Library Column–February 9, 2006

My first radio program is next Monday morning at 9 A.M. My guest and I will chat about travel resources at the library and plan a fun trip to Provence: what do you read to get ready, where do you go to find great places to stay and much more.

My reading is so diverse I am developing multiple topic disorder (unfortunately common amongst public librarians).

When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: the Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy. I enjoyed this book because I am a very serious history buff, but it was a good read except for the huge number of confusing and similar names. The Caliphs were, overall, good rulers, but the lack of an orderly system for identifying the next ruler undermined the health and balance of this huge empire. Hurrah for constitutional democracy!

Bubbles (series) by Sarah Strohmeyer. A Vermont author who writes a series about a wacky Pennsylvania hairdresser/reporter who tracks down criminals, mostly by accident. Excellent choice for Janet Evanovich fans.

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith. (Audio CD) The author has found a group that can be mocked with impunity: tall, thin, German professors of philology. I don’t think any group has organized to protest this cruel, unfair, vicious and very, very funny description of the truly clueless Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld.

Loredana: A Venetian Tale by Lauro Martines. This historical novel/fantasy is set in late Renaissance Italy. Venice was never actually a “two-tiered city.” I found this a good read, but it does include some true to the period violence: torture and executions and also some extremely graphic sex.

The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler. A pleasant romance, but the best part of the book is the Italian background: beautiful scenery and scrumptious meals.

Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs. Temperance Brennan goes to Israel and looks at some really old bones. Includes some tomb-crawling and a chase scene.

Confluence: A River, The Environment, Politics & The Fate of All Humanity by Nathaniel Tripp. A book about the Connecticut River as it flows through Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, talking about canoeing down the river with Howard Dean, describing the politics of water flows, energy production, pollution, farming, and lots and lots of other stuff. A good companion book to Cities in the Wilderness by Bruce Babbitt (reviewed a couple of weeks back), with Confluence doing a good job of discussing local environmental matters and the Babbitt book doing an equally excellent job of discussing Federal environment policy.

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