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

Friday, July 31, 2009

August Recommendations for Adults


The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil - When her husband dies in a car crash, uncannily soon after announcing he wants a divorce, Jo Mackenzie packs up her two rowdy boys and moves from London to a dilapidated villa in her seaside hometown. There, she takes over her beloved Gran's knitting shop and begins her single parent life in the small seaside town. After a rough beginning, Jo soon finds comfort in a "Stitch and Bitch" group; a collection of quirky, lively women who share their stories, and their addiction to cake, with warmth and humor. The women meet every week at the shop on Beach Street and trade gossip and advice as freely as they do a new stitch. But when a new man enters Jo's life, and an A-list actress moves into the local mansion, the knitting club has even more trouble confining the conversation to knit one, purl two. An uplifting, winning tale about the healing power of friendship and new beginnings, sure to delight all passionate knitters and win over befuddled, would-be knitters, too.

City of the Sun by David Levien - Desperate parents, Paul and Carol Gabriel, hire PI Frank Behr to find their missing 12-year old son Jamie who disappeared on his paper delivery route one morning fourteen months ago. Behr, who lost his young son to a tragic family accident, takes the job as much for his own redemption as for the money. He soon discovers the abduction was no random act but part of a larger and darker world. Over the course of the investigation, Behr and Paul relive and share their lives as fathers, forming a unique bond not quite friends yet more that partners. Behr is a detective in the classic tradition - intuitive, smart, emotionally true, and not given to small talk, the hero who rescues those left helpless by the touch of evil.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri - The ancient craft of lace making is an apt and elegant metaphor for the process of rebuilding a life after an emotional crisis. Seeking solace, Kate Robinson returns to her ancestral family homeland and lands in Glenmara on the west coast of Ireland, quickly establishing strong ties with the local lace makers. The group provides the support that carries her through her grief to discover an unexpected creativity, and soon they are creating a line of exquisitely embellished lingerie. Between the twist and the cross, the women of the village face their long denied dreams and their deepest fears. The characters are warm and engaging, sure to please.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris - A National Book Finalist and voted Best Book of the Year by several major newspapers, Ferris dissects with hilarity and measured compassion the lives of office workers. Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. A siege mentality takes hold as alliances and liaisons are made and betrayed. With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Ferris tells a true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment--the one we pretend is normal five days a week.

Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey - In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman, an AIDS worker and medical student, has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Eager to close the case, the local police have arrested a poor, enamored teenage boy and charged him with murder. Needless to say, they are less than thrilled when Detective Inspector Darko Dawson from Accra, the capital city, arrives to lead an inquiry into the baffling case. The people of Ketanu follow the old ways, clashing with Dawson’s cosmopolitan sensibilities and practical police procedures. For the Inspector, it means confronting the estranged family he left twenty-five years ago and the unsolved disappearance of his mother. Dawson discovers that the world of spirits is closer to home than he is ready to admit. Rich in atmosphere and local characters, Quartey evokes the world of Ghana past and present in this debut novel.


At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse - Inspired by the simple life depicted in Thoreaus’s Walden’s Pond and lured by the charm of being rugged, Wade and Gary move to Saugatuck, Michigan and find that although there are fewer things to do, eat, buy, see, desire, and covet, life is far from simple in the northern woods. Challenged and humiliated daily by implacable weather, relentless wild creatures, eerie silence, and the shocking discovery that he has no wardrobe for doing chores, Wade rises to the occasion and sets 10 life goals. A fun read that could be taken as a cautionary tale for those who have found themselves, in frustrated moments of multitasking, humming the theme to Green Acres.

The Eat-Clean Diet For Men: Real Food for Real Men, Your Ironclad Plan to a Lean Physique by Robert Kennedy & Tosca Reno - From the supermarket to the weight room, bodybuilders Kennedy and Reno take you through the steps for developing a clean eating plan and building a robust physique. You eat 2,190 meals a year, make each one count! Page layouts are colorful and easy to read with photos, grocery lists, meal plans, and great recipes that take on the carbs clean style, substituting whole grains for white flour and natural sweeteners for white sugar in the down home comfort foods we all love to eat.

Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt by Leslie F. Miller - Miller journeys into the moist white underbelly of the cake world visiting factories and wedding cake boutiques and ogling buttercream frostings along the way. For Miller, cake is the touchstone against which all other sensual experiences are measured. She interviews chefs, bakery owners, shares childhood memories about cake, adult baking disasters, and a few family recipes. The chapter on the history and cultural importance of regional cakes is worth the price of the admission. I never knew Maryland had a state cake. Cake lovers will delight in this light and fluffy homage to cake.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford - Motorcycles and philosophizing seem to go hand in hand, in this original debut Crawford, a philosophy professor at the University of Virginia and owner of Shockoe Moto, a motorcycle repair shop, reflects upon the deep satisfaction gained from certain kinds of manual work: fixing things and making stuff. He theorizes that the work of builders and mechanics help create communities and enrich our spiritual lives because craftsmanship cannot be made obsolete or outsourced. The discipline and practice needed to master a skill requires the work of the hand and the mind, a way of working deemed nonessential in most blue and white collar jobs. A thought provoking mediation about the future of human work.

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves - Time to repack your mental baggage, step out of your travel comfort bubble and encounter the world you are traveling through. Steves believes in the enlightening value of traveling thoughtfully: discussing the politics and history of the places you visit with the locals will make you less of a tourist and more of a participant. Gain a global perspective and make friends, which is what travel is all about. Always the passionate traveler, Steves shows how to be fearless as well, with a little commonsense.


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