If Ken Burns' documentary "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" leaves you eager for more information on this remarkable family, you are in luck. In addition to the companion book to the series by Geoffrey C. Ward, the library has many books about the lives of Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor.
"River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" by Candice Millard is the edge-of-your-seat, riveting tale of Roosevelt's expedition to chart a tributary of the Amazon.
Local author Ann Leckie dominated the science fiction awards this year, winning multiple awards including the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her first novel "Ancillary Justice."
This captivating book deserves the positive attention. It introduces readers to a strange world, but remains grounded in human motivations. The plot centers on the dilemma faced when conscience conflicts with obedience to authority.
The hero of the story is Breq, who was once a starship that had multiple human forms. Breq is now separated from her other bodies and pursues a solitary mission to uncover and correct an injustice.
Pop quiz music fans, what do the songs "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Viva Las Vegas" have in common? It's the songwriter, Doc Pomus also known as Jerome Felder. The biopic "AKA Doc Pomus" has rough production values, but it's an inspirational gem. Pomus was born to immigrant parents. His father was a bitter, broken failure. The family was always in debt. Already at the low ebb of society, disaster struck young Jerome when he contracted polio. While poverty and a crippling illness could have meant a life of obscurity, Pomus was enthralled by the blues music he heard on the radio. Showing up at the blues clubs, sometimes as the only white and Jewish attendee, Pomus bluffed his way onto a stage one night. His brash, beefy voice impressed the musicians and he was invited back. He changed his name to Doc Pomus so his mother wouldn't know he was playing clubs.
Chris Bohjalian's latest, "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" presents the harrowing story of Emily Shephard, a smart teenager obsessed with Emily Dickinson whose biggest problem is a growing concern about her parents' drinking until an accident at a nuclear power plant changes everything. When Emily learns that her father has been blamed for the nuclear meltdown, she runs away to avoid questions. Soon she is homeless, scrounging for shelter and food, and surprising herself with what she is willing to do to survive.
My time ran out for listening to the CD recording of "A Tale for the Time Being," fiction by Ruth Ozeki, and I had to return it. Other readers were waiting for it. Yet, I did not want to let loose of this story about the intertwining of a writer with an unknown, unknowable reader, and the realm of the written word they share. Yet, unlike the Japanese teenager's diary washed up on the Pacific shore of Canada, this novel endowed me with no ownership rights as its finder.
Michael Kahn reports that he began writing the Rachel Gold mystery series after his wife grew tired of him saying he could write a better mystery than the one he just read. She encouraged him to stop complaining and start writing. Since his first book was published in 1988, readers have enjoyed Kahn's clever plots and breezy style.
Kahn's latest book "Face Value" is the ninth novel featuring Rachel Gold, a St. Louis attorney with plenty of street smarts and quirky friends. The mystery involves the apparent suicide of a young lawyer. When a mailroom clerk with Asperger's Syndrome explains to Gold why he knows the death was actually a homicide, she agrees to investigate.
The quirky cartoonist for the New Yorker, Roz Chast, has a new book out called "Can't we talk about something more pleasant?" It's a graphic novel of her parents' decline that is touching, funny, sad and all too familiar. An only child, Chast bore the brunt of her parents' transition from independence to complete dependence, indignity and death.
Both a mystery and a musician, Rodriguez was a folk singer/songwriter and the subject of "Searching for Sugar Man." Despite cutting two albums of high quality with songs that left lasting impressions on the producers, he vanished into obscurity. Far off in the country of South Africa, his music took hold and a legend began. Still in the days of vinyl, record stores were selling millions of his albums. Rodriguez was as big as Elvis and The Beatles. Many of his lyrics were gritty and hit hard like "This system's gonna fall soon/To an angry young tune/and that's a concrete cold fact." Thanks in part to the South African government banning his songs, he became a hero to those oppressed by apartheid and liberal Afrikaners. His fans found precious little about him in the liner notes of the albums, but they knew the tales of his tragic death where he set himself on fire. Where did Rodriguez come from and why did he commit suicide in such a way?