Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

I wouldn’t have thought that a novel set during a financial crisis would keep me up late into the night, but Cristina Alger’s debut novel, The Darlings, did just that.  The fast-moving plot and interesting characters provide great reading.  The backdrop for the novel is New York City during the financial crisis of 2008.

Paul Ross is the young General Counsel at his father-in-law’s hedge fund. He has been at the firm only a few months.   A tragedy brings the firm under the scrutiny of the SEC and Paul must decide where his loyalties lie when it becomes obvious that the firm has been involved in a Madoff-like ponzi scheme.  Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, members of the family, the firm, the SEC, and the media, race to cover-up or uncover the truth.

The author has worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and as an attorney in New York City.  The financial and legal details in this novel are not overly technical, nor are they dumbed down, hitting just the right tone.  The characters are the movers and shakers in the world’s financial capital: ambitious –yes; wealthy – some of them; likeable – mostly not; fascinating – definitely.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

We librarians love to share book information and are always happy to tell you about the books we’ve enjoyed.  The library has a new blog SCRL reads where staff is posting suggestions.  Today, I’m pulling an item from the blog.  Mary has suggested Home Front by Kristin Hannah. 

In this novel, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have the perfect life.  Michael is a successful lawyer and Joelene is a helicopter pilot in the US military reserve.  They have two little girls and couldn’t be happier.   However, the cracks in their perfect life begin to show just when Joelene’s unit is called up to fight the war on terrorism.  They both struggle with their new situations: he with being a single parent, she with the realities of war.  The plot takes a turn when Joelene’s helicopter is shot down and one of her crew is killed.  How Michael and Joelene come to see each other’s point of view, fight for their marriage and deal with post traumatic stress disorder makes for an interesting and thought provoking read.

Most branches have a display of “Staff picks”.  If there is a certain staff member’s picks that you enjoy, let them know.  Also, check out the blog which you can access from the home page, and perhaps you’ll find a suggestion that suits you as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Barbecue Collection

“Tickle my ribs” is the title I have given to a new display in the Altona branch.  The theme of the display is Barbecue.  By now most of us will have hauled out the barbecue and are enjoying great food on warm nights.  But are you one of those people who are looking for new and wonderful ways to prepare food out of doors?  Canadian Living has recently published, The Barbecue Collection, and it is a huge book full of mouthwatering illustrations and recipes.

This book offers everything you could possibly need, whether you are new to barbecuing, or an old hand.  Along with the meat, poultry and seafood sections that we expect, this book also includes: brochettes and Kabobs; burgers and sandwiches; sausages and patties; vegetables and cheese; and grilled pizza.  The last couple of chapters feature salads and sides; and sauces, marinades and rubs.  The recipes are imaginative, interesting, and colourful.

So tonight, for a change of pace, try something like Honey-Mustard Pork Kabobs or Lemon Chicken kabobs that look pretty easy, or something that requires a few more ingredients and a little more time, like Texas Barbecue Brisket. 

If this particular book is out, try one of the many other grilling cookbooks found on the shelves of every branch.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This Dark Endeavour : The apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel

It’s Canadian Children’s book week.  Usually during this week, we discuss picture books, but this year, we offer a Young Adult novel.

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel is a deliciously creepy but enjoyable novel about sixteen-year-old Victor, one of the sons of the famous Frankenstein family.  Victor and his twin brother Konrad are engaging and typical young men who are identical in looks but not in personality.  With Elizabeth, an adopted relative who lives with the family, and their friend Henry, the boys find many ways to keep themselves entertained - and often in trouble.  This book is very funny at times, but truly scary when they discover the Dark Library and all of its secrets. 

The flyleaf of the book suggests that this could be “a prequel to Mary Shelly's gothic classic Frankenstein”.  This page-turner is a mix of history, science-of-the-day and horror to keep you glued to your seat.   This book will hook the reader from start to finish and have them hoping for a sequel