Book Lovers

Po Bronson

This book explains some of the fascinating new research that is being done in the field of child development and how much of it is changing the way we traditioanlly thought was best for raising our children.  It turns out that praising children's abilities isn't what helps them succeed, but praising the effort they put into their tasks makes all the difference.  Many of the popular baby DVD's that are supposed to give children a head start are actually backfiring and decreasing their vocabulary growth compared to children who don't watch them.  You can also learn more about why children lie and just how critical getting the right amount of sleep is (even for teenageers) in order to do well in school.

Aug 16, 2012
Blind Goddess
Anne Holt

Although American readers were first introduced to Hanne Wilhelmsen in 1222, Blind Goddess is the first book in the Norwegian series.  Wilhelmsen and Hakon Sand investigate some related suicides and murders which imply a drug mafia.

Aug 14, 2012
a painting of an Upper Peninsula landscape graces the cover of Jim Harrison's latest novel
The Great Leader
Jim Harrison

In Harrison's latest, Det. Sunderson recently retired from his Upper Peninsula police work, but he can’t get the religious man named the Great Leader out of his head. Seems the Great Leader, or Dwight as he is known personally, has a thing for bilking wannabe believers out of large amounts of money and also for 12-14 year old girls. It’s on this last count that Sunderson especially wants to catch him. So when Dwight uproots his camp and moves it to Arizona and subsequently Nebraska, Sunderson follows with the help of a 16 year old neighbor girl who is an Internet whiz. This book is less of a mystery than it is a reflection on the relationship between money, religion, and sex (with some marital discord thrown in for good measure).  Part of the interest and fun of this book for me was the U.P. setting and Sunderson’s reflections on this and the personalities of our near northern statesmen and women. Sunderson is trying to be a better person; as long as he can catch Dwight, he can put it a lot of his failures behind him.

Aug 9, 2012
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
Stephen L. Carter

What would have happened if Abraham Lincoln hadn't died after John Wilkes Booth shot him?  In Stephen L. Carter's novel, Lincoln is now facing an impeachment trial.  Abigail Canner, despite her race and gender, finds herself clerking for the lawyers who are defending Lincoln.  Conspiracies abound and time is of short order.

Jul 31, 2012
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Home in New England
Brocke Clark

Sam Pulsifer burned down the Emily Dickinson House when he was 18. Accidentally. Two people died in the fire and Sam had to pay with 10 years in prison.  When he gets out, he wants to forget all that or, rather, that others would forget all that. So he leaves home, goes to college, marries, and moves to a suburban cluster of homes where most residents don’t know each other’s names. But then a mystery man enters his life and things start changing and fast. He is implicated in several other fires that have burned down New England writers’ homes and is having a hard time convincing a bumbling investigator of his innocence. This novel, told in the first-person, is a mystery as well as a comedy, and it pulls on the heartstrings with strained family relationships. See if Sam really did the deed(s) he's accused of.

Jul 27, 2012
The Prestige
Christopher Priest

This is the story of two feuding magicians, Albert Borden and Rupert Angier, in early 20th century England who pushed each other to great heights and the limits of mortality. The book is a page-turner and will have you guessing, especially since the novel is told in diary form from each magician’s perspective. There is plenty of space for double-speak and sleight of hand and the greatest of all magic tricks, transportation. Each magician has their own transport trick and each is urged on by professional duty and personal curiosity and admiration to figure out how the other does it. The book won many awards and the 2006 movie of the same title, starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, was also well-received.

Jul 26, 2012
The Nightmare
Lars Kepler

A photograph is the key to solving an apparent drowning and a suicide but it is also worth so much more to a number of people and someone is willing to do almost anything to get it back.  Detective Joona Linna (first seen in The Hypnotist) must find the killer before there's much more bloodshed.

Jul 21, 2012
At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel
William C. Rempel

Nonfiction that reads like fiction is usually the best kind of nonfiction.  William C. Rempel's At the Devil's Table does exactly like, coming off as a spy thriller instead of a true story.  Telling the story of how an ordinary man got drafted and then caught up in Colombia's Cali Cartel without any safe way of getting out.  Jorge Salcedo joins the cartel in the '90s out of a patriotic duty to his country.  Soon, he gets drawn deeper into the illegal operations with the only way to escape means that he must bring down the most dangerous drug cartel in the world.

Jul 7, 2012
Detroit: A Biography
Scott Martelle

Beginning with the French settlers, Scott Martelle gives a broad overview of Detroit's rise, fall and (hopeful) rise, once again in Detroit: A Biography.  Going back and forth between chapters focusing on individual residents and chapters focusing on specific times or movements.  This book gives an interesting and face-paced account of the many ups and downs that have graced the city and investigates the many factors that have played a part in Detroit's transformations.  Martelle ends on a positive note with a hopeful note that current investments and changes will lead to great outcomes.

Jun 30, 2012
The Chase
Clive Cussler

It's 1906 and there's a brutal bank robber/murderer on the loose.  It's up to Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency to bring the Butcher Bandit to justice.  The chase is on, figuratively and literally, as Bell catches up to the bandit and his accomplice.  First book in the Isaac Bell series.

Jun 29, 2012

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