Book Bomb! Warm and Fuzzy Picture Books

It’s that time of year! When temperatures drop, clothing layers balloon, and dreams of sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads are likely to be set in some sweltering, tropical locale, lit by a beaming sun.  Brrr!
Here are some snuggle-worthy children’s picture book titles that are guaranteed to if not literally boost your body temperature then at least get you feeling all squishily heart-warmed and sentimental.  If you’re thinking of making a long-term investment in picture books (your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-great alright maybe not that long-term), you won’t go wrong with one of these.
The Quiet Book The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by the fabulous Renata Liwska, is a sweet, thoughtful little picture book that talks about different kinds of quiet, like “coloring in the lines quiet” or “Best friends don’t need to talk quiet.”
 Also check out the Yuletide version, The Christmas Quiet Book (“Searching for presents quiet” and “Trying to stay awake quiet”).
Stuck Stuck, by the wonderfully talented and humorous Oliver Jeffers, is a hilarious and endearing narrative of one boy’s efforts to unstick his kite caught up in a tree.  His efforts become increasingly dire as the objects he throws in desperate succession become larger and let’s just say unusual. 
Click here to check out any of his other wonderful books, which include This Moose Belongs To Me, How To Catch a Star, and The Way Home.
Vampirina Ballerina Vampirina Ballerina, by Countess Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by Mistress of the Night Le Uyen Pham, is geared a little more toward the dance-crazed set (and maybe the vampire-crazed set), but it’s definitely cute, and its message of perseverance, hard work, and friendship are universal.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site Goodnight, Goonight,Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, is a lyrical, engrossing bedtime story told in rhyme that introduces several construction site machines and their various responsibilities, and bids them goodnight.
Click on any of the titles to visit the OC Public Libraries website to reserve a copy today.


Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year where book editors and literary critics compile their lists of best books of 2012.  I took a different route. I've been asking patrons who come into the Library, “what was your favorite book of 2012?”  Some people were able to answer without any hesitation.  Others had a more difficult time, and ended up telling me about a recently read book they enjoyed.  Listed below are some of the responses I received.  If you’d like to contribute to this list, tell us about your favorite 2012 book in the comments field listed below.

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani.  “I’ve read all of Trigiani’s books and this is her best.  Full of love and life and adventure.”

Lots of Candles,Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. “I never knew growing old could be so funny.”

Black Box by Michael Connelly.  “Really exciting and fast-paced.  I read it in one day.”

Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar. “I read this for my book club and everyone loved it.  We had a wonderful discussion.”

Dogfight: The 2012Presidential Campaign in Verse by Calvin Trillin. “Hilarious! Especially for those who are glad Obama won.”

A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  “I was surprised this was so good, and it didn’t have any wizards.”

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury.  “Just a good, inspirational story.  No violence or bad language.”

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  “An amazing journey.  A real honest writer.”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. “It helped me understand myself, and feel better about myself.”

A Wanted Man by Lee Child.  “Lee Child is a great writer, though I think having Tom Cruise play Jack Reacher was a big mistake.”


Ann Aguirre's Enclave series has Bite


If you love the post-apocalyptic books of Veronica Roth, you’ll really enjoy Ann Aguirre’s Enclave series.  So far I’ve read Enclave and Outpost.  They tell the story of 15 year old Deuce.  She’s a young woman raised in a harsh underground society that was cut off from the world when “fire rained from the sky.”  She is brought up as a huntress who protects the community and hunts its meat.  The society is a strictly regimented society where everyone has their place, and only breeders can show each other affection.  The daughter of a breeder, not considered a “pure” huntress, she is partnered with Fade, another outsider who managed to survive the tunnels but originally comes from topside.  Eventually, cast off from their community and left to be devoured by freaks, huge man-eating creatures, they make their way topside, where they end up in book 2, Outpost.

Overall, the books are fast-paced, gripping, and believable. That is, they’re believable if you buy into the idea that there could be huge, mutant, man-eating, hulk-like creatures roaming the earth and enclaves of humans huddling in caverns below.  Once you accept those premises, the rest is believable within that framework.  I found myself understanding Deuce’s problems fitting in in Sanctuary, where she was too much of a warrior to fit in with the women, but couldn’t be with the men because she was a woman.  Anyone who has ever tried to fit in into another culture or even a new school but who didn’t get the social structure or cliques, will find a lot to relate to in these books.  They’re also a great read if you just enjoy a great action story with a lot of fights and sneaking around.


