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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Future Of The Mind
by Michio Kaku

Publishers Weekly In this expansive, illuminating journey through the mind, theoretical physicist Kaku (Physics of the Future) explores fantastical realms of science fiction that may soon become our reality. His futurist framework merges physics with neuroscience to model how our brains construct the future, and is loosely applied to demonstrations that "show proof-of-principle" in accomplishing what was previously fictional: that minds can be read, memories can be digitally stored, and intelligences can be improved to great extents. The discussion, while heavily scientific, is engaging, clear, and replete with cinematic references. Kaku's claims, however, often lack generalizability: his points about human thought are derived from research studies and patterns that emerge from discrete areas of analysis under highly sophisticated technological surveillance. The place of these esoteric conclusions in the nuanced processes of our daily life is rarely explained. Likewise, each issue raised, while fascinating, is equally fleeting: topics skip from telepathy helmets to cell phone MRIs in just over a page. Legal and ethical complications, too, arise with each predicted advance, though aren't given the attention they demand. These new mental frontiers make for captivating reading, yet Kaku's optimism and enthusiasm provides cover for what are mostly overhyped claims. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Facts to ponder: there are as many stars in our galaxy (about 100 billion) as there are neurons in your brain; your cell phone has more computing power than NASA had when it landed Apollo 11 on the moon. These seemingly unrelated facts tell us two things: our brains are magnificently complex organisms, and science fiction has a way of becoming reality rather quickly. This deeply fascinating book by theoretical physicist Kaku explores what might be in store for our minds: practical telepathy and telekinesis; artificial memories implanted into our brains; and a pill that will make us smarter. He describes work being done right now on using sensors to read images in the human brain and on downloading artificial memories into the brain to treat victims of strokes and Alzheimer's. SF fans might experience a sort of breathless thrill when reading the book This stuff is happening! It's really happening! and for general readers who have never really thought of the brain in all its glorious complexity and potential, the book could be a seriously mind-opening experience.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

Library Journal Strayed delves into memoir after her fiction debut, Torch. She here recounts her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 1995 after her mother's death and her own subsequent divorce. Designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968 but not completed until 1993, the PCT runs from Mexico to Canada, and Strayed hiked sections of it two summers after it was officially declared finished. She takes readers with her on the trail, and the transformation she experiences on its course is significant: she goes from feeling out of her element with a too-big backpack and too-small boots to finding a sense of home in the wilderness and with the allies she meets along the way. Readers will appreciate her vivid descriptions of the natural wonders near the PCT, particularly Mount Hood, Crater Lake, and the Sierras-what John Muir proclaimed the "Range of Light." VERDICT This book is less about the PCT and more about Strayed's own personal journey, which makes the story's scope a bit unclear. However, fans of her novel will likely enjoy this new book. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/11.]-Karen McCoy, Northern Arizona Univ. Lib., Flagstaff (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In the summer of 1995, at age 26 and feeling at the end of her rope emotionally, Strayed resolved to hike solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican border to the Canadian and traversing nine mountain ranges and three states. In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, she delineates the travails and triumphs of those three grueling months. Living in Minneapolis, on the verge of divorcing her husband, Strayed was still reeling from the sudden death four years before of her mother from cancer; the ensuing years formed an erratic, confused time "like a crackling Fourth of July sparkler." Hiking the trail helped decide what direction her life would take, even though she had never seriously hiked or carried a pack before. Starting from Mojave, Calif., hauling a pack she called the Monster because it was so huge and heavy, she had to perform a dead lift to stand, and then could barely make a mile an hour. Eventually she began to experience "a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun," meeting the few other hikers along the way, all male; jettisoning some of the weight from her pack and burning books she had read; and encountering all manner of creature and acts of nature from rock slides to snow. Her account forms a charming, intrepid trial by fire, as she emerges from the ordeal bruised but not beaten, changed, a lone survivor. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Echoing the ever-popular search for wilderness salvation by Chris McCandless (Back to the Wild, 2011) and every other modern-day disciple of Thoreau, Strayed tells the story of her emotional devastation after the death of her mother and the weeks she spent hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail. As her family, marriage, and sanity go to pieces, Strayed drifts into spontaneous encounters with other men, to the consternation of her confused husband, and eventually hits rock bottom while shooting up heroin with a new boyfriend. Convinced that nothing else can save her, she latches onto the unlikely idea of a long solo hike. Woefully unprepared (she fails to read about the trail, buy boots that fit, or pack practically), she relies on the kindness and assistance of those she meets along the way, much as McCandless did. Clinging to the books she lugs along Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Adrienne Rich Strayed labors along the demanding trail, documenting her bruises, blisters, and greater troubles. Hiker wannabes will likely be inspired. Experienced backpackers will roll their eyes. But this chronicle, perfect for book clubs, is certain to spark lively conversation.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Lincoln: A Photobiography
by Russell Freedman

