If you are a parent-to-be trying to think up unique baby names and fall into any of the titular categories, Hello, My Name is Pabst is worth checking out. It offers a treasure trove of names, mostly off-the-wall ideas, interlaced with a few gems. Authors Bruno and Sparks have divided the book into chapters highlighting categories of names. Themes range from Craft beers to IKEA furniture to Architects, Nihilists, Tattoos, Mad scientists, Dreadlocks and beyond. The book’s casual writing style makes it a quick read with names featured in cartoon bubbles so you can skip the rest if you’re really in a hurry. “Tipster” sections give additional ideas to create your own baby names. Read it and decide if the authors are pulling your leg, or if you really want to brand your baby with one of these names.
This is probably one of those movies that you will either love or hate. Based on a French play, Carnage features Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, and takes place almost entirely in the living room of a New York City apartment. It details two couples’ attempts to reconcile an incident that occurred between their sons. As the four parents spend more time together, they regress to childlike behavior and grow increasingly frustrated with each other. Great for people watchers, this film allows you to see interpersonal conflict up close. You’ll see the bigger picture and laugh at the ridiculousness into which some situations digress.
by Lori Copeland
Rebecca just knew Jesse Montgomery would join the Amish life in Apple Grove, Kansas, if she could just find him. When she hears of his whereabouts, she decides to take off to Lawrence, Kansas to find him. Leaving home at age 17 by herself probably wasn’t the smartest thing she ever did, but finding Jesse was worth any trouble she might face.
Little did she realize that trouble would be time in a jail cell for disturbing the peace. The women, all of whom are marching for temperance, help Rebecca. But her ninety day sentence may just get the best of Sheriff Colin Maddox. Colin only has a few more weeks before the new sheriff arrives and he is free to pursue his calling of becoming a minister. But with a woman in his jail cell and wanted men being sighted in town, that few weeks seems like an eternity. I actually read A Plain and Simple Heart from Sunflower eLibrary on my tablet, but it is available in hard copy. Highly recommended to those that enjoy this genre!
Adriana Trigiani has authored the Big Stone Gap series, a delightful character-rich, witty story of a spinster living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Walking through the young adult section, I found Triginani had authored two books for teens. The Viola Chesterton books begin as quick peeks into boarding school life in South Bend, Indiana for a 9th grader whose parents must relinquish that year as they travel to Afghanistan to film a documentary. Again, these books are character driven with teen foibles, fears and funny situations. Viola must figure out how to extend herself to a new environment with peers very different from herself, and find where her talents as a filmmaker can be used. Definitely teen material, but good for adults to see into a stage of life that may have been long- forgotten.
Finding Rapture Here On Earth a Memoir
by Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson tells her story of her love of this earth and all nature. She sat by the ocean and watched over seal pups. She went down the Colorado River in the depths of the Grand Canyon. She tells of many of her adventures in nature. She loved the earth and all it’s pleasure. She tells of her family of Southern Baptists and there ideas, which were ideas she had rather leave behind. Even her nieces and nephews called her Aunt Wuu Wuu, because of her strange ideas. I Want to Be Left Behind is told with much humor and you’ll grow to care about Brenda and her family.
Pamela Rdmond Satran has authored seven novels, a humor book which has been optioned by Amblin Entertainment called How Not to Act Old, and eight baby name books which she coauthored. Now she has given us a very funny book about people who are insane dog lovers. The fun of this book is the crazy stories, photos and doggie crazed items that people will buy or create for their pet. Included are chapters on Dog Therapists that prescribe chewable beef-flavored version of Prozac called Reconcile and the World’s Richest Dogs telling of dogs who have inherited fortunes and purchased mansions. This is a dog lover’s jem. Analyze just how dog crazy you are and enjoy the insane things people all over the world will do for their dogs when you pick up Rabid: Are You Crazy About Your Dog OR JUST CRAZY?
by Brian McGrory
Pam, a veterinarian, and Brian, a writer, have differing opinions about the chicken that has come to live with them. Pam’s children raised the chick for a science project and fell in love with her. Brian who usually gets along great with animals and children, doesn’t relate to the fowl and the chicken doesn’t much like Brian either.
Buddy the Rooster is thought to be a hen until about half way through the book. It’s the Brazilian cleaning lady that sets them straight. Roosters aren’t known for being friendly, so the family fears that Buddy will have to go, and that makes Brian happy, although he would never have admitted it to Pam and her girls. Throughout the book Brian’s hopes of ridding his life of Buddy are dashed. But in the end Buddy has a special place in his heart.
When Frankie Pratt graduates from high school in 1920, she receives a scrapbook and her father’s old Corona typewriter. She can’t wait to leave her small New Hampshire home town and take on the world as a writer, but of course complications ensue. Frankie’s experiences include education, heartbreak, encouragement, and decisions both misguided and brave. We get to be there every step of the way as she types up her journal entries for her scrapbook and includes letters, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, and ticket stubs for our archival pleasure. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a quick and delightful read with images that bring her and her era to life.
The Bird Shrink’s Guide to Keeping Polly from Going Crackers and You Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ruth Hanessian
If you have birds, like birds, or have friends that like birds, Birds on the Couch is a great book to help you learn about the antics of these feathery pets. Even if you don’t care for birds as pets, you will enjoy Hanessian’s bird stories that she has accummulated during her years as a pet store owner. They are entertaining, educational, and just plain fun. Find out why Polly says the things you really don’t want her to say and how you can get her to stop. If you are considering getting a bird, especially one that talks, you definately need to read this book before you buy.
