Book Review: Big Machine

” Don’t look for dignity in public bathrooms. The most you’ll find is privacy and sticky floors.”  That’s Ricky Rice, a 40 year old heroin addict. He’s currently working in Utica as a cleaner in the bus station.  One day an envelope arrives for him-it contains a bus ticket to Burlington, Vermont and a cryptic note that says “You made a promise in Cedar Rapids in 2002. Time to honor it.”  He’s not sure why he’s been called.  He’s not sure he’ll go, but he ends up on that bus during a snow storm.  He finds himself on a journey both physical and spiritual.  Big Machine by Victor LaValle is a great book about faith, and what it means to be human in an inhumane time.  This is a book that will grab you and not let you go.  It’s a wild ride at times, and you’ll also have to have faith in LaValle because he does take you places that you’d never expect, but pick it up and fall in love with some wonderful writing.
-posted by Susan, Readers’ Services

New in DVD

The Blind Side – Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager who is from a broken home. Mike is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox – This is the story of one Mr. Fox and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures. He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible.But first, he is going to try “just one more raid” on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce and Bean.

The Fourth Kind – Since the 1960s, Nome, Alaska, has seen a disproportionate number of its population being reported missing every year. Despite multiple FBI investigations of the region, the truth has never been discovered. Psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler begins videotaping sessions with traumatized patients and unwittingly discovered some of the most disturbing evidence of alien abduction ever documented.

The Men Who Stare at Goats – Reporter Bob Wilton is trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails. He gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. With unparalleled psychic powers, they can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat by simply staring at it. Now, the founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends.

Red Cliff – An Emperor declares war on two kingdoms in China to unite the entire country during 208 AD, which becomes one of the biggest military battles in history as the two kingdoms unite against the Emperor.

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

Recently Added Staff Picks

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

“Meet Macon Leary–a travel writer who hates both travel and strangeness. Grounded by loneliness, comfort, and a somewhat odd domestic life, Macon is about to embark on a surprising new adventure, arriving in the form of a fuzzy-haired dog obedience trainer who promises to turn his life around (From the Publisher).”

Recommended by:  Lisa Caputo, Head of Adult Services

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

“From New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes an utterly satisfying novel that asks the question: Can a seemingly normal, happily married Mormon mother of four be best friends with Hollywood’s hottest (happily married) heartthrob (From the Publisher)?”

Recommended by:  Rosemarie Germaine, Senior Library Clerk

Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth

“In Smyth’s enchanting debut, set in Black Rock, Tobago, young protagonist Celia D’Abadie searches for traces of her absent lineage-the mother who died in childbirth and the white father reputed to live in England (Publishers Weekly).”

Recommended by:  Susan Santa, Readers’ Services Librarian

Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi

“Wiseguy is Nicholas Pileggi’s remarkable bestseller, the most intimate account ever printed of life inside the deadly high-stakes world of what some people call the Mafia. Wiseguy is Henry Hill’s story, in fascinating, brutal detail, the never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster — his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor (From the Publisher).”

Recommended by:  Christine Belling, Systems Manager

– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

New in DVD

Armored – A group of veteran officers at an armored transport security firm pressure a new guard into stealing one of their own company’s trucks containing $42 million dollars. Using a seemingly sure-fire plan, the men plan to make off with the money with no harm done until an unexpected witness causes their plan to come apart at the seams.

BandSlam – Ultra-popular Charlotte is determined to face-off against her ex at the country’s biggest music competition. She just needs a band. Newcomer Will knows more about musicians than anyone. He just needs a friend. And rebel guitar player Sa5m has a wicked voice but needs someone to believe in her. Together, this unlikely trio will take on Bandslam in a way no one thought possible.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? – Meryl and Paul Morgan are a highly successful Manhattan couple. Their almost perfect lives have only one notable failure – their dissolving marriage. But they witness a murder and become the targets of a contract killer. The Feds, protecting their witnesses, whisk them from their beloved New York to a tiny town in Wyoming, and a relationship that was on the rocks threatens to end completely, unless with their new Blackberry-free lives, the Morgans can slow down the pace and rekindle their passion.

Ninja Assassin – Raizo, trained from childhood in the way of the Ozunu Clan ninja, is stalked by fellow warriors for breaking free of them and their iron-willed dojo patriarch. He is on the run with a Europol agent who has proof the clan sells assassination services to governments.

The Princess and the Frog – New Orleans. Arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana cross paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician. Tiana follows suit when she decides to kiss the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.

Book Review: A Matter of Justice


by Charles Todd 

It isn’t enough that Inspector Ian Rutledge has to solve a case with too many suspects; he also has to contend with an unusual sidekick- a voice in his head.

An English financier is found murdered at his country estate, Scotland Yard is called in by the local constabulary and Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent down to investigate.  Harold Quarles has been found hanging in his own barn, gruesomely trussed up in the rafters, and wearing the costume of the Angel in the village’s annual Christmas pageant.   Rutledge quickly discovers that to say the victim was not well liked in the village of Cambury, would be an understatement.  Motives and suspects abound:  the dead man’s former partner, the baker, the church organist, the bookseller, a former cook and others all had reason to want him out of their lives.  Even his wife, who seems in no way saddened by the death of her husband, might have done it.  The local policeman insists that the murderer would most likely be found in London, where the victim conducted business and lived most of the time, but Rutledge thinks the answer lies in the village.  Rutledge soon discovers that perhaps there is more than one motive and more than one place in which to track the solution down.

In this 11th installment of the series featuring Rutledge, the mother-son team writing as Charles Todd, successfully convey the inner turmoil and loneliness that are his constant companions as he investigates.  The memories of his harrowing experiences during World War I are never far from his mind.  In fact, Hamish, a sergeant who died under his command, lives on in Rutledge’s mind, critiquing his every move.  Hamish’s interruptions are as abrupt to the reader as they are to Rutledge: a neat trick on the authors’ part.  It is hard to know if he’s a help, a hindrance or a comfort, he’s just always there.

Readers who enjoy mysteries populated by realistic and detailed characters, written with a dark psychological edge should enjoy this book.

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year Olds

Do you ever wonder how preteens and teens are spending their time?  The recently released survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year Olds , reports that the amount of time that teens spend on media has risen dramatically. This age group spends about a much time using media as an adult spends at work; of course, they are doing so seven days a week!  During much of the 7 hours and 38 minutes that Generation M2 uses media they are multitasking and so actual usage rises to 10 hours and 45 minutes daily.  These numbers indicate an increase of an hour and 17 minutes a day over the last five years.

As TV becomes available on more devices, the hours spent watching regularly scheduled TV has declined.  Watching it on less traditional devices such as cell phones and the Internet has increased.  Social networking and YouTube also capture teens’ attention—and their time.

Reading books has remained about the same over the five year period: around 25 minutes per day.  But time spent reading print magazines and newspapers has declined by seven minutes a day.  Time spent reading books has actually increased during the last ten years from 21 to 25 minutes a day.

– posted by Brenda, Reference Services

New Main Floor Display …

Travel the World Through Fiction!

Want to travel the world without spending a ton of money … grab one of the fantastic reads on display.  You can visit anywhere from Switzerland to South Africa, Argentina to Italy all for free!  Experience the lifestyles of another culture through the eyes of the characters capturing the story.  Tour the world from the comfort of your own home.  Happy Travels!

– Posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

A Syosset Public Library Blog

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