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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Payback Time
by Deuker, Carl

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Senior Daniel True is short, pale, and round, hence his nickname the Michelin Man, or Mitch, for short. His former elementary school best friend, Horst Diamond, is the star quarterback and BMOC at their Seattle high school. Mitch's ambition is to be an ace investigative reporter, a la Woodward and Bernstein, but the new editor of the school newspaper assigns him to cover sports. Worse still, Coach McNulty makes it clear that Mitch's job is to be Horst's cheerleader. McNulty intends to ride his star player to a college coaching job, and he won't let Mitch do anything to jeopardize that opportunity. While covering a practice, Mitch notices Angel Marichal, a senior transfer student. Angel is clearly the best athlete in the school, but McNulty keeps him hidden, playing second string, changing his jersey number, and denying any interview requests. Mitch knows that McNulty and Angel are hiding something, and he is determined to get to the bottom of it. What he finds is far different from what he suspects, and along the way his personal and journalistic ethics are tested. Deuker has crafted another entertaining and readable football story. The game descriptions are well done and will appeal to players and fans. Many teens who dreamed of being a star as children but don't make the team in high school will identify with Mitch.-Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, 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 *Starred Review* Deuker (Gym Candy, 2003) really cranks up the suspense in his newest pageturner, combining a Seattle high-school football team's march toward the state championship game with a school reporter's investigation of an apparent ringer that the coach has slipped in to bolster the defense. Mitch doesn't think much of his new assignment as sports reporter, but when he sees how Coach McNulty keeps Angel a reclusive new student who shows star-quality abilities in practice benched until late in each hard-fought game his suspicions are aroused. Thrilled to think that he has caught wind of an actual cheating scandal, Mitch digs into Angel's past. What he discovers stirs up far more trouble than he has bargained for, and pitches him into a series of terrifying situations. The game action alone is riveting even for readers who don't know a naked bootleg from a hook-and-ladder play, but Deuker enriches the tale with several well-tuned subplots and a memorable narrator/protagonist who turns a corner on his own self-image while weathering brutal tests of his courage and determination. Definitely one for the top shelf.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Mr. Wuffles!.
by David Wiesner.


New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Go Set A Watchman
by Harper Lee


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Three-Day Town
by Margaret Maron

Book list In her seventeenth Deborah Knott mystery, Maron's two series protagonists the warm North Carolina judge, Knott, and the cool NYPD lieutenant, Sigrid Harald (last seen in Fugitive Colors, 1995) meet for the first time. A year after their marriage, Deborah and Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant are off to New York for a weeklong honeymoon, staying at Dwight's sister-in-law's Manhattan apartment. They are asked to deliver a package to Sigrid's mother. When Sigrid comes to get the package for her vacationing mother, during a party in a neighboring apartment, the building superintendent is found dead and the risque and potentially valuable statue from the package is missing. Then the body of one of the building's elevator men is found in a garbage bag, and the teenage son of the chair of the co-op board goes missing. Maron tosses in plenty of red herrings before Deborah's intuition and curiosity combine to break the case. A reliably entertaining addition to an always enjoyable series, though, by the end, it's clear that, for Deborah and Dwight, home proves a lot more enticing than Broadway glitter.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Maron's charming 17th Deborah Knott mystery (after 2010's Christmas Mourning) takes the North Carolina judge and her husband of one year, Dwight Bryant, to New York City for a belated honeymoon. They bear an unusual gift, a small bronze sculpture, for photojournalist Anne Lattimore Harald from Anne's dying mother, wealthy Jane Lattimore, who's a distant cousin of Deborah's. Deborah arranges to meet Anne's daughter, NYPD Lt. Sigrid Harald, who will pick up the gift, at a large party next door to the Manhattan apartment that an absent friend is letting the couple use. When Sigrid and Deborah return to the borrowed apartment, the sculpture is missing from the kitchen counter; worse, the dead body of the building's super is lying on the balcony. Could someone from the party be responsible for the theft and the murder? Deborah, with her inveterate curiosity, assists Sigrid, last seen in her own series in 1995's Fugitive Colors, in the official investigation. This is a strong addition to a series that's won Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Judge Deborah Knott's (Christmas Mourning) honeymoon in New York City is tainted by murder. It's always good to see our favorites in new venues, even if it turns out to be a busman's holiday. (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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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The orphan master's son : a novel
by Adam Johnson.

