The release of this film in an election year provokes thought about our election system–the finances, the deals, the behind the scenes negotiations that candidates can be involved in along the way to winning an election. Stephen Meters (Ryan Gosling) is an idealistic campaign worker for presidential candidate Gov. Morris (played by George Clooney)–a man with values and goals that Meter can believe in. As the campaign for the primary in Ohio goes on, deals are made and scandal is uncovered, leaving Meter disillusioned and cynical. Not an action movie, this drama concentrates on the flawed mechanisms of our political system, with excellent performances by Gosling and Clooney (who also directed the film) as well as Philp Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. The Ides of March is a film about politics but also about the people involved and how they are changed by the process of campaigning for election. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for the Screenplay and was nominated for several Golden Globe Awards–Lead Actor for Ryan Gosling, Best Director for George Clooney and for Best Dramatic Film.
Susan Isaacs is usually an author of womens fiction and mysteries but she has written two spy novels. Shining Through is her fourth novel, a World War II spy thriller. It was made into a movie with celebrities Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith and Liam Neeson.
Linda Voss is a secretary in love with her boss. As common place as that theme is, Linda’s dream comes true when the wife of her boss, John Berringer, leaves him for another man and circumstances allow for their marriage. John is a high profile lawyer doing work for European countries in the late 1930′s. Both he and Linda speak German which is essential for handling the business transactions frantically happening on the continent. They are drawn into espionage through their law firm, and Linda volunteers for a spy mission when their marriage begins falling apart. This gripping novel with its romance and twisting plot kept me hooked. All of Susan Isaac’s books have been New York Times best sellers!
Mega-chain store, PyeMart is coming to small town Butternut Falls, Minnesota. Apparently not everyone is happy about this development. Bombs start going off, the first one in PyeMart headquarters in Michigan and the second at the local PyeMart construction site in Butternut Falls, killing and injuring several people. Virgil, who works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is sent to Butternut to help the local law enforcement and the ATF with the investigation. The plot is suspenseful and moves along at a rapid pace as Virgil attempts to solve the crime before more people are killed. Unfortunately for him, it seems that half the town is unhappy with PyeMart, including many local merchants, as well as trout fishermen who don’t want the Butternut River polluted. Finding out the exact motives of the bomber proves difficult until Virgil decides to use some unorthodox methods to attempt to narrow down the search for the bomber quickly. Not only is the plot compelling, but Virgil himself is an extremely likeable and believable character with a string of ex- wives, long hair, a fishing boat, and a wardrobe consisting of classic rock band tee shirts. Shock Wave is the 5th novel by John Sandford starring detective Virgil Flowers. Although it is helpful as far as some of the character development, it is not necessary to have read the previous books in the series.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; sometimes literary talent doesn’t either. Consider the Bronte family. Most people have heard of the sisters: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Charlotte is best known for Jane Eyre, with its portrayal of a strong, rational female character (which was something new at the time). Charlotte published under the pen name Currer Bell.
Emily Bronte’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, the story of the doomed love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, was met with mixed reviews on publication. It provided a stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. It’s not surprising that Emily also published under a pseudonym, Ellis Bell.
Anne, the youngest sister, wrote two novels. Agnes Grey, dealing with the oppression of women and governesses, was an autobiographical novel paralleling Anne’s own experience as a governess. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, with its depictions of alcoholism and debauchery disturbed the sensibilities of nineteenth-century readers.
The Bronte sisters were not the only gifted members of their family. Their brother, Branwell, was also a poet and artist. The head of the family, Patrick Bronte, an Anglican curate, was a published poet, as well as contributor to a biography of his daughter, Charlotte. Tragically, the father of the Bronte clan survived all his children.
The twentieth century is also replete with writing families. Stephen King, the master of horror, is married to Tabitha King, author of several novels including Caretakers, The Book of Reuben, and Candles Burning. The writing talent doesn’t stop there. The King’s sons are also writers. Joe Hill has published several graphic novels, the horror novel Heart-Shaped Box (a chip off the old block), and the dark fantasy Horns, as well as a collection of stories 20th Century Ghosts. His younger brother, Owen King, is the author of a book of stories We’re All in This Together and has recently sold his first novel to Scribner’s.
