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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami

Publishers Weekly Murakami's (1Q84) latest novel, which sold more than a million copies during its first week on sale in Japan, is a return to the mood and subject matter of the acclaimed writer's earlier work. Living a simple, quotidian life as a train station engineer, Tsukuru is compelled to reexamine his past after a girlfriend suggests he reconnect with a group of friends from high school. A tight-knit fivesome for years, the group suddenly alienated Tsukuru under mysterious circumstances when he was in college. For months after the break, not knowing what had gone wrong, he became obsessed with death and slowly lost his sense of self: "I've always seen myself as an empty person, lacking color and identity. Maybe that was my role in the group. To be empty." Feeling his life will only progress if he can tie up those emotional loose ends, Tsukuru journeys through Japan and into Europe to meet with the members of the group and unravel what really happened 16 years before. The result is a vintage Murakami struggle of coming to terms with buried emotions and missed opportunities, in which intentions and pent up desires can seemingly transcend time and space to bring both solace and desolation. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In high school, Tsukuru Tazaki was part of a "perfect community" of five best friends. Each had a color attached to their family names-red, blue, white, black-except for Tsukuru, rendering him "colorless." -After Tsukuru begins college in Tokyo, he's brutally excised without explanation. Sixteen years later, he's a successful train station engineer living a comfortable life still in -Tokyo. Contentment, however, eludes him: "I have no sense of self.I feel like an empty vessel. I have a shape.but there's nothing inside." He's on the verge of his most significant relationship, but his lover warns he "need[s] to come face-to-face with the past" in order to consider a future. His name may lack color, but it also promises agency: tsukuru is the infinitive for "make" or "build." With Facebook and Google as guides, his pilgrimage will take him home and as far as a Finnish lakeside. VERDICT Murakami devotees will sigh with relief at finding his usual memes-the moon, Cutty Sark, a musical theme, ringing telephones, a surreal story-within-a-story (this time about passing on death and possibly six fingers). That the novel sold over one million copies its first week in Japan guarantees--absolutely, deservedly so-instant best-seller status stateside as well. [See Prepub Alert, 4/14/14.]-Terry Hong, -Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 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 Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls
by David Sedaris

Book list Following his foray into animal fables, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (2010), Sedaris returns to his signature form, the eviscerating comic essay. He draws on a seemingly bottomless well of appalling childhood memories revolving around his mounting fears about being unlike other boys. There's a stinging account of swimming competitions during which his irascible father vociferously championed his son's rival, a courageously candid tale of his courtship of a shy African American girl, and an unnerving confession of his inept handling of captured baby sea turtles. Moving on to more worldly episodes, Sedaris recalls encounters with strangers on trains and offers hilarious perspectives on French health care and shopping at Costco. An acute observer and master of the quick, excoriating takedown, Sedaris claims new territory in this exceptionally gutsy and unnerving collection, creating dark and mischievous monologues in other voices, such as the brilliantly vicious Just a Quick E-Mail and an alarming rant by a Christian fascist. Sedaris casts penetrating light on a world of cruelty, inanity, and absurdity that is barely but surely redeemed by humor and love. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Sedaris-mania knows no bounds, and with a 20-city author tour and all-out media campaign, this will be a red-hot title.--Seaman, Donna 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 Kira-Kira
by Cynthia Kadohata

