Monday, May 31, 2010

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

In the book, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, Ellen Ruppel Shell writes about how the United States' retail culture has gone from one of value to one of low prices and low quality. And while in today's economy everyone is trying to save a buck, these "savings" start to translate into lost jobs and industries for the USA.

Shell makes a seeming dry topic very interesting - her writing style is clear and concise and her examples allow the average consumer to understand the "bait and switch" game that is going on. Among the chapters, she talks about; the rise of outlet stores that have nothing to do with their corporate parents - except in perceived value, the notion that IKEA is a green company - it's wood suppliers are among the worst in terms of ecology violations, the recent scandal of poisonous toys coming from China and the impact that all this outsourcing of goods is having on foreign workers and American jobs.

If you consider yourself to be frugal or an informed consumer - you should read this book. Worth the time and an enlightened read. It might change the way you shop.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The “Lost” Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize is well-known, but the Lost Man Booker Prize is a recent idea. It honors a book published in l970, a year that slipped through the cracks for eligibility. Six worthy titles were in the competition and Farrell was chosen over five other finalists: Patrick White's The Vivisector, Mary Renault's Fire From Heaven, Nina Bawden's The Birds on the Trees, Shirley Hazzard's The Bay of Noon and Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat.

The winner, announced on May 19th, is Troubles by J. G. Farrell. It is the first of his Empire Trilogy. The 2nd title, Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker in 1973.

Troubles takes place in County Wexford, Ireland in 1919. The tragicomic historical novel is set against the increasing violence against the English. Much of the action takes place in a crumbling hotel which is occupied by a cast of characters reminiscent of Muriel Spark and Barbara Pym. Our protagonist, Major Archer, is a meek fellow who has just returned somewhat traumatized from serving in the Great War. He returned for a fiancée who keeps him guessing as to her intentions. Her family owns The Majestic Hotel, a crumbling place which provides much of the comic relief as well as a counterpoint to the violence around it. The novel is many things, but the main theme is the decline of the British Empire. The recognition is late, but welcome and deserved.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2010 Audie Awards

2010 Audie Awards

Every year, the APA (Audio Publisher's Association) honors the best titles in audio publishing at a gala dinner held in conjunction with APAC (Audio Publishers Association Conference) and BEA (Book Expo of America). The Audies is the only awards program in the U.S. entirely devoted to recognizing distinction in audiobook and spoken-word entertainment. This years' Audie Awards was presented the evening of May 25th at a gala event at The Museum of the City of New York in New York City. Awards are bestowed in over 30 categories, including Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography/Memoir, Business, History, Audiobook of the Year, and more. For 2010, winners that we currently own in our collection are.....

Audiobook of the Year

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales - narrated by multiple artists


Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies- narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Distinguished Achievement in Production and Fiction

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - narrated by multiple artists
(This title is my personal all-time favorite audiobook!!!!!)

Literary Fiction

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - narrated by Simon Slater

In addition to the excitement created by the Audie Awards, we have cause to celebrate locally because several local narrators made the list of finalists this year. Face of Betrayal by Lis W. Wiehl in the Fiction Category is narrated by Pam Turlow from Elmhurst. Wayne Shepherd of Glen Ellyn narrated the audiobook, The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman which was nominated under Personal Development. Rebecca Gallagher is the narrator of The Secret Holocaust Diaries, by Nonna Bannister and Denise George, and was nominated under two categories, Biography/Memoir and Inspirational/Faith-Based Nonfiction.

For a complete list of winners and finalists, check The Audies. For titles that GPL doesn't currently own, be sure to check back with our catalog in the near future.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's Next for Mystery Readers?

It looks like the next big thing for mystery readers, may be South Africa. In the April issue of Library Journal, Wilda Williams talks to Poisoned Press editor Barbara Peters and several other editors to see what’s up and coming in the genre and they agree that South Africa may be the new Scandinavia. Don’t worry, the Scandinavian crime wave is still riding high and it is not expected to crest for awhile. As an avid reader of translated novels there’s plenty of room on our shelves for our South African friends. Not sure where to start, try one these mystery novels set in South Africa:

Random Violence by Jassy Mackenzie
Set in contemporary South Africa, first in the series about private investigator Jade de Jong, who returns to South Africa after ten years abroad, having fled after her father’s brutal murder. When a wealthy white woman is shot execution style, Jade is hired by her father’s former partner, now a high ranking detective to look into the crime. The investigation zeros in on the victim’s ex-husband, but Jade has her doubts. A gripping new crime series set in post apartheid South Africa.

Mixed Blood by Roger Smith
Reluctant bank robber Jack Burn is on the run after a heist in the U.S. that left three million dollars missing and one cop dead. Hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young son. On a tranquil evening in their suburban home they become victims of a random gangland assault that forces Jack to kill both men. The killings set off a deadly chain of events that includes a gangbanger turned security guard, a crooked cop and a reformer trying to clean up the police department. A gripping thriller with believable characters and well designed plot.

The Artful Egg by James McClure
Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and his Bantu partner Mickey Zondi seek the murderer of a world-renown novelist whose naked body is found strewn with herbs and flowers and whose death has left several people wealthier. This is the first book in the popular Kamer and Zondi mystery series.

Blood Safari by Deon Meyer
Emma Le Roux hires a personal security expert when her believed-dead brother is named as a suspect in the murders of five people, a situation that exposes her to political tension, corruption, and life-threatening violence. Readers who like their crime fiction set in exotic locations will like this one.

