Rowayton Library Recommends

Sister Pie

October 28, 2018

Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski profiles the iconic Detroit bakery and its famous pies. Don’t give in to your instinct to assume there can’t be anything new to say about pies. The recipes and “how to” are augmented by gorgeous color photos and some of the clearest instructional text we’ve seen. Finally, make the cranberry crumble pie--it’s amazing! (Cookbook)

Simple

October 28, 2018

Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi is described as cooking with “pared back brilliance.” It’s a perfect description. Imaginative recipes which are easy to execute include playful flavors. New ideas and a reassuring voice make you want to venture outside your comfort zone. His “catch” is he uses no more than 10 ingredients in each recipe, many of which will be in the pantry. (Cookbook)

Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook

October 28, 2018

Every Day Dorie, The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan is a treasure. She describes this as a collection of the food she makes all the time. The bar is set at a very comfortable level with recipes that provide maximum flavor with minimum fuss. It’s well organized and offers the welcome option of “playing around” with the ingredients. This is a great book for cooks looking for a way to spice up classic dishes as she introduces new flavors that would pep up some classic dishes. She is a renowned baker so the dessert section is delectable. (Cookbook)

On Desperate Ground--The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle

October 28, 2018

On Desperate Ground--The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle by Hampton Sides is a dramatic, harrowing account of the pivotal battle between the US and UN forces and the Chinese army, whose strength had been badly underestimated. Trapped by Macarthur’s incorrect assumption that the Chinese would not enter the war, the vastly outnumbered Marines courageously fought under unimaginable conditions. This is excellent military history that includes many interviews with Marines who fought there. It’s a powerful book. Recommended! (Non-Fiction)

A MInd Unraveled

October 28, 2018

A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald is a memoir of the author's struggle with epilepsy that began his freshman year in college. It chronicles the endless, exasperating search for a treatment plan that would allow him to live a normal life. The seizures were terrible and the perception that publicly acknowledging his disease would ruin his prospects was a terrible burden. Terrible misdiagnoses and subsequent poorly managed medical care nearly killed him. The fact he ultimately triumphs make his story all the more inspirational. (Non-Fiction)

A Life of My Own

October 28, 2018

A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin, the renowned English biographer, turns the lens on herself. Covering both the trivial and the tragic it begins with a family that splintered when her parent’s marriage disintegrated. The school was always a refuge and a literary career always her dream.  A veritable who’s who of English people of letters dance through the pages. Her family life encompassed loss after loss but she has been amazingly resilient and ended up a lauded and happy author. (Non-Fiction)

The Witch Elm

October 28, 2018

The Witch Elm by Tana French is excellent. Set in modern-day Ireland it is a mystery wrapped in enigmas, wrapped in memory issues. Toby Hennessey is recovering at his ancestral home from a bad beating he got when his flat was broken into. His terminally ill Uncle Hugo still lives there and his girlfriend Melissa accompanies him. The cousins he grew up with are also around, and the past is an ever important player in the weird developments that all begin with a surprising find within the elm in the garden. All the characters are well drawn, with the crafty detectives particularly engaging.

Melmoth

October 28, 2018

Melmoth by Sarah Perry is gripping and beautifully written. Helen Franklin has been living an ascetic life in Prague for twenty years. She has literally two friends, one of whom comes into possession of a manuscript describing a “witness," who according to legend wanders the earth looking for people who have participated in history’s darker events. There are a number of interwoven stories spanning 500 years. Each touches on the power of guilt and whether restitution is possible in order to change one's future. This is a fascinating book that will stay with you long after you finish.

Hey Kiddo

October 28, 2018

Hey Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka is a graphic novel, technically written for Young Adults but recommended for all. It is the story of the author’s life, subtitled How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction.  Raised by his grandparents in Worcester, MA Jarrett struggles with never having known his father and having a mother who couldn’t care for him, all while wrestling with classic childhood and teenage hurdles. He finds solace in his talent for drawing and starts filling up notebooks at a young age. There are teachers who guide him at various points and his grandparents never waver. Entertaining, and despite the subject matter not without moments of humor. His TED talk is also terrific.

Dry

October 28, 2018

Dry by Neil Shusterman is a dystopian Young Adult novel with an intriguing, topical premise. California’s drought has reached epic proportions and has been given the name the Tap Out. When the water runs out the tension level rises inexorably as people begin to fight for this resource. This is an honestly terrifying survival story with well-developed characters trying to survive in a world that is not entirely unimaginable.

Death in Paris

October 28, 2018

Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard is a sharp-witted mystery set in the City of Light. The heroine is an American whose former boyfriend is found dead in his bowl of vichyssoise. This is a set up for some amateur detecting since she can’t quite believe the circumstances. The list of suspects is long and reliably quirky, and the Parisian setting is delightful. This a good lighthearted read.

The Darkness

October 28, 2018

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson takes place in Iceland. The unique central character is an older woman detective more or less being forced to retire. Resurrecting a cold case involving the drowning of a young Russia immigrant woman who had been seeking asylum turns her world upside down. It’s very atmospheric and chilling in every sense of the word. There are plenty of people who do not want her to unearth the truth. She just stays one step ahead of them, which certainly keeps the pages turning.

Alaskan Holiday

October 28, 2018

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber is a charming cozy romance. It is set in a remote corner of Alaska and follows the fortunes of Josie Avery, a Seattle native spending the summer cooking at a lodge before she returns to her dream job as a sous chef at a fancy Seattle restaurant. Naturally, complications ensue but no spoilers! Settle in a comfortable chair and give yourself up to an enjoyable romp

Mary and the Witch's Flower (PG) 103 minutes

October 26, 2018

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER– MOVIE (PG) Just in Time for HALLOWE’EN!! Japanese Anime, English Language--A new release from Studio Ponoc, in the tradition of Studio Ghibli. This is a new adventure about a young girl who discovers a flower that grants her magical powers--but only for one night. An ordinary girl. Mary is stuck in the country with her Great Aunt Charlotte when she discovers an old broomstick and the strange flower that blossoms only once every seven years. Suddenly Mary finds herself whisked away to Endor College--a school of magic run by Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Dr. Dee. But the school is not all that it seems, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Voices by Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslett, Jim Broadbent, and Ewen Bremmer.