School Library Journal Gr 6-8-Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. When her sister dies of lymphoma, Katie searches for ways to live up to her legacy and to fulfill the dreams she never had a chance to attain. Told from Katie's point of view and set in the 1950s, this beautifully written story tells of a girl struggling to find her own way in a family torn by illness and horrendous work conditions. Katie's parents can barely afford to pay their daughter's medical bills, yet they refuse to join the growing movement to unionize until after Lynn's death. All of the characters are believable and well developed, especially Katie, who acts as a careful observer of everything that happens in her family, even though there is a lot she doesn't understand. Especially heartbreaking are the weeks leading up to Lynn's death, when Katie is exhausted and frustrated by the demands of her sister's illness, yet willing to do anything to make her happy. Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA (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. 6-12.atie Takeshima worships her older sister, Lynn, who knows everything and takes care ofatie while their parents are working long hours in their small Georgia town in the late 1950s. It's Lynn who showsatie the glittering beauty (kira-kira) of the stars and who preparesatie for the prejudice she will encounter as one of the fewapanese American kids in their school. But whenatie is 10, Lynn, 14, falls ill, and everything changes. Slowly the roles are reversed;atie becomes caregiver and does what Lynn has taught her. There's no surprise. It's clear that Lynn will die, andatie goes through all the stages of grief. The real story is in the small details, never self-consciously poetic but tense with family drama. In her first novel for young people,adohata stays true to the child's viewpoint in plain, beautiful prose that can barely contain the passionate feelings.ust as heart wrenching as the sisters' story is whatatie knows of her father's struggle, whether it's his backbreaking work in the factory or his love for his family. The quiet words will speak to readers who have lost someone they love--or fear that they could. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Set in the 1950s and '60s, Kadohata's moving first novel is narrated by a first-generation Japanese-American girl who moves with her family from Iowa to Georgia when their "Oriental foods grocery store" goes out of business. There, Katie and her family face hardships, including discrimination (she is ignored by the girls at school, for example), and the harsh conditions at the poultry plant where her mother works ("thugs" make sure workers do not gather so that they cannot organize). Katie's father often sleeps at the hatchery between shifts, and when their babysitter goes away, Katie and her brother must stay in the hot car outside the plant while their mother works. But it's her doting older sister Lynn's struggle with lymphoma that really tests her family. Katie's narrative begins almost as stream-of-consciousness, reflecting a younger child's way of seeing the world. But as she matures through the challenges her family faces, so does the prose. Kadohata movingly captures the family's sustaining love-Lynn and Katie secretly save their treat money for years so they can help their parents buy a house, and when ailing Lynn gets to pick the house, she chooses a sky blue one, because Katie as a "little girl,... had told her [she] wanted our first to be sky blue." The family's devotion to one another, and Lynn's ability to teach Katie to appreciate the "kira-kira," or glittering, in everyday life makes this novel shine. Ages 11-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Where the Streets had a Name
by Abel-Fattah, Randa

Book list Since her Palestinian family lost their home, times have been hard for Hayaat, 13, who lives in Bethlehem on the occupied West Bank. To try to comfort her beloved dying grandmother, Sitti, Hayaat journeys to get some soil from the Jerusalem garden that Sitti longs for. Hayaat's friend, Samy, joins her on her quest. His mother was killed, and his imprisoned father is a heroic activist to some, but Samy is bitter: He traded me for the cause. At the many checkpoints, the friends encounter soldiers, both brutal and kind, and also an Israeli peacenik couple who helps the kids get past the towering barriers. Hayaat's immediate, wry, and irreverent narrative intensifies the story of anguished struggle and Palestinian politics. The author leavens the story with humor; Sitti farts a lot, for example. The suspense builds, though, to heartbreaking revelations, particularly about the violent episodes that Hayaat has tried hard not to remember.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly This suspenseful novel reveals the plight of Palestinians living in occupied territory, as 13-year-old Hayaat braves the journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, trying to fulfill the wish of her ailing grandmother, who dreams of touching the soil of her home once more. In her first middle-grade novel, Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?) crafts a classic quest and adeptly sketches the strong friendship between Hayaat and her soccer-obsessed friend Samy, who accompanies her through checkpoints, and the memorable cast they encounter along the way, which includes a pair of Israeli peace activists. The rest of Hayaat's family anchor the narrative and prove equally compelling, including Hayaat's older sister, who is preparing for her wedding; her tenacious mother; and her depressed father. Clues to the disfiguring accident that scarred Hayaat and caused the death of her best friend build, illuminating a source of fear and sorrow. Still, Hayaat manages to hold onto hope: "Maybe it's not about survival. Maybe we have to learn how to live with purpose." The heroine's courage, warmth, and humor despite mounting challenges will win over readers. Ages 9-12. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Physically and emotionally scarred, Hayaat lives behind the Israeli-built Separation Wall in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. When her beloved grandmother falls ill, the 13-year-old decides to make her way to Jerusalem to fill an empty hummus jar with soil from the land of her grandmother's ancestral home. She is certain that this will mend her heart. Unfortunately, although Jerusalem is merely minutes away, curfews, checkpoints, and an identity card that doesn't allow her to cross the border mean that Hayaat and her soccer-loving, troublemaker friend Samy face a perilous journey. This novel is an important addition to a very small body of existing books that tell the Palestinian story for young people, and an intensely realistic setting brings that story to life. It is full of humor, adventure, and family love, but doesn't try to hide the heartbreaking and often bitter reality of life under Occupation. Abdel-Fattah manages to walk the line of truth-telling and sensitivity. She has avoided vilifying Israelis and, in fact, Hayaat and Samy could not have completed their journey without the help of a Jewish Israeli couple sympathetic to their cause. A cast of quirky characters adds both humor and realism to the story, making the devastating circumstances more palatable to young readers and keeping the story light in spite of a heavy topic and some dark realizations as the plot moves forward.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA (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.

