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

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Recommendations for Adults


Corrag by Susan Fletcher - February 13, 1692. Thirty-eight members of the MacDonald clan are killed by soldiers who had previously enjoyed the clan's hospitality. Corrag, a member of the MacDonald clan, is imprisoned for her involvement in the massacre. Accused of witchcraft and murder, she awaits her death. Her story of passion, courage, love, and the magic of the natural world, is told to her interrogator, Charles Leslie. By telling it, she transforms both their lives. The novel is crowded with images stunning in their freshness and simplicity, there are moments when the sheer beauty of the prose takes one's breath away. It is a novel of extraordinary beauty and quiet power that is impossible, having read it, not to look at the world anew. “Highly recommended,”--Image Magazine

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton - William Sheppard had never ventured beyond his Chicago neighborhood until, at thirteen, he was sent away to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory, hundreds of miles from home, for stabbing his abusive father. Buried deep in the Colorado mountains, Swope is shrouded in legend and defined by one prevailing rumor: that the boys who go in never come out the same. Despite the lack of fences or gates, the boundaries are clear: prisoners are days from civilization, there exists only one accessible road—except in the wintertime, when it’s buried under feet upon feet of snow, and anyone attempting escape will be shot down without hesitation in the shadow of the peaks. At 13,000 feet above sea level, the mountains aren’t forgiving, and neither are the guards. Will quickly learns to distinguish his allies from his enemies. He also learns about the high price of a childhood lost. Will and his friends struggle to survive in a sea of violence and corruption.

Love Songs from a Shallow Grave: A Dr. Siri Investigation by Colin Cotterill - Set in 1978, Cotterill's superb seventh mystery to feature Dr. Siri Paiboun finds "the national and only coroner of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos" nearing his 74th birthday chained to a lead pipe in a Cambodian prison. Siri's captivity is wrapped around investigating the puzzling deaths of three Laotian women, each skewered by dueling swords that are a decided rarity in Laos. A strong supporting cast, including Siri's recently acquired wife, Madame Daeng, and morgue colleague Nurse Dtui, who's married to Inspector Phosy, enriches the narrative. The unfathomable violence of the Khmer Rouge reign emerges during Siri's unexpected ordeal and forms a vivid contrast to his humanity in seeking to protect the murder suspect in the three sword deaths. This immensely satisfying mystery has it all--a heroic protagonist, a challenging puzzle, and an exotic setting. --Publisher’s Weekly.

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna - As the first girl to be born into the Nachimanda family in over thirty-five years, the beautiful Devi is the object of adoration of her entire family. Spirited and strong-willed, she befriends the shy Devanna, a young boy whose mother has died in tragic circumstances. Together they grow up amidst the luscious jungles, rolling hills, and coffee plantations of Coorg in Southern India; cocooned by an extended family whose roots to this beautiful land can be traced for centuries. Their futures seem inevitably linked, but everything changes when, one night, they attend a "tiger wedding." It is there that Devi gets her first glimpse of Machu, the celebrated tiger killer and a hunter of great repute. Although she is still a child and Machu is a man, Devi vows to marry him one day. It is this love that will gradually drive a wedge between Devi and Devanna, sowing the seed of a devastating tragedy that will change the fate of all three—an event that has unforeseen and far-reaching consequences for generations to come. Told in rich, lyrical prose and set against the background of a changing society, Tiger Hills is a sweeping saga about one woman's determination to live life on her own terms—and a riveting novel about the choices we make in the name of family, nation, and love.


Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton - Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe - It starts with a gift, when Ben Ryder Howe's wife, the daughter of Korean immigrants, decides to repay her parents' self-sacrifice by buying them a store. Howe, an editor at the rarefied Paris Review, agrees to go along. Things soon become a lot more complicated. After the business struggles, Howe finds himself living in the basement of his in-laws' Staten Island home, commuting to the Paris Review offices in George Plimpton's Upper East Side townhouse by day, and heading to Brooklyn at night to slice cold cuts and peddle lottery tickets. My Korean Deli follows the store's tumultuous life span, and along the way paints the portrait of an extremely unlikely partnership between characters with shoots across society, from the Brooklyn streets to Seoul to Puritan New England. Owning the deli becomes a transformative experience for everyone involved as they struggle to salvage the original gift—and the family—while sorting out issues of values, work, and identity.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story by Ree Drummond - Popular blogger and cookbook author Drummond shares the story of her courtship and marriage to her husband, whom she refers to as Marlboro Man. Though Drummond grew up in Oklahoma, she never imagined she’d end up there for good. After four years of college in Los Angeles, Drummond was only making a pit stop home before moving to Chicago. A chance encounter with a devastatingly masculine cowboy in a local bar changes everything. Though several months elapse before Marlboro Man calls her, the spark between them ignites as soon as they start dating. A rancher with deep roots in the land he works, Marlboro Man isn’t going anywhere, which means Drummond has to decide whether, to be with him, she is willing to give up her dream of moving to Chicago. By the time Marlboro Man proposes, the decision is made, and Drummond prepares to marry the love of her life and discover what being a rancher’s wife will entail. Charming and bright, Drummond’s story will be an inspiration to those who despair of finding old-fashioned, lasting love. --Kristine Huntley, Booklist.

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden by Andrea Bellamy - Andrea Bellamy, founder of the acclaimed blog Heavy Petal, gives you the dirt on growing gorgeous organic food with very little square footage. Simple, straightforward design and growing advice can help you transform just a snippet of space into a stylish and edible oasis. Bellamy goes beyond the surface and shows you how to create and maintain healthy soil, decide what and when to plant, sow seeds and harvest, and most importantly, enjoy the process. So go ahead, picture that tiny nook, corner, strip, porch, alley, balcony, or postage-stamp-sized yard overflowing with fingerling potatoes, fragrant herbs, sugar snap peas, French breakfast radishes, and scarlet runner beans.


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