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Kern County Library Staff Suggests...: May Recommendations for Adults

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Recommendations for Adults


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz - Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuk — the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim. Diaz received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the coveted Powell's 2008 Tournament of Books Rooster Award.

A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley - Game rangers discover a body on the Kalahari Desert in Botswanna and Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is assigned to the case. Nicknamed for the deceptively docile hippopotamus, Kubu follows a blood-soaked trail through lies, superstition, and bureaucratic roadblocks to the highest levels of government, uncovering the criminal enterprises of corrupt officials. A memorable detective makes his debut in this gritty, mesmerizing thriller set amid the beauty and darkness of modern Africa.

The Darcy Connection by Elizabeth Aston - A Jane Austen read-a-like seems to be published every month and to this popular genre Ashton adds the fifth title in her series of Darcy family inspired novels. Mr. Collins, once the parson at Rosings Park (Pride and Prejudice), now Bishop of Ripton has two daughters of marriage age, one of "extraordinary beauty," the other "possessing a lively intelligence." Aston has skillfully used Austen's themes of wit versus beauty, the consequences of small fortunes on marriage prospects, jealous rivals, lively heroines, and plots to ruin reputations and created a thoroughly entertaining novel.

Gardens of Water by Alan Drew - Brought up in a traditional Kurdish family, 15 year old Irem befriends the 17 year old son of expatriate American teachers. Her father, troubled by the Americanization of his eldest daughter, wants to return to his old village. When an earthquake devastates the region, the survival of both families depends on their ability to override mutual distrust. Called "simply breathtaking" by reviewers, Alan Drew's stunning first novel brings to life two unforgettable families and the sacrifice and love that bind them together.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - Generations of Waverlys have cast culinary spells on the townsfolk of Bascom, N.C. with recipes prepared from the fruits of their private walled garden. Claire, the last of the Waverlys, quietly tends the family plot and runs a successful catering business and life is good, until the return of her rebellious sister with a young daughter in tow. In her review, Luanne Rice said, "she believes in love, and that is her magic."


From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People by Lorna Goodison - In lush, vivid prose, textured with the cadences of Creole speech, Lorna Goodison weaves together memory, history, and mythology to create the tapestry that captures life in rural Jamaica. She takes us deep into the heart of a complete world to tell a universal story of family and the ties that bind us to the place we call home. Reviewer Lisa Fugard said: "Being introduced to the cast of From Harvey River is like sitting down at the family dinner table."

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews - The world's favorite actress began her stage career at the age of 3 and her popularity has never waned. Recalling her childhood in the slums of London during the Blitz, early singing career, and stage roles up until Camelot, Julie tells it all with appealing candor and humor. An incredible memoir with tons of never-before-seen photos.

Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising a Houseful of Successful Children by Rose Rock - Structure, control, order, honesty, and good manners are the bedrock of Mama Rock's parenting philosophy. How she imparted these vital lessons to her 10 children and 17 foster children make her story good reading. Parents and children alike will connect to her funny and highly practical lessons such as the basic tenet of "Feed Them and They Will Tell You Anything" and sharing her secrets on how little traditions as well as the big ones knit a family together.

No Man’s Lands: One Man’s Odyssey through the Odyssey by Scott Huler - NPR contributor Huler declared, on the air, that he would never read James Joyce's Ulysses. Devotees of Joyce threw down the gauntlet and Huler read not only Ulysses but Homer's Odyssey as well. Inspired, he embarked upon his own epic journey, sailing from Troy to Ithaca. Huler's light-handed touch deftly mixes literary and historical detail while keeping it real with sketches of the people and places he visits.

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez - Schizophrenia drove Nathaniel Ayers from his promising career at Julliard to LA's Skid Row where Los Angeles Times columnist and novelist Lopez discovered him playing classical and jazz tunes on a two stringed violin. Though homeless and mentally ill, Ayers made a life in his "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall" sidewalk concerts. Despite good intentions and connections, the uncontrollable nature of Ayers' illness undermines every attempt to return to a "normal" life. His story will inspire you.


Blogger Gail L said...

For more recently published mysteries, check out: The Bloodstained Bookshelf,, The Mysterious Home Page, and the Deadly Directory Online. Files are also available via Palm OS documents for your handheld.

May 5, 2008 at 9:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a new mystery with Bakersfield as a setting--The devils of Bakersfield, by John Shannon. I couldn't wait to get home at night to read it.

May 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM  

Blogger Gail L said...

Yes I read it too. It will be included in the Staff Suggests for July, I'd be interested in reading your comments.

June 11, 2008 at 3:05 PM  

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