Hotel Transylvania 3 (PG) 200 minutes

October 26, 2018

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3– CHILDREN’S MOVIE (PG) Just in Time for HALLOWE’EN!! Join your favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation adventure on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can finally take a break from handling everyone else's vacation at the hotel. It's smooth sailing for Drac's Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But they hit rocky waters when Mavis realizes that Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could sink their plans for a dream vacation

Three Identical Strangers Documentary (PG-13) 96 minutes

October 26, 2018

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS– DOCUMENTARY (PG-13) Three Identical Strangers tells the astonishing true story of three men who make the chance discovery, at the age of 19, that they are identical triplets, separated at birth and adopted to different parents. The trio's joyous reunion in 1980 catapults them to fame but it also sets in motion a chain of events that unearths an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes far beyond their own lives--a secret that goes to very heart of all human behavior.

Vikings Season 5. Volume 1 (NR) 441 minutes

October 26, 2018

VIKINGS, Season 5, vol.1– SERIES  (NR) Season 5 begins with Ivar the Boneless asserting his leadership over the Great Heathen Army, while Lagertha reigns as Queen of Kattegat. Ivar’s murder of his brother Sigurd sets the stage for vicious battles to come as Ragnar’s sons plot their next move after avenging their father’s death. Bjorn follows his destiny into the Mediterranean Sea and Floki, who is suffering from the loss of his wife Helga, takes to the seas submitting himself to the will of the gods. This season is full of startling alliances and unbelievable betrayals as the Vikings fight to rule the world. “A Bloody Good Mix of Medieval Sex, Violence & Family Drama” Rob Lowman, LA Daily News

Six Season 2 (NR) 438 minutes

October 26, 2018

SIX, Season 2– SERIES (NR) THE HISTORY CHANNEL--“Authentic, Action-Packed Addictive” per TV Guide. After an explosive Season One finale, Six follows our team of SEALs as they deal with the aftermath of Rip’s shooting while hunting down the terror group responsible for the attack. The SEALs join forces with a cunning and tenacious CIA agent, Gina Cline, who has Michael Nasry under fierce interrogation. Together the crew scours Eastern Europe, infiltrating hostile territory across Russian borders while tracking a mysterious figure known as “The Prince”. Back in Virginia Beach, Rip’s killer, the radicalized Marissa Wyatt, hatches a new plan of attack to strike the homeland once again.

Shetland Season 4 (NR) 360 minutes

October 26, 2018

SHETLAND, Season 4– SERIES (NR) Award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves bestselling detective series returns for a fourth season as DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall, Primeval) faces a gripping new single mystery. When Thomas Malone has his murder conviction overturned after 23 years behind bars, DI Perez has to reopen the investigation If Thomas Malone didn’t kill local teenager Lizzie Kilmuir 23 years ago, who did? Welcome back to Scotland’s breathtakingly beautiful Shetland Islands, where re-opening a teenager’s cold murder case from 1994 triggers a new chain of killings and attacks. Good-natured DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and his bright young DS, “Tosh” MacIntosh (Alison O’Donnell) investigate the apparent copycat murder of a local journalist, killed while collecting clues about corporate manslaughter and its cover-up. Why does the Secret Service warn Perez and Tosh off the case? And who shot their prime suspect?

Murdoch Mysterie: Home For the Holiday (NR) 88 minutes

October 26, 2018

MURDOCH MYSTERIES: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAY– SERIES (NR) Dashing detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) must solve a holiday whodunit in this feature-length special of the award-winning mystery series set in Edwardian Toronto. Days before Christmas, Murdoch and his wife, Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), travel to Victoria, British Columbia, to spend time with Murdoch’s eccentric brother. But instead of a relaxing holiday with Jasper (Dylan Neal) and his family, they end up investigating a murder at an archaeological site. Back in Toronto, Constables Crabtree (Jonny Harris) and Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch) try to impress their sweethearts before a skiing outing, and Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) and his wife invest in a money-making scheme run by a man named Ponzi. Guest stars include Kate Hewlett, Jake Epstein, and Megan Follows.

Masterpiece: The Miniaturist Mini-Series (NC-17) Adults Only 162 minutes

October 26, 2018

MASTERPIECE: THE MINIATURIST– Mini SERIES (NC-17) Adults Only  A haunting, sumptuous period thriller about a house where, beneath the lavish beauty and privilege, lie forbidden passions and dangerous secrets. A young woman moves to 17th century Amsterdam and hires a mysterious local miniaturist to furnish the dollhouse she received from her merchant husband as a present, but the lifelike miniatures somehow start eerilyforeshadowing her fate.Based on the popular novel by Jessie Burton, this three-part film stars Romola Garai as Marin Brandt, Alex Hassell as Johannes Brandt, Hayley Squires as Cornelia, Paapa Essiedu as Otto, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Nella (Petronella) Brandt.

Midsomer Murders Season 20 (NR) 598 minutes

October 26, 2018

MIDSOMER MURDERS, Season 20SERIES (NR )Welcome to England’s most murderous county! Homicide, blackmail, greed, and betrayal: just a taste of what goes on behind the well-trimmed hedges of Midsomer County in this long-running British mystery series starring (Niel Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby and his assistant, DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix). The new pathologist is Dr. Fleur Perkins (Annette Badland). Delightful in a murderously charming way and including guest stars Jemma Redgrave, Michael Byrne, Ann Eleonora Jorgensen, Ellie Haddington, Tamzan Outhwaite, Peter Egan, Don Gilet, and Andrew Gower.

800 Words Season 3 Part 1 (NR) 365 minutes

October 26, 2018

800 WORDS, Season 3, part 1– SERIES (NR) As the award-winning dramedy returns, new challenges await newspaper columnist George Turner (Erik Thomson) and his family, now settled in a charming New Zealand community after moving from Australia. Following last season's harrowing boating accident, the townsfolk of Weld mount a search-and-rescue operation for the missing men, including the boyfriend of George's daughter, Shay (Melina Vidler).

