Archive for August, 2012

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“Wildfire Smoke in Idaho” courtesy of NFIC

It’s been a tough fire summer this year in southern Idaho, as many a hazy day will attest. We thought we’d put a positive spin on the situation and pull together a few good books to read while you stay indoors, babying your lungs. All of these books have “smoke” in the title: hopefully, some good will come of it! (And thanks to the fire crews out there battling!)



Black Powder, White Smoke – Loren D. Estleman

  • Freed slave Honey Boutrille and white bandit Twice Emmerson learn that Western justice is not exactly black and white when they cross the line and go on a crime spree.

Blue Smoke and Murder – Elizabeth Lowell

  • Protecting a river guide with ties to the art world, private information collector and reluctant bodyguard Zach Balfour realizes his charge is in more danger than previously known, a situation that pits them against the ruthless multi-million-dollar Western art circuit.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

  • Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

River of Smoke – Amitav Ghosh

  • Amid a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, three vessels, and the diverse occupants within, converge on Canton’s Fanqui-Town, or Foreign Enclave, which is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.

Ruby in the Smoke – Philip Pullman

  • In nineteenth-century London, sixteen-year-old Sally Lockhart, a recent orphan, becomes involved in a deadly search for a mysterious ruby.

Smoke in Mirrors – Jayne Ann Krentz

  • Meredith Spooner, Leonora’s best friend embezzles millions from a college endowment fund and sends Leonora the safe-deposit box key just before she dies. The safe-deposit box also contains a book about Mirror House, the site of Meredith’s last scam and newspaper stories about a thirty-year-old murder that occurred there, unsolved to this day.

Smoke Room – Earl W. Emerson

  • Hailed as a hero in a fire rescue, firefighter Jason Gun is relieved when two colleagues cover up for his arriving late, until they expect him to reciprocate when they commit a theft that leads to the death of Jason’s battalion chief.

Spectres in the Smoke – Tony Broadbent

  • In the austere post-World War II Britain of 1948, Jethro, the cat burglar, is once again called in to undertake a mission for MI5 as he attempts to prevent a secret plot to bring down Britain’s new Labour government.

Tree of Smoke – Denis Johnson

  • The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a novel of America during the Vietnam War.

Where There’s Smoke – Sandra Brown

  • When Dr. Lara Mallory arrives in Eden Pass, the locals blame her for her lover’s suicide, and she finds that she may have a future with her lover’s younger brother.



Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500 – Charles Leerhsen

  • Leerhsen draws from contemporary articles, histories, and interviews to pull readers into a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the building of the Speedway and the first race. (Excepted from Library Journal review).

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of WWII, the End of Civilization – Nicholson Baker

  • A study of the decades leading up to World War II profiles the world leaders, politicians, business people, and others whose personal politics and ideologies provided an inevitable barrier to the peace process and whose actions led to the outbreak of war.

A Life in Smoke – Julia Hansen

  • Recounts the author’s seven-day effort to quit smoking, during which she chained herself to a radiator and explored her complex relationship with cigarettes as well as her past struggles with family members, men, and her own insecurities.

Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything – Margaret Wertheim

  • Documents the work by outsider physicist Jim Carter and how his achievements can inform both mainstream scientists and everyday people about what science is and how it works.

Smoke and Steel – Carl Sandburg

  • Anthology of poems by the acclaimed American poet.

Smoke and Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue – Cheryl Alters Jamison

  • Over 300 recipes devoted to smoke-cooked barbecue.

Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objectors During WWII – Mark Matthews

  • The story of the World War II conscientious objectors who volunteered for Civilian Public Service as U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers is told in this history that reveals a little-known dimension of American pacifism.

Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco – Eric Burns

  • The history of the plant that changed the course of North America.

Smoke Signals and Wagon Tracks: A History of Idaho and the American Northwest – Robert D. Bolen

  • A look at the expansion of the white man, from the perspective of the various Native American tribes living in the Northwest.

When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution – Devra Lee Davis

  • An epidemiologist identifies some 300,000 annual deaths in the U.S. and Europe due to pollution, making revelations about historical and smog-related mass casualties, and calling for major public changes.


Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, unless indicated otherwise.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 2000

Can you believe that Y2K happened 12 years ago! Some of us (especially me) forget that we’re already into the second decade of the millennium – crazy though it sounds. It seems like only yesterday…

  • The last original Peanuts comic strip appeared in February 2000 (the classics still appear in Sunday papers).
  • The country of India hit 1 billion people in May 2000 (India’s at 1,210,193,422 as of 2011).
  • Dora the Explorer first broadcast in August 2000 (Dora has been translated in more than 25 languages and even had a spin-off).

Relive the days of the turn of the century with one of these books (by many authors who are still hot in publishing!) from the New York Times Best Sellers List ending August 20, 2000.



1. Winter Solstice – Rosamunde Pilcher

 2. Dust to Dust – Tami Hoag

 3. Not a Day Goes By – E. Lynn Harris

 4. The House on Hope Street – Danielle Steel

 5. Omerta – Mario Puzo

 6. Mr. Perfect – Linda Howard

 7. Riptide – Catherine Coulter

 8. Purple Cane Road – James Lee Burke

 9. Nora, Nora – Anne Rivers Siddons

 10. The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Posession – Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

 11. The Brethren – John Grisham

 12. The River King – Alice Hoffman

 13. Heartbreaker – Julie Garwood

 14. Deadly Decisions – Kathy Reichs

 15. Hot Six – Janet Evanovich



1. It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life – Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins

2. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – Mitch Albom

3. Life on the Other Side – Sylvia Browne with Lindsay Harrison

4. American Rhapsody – Joe Eszterhas

5. Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley with Ron Powers

6. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

7. The Day John Died – Christopher Andersen

8. In the Heart of the Sea: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex – Nathaniel Philbrick

9. In a Sunburned Country – Bill Bryson

10. The Greatest Generation – Tom Brokaw

11. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain

12. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life , 1500 to the Present – Jacques Barzun

13. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There – David Brooks

14. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living – the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

15. Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit – Garry Wills


August is American Artists Appreciation Month

Georgia O’Keefe’s “Red Poppy”

One of the neat things about the Internet is that you can literally travel the world without leaving your house. And, if you’re a nerd like me, then that also means you can often visit world famous museums and galleries. Even though nothing can compare to viewing art and antiquities in person, the Internet comes in a close second. This month, in celebration of American Artists, check out some of these cool sites and get your art fix vicariously:~

Smithsonian American Art Museum

National Gallery of Art

American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

NEH – Picturing America (Check out our in-house displays, too.)


Summer Reading 2012 Is Over :(

Well, Summer Reading has ended for another year, but don’t let that stop you! We hope everyone who participated had a good time – it’s always fun to see the different books people read, and just how they feel about those books when they’re done. We had a great response from readers; there was an increase in participation on our Goodreads page, which was really cool. Hopefully, we’ll get even more readers to submit their reviews electronically next year!

Here is the final list of winners. Congratulations to all!


Week 1 – Kirsten Lopshire

Week 2 – Martin Estridge


Week 4 – Noemi Goodson

Week 5 – Susan Ray

Week 6 – Jay Goemmer

Week 7 – Judy Robinson

Week 8 – De Elva Hicks

GRAND PRIZE – Jay Goemmer!


Even if you didn’t win a prize, you should still be proud of yourself for reading and putting in the effort to participate – you’ve been enriched beyond just a tote bag and mug. And, there’s always next year…