Clever Ali by Nancy Farmer

Ali’s father is in charge of the Sultan of Cairo’s carrier pigeons. When Ali turns seven he is old enough to work with his father in the palace. He is given his own pigeon and told not to overfeed it or it will become selfish and lazy. Ali doesn’t listen and overfeeds the pigeon, which causes a catastrophe that may get his father thrown into the Sultan's bottomless pit. When the cruel Sultan gives Ali one chance to save his father, he comes up with a plan to rescue his father and rid Cairo of the evil Sultan. Newbery author, Nancy Farmer, weaves an intriguing tale in the tradition of the Arabian Nights.

Writers recommend....

The most recent book recommended in the "You must read this" feature on NPR is Tillie Olsen's Tell Me a Riddle. Scott Turow talks about the profound influence Olsen's novella had on him as a young writer in college. Other titles recently discussed on the program have been Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter, recommended by Alice McDermott and Maud Martha, Gwendolyn Brooks' only work of fiction described as "indispensable" by Asali Solomon whose book of short stories, Get Down was recently published.

Shedding light on Happy Meals

Many of us eat McDonald’s burgers and Chicken McNuggets and yet know very little about what we’re putting in our bodies. Chew on This! Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food shares what fast food industry officials would rather you not know about what’s in the food, what it does to the body, and about their campaign to lure children into a life long habit of fast food eating.

What if you ate nothing but fast food? Check out film director Morgan Spurlock's 2004 film, Super Size Me and see.

Clay -- Wierd & Scary or Dirt & Water?

Clay by David Almond is the odd story of two teenage boys in England who get pulled into the disturbed world of the new boy in town. A boy who creates saints and creatures out of clay - with an eye on creating his own clay man to commit disturbing deeds. With a crazy aunt and a priest to round out the picture it's a typical David Almond tale. It left me a little cold and I would be interested in what others thought of it...

Get Ready for Thanksgiving - New Recipes!

Looking for some great new recipes for Thanksgiving? Or just want to check out a new version of an old favorite?
We have dozens of mouth-watering recipes available in the Library's periodicals collection! (All are available in the Downtown Periodicals Room, and many are also available at the branches.)
Here's a small sample of what you can find in our magazines (November 2006 issue unless otherwise noted)-

Ginger-garlic Hawaiian turkey: see Sunset Magazine;
Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey Wings: see Saveur;
Chestnut and Apple Stuffing: see Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart Living publication.

And, for great Thanksgiving meals with a light and healthy menu, try:

Carmelized Pear Bread Pudding: see Eating Well, October/November issue;
Mashed Potato Gratin: see Cooking Light;
Spicy Glazed Sweet Potatoes: see Vegetarian Times, November/December issue;
Squash Souffle: see Weight Watchers Magazine, November/December issue.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and BON APPETIT!

A Salty Story

Mark Kurlansky is back with another magical tale for children, The Story of Salt, an adaptation of his best-selling book, Salt, for grown-ups. Kurlansky spins the history of the compound, “the only rock we eat,” in fascinating historical vignettes accompanied by lovely illustrations, earth tones accented with white echoing throughout the book. Though it’s meant for kids, (ages 8-12), there’s plenty to whet the appetite of adults, too.

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, one of the Cheaper by the Dozen authors, has died

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, one of the Cheaper by the Dozen authors, has diedErnestine Gilbreth Carey, one of the Cheaper by the Dozen authors, has died

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey who, with her younger brother Frank, wrote Cheaper by the Dozen, one of the more endearing classic autobiographies, died Saturday, November 4, 2006, in California.

Carey (number three of the 12 children of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife, Lillian Moller Gilbreth) and her brother delighted generations of readers with the antics and logistics of managing such a large household in the 1920s. Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb starred in the 1950 movie version; Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt appeared in the 2003 remake.

Mrs. Carey was 98.

November New and Noteworthy

Margherita Dolce Vita* by Stefano Benni.
“An elegant little piece of dark comedy” by a prolific Italian author (FFF in translation). Wise and charismatic 15 yr.-old Margherita and her odd-ball family are transformed by their new neighbors from hell.

Harlem Girl Lost* by Treasure E. Blue.
A bright young woman fights her way out of the mean streets of New York, only to be drawn back in to save her man. A lurid, gripping debut and a self-publishing sensation.

Last Seen Leaving* by Kelly Braffet.
New Age spiritualist searches for her estranged daughter who has not been seen after being picked up by a stranger on a deserted highway, while a serial killer is on the loose. Gripping.

Love in a Fallen City* by Eileen Chang (Ailing Zhang).
Six vibrant stories depict life in post WWII China and bristle with equal parts passion and resentment.

Eifelheim* by Michael Flynn.
Young modern historian obsesses with the mysterious disappearance of a German village from all maps during the Black Death. The story intersects with the heartbreaking saga of stranded aliens from a distant star.

Vince and Joy* by Lisa Jewell.
Tired of all the heavy stuff around? Try this deliciously addictive read filled with London oddballs. First loves reunite after 17 years of miscommunication, disappointments and all the things life throw at you. Romantic.

The Sky People* by S.M. Stirling.
First of a new alternate history series with "broad-brush pulp sensibility". Space colonization and a classic love triangle.

The Orphan's Tales : In the night garden* by Catherynne Valente.
“A beautiful relayed, interlinked fairy tales” of magic, adventure, quests and murder, told by a mysterious young woman with tattoos around her eyelids. Think Sheherezade and the Arabian Nights.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall* by Bill Willingham.
Re-imagined new lives and backstories for fairyland citizens , the likes of Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf, now living as secret refugees in New York - probably the “smartest mainstream comics going”.

*= Starred Review(s)

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #40

A Corpse in the Koryo* introduces, to global mystery fans a new and exciting series starring Inspector O of the Pyongyang Police Department (North Korea).

This hard-boiled, police procedural begins with a seemingly routine surveillance assignment that turns nasty, pitching a pragmatic and honorable detective against the competing military and intelligence hierarchies.

First-time author James Church (pseudonym) is a former intelligence office with decades of experience in Asia. This outstanding crime novel boasts believable characters and situations, and is "richly layered and visually evocative". A must-read.

All-starred reviews in Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

For his Chinese (Shanghai) counterpart, try the latest in the Inspector Chen series (A Case of Two Cities,* 2006) by Qiu Xiaolong - another honest detective struggling to be true under a repressive regime.

*= Starred review.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Best Sellers List (11/5/06)

Just last week I wrote that Michael Connelly was my favorite American mystery writer. When I looked at the List this week I realized I had to qualify that claim. I also rank Elizabeth George at the top but her detectuve is the very British Inspector Lynley. The author may be from Southern California but you would never guess that from reading her critically acclaimed novels. I strongly recommend reading her series in order, beginning with the begiining in A Great Deliverance.

At #2 is The Collectors by David Baldacci: The Camel Club is back to solve a murder in the Library of Congress. Title brings back memories of an earlier book The Collector, which was made into one of the creepiest movies of all time.

At #7 is What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George: the prequel to her last mystery With No One As Witness which left many of her fans in tears.

At #10 is The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum: this franchise continues after the author's death with this thriller involving an intelligence agent and a banker caught up kidnapping, terrorists, conspiracies and the possibly nefarious shenanigans of a family foundation.

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