Billions Season 3 (NR) 684 minutes

October 26, 2018

BILLIONS, Season 3– SERIES (NR) The Season three of BILLIONS finds Chuck Rhoades and Bobby Axelrod in a world that has shifted on its axis. Both men are still determined to destroy the other, but must also battle for their own survival amidst new forces and powerful enemies. Wendy Rhoades, Chuck's wife, and Axe's performance coach is all in for both of them, an uneasy and dangerous position for her, and one that ultimately puts her to a decision that could alter the direction of her life irrevocably. Money, power, justice, and revenge are all on the line for each of these characters.

The 12th Man Foreign Movie (PG-13) 132 minutes

October 26, 2018

THE 12THMAN– Foreign MOVIE (PG-13) ENGLISH Dubbed and Norwegian/German with subtitles--An incredible true-life story of heroism and a man’s unbreakable will to live. Norway, 1943: After a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his eleven comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) finds himself on the run from the Gestapo through the snowbound Arctic reaches of Scandinavia. It’s a harrowing journey across unforgiving frozen wilderness--one that will stretch on for months and force Jan to take extreme action in order to survive. With gut-punching realism and vivid psychological immediacy, director Harald Zwart pays tribute to one man’s extraordinary courage--and to the everyday heroes who helped him along the way.

Tag (R) 100 minutes

October 26, 2018

TAG– MOVIE (R) A small group of college classmates organizes an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country. For one month every year, five highly competitive friends hit the ground running in a no-holds-barred game of tag they’ve been playing since the first grade--risking their necks their jobs and their relationships to take each other down with the battle cry, “You’re It!” This year, the game coincides with the wedding of their only undefeated player which should finally make him an easy target. But he knows they’re coming and he’s ready. Based on a true story, this outrageous comedy shows how far some guys will go to be the last man standing.

Skyscraper (PG-13) 103 minutes

October 26, 2018

SKYSCRAPER– MOVIE (PG-13) Former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) now assess security for skyscrapers. He's on assignment in China when he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he's been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family, who are trapped inside the building, above the fire line. EXHILARATING!

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (R) 122 minutes

October 26, 2018

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADOMOVIE (R) In Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the series begins a new chapter. In the drug war, there are no rules--and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin’s daughter to inflame the conflict--but when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two men as they question everything they are fighting for.

Shock and Awe (R) 90 minutes

October 26, 2018

SHOCK AND AWE– MOVIE (R) In 2003, the White House administration made a case for the invasion of Iraq. The facts didn’t add up! This is the untold true story of an intrepid team of four reporters of Knight Ridder who dared to ask the questions their colleagues did not in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Editor John Walcott (Robb Reiner) and famous war correspondent Joe Galloway (Tommy Lee Jones) support the reporters, Jonathan Landay (Woody Harrelson) and Warren Strobel (James Marsden), working on the case. They set forth to sift through the chaos and official lies to uncover the truth, and what it is like to hunt for the truth when the stakes are life, death, and the American democracy. The Government got its war, but one team of reporters got it right!

Peppermint (R) 102 minutes

October 26, 2018

PEPPERMINT– MOVIE (R) Peppermint is an action thriller which tells the story of young mother Riley North (Jennifer Garner) who awakens from a coma after her husband and daughter are killed in a brutal attack on the family. When the system frustratingly shields the murderers from justice, Riley sets out to transform herself from citizen to urban guerilla. Five years after their senseless, violent deaths. She comes back from a self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free, having channeled her frustration into personal motivation, and spending the five years in hiding honing her mind, body and spirit to become an unstoppable force--eluding the underworld, the LAPD and the FBI- as she methodically delivers her personal brand of justice.

Ocean's 8 (PG-13) 135 minutes

October 26, 2018

OCEAN’S EIGHT– MOVIE (PG-13) Five Years, Eight Months and Twelve Days, is how long Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has been concocting the greatest heist of her storied career. It will require the best in the field, a crew of specialists to plan and execute a heist in New York City at the yearly Met Gala.  Her former partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), and a crew of all female specialists, Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), Nina Ball (Rihanna), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), Amita (Mindy Kaling) and Constance (Awkwafina).

Hotel Artemis (R) 94 minutes

October 26, 2018

HOTEL ARTEMISMOVIE (R) Set in a riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals. A woman known as The Nurse (Jodie Foster) runs a high-security, members-only hospital for high-rolling criminals in Los Angeles. When a bank robber (Sterling K. Brown) brings his injured teammates along with an $18 million in jewels there, both mob boss Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) and the police follow. With the hospital under siege, The Nurse, her orderly (Dave Bautista) and her other criminal patients have to defend themselves.

The First Purge (R) 98 minutes

October 26, 2018

THE FIRST PURGEMOVIE (R) Blumhouse Productions welcomes you to experience how it all began! The tradition that began as a simple experiment: The First Purge. To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the marginalized, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

Devil's Hand (PG-13) 85 minutes

October 26, 2018

DEVIL’S HAND– MOVIE (PG-13) From Filmmaker Christian E. Christiansen comes this spine-tingling story of satanic terror. In the small, devout village of New Bethlehem, six girls are born on the sixth day of the sixth month, setting in motion an ancient prophecy on their 18thbirthday, one of the girls will become the Devil's Hand. As the day nears, the young woman begins to disappear. Threatened by the town's fiery religious leader (Colm Meaney), the remaining girls, Mary and Ruth join with Mary’s father (Rufus Sewell) to uncover the chilling truth behind the evil that grips New Bethlehem.

Borg vs. McEnroe (R) 107 minutes

October 26, 2018

BORG vs McENROE– MOVIE (R)  Featuring a tour-de-force performance from Shia LaBeouf as tennis great John McEnroe, this kinetic sports thriller is based on the dramatic true events behind one of the sport's most famous rivalries. McEnroe: brash, ferocious energy on the court plus his spectacular tantrums versus Borg: cool, composed elegant style of play and unflappable public demeanor. Yet, both men are hiding deep anxieties, locked in battle with their inner demons. On the court, each brings to bear in one of the most suspenseful events in sports history. At the historic 1980 Wimbledon Championships, rising American star McEnroe sets his sights on dethroning the reigning champion Bjorn Borg, sparking an unprecedented media frenzy in the tennis world.