Publishers Weekly Johnson's novel accomplishes the seemingly impossible: an American writer has masterfully rendered the mysterious world of North Korea with the soul and savvy of a native, from its orphanages and its fishing boats to the kitchens of its high-ranking commanders. While oppressive propaganda echoes throughout, the tone never slides into caricature; if anything, the story unfolds with astounding empathy for those living in constant fear of imprisonment-or worse-but who manage to maintain their humanity against all odds. The book traces the journey of Jun Do, who for years lives according to the violent dictates of the state, as a tunnel expert who can fight in the dark, a kidnapper, radio operator, tenuous hero, and foreign dignitary before eventually taking his fate into his own hands. In one of the book's most poignant moments, a government interrogator, who tortures innocent citizens on a daily basis, remembers his own childhood and the way in which his father explained the inexplicable: "...we must act alone on the outside, while on the inside, we would be holding hands." In this moment and a thousand others like it, Johnson (Parasites Like Us) juxtaposes the vicious atrocities of the regime with the tenderness of beauty, love, and hope. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Imagine a society in which the official political story tells only of happiness and prosperity, yet personal experience reveals the opposite. Imagine the resulting internal dissonance and the ways in which people might reconcile such opposing forces. This is the experience offered by Johnson (Parasites Like Us) in his novel of modern-day North Korea. Following the path of the hero's journey, young Pak Jun Do moves from an orphanage into a life of espionage, kidnapping, and torture, only to be given a new identity as the husband of the Dear Leader's favorite actress. With references to the classic American film Casablanca, Johnson's narrative portrays his hero as he makes his way through a minefield of corruption and violence, eventually giving his all so that his loved ones might have a better life. VERDICT Readers who enjoy a fast-paced political thriller will welcome this wild ride through the amazingly conflicted world that exists within the heavily guarded confines of North Korea. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]-Susanne Wells, M.L.S., Indianapolis (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.

Book list *Starred Review* Pak Jun Do lives with his father at a North Korean work camp for orphans. In a nation in which every citizen serves the state, orphans routinely get the most dangerous jobs. So it is for Jun Do, who becomes a tunnel soldier, trained to fight in complete darkness in the tunnels beneath the DMZ. But he is reassigned as a kidnapper, snatching Japanese citizens with special skills, such as a particular opera singer or sushi chef. Failure as a kidnapper could lead directly to the prison mines. But in Johnson's fantastical, careening tale, Jun Do manages to impersonate Commander Ga, the country's greatest military hero, rival of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and husband of Sun Moon, North Korea's only movie star. Informed by extensive research and travel to perhaps the most secretive nation on earth, Johnson has created a remarkable novel that encourages the willing suspension of disbelief. As Jun Do, speaking as Ga, puts it, people have been trained to accept any reality presented to them. Johnson winningly employs different voices, with the propagandizing national radio station serving as a mad Greek chorus. Descriptions of everyday privations and barbarities are matter of fact, and Jun Do's love for Sun Moon reads like a fairy tale. Part adventure, part coming-of-age tale, and part romance, The Orphan Master's Son is a triumph on every level.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, 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 Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants
by Katy Payne

Library Journal In this mixture of personal saga, social commentary, and scientific research, Payne researches elephants' use of infrasound (sound below human hearing) to communicate over long distances. She describes the research she undertook in Kenya and in Zimbabwe, a country that condones elephant culling. Dreadfully, most of the elephants she studied there were destroyed in a 1991 cull. She found this extremely distressful, withdrawing from her own research for a time. Upon returning to Zimbabwe, she faced more sorrow; three of her research associates had been killed in a plane crash. Most of the events of the book happened prior to 1992; perhaps just now Payne is able to write of them. Peppered with commentary, criticism, and catharsis, her book is neither pure natural history nor pure autobiography. Still, it offers interesting background reading for elephant followers. Acceptable for larger public libraries and large natural history collections.?Nancy J. Moeckel, Miami Univ. Lib., Oxford, OH