Murder in the Snow

“Don’t bother with Stieg Larsson…  Kallentoft is better.” – Magnus Utvik, Sweden’s leading critic

I’m not sure I’d go so far as Utvik—I loved Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, featuring the unforgettable Lisbeth Salander—but the Swedish author, Mons Kallentoft, has created another intriguing character in Malin Fors, superintendent of the Linköping police.  She is the tough, yet tormented heroine in Midwinter Blood, the first book in his series of crime fiction.  When a man is found hanging in a tree in the middle of a snow-covered field, she and her partner, Zeke, are put on the case.  Who put the man there?  Was it the local teenage boys playing a cruel prank that went bad?  Or the strange couple who follow the old Nordic Æsir belief system, which includes human and animal sacrifices?  Or was it one of the rough Murvall brothers, who live by themselves out on the plain and live by their own rules?
Not only is the plot engaging as we watch Malin follow leads, hit dead ends and get closer and closer to the killer, but the writing itself pulls you in.  It makes you feel like you’re the one getting chilled to the bone in the Swedish winter snow or longing for Malin’s cup of hot coffee on an all-too-early morning shift at the station. 
Right now, this is the only novel by Kallentoft that is readily available in our catalog (or in the US, for that matter).  The American publication of Summer Death, the second book in the Malin Fors series, is set for next June.  (However, it has already been published in the UK, so if you really can’t wait, you can try to get your hands on one of those through an online bookseller.)  And I’m hoping that the rest of this series, as well as his other books, are soon to follow!


A Dog, a Boy, a Mystery, and Autism

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden is a gem of a novel.  Written in the fifteen-year-old voice of Christopher Boone, who calls himself  "a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties," the narrative starts right out with the mystery to be solved.  A neighbor's dog has been killed, and Christopher is compelled to find out who did this because he really likes dogs.

Despite his father's orders to mind his own business, Christopher will not give up.  And thus the mystery and the daring adventures begin.  Christopher is a high-level functioning boy with autism, and his story is sprinkled with accounts of what bothers him to the point of making him lie on the floor and moan and seek the orderliness he needs to keep himself feeling peaceful. So besides a thrilling plot which never wavers, the book offers wonderful insights into Christopher's way of seeing the world.

With the increasing prevalence of autistic spectrum diagnoses, Hadden's novel seems important.  It transcends the simple facts that non-fiction might bring.  We do not hear about an autistic teen.  We are right there with him as he risks stepping far beyond his comfort zone to find his answers.

Someone in the book group which read this novel a few years ago commented that since the boy had autism he had no feelings.  But the author's whole message seems to be that Christopher Boone had intense feelings indeed.

At a time when a young man diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome senselessly sent so many into another -- perhaps the saddest ever -- round of grief, days of speeches and interviews and news, and wondering how and why an incident that will long be remembered as "Sandy Hook" occurred, we once again debate guns vs. no guns and higher and higher levels of security at schools and other public places. But doesn't the first level of security seem to be simple listening when someone is troubled? And listening.  And caring.  And listening.

There are so many excellent fiction and non-fiction selections about autism spectrum in our library system .  Two that come to mind are Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork, another fiction choice about a teen who is longing to be understood, or Look Me In the Eye: My Life With Asperger's by John Elder Robison.  There are also  the well-documented successes of Temple Grandin. Many titles are uplifting.  All can help us understand.

In the case of this novel, however, it is far more than a great fiction book about autism.  It is a well-written best seller with multiple awards and is a great choice for reluctant readers.  There is a thoughtful interview by author Mark Hadden here.


A Crafty Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, you may be looking for some last minute ideas for crafty gifts – these books, published this year, offer quick ideas to make something yourself to give away.


Get the kids involved with Side By Side: 20 Collaborative Projects for Craftingwith Your Kids by Tsia Carson, creator of  In three sections, Carson offers projects to create together, related projects to work on at the same time, and ideas for looking at the world in a creative way.

