Archive for January, 2012

Want Snow? Think “White”

Snowfall in Twin Falls City Park (early 1900s). Photo #PC2330, TFPL

 The kids in this part of southern Idaho may be disappointed that they haven’t had a snow day, and I venture to say that there are a few adults who feel the same way. While I’m perfectly happy not to have to shovel any of it, I wish we had just a little bit more of the white stuff. Maybe if we all focus on it, we’ll convince the weather fairies to send some our way. Try one of these books to help:



The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

  • Yearning to escape her life of prostitution in 1870s London, Sugar finds her fate entangled in the complicated family life of patron William, an egotistical perfume magnate.

Death Wore White by Jim Kelly

  • At 5.15 p.m. Harvey Ellis was trapped–stranded in a line of eight cars by a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road. At 8.15 p.m. Harvey Ellis was dead; viciously stabbed at the wheel of his truck. His killer has achieved the impossible: striking without being seen, and without leaving a single footprint in the snow.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

  • Attending an endless series of bridal showers for their friend Kristi, three bridesmaids struggle with private challenges, including Isabella’s unhappiness at a job where she is nevertheless very successful, Mary’s relationship with a man who prioritizes his mother, and Lauren’s attraction to a man she despises.

To Dance with the White Dog by Terry Kay

  • Struggling to deal with grief for his late wife, Sam Peck, an old man, is consoled by a mysterious white dog that appears after her death.

White Cargo by Stuart Woods

  • Devastated by the killing of his family in a savage attack by Latin American pirates, “Cat” Catledge receives a late night call that convinces him that his daughter is alive and embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her.

White Crosses by Lawrence Watson

  • When the married principal of the local elementary school and a recent high-school graduate turn up dead in a car crash, Sheriff Jack Nevelsen tries to protect the town of Bentrock from the truth about why the two had been in the car together.

White Fang by Jack London

  • The adventures in the northern wilderness of a dog who is part wolf and how he comes to make his peace with man.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

  • Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families–the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire–as they make their way in modern England.

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

  • When he relocates to New Delhi to take a new job, Balram Halwai is disillusioned by the city’s materialism and technology-spawned violence, a circumstance that forces him to question his loyalties, ambitions, and past.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

  • The mysterious appearance of a woman dressed in all white leads to the discovery of a complicated plot involving a stolen inheritance.



American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement’s Hidden Spaces of Hate by Pete Simi

  • Takes readers through hidden enclaves of hate in America, exploring how White Supremacy movements thrive nationwide, even in a nation that preaches equality and tolerance, and looks toward how we can work to prevent future violence.

Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Tom Feiling*

  • The author investigates the global cocaine trade, explores how the cocaine business got so big, and argues that the U.S.’s anti-drugs crusade is actually increasing demand.

The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney

  • Presents an introduction to polar bears, describing the species’ contradictions and resiliency and the factors that threaten its survival, from hunting to environmental losses.

It’s Our Day: America’s Love Affair With the White Wedding, 1945-2005 by Katherine Jellison*

  • Gives a comprehensive cultural history of American weddings since World War II, examining the development of precise and expensive standards for celebrating weddings and the staying power of this phenomenon in the face of enormous social, political, and economic upheaval.

Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold by Michael Benanav

  • Provides a narrative of the Islamic culture’s centuries-old trek between Timbuktu and the notorious salt mines of Taoudenni, describing how camel drivers march for eighteen hours per day in sandstorms and searing heat.

My First Ladies: Thirty Years as the White House’s Chief Floral Designer by Nancy Clarke

  • The author describes her life and her work as the chief floral designer at the White House.

Walter White: The Dilemma of Black America by Thomas Dyja

  • A portrait of the influential secretary of the NAACP explores his dedication to advancing civil rights in America, tracing his role in ending lynching, creating the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and hosting a premier salon for the Harlem Renaissance.

The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis by Thomas Dormandy*

  • An account of the search for a cure is complemented by a description of its complex natural history and by portraits of individual sufferers, including writers, artists, and musicians, whose lives and work were shaped (and often tragically curtailed) by the disease.

White Egrets: Poems by Derek Walcott

  • In this work, the poet treats the characteristic subjects of his career, the Caribbean’s complex colonial legacy, his love of the Western literary tradition, the wisdom that comes through the passing of time, the always strange joys of new love, and the sometimes terrifying beauty of the natural world, with an intensity and drive that recall his greatest work

White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple

  • The first book to portray one of the most remarkable friendships in American letters, that of Emily Dickinson–recluse, poet–and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, minister, literary figure, active abolitionist.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, except for entries with an *, which are adapted from the publisher. Find reviews, author information, and more on NoveList Plus via the EBSCOHost interface.

Dangers of the Sea

"A Squall off Cape Horn" - Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

“Never trust her at any time when the calm sea shows her false, alluring smile.”

– Lucretius


It seems vaguely appropriate to take a look at stories of the sea when we’ve been getting a little drenched here in the Magic Valley (but not as bad as in other places – fingers crossed). Still, they say the sea is a harsh mistress, and those of us in landlocked Idaho may only be able to appreciate this vicariously through a good book.

Featuring tragedies and triumphs – and sometimes both at the same time – the following books detail the challenges of a sea voyage. If you’re looking for a watery adventure, try one of these without the fear of getting wet (unless you read it outside during the next week – you might want to check the forecast!).


Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea – Steven Callahan

All the Men in the Sea: The Untold Story of One of the Greatest Rescues in History – Michael J. Krieger

Black Wave: A Family’s Voyage of Adventure and the Disaster that Saved Them – John Silverwood and Jean Silverwood

Burning Cold: The Cruise Ship Prinsendam and the Greatest Sea Rescue of All Time – H. Paul Jeffers

Capsized – James Nalepka

Deadliest Sea: The Untold Story Behind the Greatest Rescue in Coast Guard History – Kalee Thompson

Fatal Forecast: An Incredible True Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea – Mike Tougias

The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue – Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex – Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Run: A True Story of Rescue and Redemption on the Alaska Seas -Todd Lewan

Left for Dead: The Untold Story of the Greatest Disaster in Modern Sailing History – Nick Ward

Miracles on the Water: The Heroic Survivors of a World War II U-Boat Attack – Tom Nagorski

The Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Michael Schumacher

Not Without Hope – Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman

On the Edge of Survival: A Shipwreck, a Raging Storm, and the Harrowing Alaskan Rescue that Became a Legend – Spike Walker

A Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea – Sebastian Junger

Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea – Tami Oldham Ashcraft

Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum – Edward T. O’Donnell

The Ship and the Storm: Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome – Jim Carrier

Shipwrecks: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Worst Disasters at Sea – David Ritchie

Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea – Frank Delaney

Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do – Mike Tougias

The Terrible Hours: The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History – Peter Maas

Titanic at Two AM – Paul J. Quinn

Wreck of the Carl D.: A True Story of Loss, Survival, and Rescue at Sea – Michael Schumacher

J is for Joke

It’s amazing how many words that start with “j” have something to do with pulling someone’s leg. Just think about these: joke, jest, josh, jink (as in ‘high jinks’), juke, jape, jive, jig (as in ‘the jig is up’). Since “j” is one of the least used consonants – but a high scorer in Scrabble! – it seems especially interesting that there are so many. And most of them, except for jive and juke, have been in the English language for over 300 years. You can look that up in the O.E.D., if you think I’m pulling a jape!

With this in mind, we’ve compiled some items – memoirs and recordings – by and about some of the most famous modern jesters. This time, the joke’s on them!



700 Sundays – Billy Crystal

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot – Craig Ferguson

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Steve Martin

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Cloris: My Autobiography – Cloris Leachman

The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion – Dan Kamin

Cosbyology: Essays and Observations from the Doctor of Comedy – Bill Cosby

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – David Bianculli

Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me: Bob Hope’s Comedy History of the United States – Bob Hope

The F Word: How to Survive Your Family – Louis Anderson

Familyhood – Paul Reiser

Gracie: A Love Story – George Burns

Hello Dummy – Don Rickles

I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics

I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny – Bob Newhart

I’m the One That I Want – Margaret Cho

It’s Always Something – Gilda Radner

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy – Phyllis Diller

Made You Laugh: The Funniest Moments in Radio, Television, Stand-up, and Movie Comedy – Joe Garner

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America – Laurence Maslon

Mixed Nuts: America’s Love Affair with Comedy Teams: From Burns and Allen to Belushi and Ackroyd – Lawrence J. Epstein

My Lucky Life, In and Out of Show Business – Dick Van Dyke

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin – Kathy Griffin

Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences – Richard Pryor

Rickles’ Book – Don Rickles

Rock This! – Chris Rock

The Second City Unscripted: Revolution and Revelation at the World-Famous Comedy Theater – Mike Thomas

Seven Dirty Words: The Life and Crimes of George Carlin – James Sullivan

Seriously — I’m Kidding – Ellen DeGeneres

Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story – Jack Benny

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection – Carol Burnett

The Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time – Jeff Forrester and Tom Forrester

When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? – George Carlin

Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi – Bob Woodward


Button Down Concert  – Bob Newhart

Greatest Bits – Jeff Foxworthy

Live  – Brian Regan

Live at Carnegie Hall – Ray Romano

Live in San Francisco – Lenny Bruce

Monty Python’s Flying Circus Greatest Skits

Old Time Radio Shows: Comedy

The Piano and Humor of the Great Victor Borge

Wonderfulness – Bill Cosby

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1983

We may be sailing into a new year, but we can always take a little time to look back. This month, let’s revisit 1983.  (As a side note, did you know that Kilauea, probably the most famous Hawaiian volcano, has been continuously erupting since that year? Crazy!)

Additionally, 1983 was the year in which the final episode of MASH aired (February); the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was bombed (April); and Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday. And speaking of MLK Jr. Day, the Library will be closed on Monday, January 16th, but that definitely gives us all the opportunity to spend that day in service in our communities. Have fun!

Here are the best selling books, according to the New York Times, for the week of Jan 9, 1983:



1 – Space by James A. Michener

 2 – 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke

3 – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Storybook by William Kotzwinkle

 4 – Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov

 5 – The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel

 6 – Mistral’s Daughter by Judith Krantz

 7 – Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon

 8 – Different Seasons by Stephen King

 9 – Crossings by Danielle Steel

 10 – Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

 11 – Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut

 12 – Goodbye, Mickey Mouse by Len Deighton

 13 – The Parsifal Mosaic by Robert Ludlum

 14 – Life Sentences by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

 15 – Second Heaven by Judith Guest



 1 – And More by Andy Rooney

2 – Living, Loving & Learning by Leo Buscaglia

 3 – Jane Fonda’s Workout Book by Jane Fonda

 4 – Megatrends by John Naisbitt

5 – A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

6 – Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President by Jimmy Carter

 7 – When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Harold S. Kushner

 8 – Growing Up by Russell Baker

 9 – Life Extension by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw

 10 – The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

 11 – The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro

 12 – Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange

 13 – The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

 14 – Atlantic High by William F. Buckley Jr.

15 – Having It All by Helen Gurley Brown