Thursday, August 30, 2012

Map of Bones by James Rollins

Library staff enjoy discovering new authors.  Dorothy in our Morden Branch discovered Map of Bones by James Rollins and really enjoyed it.  But – she warns not to start it just before bed.  It will keep you up until you finish the book. 

The thrill ride begins at Cologne Cathedral during midnight mass.   Hooded men invade and kill almost everyone present.  They break into a gold sarcophagus and steal the bones of the Three Wise Men.  It seems that a medieval cult, the Dragon Court, still operates within the Catholic Church, and the bones of the Three Wise Men are not bones at all.  The book is populated with believable characters who engage in believable dialogue. 

Fans of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, or other secret society fiction, might want to give this a try.  David Pitt, in a Booklist magazine review states that “this is a much better book, and even those who found Brown’s opus unpalatable will thoroughly enjoy the taste of this one”.  The book is one of Rollins’ Sigma Force novels, of which the library has several.  Sound like a good read with which to finish off the summer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Drop the Worry Ball by Alex Russell and Tim Falconer

Angela Mulholland at CTV news poses the question, “Remember when parenting didn't mean constant nagging, cajoling, bribing and begging? When you could stand back and watch your kids from the sidelines, doing their thing without your help?”  Authors Alex Russell and Tim Falconer suggest the parents should Drop the Worry Ball.  The subtitle sums up the book with, How to Parent in the age of Entitlement.

The authors argue that it is time for parents “to stop micromanaging every aspect of their children’s lives”.  They state that “parents are too willing to provide every material comfort, and also become meddlesome managers, rather than sympathetic advocates”.  Every parent knows that it is the natural tendency of children to manipulate their parents into doing everything for them.  It is also the natural tendency of parents to feel that their children’s failure is a sign of parental incompetence.  Overcoming these tendencies is the focus of this book.

This is a season of high anxiety for parents when children are faced with new challenges.  Drop the worry ball is one of a number of new releases focusing on parenting in (what is being called) the "age of entitlement".   Every library has a parenting section, so stop by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Books by, and about, Julia Child

Today marks the 100th birthday of Julia Child.  Books by her, and about her are numerous.  Her biographies tell the story of an amazing, independent and interesting woman who lived life on her own terms long before the rest of us caught up.  This morning I caught an interview with the author of a new biography about her, entitled Dearie.  It sounds fascinating.  It is on order, so watch for that one arriving soon.

While you’re waiting, check out one of her cookbooks.  The one I have in my hand is Julia’s Casual Dinners.    This book is part of a series done for public television.  It has a very conversational style, and offers everything from menu preparation and shopping hints, to how to cook and serve each dish.

One thing that surprised me was learning that Julia Child had spent time in the OSS, Office of Strategic Services, during World War II.  In the book, A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, by Jennet Conant, we learn of her experiences in World War II.  Julia Child was not a spy, but she knew who was, and was deeply immersed in that world.  During the 50s, Julia Child, like so many others, faced the horrors of McCarthyism.

A fascinating woman indeed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Theo Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

John Grisham is a master of courtroom drama.  Now he has turned his attention to writing for the younger crowd and the result is worth a look.  Theodore Boone is a new series for Grades 5 – 8 that is certain to find an audience with those who want an updated Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.  Book 1 of the series is Kid Lawyer.

Theo Boone, the title character, is an endearing 13 year-old.  The son of lawyers, he knows his way around the legal system, is friends with police officers and judges, and has no problem dispensing legal advice to friends.  However, Theo is suddenly in over his head when he is handed evidence that is crucial in the town’s sensational murder trial.  

I think there is a lot of potential for this series.  Much of this first novel is spent introducing characters and explaining legal processes; it’s American, but I don’t think the basics of it are that different from our own.  Besides legalities, there are also moral and ethical dilemmas which provide drama and interest.  In Kid Lawyer, Grisham is laying the groundwork for the series, and like his adult novels, I expect the series will provide many hours of reading enjoyment.