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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Unbroken
by Laura Hillenbrand

Library Journal The author of Seabiscuit now brings us a biography of World War II prisoner of war survivor Louis Zamperini (b. 1917). A track athlete at the 1936 Munich Olympics, Zamperini became a B-24 crewman in the U.S. Army Air Force. When his plane went down in the Pacific in 1943, he spent 47 days in a life raft, then was picked up by a Japanese ship and survived starvation and torture in labor camps. Eventually repatriated, he had a spiritual rebirth and returned to Japan to promote forgiveness and healing. Because of the author's popularity, libraries will want this book both for general readers who like a good story and for World War II history buffs; however, it's not essential reading for those who read Zamperini's autobiography, Devil at My Heels, with David Rensin, in its 2003 edition. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.] (c) Copyright 2010. 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 From the 1936 Olympics to WWII Japan's most brutal POW camps, Hillenbrand's heart-wrenching new book is thousands of miles and a world away from the racing circuit of her bestselling Seabiscuit. But it's just as much a page-turner, and its hero, Louie Zamperini, is just as loveable: a disciplined champion racer who ran in the Berlin Olympics, he's a wit, a prankster, and a reformed juvenile delinquent who put his thieving skills to good use in the POW camps, In other words, Louie is a total charmer, a lover of life-whose will to live is cruelly tested when he becomes an Army Air Corps bombardier in 1941. The young Italian-American from Torrance, Calif., was expected to be the first to run a four-minute mile. After an astonishing but losing race at the 1936 Olympics, Louie was hoping for gold in the 1940 games. But war ended those dreams forever. In May 1943 his B-24 crashed into the Pacific. After a record-breaking 47 days adrift on a shark-encircled life raft with his pal and pilot, Russell Allen "Phil" Phillips, they were captured by the Japanese. In the "theater of cruelty" that was the Japanese POW camp network, Louie landed in the cruelest theaters of all: Omori and Naoetsu, under the control of Corp. Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a pathologically brutal sadist (called the Bird by camp inmates) who never killed his victims outright-his pleasure came from their slow, unending torment. After one beating, as Watanabe left Louie's cell, Louie saw on his face a "soft languor.... It was an expression of sexual rapture." And Louie, with his defiant and unbreakable spirit, was Watanabe's victim of choice. By war's end, Louie was near death. When Naoetsu was liberated in mid-August 1945, a depleted Louie's only thought was "I'm free! I'm free! I'm free!" But as Hillenbrand shows, Louie was not yet free. Even as, returning stateside, he impulsively married the beautiful Cynthia Applewhite and tried to build a life, Louie remained in the Bird's clutches, haunted in his dreams, drinking to forget, and obsessed with vengeance. In one of several sections where Hillenbrand steps back for a larger view, she writes movingly of the thousands of postwar Pacific PTSD sufferers. With no help for their as yet unrecognized illness, Hillenbrand says, "there was no one right way to peace; each man had to find his own path...." The book's final section is the story of how, with Cynthia's help, Louie found his path. It is impossible to condense the rich, granular detail of Hillenbrand's narrative of the atrocities committed (one man was exhibited naked in a Tokyo zoo for the Japanese to "gawk at his filthy, sore-encrusted body") against American POWs in Japan, and the courage of Louie and his fellow POWs, who made attempts on Watanabe's life, committed sabotage, and risked their own lives to save others. Hillenbrand's triumph is that in telling Louie's story (he's now in his 90s), she tells the stories of thousands whose suffering has been mostly forgotten. She restores to our collective memory this tale of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, suffering, remorselessness, and redemption. (Nov.) -Reviewed by Sarah F. Gold (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list A second book by the author of Seabiscuit (2001) would get noticed, even if it weren't the enthralling and often grim story of Louie Zamperini. An Olympic runner during the 1930s, he flew B-24s during WWII. Taken prisoner by the Japanese, he endured a captivity harsh even by Japanese standards and was a physical and mental wreck at the end of the war. He was saved by the influence of Billy Graham, who inspired him to turn his life around, and afterward devoted himself to evangelical speeches and founding boys' camps. Still alive at 93, Zamperini now works with those Japanese individuals and groups who accept responsibility for Japanese mistreatment of POWs and wish to see Japan and the U.S. reconciled. He submitted to 75 interviews with the author as well as contributing a large mass of personal records. Fortunately, the author's skills are as polished as ever, and like its predecessor, this book has an impossible-to-put-down quality that one commonly associates with good thrillers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This departure from the author's previous best-seller will nevertheless be promoted as necessary reading for the many folks who enjoyed the first one or its movie version.--Green, Roland 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 And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

