Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Plays, Seashore and Medical Myths

The Best American Short Plays 2008-2009 edited by Barbara Parisi
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books is proud to continue to publish the series that for decades has been the standard for excellence for one-act plays in America. The sixteen plays in this volume deal with complex social issues and confront some of Life's most difficult junctures.

The Naturalist's Guide to the Atlantic Seashore by Scott Shumway
This is the ultimate guide to the diverse ecosystems of the Atlantic Coast from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras. From the tiniest diatom found in coastal tide pools to the giant baleen whales cruising the vast ocean, the species and habitats that make up the character of the seashore are described in detail for the enjoyment and enlightenment of beachgoers of all stripes.

Doctor Chopra Says Medical Facts & Myths Everyone Should Know by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra
Once upon a time, maintaining your health seemed relatively simple. But today we're barraged with a never-ending array of conflicting medical advice. It's all terribly confusing and most of us aren't sure what news we can trust and what we can ignore. Dr. Chopra has teamed up with renowned cardiologist Dr. Alan Lotvin to give you the most cutting-edge medical research available. They explain how to tell the difference between true medical news and irrevelant media hype.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cats, Memoirs, and FBI agents

Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme by Carole Nelson Douglas
Temple Barr, publicist extraordinaire, is itching to bring off her most dangerous and exciting assignment, helping to launch an endeavor that many a Vegas showman has dreamed of -- creating a Las Vegas mob museum/casino. A buried safe rumored to contain scads of mob loot is found underneath one of the hotels during the renovations and Temple has a grand scheme to do a live media event surrounding the opening of this portal to the past. They discover there isn't money to be had...but there is a two-day-old body wearing a white tie and tails!

The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp
Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar's Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every slight she ever suffered, every conquest she ever made. Kschessinska 's riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a world forever altered. As civilization crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary: FBI agent Brad Wolgast, a good man haunted by what he's done in the line of duty; and six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte, a refugee from the doomed scientific project.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Noir, New Yorker, and Scotland

The Gordian Knot by Bernhard Schlink
Georg Polger ekes out a lonely living as a freelance translator in the south of France, until he is approached by a certain Mr. Bulnakov, who has an intriguing proposition: Georg is to take over a local translation agency and finish a project left by the previous owner, who died in a mysterious accident. The money is right and then there is the matter of Bulnakov's secretary Francoise, with whom Georg has fallen hopelessly in love.

20 Under 40: Stories from the New Yorker edited by Deborah Treisman
This book presents twenty young writers, chosen by The New Yorker, whose work will help define the future of American letters. The range of voices assembled here is extraordinary: from lyrical realism to satirical comedy, from sociopolitical narratives of immigration and identity to genre-bending metaphysical fantasies.

Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King
Shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, a young Saxon princess and her family--including the outlawed Edgar of England--ask sanctuary of the warrior-king Malcolm Canmore, who shrewdly sees the political advantage. He promises to aid Edgar and the Saxon cause in return for the hand of Edgar's sister, Margaret in marriage. A foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret adapts to life among the barbarian Scots, bears princes, and shapes the fierce warrior Malcolm into a sophisticated ruler. Yet even as the king and queen build a passionate and tempestuous partnership, the Scots distrust her. When her husband brings Eva, a Celtic bard, to court as a hostage for the good behavior of the formidable Lady MacBeth, Margaret expects trouble. Instead, an unlikely friendship grows between the queen and her bard.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cold Dawn

Cold Dawn by Carla Neggers
The small town of Black Falls, Vermont, finally feels safe again -- until search-and-rescue expert Rose Cameron discovers a body, burnt almost beyond recognition. Almost. Rose is certain that she knows the victims identity...and that his death was no accident.

Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
By the side of a lake in Brandenburg, a young architect builds the house of his dreams - a summerhouse with wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass windows the colour of jewels, and a bedroom with a hidden closet, all set within a beautiful garden. But the land on which he builds has a dark history of violence that began with the drowning of a young woman in the grip of madness, and that grows darker still over the course of the century. With this haunting evocation of a home and its buried secrets, layer after layer of German history reveals the beating heart and unique memories that lie beneath.

