Keeper and Kid by Edward Hardy


In his mid-thirties, Jimmy Keeper is divorced with a new love interest and a low-pressure job that he enjoys. He thinks his life is moving along smoothly until a phone call from his former mother-in-law turns his world upside down. Finding out that he has a 3 year old son named Leo, Keeper and Kid tells the story of Jimmy’s adjustment to sudden fatherhood and the changes he has to make in his life to cope with the demands of work, being a parent and changes in his relationships. His story is funny and touching and I thoroughly enjoyed reading how Keeper reacts when life takes him by surprise.

Movies, Movies, Movies!!!


One of the few things I enjoy as much as diving into a good book, is diving into a good movie. When a movie is truly great, it can change the way you feel about your day and the way you feel about your world. The first time I watched Monsoon Wedding, it floated at the back of my mind for days: the music, the marigolds, the dancing, the anger, and the romance. Screen Plays: how 25 scripts made it to a theater near you–for better or worse by David S. Cohen gives you the scoop on how movies grow from an idea into the experience in the movie theater. He tells us what takes a film up to the next level, from mediocre to great. This book is a must-read for any movie lover.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors


Warmth, humor, simple pleasures….another installment in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is here to bring smiles. Those that enjoy the simple life of Botswana through the eyes of Precious Ramatoswe will again be charmed. In The Miracle at Speedy Motors we find the ladies solving their ususal simple cases and facing difficulties common to all of us. The “miracle” in this installment may have something to do with a cure, or it may be finding a long lost relative. Find out for yourself.

A Boy Named Shel

>A Boy Named Shel is an eye-opening look into the life of one of my favorite writers.

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was read a book my parents had gotten for me called “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

It was with this book that I first fell in love with the wit, humor, and downright silliness of Mr. Shel Silverstein. I am sure we all know the tale of Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, and wondered “Why wouldn’t she take the garbage out?”

My parents at the time were also fans of Shel. Not only was he a successful cartoonist and poet, be he was also a very accomplished songwriter. Most people are unaware that Shel was the one who wrote the song “Cover of a Rolling Stone” made popular by Dr. Hook. So when I heard Dr. Hook singing Shel’s poems, I was instantly hooked on Dr. Hook. (sorry for the pun.)

Despite all of this success, Shel was at times quite insecure about his many talents. But he was the only one, young and old found humor and joy in his work. Shel was after all our ‘Missing Piece.’

Chick lit, recipes included


Some of us are Anglophiles, but some of us are also Maineophiles (no, that’s not really a word). When I picked up The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline, and saw that the setting is Mt. Desert Island, Maine, I settled in for a fun read. And that’s exactly what this book is, fun and witty.

Angela Russo is a 33 year old New Yorker, drifting through her life as an event planner. After yet another dismal blind date, she finds herself tempted into an online romance with a Maine sailing instructor. Anglela gets so distracted by her fantasy romance that her career literally “goes up in flames” when she forgets to take out fire insurance at a fancy event. With no job, no boyfriend and no regrets, Angela packs up and moves to Maine to live with her online boyfriend. You can probably guess that her life in Maine doesn’t quite work out as planned, but her adventures are very entertaining.
As a little bonus, Angela’s recipes from her Italian grandmother are included.

Humanity’s Footprint


There is so much news about environment and climate change that it becomes overwhelming. A Manhattan local has written a great book to help you sort it all out and put it in context. Humanity’s Footprint by KSU biology professor Walter Dodds finds a balance between gloom and doom pessimists and those that deny that there is a problem. He explains the challenges we are facing in clear language, understandable even to those of us who have never particularly understood science. He also offers some hopeful solutions.

Professor Dodds will be speaking at the library next Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00 in the library auditorium as part of our Energy Week activities. On Wednesday at 7:00 in the auditorium, some speakers are coming in to talk about saving energy in the home. We’ll have Jennifer Wilson from Riley County Extension, Christine Reimler from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, and Gina Penzig from Westar Energy on hand to help you lower that energy bill.

Remember Me?


Sophie Kinsella once again brings her capacity for a funny romance novel to this story of love, life, and amnesia. Here’s the rundown: Young women gets in a car wreck, gets amnesia, can’t remember the past three years, finds out what people are telling her about that time is not exactly the truth and unintentionally falls in love with the same man from the forgotten time (who is not her husband).

It is fairly predictable and there is no earth-shaking revelations about life, love, or amnesia – but it is a good fluffy read to sit back and enjoy this spring.

P.S. – if you have seen the ABC television show “Samantha Who”, you will feel like you are having dejavu in some spots, except there is no regaining of the memory.

Space Flight Anniversaries


April is the anniversary month for several significant events in the history of space travel. On April 12, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space and the first man to orbit the earth. On April 13, 1970, Commander Jim Lovell uttered the words “Houston, we’ve got a problem”, which led to a frantic search by NASA engineers to solve the problems resulting from an oxygen tank explosion on the spacecraft Apollo 13. The accident, the harrowing hours afterwards and the tense planning to bring the astronauts back to earth are related in Lovell’s book Lost Moon: the perilous voyage of Apollo 13. In our audiovisual collection, Manhattan Public Library also owns the DVD of the award-winning film based on Lovell’s book, titled Apollo 13. April 12 is also the anniversary date of the first flight of a space shuttle, Columbia, in 1981, and the first flight of a U.S. Senator, Jake Garn, in 1985. The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed on April 25, 1990.

If you’re looking for clear, concise explanations of many aspects of space–astronautics, planets, telescopes, discoveries, etc.–you might try the National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space.

Coincidentally, April is also the anniversary (April 15, 1950) of the television program “Buck Rogers”!

50 Aircraft that changed the world

>For a lot of us, planes have held us endlessly fascinated. When we think of the history of flight certain planes jump out at us: The Wright Flyer, The Spirit of St. Louis, The MiG, P51 Mustang……the list goes on.

What I love about 50 Aircraft that changed the world is that it covers the historical significance of the aircraft when it was first introduced, and the inclusions are based on importance to history, not popularity in the mass culture. The book also goes on to explain how the 50 planes came into existence, and what sets these planes apart from all others.

This book is a must for the aero-phile and those of us that spent our youth putting together airplane models after school.