Gideon’s Corpseby Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child. A plume of radiation above New York City hints that a major city will be vaporized. Ten days to find the terrorists. And Gideon Crew, tracking the mysterious terrorist cell from the suburbs of New York to the mountains of New Mexico, learns the end may be something worse–far worse–than mere Armageddon.
By Marcia Allen Technical Services and Collections Manager
Dorling Kindersley Publishing has long enjoyed a respected reputation for high quality books, particularly those with beautiful photography and interactive layout. Each title seems to be an engrossing, all-encompassing tour of its topic, one which treats the reader to a visual feast. Local readers may well be familiar with the lovely Eyewitness books that so many children love, or the Eyewitness travel books for adults that do so much more than simply describe a destination. Fairly new to the library is one of the nicest books I have seen in the last year. Mountaineers, which was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, was written by Ed Douglas and polished by a team of consultants. I invite you to browse this wonderful book; though you may have little interest in mountaineering, you will be stunned by the audacity and determination of the central characters. There are excellent references to climbers of ancient times. In 1991, for example, German hiker Helmut Simon was exploring the Italian-Austrian border with a friend. To the dismay of the two men, they discovered a skull protruding from a shelf of ice. They reported what they thought were recent remains of a lost hiker, but further research indicated the man to have lived during the Neolithic Age, some 5000 years earlier. The man, called “Otzi the Iceman” by scientists, had died as the result of an arrow wound that caused massive internal bleeding. The Japanese monk Kukai, born in 774, is one of the more unusual climbers mentioned in the book. He ascended Mount Koya located near Osaka in 818 to begin work on a monastery designed for meditation. Avid followers brought about a permanent Buddhist refuge that is still in use today. Albert Frederick Mummery was an avid pioneer of alpinism during the 19th century. Though dogged by childhood ailments, this determined Englishman climbed the Matterhorn at the age of eighteen and went on to espouse unguided climbing. He even wrote a seminal memoir about climbing, entitled My Climbs in the Alps of Caucasus. Like so many other enthusiasts of the sport, he disappeared during a climb, probably the victim of an avalanche. Another equally famous climber, Charles Houston, is featured in the book. Houston, a 20th century American physician, was involved with several climbs, among them two tries at scaling K2. His failed attempts nearly caused his death, but they also brought about a greater good. Houston wrote a book entitled Going Higher: Oxygen, Man and Mountains, that has been a valuable resource for other climbers, particularly on the subject of altitude sickness. Women climbers are also prominently featured in this book. Lucy Walker, for example, was the 19th century daughter of Francis Walker, a British advocate of the adventure of climbing. Lucy suffered from rheumatism and sought relief from it by joining her father and brother in a trek through the Alps. Taken by the beauty of her new sport, she went on to become the first woman to scale the Matterhorn. Lest you think the book omits the most famous of the climbers, rest assured that George Mallory, Edmund Hillary, and Reinhold Messner are not forgotten. Their stories, along with those of the many other successful , as well as tragic, climbers are highlighted by drawings, photographs and maps that make each venture a treat for the reader. Mountaineering gear featured in the book is absolutely fascinating. The ergonomically designed 20th century crampons that replicate the shape of the foot are now standards for serious climbers. But 16th century wood and rope boot attachments, designed to steady steps in the snow, are also pictured. The climbing rope, another vital component of a successful ascent, is also explained. Hawser ropes from the 17th century, as well as highly specialized ropes from the 21st century, are featured along a timeline that illustrates clever uses by famed explorers. Beyond hiking up a couple of the Colorado Fourteeners with my family several years ago, I have never climbed a mountain. Nor do I intend to. But the breathtaking photographs and thrilling adventures stories will bring me back to this book again and again. It’s that good.
In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault is a cold case mystery. The current year is 2006, and Nora has just been contacted by her old best friend Charlotte, to tell her that the body of their babysitter, Rose, who went missing when the girls where 11 years old in 1990, has just been found. Nora returns to her hometown after hearing this information and old memories are dredged up that Nora would rather forget. The story flashes between the present day, the months before and after Rose disappeared, and 1996, when the girls were in high school. Although the book is a mystery, it is not your typical whodunit. There is a focus on Nora, her relationship with Rose and Charlotte, and how Rose’s disappearance has affected Nora throughout her life. As the book continues, the reader gets the feeling that Nora somehow holds the key to figuring out what really happened to Rose. The question remains whether Nora is willing, as an adult, to put the pieces together or run from all of the questions like she did when she was a kid. This is a great book if you like psychological mysteries and/or coming of age stories.
Even though Vengeance Valley is labeled as a Western, it goes beyond the genre. There is the political deception in running the town and keeping the gold. The characters are well developed and become your friends or enemies. Then of course there is an unlikely love story to round it off.
