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Last Updated: Apr 3, 2014 URL: http://ralresearch.creighton.edu/new_books_for_your_lifelong_learning Print Guide Email Alerts

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April 2014

 

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A Treacherous Paradise - Henning Mankell; Laurie Thompson (Translator)
Call Number: PT 9876.23 .A49M6613 2013
Publication Date: 2013-07-09

"In 1904, Hanna Lundmark, a young widow from poverty-stricken northern Sweden, arrives in Lourenco Marques, a coastal town in Portuguese East Africa. Following a series of unexpected events, she becomes the owner of a prosperous brothel of black prostitutes. Her new environment proves difficult to navigate, particularly its blatant racism. Nobody knows what to make of a rich white businesswoman, either. Black-white relations, evoked with subtle skill and mordant humor, are marked by mutual incomprehension and fear, and Hanna's attempts at friendliness and generosity toward her employees are met with unnatural silences. When she obeys her conscience and makes a gutsy decision against bigotry, the plot takes turns at once surprising and not. Mankell, Scandinavian crime fiction's brightest star, structures his latest around a true story from turn-of-the-20th-century Mozambique. Considerable suspense derives from the tense atmosphere and the fact that neither Hanna nor the reader knows quite what will happen next. The tragic effects of colonialism in this divided land emerge slowly via a succession of shocking reveals. This powerful work boasts a courageous, well-drawn heroine." — Booklist

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The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Call Number: PS 3570 .A657G65 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-22

"Cataclysmic loss and rupture with criminal intent visited upon the young have been Tartt's epic subjects as she creates one captivating and capacious novel a decade, from The Secret History (1992) to The Little Friend (2002) to this feverish saga. In the wake of his nefarious father's abandonment, Theo, a smart, 13-year-old Manhattanite, is extremely close to his vivacious mother until an act of terrorism catapults him into a dizzying world bereft of gravity, certainty, or love. Tartt writes from Theo's point of view with fierce exactitude and magnetic emotion as, stricken with grief and post-traumatic stress syndrome, he seeks sanctuary with a troubled Park Avenue family and, in Greenwich Village, with a kind and gifted restorer of antique furniture. Fate then delivers Theo to utterly alien Las Vegas, where he meets young outlaw Boris. As Theo becomes a complexly damaged adult, Tartt, in a boa constrictor-like plot, pulls him deeply into the shadow lands of art, lashed to seventeenth-century Dutch artist Carel Fabritius and his exquisite if sinister painting, The Goldfinch. Drenched in sensory detail, infused with Theo's churning thoughts and feelings, sparked by nimble dialogue, and propelled by escalating cosmic angst and thriller action, Tartt's trenchant, defiant, engrossing, and rocketing novel conducts a grand inquiry into the mystery and sorrow of survival, beauty and obsession, and the promise of art." — Booklist

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Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety - Eric Schlosser
Call Number: U 264.3 .S45 2013
Publication Date: 2013-09-17

"Best-selling author Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) explores the history of America's attempts to make its nuclear weapons available for the purposes of deterrence while still safely storing them. The record, according to Schlosser, is very mixed, with thousands of minor to major accidents over the past 60 years. He recounts the major accident involving an armed nuclear missile silo in Damascus, AR, in September 1980, to show how complicated systems involving human actors inevitably fail and can easily result in catastrophe. Basing his conclusions on extensive interviews with those involved in the Damascus incident and many others, as well as on recently declassified records, Schlosser emphasizes that the U.S. military's demands for reliable nuclear weapons have prevailed over the concerns of weapon designers and civilian leadership about the need for safe weapons storage that would ensure low risk of accidental detonation. While Americans found intentional nuclear war a frightening prospect during the Cold War, accidental nuclear disasters were an unrecognized danger." — Library Journal

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This Side of Brightness - Colum McCann
Call Number: PR 6063 .C335T48 2003
Publication Date: 2003-01-01

At the turn of the century, Nathan Walker comes to New York City to take the most dangerous job in the country. A sandhog, he burrows beneath the East River, digging the tunnel that will carry trains from Brooklyn to Manhattan. In the bowels of the riverbed, the sandhogs—black, white, Irish, Italian—dig together, the darkness erasing all differences. Above ground, though, the men keep their distance until a spectacular accident welds a bond between Walker and his fellow sandhogs that will both bless and curse three generations.

