Having enjoyed Zen on Masterpiece Mystery I went looking for the books the series is based on. This is the first of the Aurelio Zen mysteries, oddly enough shown as the third episode in the TV series. The book provides a much more detailed story with many more characters and an ending that doesn't work out quite as simply as on TV. If you are curious about the character of Zen the book provides much more background but be warned there are changes--due to the producer's choice, Zen is much younger and handsomer on TV, also due to the fact that the book takes place in the early 1980s. Another thing the book does much better than the TV show is to make Italy, in this case Perugia, come alive. There are many more Aurelio Zen mysteries , I'm looking forward to them.
Sadly, writer, screenwriter & director Ephron died yesterday--yet even just reading the obituaries made me laugh. Read, for example, her reprinted comments ruing the fact that she was "probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House whom the president did not make a pass at"....perhaps because of her unfortunate permanent wave, or because she was Jewish, or because "JFK somehow sensed that discretion was not my middle name. I mean, I assure you that if anything had gone on between the two of us, you would not have had to wait this long to find it out." If you're a middle-aged woman, need a laugh, and haven't yet read Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck , do it now. And it's probably time to re-watch some of her famous and award-winning movies, like Silkwood , When Harry Met Sally , and You've Got Mail . Check Our Catalog  for more of her essay collections.
There are those inside the Dome, and then there is everyone else. Pressia wasn’t one of those lucky enough to make it into the Dome before the Detonations. Now, like her fellow survivors, she bears the scars of the Detonations, both with her physical deformities, and her mental strife. Now, Pressia is on the run, trying to escape from a militia, and this is when she discovers a Pure. Patridge has escaped from the Dome and as a Pure, has already escaped the physical scars of the Detonation. Now, the two are thrust together, trying to survive in a harsh new world. Check Our Catalog 
Over a span of 24 hours, brilliant, yet eccentric, physicist Alex Hoffman suspects that he is losing his mind. He can’t remember sending ominous emails supposedly sent by him. People die. He is brutally assaulted. And Alex might be the cause of cataclysmic worldwide stock market crash that threatens global financial institutions. He’s invented a computer algorithm that begins to “think” for itself (and the fortunate few investors who have thrown their cash in Alex’s direction), starts to move the markets and doesn’t care what the collateral damage might be. Can it be stopped? Read against the background of a real-life Flash Crash on May 6, 2010, the seemingly unbelievable becomes less so. A real page-turner. Check our Catalog 
A great story, especially one with this much action, requires suspension of the reader's disbelief. I realized how skilled Morrell is in accomplishing that effect, at least in this reader, when I turned to my wife and said, "Have you ever been reading a book that is so exciting that you realize you have been holding your breath?" This is not a new book, but it sure still packs a punch. Check Our Catalog 
This is an audiobook release of a novella from King's 2008 collection, Just After Sunset. It is only two CDs but it feels like a longer story because he packs so much suspense in so few words. Narrator Mare Winningham conveys just enough emotion and mood, without overdramatizing a story that is exciting and - at times - lurid enough based just on the words. Like any great melodrama, you wonder how much more your "hero" can take, as challenges and disasters pile up, but you root for her to rise to every one and come out stronger. The plot and theme revolve around running - running away, running away from, running for fitness and strength, and running to keep on running. As such, it may leave you breathless for more reasons than one. Check Our Catalog 
As WW II comes to a close, 24 military sightseers take a flying joyride over the remote mountains of New Guinea. The plane crashes and the only survivors are a beautiful WAC and 2 G.I.s. All three are injured, unreachable by ordinary means, surrounded by startled stone-age warrior tribes and cut off from a 200-mile journey to the coast by thousands of hostile Japanese soldiers. The military inserts a squad of Filipino-American paratroopers and their gung-ho commander to aid the survivors. The tale moves briskly forward with breathtaking acts of courage and bravery, first-contact cultural chauvinism and miscommunication, and insightful sociological commentary. The “solution” to the disaster is a bold plan to extract the survivors using a cargo plane with a big hook. Captivating, exhilarating, heartbreaking. Check our Catalog 
In the dizzying third (and probably not the last) installment of a steampunk/alternative-universe/time-travel saga, polymath explorer extraordinaire Sir Richard Burton returns with his trusty sidekick poet Algernon Swinburne to pre-empt a royal assassination, prevent world war, recover a set of psychoactive diamonds deposited by a now-extinct non-human race of super beings, and defeat the powers of evil. Burton hops between alternative realities in an enthralling tale replete with an encyclopedic grasp of period detail. Thoroughly engrossing. Check our Catalog 
A generation ago this was required reading for those seeking to enlist in the ranks of ecclesiastical leadership. This classic begins with a resounding jeremiad against the rising tide of secularism and posits six marks of the mind that thinks Christianly: its supernatural orientation, awareness of evil, conception of truth, acceptance of authority, concern for the person, and sacramental cast. Still provocative. Check our Catalog 
Euro 2012 has kicked off in Poland and the Ukraine. This is one of the world’s largest soccer tournaments, featuring sixteen of Europe’s top flight clubs. Will Spain continue their dominance, or will Germany restore order? To get you in the mood, try Simon Kuper’s Soccer Men. This book contains essays on some of the great players and managers of today and the recent past. The profiles explore what makes a truly great player or soccer strategist. You can dig a little deeper and check out Kuper’s older book, Soccernomics, which explores the who wins and why. Check Our Catalog 
