Westerns

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ckopacek

Looking for some action? Try a movie about the old west.

Forgiven

Forgiven

It’s 1878 and Jake Kincaid has just been released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His heart is seeking vengeance on those responsible for landing him in jail, but he’s also very interested in finding the gold he was accused of stealing. In his quest, he finds himself in the small town of Fairplay, California where Kincaid learns that love is far more powerful than hate and that redemption is more precious than gold.

 

 

High Noon

High Noon

A retired marshal’s wedding is interrupted when he learns a killer he had sent to jail will return to town on the noon train to seek revenge. The townspeople refuse to help him, so he is forced to take up his badge and guns again, alienating his new bride, a Quaker who is opposed to violence.

 

 

How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won

Follows three generations of one family and their struggles in the West.

 

 

 

Once Upon a Texas Train

Once Upon a Texas Train

Captain Hayes of the mighty law enforcement squad named the Texas Rangers reached the pinnacle of his career when he captured the notorious John Henry, an outlaw cowboy, and put him behind bars. Twenty years later, upon his release, Henry is older but unrepentant.

 

 

Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West

A man preparing to welcome his new wife to his home is killed, along with his entire family.

 

 

 

Shane

Shane

A drifter and retired gunfighter assists a homestead family terrorized by an aging cattleman and his hired gun.

 

 

 

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

The story of a U.S. Calvary captain’s last days in service on the western frontier in 1876.

 

 

 

 

The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales

A peaceful farmer turns Confederate renegade to avenge the deaths of his wife and child at the hands of bandits-turned-Union sympathizers.

 

 

 

Unforgiven

Unforgiven

Two retired, down-on-their luck outlaws pick up their guns one last time to collect a bounty offered by the vengeful prostitutes of the remote Wyoming town of Big Whiskey.

 

 

 

Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch

Outlaws on the U.S.-Mexican border face the march of progress, the Mexican army and a gang of bounty hunters led by a former member as they plan to rob a U.S. Army train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Debuts of 2014 (so far)

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 by ckopacek

From the editors of BookPage here are some of the most notable first novels of the year (so far)!

California

California

by Edan Lepucki

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own.

Elizabeth is Missing

Elizabeth is Missing

by Emma Healey

In a heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging, an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared. Convinced Elizabeth is missing and in terrible danger, Maud’s search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. As this singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present, the clues she discovers seem to lead to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

 

Land of Love and Drowning

Land of Love and Drowning

by Tiphanie Yanique

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them. Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world.

 

Last Days of California

The Last Days of California

by Mary Miller

Fifteen-year-old Jess is on a road trip to the end of the world. Her evangelical father has packed up the family and left their Montgomery, Alabama, home behind to drive west in anticipation of the rapture, hoping to save as many souls as possible before the imminent Second Coming. With her long-suffering mother and her rebellious sister Elise, Jess hands out tracts to nonbelievers at every rest stop, Waffle House, and gas station along the way. Through sticky diners and in crowded motel pools, beneath bleached bedspreads and in the backseat of the family car, Jess and Elise whisper and squabble their way across the country. But as doomsday approaches, Jess can’t seem to work up any real fear about the apocalypse when her sister’s secret pregnancy and their increasingly frayed parents loom so much larger.

Quick

The Quick

by Lauren Owen

James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

 

Remember Me Like This

Remember Me Like This

by Bret Anthony Johnston

Four years have passed since Justin Campbell’s disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what’s left of their family together. Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin’s homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal.

 

Shotgun Lovesongs

Shotgun Lovesongs

by Nickolas Butler

“Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town–Little Wing–and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family’s land that’s been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them–both then and now–fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries. Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world.

Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood

by Laura McHugh

The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered. Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls–the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save–and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

 

Widows Guide to Sex and Dating

The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating

by Carol Radziwill

Claire Byrne is a quirky and glamorous 34-year-old Manhattanite and the wife of a famous, slightly older man. Her husband, Charlie, is a renowned sexologist and writer. Equal parts Alfred Kinsey and Warren Beatty, Charlie is pompous yet charming, supportive yet unfaithful; he’s a firm believer that sex and love can’t coexist for long, and he does little to hide his affairs. Claire’s life with Charlie is an always interesting if not deeply devoted one, until Charlie is struck dead one day on the sidewalk by a falling sculpture. Once a promising young writer, Claire had buried her ambitions to make room for Charlie’s. After his death, she must reinvent herself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014-15 Iowa High School Award Books

Posted on: April 27th, 2014 by ckopacek

Need a book to read? Try one of these award winners.