Mary Jane Baxter offers vintage inspired ways to dress up plain sweaters, shoes, and hats and lots of cute headbands, necklaces, and other fun things to wear in Chic on a Shoestring: Simple to Sew Vintage-Style Accessories. Many of the projects use scrap fabric or ribbon, spare beads, and old scarves for quick projects. I love the fringe to dress up an old pair of lace-up shoes, and there are at least two projects for old ties!


With a little bit of sewing experience, you can whip up appliqued and embellished tote bags, pillows, and home décor from All Sewn Up: 35 ExquisiteProjects Using Appliqué, Embroidery, and More by Chloë Owens. Colorful, girly, and retro, these projects would make great gifts for teens and twenties.
If sewing isn’t your bag, and you think beautiful paper isn’t in the budget, Paper Made! 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper by Kayte Terry offers a ton if ideas for reusing magazines, candy wrappers, shopping bags to make items to gift… or to keep! Terry works for Anthropologie, so if you’ve ever stood in front of one of their windows loving the fanciful paper decorations, this is a must-see.
And if it’s getting too close to even make it to the craft store for supplies, Danny Seo’s Upcycling Celebrations : A Use-What-You-HaveGuide to Decorating, Gift-Giving & Entertaining has dozens of easy projects for entertaining or gifting throughout the year, all using recycled or easy to find objects. Raid that stash of scrapbooking paper to decorate Altoids tins, then fill them up will travel packs of aspirin, vitamins, and a little extra cash to give to winter travelers or New Years’ Eve revelers, construct a chess set with stray Lego pieces, wind plastic shopping bags into rustic ornaments, or put those ugly or damaged sweaters to use as a festive wreath.


Of course, if it’s really getting down to the wire, a craft book makes a great gift, and maybe you’ll be the one getting a handmade gift next year!


Wildflower Hill

I have so many books checked out right now that I almost skipped this one when it arrived at the library for me. But then I decided to give it a few chapters and immediately, I was totally engrossed. Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman is a dual narrative that follows the life of depression-era Beattie Blaxland and that of her modern-day granddaughter Emma. It’s a wonderfully written story that is both heart-wrenching and triumphant.
Emma’s life is completely upended when her boyfriend leaves her and she suffers a knee injury that abruptly ends her professional ballet career in London. Devastated, she moves back home to Australia where she finds out she has inherited Wildflower Hill, an old sheep farm that her grandmother once owned. Emma had always known her grandmother to be a very successful woman with a loving husband and two children. But her Grandmother Beattie’s life was filled with hardships, secrets, and passions that were buried long ago.
Beattie’s story beings in Scotland where she finds herself pregnant and unwed at only nineteen years old. After her own mother renounces her and her lover betrays her, she finds herself completely alone during a time when unwed mothers were openly shamed and ostracized by society. She manages to not only survive, but after years of adversity, she becomes the wealthy owner of a thriving wool business. Along the way, she endures many hardships that she finds difficult to explain later in life. And so her past life becomes a secret, completely hidden from her family. That is, until Emma goes to Wildflower Hill and starts to piece together the past.
This is a beautifully written story with amazing characters and settings. Beattie’s story is especially compelling. This is one that you will find surprisingly difficult to put down once you start. Look it up at your library and enjoy!


Book Bomb! Rise of the Guardians (Read It First)

DreamWorks’ newest animated big-screen release, Rise of the Guardians, is based on a wonderful series of children’s picture books and novels by the very talented Academy Award winner William Joyce, some of my absolute favorites in contemporary children’s literature.  It might have something do with his taking legendary figures most of us know from childhood (such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy), and spinning original takes on their origins and the reasons behind what they do (apparently, it’s all connected!) or it could be because his illustrations are so whimsical and lovely!