Men of Bronze by Scott Oden
It is 526 B.C. and the empire of the Pharoahs is dying, crushed by the weight of its own antiquity. Decay riddles its cities, infects its aristocracy, and weakens its armies. While across the expanse of Sinai, like jackals drawn to a carrion, the forces of the King of Persia watch and wait. Leading the fight to preserve the soul of Egypt is Hasdrabal Barca, Pharoah's deadliest killer. Caught in the midst of this violence is Jauharah, a slave in the House of Life. Though her hands tend to Barca's wounds, it is her spirit that heals and changes him. He is now a man motivated as much by love as anger. Nevertheless honor and duty have bound Barca to the fate of Egypt.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tales of Redemption, Knitting, and World War II

Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox by Greg Fitzsimmons
Greg Fitzsimmons has made a lot of what appear to be bad decision. It's what he was raised to do. Most parents would hide or destroy any evidence so clearly demonstrating their child's failures, but - lucky for us - Greg Fitzsimmon's family has preserved each mistake in its original envelope like a trophy in a case, lest he ever forget where he came from.

Stitch 'N Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics by Debbie Stoller
Take your knitting to the next level! Learn intarsia knitting in a single setting. Work Fair Isle with a smile. Knit lace with grace, and don't freak when it's time to steek. Plus cable, double knitting, beading, embroidery, how to work short rows, and useful cast-ons, bind-offs, increases and decreases.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Petty Magic

Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker by Camille DeAngelis
Evelyn Harbinger sees nothing wrong with a one-night stand. At 146 years old, Eve may look like she bakes oatmeal cookies in the afternoon and dozes in her rocking chair in the evening, but once the gray hair and wrinkles are traded for jet-black tresses and porcelain skin, she can still turn heads as the beautiful girl she once was. Can't fault a girl for having a little fun, can you?

Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman
Thirteen-year old Lainey Emerson is the middle child in a home police are already familiar with: her mom works too much and her stepfather favors his own blood over another man's problems--namely Lainey and her wild older sister. When Lainey fails to come home from a night out with friends, his disappearance is dismissed by the Coral Springs PD as just another disillusioned South Florida teen running away from suburban drama and an unhappy home life. But FDLE Special Agent Bobby Dees, who heads up the department's difficult Crimes Against Children Squad (CAC), is not quite so sure.

Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey

In Lackey's worlds, elves and vampires walk among humans, ancient gods wield powers they never abandoned, and mankind's own technologies create new opportunities for magic-workers and spirit-creatures to exploit. This book contains three all-new, never-before-published, short urban fantasy novels featuring three resourceful heroines and three different takes on the modern world and on magics both ancient and cutting-edge.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Inspiration, Hope, and Lessons

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness -- And a Trove of Letters -- Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup
Shortly before Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper ad offered cash gifts to seventy-five families in distress. Readers were asked to send letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author's grandfather Sam Stone was inspired to place this ad and help his fellow Cantonians as they prepared for the cruelest Christmas most of them would ever endure. Moved by the stories of suffering and hope in the letters, which he discovered in a suitcase seventy-five years later, Ted Gup set out to unveil the lives behind them, searching for records and relatives all over the country to flesh out the family sagas hinted at in those letters.

Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language by Deborah Fallows
Deborah Fallows has spent much of her life learning languages and travelling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises involved in learning Mandarin, China's most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering the behavior and habits of its people and the conundrums of its culture.

Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic
Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disability to live an independent, rich, fulfilling life, becoming a model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, Nick spreads his central message: the most important goal for anyone is to find their life's purpose despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in their way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

History - Rivalries and Voyages

My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth that Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone
The scene of John Wilkes Booth shooting Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theatre is among the most vivid and indelible images in American history. The literal story of what happened on April 14, 1865, is familiar: Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth, a lunatic enraged by the Union victory and the prospect of black citizenship. Yet who Booth really was -- besides a killer-- is less well known. The magnitude of his crime has obscured for generations a startling personal story that was integral to his motivation. This sweeping family saga revives an extraordinary figure whose name has been missing, until now, from the story of President Lincoln's death. Edwin Booth, John Wilkes's older brother by four years, was in his day the biggest star of the American stage.

