2006-10-05 / News

From the Librarian's Desk

By Judith H. Bell

Business has been mighty slow during this truly spectacular

late summer/early fall season, but soon enough you will find your way back to the library, where a world of good reading awaits, and you'll find a few new offerings for your listening and reading pleasure.

We have added a new page to our Web site called New Book List. The books are listed and linked directly to the catalog, so card in hand, you can click right to the CLAN record and place your hold.

Here are some of the new books you will find on the September list. The October list will be more comprehensive and better arranged, but we are excited at this high-tech addition to our service.

A couple of fiction titles have caught our attention.

+ "The 13th Tale" by Diane Setterfield

From Booklist:

"Margaret Lea, a bookish loner, is summoned to the home of Vida Winter, England's most popular novelist, and commanded to write her biography. Miss Winter has been falsifying her life story and her identity for more than 60 years.... As Margaret carefully records Vida's tale, she ponders her own family secrets.... The author skillfully keeps the plot moving by unfurling a new twist in each chapter and leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion. A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled."

"When Madeline Was Young" by Jane Hamilton

Spanning the last 40 years of American wars, this book chronicles the pleasures and frustrations of family life. When Madeline, the beautiful young wife of Aaron Maciver suffers brain damage in a bike accident, he and his second wife care for her with tenderness and devotion as they raise their own two children. Booklist says that Jane Hamilton, author of "The Book of Ruth" "has never written more finely nuanced or beguiling prose, imagined more fascinating characters, or posed more provocative moral dilemmas. In each surprising permutation, Hamilton offers fresh perspectives on the puzzles of time, memory, and consciousness, and keenly gauges the many shades of guilt and audacity, grief and sacrifice, tenacity and goodness."

A few of your favorite fiction writers have new books. Line up for: "Rise and Shine: a Novel" by Anna Quindlen, "After This" by Alice McDermott, "The Mephisto Club" by Tess Gerritsen, "Learning to Kill: Stories" by Ed McBain, "Coronado: Stories" by Dennis Lehane, "Right Attitude to Rain" by Alexander McCall Smith, and "Fool Me Once" by Fern Michaels.

Non-fiction reading runs the gamut. We enjoyed "Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Fire Of 1894" by Daniel James Brown, the story of an horrific fire that took place in Hinckley, Minn., killing 1,200 people in a few hours. Booklist called it "Riveting, moving, white-knuckle reading to rank with classic accounts of the "perfect storm," Krakatoa, and other storied calamities."

"Buddha Or Bust: In Search Of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All" by Perry Garfinkel

From Booklist

"Garfinkel undertook a 20- week round-the-world trip to write an in-depth article for National Geographic about the worldwide Buddhist movement. Following in the footsteps of the Buddha,, he hoped to gain, if not nirvana, at least insight and "merit" to redeem in this lifetime. Each step is another lesson in history, teasing out what is known from what has been merely attributed to the Buddha. He travels to Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, and some discoveries are disheartening. In Sri Lanka, for instance, Garfinkel is appalled to find that the civil war is closer to a religious war. Garfinkel presents a dynamic account of twentieth-century Buddhism."

For The Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend by Patricia B. McConnell

From Booklist

"Understanding what drives the behavior of our pet dogs is McConnell's goal. She teaches readers to understand the emotional environment of their dogs' actions and helps them to reprogram undesirable behaviors. This is not a book on how to train dogs, but McConnell's examination of cases from her veterinary practice, backed up by her scientific study of animal behavior, will help readers better understand their closest companions. Whether discussing separation anxiety, fear biting, or simple canine happiness, McConnell explains the emotional state of each dog and how this drives the observed behavior. McConnell's main message is for readers to observe their own dogs and to understand the emotions behind their actions, both good and bad."

"Awakening Beauty the Dr. Hauschka Way" by Susan West Kurz This gorgeous book is by a local author we hope to have as a guest speaker soon. Kurz puts forward four pillars of beauty: truth, goodness, love and nature as the source of true beauty. The book is a treat for both mind, spirit, and body.

Other non-fiction titles of interes include:

"Into My Own" by Roger Kahn , "Overcoming Life's Disappointments" by Harold Kushner, "Wake-Up Call: The Political Education Of A 9/11 Widow" by Kristen Breitweiser, "Immortal Game: A History Of Chess" by David Shenk, "Redemption: The Last Battle Of The Civil War" by Nicholas Lemann, "Creation: An Appeal To Save Life On Earth" by Edward Wilson, "The Story Of America's Cup: 1851 To 2003" by Ranulf Rayner, "Shock" By Kitty Dukakis, "Hubris: The Inside Story Of Spin, Scandal, And The Selling Of The Iraq War" by Michael Isakoff, "Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, And Corporate Greed In Iraq" by T. Christian Miller

Please take a minute to visit our Web site at www.jamestownri. com/library. Our faithful volunteer Bob Saunders made a few changes, and we now have some new databases to visit.

We announced in July that you can now get archived articles from the Providence Journal free of charge from home or in the library. At home, you need your barcode, but the articles are free and the search engine is better than ever.

We can't say that we like the new magazine index the Cooperating Libraries Automated Network purchased this year, but it does have some nice features, including an auto repair reference center and consumer health section. Speaking of consumer health, the government has been working hard to promote its Web site MedlinePlus.gov. It is a wealth of information and more reliable than doing a Google search.

We'll leave you with one last thought, as we have of late been reminded by Sara Archambault, director of the RI Council for the Humanities, a very wise young woman, of an unfortunate truth: we live in "ideologically polarized communities unpracticed at civic dialogue, and (we have) a lack of safe spaces for informed and balanced public discourse." We hope the library, through our books and programming, is and will always be, the seat of informed and balance public discourse.

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