Ultimate Predatorpedia

October 24, 2018

Ultimate Predatorpedia by Christina Wilsdon is a National Geographic for Kids book. Ample color photos showcase the predator family from ladybugs to lions. There are individual and general behavior characteristics and lots of exciting facts about clever adaptations (think of our local foxes). There is a wealth of information here. (Non-Fiction)

Through the Window--Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art

October 24, 2018

Through the Window--Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art by Barb Rosenstock traces the life of the small Russian boy named Moishe Shagal who became Marc Chagall, one of the world’s foremost artists. Both world wars interrupted his professional and family life; he eventually settled in the United States. His imaginative, brightly colored paintings became sought after and later in life he turned to stained glass creations. His gorgeous windows in the chapel in Pocantico Hills, NY are well worth a trip. This book beautifully captures the dreaminess of his imagination with its illustrations by Mary Grandpre. (Non-Fiction)

National Parks of the USA

October 24, 2018

National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber is a super introduction to the wide-ranging park system in this country. It is a coast to coast extravaganza divided geographically, with brief historical background sections on each park, then sections on the unique features, flora, and fauna. The illustrations by Chris Turnham are in a soft color wash that is perfect for the natural surroundings being depicted. There are so many fascinating facts between the covers of this book, along with absorbing maps so have a look and start planning your trip! (Non-Fiction

The Hen Who Sailed Around the World

October 24, 2018

The Hen Who Sailed Around the World is a remarkable true story by Guirec Soudee. He set off to sail from France through the Northwest Passage and when he got to the Canary Islands he acquired Monique--a chicken who would accompany him the rest of the way. Monique was a spirited sailor, eager for new experiences and insistent on being "on deck." She provided both comic companies on the 17,500-mile voyage and 1,040 eggs. Terrific color photographs accompany the text. (Non-Fiction)

Countdown--2979 Days to the Moon

October 24, 2018

Countdown--2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade is a history of the Apollo program. It begins with the tragic loss of the Apollo 1 crew in an on the ground fire in 1967, casting doubt on the program and the dream of reaching the moon. Unmanned missions follow as testing continues to ensure the safest way to launch a crew into space. Finally, manned spacecraft go farther, spacewalks happen and at the end of this exciting history there is one small step for mankind. And who knew that when Armstrong and his crew came home they were quarantined for 21 days due to fear of moon germs. (Non-Fiction)

Zola's Elephant

October 24, 2018

Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve is an endearing story about imagination and friendship. A young girl creates a fantastic life for her new upstairs neighbor. She is sure Zola has an elephant. All the typical moving in noises like banging nails and thumping boxes are translated into brilliantly colored adventures like bathing an elephant or practicing circus acts. The neighbors meet and confirm that a new friend is the best possible outcome.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

October 24, 2018

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee is a stitch. A small knight lives on one side of the wall in fear of the ogre who lives on the other. The knight is grateful for the wall in the middle of the book until he is most definitely not. Oblivious to the literally rising perils on his side of the wall, he prattles on about how fortunate he is to live there. There is a lesson here but it is not heavy-handed. The illustrations are priceless, guaranteed to have readers laughing.

Sloth at the Zoom

October 24, 2018

Sloth at the Zoom by Helaine Becker is a treasure. Sloth is delivered to the zoo, expecting to have a relaxing time. However, life at the zoo is high speed, with zebras galloping and monkeys swinging. Sloth is a bit flummoxed by all the zooming around and kind of lonely but after a while finds a sympathetic companion in Snail and they have a lovely picnic. The other animals pause to enjoy the feast and everyone becomes--you guessed it--“fast” friends.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

October 24, 2018

Row. Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera is a fun opportunity for a sing-along. She has created new lyrics to go with this popular tune and partnered them with exuberant colored paintings. The sweet cat and dog in the boat travel through the forest and jungle introducing young readers to a variety of animals. The end makes it a perfect nighttime read

A Parade of Elephants

October 24, 2018

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes is a soothing just right for a bedtime book. A group of five elephants marches through the book, introducing basic counting up to five and concepts such as up, down, in and out. They are portrayed in soft hues that perfectly suit their rotund bodies. The spray of stars at the end is a fitting finale to a fine parade.

The Night Box

October 24, 2018

The Night Box by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay has a new twist on the changeover from day to night. Max is a small boy who watches the day fade away as everyone waits for the arrival of night. He has the key to the Night Box, and once he opens it magical things happen. Dark tumbles out with a big whoosh, and night takes over the world in a gentle way. Later Max opens the box to let a tired night inside and day is released again. The nocturnal world is beautifully portrayed.

Inky's Amazing Escape--How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home

October 24, 2018

Inky’s Amazing Escape--How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home by Sy Montgomery is a fascinating look at this remarkable animal. Inky is born the size of a grain of rice and by the time he ends up in an aquarium he is the size of a baseball, and with care and feeding ultimately the size of a soccer ball with eight long arms. He amuses himself playing with Legos and Mr. Potato Head but his favorite thing to do is explore. One night he finds a drain hole--no spoilers! This is a fabulous read with a great appendix full of octopus facts.

Giraffe Problems

October 24, 2018

Giraffe Problems by Jory John is splendidly illustrated by Lane Smith. This giraffe feels bad about his neck. It’s too long, narrow, bendy, in short too ”necky”. He has tried innumerable amusing ways to disguise it’s length or dazzlingly decorate it. All seems lost until he meets a turtle envious of his ability to see far and reach high. Together they discover a giraffe problem is really a way to solve a turtle dilemma and they become best buddies. Highly recommended for originality and character development

Edison, The Mystery of the MIssing Mouse Treasure

October 24, 2018

Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure by Torben Kuhlmann is a wonderfully inventive tale of a brave and determined mouse. Pete wants to find the treasure that sank to the bottom of the sea with his great uncle. With the help of his Mice University professor, he builds a submarine that will take them to the spot they have pinpointed. Surprises await around every corner as their journey unfolds. Staggeringly beautiful, luminous illustrations make this book a wonder.

Jam Sessions--A Fruit Preserving Handbook

September 29, 2018

Jam Sessions--A Fruit Preserving Handbook by Joyce Goldstein is a treasure. She covers preserves, chutneys, jams, salsas, marmalades et .al. in a user-friendly format with luscious color photos. The "how to" explanations are crystal clear and the recipes are not complicated. Her goal is to help the home cook hold onto the flavors of seasonal produce via the power of the mason jar. Highly recommended for both beginning and experienced canners.

