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

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Recommendations for Adults


The Pale King by David Foster Wallace - The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions--questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society--through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.

Scones & Bones by Laura Childs - "Charleston tourist notes enhance Childs's charming 12th tea-themed cozy featuring Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the city's Indigo Tea Shop. During the Heritage Society's Pirates and Plunder show, someone steals a diamond-embedded skull cup possibly fashioned from the skull of pirate Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) right beneath the noses of Theo and Drayton Conneley, Theo's master tea blender. Even worse, the robber fatally stabs college kid Rob Commers, the society's history intern, and assaults Camilla Hodges, the society's office manager. While plucky Theo, her faithful shop employees, and CPD's Det. Burt Tidwell chase a nasty killer, Theo feels romantically torn between her boyfriend, chef Parker Scully, and an attractive newcomer, Max Scofield, a local museum's PR director. As usual, everyone finds time for abundant tea breaks. Tempting recipes include creamy dreamy parfait and lemon chess pie." March 2011, Publisher’s Weekly.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht - Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation. In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her; secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards-secrets hidden in the landscape itself. But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel. Searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the extraordinary stories he told her when she was a child, The Deathless Man and The Tiger’s Wife. "These stories," Natalia comes to understand, "run like secret rivers through all the other stories" of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.

When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle - Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.

Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? When the Killing's Done will offer no transparent answers, but like The Tortilla Curtain, Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.


Bossypants by Tina Fey - Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon - The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war, a rare achievement for any Afghan woman, Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Hungry Girl 300 under 300: 300 Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Dishes Under 399 Calories by Lisa Lillen - She’s not a nutritionist, she’s just hungry! Lisa Lillien is a number-one New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the Hungry Girl brand. She is the founder of, the phenomenal worldwide free daily email service that entertains and informs hungry people everywhere! This book serves up more than SEVENTY-FIVE soon-to-be-famous HG TRIOS: three-ingredient combos that take easy to a whole new level! Included are . . .
  • Bean ’n Cheesy Soft Taco in an Egg Mug

  • PB&J Oatmeal Heaven

  • Creamy Crab Cakes Benedict

  • Classic Cheesesteak Salad

  • Dreamy Butternut Chicken Foil Pack

  • Buffalo Chicken Wing Macaroni & Cheese

  • BLT Pizza

  • Loaded Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs
. . . And more!

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Beach Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcomers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn - "Like Bill Bryson on hard science, or John McPhee with attitude, journalist Hohn travels from beaches to factories to the northern seas in pursuit of a treasure that mystifies as much as it provokes. His quest is to determine what happened to a load of 28,800 Chinese manufactured plastic animals in a container that fell off a ship en route to Seattle in 1992. Hohn’s inquiry leads him to 10 Little Rubber Ducks (2005), children’s author Eric Carle’s idealized board-book version, and also to the plastic-strewn beaches of an Alaskan island, a Hong Kong toy fair, and the Sesame Street origins of the rubber duck’s popularity. By turns thoughtful, bemused, or shocked, Hohn finds the story growing beyond his wildest visions as he learns about the science of ocean currents and drift and the lure of cheap plastic in a consumer culture that has dangerously lost its way. The resulting book is a thoroughly engaging environmental/travel title that crosses partisan divides with its solid research and apolitical nature. Rubber ducks as harmless, ubiquitous symbols of childhood? Not anymore, not by a long shot. This dazzles from start to finish." Reviewed by Colleen Mondor, Booklist.


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