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Hostage - Elie Wiesel; Catherine Temerson (Translator)
Call Number: PQ 2683 .I32O8313 2012
Publication Date: 2012-08-21

From Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and author of Night, a charged, deeply moving novel about the legacy of the Holocaust in today's troubled world and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It's 1975, and Shaltiel Feigenberg—professional storyteller, writer and beloved husband—has been taken hostage: abducted from his home in Brooklyn, blindfolded and tied to a chair in a dark basement. His captors, an Arab and an Italian, don't explain why the innocent Shaltiel has been chosen, just that his life will be bartered for the freedom of three Palestinian prisoners. As his days of waiting commence, Shaltiel resorts to what he does best, telling stories—to himself and to the men who hold his fate in their hands.

With beauty and sensitivity, Wiesel builds the world of Shaltiel's memories, haunted by the Holocaust and a Europe in the midst of radical change. A Communist brother, a childhood spent hiding from the Nazis in a cellar, the kindness of liberating Russian soldiers, the unrest of the 1960s—these are the stories that unfold in Shaltiel's captivity, as the outside world breathlessly follows his disappearance and the police move toward a final confrontation with his captors.

Impassioned, provocative and insistently humane, Hostage is both a masterly thriller and a profoundly wise meditation on the power of memory to connect us to the past and our shared need for resolution.

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On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History - Nicholas A. Basbanes
Call Number: Z 247 .B28 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-15

"Like silk and gunpowder, paper was invented by the ancient Chinese. In this peripatetic account of all things paper, from the ancients to the present, journalist Basbanes (Every Book Its Reader) follows paper's trail as it slowly reached the West by way of the Silk Road, arriving in Europe almost 1,000 years after its invention (it didn't get to England until 1494). But Basbanes isn't just interested in paper's conventional and specialized history. His aim is to show how the material has penetrated all aspects of our lives (books, stamps, money, blueprints, packaging, and so on). Each episodic chapter takes the author on visits to the people who paper our lives, from industrial titans to craftspeople rediscovering ancient modes of making paper to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero tasked with preserving a record of that single day." — Library Journal

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The Faraway Nearby - Rebecca Solnit
Call Number: PS 3569 .O585Z46 2013
Publication Date: 2013-06-13

"Sometimes the key arrives long before the lock. Sometimes a story falls in your lap. Once about a hundred pounds of apricots fell into mine." So begins Rebecca Solnit's exquisitely written new book about the forces that connect us and the ways we tell our stories.

What she made of the apricots, of her mother's disintegrating memory, of an invitation to Iceland, and of an illness are the raw materials, but The Faraway Nearby goes beyond her own life, as Solnit spirals out into the stories she heard and read that helped her navigate her difficult passage. She takes us into the lives of others—an arctic cannibal, the young Che Guevara among the leprosy afflicted, an Icelandic artist and her labyrinth, a blues musician who cures himself of drinking by the stories he tells himself—to understand warmth and coldness, kindness and imagination, distance and empathy, making art and making self.

A marvelous Russian doll of a book in which stories contain stories and chapters mirror themselves, and with a narrative as rich as the fairy tales it explores, The Faraway Nearby is lush with incident and surprise, a fitting companion to Solnit's much-loved A Field Guide to Getting Lost

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Woes of the True Policeman - Roberto Bolaño; Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
Call Number: PQ 8098.12 .O38S5613 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-22

Author of The Savage Detectives and 2666

Crushed by a devastating scandal, university professor Óscar Amalfitano flees Barcelona for Santa Teresa—a Mexican city close to the U.S. border, where women are being killed in staggering numbers. There, Amalfitano begins an affair with Castillo, a young forger of Larry Rivers paintings, while his daughter, Rosa, reeling from the weight of his secrets, seeks solace in a romance of her own. Yet when she finds her father in bed with Castillo, Rosa is confronted with the full force of her crisis.