A town has grown around a silver mine in the middle of nowhere. The next closest town is a hard 5 miles away and 3,000 feet down the mountain. Needless to say this group of people were committed to their little town. Hard Luck Yancey, gave the town it’s name. He was called Hard Luck because three times his fortunes had been lost to other schemeing men. In this case Alfred Noble, who really wasn’t, had legally taken Yancey’s mine away. One thing that set the town of Yancey apart from other mining towns was that it had a hospital with nurses and a doctor. Sister Carmela, known as Sister Drill Sergeant, ran the hospital along with Doc Borden. The only reason Doc is there is because he wants to practise medicine, but no civilized hospital would have him. Then we have Adelaide, widow and now owner of the Clover Club. She just wants to make her late husbands business prosper. The silver mine is failing and Noble knows there is gold under the hospital. Getting Sister Drill Sergeant to move the hospital is impossible, yet Mr. Noble is determined to take it out from under them. Catastrophe happens, no water, no town. But Yancey has a plan to get his fortune back.
Grace Bagshaw Vance may look like a sweet Georgia beauty queen, but she is willing to use every weapon in her arsenal, including charm, gravel, her family, and the occasional unloaded shotgun, to keep movie maker Stone Senterra from making a mockery of her beloved late husband’s heroic story. Senterra’s loyal bodyguard, Boone Noleene is assigned to charm her into giving her blessing to the project. Boone falls fast for the beauty with a spine of steel and tries to keep the project from being disrespectful of Harper Vance and keep Grace from spoiling the dream of the man who gave him a chance when he was released from prison on parole. Full of slapstick humor, adventure, and steamy romance, Charming Grace is also a sweet story of opening broken hearts and fierce family loyalty.
>Fans of Downton Abbey, the miniseries on PBS that hooked us last year, can now continue watching on Sunday evenings to see how World War II has affected the rich aristocrats and their servants. Margaret Powell lived the life of a servant and has written a revealing book of her experiences in the homes of the wealthy. She began working at odd jobs when she was thirteen, the year she left school. She was allowed to quit her education because she had won a scholarship and was in the top class. There were no government grants at that time and her parents could not possibly afford her books and clothes so she needed and wanted to contribute to the families needs. She began working as a kitchen maid because she hated needlework and every other job in these homes required some mending skills. She worked at various homes, some much more pleasant than others, and tells the story of how the wealthy class treated servants through the transition of war and then the end of the era of servants in England. Life was very hard and the striking inequalities in the social classes seems so tragic. Margaret was especially hurt by one mistress that criticized her for not using a silver salver to present a newspaper, “Tears started to trickle down my cheeks; that someone could think that you were so low that you couldn’t even hand them anything out of your hands without it first being placed on a silver salver”. Margaret became quite a good cook but found that once she married she could not put her skills to use because they could not afford the expensive ingredients she was accustomed to using. Below Stairs is available at Manhattan Public Library as well as the Downton Abby and Upstairs, Downstairs dvds.
Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (authors Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) is a mystery set in the Kalahari area of Botswana. An unpopular game ranger is found in the Kalahari dying of a severe head injury. He is surrounded by three Bushmen who appear to be trying to help him. The question is, were they helping him or were they his murderers? Detective “Kubu” Bengu is urged to help with the case by an old school friend, Khumanego, a Bushman himself, who believes the Bushmen will be railroaded even if they are truly innocent. The case quickly becomes more complicated as two more murders are committed. Not only is the culture and landscape of Botswana fascinating, but Kubu is a lovable character, somewhat reminiscent of Columbo. He seems rather lazy on the surface and more interested with having a good meal and some wine than anything else, but he is actually a competent detective. Michael Stanley has also written two previous books,A Carrion Deathand The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu, both of which star detective Kubu.
Manhattan Public Library was honored again this year to host and help sponsor the Martin Luther King, Jr. Art and Writing Contest. This year’s contest garnered 150 entries, 64 artwork submissions and 86 written pieces.
With the theme “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 50 Years of Change”, this year’s entries acknowledge the importance of integration and cooperation as highlighted by Dr. King’s messages.
Submissions for the contest were accepted at Manhattan Public Library beginning in December, with judging taking place January 9.
Winning entries honor Dr. King and encourage us to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as we strive toward a brighter future in our community and world. All of the participants in this year’s contest understood the importance of Dr. King’s place in the world that still resonates throughout society today.
This year’s artwork came in the form of nail art, photography, chalk drawings, watercolor painting, and drawn artwork in pencil and crayon. Writing included a wide variety of formats including poetry, letters to Dr. King, creative writing pieces, and narratives.
Winning entries were displayed at Manhattan Town Center Mall during Martin Luther King Day activities, and are now on display at Manhattan Public Library (MPL) and on the library website, where they will remain for the next month. Several non-winning entries are also on display at the library in the Children’s Room.
