursed and sheltered by villagers in a remote area of Pakistan. Following his recovery, he promised to return and build the village its first school. That project has now grown to include more than 50 schools across Pakistan and Afghanistan, with a particular focus to bring educational opportunities to young girls. — Library Journal

A Tale of Two Cities

 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens will be discussed at the Lawrence Library on Tuesday, January 19th at 10:15 a.m.

Several years ago, one of the library´s “Let’s Talk About It” series dealt with books about the French Revolution. This classic by Dickens is set during and after the Revolution, and some of the discussion leaders, while discussing other books, bad-mouthed Dickens. Were they right? Was Dickens too negative about what happened during that period? Come to Lawrence and share your views.







Lisa Genova’s Still Alice will be discussed at the Franklin Road Library on Thursday, January 28th at 6:30 p.m.

Still AliceIn a highly readable form of bibliotherapy, first-time novelist Genova, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience, meticulously traces the downward spiral of a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer s disease. In September of 2003, 50-year-old Alice Howland leads a very busy, productive life as a psychology professor at Harvard, the spouse of a biology professor, and the mother of two grown daughters. But a series of memory problems, ranging from forgetting where she put her Blackberry to becoming disoriented on her daily run, sends her to the doctor. She learns that she is suffering from Alzheimer s, and the subsequent months and years see a steady decline in her abilities. By September of 2005, the accomplished professional can barely remember her own daughters names. Still Alice, however, is far from bleak as it depicts both the unalterable course of the disease and the various ways family members can cope with it. Clearly explaining the testing, treatment options, and symptoms of the disease within the context of an absorbing family drama, Genova has written an ideal primer for anyone touched by Alzheimer’s — Booklist


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