Food 52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes that Will Change Your Life

September 29, 2018

Food 52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes that Will Change Your Life arrives just in time for the holiday season. The Wall Street Journal got the jump on one of the recipes, printing the divine "chocolate cloud cake" recipe over Labor Day Weekend. That is only one of the hits in this superb collection. The book has corralled the best examples of every type of dessert between the well-edited covers. For those who can't have enough baking books to pore over, we also have Rose Levy Berenbaum’s mouthwatering newest--Rose’s Baking Basics.

We Fed an Island--The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico One Meal at a Time

September 29, 2018

We Fed an Island--The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico One Meal at a Time by Jose Andres with Richard Wolffe is truly galvanizing. Andres is a famous chef who arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island, creating an unprecedented disaster. He believed in the transformational power of cooking and feeding--responding to the basic needs of people without power, homes, schools or support. This book describes how he managed to get three million meals on the tables of those who needed them, unapologetically breaking longstanding FEMA and NGO rules along the way.

Vegetables Love Flowers--Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty

September 29, 2018

Vegetables Love Flowers--Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty by Lisa Ziegler is a manual for growing a productive garden with a new twist. Her emphasis is on flowers as a pivotal part of the vegetable garden since they attract pollinators and beneficial insects. There are so many potential combinations--our favorite was tomatoes, which need bumblebees to spread their pollen, and snapdragons, which are the bumblebees’ favorite food. There are great ideas such as creating brush piles, and lots of graphs for bed designs. Read it as you put your garden to bed and plan for next year

A Chill in the Air

September 29, 2018

A Chill in the Air by Iris Origo and Lucy Hughes-Hallett is her deeply personal war diary from the year 1939-1940 before Mussolini officially allied Italy with the Germans. She and her husband owned a large estate in Tuscany where they were responsible for the farmers who worked the land. The “chill in the air” refers to the “universal distaste for Germany as an ally”. She devotes a fair amount of thought to the conundrum of why the Italians partnered with the Nazi regime. It’s interesting to see the role propaganda/fake news played in rallying the Italian populace. Her first-hand account of wartime Tuscany, called War in Val d’Orcia, is superb.

The Winter Soldier

September 29, 2018

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason takes place during WWI at an improvised field hospital in the Carpathian Mountains. A young Polish “doctor” (he has not fully finished his training) finds himself treating all manner of horrible war injuries with the help of a skeleton staff headed by a nurse from the St. Catherine’s order. It’s a novel of medicine and an epic history of war. The powerful sense of place is a real plot engine, as the small team fights to survive appalling circumstances. The Polish Officer by Alan Furst is another excellent book with a Polish background, this time set in WWII

Wild Fire

September 29, 2018

Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves is the last of the Shetland series featuring Detective Jimmy Perez. The islands once again cast their spell, drawing in a family from London hoping for a better life for their autistic son. Naturally, complications and heartache closely follow, and Detective Perez must juggle a complicated love life and a harrowing killer all at once. It’s a tricky police procedural with a satisfying resolution.

Transcription

September 29, 2018

Transcription by Kate Atkinson is engrossing. The heroine is initially recruited to a London secretarial pool in the first year of WWII. She finds herself quickly promoted to MI5 where she transcribes, in a charmingly old-fashioned way, traitorous conversations. The author plays with timelines and develops idiosyncratic characters that drive the plot in surprising directions. The background then turns to post-war London and life in production at the BBC, which is artfully and comically rendered. The spy vs spy clichés is avoided via clever vaults in the four-decade timeline and the gradual unveiling of multiple identities and purposes. The role of women in wartime is deftly probed from multiple angles. Her time-traveling novel about WWII called Life After Life is also highly recommended.

Swift Vengeance

September 29, 2018

Swift Vengeance by T. Jefferson Parker is a welcome addition to the fall thriller list. It’s fast-paced, with sharp dialogue, well-developed characters, and an original plot. Shadowy terrorists threaten Private Investigator Roland Ford’s somewhat ideal Southern CA existence. He finds himself protecting a friend who ran sniper drone strikes for the Army and is now the target of revenge. His prickly FBI counterpart is credible and persuasive. His sidekicks and tenants often inject a welcome note of humor in a generally serious novel.

Sunrise Highway

September 29, 2018

Sunrise Highway by Peter Blauner is thrilling. Police search for a brutal serial killer who has been at large for decades because no one connected the dots of the various murders. It is superbly tense, even with the intentional reveals. It feels very realistic; the author has captured cop dialogue and the Long Island atmosphere extraordinarily well. It takes place over a forty year period, with sinister connections among the powerful that may have allowed a killer to go free. The heroine is a Latina detective who risks everything to see justice served.

Desolation Mountain

September 29, 2018

Desolation Mountain by William Kent Kreuger proves the staying power of his complex character Cork O’ Connell. The part Ojibwe private investigator has to stay a step ahead of shadowy groups with ill intent after a fatal plane crash unleashes dark forces on a Minnesota reservation. His son Stephen is suffering too as he tries to reconcile his horrific visions with the events that are roiling the community. Yes, there is murder and mayhem, but also thoughtful observations on terrorism, family, politics and the importance of customs developed over generations. The other books in the series are uniformly excellent; Kreuger also wrote a compelling standalone novel called Ordinary Grace.

Blackout

September 29, 2018

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson is very atmospheric, with good character development. The threads of the various plotlines intersect in a clever way and keep the pages turning. The action takes place largely in a small town on the northern coast of Iceland where isolation is the dominant fact of life. The murder of a man is only the beginning of a complex case that the small police force has to struggle to solve. Past history plays a role as well, only gradually does the truth emerge from the chilly fog. This is a strong series, other Icelandic noir authors to check out are Arnaldur Indridason and Quentin Bates.

