Ages 18+.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (12/18/05)

There was only one new title this week and again it is from an author who is no stranger to the list.

Coming in at #4 is Forever Odd by Dean Koontz: this popular and prolific writer brings back Odd Thomas who uses his ability to communicate with the dead to search for his missing friend.

Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties

Including bipartisan testimony by lawyers, politicians and victims of the USA Patriot Act, this DVD discusses how the Patriot Act of 2001 has taken away checks on law enforcement and continues to endanger the civil liberties of all Americans under the guise of being part of the war on terrorism. Following in the footsteps of Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election and Uncovered: The War on Iraq, this hour-long documentary illustrates how paranoia, fear and racial profiling have led to gross infringements on freedom and democracy without strengthening national security.

De-stress while listening to classical piano

With the holidays upon us, smart music lovers are stocking up on relaxing CDs. The library recently bought the popular title The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music in the Universe, with selections by Bach, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise), and other composers. Right now there are 27 people on the waiting list for this CD, but if you reserve it now, you, too, can look forward to being among the most relaxed listeners in the universe.

A Toast to This Year’s Wine Books

Enjoy some good reading as you sip your wine:
from primer: The Wine Guy: Everything You Want to Know About Buying and Enjoying Wine from Someone Who Sells It by Andy Besch
to the process of winemaking: A Very Good Year: the Journey of a California Wine From Vine to Table by Mike Weiss
to the memoir of a new vintner: My First Crush: Misadventures in Wine Country by Linda Kaplan
to the arrival of American wine on the world scene: Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine by George Taber
to one person’s choices of the best current wines of America: The Great Wines of America: the Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages by Paul Lukacs
to the melding of travel, wine, and art: Untrodden Grapes by Ralph Steadman

This American [Literary] Life

At his lecture last weekend, Ira Glass forecast that this coming week's episode of This American Life will be one of the best ever. The contributors are so good, he said, that he might as well quit now.

In case that isn't enough for you, check out this list of some of our favorite books by TAL contributors:

Found : the best lost, tossed, and forgotten items from around the world and
The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Fraud by David Rakoff
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
Lenny Bruce is Dead by Jonathan Goldstein
Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage
God Said "Ha!" by Julia Sweeney
Beware of God by Shalom Auslander

Trevanian, 1931-2005

Trevanian, author of The Eiger Sanction, Shibumi, and several other titles considered the thinking man’s airport fiction, died December 14, 2005 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The Eiger Sanction, published in 1972, was a spoof on the James Bond novels. One critic declared that Trevanian’s first novel was “…more intelligent, witty, and stylish” than the original 007 tales.

Trevanian was one of at least five pseudonyms that Rodney Whitaker used to write on a wide variety of topics, including the law, religion, and the movies.

What's a six letter word for.....?


Did you know that December 21 is the anniversary of the first crossword puzzle ever printed? It was compiled by Arthur Wynne for the New York World newspaper in 1913. And that was the beginning of an addiction that drives spouses mad and squanders hours of time perhaps better spent washing the kitchen floor. But we love them and so does Marc Romano, author of Crossworld:One Man's Journey into America's Crossword Obsession. Romano gives us an entertaining history of this pasttime and also gives us a bird's eye view of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament hosted by Will Shortz, creator of the New York Times puzzles. He meets the quirky players, and enters himself the next year. He provides anecdotes, gives tips on competing and even lets us in on the little know fact that Shortz has the only degree in "enigmatology." I don't have a clue.

The Winter Battle: Remembering the Bulge

On December 16, 1944 eight German armored divisions and a total of 250,000 men launched a surprise attack in foggy, rainy weather in the Ardennes Forest initiating what became known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge.’ Ultimately, more than a million men were involved, with nearly 200,000 total casualties inflicted. It was Nazi Germany's last major offensive campaign on the Western Front and briefly succeeded in penetrating up to 65 miles into the allied lines, the so-called 'bulge,' before it was stopped, reversed and the original lines were reestablished by January 21, 1945.

New Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (12/4/05 and 12/11/05)

Outside of four new books by well-known authors, there was little movement on the list the last two weeks. 'Tis the season to be scary.

On the 12/4/05 list:
At #1 is Mary, Mary by James Patterson: another nursery rhyme title with Alex Cross chasing an email killer in Hollywood.

At #6 is The Regime:Evil Advances by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins: the second prequel in the Left Behind series continues its harrowing story of the Antichrist.

Whitbread announcement stuns literary world

Whitbread

The Whitbread Literary Prize, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious honors to be bestowed on authors, is up for sale.

The Whitbread company, which has sponsored this prize since 1971, has undergone a radical transformation and no longer uses the Whitbread brand on any of its products. This month its Board of Directors announced that, with metamorphosis into the UK’s leading hospitality business, it is time to find a new sponsor. “[Our] number one priority is to find a like-minded organization that shares our vision for this award and is committed to developing and nurturing it.”

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