Here are the books of his on-going The Guardians of Childhood series that inspired the film.
Picture books:
The Man in the Moon (The Guardians of Childhood)The Man in the Moon (or MiM, as he’s called) is the driving force behind the Guardians of Childhood, the one who brings all of them together.  This book details how he first arrives on Earth (well, above Earth, the Moon arrived with MiM and is actually his golden butterfly-winged space ship and home), and his first battle with Pitch, who wants to destroy the innocence of children with darkness and nightmares.
The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie (Guardians of Childhood)Sandy is MiM’s first recruit into the Guardians of Childhood.  In this book, it describes how Sandy first crashes to Earth in a shooting star (courtesy of Pitch, because shooting stars grant wishes and fulfill dreams).  Sandy’s shooting star lands in the ocean and transforms into an island of Dreamsand, magical sand filled with his dreams, allowing him to bestow good dreams on children all over the world, fight nightmares, and turn bad dreams into even more golden Dreamsand.  Dreamy awesomeness.
Children’s Novels:
 Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King tells the story of a dashing scimitar-wielding warrior who will later go on to become – did the name give you a hint? – Santa Claus.  Hunting for treasure, Nick encounters more than he bargained for, battling the dark machinations of Pitch the Nightmare King for the first (but not last) time.
E. Aster Bunnymund and the Battle of the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core (Guardians of Childhood)
E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core tells the story of a definitely not cute or fluffy martial-arts expert and philosopher, E. Aster Bunnymund.  Recruited to help fight against Pitch’s latest evil missions concentrated underground, he is the next recruit to the Guardians.
Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies introduces Her Serene Royal Highness, Toothiana; diminutive, lovely and fierce warrior queen.  Not to mention The Tooth Fairy.  This third novel explores the secrets of one of the most mysterious of the Guardians (what does anyone really know about her beyond the whole tooth-gathering thing), and her induction to the ongoing battle against Pitch and his minions.
Click on any of the book titles to visit the OC Public Libraries website and request a copy today!


Such Wicked Intent

Such Wicked Intent: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, Book Two by Kenneth Oppel is a sequel I have eagerly been anticipating since I read the first book last year. In this continuation, young Victor Frankenstein has vowed to leave dark sciences behind him following the tragic events of book one. Yet he can’t help himself once he stumbles upon a device that allows him to communicate with the dead. And what’s more, he discovers a portal that allows him to actually cross over to their world. Once again his close friends Elizabeth and Henry follow his lead, which bring about conflicting emotions in all of them. But before they can convince Victor to stop, everything spirals dangerously out of control.  
I loved the pace of this book. It only takes a few pages before Oppel throws the reader into the meat of the story. There is plenty of action and suspense throughout. Like the first book, I really enjoyed watching Victor’s transformation from a brilliant young man into a much darker character. The only aspect I didn’t enjoy as much was the confined setting. Almost the entire book takes place at Chateau Frankenstein and there are hardly any other characters. On the other hand, it keeps storyline focused and intense. This is a good follow up to This Dark Endeavor and well worth reading. Enjoy.  


The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ Rescued His Career and Revived our Holiday Spirits

Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, has remained in print ever since it was published and has inspired many film and stage adaptations. What is it about A Christmas Carol that still remains so appealing to people? Les Standiford attempts to answer this question in his book, The Man Who Invented Christmas. Standiford also provides insight into Charles Dickens’ life and times and explains the influence Dickens’ classic Christmas tale had on readers. Everyone has heard of A Christmas Carol, but this book gives the backstory and explains what it took for Dickens to make the book a success.

These days many authors have a Christmas themed book, almost every television show features a Christmas episode and a variety of seasonal films are in theaters during the month of December. Today’s Christmas obsessed world is quite a contrast to the world in which Dickens was writing. In Dickens’ day, the idea of a Christmas themed book was so unusual it wasn’t deemed a worthwhile idea. Dickens’ publishers weren’t willing to publish A Christmas Carol despite Dickens’ previous successes. Confident in the book’s merit, Dickens self-published the book and hoped it would revive his struggling career and financial situation. Before reading this book I didn’t realize how much of Dickens’ writing was autobiographical. This book is a compelling tale of a man who transformed himself from a child factory laborer into a famous author.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. I found it had the perfect balance between being informational and entertaining. This book is non-fiction and gives a great deal of history but isn’t too scholarly so it is an easy read. While this book is not necessarily a Christmas book, I would definitely label it a great seasonal read. If you read The Man Who Invented Christmas and are inspired to read a Dickens book, check out A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, The Old Curiosity Shop, and David Copperfield. All these books are available at the library.  