Book list Gr. 4-10. This realistic, perceptive, and unromanticized biography of Lincoln includes a sampler of quotations from his writings and speeches.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This Newbery Award-winning study of our 16th president is highly readable and meticulously organized. In a boxed review, PW hailed it as a ``superb, encompassing account'' of ``an intriguing, recognizable human being.'' Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog What Happened to Goodbye
by Dessen, Sarah

Publishers Weekly Dessen's 10th novel is another smoothly written journey of self-discovery. Mclean Sweet, named for "the all-time winningest basketball coach of Defriese University," has moved four times in two years, following her father's job as a restaurant consultant. Each time she moves she reinvents herself, not so much to try on a new identity but to rid herself of the original one-only daughter of a couple whose divorce was an awful, public scandal. It becomes clear that although Defriese basketball was her father's obsession, Mclean's idol was her mother, and Mclean's lasting anger adds an emotional punch to a long narrative that doesn't otherwise have much of an arc. It will delight Dessen's passionate fans that Mclean and her father have landed in Lakeview (capital of Dessenland) and that the action ricochets between there and familiar (fictional) beach towns. As Mclean figures out how to make peace with her mother, she relies on friends made at both school and at the restaurant her father is trying to save. Dessen delivers another cast of authentic, likable characters, struggling to make sense of the world. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Mclean and her father have just moved to yet another town; the constant motion is an escapist strategy since her parents' acrimonious divorce, and usually, while her father tries to turn around another failing restaurant, Mclean attends the local high school and sports her newest identity. Here in Lakeview, though, Mclean suddenly feels like herself not a cheerleader, a drama geek, or a joiner, but Mclean, a new girl who gradually makes friends and may even have a boyfriend. Roots are dangerous, though, since her father will inevitably want to leave again. The novel nimbly weaves together familiar story lines of divorce, high-school happiness and angst, and teen-identity struggles with likable, authentic adult and teen characters and intriguing yet credible situations. The topics may be well-trod territory, but Dessen once again offers a substantive, well-crafted exploration of a teen's life that will deeply satisfy her legions of fans.--Bradburn, France. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Mclean Sweet, 17, has moved four times in the last three years. Surviving the scandalous breakup of her parents' marriage, she chooses to live with her father, a restaurant fixer who is assigned to a new project every few months. Although her mother, remarried and with three-year-old twins, tries regularly to reconnect with her, McLean is angry and resentful and will hardly have a conversation with her. In each town, she takes on a different name (some version of Elizabeth) and persona, and keeps personal relationships at arm's length. Now, in Lakeview, McLean is making friends in spite of herself. She is befriended by her neighbor and his close-knit group of buddies, and her resistance to making real and lasting connections starts to dissolve. Working together on an intricate model of the community is a not-so-subtle metaphor for Mclean building an emotional community for herself. When it's time for her dad to move on, she must decide where she will live for the final few months before heading off to college. Her ability to come to terms with the concessions and compromises people make in every meaningful relationship allows her to accept her fate as her dad is sent to another job and her mom moves (back) into her heart. These characters are real and interesting and the story line unrolls smoothly and with purpose. There's a slight lack of tension, however, that keeps it from being truly compelling. Still, Dessen's fans will be happy to devour this latest offering and will surely be able to relate to one of several engaging and evolving teenagers that populate the novel.-Karen Elliott, Grafton High School, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Gulag: A History
by Anne Applebaum