What follows is an intimate police investigation of Amalfitano, leading to a finale of euphoria and heartbreak. Featuring characters and stories from The Savage Detectives and 2666, the late Roberto Bolaño's unfinished Woes of the True Policeman mines the depths of art, memory, and desire—and marks the culmination of one of the great careers of world literature.

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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics - Daniel James Brown
Call Number: GV 796 .B76 2013
Publication Date: 2013-06-04

"In this sweeping saga, Brown vividly relates how, in 1936, nine working-class rowers from the University of Washington captured gold at the Berlin Olympics. Mentored not just by their coach but by legendary boat-builder George Pocock, these athletes overcame the hopelessness common during the Great Depression by learning to trust themselves and one another, and by rowing with grace and power. The crew's camaraderie and unmatched precision surpassed expectations, shocking the sporting world. Brown faithfully conveys rowing's stoic persistence, passion, and pain. He captures how and why this team rowed in flawless harmony. The story's depth comes from the memories that rower Joe Rantz shared with Brown shortly before his death as well as from Brown's interviews with crewmates' friends and family and their archives. In a brief epilog, Brown comments on the rowers' post-Olympic accomplishments." — Library Journal

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Iscariot - Tosca Lee
Call Number: PS 3612 .E34878I83 2014
Publication Date: 2014-01-07

"From the author of Demon and coauthor with Ted Dekker of the Book of Mortals series comes mind-bending biblical historical fiction that dares to put readers in the mind of the most infamous character of Christian history. Lee uses a historically accurate setting for a fictional story of young Judas from Sepphoris, who becomes a Zealot after his father dies on a Roman cross during a Jewish revolt. As an adult, Judas studies and practices Torah, and though he associates with Jewish revolutionaries-like Jesus-he carefully avoids the same fate as his father. The Gospels never tell exactly why Judas betrayed Jesus, but the author's theory is that Judas was no more confused or misguided than other disciples; however, his plans went terribly wrong. Some familiar scenes come to life ('"Hail," I whispered, and kissed him with trembling lips.') Though the book provides a speculative and unorthodox view of Judas, the research and writing is impeccable and masterful. Above all, Lee insinuates a lingering question for the reader: is it true and would I have done it, too?" — Publishers Weekly

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Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry - Christine Sneed
Call Number: PS 3619 .N523P67 2013
Publication Date: 2013-02-12

"Sneed's first collection was awarded the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, an honor clearly deserved given the lucidity of her style, the depth of her perception, and her supple mix of wit, frankness, and compassion. Beautifully interiorized, her provocative stories explore unbalanced relationships, particularly between men and women of differing ages. Sneed also has a rare gift for convincingly articulating the sensations and emotions of sex. A tale of monstrous rationality dramatizes a soul-killing arrangement between an elusive older man and a young woman, while a 55-year-old woman, a dancer, in love with a 35-year-old man, confronts the avalanche of fears age delivers. The volatile chemistry of fame and envy stokes the finely textured title story, which portrays a disaffected young woman confounded by the complications following the death of her grandfather, a renowned artist; a delectably unsettling tale about a successful screenwriter at her high-school reunion; and a masterfully counterintuitive story about an English professor and a movie star and his bodyguard. With a surprisingly futuristic and funny closing story, this is an exceptionally smart, connective, and moving collection." — Booklist

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Johnny Cash: The Life - Robert Hilburn
Call Number: ML 420 .C265H4 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-29

In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Holburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon whose colorful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age sixty-nine, that resulted in the brave, moving "Hurt" video. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert of 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. Hilburn's rich reporting shows the remarkable highs and deep lows that followed and haunted Cash in equal measure. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit on the jukebox; he wanted to use his music to lift people's spirits and help promote what he felt was the best of the American Spirit.

Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture—not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock, whose personal life was far more troubled, and whose musical and lyrical artistry much more profound, than even his most devoted fans ever realized.

