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Cindy K.

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith (2012)

The author, Sally Bedell Smith, presents an interesting look at both the private and public sides of Queen Elizabeth II in this biography. Through numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, she provides insight into how the second-longest reigning monarch in British history has coped with the challenges facing her country since she ascended to the throne sixty years ago. Very readable.

The queen’s diamond jubilee is being celebrated throughout 2012, with a culmination of special events in early June.
Denise

I am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (2007)

I listened to this book that I downloaded from eMediaLibrary. It’s narrated by the author, Stephen Colbert. If you enjoy his show, The Colbert Report, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Many laugh-out-loud, hysterical moments as he makes comments and observations about many topics, including family, faith, the media, race, etc… in his right-wing, “serious,” completely tongue in cheek, biting manner.

Check the catalog for I am American (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.
 
Mary S.

The French Cat by Rachael Hale (2011)

Delight in the photos of cats set against the backdrop of Paris and French villages. It is lovely to see a pampered cat in a grand chateau sitting regally on a brocade chair, cats walking along cobblestone streets surrounded by Old World architecture, strays roaming among the tombstones in Montmartre Cemetery, and a cat relaxing on a wrought iron balcony. While expecting a child, Rachael, an animal photographer, moved with her new husband from New Zealand to southwest France. It was interesting reading about her background and how she undertook this project including the effort involved in photographing the cats that required patience, teasers, and treats.

This book will appeal to cat lovers, Francophiles, and photography lovers.

Check the catalog for The French Cat by Rachael Hale.
IPPL Staff

Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them by Clinton Kelly (2010)

You might recognize Clinton from cable TV on TLC’s What Not To Wear. His latest book has a split personality—it’s half clothing and style advice and half humor. Clinton may convince you to reevaluate some of your fashion choices. Perhaps you’re innocent when it comes to wearing denim on denim or socks with clogs, but what about wearing pastel pink, matching jewelry, or wearing all solids all the time? There’s a hilarious photo or drawing for each of the 100 big mistakes. It’s guaranteed that you will see yourself in at least one of the 100 warnings and improve your style today. For more information on Clinton’s other ventures, see his website.
Check the catalog for Oh No She Didn't and other books by Clinton Kelly.
Mary

B.Y.O.B. Party Book Recommendations

Here are the books that people shared at our book party this week:

Fiction
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Calebs Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Carry on Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse 
Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
March by Geraldine Brooks
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Pope Joan by  Donna Woolfolk Cross
Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Third Rail by Michael Harvey
The Widow's War by Sally Gunning
Non-Fiction
Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
River Town by Peter Hessler
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
 
 
 
 
Denise

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (2010)

I downloaded this audiobook from eMediaLibrary. I thought it was hilarious! Halpern is a guy in his late twenties who moved back in with his parents after his girlfriend broke up with him. He decided to start a Twitter page relating his father’s “words of wisdom,” after encouragement from friends who thought they were hysterical. The Twitter page became so popular that he turned it into this book.

He relates stories from his childhood to adulthood, always including his father’s commentary, which is often irreverent, sometimes thought-provoking, and always funny

Disclaimer: Much of this book is strewn with profanity, so may not be appropriate for everyone.

Check the catalog to see if Sh*t My Dad Says is available.

 
Mary P.

Spotlight: Social History of the Edwardian Age

With the popularity of the series Downton Abbey, you may enjoy books telling the stories life during the Edwardian Age. First, explore these tales of servant life: Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell (1968) and The Real Downton Abbey: An Unofficial Guide to the Period which Inspired the Hit TV Show by Jacky Hyams (2011)

Then catch a glimpse into the world of the aristocracy with these titles. The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes (2011) and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon (2011)

These books examine the social history of two ways of life during the Edwardian age in England. They examine the difficulties, the behaviors, advantages, of both classes. In the 1800s, large families were the norm. Many children of the lower class were sent into service to earn money to help their struggling families. The labor supply was cheap and plentiful.

With the advent of World War I and the slaughter of millions of men both lower class and aristocracy, more higher paying jobs opened for both men and women. The servant class numbers began to shrink and a way of life unique to the times started on its way to extinction.
Mary S.

Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer S. Holland (2011)

Have you ever heard of a dachshund nursing a piglet or a hippo and a tortoise lying side by side? This book features amazing stories of bonds between members of different species. Touching color photographs enhance the stories.

