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

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Recommendations for Adults


The New Annotated Dracula, edited by Leslie S. Klinger - Klinger accepts Stoker's contention that the Dracula tale is based on historical fact. Traveling through two hundred years of popular culture and myth as well as graveyards and the wilds of Transylvania, Klinger's notes illuminate every aspect of this haunting narrative, including a detailed examination of the original typescript of Dracula, with its shockingly different ending, previously unavailable to scholars. Lavishly illustrated including historic photographs.

The Company by K.J. Parker - Hoping for a better life, five war veterans make a pact to colonize an abandoned island and live isolated from the world. They take everything they could possibly need including wives. But when an unanticipated discovery shatters their dream they find that one of their number is hiding a terrible secret. K.J. Parker is widely acknowledged as one of the most original and exciting writers in the fantasy genre.

He Flies Through the Air With the Greatest of Ease: A Willliam Saroyan Reader by William E. Justice - Published for the centennial celebration of the iconic author's birth, this collection of William Saroyan's writings overflows with exuberance, explodes with flashes of pure brilliance and literary daring, and brings to life an Armenian American voice unique and unforgettable. A careful selection of known and loved short stories along with plays, novels, letters, essays, and previously unpublished works, this volume allows readers to discover afresh the many aspects of a complex, engaging, and sophisticated writer.

Hold My Hand by Serena Mackesy - The lives of the three connect across the decades in a chilling tale of murder and revenge on Bodmin Moor. Bridget Sweeny agrees to be the caretaker of Rostropec House which at the time appeared to be a dream come true for her and her daughter, a fresh start, with new names and hope for the future. In tradition of the best horror stories, the manor house and the Blakely family have a reputation in the village, and soon Bridget's coveted sense of safety starts to unravel.

Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton - "Sexy hero, lovable heroine, adorable kids—Kissing Games of the World has it all. A complete delight. Fall into this buoyant, funny, genuinely touching story of two incomplete people finding the rest of themselves in each other. I loved it."—Patricia Gaffney,
Mad Dash.

Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend by Peter Mathiessen - Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, Shadow Country reimagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son. Short listed for the Booker Prize.

The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block - Fifteen year old Seth Waller lives in Austin, a typical teenager he is "Master of Nothingness." When his mother is diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's, Seth sets out on a quest to find her lost relatives and to conduct an "empirical investigation" that will uncover the truth of her genetic history. He uncovers a lot more than misplaced relatives when he meets Abel, caretaker of the family farm outside of Dallas. An extraordinary debut, nominated for the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize.

The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan - Spanning the lifetime of one woman (1896-1962), The Toss of a Lemon brings us intimately into a Brahmin household, into an India we've never before seen. Married at ten, widowed at eighteen, left with two children, Sivakami must wear widow's whites, shave her head, and touch no one from dawn to dusk. She is not allowed to remarry, and in the next sixty years she ventures outside her family compound only three times. She is extremely orthodox in her behavior except for one defiant act: She moves back to her dead husband's house and village to raise her children. That decision sets the course of her children's and grandchildren's lives, twisting their fates in surprising, sometimes heartbreaking ways. Inspired by her grandmother's stories, Padma Viswanathan masterfully brings to life a profoundly exotic yet utterly recognizable family in the midst of social and political upheaval. The Toss of a Lemon is the debut of a major new writer.

When the Ground Turns in its Sleep by Sylvia Sellers-García - Nítido Amán knows he was born in Guatemala, but he doesn't know where, or why his family left. Raised in the United States by his immigrant parents, he never asked them about his homeland as a child—and they never talked about it. When Nítido loses his father to Alzheimer's disease, his despondent mother grows increasingly silent. Realizing that his only links to the past are disappearing, he travels to Guatemala, against his mother's wishes, to see what he can uncover for himself. Arriving in Rio Roto, he is mistaken for the new priest and decides to play the part, hoping to find the answers he seeks in the confessional. But too much has happened to the townspeople who cannot give voice to their haunted past, forcing Nítido to reevaluate his own past. Winner of the Boston Authors Club Julia Howe Book Prize, and declared on the the "Top Ten" Latino authors by

The Women by T.C. Boyle - Boyle now turns his fictional sights on the colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's life, as told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, blazes with Boyle's trademark wit and invention. Wright's life was one long howling struggle against the bonds of convention, whether aesthetic, social, moral, or romantic. He never did what was expected and despite the overblown scandals surrounding his amours and very public divorces and the financial disarray that dogged him throughout his career, he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Wright's triumphs and defeats were always tied to the women he loved. T.C. Boyle's protean voice captures these very different women and, in doing so, creates a masterful ode to the creative life in all its complexity and grandeur.


Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians On Our Sixteenth President, edited by Brian Lamb and Susan Swain - Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, America's top Lincoln historians offer their diverse perspectives on the life and legacy of America's sixteenth president. Spanning Lincoln's life from his early career as a Springfield lawyer, through his presidential reign during one of America's most troubled historical periods, ending with his assassination in 1865. These essays were edited by C-SPAN's Brian Lamb and Susan Swain from original C-SPAN interviews.

John Lennon: The Life by Phillip Norman - This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at every aspect of Lennon's much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into a near-secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extraordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore. The book's numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon, whose moving reminiscence reveals his father as never before, and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John. Honest and unflinching, as John himself would wish, Norman gives us the whole man in all his endless contradictions reveals how the mother who gave him away as a toddler haunted his mind and his music for the rest of his days.

The Knack: How Street Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham - Brodsky explores this mind-set every month in Inc. magazine, in the hugely popular column he co-writes with journalist and author Bo Burlingham (best known for his acclaimed book Small Giants). In both their column and now their book, they tell stories about real companies facing real challenges, and show readers how to apply "the knack" to their own businesses.

Lives of the Artists by Calvin Tomkins - For more than three decades Calvin Tomkins's incisive profiles in The New Yorker have given readers the most satisfying reports on contemporary art and artists available in any language. In Lives of the Artists ten major artists are captured in Tomkins's cool and ironic style to record the new directions art is taking during these days of limitless freedom. Tomkins shows that the making of art remains among the most demanding jobs on earth.

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster - The most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. It is the first to be based on Muir's full private correspondence and to meet modern scholarly standards. Yet it is also full of rich detail and personal anecdote, uncovering the complex inner life behind the legend of the solitary mountain man. For anyone wishing to more fully understand America's first great environmentalist, and the enormous influence he still exerts today, Donald Worster's biography offers a wealth of insight into the passionate nature of a man whose passion for nature remains unsurpassed.

Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman by Hank Wagner, et al. - Whether you're new to the worlds of Neil Gaiman or a long time traveler who knows these roads by heart, there is something new for everyone in this magnificent special edition of Prince of Stories. Highlights include interviews with the author himself, collected rare works and previously unpublished writing, photographs, artwork, and conversations with Gaiman's beloved collaborators. Every story and every character are featured at length in this amazing overview of an incredible career.

Samuel Adams: A Life by Ira Stoll - The idea that especially inspired Adams was religious in nature: He believed that God had intervened on behalf of the United States and would do so as long as its citizens maintained civic virtue. "We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection," Adams insisted. A central thesis of this biography is that religion in large part motivated the founding of America. A gifted young historian and newspaperman, Ira Stoll has written a gripping story about the man who was the revolution's moral conscience.

Spellbound by Beauty: Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto - The final volume in master biographer Donald Spoto's Hitchcock trilogy, (The Art of Alfred Hitchcock,and The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock), in which he explores the fascinating, complex and finally tragic story of the great moviemaker's relationship with his female stars and the women in his life. Rich with fresh revelations based on previously undisclosed tapes, new interviews, private correspondence and personal papers made available only to the author, this thoughtful, compassionate yet explosive portrait details Hitchcock's outbursts of cruelty, the shocking humor and the odd amalgam of adoration and contempt that time and again characterized Hitchcock's obsessive relationships with women—and that also, paradoxically, fed his genius.

Ten Roads to Riches: The Way Wealthy People Got There (and You Can Too!) by Ken Fisher - An engaging and informative look at some of America's most famous modern day millionaires and billionaires, and reveals how they found their fortunes. Surprisingly, the super-wealthy usually get there by taking just one of ten possible roads. Renowned investment expert and self-made billionaire Ken Fisher highlights amusing anecdotes of individuals who have traveled (or tumbled) down each road, and shares advice on increasing your chances of success. Whether it's starting a business, owning real estate, investing wisely or even marrying very, very well, Fisher will show how some got it right and others got it horribly wrong.

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer - Singer, who envisioned private military contractors and child soldiers before they became (sadly) commonplace, explains how war is evolving to be fought by robots. Blending historic evidence with interviews from the field, Singer vividly shows that as these technologies multiply, they will have profound effects on the front lines as well as on the politics back home. Moving humans off the battlefield makes wars easier to start, but more complex to fight. Replacing men with machines may save some lives, but will lower the morale and psychological barriers to killing. The "warrior ethos," which has long defined soldiers' identity, will erode, as will the laws of war that have governed military conflict for generations. Wired for War travels from Iraq to see these robots in combat to the latter-day "skunk works" in America's suburbia, where tomorrow's technologies of war are quietly being designed. In Singer's hands, the future of war is as fascinating as it is frightening.


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