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The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes - Sam Keith (Illustrator); Mike Dringenberg (Illustrator); Neil Gaiman
Call Number: PN 6728 .S26G35 2010 v.1
Publication Date: 2010-10-19


10 Volumes are available for checkout

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series Sandman is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In Preludes & Nocturned, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings," which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death. Includes issues 1-8 of the original series with completely new coloring, approved by the author.

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Agent Gates: And the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey - Camaren Subhiyah; Kyle Hilton (Illustrator)
Call Number: PN 6727 .S84A73 2013
Publication Date: 2013-01-01

"Something is amiss at Devonton Abbey-something even more troubling than the hedge maze's too-easy reputation. Gates, the valet to Lord Granville and secret agent for the Crown, has uncovered a plot to plunge the world into war. Aided by his own steam-powered leg and his fellow agents at Devonton-including the dowager countess, Devonton's leader of secret operations-Gates must stop the villains while maintaining his cover and keeping things running smoothly in the upstairs/downstairs world. Subhiyah creates a credible, paranormal spy story that stands on its own-with an added layer of humor as a parody of the popular Downton Abbey. Familiar characters are taken to their extremes, and the story's over-the-top conceit highlights even more clearly the absurdities of their normal lives. Hilton's illustrations are spot on, accurately portraying the actors from the television show while also capturing the atmosphere of steampunk spy action with the deadpan execution of popular web comics such as Wondermark." — Publishers Weekly

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A Universe from Nothing - Lawrence M. Krauss; Richard Dawkins (Afterword by)
Call Number: QB 981 .K773 2013
Publication Date: 2013-01-01

"Readers interested in the evolution of the universe will find Krauss's account lively and humorous as well as informative. In 1925, Edwin Hubble ('who continues to give me great faith in humanity, because he started out as a lawyer, and then became an astronomer') showed that the universe was expanding. But what was it expanding from? Virtually nothing, an 'infinitesimal point,' said George LeMaitre, who in 1929 proposed the idea of the Big Bang. His theory was later supported by the discovery of remnants of energy called cosmic microwave background radiation-'the afterglow of the Big Bang,' as Krauss calls it. Researchers also discovered that the universe is expanding not at a steady rate but accelerating, driving matter farther apart faster and faster. Krauss, a professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, explores the consequences of a universe dominated by the "seemingly empty space" left by expansion, urging focused study before expansion pushes everything beyond our reach. Readers will find the result of Krauss's celebration of our 'absolutely surprising and fascinating universe' as compelling as it is intriguing." — Publishers Weekly

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The Morels - Christopher Hacker
Call Number: PS 3608 .A248M67 2013
Publication Date: 2013-04-30

The Morels—Arthur, Penny, and Will—are a happy family of three living in New York City. So why would Arthur choose to publish a book that brutally rips his tightly knit family unit apart at the seams? Arthur's old schoolmate Chris, who narrates the book, is fascinated with this very question as he becomes accidentally reacquainted with Arthur. A single, aspiring filmmaker who works in a movie theater, Chris envies everything Arthur has, from his beautiful wife to his charming son to his seemingly effortless creativity. But things are not always what they seem.

The Morels takes a unique look at the power of art—literature, music and film in particular—and challenges us as readers to think about some fascinating questions to which there are no easy answers. Where is the line between art and obscenity, between truth and fiction, between revolutionary thinking and brainless shock value, between craftsmanship and commerce? Is it possible to escape the past? Can you save your family by destroying it?

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Powerful Phrases for Successful Interviews - Tony Beshara
Call Number: HF 5549.5 .I6B47157 2014
Publication Date: 2014-02-13

The job market is awash with qualified applicants. Yet employers rarely select based solely on merit. Instead, most hiring decisions are gut-level evaluations made in the first few minutes of an interview. What people say determines who lands a job and who does not.