Library Journal: Subsequent to Solzhenitsyn's landmark Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Applebaun, former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and currently on the editorial staff at the Washington Post, has captured the full brutality and economic engine for the Soviet state that was the Gulag prison system. This book is perfectly timed to follow such recent works as Golfo Alexopoulos's Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State 1926-1936. With a finely honed writer's skill, Applebaum thoroughly describes in minute detail the system of camps, the prisoners, camp administration, camp life, and Stalin's obsession with slave labor. "GULAG is an acronym, meaning Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. Over time, the word `Gulag' has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself." Intellectually, Americans and Western Europeans know roughly what happened in the Soviet Union, but the crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction as do the crimes of the Third Reich. This first complete history of the Gulag system not only points out the similarities with the Nazis and their concentration camps but also puts Stalin and his Gulag on the same ghastly level. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part of the country, and slave labor was used not only for mining and heavy industries but for producing every kind of consumer product (chairs, lamps, toys, those ubiquitous fur hats) and some of the country's most important science and engineering (Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet space program, began his work in a special prison laboratory). Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum's lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Devil in Music
by Kate Ross

Library Journal Ross's historical mysteries featuring English dandy Julian Kestrel (e.g., Whom the Gods Love, LJ 4/1/95) have earned a loyal following. This fourth entry in the series moves Kestrel from his usual London haunts to Milan and moves Ross from trade paperback to hardcover status. While traveling the Continent with his friend, Dr. MacGregor, Kestrel reads of the recent uncovering of a four-year-old murder involving the aristocratic Malvezzi family and decides to try out his investigating skills once again. The victim was Lodovico Malvezzi, a Milanese marquis and famed music lover. Given his imperious manner, suspects are all to easy to find, especially among his family. Added to the mystery of his death are the disappearances of a talented musical protégé of the marquis and a surly servant, various intrigues related to Italian politics, and rebellions. Kestrel is undaunted by these challenges but finds Malvezzi's beautiful young widow a dangerous distraction. While the plotting is not as tight as in previous novels, the final chapters are replete with enough revelations and twists to please Ross's fans and leave them looking forward to the next novel.?Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., Davidson, N.C.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly In her fourth novel featuring the sharp-witted English dandy Julian Kestrel, Ross (Whom the Gods Love) adeptly fashions a mystery from lethal family secrets, political strife, passion for great music and an opulent early 19th-century setting. While in Geneva on a continental holiday, Kestrel learns that the death of Marchese Lodovico Malvezzi in Italy some four years earlier was actually a homicide. The chief suspect is Orfeo, a talented young English singer whom Lodovico had been secretly grooming for a brilliant opera career and who disappeared the night of the murder. Kestrel, accompanied by his valet, Dipper (an ex-pickpocket), and his irascible friend Dr. Duncan MacGregor, travels to Milan, in the heart of Austrian-controlled northern Italy. He offers his services to Marchesa Beatrice Malvezzi, the beautiful and quite possibly dangerous young widow, who introduces him to Milanese society. Especially adroit are Ross's scenes at La Scala, where the operas performed on stage are mere backdrops to the social intrigues occurring in the private boxes of the aristocracy. Suspects abound, and Kestrel's principal adversaries are worthy foes. Gaston de la Marque, his rival for the Marchesa's attentions, is a clever and piquant Frenchman whose verbal duels with Kestrel are knife-edged. Commissario Grimani of the Milanese police is also a formidable obstacle, more concerned with a quick solution to impress his Austrian superiors than with finding the real murderer. The large cast, intricate plot and historical setting are all of operatic proportions, yet Ross never loses control of her story. The result is an elegant and finely tuned performance. Author tour. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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