Elena is finally free of her mean stepmother and stepsisters, but isn’t sure what to do without any family or position to go to. Fortunately her fairy godmother swoops in to clarify the situation. Apparently, Elena was supposed to be a “Cinderella”, but the kingdom’s prince was only a child, so she has been reassigned as a fairy godmother. Elena takes quickly to the role, only regretting the loneliness of the position, when she encounters the rudest man she ever met and punishes him by turning him into a donkey. As he learns humility, she ponders whether she has the strength to question tradition. The Fairy Godmother is a delightfully funny tale filled with magic, adventure, and romance.
I picked up The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde because I’ve read and liked the Thursday Next series and because the book got some great reviews. If you like Jasper Fforde’s oddball humor in his other books (or if you like Terry Pratchett), you’ll want to pick up The Last Dragonslayer.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling. She was abandoned on the steps of the convent of the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster as a baby and raised there. At 12, she was placed with Kazam Mystical Arts Management and is currently running the agency after the disappearance of its founder in a magic trick gone wrong.
Kazam is an employment agency for magicians that has fallen on hard times. Magic has been fading from the world and the magicians have grown less powerful as ambient magic has fallen. When magic starts to see a surge, strange events start to happen. The magicians with precognitive abilities all have a premonition that the last dragon will be slain in the next week. Jennifer sets off to find the Last Dragonslayer to see what she can do to prevent this from happening.
Exhausted of being in the public eye, recently widowed First Lady Cornelia needs some time away. Slipping away from her security detail she finds herself traveling across country in a yellow RV with a cranky steel worker and two crazy and lovable children.
Mat is taking a break from his disappointing job when he discovers that his ex-wife has left him with the guardianship of two children that aren’t his. He takes them across the country to find their grandmother and picks up a woman after her car is stolen. She’s odd but helpful and seems vaguely familiar.
Stuck in a RV with a surly teenager and a cranky baby, they learn to depend on each other and eventually appreciate each other even as they wittily bicker. First lady is a book that will tug your heartstrings and your funny bone.
True Believers by humorist Joe Queenan is a great read for football season. If you are a rabid sports fan (you know who you are), you will appreciate this book. Queenan opens his book by recounting his visits to a therapist for his sports addiction problem. He and the therapist quickly reach an impasse when Queenan can’t understand how he can care more about the fate of the rain forest than that of the Philadelphia 76erers. This book had me laughing from the get go, because I could relate to many of Queenan’s sentiments. There is a particularly hilarious chapter on front-running fans, (whom I also find annoying). While Queenan states that these fans have the right to be front runners, he does not believe that “such individuals should ever be married, befriended, employed, feted, consulted, or fed . . . . .Attention, marriageable females: If you go through your Los Angelino boyfriend’s closet and find a Chicago Bulls jersey, call off the wedding. If he betrayed the Lakers, he will have no trouble betraying you.”
There is also a great chapter on parents bringing up their kids to be fans. Any parent who has tried to take their young kids to a sporting event will appreciate Queenan’s account. His theory is that concession lines are long at major league baseball games because nobody really wants to watch more than six innings or so of baseball anyway. And, if you take your kids to the concessions three times during the game to get snacks, you might actually make it to the end of the game! He decries those “mentally ill” parents who bring their own snacks thus ensuring they will only make it to the bottom of the fifth before having to leave. If you don’t mind laughing at yourself or fellow fans, give this one a try!
Balthazar and Hebe Jones were very happily married and parents of a small son, Milo,when Balthazar accepted a new job in a very unique place. The family moved to the Tower of London so Balthazar could serve the Queen as a Beefeater.. The adjustments were many, such as adjusting to living in rooms with no square corners only rounded walls with ancient markings left by the centuries of prisoners who were held there while imprisoned. Balthazar is nominated to become the Keeper of the Royal Menagerie. Gift animals given to the Queen by heads of state had been kept in the Tower from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries when they were transferred to the London Zoo. Now they are being returned to the Tower to attract more visitors. Hebe and Bazlthazar are upset over the new responsibilities, but their most difficult problem is learning to deal with their grief over the loss of their son. The curious setting and unique, zany and funny story is actually a very charming love story with much historical interest. Like most historical fiction there is some truth to the story of the Royal Menagerie explained in this link.
Every day life may never seem every day again. Life in Southern Florida with Mama is never every day stuff. When Bailey’s father, through his fourth wife, leaves them his 1958 Porsche, in original condition, Mama wants to put it out to pasture with the tractors and lawnmowers. Instead, she takes the screen off the back porch and parks it there, never to be moved again.
When Mama isn’t feeling well and Bailey convinces her to go to the Instant Care Facility to see the Doctor. Mama was really impressed with the curb side service and easy remedy. What Bailey didn’t know was that it was the three butchers from the grocery store who gave Mama the advice.
Then there are other family members that add to the mix, like Aunt Belle, who tames an alligator by giving it dead chickens for treats. When a cousins fiance’s family is coming for Thanksgiving, Bailey and her sister try to rid the house of stuff, but Mama is not overly willing to have her house cleared out. Mama Makes Up Her Mind keeps the smiles coming as you read about this family’s southern living.