Book list *Starred Review* Saboor, a laborer, pulls his young daughter, Pari, and his son, Abdullah, across the desert in a red wagon, leaving their poor village of Shadbagh for Kabul, where his brother-in-law, Nabi, a chauffeur, will introduce them to a wealthy man and his beautiful, despairing poet wife. So begins the third captivating and affecting novel by the internationally best-selling author of The Kite Runner (2003) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007). An immense, ancient oak stands in Shadbagh, emblematic of the complexly branching stories in Hosseini's vital, profound, and spellbinding saga of family bonds and unlikely pairings forged by chance, choice, and necessity. We meet twin sisters, one beautiful, one plain; one an invalid, the other a caretaker. Two male cousins, one a charismatic wheeler-dealer; the other a cautious, introverted doctor. A disfigured girl of great valor and a boy destined to become a plastic surgeon. Kabul falls and struggles to rise. Shadbagh comes under the rule of a drug lord, and the novel's many limbs reach to Paris, San Francisco, and a Greek island. A masterful and compassionate storyteller, Hosseini traces the traumas and scarring of tyranny, war, crime, lies, and illness in the intricately interconnected, heartbreaking, and extraordinary lives of his vibrantly realized characters to create a grand and encompassing tree of life. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The immense popularity of Hosseini's previous books ensures a high-profile promotional campaign and mounting word-of-mouth excitement in anticipation of the release of his first new novel in six years.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Hosseini's third novel (after A Thousand Splendid Suns) follows a close-knit but oft-separated Afghan family through love, wars, and losses more painful than death. The story opens in 1952 in the village of Shadbagh, outside of Kabul, as a laborer, Kaboor, relates a haunting parable of triumph and loss to his son, Abdullah. The novel's core, however, is the sale for adoption of the Kaboor's three-year-old daughter, Pari, to the wealthy poet Nila Wahdati and her husband, Suleiman, by Pari's step-uncle Nabi. The split is particularly difficult for Abdullah, who took care of his sister after their mother's death. Once Suleiman has a stroke, Nila leaves him to Nabi's care and takes Pari to live in Paris. Much later, during the U.S. occupation, the dying Nabi makes Markos, a Greek plastic surgeon now renting the Wahdati house, promise to find Pari and give her a letter containing the truth. The beautiful writing, full of universal truths of loss and identity, makes each section a jewel, even if the bigger picture, which eventually expands to include Pari's life in France, sometimes feels disjointed. Still, Hosseini's eye for detail and emotional geography makes this a haunting read. Agent: Elaine Koster, Elaine Koster Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal This bittersweet family saga spans six decades and transports readers from Afghanistan to France, Greece, and the United States. Hosseini (The Kite Runner; A Thousand Splendid Suns) weaves a gorgeous tapestry of disparate characters joined by threads of blood and fate. Siblings Pari and Abdullah are cruelly separated at childhood. A disfigured young woman, Thalia is abandoned by her mother and learns to love herself under the tutelage of a surrogate. Markos, a doctor who travels the world healing strangers, avoids his sick mother back home. A feminist poet, Nila Wahdatire, reinvents herself through an artful magazine interview, and Nabi, who is burdened by a past deed, leaves a letter of explanation. Each character tells his or her version of the same story of selfishness and selflessness, acceptance and forgiveness, but most important, of love in all its complex iterations. VERDICT In this uplifting and deeply satisfying book, Hosseini displays an optimism not so obvious in his previous works. Readers will be clamoring for it. [See Prepub Alert, 11/04/12.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Estero, FL (c) Copyright 2013. 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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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The View From Saturday
by E.L. Konigsburg

Book list Gr. 4^-7. Four offbeat students are picked by their wheelchair-bound teacher to be a team for the Academic Bowl. How the children are chosen is the central question around which the intricate plot revolves.

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

Publishers Weekly Glowing with humor and dusted with magic, this contemporary novel explores the ties that bind the four members of a championship academic quiz-bowl team. Sixth-grade teacher/coach Mrs. Olinski, teaching for the first time since becoming paraplegic, proudly observes her students' victories from the confines of a wheelchair. She is not sure what propelled her to choose the members of her team, nor does she fully comprehend the secret of their success in repeatedly beating older, more sophisticated competitors. Readers will be equally mystified until the backgrounds of the foursome (who call themselves The Souls) unfold during a series of first-person narratives that reveal the links between the students' private lives. Newbery Medalist Konigsburg (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) orchestrates a stunning quartet of harmoniously blended voices. She expresses the individual struggles of each of her characters while showing how they unite to reach a common goal. Wrought with deep compassion and a keen sense of balance, her imaginative novel affirms the existence of small miracles in everyday life. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-6?Take four sixth graders; combine them as the Epiphany School team for Academic Bowl; add one paraplegic teacher; toss in formal tea times, grandparents of team members getting married, and some magic and calligraphy. Stir them with Konigsburg's masterful hand and you have an ingenious story. Nadia, Noah, Julian, and Ethan are not the top honor students, but Mrs. Olinski has chosen them for other reasons, ones unclear even to her. As the team beats all odds and expectations and reaches the finals, flashbacks told by each member shape a scenario that's like a bundle of pick-up sticks, each piece touching, supporting, and overlapping with the others, and one move effects them all. Stunning interplay of Nadia's turtle watches on Florida beaches, Noah's role as best man at a senior-citizen wedding, Ethan's discovery of himself through new friends, and Julian's ethical decision involving a bully skillfully wrap their stories into one, with amazing insights. Brilliant writing melds with crystalline characterizations in this sparkling story that is a jewel in the author's crown of outstanding work.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. 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 Gr. 4^-7. Four offbeat students are picked by their wheelchair-bound teacher to be a team for the Academic Bowl. How the children are chosen is the central question around which the intricate plot revolves.

