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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Severed Souls
by Terry Goodkind

Library Journal Fresh from The Third Kingdom, second in the "Sword of Truth" series, Seeker of Truth Richard Rahl and his wife, Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell, have more adventures. All those Legend of the Seeker fans will want. (c) Copyright 2014. 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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Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
by Robert A. Caro

Publishers Weekly Caro's Pulitzer-winning multivolume biography reaches a magisterial climax (though not its Vietnam era denouement) in this riveting account of Johnson's vice-presidency in the Kennedy administration and early presidency through 1964. It's a roller-coaster narrative as Johnson plummets from the powerful Senate majority leader post to vice-presidential irrelevance, hated and humiliated by the Kennedy brothers, then surges to presidential authority with the crack of Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle and forces a revolutionary civil rights act through a recalcitrant Congress. Caro's penetrating study of competing power modes pits Kennedyesque charisma against Johnson's brilliant parliamentary street-fighting, backroom arm-twisting, and canny manipulation of personal motives, all made vivid by rich profiles: JFK, the polished, amused aristocrat; Bobby, the brutal, guilt-haunted zealot; Johnson, the uncouth neurotic-egomaniacal, insecure, sycophantic as an underling, sadistic as a boss, ruthless and corrupt yet possessed of an empathy for the downtrodden (he picked cotton in his penniless youth) that outshines Camelot's noblesse oblige. The author's Shakespearean view of power-all court intrigue, pageantry, and warring psychological drives-barely acknowledges the social movements that made possible Johnson's legislative triumphs. But Caro's ugly, tormented, heroic Johnson makes an apt embodiment of an America struggling toward epochal change, one with a fascinating resonance in our era of gridlocked government and paralyzed leadership. Photos. 300,000 announced first printing. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow and Nesbit. (May 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The first volume of Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson was published in 1982; the third, Master of the Senate, garnered the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Caro (The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York) now presents the fourth volume-a major event in biography, history, even publishing itself. The time span covered here is short, opening with Johnson's unsuccessful try for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination and closing with his 1964 State of the Union address mere weeks after JFK's assassination. Caro's focus is on those seven weeks between the assassination and the address. He again alters our view of Johnson by illuminating how, even in the earliest moments of confusion and grief following the assassination, he moved beyond the humiliations of his years as vice president and, with a genius for public leadership buttressed by behind-the-scenes manipulation of the levers of power, ensured the success in Congress of JFK's dormant economic and civil rights programs while establishing himself, however briefly, as a triumphant president, fulfilling his lifetime ambition. VERDICT Caro has once more combined prodigious research and a literary gift to mount a stage for his Shakespearean figures: LBJ, JFK, and LBJ's nemesis Robert F. Kennedy. Readers' only disappointment will be the necessary wait for Caro's next volume.-Bob Nardini, Niagara Falls, NY (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.

Book list *Starred Review* Wedged between LBJ's triumphant Senate career and his presidency, this fourth volume in Caro's acclaimed Years of Lyndon Johnson series addresses the failed presidential campaign of 1960, the three frustrating years as vice president, and the transition between the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Though seemingly focused on less compelling material than Master of the Senate (2002), the book is riveting reading from beginning to end, perhaps because Caro's real subject is political power, both its waxing and waning. There is plenty of both here, as Caro shows Johnson struggling with his lifetime fear of being humiliated, first in the brilliant account of his mystifying refusal to enter the 1960 campaign before it was too late to win and then in the agonizing story of the vice-presidential years, throughout which Johnson tiptoed on the edge of the humiliation he dreaded (mainly at the hands of Robert Kennedy, whose relationship with LBJ Caro calls perhaps the greatest blood feud in American political history ). But the real tour de force in this stunning mix of political and psychological analysis comes in the account of the seven-week transition between administrations, from November 23, 1963, to January 8, 1964, when Johnson delivered his first State of the Union message. From the moment he assumed the presidency, on Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy at his side, Johnson, as Caro portrays him, was a man reborn, his zeal for and uncanny understanding of the craft of governance risen from the ashes of the brow-beaten vice president. It is an utterly fascinating character study, brimming with delicious insider stories (the Bobby Baker scandal, the way LBJ maneuvered Senator Harry Byrd into passing the federal budget and clearing the way for the 1964 civil rights bill to reach the floor, and on and on). Political wonks, of course, will dive into this book with unbridled passion, but its focus on a larger-than-life, flawed but fascinating individual the kind of character who drives epic fiction should extend its reach much, much further. Unquestionably, one of the truly big books of the year. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This much-anticipated fourth in a roundly acclaimed series will receive top-drawer media coverage, in print, online, and on television. 125,000 first printing.--Ott, Bill 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 Crispin: The Cross of Lead
by Avi

