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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Jackaby
by R William Ritter

Publishers Weekly Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk. In the best Doyle tradition, the first-person narrator is pragmatic yet naive Abigail Rook, native of Britain and seeker of adventure. Thwarted in Ukraine, she catches ship for the U.S. and lands in New Fiddleham, penniless and with few employable skills. This matters not to R.F. Jackaby, the peculiar stranger with the awful hat, who is more interested in the kobold (household spirit) Abigail has unknowingly picked up on her travels. Jackaby is a detective in need of an unflappable assistant-literally, as his last one "is temporarily waterfowl." Abigail's keen eye for detail and complete ignorance of the paranormal make her observations invaluable to him, and she's soon caught up in the eccentric mayhem that is Jackaby's workaday world. Ritter is also capable of tenderness and pathos, as his description of a suffering banshee demonstrates, leaving room for development in any future cases Abigail may chronicle. Ages 12-up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Fans of Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming StaircaseÅ(Disne-Hyperion, 2013) will appreciate Ritter's initial foray into the realm of supernatural. When Abigail Rook abandons university, and her parents' hopes, she arrives at the fictional New England town of New Fiddleham. There, she promptly meets R. F. Jackaby, a paranormal detective, and is flung into the investigation of a serial killer suspected of being nonhuman.ÅWhere Ritter excels is in the fast and furious plotline-events unfold rapidly while satisfying tastes for mystery and a small amount of gore. Unfortunately, so much attention is paid to the unfolding circumstances that the two main characters remain mysteries themselves. While readers know Abigail is fleeing the expectations society and her parents have placed on her, little is done to explain why. The protagonist is also a mystery-he just appears, as if a ghost himself, with much fanfare but scant backstory. Ultimately, however, avid lovers of fantasy will enjoy this quick read.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (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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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The farmer and the clown
by Marla Frazee


New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Being Mortal
by Atul Gawande


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Bury Your Dead
by Louise Penny

Publishers Weekly At the start of Agatha-winner Penny's moving and powerful sixth Chief Insp. Armand Gamache mystery (after 2009's The Brutal Telling), Gamache is recovering from a physical and emotional trauma, the exact nature of which isn't immediately disclosed, in Quebec City. When the body of Augustin Renaud, an eccentric who'd spent his life searching for the burial site of Samuel de Champlain, Quebec's founder, turns up in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, Gamache reluctantly gets involved in the murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Gamache dispatches his longtime colleague, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, to the quiet town of Three Pines to revisit the case supposedly resolved at the end of the previous book. Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Penny's first five crime novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling. When crime writers attempt to combine two fully fleshed plots into one book, the hull tends to get a bit leaky; Penny, on the other hand, constructs an absolutely airtight ship in which she manages to float not two but three freestanding but subtly intertwined stories. Front and center are the travails of Gamache, chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec, who is visiting an old friend in Quebec City and hoping to recover from a case gone wrong. Soon, however, he is involved with a new case: the murder of an archaeologist who was devoted to finding the missing remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec. As Gamache is drawn into this history-drenched investigation the victim's body was found in an English-language library, calling up the full range of animosity between Quebec's French majority and dwindling English minority he is also concerned that he might have jailed the wrong man in his last case (The Brutal Telling,2009) and orders his colleague, Jean Guy Beauvoir, back to the village of Three Pines to find what they missed the first time. Hovering over both these present investigations is the case gone wrong in the past, the details of which are gradually revealed in perfectly placed flashbacks. Penny brilliantly juggles the three stories, which are connected only by a kind of psychological membrane; as Gamache makes sense of what happened in the past, he is better able to think his way through present dilemmas. From the tangled history of Quebec to the crippling reality of grief to the nuances of friendship, Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed mysteries in years.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Library Journal This superb mystery fast-forwards from The Brutal Telling, Penny's last novel, precipitating readers into the fictional future, as it further develops characters and plot. As always, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal police is the series protagonist. Perceptive and reflective, Gamache has taken leave from his job and has repaired, sans wife, to Quebec City in order to recover from severe physical and emotional trauma incurred during a disastrous police hostage rescue mission. Plagued by his fatal mistakes, Gamache, succumbing to intrusive thoughts, incessantly relives the catastrophe. Indeed, the novel's structure replicates Gamache's thought processes, moving, in stream-of-consciousness fashion, from present to past and back again. Fortunately, Gamache is gradually drawn back to life as he happens upon a murder case. In the investigative process, he must perform meticulous research into the mystery of Quebec founder Samuel de Champlain's secret burial place. Verdict Reminiscent of the works of Donna Leon, P.D. James, and Elizabeth George, this is brilliantly provocative and will appeal to fans of literary fiction, as well as to mystery lovers. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 5/1/10; 100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA (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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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog A New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle

Library Journal Tolle follows up his successful The Power of Now-it's sold two million copies worldwide since 1997-with a plea to reject egotistic ways for a new form of consciousness. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog God: A Biography
by Jack Miles

Library Journal Despite its provocative title, this is a serious attempt to come to an understanding of the portrayal of God in the Tanakh, i.e., the books of the Hebrew Scriptures in the order of the Hebrew Bible, as opposed to the order in the Old Testament. Miles, a former Jesuit with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages who is currently a member of the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, offers "knowledge of God as a literary character." While some may not care for how God is portrayed?at one point he is "whiny"?the book will appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike as an excellent introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures that does not read like a Scripture commentary. Recommended for all collections.?Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J.

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

Publishers Weekly In a masterful, audacious inquiry, Miles attempts to tease out God's nature, character, motives and designs through a close textual analysis of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. He deduces that the God of Judeo-Christian tradition is an amalgam of several ancient, divine personalities. Worshiped as the source of mercy, wisdom, strength and love, God is also at times an abrupt, unpredictable, wrathful being: a destroyer as well as a creator. There is also Abraham's personal god, almost a ``busy friend of the family''; God the lawgiver, who attaches supreme importance to justice; God as arbiter, conqueror and father; and the silent, omniscient God of the Book of Daniel, who knows in detail the entire remaining course of history. The Creator, in Miles's reading, is intimately linked to human destiny, because humanity, made in His image, is an indispensable tool in His quest for self-understanding. Miles, a former Jesuit and currently a Los Angeles Times columnist, has written a profound exploration of Western monotheism and the wellsprings of faith. 35,000 first printing; BOMC alternate; QPB selection; author tour. (Apr.)

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

Choice Ludwig Feuerbach argued that every theological statement is also an anthropological statement, thus introducing "theology from below." Miles has attempted the reverse. Starting with the premise that the Hebrew Bible is a book about God, Miles attempts to write God's biography. Miles explains: "We see him first as the creator .... We see him last as the 'Ancient of Days' .... Well short of the midway point in the text, the narrative breaks off." What stands in between basically are speeches by God (the prophets), about or to God (e.g., Psalms), and even a silence (especially in Esther, which never mentions God). Miles thus has produced a well-written, provocative study. A critically trained scholar, he nevertheless adopts a "deliberate naivet'e," in which he attempts to read the text straight through. Although that effort produces striking results, it also stumbles over the kinds of contradictions in the text that gave rise to critical methods of study. And although it is true that great biographies portray people with conflicted personalities it is also true that unmitigated contradiction leaves the reader confused, which assumed naivet'e cannot cover, only ignore. Upper-division undergraduate; graduate; faculty; professional; general. C. L. Redditt; Georgetown College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Painters of the Caves
by Patricia Lauber


National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Versed
by Rae Armantrout

Publishers Weekly In recent years, Armantrout's reputation has soared-she began in the '70s as an obscure, early practitioner of language poetry, and now her poems regularly appear in the New Yorker. Her new book comprises two sequences-"Versed" and "Dark Matter"-of loosely interlinked poems dealing with the prolific poet's usual subjects (the body, contemporary society, violence) as well as more personal explorations of illness and mortality, all relayed in Armantrout's concentrated, crystalline voice, with a predilection for skipping some steps along the way to sense. The first sequence, peppered with pop culture references and quoted speech, features silly yet surprisingly serious poems on topics like "'[b]reaking/ Anna Nicole news// as she buries/ her son.'Å" In the playful "Scumble," the poet speculates as to "What if I were turned on by seemingly innocent words/ such as... 'extrapolate?'Å" The second section, "Dark Matter," is evasively intimate and occasionally, albeit characteristically, bleak, as Armantrout (Next Life) contemplates her own struggle with cancer "with a shocked smile,/ while an undiscovered tumor/squats on her kidney." In what may be moments of intense, sardonic honesty-"Chuck and I are pleased/ to have found a spot/where my ashes can be scattered"-the poet poses metaphysical questions with open endings: jarring moments in which the stakes are suddenly, impossibly high. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal What you see is what you get in Armantrout's ninth book of free-verse poetry. A professor at the University of California, San Diego, Armantrout (Next Life) was part of the West Coast poetry community of the 1970s, which gave rise to language poetry. At best, her latest work contains brief, impressionistic poems-a few words surrounded by white space-held together by a subtle tension in the connections between words and phrases. Armantrout's poems possess a fleeting light as opposed to an epiphany and a half-heard sound as opposed to rhyme and rhythm. Take, for example, the repetition in the second and final stanza of "Someone": "I'm looking for a/ heart to heart,/ a rhyme/ between the blankness of my/ "my/ and the blue emptiness." It's difficult to know whether Armantrout's sound is, say, a mouse inside the wall or a tree branch brushing the roof of the house. When these poems achieve beauty, it lies not so much in the craft as in the eyes-and ears-of the beholder. Recommended for academic libraries.-Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD (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.