The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin with introduction by David Quammen
When Charles Darwin revealed his radical theories of biology in 1859, he sparked fierce controversy that continues to this day. Here is the journal that started it all -- Darwin's gripping first-person account of his landmark voyage to South America, with his original interpretations of the Galapagos ecosystem and the impact of nature and selection. Best-selling nature writer and biography David Quammen introduces the story of the HMS Beagle, which set sail in 1831 to chart the waters off South America. Darwin, age 22, enlisted as ship's naturalist on a journey that became the defining event of his life.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Darwin in Galapagos: Footstep to a New World by K. Thalia Grant and Gregory B. Estes
In 1835, during his voyage on HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin spent several weeks in Galapagos exploring the islands and making extensive notes on their natural history. This is the first book to recreate Darwin's historic visit to the islands, following in his footsteps day by day and island by island as he records all that he observes around him.

Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer
One hundred fifty years ago, Charles Darwin revolutionized biology, but did he refute intelligent design (ID)? In this book, Meyer argues that he did not. Much confusion surrounds the theory of intelligent design. Frequently misinterpreted by the media, politicians, and local school boards, intelligent design can be defended on purely scientific grounds in accordance with the same rigorous methods that apply to every proposed origin-of-life theory.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon by Mercedes Lackey
Kidnapping Persephone should have been an easy task. But in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, nothing's ever simple -- and the wrong blonde goddess is stolen by mistake, leaving Prince Leopold without his new bride. At least until he braves the realm of the dead to get her back.

Valeria's Cross by Kathi Macias & Susan Wales
After her first love is martyred, Valeria, the daughter of Roman Emperor Diocletian is forced to marry his murderer. Can her marriage survive if it's built on religious opposition? Will she?

The Countess by Rebecca Johns

In 1611, Countess Ersebet Bathory, a powerful Hungarian noblewoman, stood helpless as masons walled her inside her castle tower, dooming her to spend her final years in solitary confinement. Her crime: the gruesome murders of dozens of female servants , mostly young girls tortured to death for displeasing their ruthless mistress. Her opponents painted her as a blood-thirsty skrata--a witch--a portrayal that would expand to grotesque proportions through the centuries.

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu
Li Jing, a successful happily married businessman, is dining at a grand hotel in Shanghai when a gas explosion shatters the building. A shard of glass neatly pierces Li Jing's forehead, obliterating his ability to speak Chinese. The only words that emerge from his mouth are faltering phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Science, Math and Cupcakes

Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks by Tyler Nordgren
Nordgren examines a range of astronomical topics and makes the connection between them and the landscapes, processes, and cultures which can be seen and experienced within specific U.S. national parks. For each park and topic the story unfolds in three steps and the author takes us from the coast of Maine to the Yellowstone volcano, from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the Rocky Mountains, exploring the natural links between the features of the parks and those of our Universe.

Atlantis and 2012: The Science of the Lost Civilization and the Prophecies of the Maya by Frank Joseph
Based on more than 25 years of research around the globe and statements from Edgar Cayce about Atlantis and its Pacific sister civilization of Lemuria, Frank Joseph reveals that the Mayan calendar was brought to Mexico by survivors of Atlantis. Uncovering the Atlantean influences in both ancient Mesoamerican culture and ancient Egyptian culture, he links the demise of Atlantis with the birth of the Olmec civilization in Mexico (the progenitors of the Maya), the beginning of the first Egyptian dynasty, and the start of the Mayan calendar.

Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures by Ian Stewart
Professor Stewart presents a new and magical mix of games, puzzles, paradoxes, brainteasers, and riddles. He mingles these with forays into ancient and modern mathematical thought, appallingly hilarious mathematical jokes, and inquiries into the great mathematical challenges of the present and past.