Ashfall

Ashfall

by Mike Mullin

After the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano destroys his city and its surroundings, fifteen-year-old Alex must journey from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Illinois to find his parents and sister, trying to survive in a transformed landscape and a new society in which all the old rules of living have vanished.

 

Big Crunch

The Big Crunch

by Pete Hautman

June is starting at her sixth school in four years when she meets Wes, who has just broken up with a girlfriend, and although they do not share an instant or intense connection, attraction turns to love and they wonder where it will lead.

 

 

Delirium

Delirium

by Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

 

 

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell

“Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

Endangered

Endangered

by Eliot Schrefer

Sophie is not happy to be back in the Congo for the summer, but when she rescues an abused baby bonobo she becomes more involved in her mother’s sanctuary–and when fighting breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, it is up to Sophie to rescue the apes and somehow survive in the jungle.

 

 

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts–and a violent destiny.

 

 

Lincolns Last Days

Lincoln’s Last Days

by Bill O’Reilly

Describes the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the hunt to track down John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices.

 

 

No Easy Day

No Easy Day

by Mark Owen

For the first time anywhere, the first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments.

 

 

Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater

Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

 

 

 

2014 Children’s Choice Award Winners

Posted on: April 27th, 2014 by ckopacek

Check out one of these award winning titles.

Athlete vs Mathlete

Athlete vs. Mathlete

by W. C. Mack

When their two worlds collide in seventh grade, fraternal twins and opposites Owen and Russell find themselves in direct competition at school, on the court, and at home.

 

 

Eight Keys

Eight Keys

by Suzanne LaFleur

When twelve-year-old Elise, orphaned since age three, becomes disheartened by middle school, with its bullies, changing relationships, and higher expectations, keys to long-locked rooms and messages from her late father help her cope.

 

 

Fast and the Furriest

The Fast and the Furriest

by Andy Behrens

The overweight and unathletic son of a famous former football star discovers that his equally fat and lazy dog is unexpectedly–and obsessively–interested in competing in dog agility contests.

 

 

Ghost of Graylock

The Ghost of Graylock

by Dan Poblocki

Staying with their aunts over the summer, Neil Cady, his sister Bree, and their new friends Wesley and Eric, set out to explore Graylock Hall, an abandoned psychiatric hospital which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Nurse Janet.

 

 

Hiss-s-s-s

Hiss-s-s-s!

by Eric A Kimmel

When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them.

 

 

Hold Fast

Hold Fast

by Blue Baillett

On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early’s father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless–and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.

 

 

Inside Out and Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

 

 

Liar and Spy

Liar and Spy

by Rebecca Stead

Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.

 

 

Little Dog Lost

Little Dog, Lost

by Marion Dane Bauer

A boy, a dog, and an old man are lonely before the boy plans a rally, the dog looks for a boy, and all the townspeople run to the old man’s aid when lightning strikes his home and something miraculous happens.

 

 

Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

In New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.

 

 

Pie

Pie

by Sarah Weeks

After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice’s friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly’s secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.

 

 

PS Brothers

The PS Brothers

by Maribeth Boelts

Sixth-graders Russell and Shawn, poor and picked on, work together scooping dog droppings to earn money for a Rottweiler puppy to protect them from bullies, but when they learn the puppies’ owner is running an illegal dog-fighting ring, they are torn about how to respond.

 

Saving Zasha

Saving Zasha

by Randi Barrow

In 1945 Russia, those who own German shepherds are considered traitors, but thirteen-year-old Mikhail and his family are determined to keep the dog a dying man brought them, while his classmate Katia strives to learn his secret.

 

 

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

by Sara Pennypacker

A foster child named Angel and twelve-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system.

 

 

Troublemaker

Troublemaker

by Andrew Clements

When his older brother gets in serious trouble, sixth-grader Clay decides to change his own mischief-making ways, but he cannot seem to shake his reputation as a troublemaker.

 

 

Underdogs

The Underdogs

by Mike Lupica

Small but fast twelve-year-old Will Tyler, an avid football player in the down-and-out town of Forbes, Pennsylvania, takes matters into his own hands to try and finance the city’s football team, giving the whole community hope in the process.