Hiring expert Tony Beshara knows the words that trigger “yes” in the minds of employers—and in his handy new book, he arms candidates with hundreds of ready-to-use responses to even the toughest interview questions. Covering entry-level to executive positions and encompassing all industries, this quick-reference guide propels job seekers through every stage of the process. Readers learn power phrases to:

• Get their foot in the door
• Clearly communicate their skills, strengths, and experience—and why they would be a perfect fit
• Make a great impression at the crucial opening and close
• Score high on the likability factor
• Dispel lingering concerns about work history
• Give follow-up emails real impact
• Negotiate a strong job offer
• And more

After all, when it’s time to choose between a candidate who is perfect on paper and one who is persuasive in person, there’s no contest. Powerful Phrases for Successful Interviews gives you the right words to make the difference every time.

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Who Asked You? - Terry McMillan
Call Number: PS 3563 .C3868W46 2013
Publication Date: 2013-09-17

Terry McMillan's eighth novel, set in a mixed-race Los Angeles neighborhood, opens when Trinetta drops off her two young boys with her mother, Betty Jean—and then does a disappearing act. BJ, a sassy trademark McMillan matriarch who pulls no punches, already has her hands full picking up the slack for her other kids, coaching her best friend Tammy through her own tribulations, and dealing with two feuding sisters—all while holding down a job delivering room service at a hotel. As the drama takes shape, we hear from a rotating cast of characters— from eight-year-old Luther to BJ's son Dexter, serving a prison term, to Trinetta herself, who is trying to get her life back together.

Casting an intimate look at the burdens and blessings of family, Who Asked You? speaks to trusting your own judgement even when others don't agree and raises questions about how we care for one another and set limits for those we love. McMillan takes a wise, wry, and poignant look at issues we all face, brought to life by her signature voice and her latest group of unforgettable characters.

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Starting Over - Elizabeth Spencer
Call Number: PS 3537 .P4454A6 2014
Publication Date: 2014-01-13

"Set in the American South, new stories from veteran author Spencer look deeply at family connections and estrangements. For more than 50 years, her fiction, which includes seven story collections and nine novels, has been widely acclaimed and admired by such masters as Eudora Welty and Alice Munro. These nine tales are immediately accessible but carefully layered with tension, mystery, and unanswered questions. Is there really a boy in a tree, or is an old lady delusional? What happened, or did not happen, between a young woman and her (loosely defined) male cousin, who pays an unexpected visit? What possesses another visiting cousin, in town for a family wedding, to help out the morally dubious fiancee? Spencer leaves these questions open, allowing the reader to imagine the emotional deals that are made between husbands, wives, and assorted others as life continues beyond the page. Readers who have enjoyed Spencer's earlier work will not be disappointed by the current collection, and new readers will have the pleasure of discovering a large body of work that is bound to satisfy. — Library Journal

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The Young Professional's Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares - C. K. Gunsalus
Call Number: BJ 1725 .G86 2012
Publication Date: 2012-11-20

"A useful guide to potential ethical issues faced by young people starting out in the workplace, and how to handle them, professional ethics expert Gunsalus uses examples culled from her students and her own experiences to explore various dilemmas and pressures that employees encounter. Posting positive reviews of a product under a false identity, posing as a customer in a competitor's store, or copying course packets for friends are the kinds of situations that, by knowing our values before we face them, Gunsalus argues, we have a better chance of responding in a way that maintains our integrity. Gunsalus helpfully suggests imagining how we would feel if the requested action were recorded and broadcast to the world; as she writes, 'how things look from the outside can be an important element in considering what you are willing to do.' She also covers relationships in the workplace, suggesting that by adopting a 'professional persona' of treating everyone we work with, with courtesy and respect, regardless of our feelings about them, we can prevent most of the typical workplace conflicts from ever happening. In addition, she precisely explains how to report suspected misconduct." — Publishers Weekly

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The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer
Call Number: PR 6106 I44S56 2014
Publication Date: 2014-10-28

While on vacation with their parents, Matthew and his older brother snuck out in the middle of the night to cause mischief. Only Matthew came home safely. Now, Matthew tells us, he has found a way to bring his brother back—by going off his meds. Funneled through Matthew's slightly unreliable voice, the questions spark: What really unfolded that night so long ago? What happened to Matthew's brother? And what role did Matthew play?