Spiral/Engrenages Season 6 Foreign Series (NR) 624 minutes

September 19, 2018

SPIRAL / ENGRENAGES Season 6  FOREIGN SERIES (NR) FRENCH/English subtitles Spiral Season 6 begins with the shocking discovery of a dismembered human torso in a pile of garbage in the 20th arrondissement in Paris. Police Captain Laure Berthaud returns from maternity leave to reunite with her colleagues Gilou and Tintin, and together they tackle the complex investigation. The trail leads them to a northern suburb where Laure's mentor Commissioner Herville was transferred, and where the team will face off against institutional corruption and organized crime in a neighborhood devastated by poverty and delinquency. Meanwhile, a high-profile criminal trial tempts lawyer Joséphine Karlsson, and Judge Roban faces a rapidly escalating health crisis. This new season pushes every character to their limit and forces them all to question long-standing affiliations and beliefs.

Six Season 1 (NR) 341 minutes

September 19, 2018

SIX Season 1 SERIES (NR) The History Channel presents SIX, which follows members of Navy SEAL Team Six, modern American warriors whose mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working with the terrorists. Inspired by real missions, the series authentically captures the inside world of America's elite special operations unit, what these SEALs do, their personal lives, combat, and the life-and-death decisions they make.

Silent Witness Season 5 (NR) 300 minutes

September 19, 2018

SILENT WITNESS Season 5  SERIES (NR) Sam is now firmly established as a professor at the University of London where she is well respected by colleagues and students alike. As an independent pathologist, her reputation goes before her and she is constantly in demand for high-profile prosecution and defense work. Sam’s cases involve a series of revenge killings by a former Auschwitz prisoner; the mysterious deaths of teenage girls killed 15 years apart in Norway; a suspicious suicide and a beautiful Nun in a convent by the sea--very different stories, all employing Sam s expertise to the maximum.

The Lomming Tower Mini-Series (NR) 550 minutes

September 19, 2018

THE LOOMING TOWER MINI-SERIES (NR) The Looming Tower traces the rising threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11. The series follows members of the I-49 Squad in New York and Alec Station in Washington, D.C., the counter-terrorism divisions of the FBI and CIA, respectively, as they travel the world fighting for ownership of information while seemingly working toward the same goal--trying to prevent an imminent attack on U.S. soil.And Peter Sarsgaard (Martin Schmidt).

Inspector Manara Season 1 Foreign Series (NR) 634 minutes

September 19, 2018

INSPECTOR MANARA, Season 1 FOREIGN SERIES (NR) ITALIAN with English Subtitles The dazzling Guido Caprino stars as Inspector Luca Manara, a dreamy man, and a supervisor's worst nightmare. He dismisses procedure and refuses to kowtow to local power players, but he's also without ego and a gifted investigator. Quiet country life in Tuscany drives him crazy, but at least the new job offers a fresh start and the chance to leave broken hearts behind. The fresh start doesn’t last long, however; an old female friend from the police academy, Lara, shows up for work minutes after his arrival. She's living with her Aunt Caterina, who's also got a nose for solving crimes. They're an unlikely trio, but between Manara's investigative instincts, Lara's technical prowess, and Aunt Caterina's common sense, they get pretty good at cracking the cases.

Good Karma Hospital Season 2 (NR) 288 minutes

September 19, 2018

GOOD KARMA HOSPITAL Season 2  SERIES (NR) The staff of the underfunded Good Karma Hospital in rural India faces new challenges as the "warmhearted yet powerful medical drama" (TV Times, UK) returns. In Series 2, British transplant Dr. Ruby Walker (Amrita Acharia, Game of Thrones) furthers her career under the watch of her formidable boss, Dr. Lydia Fonseca (Amanda Redman, New Tricks). While Lydia's boyfriend, beach bar owner Greg (Neil Morrissey, Line of Duty, Striking Out), tries to help newly widowed Paul (Philip Jackson, Agatha Christie's Poirot)overcome the death of his wife, Ruby continues to spar with her handsome but standoffish colleague, Dr. Gabriel Varma (James Krishna Floyd, Falcón). Then a link to Ruby's estranged family brings her closer than ever to Gabriel.

The Coroner Season 2 (NR) 450 minutes

September 19, 2018

THE CORONER, Season 2  SERIES (NR) Crime investigations against a stunning seaside backdrop are at the heart of this entertaining new drama series following a high-flying solicitor who returns to live and work in the small town she escaped as a teenager. As coroner, Jane Kennedy's (Claire Goose) job is to investigate sudden or unexplained deaths in this beautiful English coastal community. With a new and intriguing case to investigate in each episode, starting with the discovery of a body, Jane finds herself having to work with old flame Davey Higgins (Matt Bardock), who is now the local detective sergeant. The Coroner combines mystery and potential danger with the warm, lighthearted tone of Jane's relationships with her colleagues, family and the local community. While Jane is talented and tenacious in seeking justice for the dead, her personal life is a bit more haphazard!

Show Dogs Children's Movie (PG) 91 minutes

September 19, 2018

SHOW DOGS  CHILDREN’s MOVIE (PG) From the director of Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo comes a family comedy about the unlikely pairing of a human detective (Will Arnett) and his canine partner (Voice: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), who must go undercover at the world's most exclusive dog show and recruit an all-star cast of animal helpers to solve their biggest case yet. Also starring Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias, Shaquille O'Neal, Alan Cumming, and Stanley Tucci.  The Daily Beagle: Show Dogs is "A Mutt-See!"

Mary and the Witch's Flower Children's Movie (PG) 103 minutes

September 19, 2018

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER MOVIE (PG) Japanese Anime, English Language--A new release from Studio Ponoc. This is a new adventure about a young girl who discovers a flower that grants her magical powers--but only for one night. An ordinary girl, Mary is stuck in the country with her Great Aunt Charlotte when she discovers an old broomstick and the strange flower that blossoms only once every seven years. Suddenly Mary finds herself whisked away to Endor College school of magic run by Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Dr. Dee. But the school is not all that it seems, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Voices by Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslett, Jim Broadbent, and Ewen Bremmer.

Won't You Be My Neighbor Documentary (PG-13) 95 minutes

September 19, 2018

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR DOCUMENTARY (PG-13) For over 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer, and producer, was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life's weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn't been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn't been since.

RBG Documentary (PG) 98 minutes

September 19, 2018

RBG DOCUMENTARY (PG) HERO. ICON. DISSENTER. At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a lengthy legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans--until now. RBG explores Ginsburg's life and career.

