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Books

‘Book of Strange New Things’ exudes charm

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“The Book of Strange New Things” by Michel Faber; Hogarth (512 pages, $28)

I would almost like to say, “Read this book,” and leave it with that. Because its charms, and they are considerable, are so tied with discovering what the heck is going on. That challenges a reviewer, because almost anything I tell you will spoil a moment of discovery.

Let’s start with this:


Bookworm recommends the perfect book for any readerThe gift of reading

Some of the newbies on your list are also new to the family. Some are friends to whom you’ve grown close. There’s that neighbor who’s so awesome, the new supervisor at work, an uncle who’s visiting this year, your child’s new teacher, and a Secret Santa program you’ve joined. And usually, you’re able to keep up with your list and know exactly what to give ... but then there’s that one person who’s so hard to shop for.

Why not give a book? Books never run out of batteries, they don’t have to be turned off before bedtime, and they’re totally calorie-free. Take a look at these suggestions…

What’s so great about Gatsby?

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If anyone needs an incentive to read (or re-read) the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the loss of love and the American dream, they will find it in two new appreciative studies: Sarah Churchill’s, “Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of ‘the Great Gatsby’” and “So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures,” by Maureen Corrigan.

Churchill’s “biography of a book” is all about context — the year 1922, in which Fitzgerald sets the book, is the year he and his effervescent wife Zelda moved to Long Island, observing and participating in the lifestyle that informs his greatest novel.

‘Memoirs’ is charming tale of a busy Christmas delivery

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“Memoirs of an Elf” by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Tim Bowers, c.2014, Sleeping Bear Press, 32 pages

Books tackle changing weather, climate in Great Lakes region

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Wisconsin weather: “If you don’t like it, just wait 10 minutes!”

One thing you can say for sure about weather in the Great Lakes region is that it’s never boring. Changing weather on a global scale is something that’s frequently in the news. If you’d like to go beyond the media sound bites, try these books at the Kenosha Public Library.

‘Sudden Light’ not the brightest book on the shelf

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“A Sudden Light,” by Garth Stein

c.2014, Simon & Schuster 399 pages

What it’s like growing up when your father is also the Godfather of Soul

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“Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me” by Yamma Brown with Robin Gaby Fisher

c.2014, Chicago Review Press,208 pages

Books tell the tale of the night of the monsters’ creation

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It was a dark and stormy night in the unseasonably cold summer of 1816 when five young bohemians sat up late in a crumbling Swiss villa making up ghost stories.

In attendance were the infamous and flamboyant Lord George Gordon Byron, his personal physician John Polidori, and the young couple Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had recently fled from England to marry abroad against her father’s wishes. They were accompanied by Mary’s stepsister Claire Claremont.

Favorite books range from World War II novel to dystopian fiction

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As the year draws to a close, I like to think back to the books I’ve read in the past year that have particularly resonated with me:

The emotional power of Anthony Marra’s “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” really blew me away and gave me some insight into a chapter of history that I didn’t know very well.

Wrap up the Halloween season with a couple spooky books

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-- “Haunted Stuff” by Stacey Graham, c.2014, Llewellyn, 240 pages

-- “America’s Most Haunted” by Theresa Argie and Eric Olsen, c.2014, Berkeley, 341 pages

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