by Dave Cullen
When unspeakable tragedies occur, we ask the question how could this have happened? After the horrific shootings at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado on April 20th, 1999, many theories were offered as to why the shooters carried out such violence. Dave Cullen’s book Columbine gives an authoritative look into the lives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, debunking many myths surrounding the tragedy.
A decade in the making, Cullen carried out meticulous research, including interviews with living victims of the tragedy, and the loved ones of those lost. Cullen talked in particular with FBI agent and clinical psychologist Dwayne Fuselier, who played an integral role in the investigation. Fuselier studied the killers’ journals and video recordings, which reveal a slow to accelerated build of psychopathy in Harris and depression in Klebold. In the pages of Columbine, Cullen also uncovers the mishandling of the investigation by the local police force, including telling events prior to the tragedy. Finally, Cullen leaves the reader at the dedication of the memorial, providing updates into the living victims’ lives, and the loved ones of those lost on that terrible day.
It is heartbreaking that true stories like this one are here to be told. In his book, Cullen has covered the events leading up to, and after April 20th, 1999, with great journalistic integrity.
Yikes! You’ve been decorating, prepping, and cooking for days, and forgot to pull together music for your party! Not to worry, you can download these five tunes in a flash from freegal.
1) Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You has become one of the most beloved Christmas songs. She recently visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed with Jimmy and The Roots. (search Artist Mariah Carey/Album Merry Christmas.)
2) Oh Barbra…When you sing What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve you melt the hardest of hearts. (search Artist Barbra Streisand/Album Christmas Memories.)
3) You can’t help but dance around when Woody Guthrie sings Hannukah Dance. (search Artist Woody Guthrie/Album Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: the Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights.)
4) Sarah McLachlan‘s vocal never disappoints. Her rendition of Christmas Time Is Here is a lovely addition to the many recordings of this classic tune. (search Artist Sarah McLachlan/Album Wintersong.)
5) I remember my mom spinning The Andy Williams Christmas Album on the old turntable and I was SO excited to find it on freegal. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year should definitely make your playlist. (search Artist Andy Williams/Album The Andy Williams Christmas Album.)
May your holidays be merry and bright, indeed…And may 2013 be kind to one and all!
The Uninvited Guests
by Sadie Jones
Not long now - just about a month left until the season 3 premiere of Downton Abbey! In the meantime, I highly recommend reading Sadie Jones’ Edwardian country house novel The Uninvited Guests.
The year is 1912, and it’s an early spring day at the 17th century manor house Sterne. All the inhabitants, both family and staff alike, are preparing to celebrate the 20th birthday of Emerald Torrington. Invited guests are due to arrive shortly. The birthday girl Emerald, her brother Clovis, youngest sibling Imogen (called Smudge) and mother Charlotte have just seen off stepfather Edward Swift, who is headed to Manchester to carry out a serious task indeed. The Torringtons are doomed to lose their beloved home unless Edward can borrow the funds to cover their debts. Mother Charlotte is particularly consumed with melodramatic despair. Then they receive word that a train close by has crashed, and survivors must take shelter at Sterne.
By the end of the night, a pony becomes performance art, a shocking secret or two will be revealed, love blossoms, and class divisions blur. As for Sterne, let’s just say the house shines during an opportunity to provide shelter to those in need. I had a lot of fun reading this refreshing novel, and I daresay you will too. The Uninvited Guests would make a perfect Masterpiece mini-series… Lets start a campaign!
True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps
by Gianna Sobol and Alan Ball with Karen Sommer Shalett;
recipes by Marcelle Bienvenu
This True Blood cookbook is the latest in a long line of themed cookbooks. (For you Game of Thrones fans, A Feast of Ice and Fire arrived earlier this year.) Although novelty cookbooks are more for collectors of pop culture memorabilia (aka fanboys and fangirls), this one actually contains some interesting, not to mention tasty, Cajun, Low-Country, and Southern recipes. Presented as if the characters were speaking directly to you, this book also features glossy on-set photos from locations in the show based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels.