Jennifer Holland wonders “perhaps the need for a good friend is not just a human thing after all.” I especially enjoyed the story about Owen, a 600-pound baby hippo that survived a deadly tsunami in Kenya, and was put in a sanctuary with Mzee, a 130-year-old giant tortoise. Owen began learning tortoise ways, such as chewing on grass and being active during the day rather than the night. He licked Mzee’s face as the tortoise rested his head on Owen’s belly. At night they slept side by side, meaty torso against timeworn shell.

To see if this book is available check here and for more books by Jennifer S. Holland .
IPPL Staff

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (2011)

In this impressive work, there is one book and 8 CDs, so you can read and listen; I did both. Mostly I read, and then listened to catch a vocal impression of Jacqueline Kennedy.

These first of a kind conversations with Arthur Schlesinger were recorded within a year of President’s Kennedy’s death. Jacqueline Kennedy, with her strong sense of history, documented and preserved her first hand recollections of her husband’s political colleagues, friends, and events as she remembered them. They were sealed and put in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library per her wishes.

Now in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s inauguration, the Kennedy family has released these insightful and revealing tapes. So much has been written and conjectured about this family; it is refreshing to hear the very human memories of Jacqueline.

Reversely, the life of Jacqueline and her perspective are also illuminated. She reveals so much about herself as she expresses her views of her husband. It’s fascinating.

There so many people that the average reader will often refer to the footnotes. I would also add that these are the thoughts of a young woman, steeped in shock and grief, who bravely tried to preserve her husband’s legacy.

Check here to see if the book is available now.
IPPL Staff

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran (2011)
This is a powerful book that brings together the stories of several different women, all who gave up their daughter for adoption in China in the 1980s and 90s. The author, Xinran, deals with a terribly difficult subject with profound compassion and realism. Her love for these adopted girls and her understanding of the difficult circumstances of each mother is palpable throughout the book. I would highly recommend it.
IPPL Staff

Life Itself by Roger Ebert

Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert (2011)
Roger Ebert is one of the most well-known movie critics in the world, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967 and also famous for the television show Siskel & Ebert at the Movies. Ebert has written many books that review movies and even a biography of director Martin Scorsese. But his memoir of growing up in southern Illinois is his most impressive work yet.

Plagued for years by cancer that eventually disfigured his face and left him unable to eat, drink or speak, Ebert’s story is not depressing but rather a celebration of what a wonderful life he has had. He was able to overcome alcoholism and marry the woman of his dreams who is still his devoted partner. The book also has fun tales to tell of his close encounters with movie stars such as John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. To learn more about Ebert check out his blog.

Read Ebert’s reviews of movies currently playing at a theater near you:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/
 
IPPL Staff

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

 In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson (2011)

A college professor and his family relocate to Berlin to serve as an ambassador in the years leading up to WWII. Hitler is rising. The family’s daughter befriends folk from every side of the coin. The U.S. government wants the professor to make sure Germany repays its debt. The U.S. government does not see Hitler as a threat.
IPPL Staff

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (2011)
Biography fans will devour this in-depth look at the life of a man whose ideas transformed the modern world’s computers, music, phones, digital publishing, and even animated movies by Pixar. Jobs chose Isaacson to be his biographer since he did such impressive work writing bios of other famous men. Jobs gave more than 40 interviews to his approved author and insisted that he would neither read the book nor tell Isaacson to leave anything out. Photos of Steve Jobs’ life help to make the story come alive.

For further reading, see the author’s other biographies of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger.
IPPL Staff

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean (2011)
Did you know that the original Rin Tin Tin was very nearly the greatest, most favored star of the silent movie era? Did you know that he was found as a puppy on a battlefield in France by a young American soldier named Lee Duncan? Duncan brought his well trained German Shepherd back to his native California where he soon began trying to get his dog into the movies.

Rin Tin Tin and his offspring starred in the movies, made countless public appearances and was again a star in the early days of television. Orlean explores the dog, his myth, and the many interesting people who surrounded Rin Tin Tin. She also gives you the history of the German shepherd breed and the early days of both television and the movies.

Here is a clip of Rin Tin Tin

IPPL Staff

You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs (2009)
The holidays have you frazzled and frustrated? Then you can’t miss this Christmas memoir. Burroughs’ witty writing style will have you laughing all the way to 2012!

Looking for more books that will make you laugh out loud here is our list of humorous stories.