 

 

Waiting for the Magic

Waiting For the Magic

by Patricia MacLachlan

When Papa goes away for a little while, his family tries to cope with the separation by adopting four dogs and a cat.

 

 

Year of the Book

The Year of the Book

by Andrea Cheng

Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.

 

 

 

Laugh It Up

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by ckopacek

Need a stress reliever? Try some laughter with one of these audiobooks.

Aged and Confused

Aged and Confused

by Bill Engvall

Contents: Aged and confused -= School bus kid — Clubbing at 50 —  Game night —  Bad turbulence —  Shark frenzy — Zip line —  Birthday suit — Pick my nose — Getting recognized — Colonoscopy

Andy and his grandmother

Andy and His Grandmother

by Andy Kaufman

Contents: Andy is making a record — Andy and his grandmother — Andy’s land live — Andy loves his tape recorder — Slice of life — Andy goes to the movies — Kick in the pants — Andy can talk to animals — I’m not capable of having a relationship — Hookers — Andy and his grandmother go for a drive — Sleep comedy — [HONK!] vs. [DOG] A — – [HONK!] vs. [DOG] B — Andy goes for a taxi ride — Andy’s English friend Paul — I want those tapes.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby: Far from Finished

by Bill Cosby

Contents: The girrrlfriend ; The wife ; The room my wife gave me ; She’s not your friend ; My code name ; GPS — Chocolate chip cookies ; You’re not rich ; I didn’t ask to be born ; Bernadette (bonus track) ; Otis (bonus track).

Its not me its you

It’s Not Me, It’s You

by George Lopez

Contents: Latinos work — Talking sh*t — Racist grandmother — Raising our kids — Trick or treating — Almost swimming — Baby proofing — Ethnic shopping — Intervention — Drunk wedding — I don’t snore! — Latino vote  – White house visit

Laughter Therapy

Laughter Therapy

by Peter Sagal

Looking for an alternative to the seriously reliable, soothing yet informative sound of NPR? Try NPR! Prepare to be surprised by this collection of unbelievable news, bloopers, and interviews with some of the funniest personalities on the planet. The time honored tradition of hoax stories that NPR airs every April 1st brings exploding maple trees in Maine, talking dogs in Ohio, farm raised whales in Illinois, and bubbling cheese springs in Wisconsin. National Public Radio presents encounters with funny personalities and memorable, unbelievable April Fool’s Day “news” segments from various NPR radio programs..

Mike and Mikes

Mike and Mike’s Rules for Sports and Life

by Mike Greenberg

The ESPN comedy team presents an offbeat list of sports rules to live by, in a treasury of provocative ideas and proclamations culled from their top-rated morning show.

My Weakness is Strong

My Weakness is Strong

by Patton Oswalt

Contents: Text — Birth — Fat — Treadmill — Whisky and Weed and L.S.D. — The Sad Boy — The Oswalt Family Crest — Rats — Orgy — Lofty Thoughts — First — Obama…and Time Travel…and Coolness…and the Last Racist — Demons — Sky Cake — Grocery Robots — Airplane — The Magician.

Old Jews Telling Jokes

O ld Jews Telling Jokes

by Sam Hoffman

Contents: disc 1 (59:27): Introduction — The Jewish mother — Who are the Jews? — Coming to America — Moving to the suburbs. disc 2 (55:25): The Rabbi — Food — Husband and wives — Sex.disc 3 (63:50): Oral sex — Illness and doctors — Getting old — Death — A joke about jokes.

Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad Says

by Justin Halpern

Tuesdays with Morrie meets F My Life in this hilarious coming-of-age book about a son’s relationship with his foul-mouthed father by the 29-year-old comedy writer who created the massively popular Twitter feed of the same name.

Tales From the Dad Side

Tales From The Dad Side

by Steve Doocy

Contents: Birth: dad on arrival — School: don’t eat the paste — Duty: young men in uniform — Trouble: fatherhood is hard, get a helmet — Legacy: should I follow, Tom or Dianne Sawyer? — Jobs: I was a teenage bread pirate — Dexterous dad: my father is Martha Stewart — Rivalry: never lick a steak knife — Sports: the coach bag — Work: take mom’s spy to work day — Male call: things only dad can teach a boy — My father: Jim Dandy –Humor: the joker gene — Independence: driving Miss Doocy — Sex: the birds, the bees & the rubber what? — Worry: don’t fall off the volcano — Booze: from tang to Tangueray — Role reversal: the parent trapped — Letting go: I can’t cut the cord — College: can we pay with bonus miles? — Pride: dad, stop pushing me around! — Emotion: daddy’s mascara is running — Landmarks: innings and outings of life — Road trip: what happens in Dublin, stays in Dublin — Loose ends: goodnight moon — The list: what every father must teach his child — Thank yous and shout outs.