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

Book list Payne is an acoustic biologist who, after studying the songs of whales, turned her attention to elephants, curious about their reputed ability to communicate with each other over vast distances. Even though her first experiments take place in a zoo, she senses a "kind of thrill in the air," and suspects that like whales, elephants create sounds too low for human detection. Payne travels to Kenya to test out her theory in the field and hooks up with a number of elephant experts, including Joyce Poole. Payne writes glowingly of the elephants she studies and succinctly chronicles her remarkable discoveries regarding their infrasound communications, but she is soon overwhelmed by the carnage wrought on allegedly protected herds by both poachers and park administrators. Forced to the conclusion that any and all interaction with wildlife is detrimental to their well-being, she turns her narrative into a candid and sobering discussion of our species' perverse relationship with the rest of nature. --Donna Seaman

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

Publishers Weekly "I was hearing faint sounds that might have been overtones of stronger sounds that the elephants, but not I, could hear." In a chronicle that effectively blends memoir with the drama of scientific discovery, Payne (Elephants Calling), an acoustic biologist at Cornell, describes her role in the discovery of infrasonic communication between elephants. As she does so, she recounts her 13 years' study of African elephants?observing their social and family structures and behaviors, including the digging of wells. A scientist's respect for the elephants, "my gray friends," and for the native scouts informs her work. Payne writes, "You appreciate the value of silence when you watch elephants at night.... Every animal in the herd listens when the herd is listening. To use silence so well: if I could choose for people one attribute of elephants, I'd choose this." Payne can be passionate, especially regarding the issues of poaching and the harvesting of ivory, and she is convinced that any decision about ivory harvesting must take into account both the experience of elephants themselves as well as the historic relations between indigenous peoples and wild animals. Payne believes that "[i]n such a world animals reveal things to each other, and even occasionally to people like me: their attention to us is commensurate with ours to them." This book will make a wonderful addition to the library of any animal lover or of anyone fascinated by intra- and interspecies communication. Maps and drawing by Laura Payne. (Aug.)

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

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
by Kai Bird

Publishers Weekly Though many recognize Oppenheimer (1904-1967) as the father of the atomic bomb, few are as familiar with his career before and after Los Alamos. Sherwin (A World Destroyed) has spent 25 years researching every facet of Oppenheimer's life, from his childhood on Manhattan's Upper West Side and his prewar years as a Berkeley physicist to his public humiliation when he was branded a security risk at the height of anticommunist hysteria in 1954. Teaming up with Bird, an acclaimed Cold War historian (The Color of Truth), Sherwin examines the evidence surrounding Oppenheimer's "hazy and vague" connections to the Communist Party in the 1930sAloose interactions consistent with the activities of contemporary progressives. But those politics, in combination with Oppenheimer's abrasive personality, were enough for conservatives, from fellow scientist Edward Teller to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, to work at destroying Oppenheimer's postwar reputation and prevent him from swaying public opinion against the development of a hydrogen bomb. Bird and Sherwin identify Atomic Energy Commission head Lewis Strauss as the ringleader of a "conspiracy" that culminated in a security clearance hearing designed as a "show trial." Strauss's tactics included illegal wiretaps of Oppenheimer's attorney; those transcripts and other government documents are invaluable in debunking the charges against Oppenheimer. The political drama is enhanced by the close attention to Oppenheimer's personal life, and Bird and Sherwin do not conceal their occasional frustration with his arrogant stonewalling and panicky blunders, even as they shed light on the psychological roots for those failures, restoring human complexity to a man who had been both elevated and demonized. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Apr. 10) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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