Publishers Weekly Set in 14th-century England, Avi's (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) 50th book begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as "Asta's son." Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father's identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother's treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a "wolf's head" wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. "I have no name," Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. "No home, no kin, no place in this world." How the boy learns his true identity (he's the bastard son of the lord of the manor) and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn. Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery aplenty, but it's the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story. A page turner to delight Avi's fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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 Beauty Queens
by Bray, Libba

Publishers Weekly Bray follows her Printz Award-winner, Going Bovine, with an only slightly less absurd premise in this out-there satire about a planeload of teen beauty queens who crash onto a (not so) deserted island. Lord of the Flies with an evening gown competition, anyone? Led by the indefatigable Miss Texas, Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, the 14 surviving contestants must rely on competitive moxie. Despite the large cast, Bray makes the Misses distinctive, though each is more a stand-in for a particular brand of diversity than a fully dimensional teenager (one's black, one's deaf, one's gay, one is a boy in the process of becoming a girl). Poor Miss New Mexico stands out because she has a serving tray embedded in her forehead. ("Bangs are the new black!") Halfway through the ordeal, a boat full of shirtless, reality TV pirates runs aground, allowing for some smoking hot scenes. Fun footnotes, contestant profiles, and scripted commercial breaks are interspersed. There's a lot of message, but every time the story veers toward sermonizing, Bray corrects with another crack about our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed, consumer-driven society. Ages 13-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When a plane carrying contestants for the Miss Teen Dream pageant crashes on a remote island, the survivors face greater challenges than just finding food, shelter, and missing cosmetics. Unbeknownst to the girls, the island is not deserted: its volcano houses a secret U.S.-government enclave involved in illegal weapons trading, and the cast grows further after some studly reality-TV pirates arrive on the scene. Outlandish? Yes. And there are characters that veer toward stereotype: take-charge Miss Texas, incognito-journalist Miss New Hampshire, and transgender Miss Rhode Island (who has a surprise under her sash), among others. But rather than letting the plot reel out of control, Bray, author of the Printz Award-winning Going Bovine (2009), spins this hilarious romp into an examination of femininity and feminism, sex and sexuality. And while they await rescue, the girls discover moving truths about themselves. The text is interspersed with commercial breaks, contestant fact sheets, footnotes, radio broadcasts, and spoofs of reality TV and celebrity status, all of which add to the appeal of this sure-to-be popular title.--Dobrez, Cind. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Whip-smart social commentary, surreal plot elements, and feminist themes come together in this bizarre and brilliant story about a group of beauty pageant contestants stranded on a remote island after a plane crash. Undaunted by disaster, the teens hone their survival skills as they practice dance routines and pageant interviews, while a ruthless corporation secretly plans to use them as pawns in an arms deal with an insane dictator. Beneath an entertaining veneer of witty dialogue and comic absurdity lies a thought-provoking exploration of society's expectations for how young women should look, feel, think, and act. Wry footnotes lampoon the media and pop culture, while hilariously scripted "commercial breaks" interrupt the narrative, leading readers to question the pervasiveness of self-improvement products that make consumers feel inadequate. Using multiple points of view to tell the story, Bray rises admirably to the challenge of developing a large cast of characters. Each pageant contestant possesses much more than surface-level beauty, and even the most stereotypically ditzy girl offers unique and unexpected strength. Readers from all backgrounds will identify with the representation of various religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations among the characters. Occasional strong language and a frank approach to sex may make this novel most appropriate for older teens. The empowering theme of self-acceptance and the affirming message that women should not underestimate themselves or others makes this novel a potentially life-changing book for budding feminists.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (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 Guns, Germs and Steel
by Jared Diamond

Publishers Weekly In a boldly ambitious analysis of history's broad patterns, evolutionary biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee) identifies food production as a key to the glaring inequalities of wealth and power in the modern world. Dense, agriculture-based populations, unlike relatively egalitarian hunter-gatherers, bred chiefs, kings and bureaucratic "kleptocracies" that transferred wealth from commoners to upper classes. Such bureaucracies, Diamond maintains, were essential to organizing wars of conquest; moreover, farming societies were able to support full-time craft specialists who developed technical innovations and steel weapons. As a result, European conquerors and their colonizing descendants, bringing guns, cavalry and infectious diseases, overwhelmed the native peoples of North and South America, Africa and Australia. Using molecular biological studies, Diamond, a professor at UCLA Medical School, illuminates why Eurasian germs spreading animal-derived diseases proved so devastating to indigenous societies on other continents. Refuting racist explanations for presumed differences in intelligence or technological capability and eschewing a Eurocentric worldview, he argues persuasively that accidental differences in geography and environment, combined with centuries of conquest, genocide and epidemics, shaped the disparate populations of today's world. His masterful synthesis is a refreshingly unconventional history informed by anthropology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, epidemiology, archeology and technological development. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club, QPB and Newbridge Book Clubs selections. (Mar.)