 

Time to Think Gardening

Posted on: March 23rd, 2014 by ckopacek

It’s time to start planning your garden.

All New Square Foot Gardening

All New Square Foot Gardening

by Mel Bartholomew

Rapidly increasing in popularity, square foot gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden.  Now, with the publication of All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition, the essential guide to his unique step-by-step method has become even better. Mel developed his techniques back in the early 1980s and has been teaching them throughout the world ever since. In the process, he has made improvements and refinements and continually adapted his practices to keep pace with modern times. In this new volume, Bartholomew furthers his discussion on one of the most popular gardening trends today: vertical gardening. He also explains how you can make gardening fun for kids by teaching them the square foot method. Finally, an expanded section on pest control helps you protect your precious produce.

Beautiful Edible Garden

The Beautiful Edible Garden

by Leslie Bennett

We’ve all seen the vegetable garden overflowing with corn, tomatoes, and zucchini that looks good for a short time, but then quickly turns straggly and unattractive. If you want to grow food but you don’t want your yard to look like a farm, what can you do? The Beautiful Edible Garden shares how to not only grow organic fruits and vegetables, but also make your garden a place of year-round beauty that is appealing, enjoyable, and fits your personal style.

Derek Fells Grow This

Derek Fell’s Grow This

by Derek Fell

Derek Fell has grown hundreds of varieties and annually visits gardens and test plots across America, so he’s qualified to guide gardeners to the best of the best—more than 600 vegetable, flower, herb, and lawn grass all-stars. He offers honest feedback about plant performance, even when it contradicts favorable public opinion or a grower’s claims. Seed racks may be filled with ‘Kentucky Wonder’ snap beans, but he dismisses that variety as too fibrous and needy and instead recommends ‘Blue Lake’ beans for tenderness and high yields. Fell’s firsthand experience means the difference between choosing plant winners and losers.

New Sunset Western Garden Book

The New Sunset Western Garden Book

by Kathleen Norris Brenzel

As surely as gardens change with the seasons, gardening is ever changing. New plants, techniques, materials, and lifestyles are constantly broadening the choices you have and reshaping the way you garden in the West. In response to this natural evolution, the editors of Sunset -the West’s most trusted source of gardening information for more than 80 years-have completely redesigned and updated The Western Garden Book. This edition includes a fresh new look, thousands of color photographs, fresh illustrations, and an easy-to-follow format. Written by experts for gardeners in the West, this book is an indispensable reference for beginning and expert gardeners alike.

Speedy Vegetable Garden

The Speedy Vegetable Garden

by Mark Diacono

Typically, vegetable gardening is about the long view: peas sown in spring aren’t harvested until summer, and tomatoes started indoors in February can’t be eaten until July. But it’s not true for all plants. Some things can be planted and eaten in weeks, days, even hours. The Speedy Vegetable Garden highlights more than 50 quick crops, with complete information on how to sow, grow, and harvest each plant, and sumptuous photography that provides inspiration and a visual guide for when to harvest.

Straw Bale Gardens

Straw Bale Gardens

by Joel Karsten

Joel Karsten’s step-by-step guide offers all the information you need to make your own straw bale garden today. In this lushly photographed volume, Karsten shares all of the secrets he has developed over years of teaching eager students the miracle of straw bale gardening. You’ll learn how to locate and choose straw bales, then how to condition and plant them for the earliest possible start. You’ll master Karsten’s methods for combating plant pests and maximizing space by applying the principles of vertical gardening to his straw bales. Whether it’s seedlings or seeds, veggies or flowers, there is practically no limit to the plant varieties that will prosper in a straw bale garden—and with Karsten’s breakthrough gardening guide, you can do it all yourself.