Delightfully Wild Ride!

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway was published in 2008, but I thought it was definitely worth recommending again to those who are looking for a lighthearted, fun and clever book to read during winter break! It has nothing to do with the holidays, but is a fun escape nonetheless. It’s the zany story of high school student Audrey Cuttler’s brief claim to fame. Audrey breaks up with her self-absorbed boyfriend Evan, the lead singer of a band called the Do-Gooders. Evan writes a break-up song, the song goes to the top of the charts and, before you know it, everyone wants to know the girl behind the song. Fans are flocking to her school and accosting her at the mall. People magazine wants to do a story. Audrey loves music, but finds herself not liking the fame it’s spurred. She can’t hang out with her best friend or start a new romance without being followed. Audrey handles the consequences of fame with wit and sarcasm. This unconventional story of an ordinary girl is hilarious; it will make you laugh and cheer for Audrey! Audrey, Wait! is in the Older Teen section of the OCPL system.


Somebody to Love

What happens when a wealthy heiress suddenly learns her inheritance has been lost? Parker Welles, a popular children’s book author has never had to worry about money. In fact, she donates the profits from her super successful children’s books to a children’s charity. Parker, a single mother, is shocked when she learns she is left with nothing but a meager savings account and a house she inherited from her aunt. With no means to support herself Parker is hoping to flip the house for profit and use the money to start a new life for herself and her son. But when Parker sees the house she had inherited her hopes are dashed. It turns out her aunt was a hoarder, and the scenic beach home she thought she was inheriting turns out to be a rundown beach shack filled with years of junk. Just when Parker thinks things can’t get any worse, her father’s lawyer James arrives to offer his assistance. Parker and James have a past history and a strong chemistry that Parker is looking to forget, but she isn’t in a position where she can turn down free help.
Funny, smart and not at all the diva heiress Parker is a likeable protagonist. While reading this book you will want to root for Parker and cross your fingers she will find “Somebody to Love”. This book contains a charming mix of humor and romance and I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance.  Can home renovation be romantic? You’ll have to read and find out.


And Now for Something Completely Different...

“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.” -- Stephen King

Yes, for some reason there seems to be a universal law that says:  “the movie is never as good as the book.”  However, there are quite a few movies based on books that are good in their own rights.  They might not be exactly the same, but they still manage to entertain and to make you think.  And even though, due to time constraints, a movie may not keep to the precise chronology and plot of the book, it can keep the spirit of the book alive and well.  Here are a few movies (all available through OC Public Libraries!) that do exactly this:

·         3:10 to Yuma
·         About a Boy
·         The Age of Innocence
·         Babe
·         Bridget Jones’s Diary
·         Brokeback Mountain
·         Chocolat
·         Clueless
·         The Color Purple
·         The Commitments
·         Dead Man Walking
·         Emma  (I like the Paltrow version, but this BBC version is very good, too.)
·         Fight Club
·         Gangs of New York
·         Hamlet (the Kenneth Branagh version)
·         The Hours
·         In the Name of the Father
·         Last King of Scotland
·        The Last of the Mohicans
·         O Brother, Where Art Thou?
·         The Pianist
·         Possession
·         Pride and Prejudice  (In my opinion, this is the best version EVER.)
·         The Princess Bride
·         The Quiet American
·         The Remains of the Day
·         Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
·         Shawshank Redemption
·         Slumdog Millionaire
·         There Will Be Blood
·         The Thin Red Line
·         Trainspotting
·         True Grit

What would you add?


Favorite Cookbooks

Whether cooking a holiday feast or just making dinner, cookbooks are a great way to come up with new and exciting recipes. Some cookbooks can be so expensive, before you buy consider visiting the library where you can checkout great cookbooks for free! Here are some of my favorite cookbooks.