Ready Player One (PG-13) 139 minutes

September 19, 2018

READY PLAYER ONE  MOVIE (PG-13) From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery, and danger.

Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13) 130 minutes

September 19, 2018

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM  MOVIE (PG-13) It's been three years since theme park and luxury resort, Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

It (R) 120 minutes

September 19, 2018

ITMOVIE (R) Stephen King’s horror masterpiece comes to life for a new generation. In Derry, Maine, seven young friends unite against a terrifying supernatural creature that has been haunting their small town for centuries. Calling itself Pennywise the Dancing Clown, IT is a monster of unspeakable power that takes the form of everyone’s most horrific fears. Threatened by their worst nightmares, the only way these kids can survive IT is together. Iwill creep you out Big Time, says Rolling Stone.

The House (R) 120 minutes

September 19, 2018

THE HOUSE MOVIE (R) When Scott and Kate Johansen’s (Will Farrell and Amy Poehler) daughter gets into her top-pick college, it’s a dream come true, until her full-ride scholarship falls through. Desperate for cash, they risk it all to open a Vegas-style casino in their friend Frank’s (Jason Mantzoukas) house, accidentally becoming dangerous suburban crime lords in the process. With an ensemble cast loaded with comedic talent, no one beats The House!

DeadPool 2 (R) 119 minutes

September 19, 2018

DEADPOOL 2  MOVIE (R) After losing the love of his life, 4thwall-breaking mercenary Wade Wilson, aka: Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) must protect Russel (Julian Dennison), must assemble a team of mutants and protect Russel from Cable (Josh Brolin), a no-nonsense, dangerous cyborg from the future, and Deadpool must learn the most important lesson of all, to be part of a family again.

Book Club (PG-13) 103 minutes

September 19, 2018

BOOK CLUB MOVIE (PG-13) Four lifelong friends' (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen) lives are turned upside down to hilarious ends when their book club attempts to shake things up by tackling the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter. Also starring Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, and Craig T. Nelson, "this dream cast delivers the perfect, fun, feel-good film!.

Bad Samaritan (R) 110 minutes

September 19, 2018

BAD SAMARITAN  MOVIE (R) Two petty thieves working as valet attendants, Sean (Robert Sheehan) and Derek (Carlito Olivero), make income on the side by robbing rich people's homes in Portland, Oregon. When Sean breaks into the home of Cale Erendreich (David Tennant, TV's Doctor Who), he finds more than riches--he finds a woman, tied to a chair, next to an array of torture-inducing tools. Panicked, Sean leaves the woman behind and calls the cops, who search the house and find nothing. Now Sean must try to save the woman on his own, while a wrathful Cale is determined to take his revenge in this compelling and provocative thriller.

Back to Burgundy Foreign Movie (NR) 113 minutes

September 19, 2018

BACK TO BURGUNDY  FOREIGN MOVIE (NR) FRENCH with English Subtitles After a decade abroad, Jean learns of his father’s failing health and returns to run the family vineyard, reuniting with his strong-willed sister, Juliette, and his responsible younger brother, Jeremie.

Adrift (PG-13) 97 minutes

September 19, 2018

ADRIFT MOVIE (PG-13) Starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin, Adrift is based on the inspiring true story of two free spirits whose chance encounter leads them first to love, and then to the adventure of a lifetime. As the two sailors set out on a journey across the ocean, Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn't anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved. Adrift is the unforgettable story about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love.

What's the Big Deal About Elections

September 15, 2018

What’s the Big Deal About Elections by Ruby Shamir and Matt Faulkner is a timely, lively introduction to the principles of democracy in the United States. There is the background on the history of the right to vote, the obligations of a shared citizenship, and the overall importance of choosing who serves in the government. The differences between state and local offices, the mechanics of voting, and the challenges of campaigning are detailed. There is a helpful timeline at the conclusion. The colorful illustrations are terrific. This is a painless civic education for adults and children!

A Whale's World

September 15, 2018

A Whale’s World by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read looks at the diverse ecosystem of the sea in the Great Bear Rainforest through the eyes of an orca. This area north of Vancouver Island is home to a huge variety of bird, fish and animal life. The hungry orca evaluates all of them based on what might be tasty for lunch, but the favored seals and sea lions are maddeningly elusive. Gorgeous color photography highlights the tour of stunning scenery and wildlife. (Non-Fiction)

A Hundred Trillion Stars--Can You Imagine So Many of Anything?

September 15, 2018

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars--Can You Imagine So Many of Anything? by Seth Fishman is an enthusiastic book about gigantic numbers. It is kind of hard to wrap your mind around the idea of ten quadrillion ants wandering beneath the surface of the earth, or the fact you will probably inadvertently eat 70 pounds of bugs during your lifetime. The whopping scale of the universe is cleverly laid out showing interconnectedness and sprawl while reassuringly circling back to the person reading the book. (Non-Fiction)

Eavesdropping on Elephants--How Listening Helps Conservation

September 15, 2018

Eavesdropping on Elephants--How Listening Helps Conservation by Patricia Newman is about the extensive and truly marvelous communication among forest elephants. A lot of it is very deep “infrasound” and outside the range of human hearing; their huge ears enable them to capture these deep rumbles. The scientists profiled in this book set up camp in the Central African Republic and established The Elephant Listening Project. Elephants were recorded and observed; the data helped determine how they use their environment and how to protect it. The beautiful photographs bring the project to life. (Non-Fiction)

Saving Winslow

September 15, 2018

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech is a chapter book about a young boy named Louie who becomes responsible for keeping a newborn miniature donkey alive. No one in his family is sure the donkey will live but Louie is determined to overcome their skepticism and nourish Winslow to health. The donkey is a heartwarming creature, and once he is well, realistically given the annoying habit of braying loudly and frequently. Fortunately, this tendency will ultimately come in handy. Louie and his family are down to earth and real life, and there are friends and relatives that round out the cast. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Who Am I

September 15, 2018

Who Am I by Tristan Mory is an adorable pull the tabs board book. Each halfway hidden animal gets its own page with a description of its primary characteristic. When the tab is pulled the animal is revealed. The bright colors and hands-on aspect make this a particularly fun read aloud for little readers.