Touch a Butterfly

Touch a Butterfly

by April Pulley Sayre

Gardening with children is a pleasure in itself, but when you learn to include wildlife in your plans, gardening becomes an even more joyful family experience. Creating a garden that invites wildlife opens up a wider world of nature for investigation, inspiration, and delight. Begin to see your yard from an animal’s perspective; discover plants that attract colorful birds and bugs; embrace sensory experiences that native plants and creatures bring; and understand how your yard fits into the surrounding landscape. Along the way you will discover simple ways you can actively support wildlife in your immediate environment, no matter where you live.

Trellises Planters and Raised Beds

Trellises, Planters & Raised Beds

 by Cool Springs Press

A step-by-step guide that gives any gardener all the information needed to make garden furnishings that are both simple and beautiful. This book includes 50 complete plans for trellises, raised beds, planters, window boxes, and just about any imaginable project you can make to train and display plants in your garden and around your home.

Your Midwest Garden

Your Midwest Garden

 by Jan Riggenbach

Annuals and perennials, shrubs and vines, fruits and vegetables, wildflowers, bulbs, and herbs: As readable as it is useful, this book reviews the familiar, reconsiders old favorites, and introduces dozens of surprising and seldom-grown plants ideal for Midwest gardens and landscapes. Illustrated with color photos from the author’s garden, it provides tips on plant placement and care, starting seeds and making compost, matching specimens and sites, combating insects and diseases, simplifying garden chores, designing for winter beauty, and myriad other ways of enriching and enjoying your Midwest garden.

 

 

Books to be Made into Movies

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by ckopacek

Read the book before the movie hits theaters in 2014.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors: the seemingly commonplace, man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier, Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the centre of Hardy’s ambivalent story.

 

The Giver

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

 

 

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn

On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

 

Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

 

 

In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea : the tragedy of the whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick

In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

 

Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

 

 

A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man : a novel

by John Le Carré

A half-starved young Russian man claiming to be a devout Muslim, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, and a sixty-year-old scion of a failing British bank based in Hamburg form an unlikely alliance as the rival spies of Germany, England and America scent a sure kill in the “War on Terror,” and converge upon the innocents.

 

Serena

Serena : a novel

by Ron Rash

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. When Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. When Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

 

This is Where I leave You

This is Where I Leave You

by Jonathan Tropper

Siblings who spend more time quarreling than together reluctantly agree to their dying father’s request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together in the same house. Like a family.

 

 

Wild

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

by Cheryl Strayed

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again.

 

 

 

 

 

Bridge to Reading

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by ckopacek

Check out the nominees for the Bridge To Reading Picture Book award for 2014.

Click Here to visit the Bridge To Reading web site.

Baby Bear Sees Blue

Baby Bear Sees Blue

by Ashley Wolff

Leaving the den as the weather warms, Baby Beardiscovers blue birds, red strawberries, orange butterflies, and other colorful things in nature.

 

Bear and Bee

 Bear and Bee

by Sergio Ruzzier

A hungry bear discovers that bees are not terrible monsters who never share their honey.

 

Count the Monkeys

Count the Monkeys

by Mac Barnett

The reader is invited to count the animals that have frightened the monkeys off the pages.

 

Duckling gets a Cookie

The Duckling Gets A Cookie?

by Mo Williems

Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookiejust by asking politely.

 

Find a Cow

 Find A Cow Now

by Janet Stevens

Tired of hearing Dog yipping at chairs and trying to round up rugs, Bird tells him to go to the country to find a cow, but this is one cattle dog who does not know a cow when he sees one.

 

Its a Tiger

It’s A Tiger

by David Larochelle

A child imagines that he is in a story where he encounters a tiger at every turn.

 

One Special Day

One Special Day

by Lola Schaefer

An energetic and imaginative boy becomes a big brother.

 

Ribbit

Ribbit

by Fodrigo Folguiera

When a pig visits a frog pond, sits on a rock, and says only “Ribbit!”, news spreads fast but only the wise old beetle has an explanation.

 

Tap the Magic Tree

Tap the Magic Tree

by Christie Matheson

Invites the reader to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves.

 

 

Broadway Shows

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by ckopacek

Relive some of your favorite Broadway shows by listening to the soundtrack.

Anything GoesAnything Goes

music & lyrics by Cole Porter

Contents: Overture — I get a kick out of you — There’s no cure like travel/Bon voyage — You’re the top — Easy to love — Easy to love reprise — The crew song — There’ll always be a lady fair — Friendship — It’s de-lovely — Anything goes (5:48) — Public enemy number one — Blow, Gabriel, blow — Goodbye, little dream, goodbye — Be like the blue bird — All through the night — The gypsy in me — Buddie beware (3:28) — Finale.