Library Journal Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the life, career, achievements, and trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father" of the atomic bomb. In 2004, there were two new biographies by significant science writers-Jeremy Bernstein's Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma and David C. Cassidy's J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American Century. In addition to this current title, another is scheduled for publication in 2005, Abraham Pais and Robert Crease's Shatterer of Worlds: A Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. This collaboration between writer Bird and English professor Sherwin is an expansive but fast-paced and engrossing work that draws its strength from the insights provided into Oppenheimer's thoughts and motives and the many anecdotes. The book's five parts cover his youth and education, his early career and dalliance with communism, the Manhattan Project, his return to academe and growing political influence, and, finally, his dealings with the FBI and eventual retreat from public life. The emphasis throughout is on Oppenheimer's personality and how he navigated the sociopolitical minefields of the era, with relatively less discussion of his scientific work. For a readable and well-researched biography of the man, this suffices quite well. However, with so many other biographies available, not to mention histories of the Manhattan Project, it provides little new information here. For general readers in larger public and academic libraries.-Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list Robert Oppenheimer's work as director of the Manhattan Project--bringing hundreds of iconoclastic nuclear physicists together in the New Mexico desert to design and build the first atomic bomb--remains one of the most remarkable feats, both triumphant and tragic, of the twentieth century, but as this definitive biography makes clear, it was only one chapter in a profoundly fascinating, richly complex, and ineffably sad American life. Bird and Sherwin set the stage beautifully, detailing Oppenheimer's young life as a multidisciplinary child prodigy at the progressive Ethical Culture School in Manhattan. The young Oppenheimer was a tangled mix of precocity and insecurity--a far cry from the charismatic leader who would emerge at Los Alamos. Funneling more than 25 years of research into a captivating narrative, the authors bring needed perspective to Oppenheimer's radical activities in the 1930s, and they reprise the familiar story of the Manhattan Project thoroughly, though without attempting the scope and scientific detail of Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb 0 (1987) .0 Where Bird and Sherwin are without peer, however, is in capturing the humanity of the man behind the porkpie hat, both at Los Alamos and in the tragic aftermath, when Oppenheimer's tireless efforts to promote arms control made him the target of politicians and bureaucrats, leading to the revoking of his security clearance by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1954, during a hearing that the authors portray convincingly as a kangaroo court. That Oppenheimer both helped father the bomb and was crucified for lobbying against the arms race remains the fundamental irony in a supremely ironic story. That irony as well as the ambiguity and tortured emotions behind it are captured in all their intensity in this compelling life story. --Bill Ott Copyright 2005 Booklist

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

Choice Oppenheimer became one of the world's best-known physicists in 1945 when the public learned that he had successfully led the effort to design and construct the first nuclear fission bombs. He and other researchers worked hard after WW II trying to convince the government to place nuclear materials under international control. Oppenheimer lobbied against a program to produce a nuclear fusion bomb on the grounds that it would be massively destructive. In order to squelch his influence, some of his opponents instigated a hearing before a board of the Atomic Energy Commission; as a result, Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1954. He spent the rest of his career at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton, where he had been director since 1947. Writer Bird and Sherwin (English; American history, Tufts Univ.) offer this comprehensive biography based on analysis of masses of documentation and many interviews. Their book stimulates thinking about key issues--international control of nuclear materials, openness in science and politics, freedom of debate, and discussion of ideas--that are as important today as they were then. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. M. Dickinson Maine Maritime Academy

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Library Journal A baby survives the killing of his family by a mysterious assassin. He crawls to a nearby graveyard and is adopted by the assortment of spooks who occupy the place, soon to include his own recently murdered parents. There he is christened with a new name: Nobody, or Bod for short. Under the watchful tutelage of the dead, Bod learns reading, writing, history, and a few other useful skills-haunting and "disapparating" [disappearing from a location and reappearing in another]. Why It Is a Best: An elegant combination of Gaiman's masterly storytelling and McKean's lovely drawings, this book also works as a series of independent but connected short stories set two years apart, following Bod from age two to 16. Why It Is for Us: In interviews, Gaiman has said that this book took him years to write, and it was worth the wait. Imagine Kipling's The Jungle Book set among a forest of graves. A complete recording of Gaiman reading the book is available on his web site; see also LJ's video with the author from BEA 2008.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (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 A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires--and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition--not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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