Christmas in Tinseltown

"The Dead Celebrity Cookbook" by Frank Decaro

If you love Christmas movies and Hollywood trivia, check out Frank Decaro's "The Dead Celebrity Cookbook presents Christmas in Tinseltown: Celebrity Recipes and Hollywood Memories from Six Feet under the Mistletoe."

The tone of the book can be deduced from the title. It is irreverent, jokey, and chock-full of silly puns. He writes about the Christmas TV special "The Homecoming" that introduced the Walton family to America, "As squeaky-clean families go, they made the Bradys look like the Bundys." The only serious theme throughout is the author's sincere fascination with anyone connected to Hollywood and the entertainment world.

The author writes briefly about classic Christmas movies, music, and television, giving background information and what he calls "Christmas Tidbits." He then highlights specific actors and singers and provides recipes attributed to them.

St. Lou-isms

"St. Lou-isms : lingo, lore, and the lighter side of life in the Gateway City

In his latest book, "St. Lou-isms : lingo, lore, and the lighter side of life in the Gateway City," Dr. John Oldani includes tales and stories from the many ethnic groups that make our city special.

All our secrets are exposed from St. Louis pick up lines to our lingo to urban legends. For example, do you warsh your dishes and rinsh them in the zink? Do you remember the choking Doberman or the black widow beehive? Have you heard about the zombies in Wildwood? If not, you can read about them here.

Dr. Oldani takes us on an informative, fun-filled search as he explores the folklore around our great city. It's obvious that he loves St. Louis and its folklore. The book takes us all over the region from the city limits to Wildwood as Oldani explores the connections and similarities that cross cultural boundaries in St. Louis.

If you can laugh at our foibles, this book is for you!

Indie Artists

"NEpenthe" by Julianna Barwick

New music can be frustrating or joyous. Even artists who released a favorite CD the year before can change styles and their next outing may not be to your taste. One of the great benefits of the library is a chance to listen to the entire album. It's an opportunity to decide whether the CD is a "keeper" or just musical accompaniment on a long road trip.

Three new releases from female artists labeled "indie" by AMG are vastly different in style and texture. Julianna Barwick's CDs are usually just ethereal loops of her voice layered over itself. The new CD "Nepenthe" has a little more structure, but no actual lyrics and more instrumentation though it's sparse throughout. It has a flowing New Age ambiance.  The third song "One Half" is the most commercial and sounds like Clannad. "Nepenthe's" wispy quality makes it good for relaxation or meditation.

Farewell to Nelson Mandela

News of the death of former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela may inspire some to learn more about this remarkable statesman.

The 2010 book "Conversations with Myself" contains archival material from Mandela's diaries, personal correspondence, notebooks, calendars, and an unfinished autobiography. The focus here is personal, rather than political.  

"Long Walk to Freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela" was first published in 1994 and chronicles Mandela's life from his tribal childhood to his time in prison to his election as President of South Africa.

National Book Awards

"The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride

Since 1950, the National Book Awards have celebrated the best in American literature. The winners for 2013 were announced November 20 at the annual National Book Award Ceremony and Gala in New York City.

James McBride won in the fiction category for his novel "The Good Lord Bird." In this action-packed historical novel, a young enslaved boy living in the Kansas Territory in 1857 disguises himself as a girl and travels the country with abolitionist John Brown.

"The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America" by George Packer won the nonfiction prize. Packer writes about changes in our country over the last three decades. To illustrate, he examines the lives of various individuals, including a factory worker in Ohio, a Washington lobbyist, and the son of a tobacco farmer.

Dexter's Final Cut

Dexter's Final Cut by Jeff Lindsay

Following the end of the TV show, Dexter Morgan, the serial killer that fans love to root for, makes one final appearance in the book series that started everything. Ironically, Dexter's last appearance in the books involves him being cast as a forensic analyst as an extra on a TV show. As he navigates the world of Hollywood he also finds himself pitted against another serial killer. Surrounded by celebrities and the media, he tries to track down his final opponent without being caught. Dexter's Final Cut is an exciting conclusion to the Dexter story, tying up all the ends in unexpected ways.  

--Michael B., Jamestown Bluffs Branch

Elizabeth Smart Sets the Record Straight

My Story by Elizabeth Smart

"My Story" by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart describes the kidnapping and 9-month ordeal the author suffered at the hands of kidnappers. Taken from her home at the age of 14, Elizabeth Smart was subjected to every kind of abuse imaginable during her captivity. Now, as an adult, she is forthright about what happened and what she was forced to do to stay alive.

She takes several opportunities to deny that she suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, which is a psychological condition some hostages and kidnap victims develop. Smart denies having any sympathetic thoughts for her captors, stating that she lived in mortal fear every day and that is what influenced her behavior.

American Kid

American Kid by Patti Griffin

Patti Griffin's ability to pen a great tune isn't in question as so many other artists record her songs.  She's a fine singer in her own right, great for subtle nuances and heart aching laments.

Birding 101

When the trees start looking bare, the landscape can seem dreary. But there is still plenty of natural beauty to enjoy. Autumn is a great time to try bird watching. With less leaves on trees it can be easier to spot birds, and fall migrations can bring different species to your backyard.

© Copyright 2014. St. Louis County Library. All rights reserved. 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis MO. 314-994-3300 Contact Us