As is typical in most autobiographies, Gregg Allman tries to put the best spin on years of bad behavior. Of course he's been married 6 or 7 times, but it was never his idea. He's just a pawn in the game, man. Too drunk and drugged up to participate in his own life, he presents himself as so passive that it's a miracle he could write a song on his own or tour with the band. Written in conversational style, the book is filled with entertaining side notes, such as his belief that the Grateful Dead had fans because they dosed them with acid. He also asserts that he got hepatitis C from unregulated tattooing rather than years of intravenous heroin use. He delves somewhat into the bad blood between some of the Allman Brothers band members, especially Dickey Betts and, of course, the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. I felt that there was a lot more to tell when I was finished with this book. Check Our Catalog 
Do you ever think you are paranoid? If so, try being a tourist. Milo Weaver used to be a tourist, one of the CIA's special field agents without a home or a name. Six years after leaving that career, Milo in now a husband and father with a desk job at the CIA. The arrest of an international hit man and a meeting with a former colleague yank Milo back into his old role, from which retirement is never really possible. Steinhauer has created a beautifully conflicted character, who struggles between doing what is right and keeping his fledgling family free from harm. Check Our Catalog 
Ray Bradbury passed away on Tuesday June 5th, 2012 and a light has gone out in the Universe. To say that I was a fan of Bradbury's doesn't seem enough. He inspired me. I was introduced to Bradbury in my teens. I was looking for something to read and while rifling through my mother's bookshelf, I came across a worn paperback. On the cover, was a naked man sitting on a scaffold with his back to the audience. He was completely covered from the neck down in tattoos (pardon me, illustrations). The was The Illustrated Man . Sixteen stories each told as the illustrations on this man's body come to life and predict the future. Bradbury wrote like a fine artist paints. His words flow and envelop you, lifting you up into the story being told. For teens (adults too), I recommend The Halloween Tree  and Something Wicked This Way Comes . As a librarian, I shiver at the thought of the future presented in Bradbury's masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 . I won't spoil it for you but think for a minute, if you had only one book to preserve for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lin Fox and the rest of her family are uprooted from their life in England and dropped into the dark depths of a German forest by her father's obsessive quest for fame as a medieval scholar. Oliver Fox is searching for the fabled Allerheiligen Glass, astonishingly beautiful stained glass windows, said to be haunted by the demon Bonschariant. What starts as a conventional mystery with an elderly farmer found dead in his apple orchard rapidly turns into a dark gothic fairy tale of murder and madness. A dark and twisty tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm. Check Our Catalog 
We first meet the orphan Pip as a young boy living with his harridan of an older sister and her saintly blacksmith husband, Joe. After Pip is drawn into the bizarre household of the wealthy and spiteful spinster Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter, Estella, his life and future prospects begin to shift. When "great expectations" of future wealth come upon him from an anonymous source, he leaves behind his humble roots and goes to London to become a gentleman. The twists and turns of Pip's story of crime, social class and ambition, with the many colorful friends and foes he encounters along the way, will keep you engrossed right up to the somewhat ambiguous ending. The recent three-part BBC dramatization of Great Expectations  hews reasonably close to the story's main characters and themes but inevitably cannot do justice to the richness of Dickens' story. Check Our Catalog 
Another keenly insightful yet forgiving character study disguised as a mystery, by Alexander McCall Smith. This series of novels featuring private detective Mma Ramotswe of Botswana are thoroughly charming, in the best sense of the word. Each book manages to incorporate at least one or two pithy life lessons that you can apply to your own ordinary American life. Check Our Catalog 
Diane Keaton's memoir is far from being a Hollywood tell-all. While she does talk about certain films and boyfriends (Annie Hall and Woody Allen, Reds and Warren Beatty, The Godfather trilogy and Al Pacino), the heart of the story is her mother and Alzheimer's, her decision to adopt at age 50 and her lifelong struggle with self-confidence. Portions of her mother's 85 journals are juxtaposed with Diane's own story, and the book includes photos of Diane and family, as well as scanned images from her mother's journals. Fans of Keaton will like the book, but anyone, particularly women, who've love, lost and /or felt less than pretty, will find this book charming. Check Our Catalog 
Can a cold-blooded killer be a sympathetic character? If he’s the hero in a David Baldacci novel, the answer is yes. This is so episodic that it could be called “a chapter book for grownups.” The dust jacket calls Will Robie a “hit man,” but “government operative” is more accurate. Robie’s moral dilemmas are just as compelling as his adventures, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. A fast and rewarding read. Check Our Catalog 
John Cheever was born in Quincy 100 years ago this month (on May 27, 1912). Sometimes called the "Chekhov of the suburbs", Cheever was lauded for his fiction, especially his short stories. He won many prestigious awards during his career, including a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Discover for yourself why Cheever's work mattered. Sample one of his short stories (try "The Enormous Radio," "Goodbye, My Brother," "The Five-Forty-Eight," "The Country Husband," or "The Swimmer") or his novel The Wapshot Chronicle if you're more ambitious. Check Our Catalog 
Our story starts with Russia on the verge of bankruptcy and Stalin looking for a way out of ruin. In his desperation, Stalin sends Inspector Pekkala in search of Tsar Nicholas’ legendary missing gold. Pekkala returns to Eastland’s pages for the third time in this adventure taking place in a fledgling Soviet Union. Eastland is able to portray the friction and intrigue between the various factions playing for power in a young Russia. Pekkala is a great character and Eastland an excellent storyteller. Check Our Catalog