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The Haunted Land
by Tina Rosenberg

Choice Freelance journalist and scholar Rosenberg, presently a fellow at the World Policy Institute, has turned her superior talents to a profound question facing Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism. How does society-- its people and its leaders--restore the truth and the historical past after communism? The need to come to terms with history after any war or revolution is problematic and is not always a matter of restoring truth. The legacy of living in communist societies makes this task perilous and necessary. Eastern Europeans have had to adjust their sense of the historical past to a reconstituted present on several occasions in this century, as new orthodoxies replaced old. With depth, and a style appealing to general readers as well as scholars, Rosenberg weaves a tapestry of stories, personal and public, gathered since 1991. She concentrates on the four previously communist nations of Poland, Germany, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, where the ghosts of the haunted lands raise profound ethical dilemmas. Rosenberg suggests that these countries are not truly dealing with the past, because of the way it lives within them. One great challenge is for democratic societies to purge themselves of a communist past, and punish old villains (yesterday's heroes?) without violating democratic ideals. A powerful text. All levels. A. R. Brunello; Eckerd College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list Rosenberg, the first freelance journalist to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant, has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and The New Yorker; her first book--Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America (1991)--was widely praised. In this study, Rosenberg investigates another kind of violence: the repression and coercion that were, until recently, an inescapable part of daily life for most citizens of Eastern Europe. Focusing on Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, and Poland, Rosenberg humanizes her description of the aftermath of Communism's collapse with tales of three individuals: Rudolf Zukal, a longtime Czech dissident, denounced in 1991 as a collaborator; Wojciech Jaruzelski, the general who headed Poland after the first Solidarity uprising; and Michael Schmidt, an East German border guard who was tried, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, for killing the last person who attempted to escape to the West. Rosenberg compares totalitarianism in Latin America and Eastern Europe, suggesting that trials and punishment are vital for Latin America's "regimes of criminals" but are clumsy tools at best in coming to terms with Eastern Europe's "criminal regimes," which drew most citizens into their operations. A provocative study of a critical component in building the world's newest democracies. --Mary Carroll

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

Publishers Weekly Freelance journalist Rosenberg's frequent trips since 1991 to eastern Europe and the former Soviet empire led to this trenchant report on the moral, political and legal dilemmas confronting Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as they face their Communist pasts. She focuses on Czech dissident/human rights activist Rudolf Zukal, whose parliamentary career was shattered in 1989 by the revelation that he had been an informer for the secret police in the early 1960s. She also interviewed Polish Communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who, at his 1992 impeachment trial, argued that his imposition of martial law in 1981 was a necessary evil to save Poland from a Soviet invasion. Documents and testimony presented here contradict that rationale, showing that Jaruzelski was anxious to undercut Solidarity's growing power. Rosenberg also profiles Berlin Wall border guards and East German secret police informers now condemned for their unquestioning obedience to the old regime. Rosenberg wrote Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America. (May)

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 Girl Sleuth
by Melanie Rehak

