Page Turners

Here is a list of books that have been shared on KMA's Page Turners with the Shenandoah Public Library.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

THE FIFTH VIAL—Michael Palmer,M.D.--A frightening look at trafficking in human organs for transplant, together with a plea to the reader (in the afterward) to consider being an organ donor. Through three separate situations involving procurement and distribution, Dr. Palmer outlines the debates, pros and cons. A runner, doctor to be, a 'slow' boy of 20, a waitress, a Physician involved in developing a 'miracle cure', an Arabic leader and a multi-national medical corporation are the focuses of the activity. A good set of interconnected stories posing some serious questions. By the way, Plato is featured with quotes from The Republic at the beginning of each chapter. Interesting for reading and thought.

Friday, October 26, 2007

DEEP STORM—Lincoln Child—Dr. Peter Crain is sent to an ultra secret undersea facility in the North Sea to help determine why the crew and scientists are suddenly becoming ill with seemingly unconnected illnesses, both physiological and psychological. While there, in the midst of a scientific/military operation he becomes aware of potential dangers the power of which initially are unexplainable. Never sure of who is friend or foe, and often against hyper-military types, his investigation continues as does the drilling through the layers into the very bowels of the earth. Science Fiction mingled with thriller.

DIGGING TO AMERICA—Anne Tyler—The book All Iowa Reads for 2008! I got a head start. A story about and of life and living. In it, two couples adopt Korean children (girls) one couple, quintessential American, the other an Iranian parentage. The American couple struggles to keep the cultural identity alive for their child while the other follows current American child-raising norms. Americans and Iranians are brought together as the families gather for the annual, “Adoption Day” party as well as other family events and over time the comfort level between the two groups change. The central character, Maryam, is the mother of the Iranian adoptive father, her discomforts living in the U.S., having immigrated from Iran when she was 19, and never feeling acclimated. She finds, however, a new interest in the grandfather of the child adopted by the American family. Not dramatic, not a thriller, but a day-by-day living and life story...a story for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable in a new setting. Those reviews I read were somewhat mixed; but for those who didn't enjoy the book as much as I, I believe they misjudge, having expected (perhaps from the fly-leaf) something they didn't get. Her thoughts are much more profound than they discovered, yet affect all of us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privelege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gates Gill

A fun, inspirational read - and I don't even drink coffee. Michael Gates Gill had spent his life in the upper eschelons of New York Society. When it all came crashing down, he stumbled into a job at Starbucks. Besides giving him enough money to live on, insurance, and new relationships, his new job also taught him humility, contentment, and respect for others and himself. While Gates' story is clearly complimentary of his employer, it is also a testament to the power of kindness and dignity of the "partners" who make Starbucks what it is.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SHARPE'S ESCAPE—Bernard Cornwell—A great thing about Cornwell's books is the amount of detail of life and living during the time and circumstances he weaves into his novels. To be sure, the “Sharpe” series, as the “Saxon” series, deal greatly with wars and battles, but they interweave much information about common life during these uncommon times. Sharpe's Escape unfolds in 1810 Portugal as Napoleon attempts to move from Spain to take the remainder of the peninsula. The British join with the Portuguese to keep L'Emperor from finishing grabbing the remainder of Europe and of course, hero Sharpe, is instrumental in defeating the “Frogs”. Not quite abandoning his position, Sharpe works with some locals (and in one instance a lovely lady) to try to keep the French from gaining a huge amount of food and supplies, enough to keep the army fed during what will become a long, cold winter.

Airball: My Life in Briefs by L.D. Harkader

I would never have chosen this teen book, but picked it up after my son read it. I like to get a feel for what my children are reading and my son, at this stage, is reading a lot of sports books. This is a basketball story, but also a story about belonging, to a team and to a family.

Kirby Nickel lives with his grandma in Stuckey, KS, a small town of about 344. Stuckey's claim to fame is basketball star Brett "McNet" McGrew, whose number is being retired by KU. The seventh-grade basketball team has been invited to the ceremony, but don't want to go without a decent record. So Coach comes up with an innovative plan...Stealth Uniforms! When each player is handed his new uniform, a box of air, they begin to practice basketball in their underwear. To keep from standing around looking and feeling stupid, each member of the team begins to work harder, eventually coming together as a team. A fun read, with enough basketball to keep my son happy and enough story to keep me satisfied!

Friday, October 19, 2007

HEAD GAMES:A Novel—Craig McDonald—A murderous romp through the old southwest with Pancho Villa's head;fictional author Hector Lassiter and immediate side-kick Bud Fisk, the latter sent to interview Lassiter, deal with Mexican Banditos, the FBI, frat-boys from the “Scull & Bones Society” and others more than eager to get their hands on Villa's scull. Characters run from Prescott Bush (progenitor of George and George W), through 'Papa' Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich, among others, to George W. himself. Lassiter displays his hard drinking and hard loving style throughout. Having said that, kinda so-so.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America - by Linda Furiya

My recent interest in cooking has spurred my reading in the sub-genre of "food-memoirs" (or is it the other way around?). At any rate, Bento Box in the Heartland is a fascinating book about a Japanese-American girl growing up in Indiana. Ms. Furiya explores her feelings of exclusion, the difficulties of balancing between two cultures, and the role that food played in forming the family dynamic, as well as her own identity. Each chapter ends with a recipe for a dish from the narrative. Normally, I try to stick to books available at our library, but this one has to be borrowed through Interlibrary loan.

Next on my list of food-memoirs: How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gill...........

Monday, October 15, 2007

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED—James Patterson & Howard Roughan—Kristin the photographer/nanny/secret lover finds bizarre events unfolding and in trying to understand them, receives warnings about further explorations. Not Patterson’s usual story line. Quick dialog and snappy ‘mind thoughts’ make for fast reading. Relatively so-so as the recent spate of Patterson and someone else’s books have been.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

DEAD HEAT—Dick Francis and Felix Francis—Another great mystery generally set in horse country, this time as Dick writes with son Francis, a large overriding culinary background. Food poisoning causes many to become ill on at the Racetrack on Friday night and Saturday a bomb explodes in the same venue. The restaurateur determines he must solve the mystery of the food poisonings which expands into finding those responsible for the bombings, to say nothing of other deaths, and near deaths, that take place from the bombing until a solution is found. Typical fun Francis!

SPLENDID SOLUTION: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio: Jeffrey Kluger—The New York Times said “Gripping—colorful and fast paced..brings Salk to Life”. Agreed. The biography reads as a novel; the research, which included extensive and repeated interviews with Salk’s sons, pays off for the reader as time and facts turn into a real story. Although the end is known, Kluger manages to portray the tension surrounding each step, each development until the vaccine was pronounced safe and inoculations begun. There are ‘good-guys’ and ‘not-so-good-guys’ in Salk’s world and the frustrations surrounding the competition make the story even more human. A book that bridges fiction and non-fiction.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

THE WORLD WITHOUT US—Alan Weisman—Journalist Weisman for years researched the question of what would happen if humans suddenly disappeared from the earth and speculates/predicts the answers to that question. He treats geologic/geographic areas as well as the influences made or caused by humankind. His suggestions are based on past geologic/history, the anthropologic evidence of past civilizations, the effect and determination of flora and fauna and its adaptability to the circumstances in which he finds is. Particularly problematical seem to be plastic bags (plastic of about all kinds, petroleum and, not surprisingly, nuclear locations. He’s obvious he cares about both the earth and the human race inhabiting it, as well as present and extinct life forms. A frightening script on one hand and hopeful on the other.