By: Irma Rombauer

This book has been revised many times, but I’ve enjoyed each revision. The newer editions contain more healthy and low-fat recipes while the older editions have more traditional recipes as well as some recipes that may have gone out of style (turtle soup anyone?) This book is great because it not only gives recipes but also gives information about ingredients, food service and menu ideas. In print since 1936, this cookbook is one of the most used and well known cookbooks around. 
The Moosewood Cookbook: Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, New York
By: Mollie Katzen

This vegetarian cookbook is a great source of healthy recipes. Vegetarians will appreciate the main course ideas, while non-vegetarians might appreciate some of the vegetable side dish ideas. This cookbook is extremely popular and I would definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in vegetarian cooking.
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
By: Ina Garten

Ina Garten’s eye for beautiful entertaining is showcased in this book. The book contains beautiful pictures and recipes that can be served on platters for entertaining or in smaller portions. I love Ina Garten because her cookbooks move beyond just the recipes and give ideas for how to entertain friends and family.
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures
By: Jeanne Lemlin

This is one of those cookbooks where every recipe turns out just right. The downside is there aren’t any pictures, but after sampling one of the delicious recipes contained in this book you won’t miss the pictures one bit. This book provides an array of recipes, anything from dessert to main courses and gives ideas for everything from a simple family dinner to a special holiday side or main course.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
By: Ree Drummond

Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, popular for her lifestyle blog has compiled some of her recipes here. This book is a great resource for fun yummy recipes everyone will love.

The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter
By: Diane Worthington

This is a fun cookbook to inspire you during the fall and winter seasons. This cookbook is geared towards seasonal and holiday cooking.
These are some of my favorite cookbooks. What are yours?


Talking to the Dead


Reading about communication from the beyond may seem more like October fare, but returning spirits aren’t always spooky and scary. Communing with the dead, either by the presence of spirits or through amazingly life-like computer generations can be funny or moving, too.

In Goodbye for Now, Laurie Frankel’s novel of love and algorithms, Sam Elling is a software engineer whose system for finding your soul mate is so effective that it cost him his job when the online dating site that employed him decided that they make more money off NOT making matches. When his true love’s grandmother dies and he is looking for a way to help her, Sam tweaks his algorithm to create a digital projection that can email and video chat a reasonable facsimile of the dead, provided they were active enough online in life. Populating her Seattle with memorable characters (both living and dead), Frankel touches on the ethics of reanimating the dead and the process of grieving while unwinding the sweet romance of Sam and Meredith. (Also available as an audiobook)

On a more supernatural and silly note, Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl is the spirit of Sadie, recently deceased, but currently appearing to her previously uninterested great-niece Lara in her most glorious flapper incarnation. Visible and audible only to Lara, Sadie is insistent that Lara help her recover the dragonfly necklace that had been her prize possession for more than 75 years. Sadie’s presence is less a haunting than a hostile take-over, and with Sadie as her very opinionated and focused guide, Lara takes big chances at work and in love while learning more about her family and the surprising history of the amazing girl who grew up to be Great-Aunt Sadie in the nursing home. (Also available in Large Print, as an audiobook, and as an eBook)
An obvious predecessor to Twenties Girl is the 1926 classic ghost story Topper by Thorne Smith. When Cosmo Topper buys a used car, he gets its previous owners, too:  The mischievous young couple who met their deaths in that very car. The late George and Marion Kerby make it their mission to save Comso from his boring life, leading him down a gin-soaked path of hijinks. (Topper was also made into a film and a television series)

[Cover]If shenanigans from beyond the grave are too far out there for you, Extra Large Medium by Helen Slavin offers spirits with more mundane concerns. While the dead appear to Annie Colville on a regular basis (wearing the tell-tale chocolate brown), her husband, missing almost seven years, has never once sought her out. While she waits for him to turn up (either way), she decides to help those souls who seek her out, and is surprised at their small and often trivial concerns.


Computer Programming Book Reviews

Title: Programming Android
Author: Mednieks, Zigurd, Laird Dornin et al.
Publisher: O'Reilly
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 482
Call Number: 005.276 Android

Android is one of the major operating systems currently available on the market for mobile devices and the book Programming Android, published by O'Reilly, provides a thorough introduction on what you need to know in order to start creating applications for tablets and phones that run this os.  

The book contains eighteen chapters divided into four sections that introduce the reader to the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), the Java programming language, objects, the Android program development model, and the Android Framework.  The last section of the book is devoted to advanced topics like multimedia, location and mapping, communication and social media.  Most importantly, the book also provides information on how to download, install and run the Eclipse IDE and the Android Development Kit.