Publishers Weekly The intrepid Nancy Drew has given girls a sense of their own power since she was born, Athena-like, from the mind of Edward Stratemeyer in 1929 and raised after his death in 1930 by his daughter Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Mildred Wirt Benson, a journalist who was the first to write the novels under the pen name Carolyn Keene. Poet and critic Rehak invigorates all the players in the Drew story, and it's truly fun to see behind the scenes of the girl sleuth's creation, her transformation as different writers took on the series, and the publishing phenomenon-the highly productive Stratemeyer Syndicate machine-that made her possible. Rehak's most ambitious choice is to reflect on how Nancy Drew mirrors girls' lives and the ups and downs of the women's movement. This approach is compelling, but not particularly well executed. Rehak's breathless prose doesn't do justice to the complexity of the large social trends she describes, and tangents into Feminism 101 derail the story that really works-the life of a publishing juggernaut. All the same, Stratemeyer himself would undoubtedly say that the story is worth telling. Drew fans are likely to agree. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice In 1975, on the rebound from writing a dissertation on Vladimir Nabokov, Bobbie Ann Mason wrote The Girl Sleuth, in which she provided a feminist discussion of the literary girl sleuth who has fascinated generations of readers. At least a half dozen other books followed Mason's pioneering study (e.g., Nancy Drew and Company, ed. by Sherrie Inness, CH, Dec'97, 35-1995), and an entire academic conference was devoted to Nancy Drew in 1993. Rehak (a poet and freelance critic) focuses on Mildred Augustine and Harriet Stratemeyer, the creators of the Nancy Drew character. Augustine wrote many of the books, following a formula provided by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book packager that offered this and other juvenile series. Stratemeyer, as head of the syndicate after the death of her father, guarded Nancy Drew jealously and sometimes conflicted with Augustine. Based on thorough archival research, Rehak's book is fascinating and readable. Particularly valuable are the historical and literary contexts the author builds for each decade of the 20th century; this material serves as background for the story of the two authors, for the issues facing women at that time, and for attitudes toward children's literature. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. E. R. Baer Gustavus Adolphus College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list For 75 years, reading Nancy Drew mysteries has been a literary rite of passage for millions of young girls. In this lively offering, poet and critic Rehak tells the tale of the creative trio behind the celebrated pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer powered the extraordinarily successful Stratemeyer Syndicate (the character of Nancy Drew, the copper-haired teen sleuth who tackled cases with passion and panache, was but one of his creations, which included the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys). His daughter, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, was the well-to-do mother of two who took over the business upon his death. ?And enterprising Iowa journalist Mildred Wirt Benson, the original voice of Nancy Drew, devoted decades of her life to ghostwriting titles for the series. Both Harriet and Mildred were talented, driven women who challenged the domestic labels affixed to them. Even at the age of 93, Mildred was described as having "a tangle of white curls and the dismissive air of Robert DeNiro." Packed with revealing anecdotes, Rehak's meticulously researched account of the publishing phenomenon that survived the Depression and WWII (and was even feted by feminists in the 1960s) will delight fans of the beloved gumshoe whose gumption guaranteed that every reprobate got his due. Read this alongside Greenwald's The Secret of the Hardy Boys 0 (2004), about another Stratemeyer ghostwriter, Leslie McFarlane, the voice of the first 16 Hardy Boys novels. --Allison Block Copyright 2005 Booklist

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

Library Journal The story behind everyone's favorite girl sleuth. (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.

School Library Journal Adult/High School-As much a social history of the times as a book about the popular series, this is a fun title that will appeal to older teens who remember the series fondly. In 1930, she arrived in her shiny blue roadster and she has remained a part of the children's book scene ever since. While Nancy may have been the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer, creator of the successful Stratemeyer Syndicate, it was the devotion of Harriet, his daughter, and syndicate writer Mildred Wirt Benson who brought her to life. The series succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams but things were not always peaceful in River Heights. Rehak does a good job of explaining the intricacies of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and the sometimes-rocky relationship between these two strong women, each of whom felt a sense of ownership of the girl detective. Those who followed the many adventures of Nancy Drew and her friends will be fascinated with the behind-the-scene stories of just who Carolyn Keene really was.-Peggy Bercher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (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.

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