Book of MormonThe Book of Mormon

book, music, and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone

Contents: Hello! — Two by two — You and me (but mostly me) — Hasa diga eebowai — Turn it off — I am here for you — All-American prophet — Sal tlay ka siti — Man up — Making things up again — Spooky Mormon hell dream — I believe — Baptize me — I am Africa — Joseph Smith, American Moses — Tomorrow is a latter day. Performer: Various performers; starring Andrew Rannells; Josh Gad, Nikki M. James ; Stephen Oremus, musical director, conductor.

GodspellGodspell

music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Contents: Tower of Babble — Prepare ye — Save the people — Day by day — Learn your lessons well — Bless the Lord — All for the best — All good gifts — Light of the world — Turn back, o man — Alas for you — By my side — We beseech thee — Beautiful city — On the willows — Finale — Bonus tracks: Beautiful city (sung by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting) ; Learn your lessons well (after hours). Performer: Various performers.

HairHair

music by Galt MacDermot; book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado

Contents: Aquarius — Donna — Hashish — Sodomy — Colored spade — Manchester England — I’m black ; Ain’t got no — Sheila Franklin ; I believe in love — Ain’t got no grass — Air — Kama sutra ; The stone age — I got life — Initials — Going down — Hair — My conviction — Easy to be hard — Don’t put it down — Frank Mills — Hare Krishna ; Be-in — Where do I go? — Electric blues — Oh great God of power ; Manchester England (reprise) — Black boys — White boys — Walking in space — Minuet/African drums — Yes, I’s finished on y’all’s farmlands — Four score ; Abie baby — Give up all desires ; Hail Mary ; Roll call — Three-five-zero-zero — What a piece of work is man ; How dare they try — Good morning starshine — Aquarius goodnights ; Ain’t got no ; Yip up the sun — The flesh failures ; Eyes look your last ; Let the sun shine in — Curtain call: Hair (reprise) — Curtain call: Let the sun shine in (reprise). Performer: Sasha Allen, Allison Case, Gavin Creel, Caissie Levy, Darius Nichols, Bryce Ryness, Kacie Sheik, Will Swenson ; supporting cast ; band ; Nadia Digiallonardo, conductor, keyboards.

Kinky BootsKinky Boots

book by Harvey Fierstein ; music & lyrics by Cyndi Lauper

Contents: Price and Son theme ; The most beautiful thing in the world — Take what you got — Land of Lola — Charlie’s soliloquy — Step one — Sex is in the heel — The history of wrong guys — Not my father’s son — Everybody say yeah — What a woman wants — In this corner — Charlie’s soliloquy reprise — Soul of a man — Hold me in your heart — Raise you up ; Just be. Performer: Stark Sands, Billy Porter, Annaleigh Ashford, Celina Carvajal, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Marcus Neville.

MemphisMemphis

music by David Bryan ; lyrics by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan ; book by Joe DiPietro

Contents: Underground — Music of my soul — Scratch my itch — Ain’t nothin’ but a kiss — Everybody wants to be black on a Saturday night — Make me stronger — Colored woman — Someday — She’s my sister — Radio — Say a prayer — Crazy little Huey — Big love — Love will stand when all else falls — Stand up — Change don’t come easy — Tear down the house — Memphis lives in me — Steal your rock ‘n’ roll — Bonus track: Music of my soul (David Bryan). Performer: Chad Kimball ; Montego Glover ; Derrick Baskin ; J. Bernard Calloway ; James Monroe Iglehart ; Michael McGrath ; Cass Morgan ; other artists ; The Memphis Band ; Kenny J. Seymour, conductor, keyboard 1.

MotownMotown the Musical

Contents: Battle of the stars : Papa was a rolling stone (Prologue) / I can’t help myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) / Ain’t too proud to beg / Baby I need your loving / I can’t get next to you / Reach out I’ll be there / (I know) I’m losing you — Hey Joe (Black like me) — Get ready / Dancing in the street — Motorotwn revue : Please Mr. Postman / You’ve really got a hold on me / Do you love me — Where did our love go / Stop! In the name of love — My girl — You’re all I need to get by — War / What’s going on — I heard it through the grapevine — I want you back / ABC / The loves you save — Reach out and touch (somebod’ys hand) — Happy birthday / Signed , sealed, delivered I’m yours — Can I close the door (on love) — Ain’t no mountain high enough. Performer: Various performers.

