Between the Stacks

Here you will find the good, the great and the fantastic of the library world. You will also find out how the library's materials and services connect to the larger community and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Wilkes County.

Friday, June 09, 2006

New Books at the Library--June 2006

Take a look at a selection of new books now available for checkout at the Wilkes County Public Library:

A Student of Living Things by Susan Richards Shreve. The tightly-knit Frayn family is shattered when Stephen, son and brother, is shot and killed on the library steps of the university where his sister Claire works. Galvanized by an impassioned stranger who claims to her brother's friend, Claire sheds her measured academic persona and sets out to avenge her brother's death.

Adverbs by Daniel Handler. Handler is also the author of the Lemony Snicket books and, he claims, he wrote the plot summary that appears on this book's dust jacket: "Adverbs is a novel about love-a bunch of people in and out of different kinds of love. The miracle is in the adverbs," he says, "the way things are done. This novel is about people trying to find love in the ways it is done before the volcano erupts and the miracle ends."

Correcting the Landscape by Marjorie Kowalski Cole. Gus Traynor is the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Fairbanks, Alaska. His idealism has been consistently tested, but remains mostly intact, and he prides himself on his independence of spirit. So when big business threatens the awe-inspiring Alaskan wilderness, Gus calls for support from his best friend, an often self-serving developer who helps Gus take on the forces of progress.

A Man Jumps out of an Airplane by Barry Yourgrau. Focusing on the thematic standards-father, mother, lover, sex, the imagination itself.-Yourgrau recasts them into madcap parables, surrealistic fables, and grotesque fantasies. A twelve-inch girl lolls in her date's spaghetti; a warrior steps out of the Illiad as an intruder in a backyard swimming pool; a man climbs inside a cow on a bet. Yourgrau treats readers to a circus of surreal, impish beauty.

My Jim by Nancy Rawles. To help her granddaughter accept the risks of loving, Sadie Watson mines her memory for the tale of the unquenchable love of her life, Jim. Sadie's Jim was an ambitious young slave and seer who, when faced with the prospect of being sold, escaped down the Mississippi with a white boy named Huck Finn. Sadie is suddenly left alone, and convinced that her husband is dead.

Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg. From a group of ambitious friends delighted to find a sublet across from the World Trade Center; to a family whose tranquility is strangely poisoned by years spent in poor foreign lands; to the too-painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, Eisenberg shapes stories of an American reality that has become increasingly chaotic, brutal, and out of control both personally and politically.

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld. Hannah Gravener is fourteen in the summer of 1991. In magazines, celebrities plan elaborate weddings; in Hannah's own life, her parents' marriage is crumbling. And somewhere in between these two extremes lie the answers to life's most bewildering questions. But over the next decade and a half, as she moves from Philadelphia to Boston to Albuquerque, Hannah finds that the questions become more, rather than less, complicated.

Strange Saint by Andrew Beahrs. Melode is sensuous, spiritual, fierce-and sixteen. Held as a servant by the Puritan congregation of "Saints" responsible for the death of her parents, Mel nevertheless joins them when they resolve to leave for the New World. We follow Mel from her familiar English village to the wilds of Newfoundland and New England, from passionate romance to the rawest struggle for survival.

Side Effects by Patty Friedman. In this wacky and suspenseful novel, the lives of three drugstore employees-two black, one white-become intertwined somewhere between Patient Consultation and Pick-up. Behind the pharmacy counter they are given a unique perspective on New Orleans before Katrina. Luciana Jambon, Vendetta Greene, and Lennon Israel experience the complications of friendship and romance in the storms of inevitable family dramas.

Dying for Love by Gwen Moffat. Culchet is everyone's idea of the idyllic Lake District village: well-behaved residents going quietly about their business. Then, without warning that peace is shattered. Two deaths occur within a short space of time, both too sudden and unusual to be accidents. And when five-year-old Kim Butler disappears, everyone knows there has to be a kidnapper, or worse, living a seemingly respectable life right alongside them.

Karavans by Jennifer Roberson. The land of Sancorra has been conquered by the brutal, tribal Hecari, leaving thousands of families without homes. Audrun and her husband Davyn and their four children must travel to Atalanda province where Audrun has relatives. For safety's sake they join a caravan escorting refugees from their war-ravaged land. But eventually they must travel far too close to the demonic, shape-shifting deepwood than is considered safe.

Sleep with Me by Joanna Briscoe. As Richard and Lelia go about their busy London lives, Sylvie insinuates herself into their happy world. Gradually their reality shifts: Mysterious fragments of a novel about a troubled child appear on Richard's e-mail. Lelia is haunted by a painful secret from her past. A friend confides his adulterous affair and Richard voyeuristically hangs on every detail. With the approaching birth of their child, Richard grows remote, and Lilia makes a surprising decision that nearly destroys the life she and Richard have created.

Saving the World by Julia Alvarez. Latina novelist Alma Huebner is suffering from writer's block and is years past the completion date for another of her bestselling family sagas. The truth is that Alma is seriously sidetracked by the story of Spaniard Francisco Xavier Balmis who in 1803 undertook to vaccinate the population of Spain's American colonies against smallpox, and of Isabel Sendales y Gomez who was asked to select twenty-two orphan boys to be the vaccine carriers.

The Devil's Own Rag Doll by Mitchell Bartoy. In the summer of 1943 poor white and black southerners are pouring into Detroit looking for work in the airplane and tank factories. When a vivacious white heiress is murdered in a black part of town, newly minted detective Pete Caudill is charged with covering up the crime in the interests of civic peace, and finding some kind of justice for the dead girl.

Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright. For Amelia and her friends, the strict English boarding school where they live is all they have ever known. The School has a large staff but only five students. Amelia can see in four directions. Victor can control the molecular arrangement of matter. Vanity can find secret passageways where none existed. Colin is a psychic. Quentin is a warlock. And, as time goes by, they're starting to suspect that none of them is entirely human.

A Taxonomy of Barnacles by Galt Niederhoffer. The Barnacle sisters-Bell, Bridget, Benita, Beryl, Belinda, and Beth-have been issued a challenge. The Barnacle patriarch, Barry, proposes a contest: Whichever of his daughters can most spectacularly carry on his name will inherit his fortune. Set all over New York City, this novel takes a magnifying glass to one particularly eccentric family, and it is as beautifully written as it is unique.

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