Library Journal It's been too long coming, but Armantrout finally shone as she should this year, receiving a nomination for the National Book Award and winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for this volume. Only apparently spare, her poems are in fact deeply distilled, glancing off reality in startling ways. With this work, she's achieved perfection. (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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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis

Publishers Weekly As in his Newbery Honor-winning debut, The Watsons Go to BirminghamÄ1963, Curtis draws on a remarkable and disarming mix of comedy and pathos, this time to describe the travails and adventures of a 10-year-old African-American orphan in Depression-era Michigan. Bud is fed up with the cruel treatment he has received at various foster homes, and after being locked up for the night in a shed with a swarm of angry hornets, he decides to run away. His goal: to reach the man heÄon the flimsiest of evidenceÄbelieves to be his father, jazz musician Herman E. Calloway. Relying on his own ingenuity and good luck, Bud makes it to Grand Rapids, where his "father" owns a club. Calloway, who is much older and grouchier than Bud imagined, is none too thrilled to meet a boy claiming to be his long-lost son. It is the other members of his bandÄSteady Eddie, Mr. Jimmy, Doug the Thug, Doo-Doo Bug Cross, Dirty Deed Breed and motherly Miss ThomasÄwho make Bud feel like he has finally arrived home. While the grim conditions of the times and the harshness of Bud's circumstances are authentically depicted, Curtis shines on them an aura of hope and optimism. And even when he sets up a daunting scenario, he makes readers laughÄfor example, mopping floors for the rejecting Calloway, Bud pretends the mop is "that underwater boat in the book Momma read to me, Twenty Thousand Leaks Under the Sea." Bud's journey, punctuated by Dickensian twists in plot and enlivened by a host of memorable personalities, will keep readers engrossed from first page to last. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Gr 4-7-Motherless Bud shares his amusingly astute rules of life as he hits the road to find the jazz musician he believes is his father. A medley of characters brings Depression-era Michigan to life. (Sept.) (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^-6. Bud, 10, is on the run from the orphanage and from yet another mean foster family. His mother died when he was 6, and he wants to find his father. Set in Michigan during the Great Depression, this is an Oliver Twist kind of foundling story, but it's told with affectionate comedy, like the first part of Curtis' The Watsons Go to Birmingham (1995). On his journey, Bud finds danger and violence (most of it treated as farce), but more often, he finds kindness--in the food line, in the library, in the Hooverville squatter camp, on the road--until he discovers who he is and where he belongs. Told in the boy's naive, desperate voice, with lots of examples of his survival tactics ("Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar out of Yourself"), this will make a great read-aloud. Curtis says in an afterword that some of the characters are based on real people, including his own grandfathers, so it's not surprising that the rich blend of tall tale, slapstick, sorrow, and sweetness has the wry, teasing warmth of family folklore. --Hazel Rochman

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

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-When 10-year-old Bud Caldwell runs away from his new foster home, he realizes he has nowhere to go but to search for the father he has never known: a legendary jazz musician advertised on some old posters his deceased mother had kept. A friendly stranger picks him up on the road in the middle of the night and deposits him in Grand Rapids, MI, with Herman E. Calloway and his jazz band, but the man Bud was convinced was his father turns out to be old, cold, and cantankerous. Luckily, the band members are more welcoming; they take him in, put him to work, and begin to teach him to play an instrument. In a Victorian ending, Bud uses the rocks he has treasured from his childhood to prove his surprising relationship with Mr. Calloway. The lively humor contrasts with the grim details of the Depression-era setting and the particular difficulties faced by African Americans at that time. Bud is a plucky, engaging protagonist. Other characters are exaggerations: the good ones (the librarian and Pullman car porter who help him on his journey and the band members who embrace him) are totally open and supportive, while the villainous foster family finds particularly imaginative ways to torture their charge. However, readers will be so caught up in the adventure that they won't mind. Curtis has given a fresh, new look to a traditional orphan-finds-a-home story that would be a crackerjack read-aloud.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC (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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