The Art of Cupcakes: More than 40 Festive Recipes by Noga Hitron
Weddings...birthday parties...Valentine's Day get-togethers... There's a fancifully decorated cupcake for every occasion in this imaginative collection. Choose from an assortment of tiny treats that feature sweet fondant hearts, daisies, monsters, animals, lollipops, and even a baby booty!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cussler readalikes

Did you really like Clive Cussler's books like Lost Empire? Are you looking for other authors like her? Check out these suggested titles below! If you're a member of an OCLN library then just click on the link to place it on hold.

Cure by Robin Cook
With her young son's potentially fatal neuroblastoma in complete remission, New York City medical examiner Laurie Montgomery returns to work, only to face the case of her career. The investigation into the death of CIA agent Kevin Markham is a professional challenge-and has Laurie's colleagues wondering if she still has what it takes after so much time away. Markham's autopsy results are inconclusive, and though it appears he's been poisoned, toxicology fails to corroborate Laurie's suspicions. While her coworkers doubt her assassination theory, her determination wins over her husband, fellow medical examiner Jack Stapleton, and together they discover associations to a large pharmaceutical company and several biomedical start-ups dealing with stem-cell research. Laurie and Jack race to connect the dots before they are consumed in a dangerous game of biotech espionage.

Santa Fe Edge by Stuart Woods
If you run into trouble in Santa Fe, Ed Eagle is the man to see. Ed Eagle, the six-feet-six, take-no-prisoners Santa Fe attorney, has recovered from his encounters with Mexican organized crime and-more treacherously-his ex-wife, Barbara. Now a mysterious new client has come his way, one who may shed light into some dark corners of Ed's past...and put him in danger once more.

Bad Blood by John Sandford
One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator- and a young man hits him on the head with a steel bar, drops him into the grain bin, waits until he's sure he's dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the "accident." Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers, who quickly breaks the kid down...and the next day the boy's found hanging in his cell. Remorse? Virgil isn't so sure, and as he investigates he begins to uncover a multigeneration, multifamily conspiracy-a series of crimes of such monstrosity that, though he's seen an awful lot in his life, even he has difficulty in comprehending it...and in figuring out what to do next.

Crossfire by Dick Francis

Shell-shocked and missing a foot-lost to an IED during his tour of duty in Afghanistan-Captain Tom Forsyth has been sent "home" by the army and, at loose ends, returns to his estranged mother's house for the first time since he joined up at seventeen. But Josephine Kauri, the "first lady of British racing," has always put the horses she trains first and her family last. Tom soon finds himself strained to the breaking point with his mother and stepfather. But there's another reason for the stifling tension at Kauri House Stables: Josephine is being blackmailed for a hefty sum every week-and forced to make her horses lose. Retirement is not an option, as she has been warned that it will result in the thing she most fears: exposure and ridicule . . . and prison, when the government finds out what she's been hiding. Tom sets out to discover and defeat this hidden enemy using his finely honed military skills. But can he save his mother's reputation and career, or will he find himself caught in the cross fire?

Want more readalikes on different authors? Send your requests/suggestions/comments to me at

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Sourland by Joyce Carol Oates
This is sixteen previously uncollected stories that explore how the power of violence, loss, and grief shape both the psyche and the soul. From a desperate man who dons a jack-o'-lantern head as a prelude to a most curious sort of courtship, to a "story of stabbing" many times recounted in the life of a lonely girl; from a beguiling young woman librarian whose amputee state attracts a married man an father, to the concluding title story of an unexpectedly redemptive love rooted in radical aloneness and isolation.

Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub
In a lovely suburban town just north of New York City, the gossip mill runs more efficiently than the commuter-train line. And in every impeccably decorated house, they're talking about Lauren Walsh. They say that nothing could be worse than being abandoned by your husband for another woman. They're wrong... All Lauren wants is to protect her children from the pain of her messy divorce. But when their father goes missing, a case of mistaken identity puts all their lives in danger, and a stealthy predator lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting.

Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer

Paul has been on his own since he was a teenager, leading a life of freedom and independence, beholden to no one and nothing. Fearless, resolute, and guided by his own private moral code, he has hunted for food in Alaska, fought forest fires, and been deputized in a manhunt for a kidnapper in South Dakota. Once he thought his life would have no particular rhyme or reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he meets the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate Ellis and her daughter, Ruby, who offer order and constancy. But Paul is a man of deep convictions, and the compromises we all make to get along in the world elude him.

Indian Summer by Elizabeth Darrell
Basking in the warmth of an Indian summer, the British Military in Germany hold an Open Day to ease the stress of constant movements in personnel to and from war zones. Entertainments include medieval knights, jousting, and, for children, a diver in a water tank fighting synthetic oceanic monsters. At midnight, guards discover a body in the tank, with the tentacles of a lifelike jellyfish wound tightly around his throat. The dead man is Corporal Philip Kean, recently returned from Afghanistan, but when officials call to tell his wife the sad news it seems that she and the children have vanished.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elizabeth Berg readalikes

Did you really like Elizabeth Berg's books like Year of Pleasures? Are you looking for other authors like her? Check out these suggested titles below! If you're a member of an OCLN library then just click on the link to place it on hold.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards's two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt is threatened.

Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller

One minute John is the cornerstone of Eva's world, rock to his two teenage stepdaughters and his own son Theo; the next he is tossed through the air in a traffic accident. His sudden death changes everything. Eva struggles with the desolation of loneliness, finding herself drawn back to her untrustworthy ex-husband; Emily, the eldest daughter, grapples with her new-found independence and responsibility. Little Theo can only begin to fathom the permanence of his father's death. But for the middle child Daisy, John's absence opens up a whole world of confusion. Just at the onset of adolescence and blossoming sexuality, Daisy is exposed to the terrifying duplicity of life, the instability that hovers just beyond the safety of parental love, and the powerlessness of that love to protect or even console her. In steps a man only too willing to take advantage of her emotions.

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Jessie Sullivan has been married half her life, and has become accustomed to her role. But when she returns to the isolated island she grew up on to establish why her mother has been behaving oddly, she is to find a lot more than she came looking for. A loving, exuberant character, who believes herself to be happy, she has forgotten a hidden part of her spirit - the part represented by the beautiful, vibrant and legendary mermaid carved on a chair in the island's monastery. When Jessie falls passionately in love with a monk who is close to taking his final vows, she discovers a place in herself that she had never previously imagined could exist.

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen

It’s an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice’s perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of Rise and Shine, the country’s highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break–but not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike. In an instant, it’s the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan’s long shadow. The effect of Meghan’s on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan’s son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget’s perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.

Want more readalikes on different authors? Send your requests/suggestions/comments to me at

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pirates of the Levant

Pirates of the Levant by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Accompanied by his protege Inigo, Captain Alatriste accepts a job as a mercenary aboard a Spanish galleon. The ship sets sail from Naples on a journey that will take them to some of the most remote--and notorious--outpost of the empire: Morocco, Algeria, and finally Malta, for a stunning and bloody battle on the high seas that will challenge even the battle-hardened Alatriste's resolve.

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
In 1551, King Joao III of Portugal decided to give Archduke Maximilian an unusual wedding present: an elephant named Soloman, along with his keeper, Subhro. The two have been living in dismal conditions, forgotten in a corner of the palace grounds. When it occurs to the king and queen that an elephant might be an appropriate wedding gift, everyone rushes to get them ready: Subhro is given two new suits of clothes and Soloman a long-overdue scrub. Accompanied by the archduke, his new bride, and the royal guard, our unlikely heroes traverse a continent riven by the Reformation and Civil War.

A Place Apart: A Cape Cod Reader edited by Robert Fineli
In this rich collection you'll find Wampanoag creation myths, eyewitness accounts of the Pilgrims' first landing in 1620; harrowing tales of the whaling and fishing industries; and portraits of Provincetown's Portuguese fishermen and Bohemian artists and the residents who engage each year in the Cape's summer rituals.