Outside My Window

September 15, 2018

Outside My Window by Linda Ashman travels the world and looks out the window of a variety of homes and describes what you see in each location, all of which are identified in the appendix. The text is rhyming and the paintings capture the distinct and authentic personalities of each place. It is likely that the book will pique curiosity about travel. The conclusion is a comforting acknowledgment that the world is in fact quite small.

Noodleheads Find Something Fishy

September 15, 2018

Noodleheads Find Something Fishy by Tedd Arnold will have everyone smiling. Mac and Mac, the illogical noodleheads, try to "tackle" fishing with little success. Outsmarted by the biggest fish ever, they both miss the boat but kind of learn the ropes. The characters are both nonsensical and whimsical. The graphic novel unfolds with cheerful action-packed panels that are easy to follow. Highly recommended for young readers with a sense of humor. Adults will laugh too!

Kitten Construction Company--Meet the House Kittens

September 15, 2018

Kitten Construction Company--Meet the House Kittens is a graphic novel by John Patrick Green starring Marmalade, a kitten with an architecture degree desperate to be taken seriously in the face of her adorableness. Her initial visit to the city planner is positive in terms of his reaction to her plans, but in the end, he does not hire her. She begins a quest to build a team and prove their worth. Cat lovers will relate to the very entertaining antics of the kittens (especially Bubbles the plumber) as they build a mansion for the mayor. Everyone will enjoy the triumphant conclusion

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise

September 15, 2018

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by Davis Ezra Stein is very funny. The elephant (element) of surprise is in every story the chicken’s father reads to her. The conclusions in the fractured fairy tales that are rearranged to accommodate the element/elephant are laugh out loud. The father’s insistence that there are no elephants in these stories is repeatedly proven wrong by his daughter. The exuberant, colorful paintings are a  real bonus.

Hush Up and Hibernate

September 15, 2018

Hush Up and Hibernate by Sandra Markle stars a patient mother bear trying to get her cub into their den before winter arrives. The cub has the bear in the forest version of bedtime delaying tactics down to a science and tries the mother's patience. She finally prevails with one last well placed "ENOUGH!" and into the den, they go. But the cub has one last question….The illustrations are vibrant and lively

The Honeybee

September 15, 2018

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall announces the bee’s arrival with a dazzling double page spread. The energetic bees are portrayed almost as though they are about to fly off the page. Subjects like the bee dance and the manufacture of honey are explained via buoyant illustrations that capture the fascinating cycle of the bee’s year. The book does a great job of introducing bee facts to youngsters.

The Day You Begin

September 15, 2018

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson is a delightful read aloud for the early days of school. A young girl adjusts to school, where she feels no one is quite like her. The book gives examples of how young students might feel different based on their clothes, hair, a way of talking, perceived athletic ability, lunch choices, or even what they did over the summer. The fact the narrator spent the summer at home reading and caring for her little sister becomes a triumphant shout out to the power of stories to take a reader everywhere. The day you begin is the moment you realize that everyone is at least a little bit like you, and even better not like you at all. Endearing illustrations of a diverse community of children enhance the gentle messaging.

Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission

September 15, 2018

Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission by Emily Calandrelli gives this science loving heroine a formidable task. She is part of a group project that has been potentially sabotaged, so she plans a break into the teacher's closet to check and make sure all is well with her team's work. Among other things, she must evade a clever parrot, use her lock picking skills and boot up her robot George--while trying to keep her team on course. The appendices explain the real science behind the hurdles she has to overcome. The story does allow for a certain amount of questionable behavior, but never without consequences.

Season at the Farm--Year-Round Celebrations at the Elliott Homestead

September 3, 2018

Seasons at the Farm--Year-Round Celebrations at the Elliott Homestead by Shaye Elliott is a lifestyle book as well as a recipe collection. Rustic life’s realities can certainly be beautifully photographed. The author is very honest about the challenges of managing a large family on a farmstead. The caramelized peaches recipe is off the charts good! And her yummy rosemary infused honey recipe requires no heating, preserving the goodness of raw honey. It’s fun to page through, and we guarantee you will find inspiration. (Non-Fiction/Cookbook)

SLOW--Simple Living For a Frantic World

September 3, 2018

SLOW--Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary is the author’s story of her effort to disconnect from a life that felt over engineered and over committed. Her personal reevaluation of what it meant to live a successful life is revelatory and her “how to do it” is very straightforward. There are chapters on familiar subjects like decluttering and practical examples of changes her family made in areas like technology, food, and exercise. There is a comparison table towards the end called “More of This, Less of That” that sums everything up nicely. It’s well worth the time to read. (Non-Fiction)

Reader Come Home--The Reading Brain in a Digital World

September 3, 2018

Reader Come Home--The Reading Brain in a Digital World by MaryAnne Wolf takes a sober, balanced look at the changes technology is making to the reading brain. It is written in the form of letters with lots of examples and anecdotes to go with the facts. It makes you think about the impact our distracting screens have on “deep” reading. Reading actually began a relatively short 6,000 years ago on the human continuum and our brains quickly developed to accommodate this new way to understand words. Our compromised attention spans work against “deep reading” but she is cautiously optimistic we will find a path that preserves the advantages of the reading life. (Non-Fiction)

DopeSick

September 3, 2018

DopeSick by Beth Macy is riveting and sobering. The root of the opioid and heroin crisis, a constant in today’s headlines, is analyzed. The author is based in Roanoke VA, one of the original epicenters of the addiction crisis responsible for 72.000 deaths in 2017. Her journalistic prose style is tailor-made for her explanation of how we got here and who is to blame. It's a good combination of chronological facts on the development of the drugs and their marketing strategy, interspersed with the personal stories of families, doctors, EMTs and others caught up in the unfolding disaster. (Non-Fiction)

Bad Blood--Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

September 3, 2018

Bad Blood--Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou is the story of Theranos, the blood testing company founded by Elizabeth Holmes that purported to develop a
“one prick” blood test that would end venous draws forever. It’s a fascinating look at criminal subterfuge and the surprising willingness of investors to jump on the next "great new thing" in Silicon Valley, in this case, based on fraudulent scientific evidence. It reads like a thriller. There are plenty of black eyes to go around in this story! (Non-Fiction)