What begins as the story of a lost boy turns into a story of a brave man, yearning to understand what happened that night, in the years since, and to his very person. The Shock of the Fall is tragic and tender and wonderful and heartbreaking and complicated, unafraid to look at dark and awful parts of life and the shadows of our hearts.

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Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See - Juliann Garey
Call Number: PS 3607 .A744T66 2012
Publication Date: 2012-12-26

"In her debut, screenwriter Garey delivers a commanding portrait of a Hollywood studio executive who so tires of covering up his bipolar disorder that he abandons his lucrative career and his family, traveling the world for decades. Told in snippets and in nonlinear format, the story of Greyson Todd's spectacular flameout encompasses touring as a relic pilgrim in Rome, becoming the victim of a scam perpetrated by Bedouins, engaging in sexual escapades in Thailand, and entering into marriage with the widow of an AIDS victim in Africa. Through it all, Greyson is haunted by memories of his father, who also suffered from bipolar disorder and who went on extravagant spending sprees that decimated his family's finances. When Greyson finally ends up in a psychiatric ward in New York City, undergoing 12 sessions of electroshock treatments, he begins to lose some of his most cherished memories, especially those of the wife and daughter he abandoned, and yet the novel ends on a hopeful note as Greyson strives to achieve stability in his life. A vividly written chronicle of one man's attempt to conquer his mental illness." — Booklist

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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert
Call Number: QE 721.2 .E97K65 2014
Publication Date: 2014-02-11

"Evidence of a human-made mass extinction seems everywhere around us: long lists of endangered species, high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air and oceans, and biodiversity losses from deforestation of the tropics. New Yorker staff writer Kolbert traveled all over the world to interview marine biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, forest ecologists, and paleontologists about their take on the Sixth Extinction (five other major extinctions have occurred in Earth's history). Tracing how extinction itself evolved as a scientific concept, Kolbert discusses the great animal extinctions of the past as well as the imminent loss of present-day animals such as the Sumatran rhino and the little brown bat. The charm of this book (inasmuch as a book about extinction can have charm) lies in Kolbert's hands-on approach to her subject—searching for Panamanian frogs in the dark, hunting for graptolite fossils in Scotland, and observing coral spawning at Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This solid, engaging, multidisciplinary science title should appeal to a broad range of science enthusiasts, particularly those interested in environmental conservation." — Library Journal

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Archetype - M. D. Waters
Call Number: PS 3623 .A86889A73 2013
Publication Date: 2014-02-06

"Set in a futuristic dystopia where women are scarce—fertile women, especially—Waters' debut thriller opens as Emma wakes up in a hospital, unsure of who she is or why she is there. The handsome man at her bedside assures her that he is her husband, and she lets him fill her head with details of their life together. But Emma has terrible nightmares in which she is trapped, as if she is being prepped for some bizarre experiment. The dreams intensify, as do daytime flashes of memory, and she is haunted by images of being held in some sort of camp or training ground where women are bred to be wives. Back in reality, Emma is slowly realizing the truth about the world around her, where wives are bought and branded and treated like property. What do her dreams have to do with reality and which is the more frightening scenario? Waters has created a fascinating world in this well-plotted tale." — Booklist

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Jonah Man - Christopher Narozny
Call Number: PS 3614 .A698J66 2012
Publication Date: 2012-04-17

"The title of this distinctive first novel is an expression that refers to a performer who, despite great effort, reaches the inevitable dwindling down of his career. The good news is Narozny's fascinating glimpse into vaudeville in 1920s America does anything but stagnate. Told from the perspectives of a one-handed juggler whose prospects have gone south, a teenage boy with a talent for stealing the show, his wheeler-dealer dad who boozes and canoodles, and a police inspector with close tabs on them all, the narrative traces the gritty life on the show circuit, one schmaltzy act after another. But beneath all the fake glitz and glamour, there's another story to tell: both the juggler and the drunk are addicted to an incandescent silver-blue substance, selling it to susceptible patrons on the side and skimming off their stash. All the characters are three-dimensional, each with a hidden soft spot that others unfortunately find opportunities to exploit. When the boy's drunk dad is found murdered with a prostitute, her 'wig crumpled blonde and bloody beside them,' and the cop investigates, there's motive around every corner. A classic whodunit ripe with spare, snappy prose and riddled with period language, this is one show-stopper that deserves a standing ovation" — Publishers Weekly