First up is the Drinks to Die For chapter, but unless you’re hosting a viewing party skip this section. Most of these concoctions call for the Tru Blood drink, or the homemade equivalent. (If you’re on the search for new cocktails recipes, go here.) Head straight to the Home Cookin‘ section for the standout recipes up-in-arms biscuits and gravy, and beautifully broken bisque. The Eating Out in Bon Temps chapter includes Merlotte’s staples fancy shrimp cocktail, all mixed up red beans and rice, and did I kiss your grits. Let us not forget dessert! The classic chess pie recipe featured is truly a sweet classic from the Southern dinner table.
If the vampires,werewolves, and other assorted creatures of True Blood aren’t your style, there’s always the Star Trek Cookbook, or the Star Wars Cook Book. Wookie-ookies!!!!
by Paul Cleave
Until now, my only exposure to the artistic endeavors of New Zealanders came from filmmaker Peter Jackson, comic musical series Flight of the Conchords, and more recently pop songstress Kimbra. Then I stumbled across a New Zealand writer’s name – Paul Cleave – and I asked our collection development team to order some of his titles. Blood Men was the first to arrive at NPL. On the front cover Tess Gerritsen offers the following “riveting and all too realistic.” On the back cover John Connolly proclaims it “dark, bloody and gripping…” Crystal says “this book will freak you out in the way that only a spot-on gory and twisted thriller can!”
Edward Hunter is a successful accountant and family man who also happens to be the son of a convicted serial killer. Just a few days before Christmas, Edward and his wife go the bank, only to be caught up in a robbery attempt. As Edward tries to intervene and save a teller’s life, his wife Jodie is shot and killed. In his deep grief, Edward turns to heavy drinking. Out of the blue his father calls from the penitentiary and asks Edward to visit him. It is during their heated and awkward reunion that Jack reminds his son he too has a “darkness” inside him, counseling that “it’s okay to listen to the voice.” Thus begins Edward’s struggle between seeking revenge or granting forgiveness to his wife’s killers. Does the apple fall far from the homicidal tree, or right into the hands of our protagonist? Blood Men is actually Cleave’s fourth novel. NPL also owns Cleave’s latest thriller called The Laughterhouse.
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: a Novel
by Nichole Bernier
It is indeed rare today to come across someone who doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter, or maintain a blog online somewhere. I wonder how many of us still keep a traditional handwritten journal. My journal days ended years ago, but I used to include warning passages in my teenage diary addressed to my little sister: “Cassie, if you are reading this I will throttle you!” If you do keep a journal, have you thought about what will happen to it when you’re gone? A collection of journals and what they reveal about their departed composer make Nichole Bernier’s debut novel a bittersweet reflection on the delicate balance between motherhood, career, marriage, and friendship.
The plot is this: Kate inherits her best friend Elizabeth’s journals after she perishes in a tragic plane crash. What Kate discovers as she reads about Elizabeth’s life experiences and private thoughts makes her question what kind of friend she really was to Elizabeth, as well as her own choices while juggling the roles of wife, mother, and professional. Bernier’s novel keeps a slow and patient pace, much like a loving and steadfast parent. I recommend this novel especially to fans of Jodi Picoult or Anita Shreve. It would make a great women’s book club selection! Visit Bernier’s website for more information, including a book discussion guide.
The Complete Southern Cookbook: More Than 800 of the Most Delicious Down-Home Recipes
by Tammy Algood
Love Southern-style cooking, but don’t know how to cook your beloved dishes? Local Southern food guru Tammy Algood will tell you everything you need to know in her Complete Southern Cookbook. With easy to follow recipes, Algood will teach you to prepare Southern staples such as basic Southern cornbread, and chow-chow, as well as more exotic Southern fare like chitlins and vinegar pie. The chapters are organized alphabetically by the main ingredient. From almonds to zucchini and everything in between, Algood includes recipes for all your Southern favorites. The recipes I tested and tasted for you: Basalmic grilled peaches (amazing!), orchard-fresh peach ice cream (just as good as the local ice-cream shops we love), cherry-rhubarb crumble (i’m no longer afraid of rhubarb) and savory zucchini pie (so easy-it makes the crust for you!). But now I return this book so another library patron can host a fabulous Southern feast. Ms. Algood will be at this year’s Southern Festival of Books to promote her latest book Farm Fresh Southern Cooking . I wonder if she’d sign my apron…