Introducing Maisie Dobbs

"Startlingly original . . . Be prepared to be astonished."— The New York Times Book Review

Maisie Dobbs might not be a household name like Miss Marple or Kinsey Millhone but this third installment in the series by Jacqueline Winspear could change that.

In Pardonable Lies, Maisie Dobbs, a London psychologist and PI extraordinaire will journey back to painful memories of WWI and test her relationships with an old friend in order to fulfill a deathbed request to track down a young pilot who disappeared under questionable circumstances. Excerpt

For another exceptional British mystery of the same period, you might want to give Rennie Airth's River of Darkness, or the latest from Anne Perry, entitled Angel in the Gloom a try.

Kanye West - Late Registration out Today!

The second album from Kanye West, Late Registration, is being released today. I know I can’t wait to listen since the album is supposedly just as good as his first. Late Registration features additional artists such as Jamie Foxx, Common, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, and many others.

If you haven’t already, you should check out Kanye’s first album: The College Dropout. It won a Grammy for Best Rap Album of the year, and “Jesus Walks” won a Grammy for Best Rap Song.

Australian Award-Winner

Melina Marchetta's 1992 novel Looking for Alibrandi won numerous literature prizes and landed on the national Australian high school reading list. Saving Francesca is Marchetta's first book in over ten years and her observations of school, family, and spirituality remain spot-on. The protagonist's biting wit and fierce love for her family and friends make this a must-read for fans of Louise Rennison or Laurie Halse Anderson.

Picture Books as Art

When a family reads three or four picture books a night as part of the bedtime ritual, it is easy to lose sight of the concept of picture books as art.
A current exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago reminds us how talented picture book illustrators can be. The exhibit is called Fantasy, Facts and Furry Friends: Caldecott Medal and Honor Books, 2001-2005. You can view the original artwork and the finished book side by side. Many different styles of art are featured. Kevin Henkes' 2005 Caldecott winner Kitten's First Full Moon, completely drawn in black and white, is showcased. Brian Collier's lush jewel-toned illustrations for Doreen Rappaport's Martin's Big Words are included. Mo Willems' famous pigeon from Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is there along with many others.
If you're in the Chicago area, don't miss this exhibit. It runs through October 30.

The game's still afoot!

Sherlock Holmes--what other literary character has appeared in so many stories not written by his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Four notable additions to this Conan Doyle sub-genre have appeared in the past year:

In Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind, Holmes is 93, no longer sure of his memory or of his interpretation of events. His post-atom bomb visit to Hiroshima with a Japanese correspondent is haunting.

Michael Chabon's The Final Solution: A Story of Detection, also taking place after WWII, introduces a mute young refugee from the Third Reich. Caleb Carr's The Italian Secretary takes Holmes and Watson to Edinburgh, where murderous scoundrels are profiting from historic events at Holyrood Castle.

Last Blast of Summer

Avoiding school supply sales like the plague? Trying to get the most out of your last days of freedom? Need a book that is GUARANTEED to make every minute spent reading it worthwhile?

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman is that book. Picture a boy out on an important date, (his best friend's vicarious love-life depends on it!). He takes her to a horror movie, then to the beach. The girl is feeling romantic, the boy is feeling lucky. Our hero goes to the trunk to get out the beach blanket, and..

What, you thought I was going to just give it away? Sorry my friend, you'll just have to get the book.

New Fiction Titles on the the New York Times Bestseller List (August 21, 2005)

There were no new fiction titles on the list last Sunday. But a few new titles that the editors recommended are always worth a look.

Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis has provoked a lot of attention. Ellis has written a novel with a protagonist named Bret Easton Ellis. How much of it is real? Does it matter?

The Good Priest’s Son by Reynolds Price can be added to the small but growing list of 9/11 novels. Once again the prolific Price wrestles with the role of religion in everyday life.

Where do you go after you've been there and back again?

Sean Astin, erstwhile hobbit and son of Patty Duke, is slated to join the cast of 24 this fall. For those who can't wait, Astin's book There And Back Again: An Actor's Tale gives a gritty and honest (too honest?) look into life on the ground during the making of the Lord of the Rings movies.

"She's a cheerleader, you've seen Star Wars 47 times. You do the math."

Nostalgic for high school? Can't wait for it to end so you can get on with your life?

If you don't run with the Heathers, or if your Breakfast Club persona is more Judd Nelson or Anthony Michael Hall than Molly Ringwald or Emilio Estevez, then Freaks and Geeks might be for you.

Set in a northern suburb of Detroit during the 1980-81 school year, the show traces the lives of a group of high school burnouts and their D&D-playing younger siblings as they try to figure out the answer to life, the universe and everything. As heartwarming, cringeworthy, and funny as real life, Freaks and Geeks is solid -- it didn't run long enough to Jump the Shark.

Creator Paul Feig, raised in Mt. Clemens, has just released a new book and is signed on to direct a movie adaptation of Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. McKinley High "alumni" have gone on to appear in projects from Spider-Man and its sequel to ER to The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

How Napoleon 'met his Waterloo'

There have been numerous accounts of Waterloo, the famous, final and decisive battle of the Napoleonic era fought in Belgium on June 15, 1815. Alessandro Barbero, an Italian historian and novelist, has penned a new and exciting history of the encounter in The Battle: A New History of Waterloo. This truly fresh, balanced and appealing narrative of the battle, drawing on first-hand recollections from participants of all ranks and nationalities, presents new insights along with intense, colorful descriptions of the various skirmishes, charges and defensive stands that decided the outcome.

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