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

Choice At the risk of sounding melodramatic, this usually soft spoken academic is willing to assert that Diamond's book is one of very few that could have a real impact on world understanding if it were widely read. Diamond wrestles with the huge question of why some societies became so rich and powerful -- and why others remain relatively poor and powerless. To answer so enormous a question, the author addresses many other fundamental questions. Among these are how and why did food production begin? What differences did this make? How did it spread? Why were some animals domesticated and others not? How did writing evolve, and why does it matter? Diamond poses similar questions with respect to technology, religion, and government. He writes clearly and in an engrossing manner, with a consistent (but not heavy-handed) grounding in evolutionary theory. He is a biologist who neatly interweaves data and insights from many other disciplines, including geography and anthropology, which are too often overlooked. A subsidiary theme of this work is discrediting racist theories of history, which Diamond does deftly and consistently throughout, with no resort to polemic. Several apt but unfamiliar illustrations complement the text, which is thoroughly authoritative despite the absence of footnotes or endnotes. A discursive bibliographic essay on each chapter can be helpful to anyone who wants to pursue a topic in greater depth. All levels. D. B. Heath; Brown University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal Most of this work deals with non-Europeans, but Diamond's thesis sheds light on why Western civilization became hegemonic: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Those who domesticated plants and animals early got a head start on developing writing, government, technology, weapons of war, and immunity to deadly germs. (LJ 2/15/97) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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

Library Journal In the course of history, some groups conquered, some were conquered. UCLA physiology professor Diamond investigates why, arguing that it has nothing to do with race.

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

Library Journal Why is history so dramatically different for peoples around the world? Why did some groups become literate industrial societies with metal tools while others remained nonliterate farming societies, and still others remained hunter-gatherers with stone tools? The resultant inequalities have led historically to the extermination or conquest of some groups by more advanced, literate societies. Biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee, LJ 3/15/92) here combines a study of human history with science, specifically evolutionary biology and geology. His starting point is 11,000 B.C., when large differences began to appear in the rates at which human societies evolved. Diamond examines on a global scale the development of farming, domestication of plants and animals, creation of writing, and advancement of technology. He maintains that it was such environmental benefits as the availability of certain key species and plants, as well as geographical placement, that gave the advantage to Eurasia over the rest of the world, rather than any biological advantages of one race over the others. A provocative book that will appeal to general readers as well as scholars; recommended for most libraries. BOMC, History Book Club, Quality paperback Books, and Newbridge Book Club selections.?Ed.]?Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., Kan.

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

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Learning To Swim
by Sara J. Henry

Publishers Weekly Freelance writer Troy Chance, the protagonist of Henry's impressive first novel, impulsively, and literally, dives into trouble when she sees a youngster fall from a ferry boat on Lake Champlain. Troy manages to rescue the boy, discovers that his fall was no accident, and after brief, anonymous reports to the police, embarks on an ill-conceived attempt to become the boy's protector. Bonding with the boy, she eventually learns his name, Paul Dumond; his age, six; and that he and his mother had been kidnapped and his mother later shot and killed. Troy locates Paul's Canadian father, Philippe, and reunites father and son, but she is unwilling to end her involvement. When the police can't find the kidnappers, Troy starts to probe more deeply into the lives of Philippe, his abducted wife, and Paul's captivity. Henry adroitly handles Troy's exposure to new emotions as she re-examines her life and relationships. An inconclusive ending may signal that Chance's journey is not yet over. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When Troy Chance spots what she thinks is a small boy being tossed off the back of a passing ferry, she instinctively jumps into the icy waters of Lake Champlain. She rescues the youngster and discovers that his arms were bound with an adult sweatshirt. He's incredibly frightened, speaks only French, and won't tell her what happened. Troy determines that she will keep him safe rather than turn him over to the police. When he finally begins to confide in her, he tells a bizarre tale of being kidnapped, hearing his mother murdered by gunshot, and then being held for months. As Troy tracks down the boy's father, she begins to question whether she will be able to let him go, since he has unleashed within her a maternal instinct she had no idea she possessed. In her debut, the first in a projected series, Henry proves herself to be a smooth and compelling storyteller. And her lead is highly appealing: an athletic, fiercely independent young woman who, like crime-fiction author Gillian Flynn's feisty females, is capable of making delightfully acerbic observations.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Library Journal Freelance writer Troy Chance sees a child thrown from a ferry and jumps into the water to save him. Haunted by a past experience with an abandoned child, she decides to be sure that his parents weren't responsible before she notifies the police. She travels to Canada to meet with Paul's divorced father and realizes that she has become more attached to the child than she wanted to be. Accepting an invitation to stay with the family for a few days while Paul recovers from the trauma of his kidnapping, Troy finds herself falling for his father. At the same time, she is unable to leave the investigation in the hands of the police, still fearing that one of the parents could have been involved. Verdict Fans of both mystery and romantic suspense will welcome this promising new author; the unsettled ending hints at a follow-up mystery.-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs (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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