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

Book list Gr. 5^-7. Four sixth-graders are chosen by their teacher, Mrs. Olinski, to be the class representatives for the Academic Bowl team. When the team goes on to perform amazing feats of erudition, including winning the state championship, people keep asking Mrs. Olinski how she chose the participants. Although the questioners never get a real answer, the story, told from different perspectives, lets readers in on the secret. Konigsburg's latest shows flashes of her great talent and her grasp of childhood, but the book is weighted down by a Byzantine structure that houses too many characters and alternating narratives that will confuse readers. The story begins at the wedding of two senior citizens in which young Noah is the best man. Two of the other team members, Ethan and Nadia, are grandchildren of the bride and groom, and the fourth member, new boy Julian Singh, cements the group when he invites the others for tea (yes, tea). Mrs. Olinski, who is wheelchair bound, only thinks she is choosing the quartet, when it is just as true they are choosing her. Overriding themes of civility and inclusiveness add interesting elements, but this is more ambitious than it is successful. --Ilene Cooper

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

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Entwined
by Dixon, Heather

Book list *Starred Review* In the half-magical world of Eathesbury, Azalea is the oldest of 12 daughters and heir to her father's throne. When the sisters' mother dies after a long illness, the siblings find a hidden passageway to an enchanted pavilion under the castle where they can dance all night, secretly breaking the rules of mourning. The mysterious and alluring Keeper makes this possible, but he also seems to have less-than-honorable plans for the girls, especially Azalea. The tale's atmosphere becomes increasingly dark and brooding as the truth from ages past comes out, and Azalea realizes just what evil they are pitted against. With several unexpected twists, the story, based on the original Grimms' tale The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes, plunges toward a harrowing conclusion. This first novel is richly imagined with a gothic feel, and Dixon's descriptions of the many dances are thrilling. Although the general story line will be familiar to readers of Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball (2009), this romantic fantasy is darker in tone, and the villain resembles the faeries in Nancy Werlin's Impossible (2008) and O. R. Melling's The Hunter's Moon (2005). The story gracefully explores significant themes of grief and loss, mercy and love. Full of mystery, lush settings, and fully orbed characters, Dixon's debut is both suspenseful and rewarding.--Moore, Melissa Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Readers who enjoy stories of royalty, romance, and magic will delight in Dixon's first novel. Part confection, part acute observation, the story of Azalea and her sisters is a reimagining of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by an author who knows both the protocols and the pleasures of dance. The girls lose that when their mother dies in childbirth, and the castle is plunged into deepest mourning. Their father, whom they call "the King," banishes the girls from his sight and shortly thereafter goes off to war without saying good-bye. Grieving, angry, and bored, Azalea discovers a hidden passage out of the princesses' room, and the magical pavilion it leads to, guarded by the enigmatic spirit Keeper, is the perfect place to dance again. Or is it? Azalea, keenly aware of her duties as the Princess Royale, cannot trust a dream-come-true scenario nor can she forget the warm brown eyes of Mr. Bradford, met briefly and now warring beside the King. The language is simple, rendering Dixon's insights with a light touch without simplifying the problems Azalea faces or the nuances of the understanding she develops. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-This novelized reimagining of the Grimms' "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is a successful and appealing blend of fantasy, romance, mystery, and creepiness. After her mother's death and the banning of all diversions by her grieving and distant father, the eldest of the 12 sisters, Princess Azalea, finds a magical entrance to a fantasy world of a dancing pavilion to which the sisters can escape each night. Azalea slowly begins to understand that the handsome and mysterious Pavilion Keeper has a sinister plan that will ensnare her, but it is only toward the climax that its terrible meaning becomes clear. Her battle with the Keeper will require all of her courage, ingenuity, and ultimately something magical beyond herself. While the plot has a fairy-tale feel, the relationships among the sisters have more of a contemporary domestic sensibility. There are hints of something deeper, too, with 16-year-old Azalea trying to fill the shoes of her mother even while she grieves for her, and struggling with the weight of that responsibility. Woven around the fantasy is a gentle romance theme accompanied by touches of humor, with the king attempting to marry off his daughters and the princesses insisting on their autonomy. Dixon successfully distinguishes the younger girls by emphasizing only one or two traits for each. The three eldest, Azalea, Bramble, and Clover, are more fully drawn. The suitors are by turns appealing and funny, but it is the Keeper who stays with readers. Fans of Gail Carson Levine's Fairest (HarperCollins, 2006) or Julie Kagawa's "Iron Fey" series (Harlequin Teen) will cheer on Azalea and her sisters in their quest for family and happiness.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City (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 The Black Count : glory, revolution, betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo
by Tom Reiss ; [maps by David Lindroth Inc.].

