Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marine One by James W. Huston

Today’s recommendation, is for the guys, or anyone who enjoys fiction without romance, or mushy scenes – just the facts in a plot driven novel.

The president of the United States is killed when Marine One (the president’s helicopter) crashes during a bad thunderstorm. Marine Corps reserve pilot and trial attorney Mike Nolan is hired by the helicopter manufacturer to find out what happened. Americans want to blame the manufacturer of the helicopter for the accident. After all, it wasn’t even an American product: it was made in France!

Questions abound, such as: why was the president so determined to fly from Washington to Camp David that night? Why can’t the investigation team find the tip weights from the rotor blades? Why was Mike’s super private investigator murdered?

Those are just a few of the questions that Mike Nolan needs answered as the many twists and turns of this crime story are unraveled.

Home by Marilyn Robinson

This is a great book to ‘live in’ for a while. The setting and characters were first seen in the companion and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘Gilead’.
The book asks the question, “What does it mean to come home?”

Both Glory and Jack come back to their father’s house after 20 or more years away. Glory comes home first to care for her dying father. Soon after, her brother, Jack, the family’s prodigal son, comes home looking for refuge and peace from his troubled past. After so many years apart, they slowly try to reconnect.

The story is told by their father, an aging minister, who patiently tries to understand and communicate with his son. This is the story of a wayward son coming home to his Gilead, the town where he grew up, and to his father and sister, as he tries to reconcile his past and future.

The story line is simpIe but there is a wonderful complexity in the characters and great beauty in the author’s language. I liked this book because the author talks of things that matter; mercy, grace, truth and wisdom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Scrapbook by Phillip Gulley

Pastor Sam Gardener is determined that this year Christmas will be different. After years of less than stellar Christmas gifts for his wife he has an idea for a gift that his wife will never forget. In order to achieve this remarkable feat Sam enrolls in a scrapbooking class. It’s all down hill from there. Not only is Sam somewhat challenged when it comes to scrapbooking, he is also terribly inept at deception. Hiding the true reason for his Wednesday night absences from his wife leads to consequences that never ever occurred to Sam.

Author Philip Gulley, in his usual quiet, subtle manner, leads us down the path to a Christmas that will make us laugh loudly while at the same time opens our eyes to the true meaning of Christmas.

Cookies by Taste of Home

When it comes to Christmas baking, all of us have favourites to make, and eat. I know I have been using the same recipes for many years, but this year, I’m going to experiment with some of the offerings in a new recipe book from Taste of home, simply called Cookies.

As is the case with most Taste of Home cookbooks, this one is as much fun to page through as it is to try the recipes. There is a large picture next to every recipe which never leaves you guessing about what it is supposed to look like when it’s done. The cover states that the book contains 623 irresistible delights so imagine the variety, from easy drop cookies, bars, slice and bake, and many Christmas classics.

If this cookbook is currently not on the shelf, don’t worry, there’s plenty more in every branch to tempt you. You could try The ultimate cookie collection by Janet Briggs, or 500 best cookies, bars & squares by Esther Brody.

The library is a great place to check out some new recipes for Christmas. And if you end up having too many cookies, you can always drop some off at your favourite library.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Vinyl Cafe unplugged by Stuart McLean

One of our staff enjoys reading and listening to the Christmas stories told by Stuart Mclean. One of her favourites is the story “Christmas Presents” in The Vinyl Café unplugged. In this story, Dave, his wife Morley, and their children Stephanie and Sam decide to draw names and make a present for that person. Each person tackles the project with varying degrees of enthusiasm. As is often the case at the Vinyl Café, good intentions go south, but there is always an uplifting and heartwarming message in the end.

The library has a number of Vinyl Café books, and audio books. Many fans might recognize “Dave Cooks the Turkey” which is found in the Home from the Vinyl Café collection.

The stories are by turns sweet and silly, funny and touching. McLean has a gift for bringing characters to life and finding both the humourous and touching in everyday events.

They are a great treat for a cold December night.