John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, and author of such American classics as The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden is the father of Thomas Steinbeck. Thomas is the author of Down to the Soundless Sea, In the Shadow of the Cypress, and the forthcoming Silver Lotus. Much like his father’s, Thomas Steinbeck’s books chronicle events of California life.
Sons aren’t only following in their fathers’ footsteps; sometimes they’re following in their mothers’. Sandra Brown, well known and prolific author of mysteries and romance novels (Lethal, Chill Factor, Thursday’s Child) is the mother of Ryan Brown. The son has written a thriller entitled Play Dead, a zombie shocker combining football and the undead.
P. J. Tracy, author of the Monkeewrench series, is actually the pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht (Mom) and Traci Lambrecht. Titles in the series featuring the Monkeewrench crew of computer geeks include Shoot to Thrill, Snow Blind, and Dead Run.
Kellerman is a name well known to mystery aficionados. Jonathan Kellerman, whose Alex Delaware series includes When the Bough Breaks, Mystery, Bones, and Deception is married to Faye Kellerman. Faye is the author of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, including Sacred and Profane, Hangman, and The Mercedes Coffin. As a team, the husband and wife have collaborated on Capital Crimes and Double Homicide. As if this weren’t enough, the Kellermans’ son, Jesse, has written a few mystery/suspense titles himself, including The Executor, The Genius, and Trouble.
Want more? How about Frank Herbert, creator of the Dune series of science fiction novels? Frank’s son, Brian Herbert, took over the franchise after his father’s death. Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, and critic, author of Lucky Jim and The Anti-Death League, is the father of Martin Amis, author of The Pregnant Widow, Night Train, and other writings that explore the absurdities of the postmodern condition.
If you are interested in reading theses titles, or other titles by these authors, visit the Manhattan Public Library. Or, for your convenience, access the catalog from home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Selected titles from many of these authors are also available in electronic format as e-books or e-audiobooks. Visit the library’s website at http://www.manhattan.lib.ks.us for more information.
The Kansas Read for 2012 is Our Boys by Joe Drape, the inspirational story of the Smith Center Redmen and the community that cheers them on. We are excited to announce that we will have the author here at our library on Thursday, February 9!
When New York Times sports writer Joe Drape moves to Smith Center, the Redmen have won 67 games in a row, holding the nation’s longest high-school winning streak. He is determined to find what creates such a successful football program, only to discover a coach that uses football to teach his team how to succeed in life and a town that maintains values of love, patience, and hard work in the midst of struggle. Our Boys goes beyond being a story about football to teach us about community and raising the next generation.
If you like this book, we have recommendations for more books about sports and community here.
by Lis Wiehl
Tommy Gunderson, former NFL linebacker, is taken down by the seemingly supernatural strength of an elderly woman who he finds trespassing on his property. The woman appears to be a little crazy as she is gutting a frog and yelling at him in what sounds like Latin. Later that night, Tommy is informed that a teen he’s been mentoring, is suspect of maliciously murdering a teenage girl. Dani Harris, a forensic psychologist, is called to investigate the case. Many of the East Salem’s teens were at the same party as the victim that night. When the teens are questioned, none of them can remember what happened. Tommy’s new passion is being a PI and he works with Dani to help solve the crime. They both start having haunting nightmares, strangely wake at 2:13, and find items moved around when they awake. There is definitely something sinister happening in New Salem, NY. Waking Hours is the first book in the East Salem Trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl.
While house-sitting for her Uncle Nicco, Micayla (Mick) Lange, a police detective, is awakened from sleep by an odd noise. Investigating the sound, she discovers a burglar in the process of breaking into her uncle’s safe. Her police training kicks in and she attempts to subdue the criminal. During their struggle, Mick sees incriminating photos involving her uncle fall from the safe and she realizes her life is now in danger. On the run for their lives, Mick and the burglar Jason must brave the Michigan winter to escape. Neither trusts the other, but Mick and Jason must join forces to survive. Robards has created a tense romantic suspense novel in Sleepwalker, one filled with plot twists, turns and surprises–an exciting new thriller!