Library Column – February 7, 2008

A bit of this and a bit of that—food, football, failure, philosophy, murders (Italy, Arizona, Oregon), and history. Do stop in and check out our new books shelf (overflowing), our video collection, our audio collections, our children’s department and all of the other (free) goodies available at YOUR public library.

The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones. Another American girl in Paris success story: Judith discovers French food, falls in love, lives in sin, discovers The Diary of Anne Frank, returns to the U.S. and eventually finds a job with Knopf, where she discovers Julia Child and becomes a legendary cookbook editor. Includes photos and recipes and, a special treat, a paean to Vermont foods—sorrel, maple syrup, homemade ice cream, gooseberries, cheese, fiddleheads, milkweed, and several varieties of mushrooms.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gates Gill. An amusing little book by a man who didn’t catch on to the basics of real life until well into his sixties. What I found scary is the thought that a lot of other guys who are a lot like Michael used to be are trying to run the world. Do they really know what they are doing?

Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman (audio CD). Spooky little novel mixes up Zuni and Navajo religious beliefs with hippies, archaeologists, a drug case and multiple murders to present Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn with a very frustrating case.

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio CD). A sweet little book about a rather unsuccessful NFL quarterback who bombs in a big game and ends up playing American Football in Parma, Italy. Parma introduces him to real food (regional food),  to players who play for the love of the game and the occasional pizza, and to tiny little cars with clutches and sticks.

There is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Anthony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese.  The philosophical case against God and the philosophical case for God, presented by the same distinguished English thinker. In the course of a long career as a philosopher, Flew argued brilliantly against the belief in God but he has recently changed his mind. Clear and interesting arguments, meticulously presented.

A Wrongful Death by Kate Wilhelm. Barbara Holloway is a lawyer who takes on difficult cases, but the matter of the murder of Elizabeth Kurtz has more twists and turns than the corn maze. For those who like their mysteries complex and tricky.

The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman. It is a gothic novel. No, it is a mystery. No, it is about a lost work of great literature. Well, maybe a romance? All of the above, set in New York and Italy.

The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian by Robin Lane Fox (Regional). Only for serious history buffs. The story focuses mainly on the role of politics and freedom in the ancient world, with the author strongly pro-Athens and, generally, anti-Rome. See you at the library!

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