Prizes included gift certificates from Varney’s and, for Best of Show winners, gift certificates from Manhattan Town Center Mall. They also received a book and bag from MPL and the Manhattan Library Association, t-shirts and certificates courtesy of HandsOn Kansas State, and a certificate of recognition from the MLK Art & Writing Contest Committee.
A huge thanks goes out to the Contest Committee Members and judges for this year’s contest. These individuals contribute valuable time and effort into making the contest a meaningful community event.
MLK Art & Writing Contest Committee Members include: Jennifer Adams, Susan Withee, Laura Miles, and Janene Hill, all of MPL; and Cindy Burr, Director of the Gallery for Peace and Justice.
Judges for the 2012 contest included, writing judges: Dr. Peter Pellegrin, Instructor of English at Cloud County Community College, Geary County Campus; Marcia Allen, Technical Services Manager at MPL; and John Pecararo, Assistant Director at MPL. Art judges were: Jay Nelson, Director of the Strecker-Nelson Art Gallery; Amanda Hedrick, Education & Marketing Director at the Manhattan Arts Center; and Grace Benedick, a student at Kansas State University.
Award winners were invited to participate in two community ceremonies recognizing their achievement. The first was the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Celebration” sponsored by HandsOn Kansas State. Which took place on Sunday, January 15 at the KSU Leadership Studies building. The second took place during community MLK celebration at Manhattan Town Center Mall on Monday, January 16. Manhattan Mayor Jim Sherow announced the winners in the annual recognition ceremony.
Selected entries may be published or broadcast in or through local media outlets as schedules allow. Winning entries may also be used for development into greeting cards through The Gallery for Peace and Justice. More information is available through Cindy Burr at the Gallery. Last year’s winning art entries are currently available as note cards, on sale at all Varney’s locations.
MLK, Jr. Art and Writing Contest Winners
ART Best of Show: Vonnie Neyhart (Adult) First Place: Grades K-2nd: Ava Bahr, Manhattan Catholic School, first grade Grades 3-5th: Colin Hohenbary, Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, third grade Grades 6-8th: Kaitlyn French and Nicki Keller, Amanda Arnold Elementary School, sixth grade Grades 9-12th: Heather Goodenow, Rock Creek High School, sophomore Adult: Mary Gordon, Kansas State University Honorable Mentions: Mason Camera, Manhattan Catholic School, fourth grade; Jazmin Gantt, Lee Elementary School, third grade; and Erin Logan (Adult)
WRITING Best of Show: Karis Ryu, Manhattan Catholic School, seventh grade First Place: Grades K-2nd: Rachel Corn, Manhattan Catholic School, second grade Grades 3-5th: Elizabeth Hohn, Amanda Arnold Elementary School, fourth grade Grades 6-8th: Macie Frakes, Manhattan Catholic School, eighth grade Adult: Christy Sauer Honorable Mentions: Breigh Brockman, Manhattan Catholic School, second grade; and Carly Smith, Manhattan Catholic School, eighth grade
Buck Brannaman spends his life traveling throughout the U.S. teaching people to communicate with their horses. A consultant on The Horse Whisperer, Brannaman has a quiet way of calming horses and showing them what is expected of them. In the inspiring documentary Buck we get to follow his story as he grows from an abused child to a man who’s lessons touch the lives of horses and the people who ride them.
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan. To make a New Year’s Resolution is to be an optimist. A few weeks of this new year have already passed but 2012 is still merely an infant. With nearly 350 days left which we can either wisely use or waste, may I suggest a few books to spark your interest in making improvements or changes in your life. Enjoy the quotes from the famous and infamous that reflect humor and wisdom in each of these categories.
With the death of her mother, spinster Roxanna Rowan finds herself alone in Revolutionary War Virginia without prospects, suitors, or a home. She escapes to her beloved father, a soldier on the Kentucky frontier, arriving just in time to hear of his death. When the dashing but cold Colonel Cassius McLinn offers her a position as his scrivener, she has little choice but to take it. Rumors circulate of McLinn’s questionable family and past, but Roxanna begins to learn of his true character as a man with many regrets, but a steadfast and caring nature. In the midst of the desolate and cruel landscape of war, Roxanna provides Cassius with light, hope, and a reason to reexamine his faith.
Based loosely on the life of George Rogers Clark, The Colonel’s Lady is a fascinating look at the Kentucky frontier, military life during the Revolutionary period, and the work lives of women. Frantz has created a story that touches both the heart and the mind.
