Pulitzer Prizes

The 2013 Pulitzer Prizes were announced April 15. The winners include:

The Twelve

Much of the news about the publishing industry these days concerns mergers and consolidation. The proposed merger between Penguin Group and Random House would create a publisher so big that the deal required the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice, European Union regulators, and other global anti-trust authorities.

All the talk about mega-publishers has me wondering - Can a reader still judge a book by its publisher? Large publishers often have separate divisions with individual imprints specializing in subject areas or formats. These smaller entities maintain distinct personalities.

One example is Twelve Books, which is part of the Hachette Book Group and has an unusual mission. It was created in 2005 with the objective of publishing no more than one book a month. By limiting the number of books published and selecting books that are authoritative, provoking, entertaining and relevant, Twelve Books hopes to contribute to a national conversation about our culture.

Friends with Boys

Faith Erin Hicks has written a graphic novel entitled "Friends with Boys" that is quite enjoyable.  The main character is Maggie, whose life is fraught with change, weirdness and loneliness. As the book begins, she is starting high school after a life of home schooling. Her mother recently abandoned the family which consists of Maggie, her father, her oldest brother, Daniel, and her twin brothers, Zander and Lloyd. As she goes into high school, Maggie's only friends are her brothers. Making friends is an important part of the plot.

The only unchanging element in Maggie's life seems to be a ghost she met seven years ago. She tries to get the ghost to leave, but her efforts fail. She gets in big trouble late in the book when she hatches a scheme that she thinks will send the ghost on its way.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Jacob is a 16-year-old teetering on the edge. After witnessing his eccentric grandfather's murder by a monster he can't explain, he's in and out of hospitals searching for the right words to get his anxious parents off his back and out of his overly analytical shrink's office. Clues found in his grandfather's house lead him on a journey to Wales that test his abilities and his grasp on reality.  Jacob finds that sometimes the monsters that go bump in the night are real...and he's the only one who can see them. 

Cheaper, Better, Faster

"Cheaper, Better, Faster" by Mary Hunt

"Cheaper, better, faster: over 2,000 tips and tricks to save you time and money every day" by Mary Hunt is an excellent book to help with spring cleaning, organizing or saving money on household repairs. The author is the creator of the "Debt Proof Living" newsletter. This book is an updated version of a book published in 1997 under the title 'Tiptionary." It is a fascinating hodgepodge of tips to make your life cheaper, better and faster.

No Housework Day, Come to the Library!


On April 7 men and women throughout America will cheer as we celebrate an end to the tyranny of housework - at least for a day. Put down your brooms, forget dusting, let your clothes sit in the hamper, and save it all for the day after tomorrow. What could you do on a beautiful day like today? Go to the St. Louis County Library!

Read a romance novel and eat bonbons. Attend a program at one of our 20 branches. Book a trainer to learn about computers. The list is endless and it's all at your library!

---Anna H., Jamestown Bluffs



Cold Mountain

"Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier

"Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier is not a new book, but I downloaded and listened to the eAudiobook version for the first time recently. I can't say enough good things about this title. It is read by the author who gives a wonderful rendition with his smooth, Southern accent.

This book has something for everyone. Set in the South when the Civil War's outcome was inevitable, there are murders, raids, romance, wilderness, history, hope, despair, goats, hideous injuries, homeopathy, agriculture and wonderfully drawn characters. The chapters alternate between Inman, who is trying to escape the war and return to the woman he briefly courted before the war; and Ada, the woman he loves, who has been made destitute by the death of her father.

Breaking Point

"Breaking Point" by C.J. Box


"Breaking Point" is the latest Joe Pickett thriller by C.J. Box. For those of you unfamiliar with series, Joe Pickett is a Wyoming Game warden with a sense of honor and justice. He is caught up in a rigid bureaucracy that doesn't see the gray areas that make up life. Consequently, he has a reputation for questioning authority.

The book opens with Joe Pickett being drafted to assist in a manhunt for a local businessman, Butch Roberson, who has disappeared into the mountains.  Butch had his retirement land declared a wetlands area. He is accused of murdering the two EPA officials who delivered the verdict on his appeal.

"Breaking Point" is a plot/action driven story that is a reader's delight. C.J. Box is able to juggle the various storylines masterfully as the book rushes to a fiery climax. Joe Pickett's life will never be the same after his latest brush with his agency's bureaucrats.

Silence of Our Friends

"The Silence of Our Friends" by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell is a graphic novel that takes place in Houston, Texas in the late 1960s. The plot centers on the uncharted waters individuals ventured into as a result of the civil rights movement.

The novel depicts the chaotic nature of the times well. A TV journalist tries to overcome the race barrier by inviting an African American family to his home. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is among the most intolerant in Houston. He also tries to cover the local civil rights demonstrations accurately, but is pressured to "go with the official version." The tension between telling the truth and staying safe is a central part of the plot.

The book also deals with the discomfort that comes from getting to know people you've been taught to hate.  The words and drawings communicate the awkwardness that comes from ignorance as the two families come together.  

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