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Who murdered the white police captain in the small border town of Jacob’s Rest? Emmanuel Cooper, an English detective and his Zulu partner Constable Shabalala begin investigating and find clues that lead to a shocking forbidden love that crosses racial lines.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

After by Amy Efaw

A poignant story of a teen pregnancy gone wrong and exploring the idea of the "dumpster baby," After by Amy Efaw tells the story of 15 year-old, straight-A student Devon. An intriguing read for teens and adults alike, the book takes the reader into the life of Devon Davenport and the aftermath of her giving birth to a baby girl in the bathroom and immediately putting it in a trash bag ready for the dumpster. The book focuses on Devon as a model student and athlete and her unfortunate home life with a single mom who often neglects Devon in hopes of gaining attention by random men. Devon finds herself pregnant, but claims she didn't realize this until the one fateful day of the birth. The court must then decide if Devon was indeed in denial and not responsible for her actions, or if this was premeditated murder. It is never stated who the father is or what his role really is in Devon's life, nor is the baby herself mentioned often other to say that she survived the ordeal and is in foster care.

Devon never wanted to end up like her mother, in a series of relationships that led nowhere so she often dismisses sex. If she denies that anything sexual ever took place, then could she really believe she was pregnant to begin with? Her lawyer, Dom, pleads the case and hopes she may prove this to the court, and has some key witnesses in Devon's defense like her soccer coach, to help her defense. Devon spends several nights in the juvenille system awaiting her fate, meeting many interesting characters along the way. She internalizes what she has done, how her life has unfolded, and her unsteady relationship with her mother. The final decision of the court, and how Devon responds, might shock the reader.

Excellent read for teens who are interested in the dumpster baby phenomenon as well as those interested in juvenille criminal justice. Takes teen pregnancy to a new level of understanding, and takes the reader into the mind of someone who is otherwise stable. As easy as it might be to cast a shadow over such a horrible act, the author presents all sides to the story and shows how the justice system works in a way that is both believeable and interesting.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lena Horne RIP

Actress and singer Lena Horne passed away on Sunday at her home in Manhattan at the age of 92. Horne broke considerable ground for other African-American entertainers when she first achieved fame in the 1940s. She parlayed her role in the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City to a successful career in Hollywood. In the 1950s she enjoyed continued success as a singer and recording artist, culminating in the award winning one-woman show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music in 1981. While Ms. Horne was known primarily as an entertainer, she also made significant strides with civil rights and political organizations. For more information on this fascinating entertainment icon check out Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Henna and saris

Women's Indian Fiction (Chick-lit) -

I love reading multicultural fiction, and I love chick lit. So why not read a combination of both?

The Mango SeasonThe Mango Season - Amulya Malladi

While visiting her family in India, Priya plans on announcing her engagement to an American man, but upon her arrival she learns that her parents have selected a husband for her and must choose between her own desires and her parents' wishes.

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People - Farahad Zama

Driving his wife crazy after his retirement, Mr. Ali is persuaded to open a marriage bureau, and when his business becomes a success he decides to hire an assistant, Aruna, who, hiding a tragic past.

The Sari Shop Widow - Shobhan Bantwal

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison's bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling.

A Good Indian wife: a novel - Anne Cherian

Successful anesthesiologist Neel hopes to resist his family's pleas that he marry a proper woman during a visit home to India, while jaded thirty-year-old teacher Leila anticipates her latest suitor without high hopes.

The Hindi-Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan

Three families of Indian-American women find themselves dealing with whole new world that blends the traditions of the past with high-tech, fast-paced, modern American life, until the estranged daughter of one of the women returns to request that a marriage be arranged for her, forcing them all to deal with the experience of living between cultures.

The Mistress: a novel - Anita Nair

Traveling to India to interview a world-famous musician, Christopher Stewart, a handsome, young, American scholar, becomes absorbed into the luxurious orbit of Koman and his niece Radha, a beautiful young woman unhappily married to a materialistic, ambitious husband, and with whom Christopher begins a passionate affair.

Under the Lemon Trees - Bhira Backhaus
In Oak Grove, California, 1976, there are as many Sikh temples as Christian churches, the city council prints announcements in both English and Punjabi and the large Indian immigrant community is gracefully coexists with the old farming families. But for15-year-old Jeeto, figuring out where she fits best--and what she must do to find that fit--isn't so easy.

Almost Single - Kala Advaita

A series of misadventures outlines the trials and tribulations of being a single woman on the wrong side of twenty-five in India, as Aisha deals with her mother's presentation of candidates for an arranged marriage, falls in love with a New York investment banker, and is torn between tradition and her yearning to be a modern woman.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Edgar Awards

The winners of the Edgar Awards (by the Mystery Writers of America) have just been announced.

Best Novel went to:

The Last Child by John Hart

Other winners:

Best First Novel By An American Author:
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

Best Fact Crime:
Columbine by Dave Cullen

Best Young Adult:
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

For nominees and more winners, visit: "The Edgars" website

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

By Chelsea Handler

Star of Chelsea Lately on E! Television network has another New York Times bestseller on her list of accomplishments. The Comedienne and host can tell a story. Whether letting us in on her fathers Jamaican girlfriends aka (housekeepers), or being a used car salesman or growing up in New Jersey, she’s terrific at giving us a glimpse of her early childhood and relationships with her siblings no one in her family is exempt from her practical jokes and sarcasm.

We read about many of the familiar characters like Brad Wollack, comedian and part of her panel on many of her shows to her CEO boyfriend Ted Harbert, 20 years her senior and head of the network who owns her TV show. Recently broke up after the release of her book and my favorite side kick, her little nugget Chuy.

She is brilliant, clever and a hilarious writer. Many times I found myself laughing out loud, as long as you don’t mind her candor and at times her filthy mouth. She tells it as she sees it. If you watch her show you can hear her voice in your head which makes it all the more funny.

Her humor probably would be considered raunchy to some, but as in her first two books My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night and Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. This current book is a continuation of her stories from childhood to most recently a few of the pranks she played on just about everyone.