>The prolific Scottish medical lawyer and author, Alexander McCall-Smith, keeps me regularly supplied with reading . I can hardly keep up with his four different series along with all the other new novels calling to me as a librarian. He has written over 60 books including academic titles and children’s books. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth is the latest in his Isabel Dalhousie series. Edinburgh is the setting for this contemplative philosopher. This time Isabel is asked to help find parents of a woman who was adopted as a child. The complications involved in the discovery of the possible father make us evaluate when secrets are alright to keep. Should the man who wants to claim paternity be told that he probably isn’t the father, and should the one who would not be happy to find out about his child be forced to face his unknown history? There are other story vignettes that keep us thinking about subtle moral dilemmas such as Isabel’s mushroom poisoning which involves the delicatessen Isabel’s niece, Cat owns, a paper submitted to Isabel’s philosophical publication that was written under an assumed name and the love story’s continuation between Isabel and her Jamie.
Julian Monroe returns to his English home, Ravenscar, after 3 years away, time spent mourning the mysterious death of his wife Lily. There are those in Lily’s family who believe that Julian murdered his wife and are looking for revenge. His mother is overjoyed that Julian has returned home and chooses Sophie Wilkie, the daughter of a dear friend, as the woman she wishes her son to marry. Sophie and her aunt Roxanne are invited to Ravenscar, where they are joined by Julian’s friend and nephew, Devlin Brabante. Sophie and Roxanne are strong, independent women who are witty and intelligent. Devlin and Justin are intelligent, handsome and honorable men, and the four are embroiled in past mysteries and in kidnappings and plots of revenge. Julian comes to learn about his father and their relationship and why his father referred to him as The Prince of Ravenscar. Filled with witty dialog and gothic romance, Coulter’s latest novel provides an entertaining escape into the past.
Every month, the librarians of Manhattan Public Library’s Adult Services Department read and discuss books from a different chosen fiction genre or subject area. We do this in order to keep informed about good books to recommend to our readers and also to challenge ourselves to read outside our usual preferences. This month we tackled Westerns, and for most of us it’s been a departure and a pleasant surprise. Genre fiction is considered to be written according to a roughly recognizable formula. The most popular fiction genres are mysteries, science fiction, fantasies, romances, and Westerns. Traditionally, Westerns have been short adventure novels of the legendary Old West (not necessarily factually accurate Western history), taking place on the moving edge of the American frontier throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. They offer a simple writing style and straightforward plot featuring lots of action and strong and self-reliant heroes (or heroines) who are engaged in the timeless conflicts of good vs. evil, man against nature, culture vs. culture. Westerns have made the transition to film with great success and have been updated and re-interpreted into stories of superheroes and Star Wars’ space cowboys. Just as mysteries have come a long way from Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to Jeffry Lindsay’s Dexter Morgan, Westerns have come a long way from the early novels of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. Today’s Westerns offer a wider spectrum of settings, characters, and time frames, and also more depth and moral ambiguity in their plots. In spite of the concept of formula fiction, there are endless permutations to the formula and literary quality is often superb. Reading a good Western can be an engrossing, enjoyable, and satisfying experience. If you’re not already a Western fan and want to give one a try, a great source for book suggestions is the list of nominees and winners of the Spur Award, annual prize of the Western Writers of America. In addition to such classics of print and film as The Virginian by Owen Wister, The Ox-bow Incident by Walter Clark, Shane by Jack Schaefer, and True Grit by Charles Portis, you’ll find recent winners and best-sellers like:
Last Train from Cuernavaca by Lucia St. Clair Robson, winner of a 2011 Spur Award and a rare woman-authored, female-protagonist Western;
Summer of Pearls by Mike Blakely, featuring a riverboat community and the Great Caddo Lake Pearl Rush of 1874;
Far Bright Star by Robert Olmstead, described by the Dallas Morning News as a “thinking reader’s Western”;
Bound for the Promise-Land by Troy D. Smith, the saga of Alfred Mann, a freed slave, Civil War soldier, Buffalo Soldier, and Medal of Honor winner, and his quest to rise above ignorance and intolerance;
Masterson by Richard S. Wheeler, a “sprightly romp” (Publisher’s Weekly), featuring legendary gunfighter Bat Masterson as an aging, hard-drinking curmudgeon intent on revisiting the locales of his past adventures with his young common-law wife Emma;
>Phillipa Ashley’s new novel is a funny and entertaining romance. Carrie and Huw have been together for 10 years and are in the process of finally planning their wedding when Huw abruptly ends their relationship. Carrie is angry and hurt and creates an embarrassing scene at Huw’s wedding to someone else. Not knowing what the next steps in her life will hold, Carrie decides to head off in a small camper van on a road trip with her best friend Rowena. The plans sound great until an acting job turns up for Rowena and she backs out of the trip plans. Not wanting her friend to miss her much-needed vacation, Rowena arranges for someone else to accompany Carrie on the trip. That someone else is Matt–a handsome doctor who has been sent home from his medical mission on a Pacific island following a traumatic accident. He is at loose ends on his leave and welcomes the chance to travel with no schedule or set destination. With lots of fun dialog, touching scenes and likable characters, Carrie Goes off the Map is a lighthearted and witty romance that will warm your heart.