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To the End of June - Cris Beam
Call Number: HV 881 .B4193 2013
Publication Date: 2013-08-13

Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care, looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children at the critical points in their search for a stable, loving family.

The book mirrors the life cycle of a foster child and so begins with the removal of babies and kids from birth families. There’s a teenage birth mother in Texas who signs away her parental rights on a napkin only to later reconsider, crushing the hopes of her baby’s adoptive parents. Beam then paints an unprecedented portrait of the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the shuffling between pre-adoptive homes and group homes, the emotionally charged tug of prospective adoptive parents and the fundamental pull of birth parents. And then what happens as these system-reared kids become adults? Beam closely follows a group of teenagers in New York who are grappling with what aging out will mean for them and meets a woman who has parented eleven kids from the system, almost all over the age of eighteen, and all still in desperate need of a sense of home and belonging.

Focusing intensely on a few foster families who are deeply invested in the system’s success, To the End of June is essential for humanizing and challenging a broken system, while at the same time it is a tribute to resiliency and offers hope for real change.

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The Deer in the Mirror - Cary Holladay
Call Number: PS 3558 .O347777D44 2013
Publication Date: 2013-06-28

With a song-like voice and deep knowledge of the history and folklore of her native Virginia, Cary Holladay creates dazzling stories of hardship and ecstasy. A young widow romances a German immigrant while weighing a proposal from the colonial governor. Convicted of murdering her master, an enslaved woman is burned at the stake. A breakneck stagecoach ride gives a bricklayer's apprentice the power to save or destroy his fellow passengers. An aging bachelor despairs of his marriage to a Confederate orphan. A beautiful adventuress joins the 1898 Alaska Gold Rush, charms a violent gangster, and figures out the secret of his fabulous wealth.

This seventh book from an award-winning author spans 300 years in the Old Dominion. Holladay's people fight the wars, battle the floods, and wrest a living from a wilderness where "Time is God's, not ours"—so says a reformed prostitute whose obsessive love for an amnesiac Yankee soldier defines her life. With a sensuous, lyrical style, Holladay holds a distinctive place in contemporary fiction.

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The Dark Corner - Mark Powell
Call Number: PS 3616 .O88D37 2012
Publication Date: 2012-12-15

A troubled Episcopal priest and would-be activist, Malcolm Walker has failed twice over—first in an effort to shock his New England congregants out of their complacency and second in an attempt at suicide. Discharged from the hospital and haunted by images of the Iraq War and Abu Ghraib, he heads home to the mountains of northwestern South Carolina, the state's "dark corner," where a gathering storm of private grief and public rage awaits him.

Malcolm's life soon converges with people as damaged in their own ways as he is: his older brother, Dallas, a onetime college football star who has made a comfortable living in real-estate development but is now being drawn ever more deeply into an extremist militia; his dying father, Elijah, still plagued by traumatic memories of Vietnam and the death of his wife; and Jordan Taylor, a young, drug-addicted woman who is being ruthlessly exploited by Dallas's viperous business partner. As Malcolm tries to restart his life, he enters into a relationship with Jordan that offers both of them fleeting glimpses of heaven, even as hellish realities continue to threaten them.

In The Dark Corner, Mark Powell confronts crucial issues currently shaping our culture: environmentalism and the disappearance of wild places, the crippling effects of wars past and present, drug abuse, and the rise of right-wing paranoia. With his skillful plotting, feel for place, and gift for creating complex and compelling characters, Powell evokes a world as vivid and immediate as the latest news cycle, while at the same time he offers a nuanced reflection on timeless themes of violence, longing, redemption, faith, and love.