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady

music by Frederick Loewe ; book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Contents: Overture — Why can’t the English? — Wouldn’t it be loverly — With a little bit of luck — I’m an ordinary man — Just you wait — The rain in Spain — I could have danced all night — Ascot gavotte — On the street where you live — You did it — Show me — Get me to the church on time — A hymn to him — Without you — I’ve grown accustomed to her face. Performer: Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway ; Franz Allers, conductor.

PippinPippin

music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Contents: Magic to do — Corner of the sky — War is a science — Glory — Simple joys — No time at all — With you — Spread a little sunshine — Morning glow — Entr’acte — On the right track — Kind of woman — Extraordinary — Love song — I guess I’ll miss the man — Finale — Bonus tracks: Corner of the sky (sing-a-long) — Simple joys (sing-a-long) — Kind of woman (sing-a-long) — Extraordinary (sing-a-long). Performer: Matthew James Thomas (Pippin) ; Patina Miller (Leading Player) ; Terrence Mann (Charles) ; Charlotte d’Amboise (Fastrada) ; Rachel Bay Jones (Catherine) ; Andrea Martin (Berthe) ; supporting singers and musicians ; Charlie Alterman, conductor.

South PacificSouth Pacific

Contents: Overture — Dites-moi — A cockeyed optimist — Twin soliloquies — Some enchanted evening — Bloody Mary — There is nothin’ like a dame — Bali Ha’i — My girl back home — I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair — Reprise: Some enchanted evening — Wonderful guy — Reprise: Bali Ha’i — Younger than springtime — Reprise: A wonderful guy — This is how it feels — Finale Act I — Entr’acte — Happy talk — Reprise: Younger than springtime — Honey bun — You’ve got to be carefully taught — This nearly was mine — Reprise: Some enchanted evening — Reprise: Honey bun — Finale ultimo. Performer: Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot, vocals

 

WickedWicked

music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz ; book by Winnie Holzman

Contents: disc 1. Wicked : original cast recording. No one mourns the wicked ; Dear old shiz ; The wizard and I ; What is this feeling? ; Something bad ; Dancing through life ; Popular ; I’m not that girl ; One short day ; A sentimental man ; Defying gravity ; Thank goodness ; Wonderful ; I’m not that girl (reprise) ; As long as you’re mine ; No good deed ; March of the witch hunters ; For good ; Finale — disc 2. Special bonus recording. For good ; I’m not that girl ; Making good ; Wicked : Die Hexen von Oz (German cast recording). Solang ich dich hab = As lonb as you’re mine ; Gutes tun = No good deed ; Uikeddo (Japanese cast recording). Jinnsei wo odori-akase = Dancing through life ; Popyuraa = Popular ; Defying gravity (dance mix) ; Popular song. Performer: Joel Grey, Mika, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Carole Shelley, Norbert Leo Butz, Ariana Grande ; Stephen Oremus, conductor ; with various other performers.

 

Best of 2013

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by ckopacek

Check out a winner of the 2013 Goodreads Choice Award. For the complete list click here.

And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed

by Khaled Hosseini

Presents a story inspired by human love, how people take care of one another, and how choices resonate through subsequent generations. Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and step-mother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything.

 

Autistic BrainThe Autistic Brain

by Temple Grandin

When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes and treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.

 

Cold DaysCold Days

by Jim Butcher

After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill. Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…His soul.

Fall of ArthurThe Fall of Arthur

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur, king of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skillful achievement in the use of Old English alliterative meter, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.

 

I am MalalaI Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

InfernoInferno

by Dan Brown

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

 

Jim HensonJim Henson the Biography

by Brian Jay Jones

This extraordinary biography–written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family–covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson’s family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to “Sesame Street “and” Saturday Night Live, “and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring “The Muppet Show” to television.

 

Life After LifeLife After Life

by Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can — will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.

 

Lover at LastLover at Last

by J.R. Ward

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

 

 

MaddAddamMaddAddam

by Margaret Atwood

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it’s left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

 

Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

 

Sleep DoctorDoctor Sleep

by Stephen King

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.” Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.