Monday, March 31, 2008

Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon, 2007

One of my goals for 2008 is to read my way around the world by looking for novels set in far away places and written by international authors. One of my favorite so far has been Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon.

Set in an unnamed South American country recovering from a bitter civil war, Lost City Radio is both a mesmerizing tale of loss and eloquent commentary on the repercussions of war. Norma is a radio news journalist with the most trusted and well-loved voice in the country. Each week, she hosts a wildly popular program called Lost City Radio. All over the country, Indians in the rural mountains and the poor people living in the barrios tune in to hear Norma read the names of their missing. Throughout the war and after, hundreds and thousands of refugees had come to the city and lost touch with their families. Hearing their names on the air and longing to be found, the "lost" call in to the station and are reunited on air with their loved ones. None of Norma's listeners know that among the missing is her husband, Rey, who disappeared at the end of the war.

This story grips you from the very beginning when Victor, an eleven-year-old orphan mysteriously shows up at the radio station with a list of the missing from his village. The list contains a clue to the whereabouts of Norma's missing husband.

Daniel Alarcon is originally from Peru, but lived in Birmingham as a boy when his family first came to the United States. Although the setting of Lost City Radio is fictitious, there are many similarities to recent historical events in Peru, Argentina, and Chile.

Get this book in the catalog!

This review was written by Anna Ellis. Anna is an intern at Homewood Library this Spring. She is currently completing her Master of Library & Information Science at U of A and hopes to be a Children's Librarian in a public library. Anna is originally from Washington DC.

Thanks Anna! We'll miss you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where Angels Go by Debbie Macomber

Many people pray for things they want or need. Especially when they are in trouble or during the Christmas holiday season. One year the angels were so busy helping people that the Archangel Gabriel decided to send Shirley, Goodness and Mercy to Earth to help with three requests. Previously these three angels had overstepped their bounds. This time they all want to be helpful to their assigned people without trying to make things happen as they want them. Carter wants a dog but his family cannot afford one. Beth feels that since she has failed in her marriage she is afraid to try a new relationship. Harry knows he is dying and wants to know his wife will be taken care of after his passing. Will these situations be resolved before Christmas? How can the angels help a little boy with his greatest wish, help a young woman trust and commit again and help an older gentleman find peace of mind? While reading this story I was aware of the angels but the focus is mostly on Carter, Beth, Harry and their needs. I wonder how many people are helped by angels daily without realizing it?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Every Man For Himself: Ten Short Stories About Being a Guy, Edited by Nancy Mercado, 2005

Need a Fiction Fix but don't have time for a full-length novel? Try Every Man For Himself: Ten Stories About Being a Guy, an anthology of short stories about being a teenage guy written by some well-known male writers who really remember what it was like. You'll find stories about the dangers of boasting, navigating the high-school rumor mill, the meaning of brotherhood, and being the most powerful super-kid in a superhero high school.

You don't have to be a guy to appreciate these stories. All ten are original and a great introduction to some talented male writers, including: Walter Dean Myers, Craig Thompson, and Mo Willems. There is even a funny Q&A section with each of the authors at the end of the book. Reserve this book in our catalog!

For more quick fiction fixes, try: Walter Dean Myers' Street Love, Craig Thompson's Good-bye Chunky Rice, John Scieszka's Guys Write for Guys Read, and Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories, also edited by Nancy Mercado.

This review was written by Anna Ellis. Anna is an intern at Homewood Library this Spring. She is currently completing her Master of Library & Information Science at U of A and hopes to be a Children's Librarian in a public library. Anna is originally from Washington DC.

Thanks Anna!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Murder at the Opera A Capital Crimes Novel by Margaret Truman

Mac Smith has retired from defending criminals in court and now teaches law at Georgetown. His wife also has retired from her law practice. She now sits on the Board of the Washington National Opera. When WNO planned to present Tosca, Annabel Smith convinces Mac to be a super in the upcoming production. He is surprisingly pleased with the experience. Until an opera student is found murdered and evidence surfaces connected to an unsolved murder case from six years before.
Truman weaves the story based in D.C. but with international intrigue in the middle east, Britain and the Carribean. Of course there is the ever present cast of agencies such as the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security. The President and First Lady along with congressmen make an appearance in the story.
The show, Tosca, will go on in spite of the tragedy. Police investigate and a retired D.C. cop is hired to investigate. Mac and Annabel are very much involved in it all and to the very end of the book we are wondering what really happened.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird at the historic Alabama Theatre

To Kill a Mockingbird at the historic Alabama Theatre Thursday, April 10th at 7:00 pm.

Tickets are $4 per person and popcorn and a soft drink are included. There will be a special appearance by Mary Badham, who played Scout in the 1962 film.

Purchase your ticket at Homewood Public Library or any Jefferson County Public Library or at the door beginning at 6:00 pm. Call 226-3615 for more information.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

RV There Yet? by Diann Hunt

Can you imagine three independent women travelling cross country in an RV together? DeDe, Millie and Lydia had met at a camp in Colorado one summer in high school. Now they are more mature, as in fiftyish, menopausal and premenopausal. When they got word that Aspen Creek Bible Camp was in need of help from its alumni, the three friends decided to take time off from their "regular lives" and have an adventure. They met at Lydia's in Maine and got reacquainted while preparing for the trip. Waldo, the recreational vehicle, had weeds growing up around it but Lydia thought "he" should be okay. On the trip from Maine to Colorado DeDe had time to reconsider her troubled relationship with Rob, Millie was paranoid about her job at the library and Lydia continued missing her late husband. Each expected to see certain people they remembered from camp. They also expected to work at fixing up the buildings and grounds of a place that meant good times. What happened on the way was unexpected and the group they reunited with at Aspen camp was a surprise, too. Millie's organizational skills helped and so did Lydia's culinary expertise. But Millie's trumpet playing resulted in a somewhat scary outcome. Time to rethink life, relationships and how we spend our time was productive for many of the alums. This is sure a fun read full of chick humor and situations. I look forward to reading another story about friends laughing, listening and caring about one another as they go through life's 'adventures.'

Monday, March 3, 2008

THE BIG READ Project: Mockingbird

THE BIG READ Project: Mockingbird encourages people to read and discuss a single book and promotes the enjoyment of reading as a community.

A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us. Whether you're a regular reader already or a nonreader making up for lost time, thank you for joining the Big Read. ~

Pick up a copy today of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee at Homewood Public Library.

Join us at the library and enjoy An Evening with To Kill a Mockingbird Wednesday, April 16th at 6:30 pm. Nancy Anderson, Alabama Humanities Foundation Road Scholar, will delve into some of the myths underscoring the subtlety, complexity, richness and honesty of the Alabama classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Light refreshments will be served. All ages are welcome.

Check out for information on all The Big Read events in Jefferson County!