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Five Days at Memorial - Sheri Fink
Call Number: RA 975 .D57F56 2013
Publication Date: 2013-09-10

"Journalist Fink won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for her work on the harrowing events at New Orleans's Memorial Hospital during and after Hurricane Katrina, reporting that became the basis for this book. Two thousand patients, staff members, and their family and friends sought safety at Memorial as Katrina approached on Monday, August 28, 2005. Without power, running water, air-conditioning, or standard high-tech medical equipment, conditions quickly deteriorated, particularly for the oldest and most critically ill patients. It wasn't until Friday, September 1, that everyone was finally rescued, and, by that time, there had been 45 patient deaths-18 of them deemed suspicious by the New Orleans coroner. A legal hurricane followed, and one doctor and three nurses were accused of second-degree murder. Fink devotes half of her book to the criminal investigations and ensuing grand jury inquiry, guiding readers through the concepts of triage, euthanasia, and end-of-life care that made the cases so controversial. Fink's six years of research and more than 500 interviews yield a rich narrative full of complex characters, wrenching ethical dilemmas, and mounting suspense. General readers and medical professionals alike will finish the book haunted by the question, 'What would I have done?'" — Library Journal

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A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki
Call Number: PS 3565 .Z45T35 2013
Publication Date: 2013-03-12

"Ozeki's absorbing third novel (after All Over Creation) is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time: "time beings." Nao Yasutani is a Japanese schoolgirl who plans to "drop out of time"-to kill herself as a way of escaping her dreary life. First, though, she intends to write in her diary the life story of her great-grandmother Jiko, a Zen Buddhist nun. But Nao actually ends up writing her own life story, and the diary eventually washes up on the shore of Canada's Vancouver Island, where a novelist called Ruth lives. Ruth finds the diary in a freezer bag with some old letters in French and a vintage watch. Ruth's investigation into how the bag traveled from Japan to her island, and why it contains what it does, alternates with Nao's chapters. The characters' lives are finely drawn, from Ruth's rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani family's straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Tokyo. Nao's winsome voice contrasts with Ruth's intellectual ponderings to make up a lyrical disquisition on writing's power to transcend time and place. This tale from Ozeki, a Zen Buddhist priest, is sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigor." — Publishers Weekly

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Rose under Fire - Elizabeth Wein
Call Number: Juv PZ 7 .W4358Ros 2013
Publication Date: 2013-09-10

"Wein plunges into difficult territory in this engrossing companion novel to her lavishly honored Code Name Verity. Rose Justice, eighteen-year-old American pilot, delivers personnel and planes for Britains Air Transport Auxiliary. On her way home from liberated Paris in 1944, she is captured by Germans and sent to Ravensbrck, the notorious women's concentration camp, where shes beaten, starved, and forced to transport corpses of fellow prisoners. Rose is also befriended by the Rabbits—victims of Nazi doctors heinous medical experiments. Once again Wein has written a powerful, moving story of female friendship in World War II; her decision to tell the story as a combination of journal entries, letters, and survivors account softens but doesn't compromise the forthrightness with which she writes about Ravensbrck. 'I did not make [it] up,' she writes in her afterword. It really happened to 150,000 women. Rose's character—pilot, poet, former Girl Scout, survivor, and friend—becomes increasingly rich, deep, and nuanced, most compellingly in response to the French, Russian, and Polish women who befriend her. In plot and character this story is consistently involving, a great, page-turning read; just as impressive is how subtly Wein brings a respectful, critical intelligence to her subject." — Horn Book Magazine

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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants - Malcolm Gladwell
Call Number: BF 503 .G53 2013
Publication Date: 2013-10-01

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David's victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn't have won.

Or should he have?

In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland's Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms—all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.

In the tradition of Gladwell's previous bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog SawDavid and Goliath draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.

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Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala
Call Number: CT 1528 .D47A3 2013
Publication Date: 2013-03-05

On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she emerges reluctantly, slowly allowing her memory to take her back through the rich and joyous life she's mourning, from her family's home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her.

 

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