Library Journal Confronted with the surname Dumas, most readers are likely to think of Alexandre Dumas, author of such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. But in The Black Count, Reiss (The Orientalist) explores the life of the writer's father, a man of mixed racial and cultural heritage, born in Saint-Domingue to a slave mother (her last name was Dumas) and a French aristocrat. His father brought him to France, where, because of his tremendous courage and physical gifts, he rose through the ranks of the French military under Napoleon to become a general. He was taken prisoner of war when his ship returning to France from Cairo was captured near Sicily, and he died five years later, when his son was not yet four. Reiss seeks to demonstrate the great effect of the elder Dumas on his son's fiction, inspiring many of the characters and situations in those works. VERDICT While Reiss occasionally strays from the central narrative with an abundance of tangential detail regarding the French Revolution, this accessible read is recommended for fans of popular narrative nonfiction as well as for both casual and serious students of French history, and of the younger Dumas's work.-Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN. (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 Alex Dumas, an extraordinary man whose sensational life had been largely lost to history solely because of his race, takes the spotlight in this dynamic tale. Thanks to Reiss's excellent research, combined with the passionate memorial his son, Alexandre Dumas, consistently built in his own novels and memoir, Dumas's life has been brought back to light. Father to the well-known novelist and clear inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as the adventurous spirit of The Three Musketeers and other stories, Dumas (1762-1806) rose through the ranks of the French army from a lowly private in the dragoons to become a respected general who marched into Egypt at Napoleon's side. (The rivalry and juxtaposition between these two leaders proves fascinating.) Born in what is now Haiti to a French nobleman father and a slave mother, the biracial Dumas chanced to come of age during the French Revolution, a brief period of equality in the French empire; he was thus granted numerous opportunities that the son of a slave 20 years before him (or even 20 years later) would not have enjoyed. Reiss capitalizes on his subject's charged personality as well as the revolutionary times in which he lived to create an exciting narrative. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list The inspiration for some of the great adventure tales of Alexandre Dumas has long been a subject of curiosity and debate. According to Reiss, the inspiration for the great novel of intrigue, betrayal, and revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo, was Dumas' own father, General Alexandre Alex Dumas. In this often thrilling and often sad chronicle, Reiss makes clear that Alex lived a life as full of adventure, triumph, and tragic loss as any of his son's literary creations. He was born in Haiti, the child of an enslaved mother and an erratic French aristocrat who briefly sold his son into slavery. Despite the obvious and immense political and racial obstacles in his path, Alex found his way to Paris, became a skilled swordsman, and rose rapidly in the reorganized army of the French Republic, where he served admirably during Napoleon's invasions of Egypt. Unfortunately, like his literary counterpart, Edmond Dantes, Alex incurred the hostility of powerful people, leading to his fall from grace and eventual impoverishment. This is an absorbing biography that should redeem its subject from undeserved obscurity.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The crossroads
by Chris Grabenstein.

School Library Journal : Gr 5–8—A well-told ghost story with plenty of twists and chills. Eleven-year-old Zack believes that his mother, who died from cancer, haunts his New York City apartment, continually disapproving of his behavior. He is immensely relieved when Dad marries Judy, a kind woman, and they move to Connecticut. Unfortunately, Zack cannot seem to escape the dead. Shortly after arriving in North Chester, they meet Gerda Spratling, the last survivor of the town's founding family. The abrasive woman mourns the loss of her fiancé, making a weekly pilgrimage to the crossroads outside Zack's yard where a massive oak marks the spot where Clint died almost 50 years ago. When Zack sees this tree, he fears that something evil is trapped within, and after the oak is split open by lightning, it soon becomes apparent that a malevolent spirit has been set free. With the help of Judy and a new friend, Zack takes on the menace that is plaguing their town and riling up a plethora of ghosts. This riveting tale is written in short, easy-to-read chapters, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. Throughout the story, the main characters grow closer to one another and gain heroic traits while the "bad guys" reveal greater depths of wickedness and insanity. Readers will relate to Zack and enjoy the book's scare factor and adventure.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

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